The newsletter of IBTM
Edinburgh, 31 May 2023
Good morning from very sunny Edinburgh! We’re back from a terrific week in Spain. Our messages from Luke and Acts were well received, we had a great time with friends, and Madrid is an amazing city to explore.
(Picture, R: Vicki with Madrid sisters)
Today we begin our Conversations series in earnest, reflecting on the past 20 years in our worldwide fellowship. We are striving to be both honest and balanced, and helpful to so many of you who have been in touch with many very good questions.
You will also find the final post in a series on human bioethics. We shall consider the threat to human life and dignity posed by eugenics. We hope that wholesome thoughts will be stimulated and biblical understanding deepened.
Conversations: An Honest Look at the Church—the past 20 years
Douglas and Vicki reflect on the years 2003-2023. What has changed in their church fellowship—for better or for worse? What is the Lord doing globally? Is there hope for a church group that is “stuck”?
If you missed the introduction / explanation to the series, here's last week’s newsletter: Why Conversations?
Thanks for your interest. For today’s conversation, please CLICK HERE.
Today we finish our look at bioethics, a series inspired by my recent visit with Calum MacKellar of the Scottish Council on Human Bioethics. I asked Calum what his greatest bioethical concern was. He immediately replied, “Eugenics is making a comeback.”
Eugenics is a set of beliefs and practices that aim to improve the genetic quality of a human population. Historically, eugenicists have attempted to alter human gene pools by excluding people and groups judged to be inferior or promoting those judged to be superior. In recent years, the term has seen a revival in bioethical discussions on the usage of new technologies such as CRISPR and genetic screening, with heated debate around whether these technologies should be considered eugenics or not (Adapted from Wikipedia).
Normally we associate eugenics with Hitler's Nazi Germany (eliminating the disabled, aiming to build up the “Aryan” race—not that he looked Aryan himself). To consider one kind of human to be more worthy to live (like a blond Northern European) and others unworthy of life (like those with physical or mental disabilities, or homosexuals, or Jews) is a horrific mindset.
And yet through aborting embryos or fetuses bearing the genetic markers of Down’s Syndrome, Sickle Cell Anemia, etc), euthanizing the elderly or seriously ill, and facilitating genetically altered “designer babies,” is eugenics not reemerging, stronger than ever? Should this not alarm us in the extreme? Calum MacKellar’s warning and prognosis certainly resonate with me.
- Scottish Council on Human Bioethics
- Trinity Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity
- Wikipedia article: Eugenics
- Calum MacKellar, Christianity and the New Eugenics: Should We Choose to Have Only Healthy or Enhanced Children? (London: InterVarsity Press / SPCK, 2020)
- “The Forgotten Lessons of the American Eugenics Movement” (Andrea DenHoed of The New Yorker)
On to Smyrna…
Next week’s bulletin will go out from Izmir (the modern Turkish city), once biblical Smyrna (Revelation 1:1; 2:8). I’m attending the Global Smyrna Meeting, preaching the opening message and taking advantage of the opportunity to interact with the biblical scholars and archaeologists in attendance.
Afterwards a small group of us will explore Miletus, Antalya, Perga, Colossae, and several other ancient sites. The biblical world is there for us to discover—provided we have the funds, energy, and time to make the trip. Such an investment is well worth it. For our upcoming tours, please visit the tour page of our website.
Yours in Him,