This semester is my first time teaching a course on Biblical Ethics. It’s been a steep learning curve for me, so I’ve been preparing by reading more than I normally do for a class.
Over Christmas break I also listened to five free thought-provoking courses:
1. Michael J. Sandel’s course “Justice” at Harvard University. Sandel has taught political philosophy at Harvard since 1980, and over 15,000 students have taken his course. WGBH and Harvard University coproduced the course as a TV series in 2005, which is what you can watch free online or via iTunes. I watched the course and then read Sandel’s corresponding book that released in 2009: Justice: What’s the Right Thing to Do? Sandel is thoughtful, respectful, and provocative. I disagree with his liberal political bent and the ultimate grounds for his ethical views, but I love how he engagingly teaches with the Socratic method.
2–3. Wayne Grudem’s Sunday School classes on “Christian Ethics” and “Politics” for Scottsdale Bible Church. I imported all of the MP3s from these classes into iTunes, which says that Christian Ethics has 60 tracks (2.1 days) and Politics 46 (1.6 days). Many of the lessons overlap with Grudem’s books on politics and poverty, but most of the Ethics course is a draft of one of Grudem’s forthcoming books: Christian Ethics: Living a Life Pleasing to God (Crossway). Grudem earned an MDiv from Westminster and PhD from Cambridge, and before that he earned his undergraduate degree from Harvard in economics. I know that some evangelicals strongly disagree with him on politics and economics, but I stand by what my Dad and I wrote about Grudem in 2010.
4. Ronald H. Nash’s course “Christian Ethics” at Reformed Theological Seminary. My first exposure to Nash was reading his textbook on philosophy in college. This was my first time listening to him teach, and I wasn’t expecting him to be so feisty. When it comes to people on the evangelical left like Ron Sider and Jim Wallis, let’s just say that Nash strongly disagrees! (This same course appears to be available from Biblical Training.)
5. David Clyde Jones’s course “Christian Ethics” at Covenant Theological Seminary. Jones is gentle, devotional, and thoughtful. His corresponding book is penetrating: Biblical Christian Ethics (Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1994).
One More Course (but Not Free). In February I listened to a forthcoming Logos Mobile Ed course that is currently available for pre-order: Biblical Sexual Ethics by David Instone-Brewer. I don’t agree with every detail of his exegesis and application, but he is as informed as they come on the issues of marriage, divorce, remarriage, intermarriage, polygamy, abortion, and homosexuality in the context of the Old and New Testaments.
Do you recommend any other courses on ethics that are available for free online?