A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues: The Christian Foundation for Life Decision-Making
A Practical Approach to End-of-Life Issues
Presented by Rev. Robert R. Fleischmann
I. The Christian Foundation for Life Decision-Making
When we pastors are called upon to guide a family in making critical medical decisions, we must not desert our own foundation for proper decision making the Word of God. It is so easy to get caught up in the emotion of the moment that even we pastors sometimes slip into a non-biblical mode. In these emotion-packed moments, I have heard sound Biblical pastors change vocations on the spot and try to sound like doctors or family psychiatrists.
Even if our members involve us because of our warm personalities and superior common sense, these are not what they need most from us. The Psalmist writes, “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and light for my path.” Within those 66 books of the Bible God has given us the true foundation for life decision-making. We do a disservice to our members when they only remember our compassion and sacrifice which brings us out at 2:00 in the morning, but not our Biblical message.
I cannot stress this enough. One glaring contributing factor to the decline in the valuation of life among Christians is their ignorance of God’s Word. Young girls who have been out of confirmation class just a few years will be brought by their WELS mothers into our centers arguing for an abortion because they know God would not want them to be unhappy. Likewise, these same Christians will argue for the early termination of Grandma’s life when her health and mental condition diminishes. They know in their heart that God would not want them to be so unhappy in this condition.
If it is not the pastor who opens the path to truth for these people who will it be?
Will it be the non-denominational hospital chaplain who will quote only the most superficial of passages when the people need direct and clear doctrine from Scripture on their current dilemma? Will it be the television preacher they watch during the endless hours in the emergency room waiting area? It has to be us. Even if our compassionate heart agrees that Grandma is probably better off dead than alive, that is not the opinion they need to hear. They need to hear God’s opinion from his servant who shares his word.
In his psalm, King David said, “Look to the LORD and his strength; seek his face always.” (1 Chronicles 16:11) Our quick appeal to Scripture will remind our members where they can find truth, hope, and comfort. It is that foundation of authority which provides us words of direction to guide our members.
The above article is part 1 of Rev. Fleischmann’s 10-part paper. Click here to view the complete outline.
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