Are the core Christian convictions—that God is the Creator and Redeemer and Sustainer of life and the One Alpha and Omega, the beginning and end of life, irrelevant today? Are they out of place in the life and death dilemmas taking place daily in the micro-societies of our technologically advanced hospitals and clinical settings and in the context of medical decisions based on, or controlled by, judicial systems? What, if any, are some situations in which central Christian convictions allow us, by God’s grace and through God’s mercy, to end life?
I recently enjoyed addressing a group of pastors, chaplains, social workers, health care workers and general public regarding biblical ethics and end-of-life decisions. Throughout the seminar I used my family's experience to frame the bioethics of these choices. The participants and I probed eight frequently asked questions surrounding this highly volatile and emotionally infused dilemma.
I was honored to hear participants share poignant stories of their personal experience with life-and-death dilemmas. Praise God for the healing that the Holy Spirit makes possible as we expose our wounds to other brothers and sisters in the faith. I learned much from these blessed saints. The grace and mercy of God was evident in them and extended through them. We explored end-of-life dilemmas in three perspectives: biblically, ethically and in the light of public policy issues.
Although I felt less prepared to speak on this subject than any I have addressed in the past due to the overwhelming amount of literature on the subject and not having any background in law or medicine, it proved to be one of the most informative and effective presentations I have had the honor to share. I love to learn. I love to teach others. I love to share about the Lord. This seminar is the best of all worlds--I have a stronger apologetic regarding my faith and my beliefs surrounding these highly volatile and emotionally charged issued. I believe all who attended were encouraged to search out the reasons we believe what we believe. Then to act out our faith based on those convictions.
Here are the 8 questions we discussed:
I Who decides whether we live or die?
II Who's life is it anyway?
III How do I know God's will in matters not revealed in Scripture?
IV How might the dying process play out in light of medical and technological advances?
V Who's in control?
VI How do I respond to those who oppose my decision?
VII How then do we live?
VIII How can we prepare for the future?
I welcome your feedback. Your comments will help me better prepare for future presentations on this subject.