Evangelical leaders survey: ‘let God be God’ in end of life issues
WASHINGTON, DC, February 4, 2011 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A poll of the board of directors of the National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) has found a marked unity in outlook on the issues surrounding end of life care and treatment.
The NAE includes the CEOs of denominations and representatives of a broad array of evangelical organizations including missions, universities, publishers and churches.
The poll posed the question of assisted suicide or euthanasia if the individuals found themselves faced with severe pain in a terminal illness.
The survey found, “When faced with severe pain in a terminal illness, 94 percent said they would not consent to the termination of their lives,” remaining firm in their commitment to “let God be God” when it comes to their life’s end.
“This reiterates what we already know about evangelicals: They want to honor life from womb to tomb,” said Leith Anderson, president of the National Association of Evangelicals, in a press release.
“As Billy Graham said recently in a Christianity Today interview, ‘God has a reason for keeping us here (even if we don’t always understand it), and we need to recover the Bible’s understanding of life and longevity as gifts from God.”
“What surprised me about the survey was the flood of additional comments we received on how to handle extreme measures to prolong life,” Anderson said.
Anderson explained that although those responding to the survey were not required to expound on their yes or no answer, 63 percent included additional comments, 59 percent of which mentioned extraordinary medical interventions to extend life. Of those who remarked on extreme measures, 85 percent said they would not want extreme measures used to prolong their lives. The other comments on extreme medical interventions were neutral.
One respondent, Ron Boehme, Director of Youth with a Mission U.S. Renewal, commented, “God is the author of life and death, and amazing advances in medicine may complicate that decision, but not alter its basic principle.”
Anderson observed that the evangelical leaders’ comments reflect previous NAE Board resolutions, such as that on Physician Assisted Suicide-1997 in which the NAE stated, “We believe there is a profound moral distinction between allowing a person to die, on the one hand, and killing on the other,” and the 1994 resolution on termination of medical treatment which stated, “...we believe that medical treatment that serves only to prolong the dying process has little value.”
The Evangelical Leaders Survey is a monthly poll of the Board of Directors of the National Association of Evangelicals which represents more than 45,000 local churches from over 40 different denominations.