Ministerial Ethics: Moral Formation for Church Leaders, 2nd ed.

Baker, 2004
ISBN: 9780801027550


Ministerial Ethics seeks to teach students the unique moral role of ministers and the ethical responsibilities clergy should assume in their personal and professional lives. The authors deal with family life, confidentiality, truth-telling, political involvement, working with committees, and relating to other church staff members. This fully revised and updated edition has expanded sections on theological foundations, the role of character, confidentiality, and clergy sexual abuse.

Perfect for students, pastors, church leaders, and laypeople alike, the Logos edition of this volume is fully searchable and easily accessible. Scripture passages link directly to your favorite Bible translation, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of resources in your digital library.

Key Features

  • Examines the moral role of ministers and their ethical responsibilities
  • Discusses a wide variety of topics, including family life, honesty, and politics
  • Includes lists of suggested reading for further study specific to each chapter’s topic


  • The Minister’s Vocation: Career or Profession?
  • The Minister’s Moral Choices: Endowed or Acquired?
  • The Minister’s Personal Life: Incidental or Intentional?
  • The Minister’s Congregation: Friend or Foe?
  • The Minister’s Colleagues: Cooperation or Competition?
  • The Minister’s Community: Threat or Opportunity?
  • A Major Ethical Issue: Clergy Sexual Abuse
  • A Ministerial Code of Ethics: Help or Hindrance?

Praise for the Print Edition

The church is in an ethical free fall because of the conduct of its leaders. It has become an embarrassment to all Christians. Ministerial Ethics addresses this issue and offers clear, candid, and comprehensive helps to both pastors and churches.

—Paul Powell, emeritus dean, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

Since its publication in 1993, Ministerial Ethics has served as the core textbook for my courses in pastoral ethics. I therefore greet warmly the appearance of this revised version. Like its predecessor, the second edition will set the standard for reflective engagement with this crucial topic.

Stanley J. Grenz, former Pioneer McDonald Professor of Theology, Carey Theological College

Since the first edition of this book came out in 1993, I have used it as my core text in both undergraduate and seminary courses in ministerial ethics. The book’s many strengths include strong grounding in pastoral experience, mature engagement with research in both ethics and ministry, and a clear and concrete articulation of moral norms, including an exceptionally strong treatment of ministerial codes of ethics. The authors exhibit a courageous and independent spirit in treating sensitive subjects; their expanded treatment of clergy sexual abuse is perhaps the best example of this spirit. I strongly recommend Ministerial Ethics for both classroom and church use.

David P. Gushee, distinguished university professor of Christian ethics, Mercer University

Trull and Carter have given us a book that no ministry may ignore and every minister will be thankful for. It is required reading for every minister. I am thankful to God for its publication.

—Lewis B. Smedes, former professor of theology and ethics, Fuller Theological Seminary

For good reasons, I have adopted this revision as a required textbook for my new seminary course in pastoral ministry ethics. . . . This is a ministerial ethics grounded in biblical ethics, which I commend and other readers surely will also. . . . Ministerial Ethics in its revised edition promises to be a usable seminary textbook and a useful reference tool for ministers.

Christian Ethics Today

Joe Trull and James Carter have provided the ethical helps pastors need. . . . Ministerial Ethics provides an overview of the entire scope of ministerial ethics. This book would make an excellent textbook for ministerial students.

Enrichment Journal

Product Details

About the Authors

Joe E. Trull (ThD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary) is editor of Christian Ethics Today and formerly served as professor of Christian ethics at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

James E. Carter (PhD, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary), a veteran pastor with over 30 years of experience, is the former director of the Division of Church-Minister Relations in the Louisiana Baptist Convention.


What other people are saying about Ministerial Ethics: Moral Formation for Church Leaders, 2nd ed..