Question: Hey Pastor, I have a question!? Is cremation wrong?? Is it considered to be a Christian practice and what is the position of The Lutheran Church?Missouri Synod on this issue?
Answer: For the answer to your question I referred to a copy of The Lutheran Witness from several months ago.? (By the way, orders are currently being received in the church office for this monthly magazine, the official publication of our synod.)
Our Synod does not have an official position on the propriety of using cremation.? The Holy Scriptures are silent on the matter ? neither forbidding nor advocating it.
At one time, however, cremation was highly discouraged and in fact, was probably forbidden in some areas of Christendom.? (I would imagine that there remain many Christian denominations that continue to forbid the practice.)
Several reasons are given for forbidding cremation:? First, cremation was often associated with heathen religious practices.? Secondly, there were non-believers who chose to be cremated thinking that by doing so, they would eliminate the possibility of Christ raising their deceased body from the grave on the Last Day.? It was as if they were defiantly daring God to try to raise their body from the dead!
Because of those two reasons, many Christians considered cremation to be wrong and something that Christians simply did not do.
In some areas of the world ? and even in some places here in the United States ? the price of land for burial has become beyond what some families can afford.? Thus, the option for cremation is simply an economic option and nothing else.? For the Christian, what is most important is that faith we confess and share in the Creeds, where we proclaim our belief in the Triune God as our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier. ?In
other words, our confession is that it is God who has created us, who has redeemed us, and who will raise us.? This means that the body that God has created should never be consider as something without value.? Rather, it is a precious gift that should be treated with respect, whatever the method of handling it after death.
Let us also never forget that our confession is that we fully believe that on the Last Day God will beckon forth that deceased body to rise from the dead in a perfected state, be reunited with the soul, and then body and soul will begin to fully enjoy eternal bliss with God in heaven!
Thanks for your question.