Posted by George Morrison

Last week, Sky’s digital channel, Real Lives, showed the Oscar-winning documentary, “Right to Die” featuring Craig Ewert’s assisted suicide in a Swiss clinic. Craig had been suffering from motor neurone disease and died in the presence of his wife following a lethal doze of barbiturates. As film directors take their craft into increasingly sensitive areas of human existence we are asked to confront matters previous generations were only vaguely aware of. The Hippocratic Oath bound the medical profession to heal not harm. The crucial clause states, “I will use treatment to help the sick according to my judgement and ability, but I will never use it to injure or wrong them”. With advances in medical science comes the ability to sustain the life of the dying until the problem becomes an ethical rather than a medical one. The poet has written; Thou shalt not kill But need’st not strive, Officiously, to keep alive (“The Latest Decalogue” in Selected Poems, Penguin) There is a distinction between causing someone to die and allowing death to take its course. This is illustrated by Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones, the famous Christian preacher who, during his final illness refused further treatment, complaining to his doctor, “You are keeping me from the glory!” Where did Lloyd-Jones assurance come from? It came from a living relationship with Jesus Christ and a confirmation from the Bible. In 1970 he concluded one of his books with the following: “I say it with reverence, go even into the presence of God with “holy boldness” and in “full assurance of faith”; not boldness in yourself, but in your Mediator, in your great High priest, in the One whom God raised from the dead in order to let you know that your sins were dealt with at the Cross once and for ever, and that He looks upon you as His dear child.” I don’t know anything of Craig Ewert’s beliefs but for those who share Lloyd-Jones faith in saving love of Jesus Christ, the future is glorious. As St Paul put it; “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him”— but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. 1 Corinthians Chapter 2 verse 9.