Lutheran Church Missouri Synod

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Official Denominational Website: https://www.lcms.org


Beginning of Life

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Abortion in Perspective: A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod as prepared by its Social Concerns Committee” (1984)

“The Scriptures do not specify the moment at which a new individual human being comes into existence-we have already indicated what science and medicine have taught us, namely, that the development of a new individual begins at fertilization-but the Scriptures do make clear that every human being is valuable because valued by God.” (“Abortion in Perspective,” 27-28)[1]

Abortion

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Abortion in Perspective: A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod as prepared by its Social Concerns Committee” (1984)

“The Scriptural principles offered here compel us to regard abortion on demand not only as a sin against the Fifth Commandment forbidding the destruction of human life, but also as a grievous offense against the First—that we worship the one true God and cling to Him alone. The act of abortion clearly manifests a refusal to honor God as the Creator and to seek him above all else in time of need.” (“Abortion in Perspective,” 32)
"We offer the following ethical reflections with respect to abortion.
1. The unborn child developing within the mother's body is clearly a human being entitled to our care and protection...
a. We know too much about the unique identity of the unborn child to imagine that he can properly be called "a part" of his mother's body...
b. It is mistaken ... to regard viability (the time at which the unborn child is able to live outside the uterus) as a morally significant dividing line...
c. The unborn child does not become entitled to our care and protection only if he is "wanted...."
d. The fact that a child will be born retarded and/or disable cannot justify withdrawing our protection for his life...
e. There are circumstances in life in which an abortion might be considered a means toward achieving some good end....But however desirable such goals may be, they cannot justify killing a human being in order to attain them...
2. We have emphasized as strongly as possible the protection to which the unborn child is entitled. We do not overlook, however, the fact that in the gestation and birth of children mothers bear by far the greatest burdens....This fact alone gives the mother's claims a certain preeminence in those cases where the life of the unborn child and the equal life of the mother come into conflict.
In the rare situations of conflict we must recognize the permissibility of abortion. Despite the progress of medical science, there are still unusual circumstances in which a mother will die if an abortion is not performed. There are also cases...in which the danger to the mother’s life is greatly increases if no abortion is performed. Even in such circumstances a mother may choose to risk her own life as an act of love, but such an act of self-giving cannot be required. It must be freely given, not imposed.” (“Abortion in Perspective” 1984 page 26)[2]
Very difficult and painful situations arise in cases of pregnancies which result from rape or incest.... the evil and violent circumstances in which a child is conceived do not in and of themselves constitute valid grounds for recommending or approving an abortion.There is a necessity for a concentrated and sustained ministry to the woman who finds herself in such tragic circumstances. There must be concern for her physical, spiritual, and emotional needs as well as for the life and future of the child." (“Abortion in Perspective,” 33-36)[3]

Contraception

There is no objection to contraception in the LCMS as long as the couple is not using it to remain voluntarily childless:

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective” (1981)

“in the absence of Scriptural prohibition, there need be no objection to contraception within a marital union which is, as a whole, fruitful. Moreover, once we grant the appropriateness of contraception, we will also recognize that sterilization may under some circumstances be an acceptable form of contraception.” (“Human Sexuality: A Theological Perspective,” 19)[4]

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

"It is one thing to think carefully about when to have children and how many to have, and whether to use contraception. But when husband and wife decide that their sexual intimacy will never be allowed to bring forth children, they should examine with care whether they are selfishly seeking to circumvent the natural plan for marital intimacy to turn outward in love for children." (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 16)[5]


Infertility & Reproduction

Reproductive Technologies

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod believes that having children is a way to bring spouses together, and that it does so by being the genetic offspring of both parents (so that a child cannot be an achievement of one parent alone) and by providing an opportunity to look beyond the individual. (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 15-16)[6]

Artificial Insemination - of mother with father’s sperm

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

“Within this context [marriage] the technique of artificial insemination with the husband’s sperm is considered a possible approach to overcoming infertility. However, artificial insemination with donor sperm from outside the marriage conceives the child in a way that disturbs the delicate balance between sameness and difference in God’s plans for marriage” (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 18)[7]

Artificial Insemination - of mother with donor’s sperm

See Artificial Insemination - of mother with father’s sperm above

Artificial Insemination - using a surrogate

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

“Surrogacy that conceives the child from the surrogate’s egg rather than the wife’s egg would be ruled out in much the same way as artificial insemination by donor. It brings about an asymmetry in the relation of the child to the social father and mother. Any use of sperm or eggs from outside the marriage is an inappropriate disturbance” (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 18-19)[8]

In-Vitro Fertilization - using egg and sperm of parents

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

“In vitro fertilization often uses sperm and eggs from the husband and wife, and the wife carries the child. In this circumstance there does not seem to be a disturbance of the marital relationship and the relationship between the parents and the child. On the other hand, in vitro fertilization can be practiced using sperm and eggs from any of a variety of donors. In such cases the violation of the purposes of marriage seems once again to occur” (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 19)[9]

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life” (2005)

“While we do not presume to advise on all of the intricacies of medical procedures and possibilities, we urge couples and their medical advisers to aim toward the practice of transferring all embryos [to the womb]. If the goal is to initiate and foster human life, then we trust that those involved will let their respect for human life guide them in their practical decisions.” (“Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life,” 46)[10]

IVF - with egg donor

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

“Any use of sperm or eggs from outside the marriage is an inappropriate disturbance” (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 18-19)[11]

IVF - with sperm donor

See IVF - with egg donor above

IVF - with surrogate with egg and sperm from parents

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Christians and Procreative Choices: How do God’s Chosen Choose?” (1996)

“We note that some surrogacy proposals involve in vitro fertilization using gametes from the married, but childless, partners. In such a proposal the embryo would be conceived from within the one-flesh context of the marriage. Still, the implantation of the embryo and the gestation of the child in another woman’s womb continue to locate some of the most intimate features of marital and parental relationships outside the one-flesh union of husband and wife” ("Christians and Procreative Choices: How do God’s Chosen Choose?” 17-18)[12])\

IVF - with surrogate and egg donor

See Artificial Insemination - using a surrogate above

IVF - with surrogate and sperm donor

See IVF - with egg donor above

IVF - with surrogate and her egg and father’s sperm

See Artificial Insemination - using a surrogate above

IVF - with surrogate and egg and sperm donor

See Artificial Insemination - using a surrogate above

Nuclear Transfer and Cloning (for reproduction)

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

“Cloning is fundamentally unacceptable because only one person’s bodily life provides the genetic instructions; the delicate balance of marriage is once again disturbed. The child stands in an asymmetric relationship to the father and the mother, because its total set of genetic instructions has come from only one parent” (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 19)[13]

Frozen Oocytes

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life” (2005)

“While we do not presume to advise on all of the intricacies of medical procedures and possibilities, we urge couples and their medical advisers to aim toward the practice of transferring all embryos [to the womb]. If the goal is to initiate and foster human life, then we trust that those involved will let their respect for human life guide them in their practical decisions.” (“Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life,” 46)[14]


Healthcare & Medicine

Organ Donation and Transplantation

Official Statement: from LCMS Church Information Center, "LCMS Views - Life Issues: Organ Donation"

“The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod encourages organ donation as an act of Christian love, but this choice is entirely up to the individual and/or his or her family, and should not be a cause of guilt or regret no matter what decision is made. The Bible has nothing specific to say regarding this issue. Therefore, it is a matter of Christian freedom and personal (or family) discretion.
Resolved, That our pastors, teachers, and Directors of Christian Education be encouraged to inform the members of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod of the opportunity to sign a Universal Donor Card (which is to authorize the use of our needed organs at the time of death in order to relieve the suffering of individuals requiring organ transplants); and be it further
Resolved, That we encourage family members to become living kidney donors; and be it further Resolved, That the program committees of pastors and teachers conferences be encouraged to include "organ and tissue transplants" as a topic on their agendas; and be it finally Resolved, That the Board of Social Ministry and World Relief seek ways to implement this program so that the entire Synod may join in this opportunity to express Christian concern.” ("LCMS Views - Life Issues: Organ Donation," 6)[15]


Science & Technology

Biotechnology

Human Cloning

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning” (2002)

“Cloning is fundamentally unacceptable because only one person’s bodily life provides the genetic instructions; the delicate balance of marriage is once again disturbed. The child stands in an asymmetric relationship to the father and the mother, because its total set of genetic instructions has come from only one parent” (“What Child is This? Marriage, Family and Human Cloning,” 19)[16]

Stem Cell Research

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life” (2005)

“We urge the research community to renounce the troubling basis upon which researchers push us to go forward with the killing of embryos.
we argue that destruction for human life cannot be justified by pointing to promising outcomes for other humans.
We urge scientists, policy makers, potential embryo donors, and politicians to examine with more care whether the best course in the face of moral uncertainty is to press full steam ahead with morally problematic research. This question should trouble not only Christians but also anyone who tries to think clearly about human life. The practical course at the current time should be to shift resources away from this morally troublesome research to other promising lines of research in the pursuit of healing for suffering humans.
we have…made clear that definite and serious moral uncertainty attends the use of embryos for scientific research.” (“Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life,” 44-47[17])


End of Life

Artificial Hydration and Nutrition

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Christian Care at Life’s End” (1993)

“In cases where it is not possible in any way to determine a patient’s own assessments concerning the burdens and benefits of the treatment, the wisest choice is to continue provision of nutrition and hydration...in these circumstances continued feeding is wise because it effectively blocks the temptation society may have solely to aim at the death of patients whose ‘biological tenacity’ has become inconvenient and troublesome.” (“Christian Care at Life’s End,” 10)[18]

Extraordinary Measures

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Christian Care at Life’s End” (1993)

“In respect for our relationship with God and with one another, we are required to give and to receive ‘ordinary’ care in which the good effects of the treatment are proportionate to the difficulty and inconvenience involved, care that can be provided without imposing an excessive burden on the patient and on others. We may, and perhaps should, reject

“extraordinary” care and in such cases “let nature take its course.” (“Christian Care at Life’s End,” 15)[19]

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Christian Care at Life’s End” (1993)

“Principle 1: Euthanasia, in its proper sense, is a synonym for mercy killing, which involves suicide and/or murder. It is, therefore, contrary to God’s Law.
Principle 2: As Creator, God alone knows with certainty whether a disease or an injury is incurable.
Principle 3: When the God-given powers of the body to sustain its own life can no longer function and doctors in their professional judgment conclude that there is no real hope for recovery even with life-support instruments, a Christian may in good conscience “let nature take its course.”
Principle 4: Administering pain-killing medications, even at the risk of shortening life, is permissible, since this does not entail the choice of death as either a means or an end.” (“Christian Care at Life’s End,” 4)[20]

Official Statement: from LCMS Church Information Center, "LCMS Views - Life Issues: Euthanasia"

“Whereas, The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod affirms the sanctity of human life and recognizes the reality of human suffering; and
Whereas, Any attempt to legalize assisted suicide is an affront to the Lord, who gives life, and opens the door for abuse and future legislation that would deny the freedom of many; and
Whereas, Suffering and depression are also opportunities for helping, healing, encouragement, and hope through the Gospel; and
Whereas, Physicians in particular have a responsibility to sustain and promote life; and
Whereas, We respect the individual's right to refuse treatment or to forbid life-support systems by a prior directive and to be allowed to die; therefore be it
Resolved, That The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod in convention express its objection to medical personnel having any part in actively inducing death, even at the patient's request or at the request of the family; and be it further
Resolved, That the Gospel be applied to situations of suffering and depression as opportunities to help, heal, encourage, and provide hope; and be it finally
Resolved, That the Synod speak out against any attempt to legalize physician-assisted suicide and encourage its pastors and people to do the same.” ("LCMS Views - Life Issues: Euthanasia," 6, quoting resolution 6-02, "To Speak Out against Legalization of Assisted Suicide, 1995)[21]

Withholding & Withdrawing Treatment

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Christian Care at Life’s End” (1993)

“Principle 3: When the God-given powers of the body to sustain its own life can no longer function and doctors in their professional judgment conclude that there is no real hope for recovery even with life-support instruments, a Christian may in good conscience “let nature take its course.”
Principle 4: Administering pain-killing medications, even at the risk of shortening life, is permissible, since this does not entail the choice of death as either a means or an end.” (“Christian Care at Life’s End,” 4)[22]


Issues of Human Dignity & Discrimination

The Lutheran Church Missouri Synod believes that it is not possible for humans to determine the worth of an individual because the basis of our worth come from God.

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations, “Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life” (2005)

“love and care for humans is not something that flows from us in response to the other’s worth. Rather, God’s love gives us humans our worth. So acknowledging God’s valuing of humans, our love and care go out to others.” (“Christian Faith and Human Beginnings: Christian Care and Pre-Implantation Human Life,” 41)[23]

Disability Ethics

Official Statement: from Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod, “Abortion in Perspective: A Report of the Commission on Theology and Church Relations of The Lutheran Church--Missouri Synod as prepared by its Social Concerns Committee” (1984)

“[God] values the weak and the lowly, and with Him achievement does not count for more than potential. Human dignity is therefore bestowed by God, not achieved or earned.(“Abortion in Perspective,” 18)
It has become increasingly common in our society to speak as if taking life—whether of the unborn through abortion, of the handicapped or retarded child through benign neglect or infanticide, or of the suffering and the senile through euthanasia—were a way of serving the well-being of those whose lives we take. Against all such misuse of language Christians insist that the task entrusted us by God is to help and befriend our neighbor in every bodily need, not to rush the neighbor out of existence and beyond the realm of bodily need.” (“Abortion in Perspective,” 20)
The fact that a child will be born retarded and/or disable cannot justify withdrawing our protection for his life.” (“Abortion in Perspective,” 25)[24]


Notes

  1. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=363
  2. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=363
  3. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=363
  4. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=319
  5. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  6. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  7. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  8. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  9. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  10. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=353
  11. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  12. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=357
  13. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  14. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=353
  15. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=551
  16. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=355
  17. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=353
  18. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=361
  19. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=361
  20. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=361
  21. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=551
  22. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=361
  23. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=353
  24. https://www.lcms.org/Document.fdoc?src=lcm&id=363
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