Ethos is the EA (Evangelical Alliance) Centre for Christianity and Society. Ethos goes beyond an ethics of dilemmas, decisions and doing to one of character, culture and community, centred in Jesus Christ.
Ethos was formed in 2010
to combine the endeavours and personnel of two national Christian organisations engaged with Australian society: Zadok Institute for Christianity and Society and the Evangelical Alliance’s Department of Public Theology.
Both organisations behind Ethos have pedigree: a wealth of experience and a history of commitment to exploring and promoting Christian ethical engagement with the world beyond Sunday’s sometimes cloistered walls into the Monday world where God’s scattered people engage everyday life: work, leisure, politics, environment.
EA established a Public Theology Department in 2004, with Brian Edgar serving as the pioneer director, ably succeeded by Ian Packer. It is highly valued by pastors, academics and church members for its judicious commentary on contemporary issues. The Public Theology Department has now been superseded by Ethos which will enhance its empowering of EA members to engage a new decade of ethical challenges.
The Zadok Institute for Christianity and Society is an independent organisation whose mission is to promote informed theological reflection and debate, especially by lay people, on contemporary Australian issues. Founded in 1976 soon after the Whitlam-era ferment, Zadok has brought an applied spirituality and world-view into personal, professional and public life for its large national network. Ethos will continue to publish Zadok Perspectives and Papers and organise a two-yearly conference and other events. Zadok’s mission has always been more effective when it has had a director. Now with two directors its ministry will be multiplied as Ethos.
Ethos is more than merely the sum of its parts, and more than a knee-jerk reaction to the latest mediasound bites. Ethos is a network of outstanding Christian thinkers and activists drawn together into a series of standing think-tanks. These will be committed to ongoing, in-depth analysis of critical issues such as climate change (headed by meteorologist Dr Mick Pope), human rights (Angus McLeay), bio-ethics and sexual ethics (Dr Denise Cooper-Clarke, researcher for Ethos), indigenous issues and business ethics. Ethos is especially committed to empowering Christian professionals to profess their faith publicly by word and deed. In doing so we will demonstrate the relevance and distinctiveness of the public life of the Christian community, discerning and debating in a spirit of reconciliation. This points beyond the common party political spirit of church and world to the divine politics of God’s peaceable Kingdom. To paraphrase Jacques Ellul, it is in disagreeing robustly but respectfully about penultimate things that Christians point most effectively to the ultimate. We look forward to your contributions to this Kingdom-building process.
Dr Gordon Preece is Director. Gordon has ministered at several Anglican churches in Sydney and is now at Yarraville Anglican. He lectured at Morling Baptist College Sydney and was Director of the Centre for Applied Christian Ethics (CACE) at Ridley College, Macquarie Christian Studies Institute and Urban Seed, a ministry of hospitality to the homeless.
Rev. Ian Packer was Assistant Director from 2010 to 2015 and is currently on the Editorial Board.