Wrestling with Life's Tough Issues: What Should a Christian Do?

by Claire Disbrey

(See larger photo)

Retail: $16.95
Size: 5.5 x 8.5 inches
Binding: paper
Pages: 185
Pub Date: 2008
ISBN: 9781598563146
ISBN-13: 9781598563146
Item Number: 563146
Categories: Theology; Christian Living

Product Description

Sometimes Christians, faced with making ethical decisions informed by the Bible, are torn between “keeping the law” and “doing what love demands”—there is evidence in the Bible supporting both approaches. In this book Claire Disbrey suggests that in an effort to utilize both trends when making decisions, Christians should be guided by Virtue Ethics—the idea that we seek first to become virtuous people who value the right things and then express our values in the way we treat people. A good life is one lived in harmony with other people and the biblical truths and can determine what is trivial in life from what is serious and worthwhile. This third way of virtue ethics heeds the Bible’s challenging call to let God’s Spirit change us so that we “live well” with the fruit of the Spirit manifest in our lives. The author provides helpful “case studies” of people caught in complex life situations. In these case studies the reader studies relevant passages from the New Testament and thinks through the sometimes difficult process of deciding how best to apply Biblical truths to specific personal decisions and painful ethical dilemmas. The author demonstrates how the ancient, rediscovered notion of Virtue Ethics can help us heed the Bible’s challenging call to let God’s Spirit change us, so that we learn to live well, with the fruit of the Spirit manifest in our lives.


1. How the philosophers muddied the waters
2. The rediscovery of Virtue Ethics
3. Three ways of approaching the Bible

An introduction to the stories
4. Angela considers a second marriage and looks at Matthew 5
5. Righteousness
6. Colin thinks about taking his own life and looks at Galatians 5
7. Freedom
8. Desmond wonders about telling the truth and looks at Ephesians 4 and 5
9. Wisdom
10. Charlotte considers an abortion and looks at Romans 13
11. Love
12 Alice considers going on a peace march and looks at Philippians 4
13. Peace
14. Patricia and Timothy receive an unexpected inheritance and look at 2 Corinthians 8 and 9
15. Grace

An introduction to the evaluation
16. Virtue Ethics and legislation
17.What can Virtue Ethics do for the Church?
18.What can Virtue Ethics do for the world?
Further reading
Study guide

“Claire Disbrey offers here a helpful and practical popularization of the concept of virtue ethics. This book will be of value especially in congregational settings, while also offering insights related to Christian public witness in morally divided western societies such as the United States and Great Britain. She is right in arguing that the biblical treatment of character and virtue can offer important insights into Christian existence at the levels of personal moral decision-making, pastoral care, and public moral debate. The book is readable, winsome, and wise.”
—Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, Mercer University

“Too often Christians acquiesce into a flat reading of the Bible by dwelling on “Which rules must I obey?” or “What will be the consequences of a specific action?” Disbrey recaptures a wiser and deeper reading through the ancient lens of virtue ethics, which asks: “What is truly good?” and “What kind of person does the Bible call me to become?” These questions are the formative ones to guide us in wrestling with life’s toughest issues.”
—Dr. Joseph B. Modica, University Chaplain, Eastern University

Author Bio

Dr. Claire Disbrey taught Religious Studies at the Open University in England and now is involved in the training and support of licensed lay ministers for the Anglican Church in London. This is her second book.

Explore This Book

Table of contents
Sample Chapter

The above links require the Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you do not have the reader, click on the 'Get Acrobat Reader' button to obtain it.