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Session 3: More Hot Button Issues ()

Dennis R. Wiles, August 12, 2014
Part of the Summer Bible Study 2014 series, preached at a Evening Service service

Dennis R. Wiles
FBC Arlington

So, What Are We Supposed to Do?
Christian Living in a Post-Christian Context
SUMMER BIBLE STUDY
August 10-13, 2014

SESSION 3: MORE HOT BUTTON ISSUES

SUNDAY: CHRISTIAN ETHICS 101
MONDAY: STATE ISSUES
TUESDAY: BIOMEDICAL ISSUES
WEDNESDAY: FAMILY AND HUMAN SEXUALITY ISSUES

Christian Ethics – the study of what is right or wrong for Christians

BIOMEDICAL ISSUES

Abortion, artificial insemination, euthanasia, genetic engineering, gender re-assignment, organ transplants, infanticide, gene splicing, organ harvesting, contraception, comprehensive health care, stem cell research, medical ethics . . .

Hierarchical Absolutism – there are moral absolutes that can conflict with each other. When this occurs, the Christian is to engage in the highest good and will not be held accountable for violating a lower absolute.
Constructing a Conservative Evangelical Christian Ethic
We must seek to engage the Biblical text, ascertain the best and clearest meaning, hear the voice of the Spirit of God, seek the orthodox counsel of the church, employ the use of sound theology, utilize research on any pertinent topic, exercise wisdom and mature thought --- decide what to believe and do!

At the heart of BIOMEDICAL ETHICS is the core understanding of life itself.

PROCESS OF ETHICAL DEVELOPMENT

Biblical Reflection
Genesis 1-2
1. The Bible presents a theocentric view of reality.
2. The Eternal God has created the universe. It bears His signature and reflects His will.
3. Humanity has been created in His image.
4. He is the author and sustainer of life.
5. Human beings were created as male and female. There are unique characteristics that distinguish the genders – but both of them are God’s image bearers.

Genesis 9:4-7
1. Life is sacred.
2. Human beings are of supreme value to God as His image-bearers.
3. The willful denial of the sanctity of human life is a violation of a universal moral absolute.
4. Taking the life of an innocent human being is sinful.

Exodus 20:13
1. Murdering an innocent human being is a direct violation of the Ten Commandments.

Psalm 8
Human beings have been crowned with God’s glory.

Psalm 100:3
God is the author of life.

Psalm 127:3
Children are a gift from God.

Psalm 139:13-15
1. Human life is the result of the handiwork of God.
2. Human life is a reality in the womb.

Isaiah 43:7
God’s people are intended to reflect His glory.

Isaiah 44:24
God has formed us in the womb.

Jeremiah 1:4-5
Life begins in the womb.

Matthew 22:34-40
Followers of Jesus are to demonstrate a profound and deep love for all human beings.

Luke 1:26-38
The Incarnation began at conception.

Theological Reflection

Article III of the 1963 Baptist Faith and Message
Man was created by the special act of God, in His own image, and is the crowning work of His creation. In the beginning man was innocent of sin and was endowed by his Creator with freedom of choice. By his free choice man sinned against God and brought sin into the human race. Through the temptation of Satan man transgressed the command of God, and fell from his original innocence; whereby his posterity inherit a nature and an environment inclined toward sin, and as soon as they are capable of moral action become transgressors and are under condemnation. Only the grace of God can bring man into His holy fellowship and enable man to fulfill the creative purpose of God. The sacredness of human personality is evident in that God created man in His own image, and in that Christ died for man; therefore every man possesses dignity and is worthy of respect and Christian love.

David Gushee, Ethicist – Professor of Moral Theology - Author of The Sacredness of Human Life
The sanctity of life is the conviction that all human beings, at any and every stage of life, in any and every state of consciousness or self-awareness, of any and every race, color, ethnicity, level of intelligence, religion, language, nationality, gender, character, behavior, physical ability/disability, potential, class, social status, etc., of any and every particular quality of relationship to the viewing subject, are to be perceived as sacred, as persons of equal and immeasurable worth and of inviolable dignity. Therefore they must be treated with the reverence and respect commensurate with this elevated moral status, beginning with a commitment to the preservation, protection, and flourishing of their lives.

Interpretation

1. God is the Creator of the universe.
2. God is the Creator of human beings.
3. God assigned gender to the human race. Gender is assigned in the womb.
4. Human beings have intrinsic value simply because they are image bearers of God and have been crowned with his glory.
5. Human life is sacred to God.
6. Violating the sacredness of human life is a sin.
7. Murdering an innocent human being is a sin.
8. Human life begins in the womb.
9. Christians are obligated to protect human life.

Biomedical Ethics

The core question in the field of Biomedical Ethics is: What ought to be done? --- not – What can be done?

Gender re-assignment: A willful rejection of God’s design

Euthanasia: Taking the life of an innocent person is sinful – even if the desire is to relieve suffering. Relieving human suffering is noble – however, it is not as noble as acknowledging the moral absolute of the sacredness of human life.

Abortion: Roe v. Wade – Made abortion on demand eventually available in all 50 states. A woman’s right to privacy is superior to the state’s desire to regulate abortion practices. The philosophical and ethical perspectives that undergird this decision are rooted in the belief that a fetus is either sub-human or potentially human. Further, in later rhetoric surrounding this issue, a mother’s right to her body is superior to a fetus’ right to life.

If one holds the position that a fetus is fully human and that life begins in the womb – then a woman’s right to determine her own bodily functions is trumped by a baby’s right to life. Hence, abortion would be viewed as taking the life of an innocent human being and would be a sin. (This is my personal view.)

Guiding Principles

1. The fields of health care and biomedicine should be encouraged to seek the best and highest quality of medical practices in our society.
2. Research should be supported and affirmed.
3. Application of research must abide by a moral code that is unwilling to compromise the moral absolute of the sacredness of human life.