Wie kommt es, dass Evangelikale mit dem Vatikan zusammen einen Ethikkodex für Mission verfassen (zum Hintergrund siehe hier)? Thomas K. Johnson zeichnet in diesem Offenen Brief die Überlegungen nach, weshalb ein solches Unterfangen wichtig ist. Es zeigt sich, wie relevant theologisches Denken ist. Johnson betont die Unterscheidung eines zweifachen Wirkens des Heiligen Geistes in der Welt ebenso wie den sogenannten dreifachen Gebrauch des Gesetzes.
When we come to a topic such as a public code of ethics or the ethics of religious persuasion (relating to people from many different religions and worldviews), I hope our speaking and writing may show someone his sin, leading to faith (the first use of the law according to Calvin). And I suppose some Christians will be taught more about the will of God, which they desire to follow (the third use of the moral law). But we are primarily dealing with Calvin’s second use of the moral law, the civil or political use which restrains sin in society, keeping people’s hands “from outward activity” that is destructive of other people. In this second use of the moral law we never look for perfection, only for incremental improvements, which means reductions in the frequency and extent of violence in society. This realm is a matter of the hands, not a matter of the heart. I wish the hands of the people who martyred one of our seminary students in Turkey in 2007 had been restrained by some moral, legal, or social consideration, regardless of their heart attitudes. And there is probably a wide range of actions we can take which will administer God’s moral law in this restraining function within the world at large.
When I think about the public ethics of religious persuasion, a major analogy I have in mind is the development of human rights documents, theories, and institutions. Of course much of what we have to say about human rights grows from the Bible (the doctrines of the image of God and of sin) as appropriated in Christian moral philosophy, beginning especially in the thirteenth century. But by the efforts of a small group of people (especially the Lebanese Christian philosopher/diplomat Charles Malik at the United Nations), many themes from Christian doctrine flowed into the international human rights declarations. Of course there were other worldviews (including Marxism) that had a role in forming these documents. And it seems to me that themes from these documents have been misused by various movements, including some parts of the “gay” movement and the “anti-defamation of Islam” movement. However, overall, the recognized set of human rights documents has begun to set global standards by which the sins of armies and nations can be evaluated and already has a worthwhile role in restraining sin, even though people continue to misinterpret human rights because of the influence of various religions and philosophies.