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Addictive disorders are characterised by a division of the will, in which the addict is attracted both by a desire to continue the addictive behaviour and also by a desire to stop it. Academic perspectives on this predicament usually come from clinical and scientific standpoints, with the 'moral model' rejected as outmoded. But Christian theology has a long history of thinking and writing on such problems and offers insights which are helpful to scientific and ethical reflection upon the nature of addiction. Chris Cook reviews Christian theological and ethical reflection upon the problems of alcohol use and misuse, from biblical times until the present day. Drawing particularly upon the writings of St Paul the Apostle and Augustine of Hippo, a critical theological model of addiction is developed. Alcohol dependence is also viewed in the broader ethical perspective of the use and misuse of alcohol within communities.
A loving, hard-working, godly couple has long been denied a family of their own. Finally, the wife makes a deal with God: if he blesses her with a child, she will dedicate that child to God's service. The result of that prayer was the birth of an influential -- some say prophetic -- voice. Surprisingly, this is not the biblical story of Samuel but the account of Stanley Hauerwas, one of today's leading theologians in the church and the academy. The story of Hauerwas's journey into Christian discipleship is captivating and inspiring. With genuine humility, he describes his intellectual struggles with faith, how he has dealt with the complex reality of marriage to a mentally ill partner, and the gift of friendships that have influenced his character. Throughout the narrative shines Hauerwas's conviction that the tale of his life is worth telling only because of the greater Christian story providing foundation and direction for his own.
While this book is meant to be a primer or introduction to Christian ethics which I hope can be used both in introductory courses in college and by adult study groups, I am not providing a survey of what various ethicists think on current issues in the field. Nor will I offer any extensive analysis of past and current figures in Christian ethics. Instead this book is an introduction in the sense that it attempts to present one straightforward account of a Christian ethic.