Death, Dying, Funerals, and Cremation: A Christian View

I presented the following papers as “Faculty Forum” sessions at my seminary. The first chronologically, was the cremation paper, but then I realized that I should have started with a more basic question, so the second paper is a “prequel” to the first. There is some overlap in the “biblical-theological” sections of each, though each has unique material. I also presented an expanded version of the first as a lecture series at another seminary. (The expanded version is what’s posted here.)

3/21/06 update, “Is It Better to Bury or to Burn? A Biblical Perspective on Cremation and Christianity in Western Culture.” The Wm. R. Rice Lectures at Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary, Allen Park, Michigan, 3/15/2006. New 5/3/06, DBTS page with audio links from the lectures. (There was a much smaller version of this paper listed here fall 2005 which has now been replaced.)

3/12/07,If You Meet the Undertaker Before the ‘Uppertaker’: A Christian View of Death, Dying, and Funerals (This paper is written specifically in terms of seminarians, i.e., “what you need to know as you prepare for ministry,” though it will be (I hope!) helpful to others as well. It considers not only a biblical-theological framework in which to consider the questions, but also the “logistics” of death and funerals (burial permits, caskets, etc.), and the conduct of funeral/memorial services, etc. (Regulations, etc. are considered at the federal level and in Pennsylvania; some adaptation may be necessary in other states. Consult an attorney in any event.)