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Bioethics and the Christian Life: A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions - eBook
Crossway Books / 2009 / ePub
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Without question, argues David Vandrunen in Bioethics and The Christian Life, Christians are facing unparalleled difficulty in facing the moral questions posed by the increasingly complex field of bio-ethics. Where do we draw lines? What is permissible? Despite the great possibility that current progress in bio-ethics will make life both better and longer, there also a looms "the eerie forebodings of a future that is less humane" that creates "a so-called 'culture of death'" (pp. 11-12). How are we to faithfully respond? Vandrunen's book is written to address this perplexing situation.Vandrunen want Christians to come to a better understanding of how to respond to the bioethical questions that confront them" by elucidating the major issues in bioethics and their implications for believers. As such, this book makes no claim to be a clarion call to social action or a social commentary, but an honest assessment of the issues and how believers can formulate a bioethic of their own from the perspective of their faith.
Just about everyone will face a difficult bioethics decision at some point. In this book a theologian, ethicist, and lawyer equips Christians to make such decisions based on biblical truth, wisdom, and virtue.
Though a relatively new discipline, bioethics has generated extraordinary interest due to a number of socially pressing issues. Bioethics and the Christian Life places bioethics within the holistic context of the Christian life, both developing a general Christian approach to making bioethics decisions and addressing a number of specific, controversial areas of bioethics.
Clear, concise, and well-organized, the book is divided into three sections. The first lays the theological foundation for bioethics decision-making and discusses the importance of wisdom and virtue in working through these issues. The second section addresses beginning-of-life issues, such as abortion, stem-cell research, and infertility treatments. The third section covers end-of-life issues, such as living wills, accepting and refusing medical treatment, and treatment of patients in permanent vegetative states.
David VanDrunen's purpose in writing Bioethics and the Christian Life appears to be to present issues of life and death without pressuring the reader to accept one position over another. If you are looking for specific guidance about an issue, you will be somewhat disappointed. VanDrunen discusses many of the current issues facing Christians with regard to bioethics, such as in-vitro fertilization, adoption, and euthanasia. The book is broken into three parts, and Part 1 lays a foundation for the sequential sections. This foundation consists of defining terms and trying to create a level playing field where Christians with differing opinions can meet. Part 2 is mostly about the major issues about life, including the purpose of marriage, procreation, assisted reproduction, and the status of human life when it is still very young. Part 3 focuses on death and how Christians should interact with medical technologies that allow them to prolong life.
The book introduces people to these very sensitive and mostly recent issues. The Christian ethics and morals used in this book are solid, but the material is not fully developed. Whereas the issues are well introduced, there are very few real conclusions given. VanDrunen mostly recommends that Christians should carefully consider their motives for whichever difficult challenges they face. He does not have a stance on the majority of the issues. There are a couple of instances where he does have a position, but some of those positions seem controversial, if not extreme. This book could be effectively used as a discussion starter in churches or schools, but it might be disturbing to someone facing a life and death ethical issue all alone. Andrew Broersma, www.ChristianBookPreviews.com
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