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Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, 4th ed.

, 2020
ISBN: 9780802878168



In the face of continuing advances in medical research and treatment, bioethical questions remain at the heart of many of our society’s difficult moral problems. Since its original publication in 1996, Gilbert Meilaender’s Bioethics has proven itself an effective introduction into this arena, providing thoughtful guidance on today’s most relevant issues, including abortion, assisted reproduction, genetic research, euthanasia, human experimentation, and much more.

In this fourth edition, Meilaender updates much of the data referenced in the book and responds directly to recent developments, such as the CRISPR/Cas9 method of gene editing. Christians seeking discernment in this new decade will appreciate Meilaender’s circumspect writing and his ability to address the nuances of each issue while maintaining strong and clearly stated moral convictions.

  • Provides thoughtful guidance on today’s most relevant issues
  • Addresses abortion, assisted reproduction, genetic research, euthanasia, human experimentation, and much more
  • Includes updated data referenced in the book and responds directly to recent developments
  • Preface to the Fourth Edition
  • Preface to the Third Edition
  • Preface to the Second Edition
  • Introduction: An Approach to Bioethics
  • Christian Vision
  • Procreation versus Reproduction
  • Abortion
  • Genetic Advance
  • Prenatal Screening
  • Suicide and Euthanasia
  • Refusing Treatment
  • Who Decides?
  • Gifts of the Body: Organ Donation
  • Gifts of the Body: Human Experimentation
  • Embryos: The Smallest of Research Subjects
  • Sickness and Health
The Christian who simply wants to get a reliable handle on bioethics will find nothing better than this splendid little book. . . . It is seldom, and therefore all the more welcome, that one who is a master of his field takes the time to walk the nonspecialist through it. Meilaender does that without a hint of condescension, and with an easy style that will engage those who might otherwise be intimidated by his expertise. Highly recommended.

First Things

A thoughtful introduction to the ethical questions surrounding medical issues at the nexus of life and death.

Publishers Weekly

Meilaender gives his reasoning, carefully worked out from Christian writings, for each of his major conclusions. . . . Concise and definite, his primer does its duty well.


In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Gilbert Meilaender (PhD, Princeton University) is senior research professor at Valparaiso University in Valparaiso, Indiana. He was a Ramsey Fellow at the Center for Ethics and Culture, University of Notre Dame, from 2014 to 2018. He has written numerous books, including Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, and writes frequently for First Things.


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  1. Glenn Crouch

    Glenn Crouch


    Whilst this is a good book for introducing many topics in Bioethics, I was expecting more when it comes to “a primer for Christians”. It comes across to me as far too legalistic, in that it is telling us as Christians what viewpoints we should have on various matters. Note that I agree with the Author in many (if not most) of his ethical stands, however I was expecting more Biblical arguments, as well as a wrestling with some of the topics - rather than be told that Christians should not do “this” or support “that”. There are some fine ethical discussions, especially in the later chapters - and in fact the book comes across a bit more as an apologetic for an already established Christian ethic - as in here is the argument to use for your stand when confronted by others. I would’ve preferred more on, why should I as a 21st Century Christian have this particular stand. I was also bothered, that many Christians who read this book may “discover” that they had “unknowingly” done unethical (thus sinful) things. The Author seems to say little about the Grace of God, and the Forgiveness achieved through our Lord and Saviour’s death and resurrection :( Given that this book says it is for Christians, to omit the Gospel in this way seems to be a major oversight - just add an appendix on this!