Institution Granting Degree
Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
In light of the challenges of new biotechnologies, the church must reassert its commitment to the concept of the sanctity of human life created in the image of God. One way to do this is for the local church to develop a strategy for educating its congregants in bioethics. This educational task begins with an awareness of what bioethics involves, what issues are bioethical in nature, and a demonstration of their urgency.
In chapter one, I propose to introduce the challenge of bioethics facing the church, explain why I am passionate about this topic and introduce some of the works I have discovered in my research that have given me specific direction in shaping this project. I will discuss some of the common objections that I have encountered when disclosing this project with others, enumerate my goals, objectives and the methodology I will use, and explain the scope and limitations of this project.
I have divided chapter two into two parts. Part one lays the theological and biblical groundwork for bioethics education in the local church. I will focus on establishing the importance of worldview, and especially understanding worldview as a metanarrative that forms a moral community. Part two explores how to use these ideas in the context of church community for bioethical discernment. I will defend the importance of community then explain how the church as a community can practice the process of moral discourse, deliberation, discernment and decision in light of its doctrinal convictions.
Chapter three explains the methodologies I used to execute the project, and the results I obtained. There were two primary methods; a focused group discussion following a thirteen week elective, and a congregational survey before and after a four-part series of sermons addressing current bioethical issues.
Chapter four entails analysis and discussion of data gleaned from one local congregation’s response to and evaluation of these methodologies.
In chapter five, I will share some of the lessons I have learned throughout the process, and on the basis of these lessons, make practical suggestions for future ministry.