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Christian Ethics
A New Covenant Model
HARDCOVER; Published: 11/9/2021
ISBN: 978-0-8028-7687-4
Price: $ 47.99
572 Pages
Trim Size, in inches: 6 x 9
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In this capacious and accessible introduction to Christian ethics, Hak Joon Lee advances a renewed vision of Christian life that is liberative, grace-centered, and justice- and peace-oriented in nature. Responding to key ethical questions of today, Lee applies the moral meaning and implications of the New Covenant in Jesus Christ to twenty-first-century life, characterized by fluidity, fragmentation, division, and violence. 

Christian Ethics begins by introducing covenant as the central drama and storyline of Scripture that culminates in the New Covenant of Jesus. It presents shalom (the wholeness and flourishing of creation) as God’s ultimate purpose and God’s covenant as “God’s organizing mechanism of community” that mediates God’s work of liberation and restoration. Lee proposes a creative model of Christian ethics based on the New Covenant of Jesus and its organizing patterns, reconstructing the key categories of ethics (agency, norms, authority of Scripture, ethical discernment, etc.) and drawing out four practices—communicative engagement, just peacemaking, grassroots organizing, and nonviolence.  The result is a new model of Christian ethics that is inclusive, egalitarian, ecological, and justice- and peace-oriented, which overcomes the limitations of traditional covenantal ethics. 

In the second part of the book, Lee systematically applies New Covenant ethics to the most urgent and controversial social issues of our time: democratic politics, economic ethics, creation care, criminal justice, race, sex and marriage, medicine, and war and peace. Through his deep, pastoral, and irenic inquiries into these difficult topics, Lee demonstrates a pattern of covenantal moral reasoning that undercuts the dominant neoliberal ethos of individualism and transactional relationship that more and more influences Christian moral decisions. His conclusion is that as covenant has been at the heart of modern democracy, human rights, civil society, and civic formation, a renewed understanding of covenant centered in Jesus can help to heal our broken society and imperiled planet, and to reorganize the fragmented human life in the era of globalization and digitization.

Table of Contents

Part One: New Covenant Ethics
          1. A Brief Survey of the Old Testament Covenants
          2. The New Covenant of Jesus Christ
          3. Covenantal Drama and Threefold Dialectics
          4. The Distinctive Nature, Characteristics, and Practices of New Covenant Ethics
          5. The Strengths of New Covenant Ethics
          6. A Short Comparison with Other Christian Ethics
          7. Norms and Values
          8. The Three Ethical Motifs of Goal, Law, and Virtue
          9. The Moral Authority of Scripture and Other Sources
          10. Ethical Reasoning
Part Two: Social Ethics
          11. Covenantal Social Imagination
          12. Distributive Justice
          13. Politics
          14. Economic Ethics
          15. Creation Care
          16. Criminal Justice
          17. Race
          18. Sex and Marriage
          19. Medical Ethics
          20. War, Peace, Just Peacemaking
Discussion Questions

“In this expansive and innovative treatment of Christian ethics, Hak Joon Lee sets out to retrieve the covenant tradition of theology and ethics from its complex and sometimes problematic past, arguing that the new covenant can serve as the key metaphor for a Christian ethic that is liberative, egalitarian, nonviolent, and careful of creation. In his hands, this approach generates a richly textured and well-resourced account of the contours of Christian ethics and thoughtful engagements with some of the most pressing and divisive issues of our time.”
— Neil Messer
University of Winchester
“Hak Joon Lee’s ‘new covenant ethics’ is an ecumenically oriented and politically constructive evangelical tour de force. While he places the Trinity and Eucharist at the center, he includes nonviolence, community organizing, and just peacemaking among Christianity’s constitutive practices. On debated moral questions like same-sex marriage, Lee favors moderate conservatism, yet wisely counsels traditionalists and revisionists to apply a peacemaking ethos to their own coexistence. More importantly, this is an ethics centered on justice and the poor. The cosmic presence of the Spirit gives the new covenant world-spanning, inclusive transformative power. This would be a wonderful book to work through with a seminary class or a congregational study group.”
— Lisa Sowle Cahill
Boston College
“It isn’t every day that a Christian ethicist offers a comprehensive new proposal for the entire discipline. That is what Fuller Seminary professor Hak Joon Lee does in this formidable book. Christian Ethics: A New Covenant Model does more and better work with the biblical theme of covenant than I have ever seen in our discipline. Lee goes beyond scholastic Reformed treatments of covenant to a ‘new covenant’ approach with a thoroughgoing justice-oriented Christocentrism. One does not have to agree with every social-ethical proposal here—I dissent on same-sex relations, for example—to be very much impressed by the theological, biblical, and methodological seriousness of this stimulating new book, which deserves very close consideration by scholars, pastors, and students alike.”
— David P. Gushee
Mercer University
“The language of ‘covenant’ floats through the universe of contemporary Christian ethics like the element helium floats through the physical one: it is abundant, lofty, necessary for telling a coherent origin story, and yet surprisingly inert. Contemporary discussions about covenants are, after all, far more likely to attend to their significance in the history of Christian ethics than to make covenant language do much work in the present. In Christian Ethics: A New Covenant Model, though, Hak Joon Lee performs an impressive alchemical feat: he transforms reasons to attend to the significance of covenants in the history of Christian ethics into arguments for their applicability in contemporary Christian social ethics. Building from his telling of a biblically and historically informed theo-drama in which covenants are central to the movement from liberation to restoration, Lee fashions a Jesus-centered ‘new covenant ethic’ that can catalyze social imaginations capable of addressing matters as varied as economic inequality, war, marriage, racism, and the environment. In doing so, he reminds us that covenant language has been significant because it is still potent.”
— Mark Douglas
Columbia Theological Seminary
“Hak Joon Lee informs, instructs, and inspires in this wide-ranging, challenging, and compelling text in Christian ethics. The work takes seriously the current context, contemporary political theologies of liberation, and Christian tradition. Christian Ethics: A New Covenant Model should be obligatory reading not only for theological ethicists but also for those who desire to live in and love the world faithfully as followers of Jesus.”
— Patrick T. Smith
Duke University Divinity School
“In Christian Ethics: A New Covenant Model, Hak Joon Lee convincingly argues that ‘covenant’ is the most comprehensive image on which a rich Christian ethical vision and practice can be centered. He shows that a new covenant vision, far from being a stale offering from an irrelevant past, steers the Christian moral conversation between secular liberal and conservative biblicist options, integrates and organizes the most important methodological conversations of the past century, and helps Christians respond in a biblically grounded yet passionate and culturally open way to the most pressing social issues of our day—politics, economics, criminal justice, race, and sexuality among them. We are in Lee’s debt!”
— David L. Stubbs
Western Theological Seminary
The Englewood Review of Books
“[Christian Ethics is] a remarkable project to offer a work of ethics that takes such care within such an encompassing view, and it’s as encouraging as it is sophisticated, all while keeping God at its center.”
Reviews in Religion & Theology
"A refreshing addition to the Christian ethics field.”