This course is a study of theoretical and applied ethical leadership for chaplains serving as religious representatives and leaders in primarily secular, pluralistic environments. It will broadly explore the field of ethics from theological and philosophical perspectives providing the student with insights to critique them against biblical truth. The course will prepare chaplains to engage ethical problems through the development and application of a biblically based ethical decision-making model and personal code of ethics. Additionally, the course will address the ethics of evangelism, civil discourse, and the free exercise of one’s faith in a pluralistic culture.
For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.
The pastoral calling is inherently theological. Therefore, chaplains are public moral theologians who must view their role as ethical advisors as a call to apply biblical truth to the pursuit of the knowledge of right and wrong, how we are to behave in the light of that knowledge, and the integration of ethical and moral truth into public life. In order to effectively accomplish this, chaplains must be able to evaluate the ethical issues emerging in their ministry context; analyze and critique common theological and philosophical approaches to ethics; develop and apply a biblically-based, personal decision-making model; and synthesize a personal code of ethics appropriate to their chaplaincy role.
Measurable Learning Outcomes
Upon successful completion of this course, the student will be able to:
- Analyze the core differences between common theological and philosophical approaches to ethics.
- Apply a personally-developed, biblically-based ethical decision-making model to context-specific emerging ethical issues.
- Evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of opposing options for resolving an ethical problem in light of biblical teaching.
- Defend an option that best reflects a biblical perspective on an ethical issue in a way that facilitates understanding and application in secular and pluralistic settings.
- Analyze the content of an ethic of evangelism, civil discourse, and the free exercise of faith in a pluralistic culture.
- Synthesize a personal code of ethics appropriate to the type of chaplain ministry to which he/she has been called.
Textbook readings and lecture presentations
Course Requirements Checklist
After reading the Course Syllabus and Student Expectations, the student will complete the related checklist found in the Course Overview.
Discussions are collaborative learning experiences. Therefore, the student is required to create a thread in response to the provided prompt for each discussion. Each thread must be at least 350 words and demonstrate course-related knowledge. At least 3 scholarly citations in Turabian format must be included in the initial thread. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to at least 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words. Sources are referenced in current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E)
Ethical Context Analysis Assignment
The student will identify and describe 2–3 ethical worldviews that dominate his/her ministry context, and will identify 2–3 major areas of potential ethical failure. The student will summarize his/her analysis in a 600–900-word paper written in current Turabian format. Each paper must be supported with at least 3 scholarly references in proper current Turabian format. (MLO: A, C)
Ethical Decision-Making Model Assignment
The student will formulate a model for making biblical decisions regarding ethical questions and problems he/she will face in his/her role as a senior chaplain leader. The student will summarize his/her model in 2,000–2,400 words written in current Turabian format. The model must be biblical in nature, using Scripture as a guide for rational decision-making, must demonstrate an understanding of ethical theory, and must explain how the student will analyze ethical options that appear to be in conflict. Each paper model must be supported with at least 7 scholarly references in proper current Turabian format. (MLO: A, B, D)
Ethics Integration Paper Assignment
The student will write a 2,400–3,500-word research-based paper in current Turabian format. The paper must articulate the student’s position on an ethical issue appropriate for his/her area of chaplaincy ministry. The paper must identify the dominant ethical worldview of his/her work environment, must state an ethical problem faced in that environment, and must formulate an ethical response supported by a Christian worldview that could be defended in a pluralistic environment. The paper must include at least 10 references in current Turabian format from books or scholarly journal articles, in addition to course textbooks and the Bible. (MLO: A, B, C, D, E)
Personal Code of Ethics Assignment
The student will develop a personal code of ethics appropriate to his/her area of chaplaincy ministry. The paper must be 600–900 words and adhere to current Turabian formatting. The student will use the examples found in Ethics for Christian Ministry: Moral Formation for Twenty-First-Century Leaders as a foundation. The paper must include at least 4 scholarly references cited in current Turabian format. (MLO: F)