Chaplain Ethics for Advisement and Pastoral Care – CHPL 615

CG • Section 8WK • 11/08/2019 to 04/16/2020 • Modified 09/05/2023

Course Description

The course provides a study of the methodology and practice of biblical ethics applied within the secular and pluralistic contexts in which chaplains serve. Attention is given to chaplain ethical advisement of leaders and followers within the military, healthcare, and community chaplain environments. The course will prepare chaplains for ethical dilemmas through the development of an ethical decision model and personal code of ethics. Additionally, the course will address the ethics of evangelism and exercising one’s faith in a pluralistic culture.

For information regarding prerequisites for this course, please refer to the Academic Course Catalog.


Chaplains must be prepared to address a wide range of ethical issues facing those they minister to and lead spiritually. Military commanders, healthcare administrators, and community members look to them for informed guidance and a spiritual perspective on the moral and ethical issues they face in a culturally diverse and highly pluralistic society. In view of their critical role, chaplains must understand ethical theory and be able to exercise sound reasoning based on biblical principles. As spiritual leaders who lead by moral example and influence, they must also exhibit high personal moral standards.

Course Assignment

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 (4)

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. In addition to the thread, the student is required to reply to 2 classmates’ threads. Each reply must be at least 250 words. (CLO: A, B, C, D, and E)

Ethical Decision-Making Model Assignment

The student will formulate a process/model for making biblical decisions regarding ethical questions/problems he/she will face as a chaplain and summarize his/her approach in a 1,500–1,800-word paper in current Turabian format. The model must be biblical in nature, using Scripture as a guide for rational decision making. It must also demonstrate an understanding of ethical theory and explain how the student will analyze ethical options that appear to be in conflict. (CLO: D)

Same-Sex Attraction Paper Assignment

The student will write a 2,100–2,400-word paper in current Turabian format that articulates his/her position on same-sex attraction and describes how he/she will minister to people in his/her work environment who claim to have same-sex attraction and/or support same-sex unions. The paper will integrate biblical principles as well as ethical theory. (CLO: B, C, D and E)

Bioethics Position Paper Assignment

The student will write a 2,100–2,400-word research-based paper in current Turabian format that articulates his/her position on a bioethical issue selected from The selected issue must be appropriate for the student’s area of chaplaincy ministry. The paper must include at least 5 references from books and/or scholarly journal articles in addition to the course textbooks and the Bible. (CLO: B, C, D and E)

Personal Code of Ethics Assignment

The student will develop a 600–900-word personal code of ethics appropriate for his/her area of chaplaincy ministry based on the examples found in Trull and Carter’s Ministerial Ethics: Moral Formation for Church Leaders. (CLO: F)