Christian ethics, natural law, and Lutheran tradition

Article by Jeppe Bach Nikolajsen in Studia Theologica.

The Lutheran tradition places a pronounced emphasis on the universal aspects of theological ethics. The present article draws attention to particular aspects of the theological ethics of Martin Luther, which support the existence of a Christian ethics in several meanings of this concept. It argues that a Christian ethics exists in the sense that it presupposes Christian faith, is only for Christians, is realized as a consequence of receiving the Christian faith, is shaped by the Christian faith, and leads to a distinct way of life. Moreover, it concludes that there exists a remarkable convergence between natural law and what is identified as a Christian ethics in the theology of Luther. But it is still possible to argue that, according to Luther, something special is demanded of Christians: They must be willing to endure suffering and persecution because of their Christian faith.