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Religion Today Blog Christian Blog and Commentary

Pastor John Piper: Christians Should Choose Burial over Cremation

  • Veronica Neffinger
    Religious persecution, missions, Christianity around the world
  • 2016 Apr 27
  • Comments

Pastor John Piper recently wrote a blog post in which he said burial is to be preferred over cremation for those who are Christians.

In his post, Piper made it clear that, although there is biblical evidence for burial instead of cremation, it is still a preference, and Christians should not condemn other Christians who have chosen cremation.

“I say preferable, not commanded, in the hope that the culture created would not condemn or ostracize a person who chose differently. I encourage those who choose cremation not to equate our disapproval with ostracism. Otherwise, real disagreements are not possible among friends," Piper writes, as qouted by The Christian Post.

Piper, the chancellor of Bethlehem College & Seminary and founder of the website, then gave several Bible passages that support burial.

"Glorifying God is what the body is for — in life and in death," Piper writes, pointing to Philippians 1:20.

Piper says the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and is destined for “resurrection glory.” 

“Burial,” Piper continued, is thus equated to “sowing the seed of the body,” and “is the biblical picture of belief in the resurrection of the body.”

Piper also says that cremation can be viewed as anti-biblical due to the Bible’s many references to hell and evil being associated with fire.

"The use of fire to consume the human body on earth was seen as a sign of contempt. It was not a glorious treatment of the body but a contemptuous one," Piper writes.

Christian author Eric Metaxas agrees with Piper’s view. Metaxas summarizes the words of Chuck Colson, founder of Prison Fellowship and Breakpoint Radio, on the subject of burial versus cremation:

"'In contrast .... Christians buried their dead. Christian teachings about Jesus' incarnation and resurrection led them to treat the human body with respect,’” unlike the many Pagans who cremated their dead.

Piper has instead called for Christians to "cultivate a Christian counter-culture where people expect simple, less expensive funerals and burials," as well as embrace a "God-centered, gospel-rooted burial." 

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Publication date: April 27, 2016