FILTER BY:

Susann is a member of Hope Protestant Reformed Church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. A 1998 Scholarship Essay.

The issue of medical ethics in relation to the sovereignty of God is one that deserves much careful and deliberate consideration. Due to advanced medical knowledge and technology, questions concerning medical ethics have arisen that the Christian has never had to deal with before. How do we, as Christians, begin to find the answers to such difficult questions?

One must look to the Bible for guidance in such matters, and one sure comfort provided there is the assurance of God’s sovereignty and control in all situations. The sovereignty of God is defined as “the supreme authority of God.” God is not subject to any power or law which would be conceived as superior to or other than Himself (Dictionary of the Bible, p 146). This definition is based on Romans 9: 20-21: “Nay, but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing framed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”

The Bible clearly makes it known that all things are in his control and controlled by him. Everything that happens is the work of God and this is manifested in His providence, as shown in the Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 10, Question and Answer 27: “What dost thou mean by the providence of God? The almighty and everywhere present power of God; whereby, as it were by his hand, he upholds and governs heaven, earth, and all creatures; so that herbs and grass, rain and drought, fruitful and barren years; meat and drink, health and sickness, riches and poverty, yea, and all things come, not by chance, but by his fatherly hand.” Question and Answer 28 provides further comfort: “What advantage is it to us to know that God has created, and by his providence doth still uphold all things? That we may be patient in adversity; thankful in prosperity; and that in all things, which may hereafter befall us, we place our firm trust in our faithful God and Father, that nothing shall separate us from his love; since all creatures are so in his hand, that without his will they cannot so much as move.”

By understanding God’s sovereignty and providence, we can better understand how the Christian must deal with situations involving medicine. One example is the recent and widely publicized debate on assisted suicide. The media has given much attention to the topic due to the work of Doctor Jack Kevorkian and that of the Oregon legislature which is currently debating the issue. Movements to legalize euthanasia and assisted suicide are becoming more and prevalent. The danger of falling off of the “slippery slope” is a very real possibility in this time of advancement and constant change. What position should a Christian take on this issue? The Heidelberg Catechism makes it quite plain in Lord’s Day I that our bodies are not our own to deal with as we please and see fit, but are God’s and controlled by Him in His sovereignty and providence. We may not, therefore, make use of the modern means of medicine to take our own life or those of others when it seems convenient or sensible to do so. Lord’s Day I makes that very clear when it says: “What is thy only comfort in life and death? That I with body and soul, both in life and death, am not my own, but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ… and so preserves me that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head.”

Teachers in our Christian schools have a responsibility to teach this doctrine to their students. They must remind their students of the control God has over their lives and tell them of the comfort that this brings us. God’s sovereignty is an amazing comfort, and the assurance of it makes even the greatest trial bearable. Our young people and children need to hear this truth, and the classroom is one of the means that can be used to teach them.

Teachers can also bring into the classroom modern and concrete examples from current events in the medical community and beyond. Using these examples, students can be shown first hand of the sovereignty of God. In such ways students can begin to deal with the issues that they will face now and in the years to come, as the problem of medical ethics will not die, but will become more and more prevalent and complex due to the constant changing and evolving medical field.

Our sure comfort and guidance can be found in Romans 14:7-9:

For none of us liveth to himself and no man dieth to himself. For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. For to this end Christ both died, and rose, and revived, that he might be Lord both of the dead and living.

Works Cited

Handy Dictionary of the Bible, edited by Merrill C. Tenney, Zondervan Publishing House, Grand Rapids, MI.

1997 PR Scholarship Essay

Computers are the wave of the future, and now, with the emerging popularity of the Internet, the computer industry is growing and expanding by leaps and bounds. Everyone, it seems, is investing in computer equipment and software in order to be online or to benefit by the other conveniences that computers provide.

Computers have a tremendous impact on almost everyone, and our schools are no exception. Many of our schools are building up their computer labs and teaching their students how to use them. This is a good practice; the children and young people in our schools have to be familiar and proficient with computers and how to use them. In order to survive in today’s and tomorrow’s world, students must be computer literate. Computers have many good qualities and tremendous capabilities to make tedious or humanly impossible tasks easier to complete.

However, despite their ability to make life easier for all of us, I believe that computers also give Christians reasons for concern. One of these concerns lies with the development of the Internet, and this concern is mainly for two reasons. First, many families and schools are now online, and the Internet can be a dangerous and volatile source of information. Young people can easily stumble onto things that no one should ever read or be so easily presented with. Should we make something so volatile and dangerous so easily accessible to our young people? Possibly, with appropriate supervision. Secondly, I believe the Internet should also be viewed as one of the signs of the times. Through the Internet the world is becoming more and more connected and has become much smaller. Communication with anyone anywhere or in any country is entirely possible. The gathering of the nations through the swift communications through the Internet and other computer technology makes the teachings of Christ in Matthew 25:32-33 possible: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

I also feel that the Internet, although it gives our churches opportunity to spread the true gospel of Jesus Christ, can be and is also an outlet for the many false teachings and prophets whom Jesus warns about in Matthew 24:24:  “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

As teachers in our Protestant Reformed schools, I believe that we must be aware of those things which seem to point to the glorious second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must make these things known to our students. However, we must not teach these essential truths in fear, but rather with the attitude of the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer: “Thy kingdom come; that is, rule us so by thy Word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee; preserve and increase thy church; destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also, all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, wherein thou shalt be all in all” (Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123). ❖

Computers are the wave of the future, and now, with the emerging popularity of the Internet, the computer industry is growing and expanding by leaps and bounds. Everyone, it seems, is investing in computer equipment and software in order to be online or to benefit from the other conveniences that computers provide.

Computers have a tremendous impact on almost everyone, and our schools are no exception. Many of our schools are building up their computer labs and teaching their students how to use them. This is a good practice, the children and young people in our schools have to be familiar and proficient with computers and how to use them. In order to survive in today’s and tomorrow’s world, students must be computer literate. Computers have many good qualities and tremendous capabilities to make tedious or humanly impossible tasks easier to complete.

However, despite their ability to make life easier for all of us, I believe that computers also give Christians reasons for concern. One of these concerns lies with the development of the Internet, and this concern is mainly for two reasons. First, many families and schools are now online, and the Internet can be a dangerous and volatile source of information. Young people can easily stumble onto things that no one should ever read or be so easily presented with. Should we make something so volatile and dangerous so easily accessible to our young people? Possibly, with appropriate supervision. Secondly, I believe that the Internet should also be viewed as one of the signs of the times. Through the Internet the world is becoming more and more connected and has become much smaller. Communication with anyone anywhere or in any country is entirely possible. The gathering of the nations through the swift communications through the Internet and other computer technology makes the teachings of Christ possible in Matthew 25: 32-33: “And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats: And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.”

I also feel that the Internet, although it gives our churches opportunity to spread the true gospel of Jesus Christ, can and is, also an outlet for the many false teachings and prophets whom Jesus warns about in Matthew 24:24: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall shew great signs and wonders; insomuch that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.”

As teachers in our Protestant Reformed schools, I believe that we must be aware of those things which seem to point to the glorious second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. We must make these things known to our students. However, we must not teach these essential truths in fear, but rather with the attitude of the second petition of the Lord’s Prayer:

“Thy kingdom come,” that is, rule us so by thy Word and Spirit, that we may submit ourselves more and more to thee, preserve and increase thy church; destroy the works of the devil, and all violence which would exalt itself against thee; and also, all wicked counsels devised against thy holy word; till the full perfection of thy kingdom take place, wherein thou shalt be all in all.” Heidelberg Catechism, Lord’s Day 48, Question and Answer 123.

The Christian is placed in many different circumstances while on this earth. Some are characterized by hardships and trials, and others are full of joy and peace. How should the Christian respond? Throughout the Bible there are numerous times where God’s people sang in response to their various circumstances. Singing in response to God’s ordering […]

Continue reading

The book of Proverbs was written by King Solomon to his young adult son. Solomon’s purpose in writing Proverbs was “that the generation to come might know them [God’s wonderful works]…that they might set their hope in God, and not forget the works of God, but keep his commandments” (Ps. 78:6–7). Throughout the book, Solomon […]

Continue reading

The group of churches that John writes to in this trio of epistles had recently experienced a split because of doctrinal controversy. We do not know the exact content of the error that these false teachers were spreading, but it is apparent from John’s writing that their teaching somehow denied the truth of the incarnation—that […]

Continue reading

Jael: An Example of Christian Warfare

This article was originally presented as a speech at a Protestant Reformed mini convention held at Quaker Haven Camp in August 2021. Jael lived during the era of the judges. Deborah the prophetess was the judge who served Israel at the time of Jael. During this time, the Canaanites under the rule of king Jabin […]

Continue reading

Indiana Mini Convention Review 2021

One of this year’s “mini conventions” was hosted by Grace and Grandville Protestant Reformed Churches at Quaker Haven Camp. Located just over two hours away in northern Indiana, the camp was a perfect fit for the 120 kids and 15 chaperones who attended. A total of twelve different churches were represented: Byron Center, Faith, First […]

Continue reading

Editorial, November 2021: Catechism Season

At the point that this edition of Beacon Lights arrives in the homes of our subscribers, most young people in the Protestant Reformed Churches will have been sitting under the catechism instruction of their pastor or elders for more than a month. If our readers are honest, that observation probably comes with a (quiet) sigh […]

Continue reading

Tennessee Young People’s Retreat 2021

The 2021 Tennessee young people’s retreat was held August 9 to 13 by Providence, Hudsonville, Unity, and First (Holland) Protestant Reformed Churches. The retreat took place at Eagle Rock Retreat Center in the city of Tallassee. It was about an eleven-hour drive, give or take a bit due to stops for food and restrooms. Though […]

Continue reading