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date: 22 March 2019

Abstract and Keywords

The history of the Christian church is rich with examples of ministry to the vulnerable. Hospitals, orphanages, rescue missions, and senior citizen centers have been nearly ubiquitous expressions of Christian concern. Christian theologians, church leaders, denominations, and congregations have been at the forefront of ministry to those who are vulnerable—both mothers and their unborn children— because of the availability of abortion, as well as those who are vulnerable because of societal attitudes toward disability. Although evangelicalism is not monolithic, evangelicals are legatees of a great tradition, so that today “evangelical” and “prolife” have become nearly synonymous. Evangelicals admittedly have not always been the first to rally to the needs of the vulnerable. This article introduces these two areas of concern as focal examples of evangelical applied theology. It also discusses the concept of imago Dei (image of God) and how abortion was viewed by the early Jews and Christians, the Christian apologists, and the Church Fathers such as Basil, Jerome, Ambrose, and Augustine.

Keywords: Church Fathers, Augustine, vulnerable, abortion, disability, evangelicalism, Christian church, imago Dei, evangelicals, Christians

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