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  #1  
Unread 15th May 2011, 02:18 AM
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Bible What Do Lutherans Believe About The Soul Of A Suicide Victim

I am addressing this question to members of both groups.What does Lutheran theology teach about the soul of a suicide victim? Does that person go to heaven or hell? Can he or she be saved at the last possible moment? Does the Lutheran church look at extenuating circumstances(mental or physical illness)I lost a sibling several years ago,and was told by a couple of priests that God looks at what is a mans'heart.Just curious
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  #2  
Unread 15th May 2011, 03:37 AM
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I would hope that a just God would look into the soul of the individual, but that is purely a personal belief, I'm not sure what the Lutheran thought is.
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Unread 15th May 2011, 07:34 AM
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Only God knows the hearts of mankind; only God may set the limits of grace.

Is it a sin? Yes, but so are dozens, even hundreds of things that I think and do each day.

From Psalm 130:3; "If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
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Unread 15th May 2011, 08:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MarkRohfrietsch View Post
Only God knows the hearts of mankind; only God may set the limits of grace.

Is it a sin? Yes, but so are dozens, even hundreds of things that I think and do each day.

From Psalm 130:3; "If Thou, Lord, shouldest mark iniquities, O Lord, who shall stand?"
A sin has to be forgivable with the sinner coming before God with a contrite heart and asking for forgivness. I don't see that happening after you die.
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Unread 15th May 2011, 09:06 AM
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We as Lutherans say that we don't know, only God does. Therefore, we commit the soul of the person in God's hands.

There are many things that factor in here as to why we can't say what happens. Yes, we consider suicide a sin. But what about those who are dealing with mental illnesses? There are methods of suicide where one can seek God's forgiveness before they die. Yet, they are not able to reach out for help in this world at that point.
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Unread 15th May 2011, 10:09 AM
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Not sure that there is an official opinion here, but Luther himself was well aware of depression and other emotional/psychological ailments. When talking about suicide, I think it is more appropriate to talk about the person as a victim and not a perpetrator.
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Unread 15th May 2011, 02:29 PM
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From the FAQ on lcms.org

The Synod does not have an official position regarding the eternal state of individuals who have committed suicide, though theologians of the Synod have commented from time to time on pastoral questions that often arise in such cases.

Since the spiritual condition of an individual upon death is known only to God, our theologians have proceeded cautiously in making judgments in this regard. LCMS pastor and author Otto E. Sohn, for example, has stated:

"Assuredly we would not wish to judge anyone who resorts to self-destruction. It is impossible for us to plumb the depths of gloom into which even Christian people may sink and irresponsibly lay unholy hands upon themselves. Perhaps the Lord will not hold them responsible, but we do not know." (What's the Answer, CPH, 1960, p. 144).

In one of his Table Talks, Martin Luther himself commented: "I don't have the opinion that suicides are certainly to be damned. My reason is that they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil." Luther goes on, however, to express concern that this statement not be misunderstood or misused in a way that would downplay the danger and seriousness of this sin in the minds of people (Luther's Works, American Edition, Vol. 54, p. 29).
Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod - Frequently Asked Questions (in "life issues")
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Unread 15th May 2011, 09:22 PM
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It's not our job to say if such a person is damned. God will as he says in Exodus have mercy on whom he will have mercy. Since it is faith in Christ that justifies, and only God can discern true faith, that is left to him. We commend that person to God's mercy, and tell of his promises. It's all we have.

All Christians are sinners, no one merits salvation. Therefore it is (as is our own salvation) all up to God. Is it a difficult question as to how someone can have faith and do such a thing? Absolutely. But there are many ungodly things many faithful people do. Whether than the question or speculation of whether this person will be saved or that person, we deal with the preaching to the living, "Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved!" What we can say is that Christ died for the person who commit suicide. What we can proclaim are the promises he made to him/her which he makes to us. What I cannot say is whether that person was able in the gift of faith cling to such grace.

Despair is one of Satan's most powerful weapons to shake our trust in God, there is no doubt in that. But on this Good Shepherd Sunday I am reminded that his sheep hear his voice.
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Unread 16th May 2011, 08:33 AM
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Originally Posted by goldbeach View Post
A sin has to be forgivable with the sinner coming before God with a contrite heart and asking for forgivness. I don't see that happening after you die.
Thats a bit of protestant thinking. We do not teach that you have to ask God for forgiveness for every sin. Because many sins are unknown and God will forgive these too.

However I don't want to deminish the importance of repentence when the sins are known. It is important to recognize them as sins and confess them to God.

However we don't teach that you must directly repent for every sin in order to be saved.

Case in point, if someone comes up and shoots you so they can steal $5 from your wallet in your last few moments laying on the ground, is it not reasonable that you might be angry, perhaps sinfully angry with the person that shot you?

Are you damned to hell because you died while in a state of sin (sinful anger) without having the time to recognize the sin and repent of it? Now I recognize that those arn't the same as suicide and suicide is a planned event.

However I'm much more comfortable saying that we don't know because scripture really does not provide us a clear answer. We certainly in Christian love hope and pray in Christian love that God forgives those who kill themselves. But ultimatly that judgement is up to him.
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