Dust to Dust or Ashes to Ashes?

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A Biblical and Christian Examination of Cremation

Dust to Dust or Ashes to Ashes?

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A Biblical and Christian Examination of Cremation

Why have many pagan societies for thousands of years cremated their deceased human beings? Why did the Jews throughout the Old Testament era consistently oppose cremation? Similarly, why did Christians, like their Jewish ancestors, also consistently oppose cremation until the latter part of the 19th century? Why are more and more Christians and Jews in the West now cremating their loved ones?

In late 19th century Australia, the modern cremation movement campaigned for cremation on the basis of public health, economic and aesthetic grounds. However, cremation was slow to gain acceptance. In 1891, South Australia became the first state to legalise cremations and build a crematorium - West Terrace Cemetery in 1903. In Victoria, a cremation bill was passed in 1903, formalising and regulating the practice, and limiting it to approved cemeteries. In New South Wales, a bill was not passed until 1925.

The first cremation at the Springvale Necropolis In Vicotria was not held until April 1905.

However, only 100 years later, of the 128,500 people that die each year in Australia, 54 per cent are cremated - and this figure is increasing by half a per cent each year.

What has prompted these rapid increases? Are these relatively recent rates of cremation related to increases in secularism and a corresponding decline in biblical knowledge and conviction?

This book Dust to Dust or Ashes to Ashes? A Christian Examination of Cremation, written in non-technical language by Dr. Alvin J. Schmidt, a sociologist and theologian, answers these and other questions. The book reflects research drawn from numerous biblical and historical sources. No book has thus far provided answers to these questions. Readers will benefit greatly from reading it, as it provides helpful information especially for Christians who have at some time wondered whether cremation might be an option for them when their time comes to depart for eternity. Non-Christians, who have questions about cremation, will also find the book valuable.

Dr. Schmidt writes for readers who may never have considered whether cremation is biblically right or wrong, at least not in any prolonged seriousness. Along with presenting his evaluation of cremation within the frame work of the Bible and historic Christianity, he provides an historical overview of the practice from the ancient world including the Americas. Both lay members and clergy will benefit from this book.

"After reading this book, the clergy will want to consult it again in regard to counseling their parishioners at the death of a loved one, but also in regard to preaching sermons for those trying times. It is a book well suited for Bible study in churches, college, and seminary, and other Christian discussion groups. It is historically well researched, convincingly argued, theologically presented and gently persuasive". - David P. Scaer, Th.D. Chairman of Systematics Department, Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, Indiana

134 pages, colour cover, paperback.

Additional Information

Author Alvin J. Schmidt
Pages 134
Cover Soft

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