2 Stars Out Of 5
Caution: Eat the meat and spit out the bones
December 22, 2013
I was taught from an early age that when it comes to Christian literature (other than the Bible), one should "eat the meat and spit out the bones". With that said, this book contains some bones that left me choking. In his preface, the author says, "I have tried to say what we Christians ought to say in order to be faithful to the truth that has claimed us in Jesus." Although with good intentions, I feel he missed his mark in certain areas of his book.
One bone that particularly lodged in my throat was Chapter 10 (Third Edition); Gifts of the Body: Human Experimentation. Here the author writes, "Interestingly, while children with cancer account for less than 2 percent of all cancer cases, about 60 percent of them participate in clinical trials." As the chapter progresses, he runs with this statistic to liken certain aspects of pediatric oncology research to the acts of Hitler. As viewed from his ivory tower of academia, I fear the author has lost perception of the Kingdom of God. Here are the facts related to that "2 percent" statement;
1. ALL clinical research is heavily regulated by the government with the strictest of regulations. Thankfully there are those experts in this field who are willing to wade painstakingly through these regulations to speak for those who have no voice- children
2. ALL clinical research is extremely expensive to undertake. From the rich and famous to the common man to the little girl with the lemonade stand (inflicted herself), thankfully there are those who support those with no voice- children.
3. Jesus LOVES children.
4. At the forefront of Pediatric oncology research, God has placed individuals who are knowledgeable in scripture, steeped in prayer, and empty themselves for Christ to enter. Through them, He is present when parents are given the news of their child's prognosis. Through them, He is present when the family is educated to all the avenues for the treatment of their child including clinical trials. Through them, He is at the child's bedside when medicine is practiced helping to administer the care with all integrity, compassion and comfort. Though them, He rejoices at their remission parties and weeps with family at their funerals. Through them, He offers hope when this world can't. Through them, he sits on bioethic boards protecting the innocent.
(Theological Question: If a person likens the actions of these individuals, led by the Spirit of Christ, to the actions of Hitler, led by Satan, does that person commit blasphemy of the Holy Spirit?)
Christian bioethics is of utmost importance as the field of medicine explodes into the future. However, it must be studied with integrity, clarity of facts, great knowledge of the subject matter and most of all, seeking to bring Christ and seeing Christ in those we serve-the patient ("As much as you have done unto one of these, you have done unto me...")
In summary, this book could be read by any individual seeking this author's opinion on Bioethics if they are willing to "eat the meat and spit out the bones". It is not small group/Sunday School material nor reference material for church doctrine. In pseudo-intellectual attempts to appear to be on the cutting edge, you may find yourself promoting material somewhat far from the grace of Christ. As for me, the next Christian bioethics book I will search for is one written by collaborative authors who are experts in their field, live the Kingdom, and steep themselves in prayer emptying themselves for Christ to enter way before the pen meets the paper.