Composing a Doctrinal Statement [section 9 — Moral Issues]

Composing a doctrinal statement (or any other essential documents) can be one of the most arduous (but crucial) projects undertaken by a church. In this series, I’m sharing my own doctrinal statement in an attempt to provide a helpful example of a detailed statement that is worded positively, but articulated precisely enough to exclude certain theological positions for the protection and unity of the church.


Section 9 — Moral Issues [1]

Euthanasia: We believe that the direct taking of an innocent human life is a moral evil regardless of the motivation. Life is a gift of God and must be respected from fertilization until natural death. An act or omission which causes death merely in order to eliminate suffering constitutes a murder contrary to the will of God. However, discontinuing medical procedures that merely prolong death, rather than prolong life, can be a legitimate refusal of over-zealous treatment.

(Exodus 20:13; 23:7; Matthew 5:21; Acts 17:28)

Abortion: We believe that human life begins at fertilization [2], and that the unborn child is a living human being. All human life is sacred, because we are created in the image of God. Abortion constitutes the unjustified, unexcused taking of God-given human life, and, therefore, is murder contrary to the will of God.

(Genesis 9:6; Exodus 21:22–25; Psalm 51:5; 139:13–16; Isaiah 49:1, 5; Jeremiah 1:5; 20:15–18; Luke 1:41–44)


Notes:

1] Remember from the explanation of my philosophy of doctrinal statements that I believe one of the components of a doctrinal statement should be to include those topics that have become hot-button issues in the surrounding culture, which includes moral issues like abortion, euthanasia, sexuality, marriage, and divorce.

2] The word “fertilization” is probably a better choice today than “conception,” because conception is generally meant to refer specifically to natural fertilization in the womb, whereas the more general term “fertilization” can include what is done in a laboratory.

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