Departing in Peace: Biblical Decision-Making at the End of Life by Bill Davis




With the dramatic advance of medical technology, it is increasingly likely that Christians will be asked to decide whether to discontinue life-sustaining medical treatment for aged or very young family members―and possibly other loved ones involved in accidents. Christians also ought to consider what instructions to leave regarding their own treatment. Often these decisions create deep anxiety: Does God command us to take all possible steps to preserve life? Is declining treatment tantamount to murder (or suicide)? As an elder and hospital ethics consultant, Bill Davis has talked, walked, and prayed with people through more than thirty end-of-life situations. Laying a sound scriptural foundation, he argues that Christians can be strongly pro-life yet rightfully decline burdensome or ineffective medical treatments. Providing a variety of case studies and biblical, ethical insight, Davis guides readers in making difficult decisions for themselves and others, preparing advance directives, and facing new realities in American hospitals.


"Dr. Davis is an exemplary teacher and guide. His personal experience with end-of-life issues and his experience as a guide to others are invaluable for those who want to be ready." -- Richard R. Pesce "MD, MS (ethics), FCCP, FACP, Medical Director of Critical Care, Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga"

"This book by Bill Davis fills a real gap in the literature. . . . Departing in Peace deserves to become the go-to book for those seeking solid guidance on difficult end-of-life decisions." -- James N. Anderson "Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte"

"This book combines mature biblical teaching with the brass-tacks practical questions that we all face with the death of loved ones. These are the things that we don't usually think about until they happen. I highly recommend Departing in Peace as essential preparation." -- Michael Horton "J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California"

"This book is a fine reflection on crucial issues of life and death. As we would expect from Bill Davis, it is careful, thoughtful, and biblical, and it will be genuinely helpful to families and pastors." -- W. Robert Godfrey "Professor Emeritus of Church History, Westminster Seminary California"

About the Author

BILL DAVIS (MA, Westminster Seminary in California; PhD, University of Notre Dame) is professor of philosophy at Covenant College, adjunct professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.