We believe in the sufficiency of Scripture – the idea that in the Bible we find all the information we need to help us cope with ever challenge life can throw at us. But obviously in the 2000 years since the Bible was completed, new issues have sprung up which aren’t mentioned in Scripture. How do we cope with this?
9 Scripture Series 9 2008 The Silences Of Scripture
The silences of Scripture
Why doesn’t Scripture tell us everything? It isn’t that kind of book We aren’t that kind of people We’re not in that kind of world God isn’t that kind of God
Applying Scripture badly casuistry – lots of rules situationism – no fixed rules despair – “it’s a matter of opinion” simplification – “it’s quite plain and easy...”
How do we apply Scripture to new issues? 1. Know the great underlying principles 2. Understand the real questions God wants us to enjoy life... Life is to be lived in relationships... We must accept life’s outcomes from his hand... We have the mandate to develop the world... We claim his strength in weakness... Our bodies are “jars of clay”, “earthen vessels”... Quality of life – what might the pressures be? “ Slippery slope” – how likely? How would it work legally and practically? Are there other options apart from this? How far does personal human freedom extend? What are doctors for – could their role be damaged? Who else is harmed when this happens?
Joseph Fletcher In recent years the ethical issue about human initiatives in death and dying has been posed most poignantly for the common run of those in medical care, in the treatment of the terminally ill. Resuscitative techniques now compel them to decide when to stop preserving and supporting life; people no longer just die. What is called negative euthanasia, letting the patient die without any further struggle against it, is a daily event in hospitals. About 200,000 legally unenforceable "living wills" have been recorded, appealing to doctors, families, pastors, and lawyers to stop treatment at some balance point of pro-life, pro-death assessment. What is called positive euthanasia - doing something to shorten or end life deliberately - is the form in which suicide is the question - as a voluntary, direct choice of death .
Diane Pretty Robert Latimer Terri Schiavo Tony Bland
In 1991 Remmelink found that 49,000 of the 130,000 deaths in the Netherlands each year were not natural but involved a "medical decision at the end of life" 95% of these cases involve either withholding treatment/discontinuing life support or the alleviation of pain and symptoms through medication that might hasten death. Actual euthanasia occurred in 2,300 cases or 2% of all Dutch deaths. Dutch physicians helped 400 patients who requested suicide, for either mental illness or discomfort, to kill themselves in 1990. In thousands of cases decisions that might or were intended to end a fully competent patient's life were made without consulting the patient. Over 50% of Dutch physicians admitted to practicing euthanasia, most often on cancer patients. Only 60% kept written records of their euthanasia practice and only 29% filled out death certificates honestly in euthanasia cases. Jan Remmelink
“ In 30 years Holland has moved from assisted suicide to euthanasia, from euthanasia of people who are terminally ill to euthanasia of those who are chronically ill, from euthanasia for physical illness to euthanasia for mental illness, from euthanasia for mental illness to euthanasia for psychological distress or mental suffering, and from voluntary euthanasia to involuntary euthanasia or as the Dutch prefer to call it "termination of the patient without explicit request".”
How do we apply Scripture to new issues? 1. Know the great underlying principles 2. Understand the real questions 3. Apply the basic grid: creation, fall, cross, future 4. Look for biblical material which applies 5. Find the parallels CREATION : made in God’s image FALL : life will involve pain humans will be sinful CROSS : pain isn’t the whole story CONSUMMATION : we are eternal beings Who in the Bible wanted to die? Ecclesiastes – the pointlessness of life Proverbs 31:6 – is oblivion ever justified? Job 2:9 – “curse God and die” 2 Cor 12 – weakness can have a purpose Job 33:4, Acts 17:25 – God is the giver of life Job – what in his situation is comparable, and what principles emerge from it? Paul – what does his attitude to death in Philippians say to us? Are there other NT principles we need to draw general rules from?
How do we apply Scripture to new issues? 1. Know the great underlying principles 2. Understand the real questions 3. Apply the basic grid: creation, fall, cross, future 4. Look for biblical material which applies 5. Find the parallels 6. Remember you may be wrong!