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Jersild's book deals with the challenge of postmodernity, understanding pluralism, the nature of biblical criticism and attacks upon it, and the role of the believing community and the Spirit in appropriating Scripture. "Absolutely essential," says Jersild, "to any discussion of scriptural authority for the moral life is the ongoing engagement of the church with the moral environment of society and the issues that this raises for the church." This means that Christians and Christian churches cannot simply adopt a once-for-all set of rules, nor can they simply cite Bible verses against the latest sins.
How can Christians responsibly derive moral guidance from the Bible on pressing issues of personal and social morality today? Jersild's book sets the context for a study of Scripture and the moral life in a postmodern, pluralist society with its impact on biblical studies. The ethical contents and authority of Scripture are addressed, and a "Spirit ethics" is proposed as a way of developing a biblically based Christian ethics. Christians cannot simply adopt a once-and-for-all set of rules nor simply cite Bible verses against the latest sins. "Absolutely essential," says Jersild, "is the ongoing engagement of the church with the moral environment of society and the issues that this raises for the church." Jersild applies his model fruitfully and persuasively to three pressing and perplexing issues: assisted suicide, homosexuality, and genetic programs.