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WHI-1201 | Dealing with Death

Posted by on in 2014 Show Archive
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If you really want to kill a conversation, just start talking about death and dying. But is it really wise to avoid this important subject? Christians in our time appear to be doing this, particularly as they emphasize Christian living and having our best life now. So how should we think about death? Is it okay to mourn during a funeral, or should we consider it a celebration of life? That's the focus of this edition of White Horse Inn (original air date: Feb. 6, 2005).If you really want to kill a conversation, just start talking about death and dying. But is it really wise to avoid this important subject? Christians in our time appear to be doing this, particularly as they emphasize Christian living and having our best life now. So how should we think about death? Is it okay to mourn during a funeral, or should we consider it a celebration of life? That's the focus of this edition of White Horse Inn (original air date: Feb. 6, 2005).


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PROGRAM AUDIO

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  • Guest - John Bauman

    “Last thing I wanted to do was discuss Troy’s death with the preacher. I guess mama and papa felt the same way. For when a preacher comes to comfort you, it always makes you feel worser. I don’t know why that is. But a preacher’s kind words make you feel more miserable. Maybe I shouldn’t say that – being married to a preacher – but a preacher’s words always seem far away. You know what he’s going to say and what he has to say. And somehow, the fact that he goes ahead and says them makes you even sadder. For the preacher will say “God’s ways are mysterious and beyond our understanding.” What seems unbearable to humans must be part of a plan. If something bad is an accident, it’s bad.
    But if it’s part of a plan, that’s much worse. I’ve never understood why preachers think that is comforting. They make you feel so hopeless and stupid. But they remind you there’s nothing you can do. Your suffering is all part of God’s plan. You don’t have control over nothing, no matter what you do. It makes you feel weak and sick in your bones. The way a bad fever does.

    “The Lord is looking down in His infinite mercy...” The preacher said “…but with our limited understanding, we can’t always understand.

    “That’s right, Brother Rice” papa said, and took another spoonful of soup beans.

    Mama still didn’t say nothing. And she still hadn’t touched her plate.

    “The Lord tries us as he tried Job.” Preacher, I said, “Because He loves us, He tries us.”

    from: The Road from Gap Creek ~Robert Morgan

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  • Guest - Richard Begin

    Good Morning Dr. Horton,

    Thanks to you and "your usual cast of characters" for the great discussion on the White Horse Inn. My family and I listen every Sunday before we worship with our local assembly. The White Horse Inn and your books have really helped us to gain a better understanding on what being a Christian means.

    We were listening to "Dealing with Death" this morning and I have a question about an answer you gave to one of the open line questions. The question was about a natural disaster and the death of children.

    In your response, I heard you say that as believers we have the assurance that our children are in the Covenant of Grace and will be with our Lord if they die. So, do the children of non-believers miss being with our Lord at their death due to their parents not being believers? I thought that anyone who God elects (whether a child of believing or non-believing parents) will be with him at their death.

    Looking forward to your response.

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  • Guest - Mike Horton

    I'll answer at least from a Reformed perspective. As the First Head, Article 17, of the Canons of Dort summarize, "Since we are to judge of the will of God from His Word, which testifies that the children of believers are holy, not by nature, but in virtue of the covenant of grace, in which they together with the parents are comprehended, godly parents ought not to doubt the election and salvation of their children whom it pleases God to call out of this life in their infancy (Gen 17:7; Acts 2:39; 1 Cor 7:14)." As believers, we have lodged our confidence in a God of mercy who "seeks and saves the lost," regardless of their mental, moral, or spiritual abilities. At the same time, we only have certainty in any particular case where there is a promise. God graciously includes the children of believers in the covenant of grace--in the Old Testament as well as the New. The promise is still for us and our children (Acts 2:39) and the children are holy even with one believing parent (1 Cor 7:14). We therefore present them for baptism because they are the heritage of the Lord. If they die in infancy, even before the sign and seal of baptism can be applied, we trust that they are with the Lord in Paradise. Reformed theologians have held differing views concerning the children of unbelievers, but hold forth God's gracious promise to a believing parent who has lost a child.

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  • Guest - armk

    "If something bad is an accident, it’s bad. But if it’s part of a plan, that’s much worse. I’ve never understood why preachers think that is comforting."

    If we cut ourselves open in an accident, that is bad (purposeless, meaningless "fate"). If we are cut open by a Surgeon with a plan to remove our cancer, that pain is ultimately comforting because it is willed by One who is wise in His plans for us and faithful to keep His graceful promises in the age to come.

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  • Guest - David G

    This is a bit tangential to the main focus of the show, but Rod mentioned the usefulness of reading the Book of Common Prayer. I know the BCP has been revised several times over the last 500 years. Which edition would be the best for personal reading?

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  • Guest - Michael Horton

    The 1662 edition is the official version of the Church of England and is only slightly changed from the edition that Archbishop Cranmer revised with the help of Martin Bucer and Peter Martyr Vermigli. The Episcopal Church in the U. S. put it through several revisions, most of which reflect a more Anglo-Catholic theology. There is also an Alternative Service Book--with variations and revisions of the BCP--that is used in the Church of England today. The language is contemporary, but to my mind it falls short of the 1662 BCP on various levels.

    Perhaps some of our Anglican cohorts can weigh in with better informed thoughts on your question.

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