The Only Way is Ethics

I am delighted to be able to announce that, by God’s grace, Matthew Mason will begin work at the Pastors’ Academy in March as our first Tutor in Christian Ethics. Matthew writes:

‘I am very thankful to God for this opportunity to help pastors think more clearly and deeply about the shape of a life that pleases God, as we seek to minister God’s grace together. Having served churches in the UK and the US, I know the demanding ethical challenges facing Christians, pastors, and churches today.

Over the past few years, as I’ve done some thinking and writing in the areas of gender, sexuality, and transgender, I’ve been forced to think hard about theological ethics in the context of hands-on pastoral ministry.  My big hope and prayer for this new role is that God will give pastors confidence to tackle ethical questions in their preaching, counselling, and evangelism, with faithfulness, wisdom, courage, and compassion.’

Our thinking in setting up this role is that the frontlines of attrition and conflict for the church are increasingly ethical. They concern what it means for us to flourish as human beings, with the world vaunting the Sovereign Self as the determiner of who I am. If the church is to maintain its faithfulness to the liberating good news that our humanity is given by God and only flourishes within the patterns of life that he commands, then her pastors need the help of some deep ethical thinking and teaching. Not only that, but ethics is actually bigger and more important than even the current challenges might suggest, since it concerns the entire shape of Christian living. Ethics is not just the controversial issues, it is about the very fabric of daily Christian discipleship: the theological virtues of faith, hope, and love, and the fruits of the Spirit.

Matthew will be offering study days around the UK on vital ethical topics and will be available to work with pastors on 1:1 study projects in the field. His first day, entitled ‘The Wounded it Heals: The Gospel and the Ethics of Transgender’, will run at London Seminary on Thursday 21st May (book here), with a repeat on Wednesday 17th June (book here). If you would like to explore hosting a group for the day in your area, do email us.

We are grateful to God for providing Matthew for this role. He was ordained in 2005 and served a curacy in the Church of England. He then served as Associate Rector of the Church of the Resurrection in Washington, DC, before leading an Anglican Mission in England church plant in Salisbury from 2014-18 (AMiE is a conservative evangelical group operating outside the Church of England). More recently he has been working on a PhD at the University of Aberdeen on how the theology of prayer helps us understand what it means to be truly human. He has published book chapters on ‘A Theological and Pastoral Response to Gender Dysphoria’ in Cultural Engagement: A Crash Course in Contemporary Issues (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2019), and ‘The Wounded it Heals: Gender Dysphoria and the Resurrection of the Body’ in Beauty, Order, and Mystery: A Christian Vision of Human Sexuality (Downers Grove: IVP Academic 2017). He has also published journal articles in the field, including ‘The Authority of the Body: Discovering Natural Manhood and Womanhood’ in the Bulletin of Ecclesial Theology.