PhD Studies:
Christian Ethics

Why Ethics?

"The Christian ethics major prepares students to address the ethical and moral brokenness in today’s culture and in the church. The major emphasizes the study of ethics as influenced by theology, philosophy, and history."

(Marilyn Stewart, "NOBTS Trustees Approve New PhD Majors and Acknowledge Spirit of Unity," 2022)

Faculty Supervisors

Dr. Steve Lemke

Faculty Bio

Dr. Larry Lyon

Faculty Bio

Dr. Chris Shaffer

Faculty Bio

Dr. Jeff Riley

Faculty Bio

Sample Courses

The seminar examines ethics and the moral life within the framework of Christian theology. This examination draws upon the rich tradition of Christian moral thought as shaped historically, systematically, and philosophically, by the sources of the Christian faith and moral knowledge. The seminar will evaluate key theologian-ethicists who have contributed to the field of ethics. Analyzing the theological bases (e.g., theology proper, anthropology, Christology, soteriology, pneumatology, eschatology, and so forth) for developing character, structuring moral reflection, and governing ethical beliefs, the seminar will apply moral-theological frameworks to the Christian life and to issues of personal, pastoral, and societal importance (such as personhood and human dignity, biomedical technologies, sexual ethics, and the pursuit of peace, justice, and reconciliation).

This seminar surveys the ethical teachings of the Scriptures in the context of their historical and cultural setting. The study will focus on theologians, ethicists, and biblical scholars who have made major contributions in the areas of biblical ethics, biblical interpretation, Old Testament ethics, New Testament ethics, the ethics of Jesus, and the ethics of Paul, as well as developing a methodology for the interpretation of ethical passages in the Scriptures.

The seminar surveys current moral issues addressed in Christian ethics, critically examining a variety of topics and questions regarding individual conduct, character, and the church, as well as how cultural, social, and political mores influence the way Christians live in and respond to the world. Students will analyze and develop biblical, theological, and philosophical positions on current moral issues. Possible topics include issues on life and death, medical ethics, wealth and poverty, human sexuality, marriage and divorce, and so forth.

Ready to Apply?

Prerequisites for PhD in Christian Ethics:

  • MDiv or MA degree
  • 6 upper-level graduate hours in Ethics
  • Proficiency in Biblical Greek and Hebrew (by earning an MA or MDiv which required the languages, or by completing a certificate from a recognized program)
  • Proficiency in French, German or Latin by the end of your first year (by completing 9 credit hours, passing a proficiency exam, or earning a certificate from a recognized program)