Cremation vs. Burial

Q. Is cremation permissible for Christians?  Does your church have a policy about cremation?

A. As far as I know, neither the Presbyterian Church in America nor Christ Covenant Church has an official position/policy on cremation. For years the Christian Church frowned on the practice. In fact, in days past the medieval church forbade cremation, and the Catholic Church would not permit it.  During the latter half of the last century, the Episcopal Church began to not only allow cremation, but to include memorial areas in their church buildings/grounds for cremated remains.  Now most churches allow cremation as a funeral option, and it is not uncommon to find memorials of different sorts on church properties for this purpose.

The Church has historically regarded the body of the dead as sacred and worthy of honor because of its imminent resurrection and ultimate glorification. In the ancient world, pagans cremated their dead while Christians buried their dead.   It is often a financial decision now. Families may opt for cremation because it is less costly than a casket and burial plot. I personally try to discourage people from cremation for the theological reasons stated above, but understand that families may make that choice, and while it may not be preferable, it would be permissible.