Intersections

A Biblical View on the Sanctity of Life, Part 2

by: 
Joni Eareckson Tada

The Slippery Slope

Ten years ago Terri Schiavo, a severely disabled woman living in Florida, was starved to death—US courts upheld her husband’s decision that, in effect, Terri wouldn’t want to live this way, and so her life supports were removed. Many empathized with the court’s decision, stating that Terri was not mentally capable of expressing her wishes. As I sat in my wheelchair outside the hospice facility where Terri was dying, I knew it was a watershed moment that would jeopardize the lives of all Americans with disabilities.

A Biblical View on the Sanctity of Life, Part 1

by: 
Joni Eareckson Tada

The first time Dan Pollock and I bumped wheelchairs, I was taken aback by the severity of his paralysis and his thin, frail body. Dan was born with a significant neuromuscular disease, and some people have said that he’d be better off dead than disabled. But Dan is full of life. It troubles me when people say he’s suffering needlessly or that he is imprisoned in his body. Such phrases allege to be compassionate but reveal a fundamental fear that actually means, “I would hate to live like that.”

Death and the Church, Part II

by: 
Robert C. Kurka, DMin

In a previous essay, “Death and the Church,” I wrote that the local congregation needs to address the end of life and its attendant issues. Given our secular culture’s confusing responses to suffering and death—death is either the ultimate human foe to be conquered at any cost, or is preferable to a “diminished quality of life”—many believers are co-opting a worldview that runs contrary to historic Christianity. While we are most appreciative of the fine and informative work of ministries such as The Center for Bioethics & Human Dignity, the “think tank” cannot replace the local parish as the center of Christian education.

Angry at Death: Reading John 11

by: 
J. Scott Duvall, PhD

Having been a pastor and professor for a couple of decades, I’ve heard (and spoken) my share of funeral sermons. At times, quite ironically it seems, death is almost personified and praised as the great deliverer, the one who relieves our loved ones of unbearable pain and suffering. And while I understand the “blessing” of death to cease suffering, I can’t help but think of the New Testament portrayal of death as “the last enemy” (1 Cor. 15:26; cf. 2 Tim. 1:10; Rev. 20:14; 21:4). The story of Jesus’s response to the death of his friend Lazarus in John 11 brings not only comfort and hope but much-needed wisdom and perspective.

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