John Alan Turner

Speaker, Author, Mentor, Coach, Facilitator

Preaching About Life

I mentioned yesterday that I have several different projects going and many different thoughts banging around in my head. Today I'm preparing for my sermon Sunday morning. We're in a series right now called "Culture Crash", and we're looking at some of the "hot button" issues in our society. We've discussed the environment, and we've talked about homosexuality. The following two Sundays I'll be addressing issues related to bio-ethics.

And most people just had their eyes glaze over.

Bio-ethics does not sound like a very exciting topic for a Sunday morning. But it's important that we think through these things, so I'm going to do my best to make the topics relevant and engaging for everyone.

Basically, bio-ethical issues can be broken down into two categories: (1) Issues related to medically taking life; (2) Issues related to medically making life. So, the next two Sundays are "Taking Life: What the Bible Says About Euthanasia and Abortion" and "Making Life: What the Bible Says About Cloning, Stem-Cell Research and Reproductive Technology".

Weighty, controversial and potentially b-o-r-i-n-g.

I have a few questions I'd like to pose here today. First, I know there are several folks in ministry (of various sorts) who frequent this blog. Have any of you preached on these topics? If so, what approach did you take?

Second, if you're just a regular church-going person and you heard that this Sunday's sermon was going to be about abortion and euthanasia, what would you want to hear? What would you not want to hear?

Third, I was talking to my friend Bruce Hopler (who never updates his blog) last weekend. He said he's always been reluctant to preach on topics like these because he struggles with how people would apply the message to their regular lives. It's probably obvious to most of you -- given what you know about my theological and philosophical presuppositions -- what I'm going to say. I believe abortion is wrong -- theologically, philosophically, scientifically and medically. I believe active euthanasia -- intentionally killing a person or withholding assistance that could prolong life -- is also wrong. I think I can even explain why I believe what I believe about these issues.

But what are people supposed to do about it? I don't think I'm going to talk anyone out of taking the life of an unborn this Sunday. I might, but I think I need to say something more than just, "Don't have an abortion" and "Don't pull the feeding tubes out of your elderly relatives".

It's got to be more than that. It's got to be more than "Write your congressman!" or "Protest outside your local Planned Parenthood office!" I'm not sure how effective those methods even are.

So, what's the application?