Thursday, September 07, 2006

Funerals for Non-Christians

John Battern on giving funerals for non-Christians:

Of course, I don't know for certain the condition of this person's soul, thus I can't say definitively what her eternal destiny is. But my theology says, Christ is the way, the truth and the life, apart from whom no one can see the Father.

So I'm left struggling what to say. I can do a nice little message that makes everyone feel good. Or I can speak the truth. That here is an individual who's destiny is uncertain. God in His mercy may intervene and deliver her, or God in His holiness may justly condemn her.

7 comments:

Joel Thomas said...
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Anonymous said...

"God in His mercy may intervene and deliver her, or God in His holiness may justly condemn her."

So we are left with a very dualistic view of God? One of mercy and one of condemnation?

You could tell em its a crap shoot.

Joel Thomas said...

If I didn't know what to preach, I'd decline to officiate.

Michael said...

The "truth" can be preached without trying to ascertain the status of the soul of the departed. If we consider that the soul is squarely in the Lord's hands, then what is left to say? There is plenty that the grieving family needs to hear, and that moment is not the time (in my opinion) to speculate on whether or not the deceased is in heaven or hell. We can speculate til the cows come home, but we cannot pretend to know the mind of the Lord God.

I've preached funerals for persons I never knew. So it is as one of my instructors once said: if you can't preach Christ, don't preach at all.

bob said...

I was recently at a funeralwhere the preacher speculated on the deceased's soul. While trying to win soul's for Jesus is an admirable goal it was an odd service. I find that winessing inappropriately puts more people off than it gains.

Conrad said...

I am inclined to agree with Bob.

The standard service includes several opportunities to use scripture and prayer.

I try to keep my eulogies in line with the deceased and the needs of the family.

Although I am no longer an appointed local pastor I get calls to officiate at 4 or 5 funerals a year and 2 or 3 of those are from families that are only marginally churched or un-churched. They get my name by word of mouth, as I had done a friend or aquantances funeral.

I feel in these situations that evangelism by action is better than evangelism by word.

Sally said...

I let the liturgy speak in funerals for non-Christians, always making sure the family understand as much as possible, the homily then is about the persons life.
It is not for me to condemn or otherwise...