Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 156:623 (July 99) p. 363
By the Faculty of Dallas Theological Seminary
Moral Dilemmas: Biblical Perspectives on Contemporary Issues. By J. Kerby Anderson. Nashville: Word Publishing, 1998. 263 pp. $24.99.
This volume in the Swindoll Leadership Library provides an overview of current moral issues of concern to many Christians. The author is president of Probe Ministries and is a well-known speaker and writer. The aim of the book is to give Christian answers on a wide range of moral issues, such as abortion, euthanasia, genetic engineering, homosexuality, crime and punishment, ecology, and civil disobedience. Each chapter presents an issue, delineates various views, and advances a view considered consistent with biblical norms. Most chapters close with brief but practical advice on how to respond to each issue.
Some of the issues dealt with, such as abortion, drug abuse, sexual promiscuity, and pornography, occasion little debate among evangelicals and are not so much moral dilemmas as they are moral issues in which Christians hold a minority view. Anderson convincingly shows that Christian responses to such moral problems are defensible. Other topics, however, such as euthanasia, civil disobedience, capital punishment, ecology, and reproductive technologies, do surface tensions among believers. On these issues, he tries to be fair to all. Throughout, his conclusions are conservative and clearly articulated.
Anderson contends for a “sanctity of life” rather than a “quality of life” standard for governing decisions on abortion (pp. 4-8), genetic engineering (p. 42), and euthanasia (pp. 23, 28). Concerning euthanasia, he deems any active means of hastening death (viz., active euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide) as a violation of the biblical prohibition on murder (pp. 26-30). He is also uncomfortable with some forms of passive euthanasia (e.g., withholding nutrition and medicine from comatose patients) because they tend to blur the distinction between allowing death to take its course and hastening death (p. 25). He does recognize, however, that there are cases in which life-sustaining measures can be counterproductive (p. 21).
On the topic of reproductive technologies, Anderson urges caution for couples seeking fertility help through such means, particularly with procedures that involve a high risk for embryo and fetal loss (p. 55). Moreover, he believes that Christians should avoid resorting to the reproductive procedure known as artificial insemination by a donor (where the sperm donor is someone other than the recipient’s husband) because “it introduces a third party into the pregnancy and thereby weakens the marriage bond” (p. 49). In his chapter on genetic
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