Bioethics and the Christian Life -- A Guide to Making Difficult Decisions

by Dr. David M. Van Drunen

The author writes that he intends for his book to help, among many others, "pastors, elders, and counselors who may be increasingly solicited for help in making bioethical decisions." (p. 14)

(1) He believes that Christians should participate in the mainstream healthcare system while simultaneously trying to influence it through Scriptural teachings.

(2) He tackles the difficult subject of how can a good, all-powerful God allow evil things to happen.

(3) He discusses how all people are made "in the image of God" and therefore should be treated with dignity and honor.

(4) He explains how the death and resurrection of Christ can justify human beings before God, and how therefore death and dying do not have the final say for Christian believers.

(5) He explains some misconceptions about suffering, for example, that God promises to relieve us from all our suffering (which He does not promise). Rather, God promises to go through our suffering WITH us (Psalm 34:18). Nor does God explain all the reasons why we suffer. But He does use suffering to help us become more like Christ (Romans 8:29).

(6) The author presents how the Christian virtues of faith, hope, love, courage, contentment, and wisdom help Christians to approach bioethical issues. For example, wisdom will help a Christian try to understand the precise nature of the problem, the available remedies, and the likely consequences of those remedies.

(7) Bible teachings are applied to marriage, procreation, contraception, assisted reproduction, infertility, and the human embryo.

(8) A Christian view of death: Death is an enemy which produces sorrow and grief, but it has been defeated by Christ's death and resurrection. Practical considerations are given to a living will, power of attorney for health care, having a will, life insurance, and establishing a trust.

(9) Discussing the three exceptions to the commandment, "You shall not kill": administering capital punishment, killing one's enemy during a war, and defending one's own life or another's life.

(10) Considerations are given about when to discontinue chemotherapy treatments.