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Trends and Sources Document Available

Aug 23, 2005

A four-page WORD document entitled “Trends and Sources in Bible and Theology” was prepared in July, 2005, by professors Skip Forbes, Bernon Lee, and Brent Sandy of the Grace College Department of Religious Studies.

It offers brief updates on current issues and recent books on subjects such as biotechnology, women’s roles, the emerging church, new Bible translations, emerging unity in the body of Christ, the Christian’s role in politics, and more.

If you would like a copy, e-mail me at and I’ll send it back as an attachment. Our thanks to Brent Sandy for making it available.

Here’s a short sample from the first item:

How should Christians respond to trends in biotechnology and biomedicine?

If you feel lost in the maze of complicated and controversial issues in bioethics, Reading the Bible in the Strange World of Medicine by Allen Verhey (Eerdmans, 2003) is a must read. Offering a brief history of bioethics and its emergence out of a largely secular world, the author’s concern is how the community of faith should address this “strange world.”

He cautions against the way believers often misuse the Bible in addressing contemporary issues (what he calls “bad faith interpretations”), a problem of not really understanding the Bible or knowing how to apply it to modern life. But Verhey does not simply complain. In place of inappropriate proof-texting, he explains how to use the Scriptures in the context of an increasingly complicated world laced with complex issues that do not yield to simplistic answers.

The bulk of the book offers a balanced and thoughtful discussion of matters like: treating people as whole persons, what is meant by “compassion,” how to think about the human genome project, abortion, artificial reproductive strategies, assisted suicide, how to treat infants who face serious health problems, and how a good Samaritan might think about allocating finite resources.

This book is not highly technical but will require some paced and thoughtful reading—coupled with readiness to be challenged regarding how we typically handle favorite proof-texts.