Skip to content ↓

50 Ethical Questions

50 Ethical Questions

These are confusing times, aren’t they? These are confusing times for those who wish to live according to God’s Word and unto God’s glory. There is a host of questions we need to wrestle with, a host of ethical dilemmas we need to consider.

Is abortion permissible? Is it permissible in cases of rape or incest? Is it permissible when a child has been diagnosed in utero with a developmental disability like Down syndrome? What about with a fatal condition like anencephaly? Or what about in cases when there is an ectopic pregnancy?

Is it okay for Christians to sign advance directives that would decline potentially life-saving medical treatment? Is it ever permissible to decline or to halt life support? Can a Christian who has a terminal condition and is in excruciating pain choose to hasten death through physician-assisted suicide?

Should a couple that becomes pregnant while dating get married? Is birth control ever acceptable for Christians? Can Christians use the birth control pill or does it potentially cause abortions? Is the “morning-after pill” a viable option for those who wish to prevent a pregnancy?

These are just a small number of the ethical issues that Christians may need to grapple with over the course of a lifetime. And while some of the answers may be obvious, others may present significant difficulties. This is especially true when ethical dilemmas arise not in the leisurely context of a college classroom but in the urgency of real life and ministry. “My daughter was sexually assaulted last night and asked me if she can take the morning-after pill. What do I tell her?” “My son has just gotten engaged to another man. Should I celebrate?” “The doctors say my husband is being kept alive only by life support. Is it okay if I end it?”

Such dilemmas are the subject of J. Alan Branch’s new book 50 Ethical Questions: Biblical Wisdom for Confusing Times. Each of the 50 questions receives a brief treatment of about four pages—not enough to answer it thoroughly, but enough to provide an overview of the issues and a reasonably solid answer. In each case he briefly defines the issue, suggests the relevant biblical ethical principles, and then offers a suggested moral stance. “This book is written for the Christian who attends church, loves the Lord, and believes the Bible,” he says. “I hope my discussion of these topics will give sincere followers of Christ a good starting point when thinking through very important issues.” And so this is not a survey of ethics as much as a basic guide to current quandaries.

I can see 50 Ethical Questions being helpful in a number of contexts. It can be read by the likes of you and me and equip us with a biblical perspective on contemporary issues. It might also prove a useful text for youth or young adult groups that want to come to firm convictions on ethical dilemmas. And then it may prove a useful resource for a pastor to keep handy so that in those times he is asked a difficult question, he can turn to the appropriate section and find at least a starting point for his answer. In these cases and others, those who read the book will find answers that are reasonable, helpful, and best of all, biblical.

(The paperback and Kindle editions are not yet linked. Click here for the Kindle edition and here for the paperback.)


  • Lets Hear It For the Second Parents

    Let’s Hear It For the Second Parents

    While today we tend to associate step-parents with divorce, in previous centuries they were almost exclusively associated with death and with either widow- or widowerhood. In an era in which lifespans were shorter and, therefore, a greater number of parents died while their children were still young, there was a distinct and honored role for…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    A La Carte (June 17)

    A La Carte: Honor good fathers and bad fathers alike? / Don’t give up, dad / How I respond to pride month / 5 myths about the pro-life movement / A seminar on biblical counseling / How do I know if I’m one of the elect? / Kindle deals / and more.

  • The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    The Glorious End without the Difficult Means

    Just as Olympic athletes cannot realistically expect to win a gold medal unless they strictly discipline themselves toward victory, Christians cannot hope to prevail in the Christian life unless they take a serious, disciplined approach to it. Yet lurking in the background is always the temptation to hope that we can have the result of…

  • A La Carte Collection cover image

    Weekend A La Carte (June 15)

    A La Carte: Learn to rest in God’s justice / 3 reasons why your small group is not a church / How can I be a godly father? / Gender in the void / Are images of Christ OK? / The getting of wisdom / and more.

  • Making Good Return

    Making Good Return

    I don’t think I am overstating the matter when I say that this has the potential to be one of the most important books you will read. It’s a book that may shape years of your life and transform the way you carry out one of the key roles God assigns to you…

  • A La Carte Friday 2

    A La Carte (June 14)

    A La Carte: 3 steps to find your voice / 7 things good dads say / One day leads to another / Let’s stop hyper-spiritualizing counseling / Enjoying the many flavors of the Word / What I wish you understood about the ethnic-specific church / and more.