Joseph Fletcher (1905-1991), an Episcopal priest, was the most famous proponent of “situation ethics.” In a book entitled “Situation Ethics: The New Morality” he formalized a view that is commonly accepted by many individuals.

Here are some quotes from Fletcher’s book:

“For the situationist there are no rules – none at all.” p. 55

“And therefore what is sometimes good may at other times be evil, and what is sometimes wrong may sometimes be right when it serves a good enough end – depending on the situation.” p. 123

“Any act — even lying, premarital sex, abortion, adultery, and murder — could be right, depending on the circumstances.”

“The new morality, situation ethics, declares that anything and everything is right or wrong, according to the situation.” p. 55

The concept of “situation ethics” has been widely accepted in our culture. 

So, what’s wrong with Situation Ethics?

  1. It assumes that man is able to know what to do any given situation without God’s guidance.

There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death.” (Proverbs 14:12)

“O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps.” (Jeremiah 10:23

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8,9)

  1. It ignores the many absolute prohibitions in the Bible.

“Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God.” (1 Corinthians 6:9,10)

  1. It ignores the many Bible examples which show that “the end DOES NOT justify the means”.
  2. It insults God and His Word

“According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:” (2 Peter 1:3)

  1. It obscures right and wrong.

“Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20,21)


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