Reformed Church in America

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From the Reformed Church in America Official Website: https://www.rca.org/

Beginning of Life

Abortion

The Reformed Church in America generally opposes abortion.

Official Statements:

"We believe the Bible teaches the sanctity of human life. [We] are given the precious gift of life from God and are created in the image of God. Therefore, we believe, in principle, that abortion ought not to be practiced at all. However, in this complex society, where many times one form of evil is pitted against another form of evil, there could be exceptions. It is our Christian conviction that abortion performed for personal reasons to insure individual convenience ought not to be permitted. (MSG 1973: 106)" (General Synod Statements: Abortion [1])
"In light of prior General Synod decisions, the committee believes it is inappropriate for the Reformed Church in America to advocate any kind of governmental support for abortion. (MGS 1984: 257-258)" (General Synod Statements: Abortion [2])
"although a society may accept abortion legally, abortion is not thereby morally responsible... Only in theory and in science-fiction can one imagine human life so totally individualistic that child-bearing can be a matter of parental convenience. (MGS 1984: 247)" (General Synod Statements: Abortion [3])


Science & Technology

Biotechnology

Human Cloning

The Reformed Church in America opposes human cloning.

Official Statement:

“At this time, human reproductive cloning is morally and theologically unacceptable. The risks of harm outweigh possible benefits of the technology. Cloning threatens to diminish genetic diversity... A number of dubious motivations seem to inspire human cloning. A perspective that increasingly seeks to control and manage life in a way that distances humanity from its Creator makes for a decisive verdict against this technology. The church must faithfully resist participation in and support of human reproductive cloning. (MGS 2004: 295)” (General Synod Statements: Genetic Engineering, Human Cloning to Produce Children[4])

Stem Cell Research

The Reformed Church in America recognizes ambiguity in the sources of stem cells and recommends different approaches depending on their source. Official Statement:

“The 2002 General Synod concluded that “the questions surrounding stem cell technology are complex and clouded. There are a variety of views within the Christian community. The various sources of embryonic stem cells warrant different moral evaluations.” There are four major sources of stem cells:
    • From miscarriages: There is some possibility of developing stem cells from miscarried fetuses. With parental consent, this source for stem cells seems the least ethically ambiguous.
    • Existing lines of stem cells: United States federal funding is currently restricted to the roughly 60 lines of stem cells already in existence; the intention of the restriction is to discourage the destruction of additional embryos while still allowing research on the existing lines. The RCA’s Commission on Christian Action generally supported the continued use of existing stem cell lines for research.
    • Disposal and freezing of surplus embryos: Declining to view embryos, even those that are to be discarded, as a source for stem cells may inhibit the development of an outlook that views human beings as things and spare parts. Resisting the use of embryonic stem cells could greatly encourage research to focus on developing stem cells from alternate sources, such as adult bone marrow.
    • Production of embryos for stem cells: Creating embryos solely for scientific purposes, such as cloning and developing stem cells, promotes a perspective that views embryos and potentially all life as a commodity or resource. The RCA’s Commission on Christian Action strongly opposed any production of embryos solely for stem cell research. (MGS 2002: 98-99)" (General Synod Statements: Genetic Engineering, Stem Cell Research[5])

Genetic Ethics

Genetic Screening

The Reformed Church in America is ambiguous in its support for genetic testing and screening.

Official Statement:

“Genetic testing is never a neutral act. Once information from genetic testing is acquired, there is no avoiding some response. Inaction is no less a response than action. The church needs to stand with, support, and share the love of Christ with our brothers and sisters responding to information received from genetic testing. (MGS 2001: 381)” (General Synod Statements: Genetic Engineering, Genetic Testing and Screening[6])
"The church is always predisposed toward efforts both to alleviate suffering and value life, although neither is finally our ultimate loyalty. As we encounter issues surrounding genetic testing and screening, we proceed with caution, with accurate scientific information, and as prayerful, humble creatures. (MGS 2001: 381)" (General Synod Statements: Genetic Engineering, Genetic Testing and Screening[7])

Genetic Testing

See statements on Genetic Screening above.


End of Life

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

The Reformed Church in America opposes physician-assisted suicide.

Official Statements:

"Life, despite its circumstances, is a gift from God, and each individual is its steward... Contemporary arguments for the “right” to assistance to commit suicide are based on ideas of each individual’s autonomy over his or her life. Christians cannot claim such autonomy; Christians acknowledge that they belong to God... A decision to take one’s own life thus appears to be a denial that one belongs to God. (MGS 1994: 70-71, 74-75)" (General Synod Statements: Physician-Assisted Suicide[8])
"Christians express their faith in God’s love by trusting in God’s care for them. A decision to end one’s life would appear to be a cessation of that trust... Suffering calls upon people to trust God even in the valley of the shadow of death. It calls on people to let God, and not suffering, determine the agenda of their life and their death. (MGS 1994: 70-71, 74-75)" (General Synod Statements: Physician-Assisted Suicide[9])


Notes

  1. https://www.rca.org/abortion
  2. https://www.rca.org/abortion
  3. https://www.rca.org/abortion
  4. https://www.rca.org/geneticengineering
  5. https://www.rca.org/geneticengineering
  6. https://www.rca.org/geneticengineering
  7. https://www.rca.org/geneticengineering
  8. https://www.rca.org/physicianassistedsuicide
  9. https://www.rca.org/physicianassistedsuicide
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