On the surface, the question of whether to volunteer to be an organ donor, either while living or posthumously, seems straightforward.

For a living donor, the gift of a kidney or a part of a liver is a sacrifice that may save the life of a compatible family member. It’s something many of us would like to think we wouldn’t hesitate to do. After death, provided the circumstances are right, one donor’s organs may give a second chance at life to as many as five or six people.

The Bible teaches us that life is precious – sacred, actually. It also teaches us that the way of Christ is the way of sacrifice and that we are to love others as he first loved us. Of course, Jesus didn’t give only a part of himself to give us life; he made the ultimate sacrifice, giving his whole self, his whole life. As we read in John 15:13, ‘Greater love has no-one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends’.

Nevertheless, the donation of one’s organs is rarely as straightforward as it might appear when we place a tick in the box on our driver’s licence. It can involve complex moral questions. The Bible also warns us, from Genesis onwards, against playing God.

In this edition, Nick Schwarz, the Assistant to the Bishop – Public Theology, explores the ethics of organ donation and the Christian perspective. We also are privileged to feature the moving personal story of a long-time Lutheran college teacher who has had two incredibly challenging experiences with organ donation. And, yet, good has come from them.

As usual, we have a Bible study that relates to the edition theme. And you’ll also find a wealth of resources and a range of views and news from across the LCANZ in these pages.

I pray that you’ll be challenged and inspired, as I have been.

Finally, I wish to offer special thanks to the people who jumped in to help me finish this edition during what was a particularly challenging time for me.

God bless,


Dear readers, you will note that this edition of The Lutheran is a little lighter than usual. It is missing a couple of regular features. Our editor Lisa was on bereavement leave during the final week of preparation of this edition; both her mother and her stepfather died on 8 August. In the midst of her grief, Lisa has worked hard to deliver this slightly abbreviated edition to you on time. I know you will be grateful.


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