Organ Donation – Are Christians Inconsistent?

Recently I read a blog post by Christopher Bogosh[1] titled Fetal Body Parts, Brain-Dead Donors, and inconsistent Christians.[2]  He writes,

While Christians are irate when it comes to abortion and fetal body parts, they are peculiarly silent when it comes to harvesting organs from brain-dead organ donors—Christians are gravely inconsistent concerning this matter.

Is this true that many Christians’ beliefs are inconsistent when it comes to their approach to organ donation?

Included in the argument Christopher writes,

If life begins at conception, or when the blastocyst attaches to the uterine wall, then life starts five to six weeks before the neurological system and brain develops. Thus, brain death cannot be a valid definition of death….Clearly, if life starts before the neurological structures develop in the body then it cannot end when the brain is no longer working.

As I’m sure Christopher agrees, more than just life begins at conception.  Personhood begins at conception.  There should really be no need to make this distinction.  There are those in our society who agree that human life begins at conception but say this life is not yet a person until higher brain function begins.  If there is no person, abortion can be considered acceptable.  In Psalm 139 we learn that the Lord knew us, who are persons, from conception.  Most will agree that there is life in a person declared “brain dead.”  For organs to be useful they must be alive.  Many who accept the person is gone, because brain function is said to be gone, are willing to end the human life by taking the vital organs.  Are not those who accept this taking the same position as those who accept abortion on a “not yet person” basis?

This being true, then to accept the taking of vital organs from a person declared “brain dead” and reject the aborting of persons in the womb before brain function is established is inconsistent, is it not?

To be consistent, one must either accept early abortions or reject vital organ retrieval from people with beating hearts. [3]

If you are pro life from conception onward, as I am, are you  consistent and also reject the harvesting of organs from people with beating hearts?  If you are out spoken about abortion of early human lives, are you also vocal about what is happening with organ donation from those declared  brain dead?

I know it is not easy to speak up, especially when loved ones, or those close to us, are told that their only hope is vital organ transplantation.  This leaves me with the question, how do I live a consistent Christian life and show true love and compassion to these loved ones?


[1] Christopher Bogosh is the author of the book Compassionate Jesus: Rethinking the Christian’s Approach to Modern Medicine, Reformation Heritage Books, Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2013.

[2] Found at (I checked Jan 24, 2019 and the link no longer works)

[3] Be careful not to quickly reject vital organ retrieval from donors declare “brain dead” and accept those called “non beating heart donors.”  A careful review what happens with both of these types of donor will reveal that both have bodies with life in them, and can not be declared clearly dead.  A detail description of both of these types of donors can be found in my book Organ Donation: Questions We Should Ask.


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