Death and the Church, Part II

Robert C. Kurka, DMin

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. In other words, bioethics (especially issues of death and dying) must be mainstreamed from the academy to the pulpit and pew. This will obviously require a fair bit of intentionality.

Angry at Death: Reading John 11

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.

Plagues, Parables, and Pundits: A Lesson from Church History (Part 2)

Michael Cox, PhD

The story of the Cyprian plague challenges my perspective of our own healthcare conversation. Too frequently Christians in the West engage questions about medicine and healthcare from within our particular political binary—conservative or liberal. Our pundits endlessly debate the questions, “Who should have access to medical care?” “How should they get it?” And, most of all, “Who should pay for it?”

Might Christians have more to say than our polarized political discourse allows? Our ancient brothers and sisters would answer with a strong, “Yes!”

Towards a Christian Perspective on Gender Dysphoria

Todd Daly, PhD

What are we to make of the claims that a person’s gender identity conflicts with his or her body? Should someone undergo gender-reassignment surgery to match one’s sense of identity, or should it be the other way around? Answers to such questions will depend fundamentally on our understanding of what it means to be a human being, an understanding that derives its intelligibility from the larger story (or metanarrative) in which it is situated.