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A Glass Darkly

Medicine and Theology in Further Dialogue


Edited By D. Gareth Jones and R. John Elford

This book is a sequel to the first volume of New International Studies in Applied Ethics and includes essays from some of the same contributors. Like the previous volume, the book explores the interface between medicine and theology. The essays demonstrate the complementarity evident between the two and examine how those coming from different theological traditions are able to provide helpful insights. Points of disagreement, and their crucial role in contributing to an understanding of the complexities of the debate, are acknowledged.
Much of the discussion focuses on use of the Bible. The contributors show an awareness of the pastoral necessity of providing access to new medical technologies for those in need. Out of this emerges a positive view of some of the human benefits of modern medicine and the ways in which Christian theology can engage with it constructively. The discussion throughout is related to the wider literature in the field.


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Part three: Evangelical and Free Church Responses 131


Part three Evangelical and Free Church Responses Andrew Goddard The Place of the Bible in Medical Ethics One of the major challenges for Christians seeking to engage ethical debates within medicine is to ascertain what, if anything, distinctive they bring to the table and how their perspective and approach to issues is different from that of others. One obvious distinctive feature is that any authenti- cally Christian contribution will be shaped in some way by the Christian Scriptures of the Old and New Testament. These texts are received by the church and offered to the world not simply as wisdom from the past but also as a source of divine revelation for the present which provides insight and guidance for Christians and others. Within my own Anglican tradition, the view of Scripture as God’s Word and authoritative in the development of Christian moral theology is evident in claims within the traditional Anglican formularies (the Thirty Nine Articles, the Book of Common Prayer and the Ordinal) such as ‘no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the Commandments which are called Moral’ (Article 7) and ‘it is not lawful for the Church to ordain anything that is contrary to God’s Word written’ (Article 20). That this remains a fundamental Anglican conviction is seen in the words of the 1998 Virginia Report prepared for the Lambeth Conference: Anglicans affirm the sovereign authority of the Holy Scriptures as the medium through which God by the Spirit communicates his word in the...

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