Medicine has come a long way in the last hundred years. Think about how many diseases have been cured that in the not-too-distant past would have meant either death or a life of misery and pain. God’s common grace has enabled people to research and discover medicines and techniques that save lives and improve the conditions of so many people around the world. But with those blessings come questions. Hard questions. When does life begin, and when is life worthy of protection under the law? What about euthanasia? Is there a point where a life is not worthy of life and should be ended? Then there are the next generation of questions that arise around reproductive technology, genetics, and clinical ethics.
These fields all raise a lot of questions, and my biggest concern for Christians is that we often do not have Scripture-fueled answers.
These fields all raise a lot of questions, and my biggest concern for Christians is that we often do not have Scripture-fueled answers. We instead are content to settle for the prevailing opinions of the day. It is incredible how many professing believers do not have even a basic understanding of the ethical issues surrounding these areas. In Christianity and Modern Medicine, Foreman and Leonard seek to give believers just such an understanding.
Christianity and Modern Medicine is written as a textbook for college students, but can easily be read by the average lay person in the church. Foreman and Leonard do a good job taking complex issues and explaining them clearly without watering them down. In the first two chapters, the authors make their case for the need for the book. The fact is that much of modern medicine exists in a “moral fog,” and with the parallel movement of relativism and postmodernism, there is a recipe for ethical disaster. Christians have much to contribute to this conversation, and in the second chapter, the authors help move the discussion forward by giving basic principles for bioethics.
The next eight chapters in the book deal with various ethical issues facing our modern medical community. There are classic issues such as abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia, but also subjects such as genetic ethics, clinical ethics, and research ethics. These are ethical issues that jump straight off the scroll feed of your news site of choice.
The authors are asking Christians to think like Christians about issues that Scripture speaks to, but that the church has sometimes been hesitant to address.
The benefits and strengths of the book are numerous. The authors are asking Christians to think like Christians about issues that Scripture speaks to, but that the church has sometimes been hesitant to address. The authors are experienced in their field, and bring that experience to bear in helpful ways. They also interact with real-life cases in their writing.
There are a few weaknesses, but they are relatively minor. Like a few other Kregel books I’ve reviewed recently, the editing on this book is very poor. This becomes a significant factor in a book that deals with such intricate subjects. Another weakness is that some of the material seems to be a little dated. This may be necessary because of references to court cases that took place in decades gone by that are still relevant to the modern conversation, but there were a few points where I felt the authors could have chosen slightly newer research, studies, or court cases to make their point.
In summary, this book is excellent, needed, and timely. It fills a need in Christian higher education and in the local church. It is a worthy addition to the pastor’s library, the college classroom, or the thinking Christian’s bookshelf. I received a free copy of this work from Kregel in exchange for an honest review.