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Cremation - worth preaching on?

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I still maintain that not every topic needs preaching from the pulpit. How about a sermon on 2 Kings 18.27 next Sunday? I think wisdom would have me do otherwise.

Being only a year into this church I have participated in more funerals than I care to (this is an elderly congregation) and most involved cremation. If I preached the "error of cremation" next Sunday I'd lose half my congregation and I would deem it insensitive to those who have just lost loved ones.

Does that mean I ignore it? No. You teach when asked, and when appropriate. In my situation this is more a topic to be discussed with the individual... not from the pulpit.

Mt 10:16 Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves.
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Preaching what the Bible says about a topic is "man-made opinion"? :eek Wow...


Oh, come on Jerry. We can discuss things in a civilized manner without resorting to straw man attacks, can't we? I don't think you misunderstood my view, I think you misrepresented it. And that's wrong. But just in case I wasn't clear, I was saying that preaching what the Bible does not say about a topic is "man-made opinion". It's something I find even baptists doing all too often.

I know this is exactly what the OP wanted to avoid, but I challenge you to show me anywhere in the Bible that discusses cremation, much less condemns it. Just because cremation wasn't commonly practiced doesn't mean it's forbidden or in any way wrong. If you want to be buried because there are examples of people being buried, that's cool. But preaching against cremation is religion (unless of course the cremation the preacher is preaching against is in the context of some pagan ritual).

Here's something I hope we both can agree upon, if nothing else: Instead of preaching against cremation, a topic that the Bible is silent about, why not preach on the topic of being buried. There's plenty of scripture to that topic.

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I thought the Catholic church was big time against cremation, which would make me think there is probably nothing wrong with it to be found in the Scriptures!


Even false teachers gets some things right. That makes them even more dangerous.

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Actually, the Bible does deal with cremation - not just its opposite (burial). There are several passages that reference lost nations cremating themselves or their enemies.

Here are some excerpts from the article "Cremation" in the Way of Life Encyclopedia. There are some Scripture references on this subject:

Cremation has a heathen origin and purpose. Why do the Hindus and those of other heathen religions cremate? They do it in the belief that the dead are not raised again, whereas the Bible says there is a resurrection of the just and the unjust. The heathen practice cremation in the belief that the dead will be reincarnated; to destroy the body is sometimes considered a way of releasing the spirit of the deceased. Again, some practice cremation with the heathen idea that by destroying the body of the deceased the fear of that individual staying in the vicinity and haunting the loved ones is diminished. There is nothing Christian about cremation.

Cremation is a sign of God's curse. Throughout the Bible the destruction of a human body or of an object by fire is used as a sign of divine wrath (Ex 32:20; Le 10:1-2; De 7:25; Nu 16:35; 2Ki 10:26; 1Ch 14:12; Ac 19:18-19; Re 20:15).

For a person not to have a proper burial was considered a dishonor (1Ki 21:23-24; Ps 83:9-10).

God has plainly called cremation wickedness (Am 2:1).

Of course we cannot force people either to bury or not to bury. And we know that the manner of one's burial does not affect one's salvation or resurrection, but we do believe these things are important, and we are convinced that Christians should take their stand upon the examples of the Word of God.

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In 1 Samuel 31:11-13 we see that the men of Jabeshgilead burnt the bodies of Saul and his sons when they recovered them, and buried the remains afterward. King David commended their deeds in 2 Samuel 2:5

As far as the Am 2:1 and the bones of the king of Edom, the issue there was that it was intended to be an insult. Much as when the catholic church dug up John Wycliffe's bones and burned him posthumously. Didn't hurt him any but I am sure it was another sin added to the charge of those who gave the orders because of the intent.

If you say cremation is wrong because certain eastern religions do it to bodies for religious reasons then what about Genesis 50:2-3? Here Israel is "embalmed" or mummified, and that was certainly a practice done by the egyptians for religious reasons. I am sure Joseph had it done to his father for practical reasons(he had to take the body back to canaan) rather than for the religious reasons the egyptians did it, but likewise the reasons cremation is sometimes done today is based on practical reasons. It is a whole lot cheaper.

As long as it isn't being done for pagan reasons and the intent is not to dishonor the body of the dead, the whole debate about cremation vs. traditional burial is much ado about nothing in my opinion. Every attempt to prove that cremation is wrong with scripture that I have seen contained very weak arguments. Certainly nothing to build a solid "thou shalt not cremate" doctrine on.

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In 1 Samuel 31:11-13 we see that the men of Jabeshgilead burnt the bodies of Saul and his sons when they recovered them, and buried the remains afterward. King David commended their deeds in 2 Samuel 2:5

As far as the Am 2:1 and the bones of the king of Edom, the issue there was that it was intended to be an insult. Much as when the catholic church dug up John Wycliffe's bones and burned him posthumously. Didn't hurt him any but I am sure it was another sin added to the charge of those who gave the orders because of the intent.

If you say cremation is wrong because certain eastern religions do it to bodies for religious reasons then what about Genesis 50:2-3? Here Israel is "embalmed" or mummified, and that was certainly a practice done by the egyptians for religious reasons. I am sure Joseph had it done to his father for practical reasons(he had to take the body back to canaan) rather than for the religious reasons the egyptians did it, but likewise the reasons cremation is sometimes done today is based on practical reasons. It is a whole lot cheaper.

As long as it isn't being done for pagan reasons and the intent is not to dishonor the body of the dead, the whole debate about cremation vs. traditional burial is much ado about nothing in my opinion. Every attempt to prove that cremation is wrong with scripture that I have seen contained very weak arguments. Certainly nothing to build a solid "thou shalt not cremate" doctrine on.


The voice of reason and sanity, thank you.

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Again, what is the Biblical example? What have true Christians done throughout history? We can't throw out a Biblical principle because today the opposite is less expensive. What happened to living according to the Word of God?

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Jerry, Perhaps I'm overreacting, but you seem to like to accuse people of not living according to the Word of God when they disagree with you. I believe Seth gave you a very good Bible based analysis and referenced the examples of what former saints did. There appears to be multiple methods of disposing of the body as being acceptable in the Scriptures. In this instance, I'm not certain you are as concerned about living the Word of God as you are about having to be right. Seems to me that this may be one of those areas that good men of God can disagree after having given their Bible based reasons and that neither has to accuse the other of not "living according to the Word of God."

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Again, what is the Biblical example?

In my mind no "Bible example" has been proven....

What have true Christians done throughout history?


I thought us Baptist's used the Bible as our final authority and not what "true Christians have done throughout history."

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Again, what is the Biblical example? What have true Christians done throughout history? We can't throw out a Biblical principle because today the opposite is less expensive. What happened to living according to the Word of God?



We have to be careful not to equate a biblical example with a biblical command when the two are not the same. We don't greet one another with a "kiss" even though there are many directives to do so(Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26, 1 Peter 5:14, etc.) and several examples of it occurring. We do not because we understand that it was a cultural way of greeting someone much like a handshake today. We understand that telling them to greet so and so with the "holy kiss" was the equivalent of saying hi and giving a handshake or a slap on the back.

To take it a step further lets pick a silly example for an analogy. Suppose I was to speak against owning horses and say that a Christian should not own one. I could take this verse:

"Deuteronomy 17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the LORD hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way."

and say that the biblical example is not to have horses. Then I could point to this verse:

"Joshua 11:6 And the LORD said unto Joshua, Be not afraid because of them: for to morrow about this time will I deliver them up all slain before Israel: thou shalt hock their horses, and burn their chariots with fire."

...and say that this shows that God disapproves of horse keeping and wanted Israel to destroy them for that reason. I could also point to the example of David who also hocked the horses he captured in 2 Samuel 8:4 and in 1 Chronicles 18:4. Then I could show how Solomon began keeping horses and how it coincided with the slide of Israel into sin. I could also show how horses were traditionally used by the ungodly and the enemies of Israel etc. Quite a substantial, but false, argument could be built up.

Now if I were to actually say such a thing I would be missing the whole point. It wasn't the horses God had a problem with, it was trusting in them for military might and power instead of in the Lord. I would be guilty of not seeing the forest for the trees.

The point is, a false argument condemning almost anything not explicitly endorsed in the scriptures can be easily built by those with a fair knowledge of the bible. I could do it, you could do it, many people could do it. We need to be careful not to be guilty of that. We also need to make sure we don't adopt man made doctrines from others just because they may be right on many other issues. We need to make sure we condemn only what God would condemn. We need to see the trees but not loose sight of the forest in the process. A handful of verses like Amos 2:1 misapplied and combined with some biblical examples does not a solid bible doctrine make any more than my silly little argument(which could have been made much more detailed and convincing if I was seriously arguing such a thing) against Christians owning horses is a valid one.

To treat a subject like cremation fairly we have to be honest with ourselves. Are we allowing personal likes and dislikes to influence what we are reading in scripture? Do we just not like the thought of a body being turned to ashes? If so why? It is dust to dust no matter if through ashes or through burial.

? Is there a solid reason why God would be against it? To the latter question after searching the scriptures I would have to say no.

I have never seen anything from scripture that would show cremation to be wrong. Every argument I have seen was very weak and ill supported. The only time I see it biblically being a problem was when it was being done to be insulting. In our culture cremation is not considered disrespectful. As such it lies within the realm of personal preference.

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In my mind no "Bible example" has been proven....



I thought us Baptist's used the Bible as our final authority and not what "true Christians have done throughout history."


UGH, I belie Jerry is pointing to the history that's recorded in the pages of the Bible, not history written by man.

Remember, there is much history in the pages of the old Holy Bible, and its rightly the only history we can trust 100 %. And its all for our learning.

Ro

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Actually, the Bible does deal with cremation - not just its opposite (burial). There are several passages that reference lost nations cremating themselves or their enemies.

Here are some excerpts from the article "Cremation" in the Way of Life Encyclopedia. There are some Scripture references on this subject:

Cremation has a heathen origin and purpose. Why do the Hindus and those of other heathen religions cremate? They do it in the belief that the dead are not raised again, whereas the Bible says there is a resurrection of the just and the unjust. The heathen practice cremation in the belief that the dead will be reincarnated; to destroy the body is sometimes considered a way of releasing the spirit of the deceased. Again, some practice cremation with the heathen idea that by destroying the body of the deceased the fear of that individual staying in the vicinity and haunting the loved ones is diminished. There is nothing Christian about cremation.

Cremation is a sign of God's curse. Throughout the Bible the destruction of a human body or of an object by fire is used as a sign of divine wrath (Ex 32:20; Le 10:1-2; De 7:25; Nu 16:35; 2Ki 10:26; 1Ch 14:12; Ac 19:18-19; Re 20:15).

For a person not to have a proper burial was considered a dishonor (1Ki 21:23-24; Ps 83:9-10).

God has plainly called cremation wickedness (Am 2:1).

Of course we cannot force people either to bury or not to bury. And we know that the manner of one's burial does not affect one's salvation or resurrection, but we do believe these things are important, and we are convinced that Christians should take their stand upon the examples of the Word of God.


You have failed to convince me. None of those verses condemn cremation.

The holy grail of anti-cremationites use Amos 2:1 and say it is condemning cremation. That is like saying Genesis 38:9 condemns birth control. Amos 2:1 wasn't talking about the method of cremation, it was talking about the callous way in which they destroyed his body. Just like Genesis 38 wasn't talking about a method of birth control, it was talking about going against Gods wishes by not fathering his brothers child.

Cremation, at least in our culture, is not a method of disrespecting the dead and it is not a pagan ritual. So I just don't see why people are against it.

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We have to be careful not to equate a biblical example with a biblical command when the two are not the same. We don't greet one another with a "kiss" even though there are many directives to do so.


Good example.

I have never seen anything from scripture that would show cremation to be wrong. Every argument I have seen was very weak and ill supported. The only time I see it biblically being a problem was when it was being done to be insulting. In our culture cremation is not considered disrespectful. As such it lies within the realm of personal preference.


I would have to agree. Cremation, unless it's practice is for pagan or disrespectful purposes (which it is not), is entirely a personal preference. In my opinion, preaching against personal preferences (where there is no scripture to back it) is 'religion'. I'm not a big fan of religion.

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If people have the option of being buried, they should take that option. but places like Haiti, sometimes they have to burn bodies because there are just too much of it, and it is stinking up the place.

I personally think they should bury the bodies, because decayed bodies give off nutrients to the soils. I am not so sure if Ashes can do the same thing. but anyway, whatever work best for them.

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UGH, I belie Jerry is pointing to the history that's recorded in the pages of the Bible, not history written by man.



I took the statement "What have true Christians done throughout history" on it's on merit. If Jerry indeed meant "in the pages of the Bible" then I stand corrected. But I don't read that in his comment. But I still don't see the Biblical mandate against cremation.

My comment was not meant to be judgmental in any way. I was just trying to remind all that we need to base our beliefs on the Bible and not tradition, even if it's good, pure, correct tradition. Tradition is tradition.

If I offended anyone by a poorly worded statement I apologize. I think the world of Jerry though we may disagree on some points.

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I lookled up a few examples in the Bible....

Sarah's body was respected and buried in a cave Genesis 23:19-20
Elisha's body was placed in a sepulchre 2Kings 13:21
Jesus' body was respected, prepared and buried in a tomb Matthew 27:58-61

The Biblical, Christian example appears to be the burial of an intact body, so I would say, yes, though the Word of God doesn't say "thou shalt not cremate", it does give Biblical examples. SO, I want to follow Jesus' example don't you? I think I'll stick with conventional burial. However......I don't see it as a SIN if anyone chooses to do that UNLESS, like I said already, they are doing it for a pagan or otherwise ungodly reason.

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Had an interesting realization this morning concerning the cost differential between cremation/burial.

Though many don't -- most Americans have life insurance or VA benefits (or both). Most life insurance policies will cover a modest burial.

I wonder how many people's cremation motive is --- look @ the extra available money from the policy (vs getting a larger policy in the 1st place)?

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I lookled up a few examples in the Bible....

Sarah's body was respected and buried in a cave Genesis 23:19-20
Elisha's body was placed in a sepulchre 2Kings 13:21
Jesus' body was respected, prepared and buried in a tomb Matthew 27:58-61

The Biblical, Christian example appears to be the burial of an intact body, so I would say, yes, though the Word of God doesn't say "thou shalt not cremate", it does give Biblical examples. SO, I want to follow Jesus' example don't you? I think I'll stick with conventional burial. However......I don't see it as a SIN if anyone chooses to do that UNLESS, like I said already, they are doing it for a pagan or otherwise ungodly reason.


And many OT patriarchs married the heathen and had more than one wife. That doesn't mean the practice is a "Christian example" that we should follow. (obviously)- Just because an OT saint did something does not mean it is a Biblical command nor that it was even proper.

Let me please be clear... I am not trying to be "difficult" in any way. I'm finding this thread to be very interesting and I learn sometimes by "challenging". I totally and wholehearted agree that one CAN make a case for burial only... but... I still have not seen a clear Biblical condemnation of cremation nor a clear Biblical support for burial ONLY.

Thanks for great "debate" all.... If my posts ever come of as "tough" or "short" (rude) I assure you.. that was not the intent... EVER....

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And many OT patriarchs married the heathen and had more than one wife. That doesn't mean the practice is a "Christian example" that we should follow. (obviously)- Just because an OT saint did something does not mean it is a Biblical command nor that it was even proper.

Let me please be clear... I am not trying to be "difficult" in any way. I'm finding this thread to be very interesting and I learn sometimes by "challenging". I totally and wholehearted agree that one CAN make a case for burial only... but... I still have not seen a clear Biblical condemnation of cremation nor a clear Biblical support for burial ONLY.

Thanks for great "debate" all.... If my posts ever come of as "tough" or "short" (rude) I assure you.. that was not the intent... EVER....



Hey bro, did I say it was a "biblical command"? The reason I said it was a CHRISTIAN example was because CHRIST's whole intact body, sir, was placed in a tomb. And yes, whatever Christ did IS and example for us. Sorry I mentioned the "old testament saints" because that's what you chose to point out while ignoring the other. Did yoiu even read this part?
However......I don't see it as a SIN if anyone chooses to do that UNLESS, like I said already, they are doing it for a pagan or otherwise ungodly reason.

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Hey bro, did I say it was a "biblical command"? The reason I said it was a CHRISTIAN example was because CHRIST's whole intact body, sir, was placed in a tomb. And yes, whatever Christ did IS and example for us. Sorry I mentioned the "old testament saints" because that's what you chose to point out while ignoring the other. Did yoiu even read this part?



I apologize. I thought my post explained my "challenge." I meant nothing at all. I'm sorry I even started the thread...

Think I'll lay low for awhile.... bye... :saint2:

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