Grace Baptist Church Decatur, IL


Killing Me Softly

This page must remain open to continue listening. To browse the internet while you listen, open a new browser window by clicking on "File", then "New", then "Window".
Click here to vote for this sermon.  [A new window will open.  Scroll to the bottom of the new page to enter your vote.  Then close the page to return to this page.]
Click here after starting sermon to bring up slides and visual aides which go along with the message. Use the arrow keys to advance slides. [May take 1-5 minutes to open.]

More Sanctity of Life Sermons

“Killing Me Softly”

Gen. 2:7

It remains to be seen now that the election is over.  Will we now allow the terrorists to come and kill us here at home?  This message isn't about that, but about the killing already going on in our nation, and the momentum from the election decisions in that regard...

[our people need to know the truth!]

Q. What is a stem cell?

A. A stem cell is a cell that has the potential to develop into different types of cells. Stem cells are the basic building blocks of the human body. In embryos, these master cells develop into the 200 or so distinct cell types in the body. In adults, stem cells act as nature's repair kit to replenish existing cells when they wear out or are destroyed.

Q. Where do stem cells come from?

A. All of our bodies contain stem cells. In research, there are primarily two types of stem cells: embryonic and non-embryonic (also called "adult"). Both types are developmentally flexible. Embryonic stem cells come from five-to seven-day human embryos. In order to collect these cells, a living, human embryo must be destroyed.

Adult stem cells come from a variety of sources, including skin cells, bone marrow, placenta, umbilical cord blood and body fat. No human lives are destroyed in harvesting adult stem cells. 1

Q. Why is it wrong to destroy embryos for their stem cells?

A. Biologically, an embryo represents one of the earliest stages of human life. Human development progresses in a continuum, from the single cell to the embryonic stage, then a fetus, newborn, toddler, adolescent and adult. Embryos, whether created through in vitro fertilization, cloning or sexual intercourse, are fully human and deserve protection. The weakest and most vulnerable member of the human family — the embryo — should not be the subject of scientific experimentation. It is never morally or ethically justified to destroy one human in order to possibly save another. Advances in adult stem cell research provide both tangible hope for patients and an ethical avenue for developing the therapies they need.

Q. Where do human embryos used in embryonic stem-cell research come from?

A. Initial embryonic stem-cell research centered on destroying embryos created by in-vitro fertilization (IVF), an assisted reproductive technology. Most clinics offering IVF create additional embryos that are not implanted but frozen for use in later pregnancy attempts. Sometimes parents who have their desired number of children “donate” these additional embryos to science for destructive embryo research.

More recently, scientists have turned to human cloning for embryonic stem-cell research, creating new human life for the sole purpose of destroying it. As researchers perfect human cloning techniques, we can expect to see more young humans cloned and destroyed for this type of scientific inquiry.

Dissecting tiny humans for their cells is unethical and immoral. For instance, convicted criminals on death row would make excellent research subjects and are destined to die anyway. Why not allow scientists to conduct experiments on these men and women before they are executed by the state for their crimes? Of course, we would never allow such experiments on adult humans, but somehow embryonic humans can be dismembered in the laboratory without question.

So, when you hear advocates rationalize destructive embryo research on the basis that some embryos will die anyway, remember the old maxim: the ends do not justify the means.

Adult stem cells have much to offer today. Non-embryonic stem cells are successfully used on a regular basis to treat patients and have been for more than 20 years. As of June 2004, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) reports funding 330 human clinical trials using non-embryonic stem-cell sources. The National Marrow Donor Program has identified more than 70 treatable diseases using these cells in therapy, including breast cancer, leukemia and sickle cell anemia. Researchers also have successfully treated patients with Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, heart damage and spinal cord injuries using non-embryonic stem cell sources. Adult stem cells offer tangible hope to patients today.

Q. Is there evidence that patients are being helped by adult stem cells?

A. That’s because most in the media are so focused on the debate over embryonic stem-cell research that they miss the real news story. Over the last two years, a U.S. Senate committee heard testimony from several patients who are directly benefiting from therapies derived from adult stem cells.

In July 2004, senators listened as Susan Fajt and Laura Dominguez described separate automobile accidents that left each woman in a wheelchair, paralyzed with spinal cord injuries. Both women are regaining muscle control and walking with the aid of braces due to stem-cell transplants from their own nasal cavities. At the same hearing, Dennis Turner told how his Parkinson’s disease symptoms improved, thanks to a stem-cell transplant from his own neuron (brain) stem cells. In June 2003, Keon Penn told committee members about his first-hand experience with the healing power of stem cells: a transplant of umbilical cord stem cells cured his sickle cell anemia. None of these stem cell sources required the loss of human life. Unfortunately, there was a virtual media “blackout” of these stories.


The U.S. House of Representatives has twice passed a comprehensive ban on human cloning (July 31, 2001 and February 27, 2003). The U.S. Senate has yet to vote on this issue. Meanwhile, the United Nations is also considering a complete ban on human cloning. However, proponents of human cloning for destructive embryonic stem cell research oppose a comprehensive ban. The following talking points examine the issues involved.

Q. What is human cloning?

A. Human cloning intentionally copies the genetic code of one person in order to create another with virtually the same genetic material. It creates a new, individual human life based on the genetic blueprint of only one donor or parent rather than two.

Current attempts to clone humans utilize the same technique previously used to clone animals, such as Dolly, the sheep. The method employed is called somatic cell nuclear transfer (imp’t to know since they often use this term…the word “cloning” being fairly unpopular).  Dolly was 100 percent sheep, so would cloned human embryos will be 100 percent human. No, God made man in His image and “breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and man became a living soul.”  Only God can make a real human…and if ever man succeeds at cloning himself, the result will not be fully human.  I don’t believe man will ever be fully successful at cloning himself (Dolly was euthanized in February 2003 due to complications from premature aging.)
Q. What is the difference between “reproductive” and “therapeutic” cloning?

A. All human cloning is reproductive, as it duplicates the genetic material of the donor and creates a new human life. The terms, “reproductive” and “therapeutic,” speak to what you intend to do with the cloned embryo: it could be implanted into a woman’s womb with the goal of a live birth (reproductive) or destroyed in a research laboratory for its stem cells (therapeutic). It is important to understand that cloning is the method used to create the embryo, regardless of why the embryo was created.

Q. Why do some groups support “therapeutic” cloning and oppose a total cloning ban?

A. It is speculated that embryonic stem cells may be a promising source of cures for a variety of human illnesses and ailments. Some scientists want to expand embryonic stem cell research by using a patient’s genetic material to clone a human embryo, which would be destroyed for its stem cells. Theoretically, these cells would be used to create personalized therapies that the patient’s body would not reject. To date, success with animal embryonic stem cell experiments (cloned or otherwise) is limited and researchers have been unable to move beyond animal studies because of the unpredictability and tumor-causing propensity of these cells. It's important to note that embryonic stem cells (human or animal) have not "cured" or treated a single patient. Other researchers argue that cloning for embryonic stem cell research is unnecessary. They point to the proven track record of alternative sources of stem cells — such as bone marrow and umbilical cord blood — which currently provide medical therapies for patients.

Q. What is the status of research using these alternative stem cell sources?

A. A steady flow of published research indicates great promise in the area of so-called “adult” or non-embryonic stem cell sources. Even more, therapies using stem cells from sources such as bone marrow, umbilical cord blood, the brain and nose have already successfully treated patients with conditions such as Multiple Sclerosis, heart disease, sickle cell anemia and spinal cord injuries. These direct therapeutic benefits to patients demonstrate that advancements using adult stem cells surpass any animal research currently underway using embryonic stem cells.

One example involves research into Parkinson’s disease. A recent study published in the
U.S. reported success in addressing some Parkinson’s disease symptoms in rats using human embryonic stem cells. As promising as this may sound, it pales in comparison to Parkinson’s disease research using adult stem cells. For instance, in April 2002, a Los Angeles physician reported effectively treating a Parkinson’s patient using the patient’s own neuron stem cells.

Q. Why are we against “therapeutic” cloning?

A. The mounting evidence of the apparent healing power of adult and non-embryonic stem cells makes research using embryonic stem cells unnecessary. Furthermore, the moral implications of creating human embryos for the purpose of destroying them for stem cells are staggering. It is never morally or ethically acceptable to kill one human in order to possibly save another. A cloned embryo is genetically a nearly identical twin of the donor at a different age, and is therefore fully human. Human embryos merit the same protection as humans in other stages of development. Every human life starts out as an embryo and hopefully grows from there into other life stages: fetus, infant, toddler, and so on. Size and location do not determine humanity.

Q. What about those who do not view human embryos as persons who merit protection?

A. This is not a debate over the question of personhood; it’s a question of whether we will protect the weakest humans among us or allow young humans to be used as raw material for scientific experiments.

Another consideration is the distinct possibility that scientists will fail in their attempts to use cloned embryonic stem cells in research. Currently, a general definition of “therapeutic” cloning, as proposed in public policy, involves destroying the cloned embryos within the first 14 days of existence. What will happen if scientists discover that the stem cells of an eight-week old fetus hold more promise than those of a two-week old embryo? This question is not entirely speculative: Recently, researchers at Advanced Cell Technology reported implanting cloned cow embryos into wombs, allowing the embryos to grow up to eight-weeks before destroying them for more developed stem cells. In reaction, some researchers said it would be "unthinkable" to create spare body parts from eight-week-old human fetuses. However, in testimony before a U.S. Senate committee,
New York Medical College biology professor Stuart Newman, PhD, voiced concern that human cloning will lead to the cloning and growth of human fetuses in order to provide researchers with more mature tissue and cells.

Q. How should we respond to claims that cloned embryos are only “unfertilized eggs,” making it morally acceptable to destroy them for embryonic stem cells?

A. This is a misnomer.  The female germ cell used in SCNT is not fertilized with sperm, but that’s the point of cloning — to bypass sexual reproduction and create embryos without fertilization. However, the result of SCNT is not “eggs” (pre-fertilization or otherwise) but embryos, containing all the genetic material necessary to be a developing human. By using the term, “unfertilized eggs,” proponents of cloning for embryonic stem cells also defeat their own argument because pre-fertilization ova are not, nor do they contain, stem cells; stem cells only exist in genetically complete humans. The fact that the end result of human cloning is an entity with stem cells validates the humanity of the embryo. If the cloned organisms were unfertilized eggs, there would be no stem cells to harvest for research.



Should physicians be granted the power to intentionally end the lives of their patients?


Recent proposals to legalize physician-assisted suicide have raised this question and triggered intense legal, medical and social debate. For some individuals, the debate is fueled by their fear that medical technology may someday keep them alive past the time of natural death. However, this concern is unfounded for mentally competent adults who have a legal right to refuse or stop any medical treatment. It is also important to recognize that today's health care climate lends itself more to undertreatment than overtreatment.

However, the present debate is not about refusing treatment or taking extraordinary measures. The issue is whether physicians should be allowed to intentionally kill their patients, either by providing the means of death or ending the patient's life by the doctor's hands. There is a tremendous distinction between allowing someone to die naturally when medical technology cannot stop the dying process and causing someone to die through assisted suicide or euthanasia. The question is one of intent: Is the intention to cause the death of the patient?

The terms "physician-assisted suicide" and "euthanasia" are often used interchangeably. However, the distinctions are significant. The act of physician-assisted suicide involves a medical doctor who provides a patient the means to kill him or herself, usually by an overdose of prescription medication.

Meanwhile, euthanasia involves the intentional killing of a patient by the direct intervention of a physician or another party, ostensibly for the good of the patient or others. The most common form of euthanasia is lethal injection. Euthanasia can be voluntary (at the patient's request), nonvoluntary (without the knowledge or consent of the patient) or involuntary (against his or her wishes).

Discuss Holland situation where initially they did physician assisted suicides w/ “safeguards” in place, and now they euthanize infants by simple committee approval, and the elderly are just as at risk…and all under the banner of “mercy killings”!

Discuss Terrie in FL…

Legal Status
Euthanasia is illegal in the United States. Physician-assisted suicide is illegal by statute or common law in most states. Oregon is the only state where physician-assisted suicide is legal.

In 1997, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that there is no federal constitutional right to physician-assisted suicide. However, the decision does not address individual state constitutions, which could be interpreted by other courts to include a state right to physician-assisted suicide.

Many state legislatures have tackled this issue in recent years, with more than 25 rejecting bills to legalize physician-assisted suicide and nearly a dozen states adopting new laws to ban it. No state legislature has voted to legalize physician-assisted suicide.

Oregon approved a ballot initiative to legalize physician-assisted suicide in 1994 and reaffirmed the vote in 1997. Five other attempts to legalize physician-assisted suicide (or euthanasia) through ballot initiative (California in 1988 and 1992, Washington State in 1991, Michigan in 1998, and Maine in 2000) all failed.

Stories Behind the Issue
Supporters often use emotional stories of terminally ill patients suffering in the final days of life to justify legalizing physician-assisted suicide. These stories communicate that an early, premeditated death is the best, and perhaps the only, option for the patient. However, a growing number of medical professionals who work with dying patients are speaking out to dispute this perception. Consider the following statements:

If we treat their depression and we treat their pain, I've never had a patient who wanted to die.

William Wood, M.D., clinical director of the Winship Cancer Center at Emory University in Atlanta, as published in Time, April 15, 1996, p. 82.

I simply have never seen a case nor heard of a colleague's case where it (physician-assisted suicide) was necessary. If there is such a request, it is always dropped when quality care is rendered.

Linda Emanuel, M.D., Ph.D., director of the American Medical Association's Institute on Ethics, as published in "The New Pro-Lifers," The New York Times Magazine, July 21, 1996.

In my clinical practice, I have been asked by suffering patients to aid them in death because of severe pain. I have had the opportunity to see these requests for aid in death fade with adequate pain control, psychological support, provision of family support, and with the promise that their symptoms would be controlled throughout the dying process.

Kathleen Foley, M.D., chief of pain service at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City, as part of her testimony before the House Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Washington D.C., April, 1996.

Reasons to Oppose Physician-Assisted Suicide
There are many reasons for opposing attempts to legalize such actions. Here are a few:

  • Acceptance of physician-assisted suicide sends the message that some lives are not worth living.

Social acceptance of physician-assisted suicide tells elderly, disabled and dependent citizens that their lives are not valuable. Doctors who list death by assisted suicide among the medical options for a terminally or chronically ill patient communicate hopelessness, not compassion.

  • The practice of physician-assisted suicide creates a duty to die.

Escalating health-care costs, coupled with a growing elderly population, set the stage for an American culture eager to embrace alternatives to expensive, long-term medical care. The so-called "right to die" may soon become the "duty to die" as our senior, disabled and depressed family members are pressured or coerced into ending their lives. Death may become a reasonable substitute to treatment and care as medical costs continue to rise.

  • There are better medical alternatives.

Terminally ill patients do not need to suffer a painful death. Today's pain management techniques can provide relief for up to 95 percent of patients, thus offering true death with dignity. And this is not to mention the dying grace that God gives and I’ve personally seen so many times!

  • Physician-assisted suicide ignores what may be a legitimate cry for help.

Suicidal thoughts often indicate the presence of severe depression. A study of terminally ill hospice patients found only those diagnosed with depression considered suicide or wished death would come early. Patients who were not depressed did not want to die. Depression can and should be treated.  Man possesses a natural desire to live!  These doctors are saying, ok, let me help you die…

Physician-assisted suicide gives too much power to doctors.

Assisted suicide does not give the patient autonomy. It gives the power to the doctor. The doctor essentially decides if you live or die, and doctors can make mistakes.

Physician-assisted suicide opens the door to euthanasia.


Q. Is there an example of assisted suicide in the Bible?

A. There is an account of reported voluntary euthanasia (in which one person asks another to kill them, ostensibly in order to alleviate the first person’s suffering) involving King Saul and an Amalekite (2 Samuel 1:1-16). The unnamed Amalekite tells King David that he killed Saul at Saul’s request, as Saul was wounded in battle. David’s response is to kill the Amalekite for touching God’s anointed. If euthanasia were a beneficial practice, David would have rewarded the Amalekite, not sentenced him to death.

Q. How should Christians respond to the fear (or reality) of pain and suffering?

A. Deut. 31:6

    Be strong and of a good courage, fear not, nor be afraid of them: for the Lord thy God, he it is that doth go with thee; he will not fail thee, nor forsake thee. And the Lord, he it is that doth go before thee; he will be with thee, he will not fail thee, neither forsake thee: fear not, neither be dismayed.

Romans 8:32

    He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?  Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?  Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.

Psalm 23:4

    Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.

Q. How should Christians respond to personal challenges, disabilities and infirmities?

A. Luke 1:38

    And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.

2 Cor. 12:9

    And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Philip. 4:11

    Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Philip. 4:13

    I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.

Philip. 4:19

    But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Q. Job experienced physical, spiritual and psychological suffering. How did he respond?

A. Job 1:20-21

    Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down upon the ground, and worshipped, [21] And said, Naked came I out of my mother's womb, and naked shall I return thither: the Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.

Job 2:10

    What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Q. Does suffering have spiritual value? Can God be glorified in how we respond to suffering?

A. Philip. 3:10

    That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death;

2 Cor. 4:7

    But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.

2 Cor. 4:16-18

    For which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. [17] For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; [18] While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Q. But, it’s my body. Don’t I have a right to choose when I die?

A. 1 Cor. 3:16

    Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?


1 Cor. 3:17

    If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.

1 Cor. 6:19-20

    What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own?  For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

Q. Is it acceptable for a Christian, who is terminally ill, to refuse available technology in order to let nature take its course and bring about a natural death?

A. Yes.

Eccles. 3:1-2

    To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven: A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted;

Psalm 116:15

    Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints.

Psalm 139:16

    Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

Q. Do the acts of assisted suicide and euthanasia deny God the opportunity to demonstrate His healing power?

A. Yes.

Matthew 8:16

    When the even was come, they brought unto him many that were possessed with devils: and he cast out the spirits with his word, and healed all that were sick:

James 5:16

    Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.