In the face of almost daily reports of new developments and breakthroughs in biotechnology, we often find ourselves looking for a way to consider the moral obligations we have to one another as human beings, while we assess the various research options before us. Those of us in professions which either deal directly with these issues, such as medicine and scientific research, or those more tangentially related through work in law, public policy, counseling, or pastoral care, may bear an extra measure of responsibility regarding our handling of these issues. We want to approach them, not simply from the emotions generated by our concern for our own suffering or the suffering of others, but more broadly informed by an accurate knowledge of the biological facts and medical processes involved, along with an understanding of God and His will regarding what He has made.
We may find ourselves asking such questions as, “How do the medical/biological procedures work?” “What Biblical principles apply to this situation that would enable me to discern how to behave?” “What might be the impact of this decision on me and on others, both now and in the future?” “What factors ought I take into consideration as I make such decisions?” and “How can I know God’s intentions in these matters if Scripture does not address the specific issues I am facing?”
The biotechnical decisions we presently face, and will face in the very near future, are unprecedented in history and will have an impact for generations to come. Just as the kinds of research choices that are pursued now will shape the alternatives open to us in the future, so the moral choices we make now will determine the kinds of moral choices we will face in the future. We have the opportunity to make a difference in the name of Christ, but we must be adequately prepared if we are to be faithful to the task. To this end the Center for Bioethics and Culture, in partnership with Covenant Seminary in St. Louis, has launched a bioethics graduate certificate program. Our goal is to help prepare both professionals and lay persons with the background and tools necessary to deal with current and emerging issues in medicine and biotechnology. At present courses will be offered in a modular format, so that relocation to St. Louis will not be necessary. In the near future the program will also be available through the seminary’s Access program, a distance-learning format. For additional information or registration contact Covenant Seminary www.covenantseminary.edu.
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