National Association of Evangelicals


"Termination of Medical Treatment"

Human beings are made in the image of God and are, therefore, of inestimable worth. God has given people the highest dignity of all creation. Such human dignity prohibits euthanasia, that is actively causing a person's death. (emphasis added).

In the past 30 years, medical technology has developed systems that have enabled physicians to more effectively care for their patients and save lives that would otherwise be lost. However, this technology has also resulted in the possibility of prolonging the dying process beyond its normal course. This often causes great suffering, not only for the patient, but also for the family, friends and caregivers.

Such technology also raises moral questions. For example, is it moral to withdraw a life-support system which is believed to be an inappropriate extension of the dying process? The National Association of Evangelicals (NAE) believes that in cases where patients are terminally ill, death appears imminent and treatment offers no medical hope for a cure, it is morally appropriate to request the withdrawal of life-support systems, allowing natural death to occur. In such cases, every effort should be made to keep the patient free of pain and suffering, with emotional and spiritual support being provided until the patient dies.

When a person's cerebral cortex dies, is it moral for the family or medical staff to withdraw life-support systems? The National Association of evangelicals believes that in cases where extensive brain injury has occurred and there is clear medical indication that the patient has suffered brain death (permanent unconscious state), no medical treatment can reverse the process.

(Brain death is not the equivalent of a coma. A patient might awaken from a coma, but not from brain death.) Removal of any extraordinary life-support system at this time is morally appropri- ate and allows the dying process to proceed. Under such circum- stances, appropriate action is best taken where there is guidance from a signed "living will" or a durable power of attorney for health care. Where there is no "living will" or durable power of attorney for health care, the decision to withdraw life support should be made by the family and/or closest friends in consultation with a member of the clergy, when available, and the medical staff.

NAE acknowledges that the withdrawal of life-support systems is an emotional and difficult issue. However, we believe that medical treatment that serves only to prolong the dying process has little value. It is better that the dying process be allowed to continue and the patient permitted to die.

This is especially true of those who know Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. For as the Apostle Paul said: "To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord" (2 Cor. 5:8).

(Resolution adopted at the 1994 Annual Conference)

The following denominations and fellowships hold membership in the National Association of Evangelicals:

Advent Christian General Conference
Assemblies of God
Baptist General Conference
The Brethren Church (Ashland, Ohio)
Brethren in Christ Church
Christian & Missionary Alliance
Christian Catholic Church (Evangelical Protestant)
Christian Church of North America
Christian Reformed Church in North America
Christian Union
Church of God (Cleveland, Tennessee)
Church of God, Mountain Assembly,lnc.
The Church of the Nazarene
Church of the United Brethren in Christ
Churches of Christ in Christian Union
Conservative Baptist Association
Conservative Congregational Christian Conference
Conservative Lutheran Association
Elim Fellowship
Evangelical Church of North America
Evangelical Congregational Church
Evangelical Free Church of America
Evangelical Friends International of North America
Evangelical Mennonite Church
Evangelical Methodist Church
Evangelical Presbyterian Church
Evangelical Missionary Fellowship
Fellowship of Evangelical Bible Church
Fire Baptized Holiness Church of God of the Americas
Free Methodist Church of North America
General Association of General Baptists
Intemational Church of the Feuresquure Gospel
Intemational Pentecostal Church of Christ
Intemational Pentecostal Holiness Church
Mennonite Brethren Churches,USA
Midwest Congregational Christian Fellowship
Missionary Church, Inc.
Open Bible Standard Churches
Pentecostal Church of God
Pentecostal Free Will Baptist Church, Inc.
Presbyterian Church in America
Primitive Methodist Church, USA
Refon-ned Episcopal Church
Refortned Presbyterian Church of North America
The Salvation Army
Synod of Mid-America (Reformed Church in America)
The Wesleyan Church

"Termination of Medical Treatment." Resolution adopted at the Annual Convention of the National Association of Evangelicals. 1994.

The above is taken from the pamplet "A Religious Response to Euthanasia" by Advocates for Better Care, 2340 Porter St., SW, P.O. Box 901, Grand Rapids, MI 49509-0901. (616) 530-2864.

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