The Ethics of Spiritual Guidance


    With reference to our topographical map, we’re on the left prong of the fork in the road. That is, our concern here is with the ethics of offering and giving spiritual guidance to non-believers...outsiders to the faith.

    We believe the discussion about the ethics of conversational and relational evangelism should begin by means of a survey of both the larger whole of ethical theory (metaethics, descriptive and normative) and the ethics which emerge from our reading of the biblical text. That way, we believe, we can better make sure we are not missing important considerations. For instance, how should we think about spiritual guidance in this context? Should we think normatively in terms of deontological (duty) considerations without concern about consequences? Should there be a global application of deontology or application only in certain cases? Should we think in terms of teleological contingencies with certain purposes or ends we hope to achieve? Should that be a global application of teleological considerations or application only in certain cases? Or should we think in terms of the sort of habits, skills and dispositions we need to cultivate in order to become the sort of persons God can use in those situations. Again, should this be a global approach or should these considerations be judiciously applied in certain cases?

    Beyond this we further hold that it is wise to consider in our ethical deliberations what constitutes a good life and especially what it means to be a good person.  Or said another way, at the species level of consideration we want to think about what it means to give spiritual guidance in terms of being and doing, within the context of distinctly Christian theological ethics.  

    So what is a good life for a follower of Christ and what does it mean in that context to become a good person? As a follower of Christ, how does offering spiritual guidance fit into what is a good life and being a good person? Are there certain ways of being and doing (virtues and excellences) in the practice of providing spiritual guidance to non-believers that we should wish to promote and others to avoid?  

    The resources provided below are meant to help you give attention to these issues. We encourage you to use these resources and involve yourself with the staff of Academic Connections, then, if needed we can help to clarify things we intended to say and to provide mutual encouragement. © Academic Connections, International