Hansen, Collin; & Robinson, Jeff Sr.; Eds.
Modern medical advances save countless lives. But for all their merits, sophisticated technologies have created a daunting new challenge, namely a blurring of the expanse between life and death. The dying process is often hidden behind a complex web of medical terminology, statistics, and ethical decisions, making it difficult for patients and loved ones to know how to approach the end of life in a dignity-affirming, God-honoring, faith-filled way.
This book offers a distinctly Christian guide to end-of-life care. It equips readers by explaining common medical jargon, exploring biblical principles that connect to common medical situations, and offering guidance for making critical decisions. In these pages, readers will find the medical knowledge and scriptural wisdom they need to navigate this painful and confusing process with clarity, peace, and discernment.
Kathryn Butler (MD, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons) is a trauma surgeon who is board certified in surgical critical care and served on the faculty at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School. After a decade of experience in surgery, she left clinical practice in 2016 to homeschool her children. She now writes for desiringGod.org, Christianity Today, and the Gospel Coalition blog on topics intersecting faith and medicine.
“If I face a critical, life-threatening illness, I will want an experienced clinician who is well versed in the most recent medical studies, who is kind and compassionate, and who respects my faith in Jesus. I will want someone who can coach me on the right questions to ask my medical team and help me make practical decisions. In short, I will want Dr. Butler. She will guide me to come to the end of life in a way that commends the gospel and brings glory to God. If she is not available, I will want to reread this book.”
- John Dunlop, MD, Internal Medicine Doctor, Geriatrics, Yale School of Medicine; author, Finishing Well to the Glory of God
“It is inevitable that at some point, each one of us will face difficult or even heartbreaking medical decisions. We may have to make decisions related to our own care or, even tougher, the care of someone we love. To prepare yourself to make such decisions in a distinctly Christian way, you won’t do better than to read Between Life and Death. It will inform, encourage, strengthen, and equip you to act in ways that honor our humanity while bringing glory to our God.”
- Tim Challies, blogger, Challies.com
“Some of our weightiest decisions wait until the end. When death draws close, what medical treatments will we embrace or reject? Even Jesus-loving Christians struggle to know how to answer these questions, and we need a seasoned doctor to educate us on the options and their pros and cons. Dr. Butler educates the mind, answers the questions, and takes the imagination on an unforgettable ride, made vivid with the descriptive prose only a gifted writer and experienced trauma surgeon could offer us. This remarkable, Christ-centered book is loaded with reality checks and soul checks, and it will serve Christians and pastors for many years to come as they make these final decisions out of faith and not fear.”
- Tony Reinke, journalist; author, 12 Ways Your Phone Is Changing You
“As a pastor’s wife, a parent, a daughter, a granddaughter, a friend, a neighbor, and a member of the church, the issues in this book regularly loom over my life and the lives of those around me. How do we best love the sick and dying? How do we know when to pursue medical interventions and when to allow our loved ones to, as Dr. Butler puts it, ‘relax into the embrace of Jesus’? These are complex questions without easy answers. But Between Life and Death provides a helpful framework of biblical wisdom to illuminate otherwise murky scenarios. Dr. Butler explains the dense medical terminology that can baffle already-overwhelmed caregivers. And, with unflinching (but not unsympathetic) clarity, she brings us to the bedsides of the suffering and tells us what it is like to experience CPR, a ventilator, or artificially administered nutrition. The actual impact and likely outcome of such treatments is far from the glamorous glow of TV medical dramas, but we need to know the stark reality in order to make God-honoring and merciful choices for ourselves and our loved ones. Thankfully, this book also has an expiration date. One day, gathered in the near presence of Christ, we will no longer need to know how to make decisions about death. But in the meantime, I’m glad to have this book on my shelf.”
- Megan Hill, author, Praying Together and Contentment; Editor, The Gospel Coalition
“Dr. Butler has done a masterful job in giving us a clear and comprehensive guide to navigating the difficult and complex waters of end-of-life care. Although Between Life and Death is written with patients and their families in mind, this book is a welcome and valuable resource for guiding Christian healthcare students through these challenging issues, in addition to providing the necessary biblical grounding and foundations.”
- Bill Reichart, Vice President of Campus and Community Ministries, Christian Medical & Dental Associations