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For full reports and exact statements of the CRCNA position on a particular issue, see references provided below.


In its position on abortion, the Christian Reformed Church condemns “the wanton or arbitrary destruction of any human being at any stage of its development from the point of conception to the point of death” (Acts of Synod 1972, p. 64). In specifically addressing suicide, Synod 2000 pointed out that, “Scripture clearly prohibits all wanton destruction of human life, and that includes the willful ending of one’s own life. The Heidelberg Catechism affirms this when it says, in its treatment of the sixth commandment, ‘. . . I am not to harm or recklessly endanger myself either’” (Acts of Synod 2000, p. 724).

A report on end-of-life issues presented in 2000 (Acts of Synod 2000, pp. 706-9) provides guidance on thinking through a biblical position on euthanasia and end-of-life issues. The following recommendations were approved by Synod 2000 as guidelines for how churches can work with others in regard to caring for the dying.

  • Families are to be encouraged to engage in frank discussions about the issues surrounding death and dying; to prepare advanced directives regarding palliative care; and along with dying persons and caregivers, to exercise their right and responsibility to be active members of the team for the care of the dying.
  • Local communities are to be engaged with through identifying and matching community and congregational resources; through creating partnerships with community-care programs and agencies; and through encouraging church members to volunteer in local care programs.
  • The health-care community is to be engaged with in encouraging health-care professionals to recognize that dying persons, their families, doctors, chaplains, pastors, and other caregivers constitute a team for care for the dying; in encouraging the medical community to give priority to effective pain management; and in encouraging the medical community to develop and/or utilize an end-of-life care plan that goes beyond addressing the mere physical needs of the dying (e.g., hospice care).
  • Churches should regularly preach and teach a biblical view of death as well as the gospel’s hope of life after death. Churches and members should pray for the dying, their families, and their caregivers. Church members should cherish and embrace in their church lives the disabled, the aged, the suffering, and those near the end of life. Churches with their members should work to match gifts and needs in the congregation; encourage the recognition and development of care-giving skills; provide respite for caregivers; and provide financial assistance where required.
  • Governments and other influencers on public policy are to be encouraged to allocate health-care funding for adequate palliative services, home care, and medical support services for all people; to have government initiatives that will allow medical treatment aimed at pain relief even if that treatment may unintentionally shorten life; and to have government initiatives that will promote life-affirming legislation and oppose legislation endorsing assisted suicide or mercy killing.

See also Life Issues.


In 1997 Classis Chatham requested the appointment of a committee to study the issue of euthanasia. Since the Committee for Contact with Government of the Council of the Christian Reformed Churches in Canada was already working on a study dealing with end-of-life issues, synod asked it to make future drafts of this study available to churches in the United States and Canada for evaluation and discussion. Its report on "responsibility and community at the end of life" was presented to Synod 2000, and many of its pastoral and public policy recommendations were adopted. The churches were reminded of their responsibilities toward families, members, the health-care community, and public policy.

In 2023 Classis Zeeland asked synod to “make a definitive statement on the practice of assisted suicide in all of its forms” (Agenda for Synod 2023, p. 355). Synod 2023’s response was twofold. First, the Office of General Secretary was tasked with creating “a position statement on assisted suicide based on the good work of previous synods” on issues such as abortion and life issues. The Office of General Secretary created the position statement above in response. Second, a task force was appointed “to make a definitive and comprehensive report on the practice of assisted suicide in all its forms” (Acts of Synod 2023, p. 981). That task force is scheduled to submit its work to Synod 2025.

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Agenda for Synod 1997, pp. 442-43
Acts of Synod 1997, p. 608
Agenda for Synod 1998, pp. 24-25
Agenda for Synod 2000, pp. 425-48
Acts of Synod 2000, pp. 685-86, 706-9, 724
Agenda for Synod 2023, pp. 354-56
Acts of Synod 2023, pp. 981