"If a mother can kill her own children, then what can be next?" Mother Teresa once asked.

What indeed?

Once the value of human life has been depreciated, as in Roe v. Wade and the Baby Doe Case, no one is safe. Once "quality of life" is substituted for the absolute value of human life itself, we all are endangered. Already respected scientists are calling for a time period following birth (a week or so) to decide if newborns have "sufficient quality of life" to be allowed to live. Already committees of "medical professionals" would like to decide whether the "quality of life" of the elderly or anyone seriously ill is high enough to allow them to go on living.

In this moving book, the renowned pediatric surgeon and Surgeon General of the United States, C. Everett Koop, M.D., joins with one of the leading Christian thinkers of our day, Francis A. Schaeffer, to analyze the widespread implications and frightening loss of human rights brought on by today's practices of abortion, infanticide, and euthanasia. They see the present as a crucial turning point. Choices are being made that undermine human rights at their most basic level. Practices once labeled "unthinkable" are now considered acceptable. The destruction of human life, young and old, is being sanctioned on an ever-increasing scale by the medical profession, by the courts, by parents, and by silent citizens.

"But what can I do?" you ask. "I'm just one person." You can start by reading this book. Yes, it will shock you. And it will make you weep. But it will also help you see how you can actually make a difference.

Few Christians had greater impact during the last half of the twentieth century than Dr. Francis A. Schaeffer. A man with penetrating insight into post-Christian, post-modern life, Schaeffer also cared deeply about people and their search for truth, meaning, and beauty. If there is one central theme throughout Schaeffer's work, it is that "true truth" is revealed in the Bible by "the God who is there," and that what we do with this truth has decisive consequences in every area of life.

Death in the City was Schaeffer's third book and is foundational to his thinking. Written against the backdrop of the sixties countercultural upheaval, it reads today with the same ring of truth regarding personal, moral, spiritual, and intellectual concerns. Especially in light of 9/11, Schaeffer seems disturbingly prophetic. The death that Schaeffer writes about is more than just physical death—it is the moral and spiritual death that subtly suffocates truth and meaning and beauty out of the city and the wider culture.

What is the answer that Schaeffer offers in response? It is commitment to God's Word as truth—a costly practice in the midst of the intellectual, moral, and philosophical battles of our day. It is compassion for a world that is lost and dying without the Gospel. It is yielding our lives to God and allowing Him to bring forth His fruit through us.

Few have demonstrated this commitment to truth and "persistence of compassion" so consistently as Schaeffer did. And because of this, few who begin reading these pages will come to the end without having their life profoundly changed.

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