“Our once great western Christian civilization is dying. If this matters to followers of Jesus Christ, then we must set aside our denominational differences and work together to strengthen the things that remain and reclaim what has been lost. Evangelicals and Catholics must stand together to re-establish that former Christian culture and moral consensus. We have the numbers and the organization but the question is this: Do we have the will to win this present spiritual battle for Jesus Christ against secularism? Will we prayerfully and cooperatively work toward a new Christian spiritual revival ― or will we choose to hunker down in our churches and denominationalisms and watch everything sink into the spiritual and moral abyss of a New Dark Age?” - Mark Davis Pickup

Monday, January 27, 2014


In the January/February edition of Christianity Today (they called themselves CT now) a small article caught my eye. It was entitled  "More evangelicals see suicide as moral." Really?

According to the Pew Research Center, 1 in 3 evangelicals who worship weekly think that "a person has a "moral right" to suicide if, they are "in great pain with no hope of improvement. Fewer approve in other circumstances (incurable illness: 27%; ready to die: 19%; burden on the family: 19%."

Deeply, deeply disturbing... . 

I presume the reference to "evangelicals" means people who claim to be biblical Christians. The NELSON'S NEW CHRISTIAN DICTIONARY: An Authoritative Resource on the Christian World. (Thomas Nelson Publishers, 2001) defines evangelical this way: "Member of a Bible-based Protestant church emphasizing personal salvation solely through being born again and through uncompromising  commitment to the person of Jesus Christ." 

How can one third of evangelical Christians give a biblical justification to support suicide? What Scriptures would they use? How can nearly 30% of evangelicals support suicide for incurable illness? 

If a born-again evangelical Christian has an uncompromising commitment to the person of Jesus Christ, and believes the Bible is the inerrant word of God, I defy him to find any place in the Holy Bible or in the life of Christ that would support his position. Actually quite the opposite is true. 

The great 20th century Christian apologist Malcolm Muggeridge once said, "Jesus healed the sick, raised Lazarus from the dead, gave back sanity to the deranged, but never did He practice, or include, killing as part of the mercy that occupied His heart. His true followers cannot but adopt the same attitude."

I have been incurably ill with multiple sclerosis for 30 years. At about the 2-3 year point of my degeneration, my sorrow was so deep, my heartache was so sharp that I might have chosen suicide had I not been surrounded by people who loved me and a Christian community of concern that lifted up my inherent value --even when I doubted my own value. They would have intervened with psychiatric care had I been in danger of hurting myself or found someone to help my suicide. Today I am so happy I did not kill myself when I was at my lowest point.

Granted, I now use an electric wheelchair (at one time it was so repugnant to consider) and I have been unable to work for many years, but I am still surrounded family who chose to still love me. I am head-over-heels in love with them, including five wonderful grandchildren who bring me such joy. Look what I would have missed had I opted for suicide 20 or 25 years ago!

Followers of Christ must stand for the sanctity of every life. There are effective pain medications and medical techniques that can eliminate all physical pain.[1] Emotional and spiritual pain are more difficult to reach and treat, but good Christ-centered palliative counselling can manage this pain. The love of Jesus Christ can reach and heal emotional and spiritual anguish. (I know, I have personally experienced it.)

I hope the Pew Research Center was wrong in their claim that so many evangelical Christians support suicide for the sick. 

Fellow Christian, do not let the culture of death that is all around us change you. Challenge and change the culture to embrace every life, regardless of how hopeless circumstances may seem for the incurably ill.  With Christ there is always hope. I know it.


[1] Dr. John Scott, palliative care expert at the University of Ottawa, wrote these words in 1995: "The World Health Organization has demonstrated the access to pain-relieving drugs, along with a simple educational program, can achieve relief in a vast majority of patients. Specialists in various parts of the world estimate these basic approaches can control 85 to 98 percent of cases. The remaining cases require more careful attention and the use of multiple drugs and therapies to achieve complete relief." How much more have therapies have improved in the intervening 19 years!

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