July 09, 2006 Q & A

Embryonic Stem Cell Research


I would like to know what your position is on embryonic stem cell research and the federal funding of embryonic stem cell research. What factors did you consider in reaching that position?


Thank you for your fine and important question.

Well, we have no official denominational position on the issue as such. However, our doctrinal position as it is found in the Westminster Standards does, I believe, apply to this situation and speaks to it clearly.

The Westminster Shorter Catechism, expounding the teaching of Scripture about murder, says:

WSC 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requireth all lawful endeavours to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

WSC 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbiddeth the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor unjustly, or whatsoever tendeth thereunto.

I believe embryonic stem cell research, insomuch as such research necessitates destroying the life of viable embryos, does not "lawfully preserve ... the life of others." And, further, it can be argued that to use public funds—my tax dollars and the tax dollars of many others who believe the same—to aid in that destruction is a moral atrocity.

Of course, we should be concerned with seeing cures discovered which will heal people of terrible debilitating diseases. However, I believe that the destruction of embryos is particularly heinous in light of the fact that other non-embryonic cells can be used in such research.

I hope that these comments are helpful to you.



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