Wesleyan Church

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Official website: http://www.wesleyan.org/

Beginning of Life

Abortion

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Prolife Task Force "Position Paper on Activity in Opposition of Abortion"

"The Wesleyan Church takes a strong pro-life position on the issue of abortion. The Discipline of The Wesleyan Church sets forth the following statement in its section of "Special Directions": Abortion. The Wesleyan Church seeks to recognize and preserve the sanctity of human life from conception to natural death and, thus, is opposed to the use of induced abortion. However, it recognizes that there may be rare pregnancies where there are grave medical conditions threatening the life of the mother, which could raise a serious question about taking the life of the unborn child. In such a case, a decision should be made only after very' prayerful consideration following medical and spiritual counseling. The Wesleyan Church encourages its members to become informed about the abortion issue and to become actively involved locally and nationally in the preparation and passage of appropriate legislation guaranteeing protection of life under law to unborn children." ("Position Paper on Activity in Opposition of Abortion"[1])
"We oppose the use of fetal tissue for medical research on the grounds that it contributes to the rationale for elective abortion." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[2])

Contraception

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Prolife Task Force "Position Paper on Reproductive Technology"

"With regard to methods of birth control, the key question must be whether the method of birth control acts before or after conception. A so-called contraceptive which acts after conception is more correctly termed an abortifacient and violates the sanctity of human life. A medical doctor can advise you of whether a birth control method acts before or after conception." ("Position Paper on Reproductive Technology"[3])


Infertility & Reproduction

Reproductive Technology

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Prolife Task Force "Position Paper on Reproductive Technology"

"Reproductive technology is a complex area. No single answer can cover all situations. Therefore, the following guidelines are necessarily of a general nature."
"Infertility can be very stressful to those involved. Therefore, biblical standards regarding reproductive technology should be determined before employing such technology, not after a crisis has developed. Decisions concerning reproductive technology should be made only after prayer and pastoral consultation. A clear guideline in employing reproductive technology is respect for the sanctity of human life. Individual human life begins at the moment of conception. Therefore, just as innocent human life should not be destroyed by abortion, so also care must be taken to avoid the destruction of fertilized human eggs while employing reproductive technology."
"For example, where reproductive technology is employed to fertilize eggs outside the womb, only the number of eggs which will actually be implanted in the womb should be fertilized outside the uterus. Further more, only the number of eggs a woman would be willing or able to carry to term ought to be implanted in the womb after external fertilization. To create or implant excess fertilized human eggs with the expectation that these "excess" human beings will be killed in the womb or aborted violates the sanctity of human life."
"What of couples who have come to understand biblical principles after more of their embryonic children have been preserved by freezing than they are able reasonably to implant? A solution respecting human life would be to find another couple willing to "adopt" the embryos by implanting them, rather than destroying them. The following prayer may be helpful during this type of decision. "Lord, we want to do Your will in this regard. We will be listening to Your voice in the next few weeks. Please speak to us through the means You prefer; and when we have understood, we will obey."" ("Position Paper on Reproductive Technology"[4])

Healthcare & Medicine

Organ Donation & Transplantation

Official Statements: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"Since the dead body is destined for decay, and since the resurrection of believers does not depend on the integrity of the physical body, and since organ donation for human transplant or medical research has the potential for doing good, we do not oppose the donation of body parts. Persons who have suffered whole brain death are dead and may be considered candidates for organ donation. Under no circumstances should a life be terminated for the purpose of harvesting body parts. We do not object to the transplantation of mechanical or animal organs to humans."
"We oppose the use of fetal tissue for medical research on the grounds that it contributes to the rationale for elective abortion." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[5])

Science & Technology

Human Research Ethics

Experimentation on Human Embryos

Official Statements: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"We oppose the use of fetal tissue for medical research on the grounds that it contributes to the rationale for elective abortion." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[6])


End of Life

Official Statements: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"No one likes to think about death. Even less do people wish to consider the complex moral and medical questions which now confront the dying and their families. Yet until the Lord returns, death will be a constant reality. Every person will die. Many will be asked to decide on difficult matters such as advance directives, the withdrawal of life support or the donation of body parts. Given the constantly changing state of medical technology and the variety of circumstances surrounding each individual, it is impossible to provide specific guidance for any and every situation. Instead, each believer must be informed by the teaching of Scripture, counseled by the Church and guided by the Holy Spirit. Therefore we begin by establishing biblical principles related to death and dying, then offering general guidelines for a number of current issues."
"The Word of God speaks authoritatively on the subject of death and dying. Our faith is centered on the fact of Christ's death and resurrection. While the biblical writers do not speak specifically to the issues of our technological age, they do address the origin and purpose of life, the meaning of death, suffering, and eternal life. These principles form the foundation for our thinking on death and dying."
Human Life Has Absolute Value — Every human being is created in the image of God and therefore has incomparable worth independent of any other feature of ability. It is categorically wrong for a human to take the life of any innocent fellow human.
Death Is Certain Punishment For Sin — Death is the punishment for sin under which all persons live. All persons will die except those who remain alive until Christ returns. Death is not to be sought, nor can it be avoided indefinitely.
There Is Life After Death — Human beings are composed of both body and spirit. At death the spirit leaves the body. All people experience life after death. The wicked experience eternal punishment in hell. The righteous are granted eternal life in heaven through faith in Jesus Christ and are given a new, spiritual body. The reality of Christ's resurrection frees believers from the fear of death.
Suffering Has Purpose — Suffering is a part of the curse under which human beings live and cannot be avoided entirely. Suffering is not to be desired, but can have value for both the sufferer, and those who care since it provides an opportunity to display faith and mercy and demonstrates human dependence upon God. Damnation, not suffering of physical death, is the worst possible outcome for a human life.
Love Must Guide Action — Believers are intended to make ethical choices based upon the Biblical imperatives, “Love your neighbor as yourself” and “Do to others as you would have them do to you.”
God Alone Deserves Trust — God is the Giver of life, both physical and spiritual, and is the only proper object of faith. Technology can be a significant tool for doing good, but has no ultimate value since it can neither create life nor give it meaning. Neither medical science nor human life itself must ever become the object of trust and hope which properly belong to God."
Considerations for Decision Making
"The dying and their families must make decisions which balance the desire to preserve life against the reasonable limits of medical technology. There is no checklist of objective factors which will point to a single right choice for all circumstances. These decisions must be made by weighing a number of factors against one another. The following considerations are important for decision making."
Living Versus Dying: Is It Redeeming? — We assert that rational thought should not be considered as a necessary sign of life, nor the absence of rational thought as a sure sign of death. We further assert that the benefit of any doubt should be given on the side of life. Yet the more relevant consideration is whether the patient has a reasonable hope of recovery, or is dying. A person who is dying is one who faces imminent and unavoidable death. An example of this would be a person who is in the FINAL STAGES of a terminal illness.) When a person is dying the value of medical treatment changes. The technology which extends life or promotes recovery for those who are simply ill may only extend the suffering and prolong the agony of those who are near death.
Benefit Versus Risk: Is It Rational? — All actions regarding the dying should have the intention to do good and not harm.
Autonomy Of The Individual: Is It Respectful? — The will of the patient is an important consideration for deciding the issues related to death and dying.
Just Use Of Resources: Is It Right? — Human beings have a duty to show mercy toward one another by caring for the sick. However, medical treatment can be exorbitantly expensive and yet fail to relieve suffering. Also, the duty to show mercy is not the only Divine claim on our resources. Therefore it is reasonable to consider the cost of treatment against its probable outcome.
("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[7])

Artificial Hydration & Nutrition

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"Food and water are among the most basic human needs and in general should be denied to no one. However, when these basic necessities are delivered by invasive medical technology they are considered to be medical treatment. As such, there may be occasions when the invasive means become overly burdensome to a patient. In such rare cases it may be refused, withheld or withdrawn as medical treatment." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[8])

Extraordinary Measures

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"We do not object to the use of extraordinary pain-killing treatment for those who are dying so long as the intention is to relieve pain and not to induce death. The possibility of addiction is not a factor for the terminally ill. Also the benefit of pain relief may outweigh the potential life-shortening risk." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[9])
"Feeding by mouth, toileting, personal hygiene, pain relief and the like are care and comfort measures and should be denied to no one. Further, the care and comfort of the sick should be a priority for Christians today as they have been throughout history. We call upon believers to imitate the sacrificial love of Christ by caring for the elderly and the ill in their own families, in the Church and in the world." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[10])

Physician-Assisted Suicide/Euthanasia

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"We are unconditionally opposed to all forms of active euthanasia including assisted suicide, non-voluntary euthanasia, voluntary euthanasia, death selection and any other action which has the intention of inducing death."
"We do not oppose the effort to give basic care and comfort to the dying without the use of heroic medical treatment." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[11])

Withholding & Withdrawing Treatment

Official Statement: from the Wesleyan Church Task Force on Public Morals and Social Concerns "Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"

"Medical treatment can be an aid to living, but does not have absolute value. There may be occasions when medical treatment would only serve to prolong suffering, or carry risks greater than potential rewards. Therefore we recognize the individual's right to refuse medical treatment which is not judged to be reasonable."
"Since medical treatment may be refused, it may also be withheld or withdrawn from those who are not able to express their own judgment. Such a decision must always include consideration of the patient's wishes, if known." ("Position Paper on Issues Related to Death and Dying"[12])


Notes

  1. http://media.wesleyan.org/Abortion-en.pdf
  2. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  3. http://media.wesleyan.org/Reproductive%20Technology-en.pdf
  4. http://media.wesleyan.org/Reproductive%20Technology-en.pdf
  5. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  6. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  7. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  8. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  9. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  10. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  11. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
  12. http://media.wesleyan.org/Death%20and%20Dying-en.pdf
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