The Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s Commission on Theology and Church Relations is releasing this month a document concerning the status of so-called “pre-implantation embryonic life.” I prefer to refer to such things as: “children” or “human beings.”
No doubt more will be said going forward, but let this much now be said. Rather than sounding a clear trumpet call, the forthcoming document is off-pitch and muted. It spends so much of its time wringing philosophical hands over the “thoughtful” arguments put forward by those who would destroy the unborn children conceived in petri dishes that it winds up sounding an unclear signal. One is led to wonder if the drafter of this document in fact does clearly confess that a human life begins at the very moment of conception. I for one can not tell from this document if that is so, and that is deeply troubling to me. I would welcome clarification on this very point.
Consider this extremely unfortunate way of putting things:
“The approaches proposed thus far do not succeed in providing clear and
convincing evidence to lift the burden of proof that lies on those who
propose to destroy embryos . . . In the absence of
decisive arguments, pre-implantation embryonic life should be afforded
the benefit of the doubt and the benefit of life.”
Since when should the church ever even entertain any notion that would require it to “give the benefit of the doubt” to what Scripture is so clear about? Whose doubt is this report entertaining? That is the question that perhaps might be most disturbing to me.
I am more than extremely disappointed at what the Synod’s CTCR is offering up by way of “guidance” on this significant issues. And I assure you that many others are as well.
Touchstone magazine immediately saw the problem with this document and commented on it. Please follow the link for the whole story, as well as the official LCMS news release. Touchstone editor, David Mills, really nails it when he writes:
may be missing something, having only the press release to go by, but
arguments like “Is the absence of decisive arguments, pre-implantation
embryonic life should be afforded the benefit of the doubt and the
benefit of life” strike me as very odd. The commission seems unwilling
to grant the embryonic child an absolute right to life, despite almost
saying so here and there.
I wouldn’t think this was a particularly difficult matter.
If the embryonic child isn’t a human being, what is he? There aren’t
any other options. And if he is a human being, why should his survival
depend on the “absence of decisive arguments” and “the benefit of the