Friday, October 30, 2009

Dust to Dust or Ashes to Ashes?

Friday after Reformation Sunday
October 30, 2009

The Lord be with you

Book: Dust to Dust or Ashes to Ashes? A Biblical and Christian Examination of Cremation
Author: Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt
Publisher: Regina Orthodox Press, Inc
Copyright 2005
136 pages
Cost: $14.95 (but right now Regina has a sale and is offering it for $7.48)

The practice of cremation has dramatically risen in the United States in the last 30 or 40 years. The Church, for the most part, has gone along for the ride. Those who have written about it tend to be those who are making money by it, so their objectivity is in question. Real and serious theological and historical reflection by those who are not making a living from the dead is desperately needed; not only for pastors, but also for those who are making decisions about loved ones that were the Temple of the Holy Spirit and will one day, in their body, stand before the Lord of Creation. Dr. Schmidt does an excellent job of reviewing the history of cremation and burial as well as the theology behind these ways of treating those who have fallen asleep in the Lord. He writes in a way that is easy to understand and grounded in the Word of God. While the book does have some limitations (I would love to have seen the connections between baptism and burial explored in greater detail), and some of his assertions need archeological and/or greater written support (such as the idea that Jesus would have been cremated if Joseph of Arimathea had not buried him), nonetheless I can give this book my wholehearted endorsement. It could also be used as a Bible study resource.

Blessings in Christ,
Pastor John Rickert

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