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John Piper: Should Christians Cremate Their Loved Ones?

2. “The first cremation in America took place in 1876, accompanied by readings from Charles Darwin and the Hindu scriptures. For many years, relatively few persons (mostly liberals and freethinkers) chose cremation.” (George)

3. The nature of the procedure of cremation makes dishonesty difficult to prevent and honesty hard to enforce. For example, how would you know if the crematorium actually cremates your loved one, rather than just disposing of the body? There have been scandals over this very issue. It may be cheaper for the crematorium to dispose of the body. And we all like cheaper.

4. How would you have any assurance that the ashes they give you are the ashes of your deceased loved one? This is simply impossible to police. For all we know, a crematorium may have common bucket of ashes, and may give you your three pounds. There is no way you can know.

A Modest Proposal

I am encouraging churches to cultivate a Christian counter-culture where people expect simple, less expensive funerals and burials, and where we all pitch in so that a Christian burial is not a financial hardship on anyone. And because of the biblical pointers and the additional reasons above, I am arguing that God-centered, gospel-rooted burial is preferable to cremation. Preferable. Not commanded, but rich with Christian truth that will become a clearer and clearer witness as our society becomes less and less Christian.  

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John Piper is the Pastor for Preaching at Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, Minnesota. John is the author of more than 30 books and more than 25 years of his preaching and teaching is available free at DesiringGod.org. © Desiring God.