Dying with Dignity: What Should We Think About Euthanasia?

deathOn November 1, surrounded by her family and friends, Brittany Maynard will take her final breath. Or so she intends.

Earlier this year, Brittany was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer at the age of 29. Living in California at that time, she and her husband moved to Oregon so that she could legally commit suicide. Oregon is one of five U.S. states that permit physician-assisted suicide, and so she relocated their to end her life before her cancer would take it.

Her decision has received great support from many, including her husband (Dan), as her viral YouTube video explains. Her story has also reignited the debate about whether terminal patients have the right to take their own life. And it has prompted many strong and compassionate responses.

For instance, Joni Eareckson Tada speaks about the societal impact of Brittany’s private decision. Mrs. Eareckson Tada also refers to many alternative options for people with life-threatening conditions.

Dr. R. Albert Mohler also responded to Brittany Maynard’s decision in his daily news program, The Briefing (audio, transcript). Considering a number facets of this sad situation, Mohler observes how our secular culture befriends death as a way of escaping the pain of life. In fact, he asserts that the support for Brittany is in large part an indication of how far removed our culture is from the Christian belief that God is sovereign over the days of our lives (Psalm 139).

Let me encourage you to read and listen to Mrs. Eareckson Tada and Dr. Mohler, but even more let me encourage you to pray for Brittany and her family.

Talking About Life in a Culture of Death

Even as we pray for Brittany and her family, we must also consider what God says about these matters. When it comes to matters of life and death, Christians are obligated to speak a word of hope for resurrection life after death. But we must also think clearly about euthanasia and wrongful ways our culture is permitting and pursuing death.

For that reason, I want to take note of three issues related to Brittany’s decision and then suggest five ways Christians must think about euthanasia. Continue reading

Where Do Infants Go When They Die?

childrenDaniel Akin has rewritten the article that he and Albert Mohler wrote on where infants go when they die (HT: Denny Burk). It’s entitled,”Why I Believe Children Who Die Go to Heaven.” In his brief essay, he gives six biblical reasons why we can know that infants and those who die before the “age of accountability” die in the Lord. Here they are:

  1. The grace, goodness and mercy of God would support the position that God saves all infants who die. (Matthew 18:14; 1 Timothy 2:4; 1 John 4:8)
  2. When the baby boy who was born to David and Bathsheba died, David spoke as one who trusted that he would see this child again in the presence of God. (2 Samuel 12:15-18)
  3. Those who know sin and choose to do it are held accountable; those who do not know the difference are not. At the judgment seat, it is our sins done in the body that will be judged. (Deuteronomy 1:39; Isaiah 7:16; James 4:17; Revelation 20:11–15)
  4. When Jesus speaks of the kingdom, he seems to indicate the presence of children in heaven. (Luke 18:15–17)
  5. Scripture affirms that the number of saved souls is very great. This points to the fact that those who die as children will be received into heaven. (Revelation 7:9) 
  6. Some in Scripture are said to be chosen or sanctified from the womb. (1 Samuel 1:8-2:21; Jeremiah 1:5; Luke 1:15)

Interestingly, just days before I came across President Akin’s update, I wrote my own essay for our church. Some of my arguments stem from his earlier essay; some come from N. D. Wilson’s Notes from the Tilt-a-WhirlAltogether, I pray they may encourage and assist you (or someone you love) as you grieve the loss of a child who has been called home by King Jesus.

Where Do Infants Go When They Die?

Continue reading

Sermon Audio: The Great Exchange: How Jesus’ Life Trades Places with Our Death (John 11)


A-graveyard-at-dawn-002
Yesterday I finished my six-part series on God’s design for marriage and sex. Instead of finishing with an explicit word about sexuality, its dangers and delights, I spent our time considering God’s power to raise the dead and the devastated.

From John 11, we considered how Christ’s resurrection of Lazarus is a sign of his authority over the grave and a promise to all of us who trust in him, that he can raise us out of any miry pit, forgive us of any sin, and restore us from any deviation from God’s design. In short, Christ is the resurrection and the life, and all who look to him for the forgiveness of sins will find eternal life that does not begin at some unknown point in the future. Eternal begins with a true knowledge of Christ (John 17:3), that in turn empowers us to live a new kind of life today.

Here’s the audio for “The Great Exchange: How Jesus’ Life Trades Places with Our Death,” an exposition of John 11:1-53.

For the rest of the sermons in this series (‘God’s Design for Marriage and Sex’), go to Sermon Audio.

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

For Your Edification (7.27.12)

For Your Edification is a weekly set of resources on the subjects of Bible, Theology, Ministry, and Family Life.  Let me know what you think or if you have other resources that growing Christians should be aware.

BIBLE & THEOLOGY

Kingdom Through Covenant.  Justin Taylor, Vice President of Editorial at Crossway and blogger extraordinaire, has posted the first two chapters of the new book,  Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants.  This book is a landmark work on the covenants of the Bible (Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and the New Covenant).  Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum are the authors of this book, and they have wed their systematic and exegetical expertise to provide a comprehensive reading of the whole Bible.

I encourage you to take the time to pick up this big book and test their proposal.  I think they are right on as they put the Bible together, and that this book has the potential to provide a more exegetical, biblical-theological reading of Scripture than either Dispensationalism or Covenant Theology.

Physical Theology: The Bible in its Land, Time and Culture.  Dr. John Monson, who grew up in Israel, is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School (TEDS).  Earlier this year, he gave a compelling lecture on the space and time found in the Bible.  His academic and personal experience in Israel, give him a strong understanding of the land in Israel and how it relates to our understanding of God’s plan of redemption.  By the way, to add credibility to his qualifications, he also dated a girl from Bethlehem named Mary.

For more on a theological understanding of the land in the Bible, see O. Palmer Robertson, Understanding the Land of the Bible.

FAMILY, CHURCH, & MINISTRY

Gay Is Not The New Black.  Voddie Baucham writes persuasively why making homosexuality normative in American life and politics is not the next step in the Civil Rights movement.  Categorically, definitionally, historically, and legally, Baucham shows why arguments for gay ‘rights’ do not parallel the rights once restricted to blacks.  He concludes,

It is very important for those of us who oppose the idea of same-sex “marriage” to do so not because we wish to preserve our version of the American Dream, but because we view marriage as a living, breathing picture of the relationship between Christ and his church (Eph. 5:22ff), and because we know that God has designed the family in a particular way. While the design of the family promotes human thriving (Gen 1:27-28), the testimony points people to their only hope in this life and the next. As a result, silence on this issue is not an option.

Unfortunately (and quite ironically), many Christians have been bullied into silence by the mere threat of censure from the homosexual lobby. “Oppose us and you’re no better than Gov. Wallace, Hitler, and those homophobes who killed Matthew Shepard!” is their not-so-subtle refrain. Consequently, we spend so much time trying to prove we’re not hate-filled murderers that we fail to recognize that the Emperor has no clothes. There is no legal, logical, moral, biblical, or historical reason to support same-sex “marriage.” In fact, there are myriad reasons not to support it. I’ve only provided a few.

Baucham’s article is an important and well-informed read.  One that you need to read to equip yourself against the ascending onslaught for ‘gay marriage’ and against biblical Christianity.

Culture Wars.  While you are at it, you should also read Owen Strachan’s article on why the ‘gay marriage’ issue is so radically different than the abortion issue and why Christians cannot ‘opt out’ of taking a biblical stand.

How to Comfort Bereaved Parents.  Jill Sullivan, a 40-something mother in Arkansas, who lost her daughter in 2009, has written a helpful and compassionate article on how to minister to families in the church who have lost children.  I have a feeling that her words while particularly applicable to the grief that accompanies the untimely death of a child, but her wise words of comfort are also applicable at any time that someone is experiencing the loss of a loved one.  Take time to read it, and to pray for those who you know who have lost parents, siblings, or children in this year.

The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.  On the same blog that published Jill Sullivan’s piece, Trevin Wax also posted one of my blogs, “The Greatest Love Story Ever Told.”  Taken from a sermon I preached last year on Revelation 19, I explore the beauty of heaven and how every love story on earth is but a lesser version of the greatest love story of Jesus Christ dying for his bride and defeating his enemies.  Check it out.

For Your Edification, dss

A Beautiful, Scandalous Night

A number of years ago The Smalltown Poets—who remain one of my favorite CCM bands—covered the song, “A Beautiful, Scandalous Night.”  It is a powerful meditation on the horrific and glorious reality of Christ’s death.  Here is a video to the song, done by the original artist, The Choir.

As you approach Easter, may the truths of this song flood your heart with joy and thanksgiving. The tree which brought Jesus death has brought us life.

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore
Be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

Follow Christ to the holy mountain
Sinner, sorry and wrecked by the fall
Cleanse your heart and your soul
In the fountain that flows
For you and for me and for all

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by His blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night

On the hillside you will be delivered
At the foot of the cross justified
And your spirit restored
By the river that pours
From our blessed Saviors side

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree

Go on up to the mountain of mercy
To the crimson perpetual tide
Kneel down on the shore be thirsty no more
Go under and be purified

At the wonderful tragic mysterious tree
On that beautiful scandalous night you and me
Were atoned by his blood and forever washed white
On that beautiful scandalous night

Soli Deo Gloria, dss

Live Like You Are Dying

Hat Tip to my brother-in-law, Farid Ali, who wrote a great editorial in the Orland Park Prarie. Writing within the secular paper of his Chicago suburb, Farid boldly challenged believers and unbelievers alike to number their days in order to gain a heart of wisdom (cf. Psalm 90:12), and to secure their perilous futures in Jesus Christ. You can read the whole thing here.