Healthcare today faces many challenges. Nearly 1 in 2 people will develop cancer in their lifetime. Roughly 45% of all deaths in America result in death requiring hospice and palliative care. Half of all utilizing hospice care have a cancer diagnosis; the next most common are dementia, heart disease and lung disease. While cancer and other life threatening diseases have had tremendous cure and treatment rates, end of life care has become a large portion of our healthcare system. For some afflicted with these disease and their family, life at all costs can be their only goal. However, should staying alive be our end goal?
Author, Christopher W. Bogosh explores this issue in Compassionate Jesus: Rethinking the Christian’s Approach to Modern Medicine. He has a very unique background, which qualifies him to dive into this topic. Bogosh enlisted in the Army as an Emergency Medical Technician. He also worked as a Medical Technician in a Veteran’s Hospital and as a nurse in critical care. In his faith journey, Bogosh became a born again believer, went on to seminary and became ordained. Ultimately, Bogosh combined both fields and found his calling in hospice care where he counsels, ministers and provides medical care to those in the end stages of life. With his unique experiences and call, Bogosh writes about a cultural issue challenging Christians today. How does “life at any cost” stack up against the biblical principles of Jesus’ care and compassion?
As a Christian working in healthcare, this book intrigued me. I haven’t run into many other titles that looked at healthcare in the context of biblical principles, let alone one that also looked at end of life issues. I believe this is an area we need to have more commentary and particularly by someone who has a knowledge of Christian faith and of healthcare. Bogosh brings such a perspective to his writing.
I particularly enjoyed the author’s statements on being caring and compassionate to the dying and that these points were truly rooted in Scripture. Bogosh has a number of extremely helpful points in his final two chapters on how one can pray and speak to those who are sick and dying. I believe anyone can benefit from reading these chapters. He discusses the importance of prayer rooted in Scripture and how it is more than asking and receiving healing or a cure. He also focuses on the true healing that is to come to all those who believe in life with Christ in heaven. Bogosh states that “prayer is God’s medicine for us in the midst of disease, trauma, tragedy, and dying”. (LOC 1456 – e-book) Bogosh also identifies the role of the church to those who are sick and dying with needs of counseling, mercy, and hospitality. He shares five specific points that are real gems of speaking encouragement to Christians facing illness and death.
Bogosh gives this disclaimer about his book: “It is important that the counsel given here is not exhaustive and that there are no one-size-fits-all answers. These are only principles that we hope will provide helpful guidance.” (LOC 993 – e-book) He is also clear to suggest that the Bible requires compassionate care not curative care to prolong life at all costs. With that being said, I believe some readers will have a real difficult time reading the first few chapters in this book. If the reader is facing difficult decisions for their own or a loved one’s healthcare, they will likely have a difficult time with Bogosh sharing the experiences that he has had in hospice care. He has certainly witnessed difficult situations where people have banked everything on medical knowledge to save their own life or a family member’s life. He candidly shares these and conclusions he has reached through Scripture. While I may be cautioning some in reading this book if they are facing difficult healthcare decision, it is probable this is exactly who needs to read the book. So perhaps rather than cautioning, I am suggesting that if your heart is tender, you read this book, but with caution/awareness, but do read it.
Even with this caution, I believe Bogosh’s mercy and compassion for those hurting in their earthly life comes through in a way that will bless the reader. I give this book 4 of 5 stars.
In an age of scientific advancement and specialization, many Christians turn to medical professionals to direct them in stewardship of their bodies. While in many ways the advancements of medical science are a blessing, they are also largely driven by a secular mindset that, though it appears compassionate and to proclaim hope, is actually often subversive of genuine compassion and our hope in Christ. In Compassionate Jesus, Christopher Bogosh calls Christians to examine the pervasive prolong life at all costs mentality against biblical principles of care and compassion that are rooted in Christ. This is a call to enter into medical situations trusting in God s sovereign care and the power of prayer. It is hoped that this book will begin a long-needed discussion among Christians about how we relate to modern medicine, encouraging us to allow the gospel to inform the way we engage the healthcare system.
Paperback : 160 pages
Publisher: Reformation Heritage Books (June 26, 2013)
Product Dimensions: 7.4 x 5 x 0.2 inches
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About the Author
Note: We were provided with a complimentary copy of the book through Shaun Tabatt at Cross-Focused Reviews and the publisher for an honest review of this title.