Position of the Elders:  Burial or Cremation

(February, 2016)

The following is the position of the elders at GRBC concerning the issue of the method of the interment of a physical body at death:

 

 1. All of creation, because of the Fall, faces the effects of death. All humans will die physically. All people will live on spiritually.  And all Christians will one day, the Day of the Lord, at the end of the age, be united in body and spirit — in a glorified existence.  Our Lord Jesus, as the first fruits of the resurrection, has gone before us in glorification.  

 2. We affirm that the handling and method of interment of a human body is to be accomplished in a dignified way. Humans reflect the image of God Himself. Our Lord Jesus was incarnated as a human being.  And the Holy Spirit indwells Christian believers, making them vessels of great honor.  So when humans die, their bodies are to be handled with great care and respect.

 3. We affirm that the cultural model of disposing of a body in the Christian world was and is burial. Yet because of the circumstances at death, some humans, both Christians and non-Christians, will not be buried. Those lost at sea, or in a great fire, or lost in a wilderness will never have their remains interred in a way that accords with a proper handling at death.  Yet those Christians lost in such extreme circumstances are also promised by Jesus that, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.” (Luke 23:43)

 4. Likewise, the costs of funerals and burials have risen sharply. And in many parts of the world and in our own area, space to be legally buried is shrinking. We do not all plan for the inevitable, frequently leaving the living to make emotionally difficult decisions about a deceased loved one.  

 5. Therefore, we elders, laying aside our own personal preferences, do not require that GRBC members, or those for whom they are responsible, be interred by burial. Cremation is also an acceptable method.