End of Life Terminology


Christian ethics: The only value system in which motive rooted in the Christian faith is the first determinant of right and wrong.

Christian medical/ethical decision making: A way of approaching tough decisions with the question: is God still holding out the gift of life, or is he taking it away? Christian ethics rejects decisions made on the basis of the question: Do I like the life God is giving me?

Christian self-image: How a Christian sees himself through faith: an evaluation of self-worth based, not on position, appearance, race or wealth, but on the righteousness of Christ which God has assigned to us.

Divine autonomy: God has absolute authority over all things. As it relates to life issues, God reserves for himself alone the right to begin and end life.

Euthanasia: The active or passive, voluntary or involuntary, application or withdrawal of medical treatment in an effort to hasten death: murder.

  • Active Euthanasia: The termination of life by direct intervention.
  • Passive Euthanasia: Hastening death by the withdrawal of lifesustaining treatment. This can range from taking a terminally ill patient off a respirator, to denying him food and water when such care has not been deemed futile.
  • Voluntary Euthanasia: The killing of a patient in accordance with his or her wishes. This is broader than suicide because it involves a second party in bringing about the death.
  • Involuntary Euthanasia: The killing of an incompetent or comatose patient without his or her consent, justified as merciful or humane.

Futility: A determination that care or treatment is not providing the benefit it is intended to provide.

Imminent Death Care: The application or withdrawal of medical treatment or care deemed futile with the acknowledgment that God Himself is taking a soul to himself.

Imminent: Two doctors agree that regardless of the application or withdrawal of medical treatment death is likely to occur within hours or days.

Quality of Life: Humanistic view of selfworth based on worldly, subjective factors which asks, “Am I getting out of life what I want?”

Quantity of Life: The Christian view of selfworth based on acknowledging life, whatever its quality, to be a quantitative and absolute valued gift from God.

Time of Grace: The length of time God lovingly gives each person to come to faith in Jesus Christ and to share that faith with others.


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