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Euthanasia

Suffering Redeemed: A Reformed Argument Against Physician Assisted Suicide and Euthanasia by Rev. Steven D. Aguzzi, Ph.D. candidate, is associate pastor at Mt. Lebanon United Presbyterian Church and instructor of theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, PA.   Aguzzi argues that "whereas Jesus worked to alleviate suffering, there was a kind of suffering which he modeled as a way of approaching death for those who were to follow him, this involves a lifestyle consistent with the surrendering of one's death to the will of God for the sake of a higher purpose."  Aguzzi looks at Catholic and Reformed teaching on the meaning of suffering. He then examines the PCUSA 1981 document, "The Nature and Value of Human Life."  Aguzzi concludes by looking at the "Redeemed Nature of Suffering and the Reintegration of Discipleship and Witness in the Reformed Tradition by examining Paul's writing in Scripture and Calvin's view of discipleship.  "According to Calvin, it is not the hastening of death that brings healing, but God, who '...confronts us and subjects and restrains our unrestrained flesh with the remedy of the cross.'"  Mar/Apr 2011 Theology Matters p. 1

Position Statement on Euthanasia by Presbyterians Pro-Life, p. 10.  Their position is based on Scripture and concludes that Christians should act to alleviate suffering, but not at any cost. "Christians must follow their Master in humbly serving those who suffer and acting to alleviate their suffering."  They conclude, "as followers of Jesus Christ we cling to our hope that the Holy Spirit has given us a lively faith in our precious Lord, and that through His blood our sins will be forgiven and we will be welcomed into His glorious presence where there is 'fullness of joy [and]...pleasures for evermore.'"  Mar/Apr 2011 Theology Matters p. 10

I Want to Burden My Loved Ones by Gilbert Meilaender, reprinted from First Things Journal, March 2010, No. 201, p. 25-26. Having attended conferences on "advance directives," Meilaender has observed a common theme of people wanting to avoid being a burden to their children as they approach the end of their lives.  So,Meilaender examines this fear head-on.  He observes that being a burden to others is part of our claim upon each other. The question that caregivers must answer as they face the end of life of a loved one is not, "What would he have wanted?" but rather, "What can we do to benefit the life he still has?"  Mar/Apr 2011 Theology Matters  p. 12

What Was Lost" A Christian Journey Through Miscarriage by Elise Erikson Barrett, p. 14. This is an excerpt from her book by the same name published in 2010 by Westminster/John Knox Press.   While in seminary, Barrett experienced the loss of their unborn child and struggled with questions of faith when the God she proclaimed allowed this to happen.  Her spiritual journey of searching for answers is comforting and revealing.  She includes liturgies for memorial services for the child.  And she has practical ideas of what people should and should not say and do. We encourage readers to share this book with study groups and parents who have lost a child before birth. Barrett is a Methodist minister.  Mar/Apr 2011 Theology Matters  p. 14
 

 

Dignity and Dying: A Christian Appraisal--"Definitions of Death" by B. Holly Vautier, a PCUSA pastor who has suffered from a chronic, disabling illness for 26 years.  Vautier addresses: Definitions and Declarations; Roots and Fruits; The Past--Perils of Non-Personhood; The Present--Failing the Personhood Test; The Future--Inclusivity or Utility?; Death, Personhood, and Life.  This is an important discussion of the protection of life.   May/Jun 1997 Theology Matters p. 1

A "New Day," or Journey Into Night? A Review of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Study Guide on Euthanasia and Assisted Death by B. Holly Vautier, a PCUSA pastor who has suffered from a chronic, disabling illness for 26 years.  Vautier writes, "Very early in tehs tudy materials the biblical 'sanctity of life' ethic is challenged by a replacement ethic in which choosing death can be an acceptable or even desirable option.  Candidates for death are person s whose 'quality of life' is judged to be so low that their lives are not worth living." May/Jun 1997 Theology Matters  p. 5

Wishing People Dead by Nancy L. Harvey, reprinted with permission from First Things: A Monthly Journal of Religion and Public Life, Nov. 1993, No. 37.  "Christine Busalacchi, a Missouri woman suffering from serious brain damage, died on the 8th of March, 1993.  The cause of death was starvation....Christine's death followed the deliberate decision of the state's attorney general to allow those involved in her medical treatment to withhold food and water on the ground s that life support was no longer beneficial to her."  May/Jun 1997 Theology Matters   p. 7.

Dignity, Always Dignity by Frederica Mathewes-Green, reprinted wihthpermission from World Magazine, Feb. 18, 1995.  Mathewes-Green writes, "Where indeed did we get the idea that dignity is better than life? Where we ever promised in Scripture that we can die, or do anything else, with dignity? Is God so mindful of our pride? ...We want our deaths to be free from pain, mess, embarrassment. But there is a long Christian tradition of 'holy death,' that is, of allowing even a hard death to be a witness to God's grace...."  May/Jun 1997 Theology Matters  p. 10

Bioethics: A Primer for Christians, "Suicide and Euthanasia" by Gilbert Meilaender, reprinted with permission from Bioethics: A Primer for Christians (Eerdmans, 1996), pp 57-67.   Regarding suicide, Meilaender writes, "Christians to not approach this issue by first thinking in terms of a 'right to life' or a 'right to die with dignity.' That is to say, we do not start with the language of independence." May/Jun 1997 Theology Matters    p. 11