CTS Professor Authors Resource on
End of Life Issues

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (CTS)—Family members who must make end of life care decisions for their loved ones are faced with many questions and struggles. In an effort to address those questions, and comfort those who make them, the Rev. Prof. John Pless, assistant professor of Pastoral Ministry and Missions at Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Ind., has authored Mercy at Life’s End: A Guide for Laity and Their Pastors published by The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod’s (LCMS) Life Ministries. The book can be downloaded free of charge by going to www.lcms.org/life and clicking on the link in the middle of the page. Information on ordering free copies of the book is found at the same location.

The booklet lays out a biblical understanding of these issues in light of God’s Law and Gospel while providing spiritual guidance for Christians faced with decisions regarding care and treatment when death appears imminent. A thoughtful critique of trends toward euthanasia and assisted suicide as ways of attempting to assert human autonomy and evade the last enemy is included, as well as questions to help provide clarification and assist family members who are charged with the responsibility of making decisions for a dying loved one.

This will make an excellent resource for a Bible class setting as well as in situations where the pastor is helping his people work toward God-pleasing decisions when death draws near. “Families and caregivers often feel the unexpected whiplash of confusion and crisis as they are forced to make end of life decisions,” commented Maggie Karner, director, LCMS Life and Health Ministries. “This easy-to-read book presents a solid biblical framework for making ethical decisions for loved ones at the end of their earthly life. It is designed to be used by both pastors in counseling and teaching, and by laypeople in their conversations as they plan ahead for these very difficult decisions.”