Special Issue "Reenvisioning Christian Ethics"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 July 2019

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Darryl W. Stephens

Lancaster Theological Seminary, 555 W James St, Lancaster, PA 17603, USA
Website | E-Mail

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Christian ethics is a wide, varied field. So diverse are the methods and approaches, theological perspectives and starting points, and scopes of inquiry and purposes—dare we even call it a “discipline”?—that the field is rarely considered as a whole. Christian ethics includes descriptive, critical, constructive, and applied projects on countless topics. Lending creative energy to this field of scholarly endeavor are a range of partner disciplines, including, most prominently, theology, philosophy, and sociology—each with multiple schools of thought within them. To envision the entire field of Christian ethics is a difficult task; to reenvision the entire field, perhaps impossible for one person. Thus, in this special issue on Reenvisioning Christian Ethics, we invite papers that offer a distinct perspective from their primary partner discipline for the purpose of contributing to a composite reenvisioning of the field.

The purpose of this special issue of Religions is to reenvision Christian ethics by refracting our collective vision through the prisms of diverse academic and methodological perspectives in this vast field of inquiry, study, and practice.

The scope of this special issue is necessarily broad, though each individual contribution should be well-focused, indicating how advances and insights from one location might effectively contribute to or prompt new developments in other locations in this field. Each paper should provide a vision of the field of Christian ethics from a distinct perspective, as follows: identify its primary partner discipline, method and approach, theological perspective and starting point, and scope of inquiry and purpose; name key insights developed from that perspective; describe ways in which this perspective has impacted other perspectives and approaches in the field; and suggest ways to reenvision Christian ethics through these perspectival insights.

Prof. Dr. Darryl W. Stephens
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charges (APCs) of 550 CHF (Swiss Francs) per published paper are partially funded by institutions through Knowledge Unlatched for a limited number of papers per year. Please contact the editorial office before submission to check whether KU waivers, or discounts are still available. Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Christian ethics
  • theological ethics
  • moral theology
  • social ethics
  • philosophical ethics

Published Papers

This special issue is now open for submission, see below for planned papers.

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Embracing the Trickster: Toward an Biblical-Based Ethics para joder

Abstract: An ethics para joder is an ethical motif which arises from the margins of society, designed to “screw” with the political, social, and economic structures constructed to protect white privilege. When the dispossessed follow to rules, rules created to maintain and sustain their oppression, they reinforce their disenfranchisement. But to go against “law and order” invites greater repression from those whose power and privilege are challenged. The ethical response become an act of survival achieved through joderiendo. But is there a biblical justification for lying to discover truth, cheating to create a level field, killing to save lives? Because an ethics para joder is based on the trickster image; this article will explore several tricksters in the Scriptures to develop a biblical way of joderiendo. Among those explored will be, but not limited to: Abram, Jacob, Tamar, Exodus midwives, King David, Jesus, and Satan.  

Title: Reconstructing an Ethics of Credit in an Age of Neoliberalism

Abstract: One of the most formidable socio-economic challenges which Christian ethicists are facing today is the growing dominance of neoliberalism. From wheat fields in Brazil to Wall Street in New York City, neoliberalism is marching on everywhere with its massive credit money. The purpose of this paper is to address a key structural injustice of neoliberalism—the deepening colonization of “social capital” by “financial capital.” Since the 1980s, a new economy known as financialization has structurally changed the global economic system entailing an extreme income and wealth gap between the haves and the have nots. It has also rendered a countless number of ordinary people vulnerable to various forms of debt entrapment while destroying the environment on a global scale. Behind all these forms of social and natural disintegrations lies a crucial neoliberal apparatus operated by credit money. This paper attempts to tackle such problems by reconnecting the lost link between social capital and financial capital. In doing so, it first traces back the genealogical origin of the separation between financial capital and social capital. The author then attempts to reanchor financial capital in social capital by critically appropriating anthropological insights as well as Christian theological reflections on credit and grace. 

Title: Pursuing Ethics Beyond the Northern Paradigm

Description: This is an essay narrating and exploring the work of Catholic Theological Ethics in the World Church trying to develop a network, a newsletter, and a book series that connects roughly 1500 Catholic ethicists around the world.  I will consider the impact that CTEWC has had in encouraging Christian ethics to become more inclusive, more active and more mindful in advancing an ethics beyond the northern paradigm.  THroughout we respond to the challenge of pluralism by answering the call to dialogue from and beyond local culture.  While pursuing critical and emerging issues in theological ethics, we engage in cross-cultural, interdisciplinary conversations motivated by mercy and care and shaped by shared visions of hope.

Title: Ecological Scale and Climate Justice

Abstract: The scientific discipline of ecology has an important and useful set of tools to offer to Christian ethics for discerning the scales of moral arguments, offering language to differentiate and converse between local, national, and globally-scaled norms and principles about ethical challenges. By learning from these tools, Christian ethics can be better equipped to articulate the various ways in which justice is and should be considered in contemporary environmental discussions, and to wrestle with the inevitable tensions between different scales of justice in those debates. 

Title: The Concept of Obedience in Post-Conciliar Jesuit Thinking 

Abstract: The paper sheds light on the change in the concept of obedience within the Society of Jesus since the 1960s. In the aftermath of the Second Vatican Council, the so-called crisis of authority and obedience took place in the Catholic Church and the religious orders. As a consequence, the notions of responsibility and conscience came to the fore in the Jesuit definition of obedience. The religious concept of obedience, that is the obedience towards God, was reassessed as a service to humanity. The paper analyzes how the change in the concept of obedience gave rise to the promotion of social justice, which the Society of Jesus proclaimed at General Congregation 32 in 1974/75. By including the promotion of social justice into their central mission, Jesuits changed not only their self-conception but also their ethical values. The paper argues that the pursuit of social justice became a form of religious obedience. 

Title: Christian Social Ethics in the Digital Revolution

Abstract: Digital technology shifts relational patterns, redefines human capabilities, and alters social systems of labor from everyday interaction to global systems. Most responses focus on technology as a tool to be controlled, which assumes a human as the primary, independent ethical agent who can follow a set of rules and master the technology. Yet, technological development historically and today involves humans and technology as co-constitutive, requiring an ethical approach that matches responsive, adaptive, and networked technological forms with ethical growth, interdependence, and creativity. In conversation with current scholarship on childist ethics, Christian social ethics can embrace an on-going process of moral growth that expands moral response to the relational otherness that we experience in the use, creation, and extension of digital technologies. This approach is illustrated through liberative digital literacies, opening Christian ethics to a theological imagination and socio-ethical praxis aimed at retooling oppressive digital cultural practices.

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