For full reports and exact statements of the denomination's position on a particular issue, the reader should look to the references provided.

Position

Synod 2003 adopted the following guidelines for pastoral advice concerning life issues (see Acts of Synod 2003, pp. 632-35, 639, 643-44; see also www.crcna.org/SynodResources):

  • We must not recommend rules that bind the conscience in disputable matters. To do so would violate personal Christian liberty. Instead, we should prescribe only where God’s will is clear. Scripture is clear that every human being is created in the image of God and is precious to God.
  • Procreation should be kept within the context of the male-female, two parent, covenantal relationship of marriage.
  • Although it is fitting for married couples to want to have children, and it is a blessing to have children, there are limits to the lengths to which couples may go in order to have children. Infertility is a result of the fall, and we may attempt to reverse this but only through morally acceptable means.
  • While Scripture does not explicitly teach what moral protection the unimplanted human embryo deserves, it is clear implicitly that as a unique human life it warrants significant human protection.
  • Recognizing the horrific nature of rape and the complex circumstances facing a rape victim, she is not necessarily morally culpable if she takes a morning-after pill. The focus of ministry in such circumstances should be on the compassionate care for the woman.

Synod also encouraged members "to engage governmental agencies regarding the pursuit of policies" consistent with these guidelines.

See also Abortion, Euthanasia.

History

In response to overtures about abortion and pregnancy related issues as well as ethical and theological issues in bioscience and genetic engineering, Synod 1999 appointed a study committee “to examine the biblical/theological/ethical issues raised by the increasing capabilities and recent discoveries in bioscience and genetic engineering” (Acts of Synod 1999, p. 578). The committee submitted its report to Synod 2003, which adopted the preceding guidelines for pastoral advice concerning life issues. Synod recommended the committee's report to the churches for study and reflection (see www.crcna.org/SynodResources) and encouraged members "to engage governmental agencies regarding the pursuit of policies that are consistent with the guiding precepts adopted by synod and outlined in the report" (Acts of Synod 2003, p. 644).

References to Agendas and Acts of Synod

Agenda for Synod 1999, pp. 389-90
Acts of Synod 1999, pp. 578, 625, 637
Acts of Synod 2000, p. 734
Agenda for Synod 2003, pp. 275-313
Acts of Synod 2003, pp. 632-35, 639, 643-44