Indian Transplant Newsletter Vol. VII Issue NO.: 24 (Oct 2006 - Feb 2007)
Print ISSN 0972 - 1568

Christianity and Organ Donation

Indian Transplant Newsletter.
Vol. VII Issue NO.: 24 (Oct 2006 - Feb 2007)
Print ISSN 0972 - 1568
Print PDF

“Love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, soul, mind, and strength,” and “love thy neighbor as thyself” are part of the Ten Commandments that Jesus Christ taught people. Love, compassion, helping others, and sacrifice are themes that are integral to the Christian faith. Jesus demonstrated all of these throughout his life and he proved his love for the world up on the Cross. Therefore, a decision to donate organs is seen as a positive thing. The decision to donate at the end of life is the beginning of healing for many others. Jesus Christ believed that healing and saving life is a great gift.


Heal the sick….freely you have received, freely give”  (Matthew, chapter 10:8)

Give… and it will be given to you, good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put in to your lap” (Luke 6:38)

In eternity we will never have nor need our earthly bodies: former things will pass away, all things will be made new” (Revelation chapter 21:45)



Catholics view organ donation as an act of charity and love for others. Transplants are ethical and morally acceptable to the Vatican.


 “Every organ transplant has its source in decision of great ethical value; the decision to offer without rewards a part of one’s own body for the health and well-being of another person. Here precisely lies the nobility of a gesture, a gesture which is a genuine act of love. There is a need to instil in people’s heart a genuine and deep love that can find expression in the decision to become an organ donor.”

(Pope John Paul ll in an address to the participants in a congress on Organ Transplants, 20 June 1991)


In another address to the XVIII International Congress of the Transplantation Society in Rome on August 29, 2000, Pope John Paul II said, “Transplants are a great step forward in science’s service of man, and not a few people today owe their lives to an organ transplant. Increasingly, the technique of transplants has proven to be a valid means of attaining the primary goal of medicine- the service of human life. That is why in the Encyclical Letter Evangelium Vitae I suggested that one way of nurturing a genuine culture of life is the donation of organs, performed in an ethically acceptable manner, with a view to offering a chance of health and even of life itself to the sick who sometimes have no other hope.”



All mainstream protestant denominations support organ donation, whether they see it as an individual choice motivated by compassion, or encourage it as an act of charity.


Assembly of God:

The decision to donate is left up to the individual. Donation is highly supported by the denomination.



Baptists generally believe that organ and tissue donation and transplantation are ultimately matters of personal conscience. The U.S.A’s large protestant denomination, the Southern Baptist Convention, adopted a resolution in 1998 encouraging physicians to request organ donation in appropriate circumstances and to   ‘’…encourage voluntarism regarding organ donation in the spirit of stewardship, compassion for the needs of others and alleviating suffering.’’ Other Baptist groups have supported organ and tissue donation as an act of charity and leave the decision to donate up to the individual.

Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)

The Christian Church encourages organ and tissue donation, stating that we were created for God’s glory and glory and for sharing God’s love. A 1985 resolution, adopted by the General Assembly, encourages “… members of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) to enroll as organ donors and prayerfully support those who have received an organ transplant.” 



The Episcopal Church passed a resolution in 1982 that recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ, blood and tissue donation. All Christians are encouraged to become ‘’organ, blood and tissue donors…as part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, Who gave His life that we may have life in its fullness.’’


Jehovah’s Witnesses

Jehovah’s Witnesses believe donation is a matter of individual decision. Jehovah’s Witnesses are often assumed to be opposed to donation because of their belief against blood transfusion. However, this merely means that all blood must be removed from the organs and tissues before being transplanted.



In 1984, the Lutheran Church in America passed a resolution stating that donation contributes to the well-being of humanity and can be ‘…an expression of sacrificial love for a neighbor in need.’’ They call on members to consider donating organs and to make any necessary family and legal arrangements, including the use of a signed donor card.


Mormon (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints  believe that  the decision  to donate  is an individual one made  in conjunction with family, medical  personnel and prayer. They do not oppose donation.



Pentecostals believe that the decision to donate should be left up to the individual.



Presbyterians encourage and support donation. They respect a person’s right to make decisions regarding his or her own body.


Seventh - Day Adventist

Donation and transplantation are strongly encouraged by Seventh-Day Adventists.


Unitarian Universalist:

Organ and tissue donation is widely supported by Unitarian Universalists. They view it as an act of love and selfless giving.

United Church of Christ:

Encourages not only personal donations but also the provision of educational programmes to encourage others to share life, blood and vital organs as an exercise in Christian stewardship.


United Methodist

The United Methodist Church issued a policy statement regarding organ and tissue donation. In it, they state that, ‘’The United Methodist Church recognizes the life-giving benefits of organ and tissue donation, and thereby encourages all Christians to become organ and tissue donors by signing and carrying cards or driver’s licenses, attesting to their commitment of such organs upon their death, to those in need, as a part of their ministry to others in the name of Christ, Who gave his life that we might have life in its fullness.



The total number of Christians in India according to the 2001 census was 24.08 million (2.40crores), or 2.3 percent of the population. About 70% of Indian Christians in 1991 were Roman Catholics, including 3million members of the Syro Malankare Church. The remaining were under the catholic Bishop’s Conference of India. In January 1993, after centuries of self rule, the 3.5 million strong Eastern rite Syro Malabar Church was raised to archiepiscopate status as part of the Roman Catholic Church.

Most Protestant denominations are represented in India.  The largest protestant denomination in the country is the Church of South India, since 1947 a union of   Presbyterian, Methodist, Anglican, Reformed, Congregational and Anglican congregations with approximately 2.2 million members as of 1995.  A similar church of north India has 1 million members. There are about 1.3 million Lutherans, 473,000 Methodists and 425,000 Baptists as of 1995. Oriental Orthodox churches of the Malankara and Malabar rites totalled 2 million and 700,000 respectively. Pentecostalism, another denomination of Protestants is rapidly growing in India.  The largest Pentecostal church in India is the India Pentecostal Church of God.  


To cite : Shroff S, Navin S. Christianity and Organ Donation. Indian Transplant Newsletter Vol. VII Issue NO.: 24 (Oct 2006 - Feb 2007).
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