Reframing the Relevance of Calvinism and the Reformed Tradition for 21st Century Bioethics

Christian Bioethics 20 (1):9-22 (2014)

Many in academic bioethics worry that robust theological traditions, when articulated in the public square, damage the prospect of serious reflection about tough cases. Here we challenge that prevailing exclusion-by-default methodological impulse by correcting prevalent stereotypes about one particular Christian tradition that may offer relevant conceptual resources for bioethics. We briefly examine the man, John Calvin, and the Calvinist/Reformed Protestant tradition to show how it has been misconstrued in academic bioethics but can be reconstrued as a constructive, substantive theological starting point for tough bioethical questions of our age. Core Calvinist doctrines about the nature of an all-sovereign God and human beings’ relation to that God, as well as related prominent themes from elements of the broader Reformed tradition, including the glory/sovereignty/majesty of God; the created goodness of the world; human beings as desiring/worshiping/image-bearing creatures; the pervasive influence of sin; the limitations of humanity for self-improvement; the completely gratuitous nature of redemption; the comprehensiveness of God’s redemptive purposes; and the pending final completion of his redemptive work could and should influence the tone and content of moral deliberation that can be a positive influence on twenty-first-century bioethics
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DOI 10.1093/cb/cbu009
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American Moralism and the Origin of Bioethics in the United States.Albert R. Jonsen - 1991 - Journal of Medicine and Philosophy 16 (1):113-130.
Fundamentalism and American Culture.George M. Marsden - 1983 - Religious Studies 19 (3):422-425.

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