This dissertation argues for the inclusion of Radical Reformation Theology into the
discussion of contemporary biomedical ethics. Historically, Anabaptist/Mennonite theology
has not had a place in the development of biomedical ethics. Catholic moral theology and
various definitions of Protestant theological ethics have shaped the field of biomedical ethics
alongside several important philosophical theories. A combination of such theological and
philosophical theories of biomedical ethics has been the result of the Belmont Report and has
later been expanded into The Four Principles of Biomedical Ethics with its focus on
autonomy, beneficence, maleficence, and justice.
However, the empirical research among Anabaptist/Mennonite physicians shows
that such theories do not make adequate reference to Anabaptist/Mennonite theology and
ethics and its approach to agent-based virtue ethics. This theology emphasises servanthood
as the model for the physician, peace and non-violent justice as the modus operandi for this
servanthood model, and community as the sustaining and sending forum for such
servanthood. If these perspectives were included in the contemporary discussion of
biomedical ethics, the virtuous agent would be enabled to embody a reconciling relationship the physician with the patient and vice versa. In Anabaptist/Mennonite theology, agency
formation has high priority and happens through the model of observation-participation embodiment. Theology is therefore observed, participated in, and embodied by the
individual agent within the setting of community.
Such an agent-focused approach that seeks consensus in biomedical ethics would
help to balance a principled approach that seeks to find the lowest common denominator.
This agent-based approach could also aid in the process of uncovering the blind spots of
contemporary biomedical ethics such as injustices in health care access and resource
allocation, discriminatory policy-making, and the favouring of a largely utilitarian-deontological pragmatism in biomedical ethics.
The voice of Anabaptist/Mennonite theology is comparatively young, and barely
experienced enough, to be heard loudly. However, the adolescent voice of this theology of
embodiment may have broken, and a sustainable vision for an Anabaptist/Mennonite
biomedical ethics might hopefully be found in the pages of this research.