Analytical Outline for Departing in Peace

Here is the Analytical Outline for Departing in Peace: Biblical Decision-Making at the End of Life by Bill Davis.

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1. Introduction

a. My Father’s Death

b. God’s Law: A Gift to God’s People

c. The PCA Report on Heroic Measures

d. Terms and Methodology

e. A Pressing Need

2. Foundational Considerations

a. Two Fundamental Biblical Obligations

b. The Authority to Make Choices

c. Biblical Permission to Do Less Than Everything Medically Possible

d. Declining Treatment Is Not a Form of Suicide

e. Praying for Healing without Planning on a Miracle

3. End-of-Life Treatment Decisions: Challenges

a. The Conditions That Force Hard Choices

b. Treatment Options

c. Tube-Feeding (Artificial Nutrition and Hydration)

4. Putting Biblical Principles into Practice: True Stories

a. Story 1: Distressing Dialysis

b. Story 2: Praying for a Miracle

c. Story 3: Evelyn’s Heart

d. Story 4: Triplets in Peril

e. Story 5: Pastor with Parkinson’s

f. Story 6: Tammy’s Heart and Lungs

5. Advance Directives

a. The Sections Explained

b. Section-by-Section Recommendations for Completing an Advance Directive

6. Money and End-of-Life Decisions

a. Limiting Treatment because of Lack of Resources

b. Limiting Treatment Even When Money Is Available

c. Money and Medical Treatment for Children

d. The Ultimate Place of Money in Treatment Decisions

7. Hospital Realities: Making the Most of Them

a. The Distorted Picture from Hospital Dramas

b. Expect to Deal with Strangers

c. Getting the Big Picture

d. Using the Long Waits Well

8. Things to Do Now

a. Blessing Our Families

b. Blessing Our Churches

c. Blessing Our Communities

d. Praying

Appendix A: Principles Identified, Defended, and Applied

Appendix B: Sketch of the Lesson Plans for “Ask the Doctors”

Appendix C: Sketch of the Lesson Plans for “Leaving Instructions”



Index of Scripture

Index of Subjects and Names

Endorsers in alphabetical order.

  • James N. Anderson, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte
  • Erick Woods Erickson, author, Before You Wake; editor, The Resurgent
  • W. Robert (Bob) Godfrey, President and Professor of Church History, Westminster Seminary California
  • J. Derek Halvorson, President, Covenant College
  • Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California
  • Kelly M. Kapic, Professor of Theological Studies, Covenant College; author, Embodied Hope: A Meditation on Pain and Suffering
  • Peter Lillback, President, Westminster Theological Seminary
  • K. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology, Westminster Theological Seminary
  • Franklin E. (Ed) Payne, MD, Associate Professor of Family Medicine, Augusta Health Sciences University (retired); primary author, 1988 PCA Report on Heroic Measures
  • Richard R. Pesce, MD, MS (ethics), FCCP, FACP, Medical Director of Critical Care, Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Kevin M. Smith, Senior Pastor, New City Fellowship of Chattanooga (PCA)
  • R. Henry Williams, MD, FACP, Board Chair, Tennessee Center for Bioethics and Culture


Read the Preface of Beyond the Ninety-Five Theses by Stephen J. Nichols

Martin Luther stepped out of the Black Cloister in Wittenberg. In this building he and his fellow Augustinian monks, university scholars, and students taught and learned, ate and drank, prayed and slept. Here Martin Luther lived. Here, too, he wrote. He passed through the gate and headed west, guided by the bell tower and steeple of the Schlosskirche, or Castle Church, that rose over the town of Wittenberg. Luther likely could make the trip in his sleep. One kilometer later he arrived at his destination.

Martin Luther had been troubled in the months of 1517. In fact, Martin Luther had been troubled for the past dozen years and, sadly, more years still. In 1505 he had found himself caught in a violent thunderstorm, which he had taken to be nothing less than God’s judgment over his soul and God’s way of snuffing out his life. Having no alternative, Luther had cut a deal. He would enter the monastery, devoting his life to the quest for piety and peace with God—if only God spared his life from the crashing thunder and streaking lightning.

In the years leading up to 1517, Luther’s troubles increased. Peace seemed ever more to elude him. He had high hopes for the church—and at the time there was only one, the Roman Catholic Church—yet he experienced wave upon wave of disillusionment. His trip to Rome, the Holy See, left him utterly deflated.

Then Luther started to hear stories that made his skin crawl and his stomach churn. In the neighboring regions, an indulgence sale was occurring. The Peter Indulgence, as it was called, resulted from a deal struck by Albert, Archbishop of Mainz, and Pope Leo X. Unprecedented, the indulgence offered purchasers a free pass to paradise, no need to stop in purgatory. It also offered release from purgatory for one’s relatives, one’s suffering relatives. All one had to do was throw a coin into the coffer.

That summer, Luther managed to get a copy of “The Summary Instruction.” This document, prepared by Albert and his theologians, gave explicit instructions to the indulgence sale preachers—Luther called them “hawkers.” The document was troubling enough, as it made a mockery of church law. What made the matter far worse was that Luther’s own parishioners from Wittenberg were traveling to Albert’s region, purchasing indulgences, and spiraling downward in their lives. What incentive did they have to do otherwise? They had their indulgence. They had their Get Out of Jail Free card.

Luther poignantly felt the strain. The indulgence had the Pope’s seal of approval, yet it was patently without warrant. Luther’s inward tensions mounted as he could not help but see the damage being done.

As fall came to Wittenberg, the air grew crisper, and the leaves changed their colors, Luther could be silent no more. He was a Doctor of Sacred Theology. He was a priest. He had training, and he held a position that obligated him to serve the church, even if that meant calling the church out. So he filled his inkwell, sat at his desk, and set to work.

By the time he finished writing, he had ninety-five separate arguments and observations on the indulgence sale. He readied himself for a debate. He wrote a letter to Albert, Archbishop of Mainz, that same day. Luther planned to post the letter along with a copy of his theses where his fellow Wittenberg scholars could engage the debate. He took his copy and a mallet and headed west out the gate to the Castle Church doors.

Five hundred years later, we celebrate this moment in history—for it made history. What Luther did on that last day of October in 1517 started the Protestant Reformation, impacting both church and culture for five full centuries and counting. It was truly a remarkable event, executed by one of history’s most colorful figures.

The posting of the Ninety-Five Theses to the church door stands as the epochal moment in Luther’s life. But it does not stand alone. Other defining moments would come after October 31, 1517. Much more would flow from Luther’s quill and inkwells than the Ninety-Five Theses.

This book offers a guided tour of Martin Luther’s life, writings, and thought. It is offered not in the hope that we merely enshrine Luther and his legacy but that in the hope that we too might find the same confidence in God, the Mighty Fortress; in God’s sure and certain Word; and in Christ and his finished work on the cross—alone. May we look back and be filled with gratitude for Luther’s life and legacy.

May we also look ahead. If Christ delays his return and the church sees the year 2517, will there be cause to cele- brate our acts and our legacy?

Our celebration of the past reminds us of our obligation in the present and our commitment to the future. Looking ahead seems to be the best way to celebrate the five-hundredth anniversary of Martin Luther’s posting of the Ninety-Five Theses.




Come to the Waters: Daily Bible Devotions for Spiritual Refreshment by James Montgomery Boice

List Price: $22.99 | Hardcover | 400 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER


“Study of the Bible must be the consuming passion of a believer’s life.” So said James Montgomery Boice—and he practiced what he Come to the Waters_photo 1preached. Throughout the decades of his faithful church ministry, Boice devoted himself to the Word of God for the glory of God. This yearlong devotional selects from the fruit of his labor, distilling his teaching into 365 readings from Genesis to Revelation. A topical index and a Scripture index allow you to tailor your own reading plan.

In the spirit of Boice, the devotions are not moralistically superficial—intended to make you a better person. Instead they are intended to lead you every day to your only hope: Jesus Christ, the life-giving Living Water for your soul.


“James Montgomery Boice was a master Bible teacher. He could make the most difficult passages approachable, clear and practical. That legacy shines in this wonderful day-by-day collection. Read and savor. These devotionals will not only cause you to love the Word of God, but, more importantly, the God of grace who is revealed in every passage.”

—Paul David Tripp, President, Paul Tripp Ministries

“James Montgomery Boice was a prince of expositors, one of the most gifted preachers of our age. Here is the best of Boice in one volume, a compilation of his many preaching gems that focuses upon the greatness and grandeur of our awesome God. These carefully selected excerpts from his pulpit ministry will cause every reader to see our holy, sovereign God more clearly, love him more fully, and live for him more deeply.”

—Steven J. Lawson, President, OnePassion Ministries, Dallas

“The preaching of James Montgomery Boice was a primary instigator in the resurgence of Reformed theology in America in the late twentieth century. Those of us who had the privilege to sit under his ministry week after week experienced the life-changing power of Boice’s expository preaching. Come to the Waters captures the power of God’s Word as James Boice preached it and brings his ministry to life for readers today.”

—Richard D. Phillips, Senior Minister, Second Presbyterian Church, Greenville

“In Come to the Waters, long-time colleague and friend Marion Clark gives us James Montgomery Boice at his Bible-teaching best. The detailed subject index makes this volume a mind-renewing theological resource as well as a soul-refreshing devotional treasure.”

—Philip Graham Ryken, President, Wheaton College

About the Author

James Montgomery Boice (July 7, 1938—June 15, 2000) was pastor of the historic Tenth Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia for more than three decades. With degrees from Harvard, Princeton Theological Seminary, and the University of Basel, Dr. Boice was well known and well respected as a Bible expositor. He wrote many books and commentaries, including a four-volume commentary on the book of Romans, and his Bible Study Hour radio program can still be heard on air and online.

Departing in Peace: Biblical Decision-Making at the End of Life by Bill Davis

List Price: $19.99 | Paperback | 328 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER


Decisions at the end of life create deep anxiety for those involved. But it is possible to find peace and comfort amid the hard choices.Departing in Peace_photo small

As a church elder and hospital ethics consultant, Bill Davis has talked, walked, and prayed with many people in end-of-life situations. Employing varied case studies and biblical, ethical insight, he guides you in making decisions for yourself and others, preparing advance directives, taking financial concerns into account, and navigating new realities in American hospitals.

Free lesson and group discussion plans available.


“This book combines mature biblical teaching with the brass-tacks practical questions that we all face with the death of loved ones. These are the things that we don’t usually think about until they happen. I highly recommend Departing in Peace as essential preparation.”

—Michael Horton, J. Gresham Machen Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics, Westminster Seminary California

“Dr. Davis is an exemplary teacher and guide. His personal experience with end-of-life issues and his experience as a guide to others are invaluable for those who want to be ready.”

—Richard R. Pesce, MD, MS (ethics), FCCP, FACP, Medical Director of Critical Care, Memorial Hospital, Chattanooga

“This book by Bill Davis fills a real gap in the literature. . . . Departing in Peace deserves to become the go-to book for those seeking solid guidance on difficult end-of-life decisions.”

—James N. Anderson, Associate Professor of Theology and Philosophy, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte

“This book is a fine reflection on crucial issues of life and death. As we would expect from Bill Davis, it is careful, thoughtful, and biblical, and it will be genuinely helpful to families and pastors.”

—W. Robert Godfrey, Professor Emeritus of Church History, Westminster Seminary California

About the Author

Bill Davis (MA, Westminster Seminary California; PhD, University of Notre Dame) is professor of philosophy at Covenant College, adjunct professor of systematic theology at Reformed Theological Seminary, and an elder in the Presbyterian Church in America.

Thinking through Creation: Genesis 1 and 2 as Tools of Cultural Critique by Christopher Watkin

List Price: $17.99 | Paperback | 192 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER


Reading Genesis 1 and 2, we are tempted to see only problems to solve. Yet these two chapters burst with glorious truths about God, our Thinking through Creation_photo 3 smallworld, and ourselves. In fact, their foundational doctrines are among the richest sources of insight as we pursue robust, sensitive, and constructive engagement with others about contemporary culture and ideas.

With deftness and clarity, Christopher Watkin reclaims the Trinity and creation from their cultural despisers and shows how they speak into, question, and reorient some of today’s most important debates.


“Watkin does much more than round up the usual proof texts: he rather calls our attention to biblical patterns that diagonally cut through taken-for-granted false dichotomies. . . . Take up and take heed.”

—Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Research Professor of Systematic Theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

“Tears down false dichotomies in philosophy and lifts up treasures of truth. . . .This book helps us to inhabit biblical worlds of thought so that we can see, interpret, and reach our world with the gospel.”

—Trevin Wax, Bible and Reference Publisher, LifeWay Christian Resources

“Just brilliant! . . . In a rare combination, Watkin shows us at the deepest level what it means to read the world through the Word, but in a way that is genuinely accessible. His demonstrations of biblical patterns and structures are incredibly helpful.”

—Dan Strange, Lecturer in Culture, Religion and Public Theology, Oak Hill College

“Offers a radical and trenchant critique of contemporary culture and a well-grounded alternative shaped by the Christian Scriptures. I regard this slim volume as a seminal work, and I predict that it will become a classic of its kind.”

—Albert M. Wolters, Author, Creation Regained

About the Author

Christopher Watkin (MPhil, PhD, Jesus College, Cambridge) researches and writes on modern and contemporary French thought, atheism, and religion. He lectures in French studies at Monash University in Melbourne, Australia, blogs at, and can be found on Twitter @DrChrisWatkin.

Preaching with Biblical Motivation: How to Incorporate the Motivation Found in the Inspired Preaching of the Apostles into Your Sermons by Ray E. Heiple Jr.

List Price: $59.99 | Paperback | 408 pages | SAMPLE CHAPTER | Series: Reformed Academic Dissertations


Reformed theology proposes that the Holy Spirit alone makes the preaching of God’s Word effectual in salvation and sanctification. How Preaching with Biblical Motivation_photo smallcan preachers move the hearts of hearers in ways that please and glorify God without being seen as manipulators?

This book traces the development of motivational theories and practices in academia, in the church, and from an assortment of theological persuasions—contrasting them with a study of five sermons in the book of Acts that illustrate biblical principles of motivation.


“An outstanding piece of scholarship. . . . I found myself recommending [it] to every pastor I know. . . . In nineteen years of pulpit ministry, few works have impacted my view of preaching like this one. I am delighted to recommend it to pastors, seminary students, homiletics professors, and anyone who takes pleasure in God’s Word and the preaching of it.”

—C. J. Williams, Professor of Old Testament Studies, Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary

“The modern church has been awash with various motivational theories, each claiming to hold the golden key to effective preaching. Dr. Heiple subjects them to insightful critique, and then offers a helpful explanation of human motivation informed by the Bible and Reformed theology.”

—Joel R. Beeke, President, Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary

“Shows in detail how the apostles Peter and Paul sought to motivate their audiences, and how preachers today can follow in their inspired footsteps. Heiple’s work evidences careful scholarship, is very enlightening, and is deeply convicting. A much-needed antidote to emotion-heavy but truth-light preaching.”

—Bailey Cadman, Senior Pastor (retd.), Providence Presbyterian Church, Robinson Township, Pennsylvania

About the Author

Ray E. Heiple Jr. (M.Div., Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary; D.Min., Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary) is the senior pastor of Providence Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Robinson Township, Pennsylvania.


Author Interview with Alan Strange

This week’s author interview is with Alan Strange. He is the author of the Reformed Academic DissertationThe Doctrine of the Spirituality of the Church in the Ecclesiology of Charles Hodge.

The Doctrine of the Spirituality          Strange_Alan

  • Question #1—Tell us a little bit about yourself: where you’re from, family, job, personal interests, unique hobbies, what you do in your spare time, etc.

I am originally from Hattiesburg, MS. My Dad worked for an oil and gas company so we moved around, living in several places in MS, TX, and LA. I went to undergraduate college in LA and graduate school in VA, followed by WTS in PA (still a Baptist when I went there). I pastored an OPC in Glassboro, NJ for almost ten years. I married my wife Kathy at the church I interned in and we have five children, two of whom are married. I’ve been at Mid-America Reformed Seminary since 1999 where I am Professor of Church History. I love reading, walking, spending time with my family, dining with friends, and, as a retired trombonist, regularly attending the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago.

  • Question #2—I can see from your first answer that you are a passionate music lover. Tell me more about what music you love.

As noted above I love orchestral and operatic music (across the board): Bruckner and Mahler (in addition to the great standard composers) would be favorites (Mahler’s 2nd, the Resurrection Symphony, especially) as would the great bel canto (favorites: Norma and Lucia) and verismo (favorites: Tosca and Turandot) composers, as well as Verdi (Rigoletto, Aida) Wagner (Lohengrin, Ring). I’ve been privileged to see many of the great conductors, orchestras, singers and opera companies of our time, favorites being Bernstein conducting Beethoven with Boston and Pavarotti in the title role of Il Trovatore at the Met. I could go on at length (I’ve written an article or two on music) but that should give some idea.

  • Question #3—Have you always enjoyed writing?

Let me answer as did Hemingway: I like to have written!

  • Question #4—What inspired you to write this book, about this topic? 

This was my dissertation, of course. I explored a number of topics and thought that this one was particularly needed at this point in American church history. The spirituality of the church has been historically abused to silence the church’s prophetic voice, and yet the doctrine is vital given that its mission is a spiritual one. I discovered that Hodge well expressed this balance. To be sure, he had his own problems, but was generally clear and helpful in his articulation of the spirituality of the church. It also brought together my theological and polity interests: the church’s message is spiritual and so is its method (the gospel carried out in a ministerial and declarative fashion, another expression of the spiritualty of the church).

  • Question #5—What book are you reading now?

I’ve been reading and re-reading the great Russian authors (just read Karamazov), now finishing Anna Karenina, a remarkable book that must seem inaccessible to many in the current moral climate.

  • Question #6—Other than the Bible, do you have a favorite book?

In my field, I enjoy and admire George Marsden as a historian. His erudition and equity are particularly on display in his magisterial biography of Jonathan Edwards. Most of us historians would love to be able to write a book like that on such a subject.

  • Question #7—Do you have a favorite author? Who is it and why?

I do love the Southern writers (and the Russians, as I noted above; they have a great deal in common) for their unparalleled insight into the human condition. William Faulkner is a favorite in this regard and one of my favorite quotes is from him: “The past is never dead. It’s not even past.”

  • Question #8—Do you have a favorite movie? What is it and why?

My wife and I love documentaries and foreign films. In the latter category, “Babette’s Feast” is a favorite.

  • Question #9—Favorite sport to watch? Favorite sport’s team?

I love baseball and the Cubs. Right now, after beating Washington to make it to the NLCS, they are taking a beating from the Dodgers. But we’ve had a good time in the Theo Epstein era, especially last year in winning the World Series. Why? There’s no game like it. No clock. No back and forth on a rectangle. Just read George Will, who well captures the brilliance and beauty of the game.

  • Question #10—Favorite food?

Well I love Italian food (pasta particularly) and seafood. It’s time again to make my seafood gumbo with shrimp, crab, oysters, andouille, etc.

  • Question #11—The Lord of the Rings or The Chronicles of Narnia? Why?

My family would be divided on this question; I prefer Narnia. Fantasy is not a preferred genre for me: I like my history and my fiction more realistic.

  • Question #12—What famous person (living or dead) would you like to meet and why?

So many. Augustine, Anselm, Luther, but especially as an American church historian, Edwards, Davies, and Hodge. Machen, too. These were all great men who contributed significantly to the church in their times.

  • Question #13—If you have a favorite book of the Bible, what is it and why?

I like especially, as so many do, the Gospel of John. The perspective that it gives on our Savior is thrilling, from the matchless prologue (the greatest single thing ever written) to the restoration of Peter. There’s nothing like it in the world! Jesus is God and man in one person and this book proclaims that non pareil.

How can readers discover more about you and your work?


Excerpt taken from Come to the Waters — Releasing 10/31

Here is today’s Daily Bible Devotion taken from Come to the Waters by James Montgomery Boice.

October 24

BuILdInG up or tearInG doWn

romans 15:1–6

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. Romans 15:2

Is all this worth it? Is it worthwhile sharpening our skills and developing our Christian character so that others might grow to be like Jesus Christ? Of course, it is. The problem is not that we doubt the ultimate value of the work we are given to do but that we get bogged down in the hard, daily task of fashioning the stones of this building and fitting them to the overall structure. We get our eyes off the blueprint and get bogged down in the rubble.

It helps to remember that what God is building is a temple. Here is an illustration. We are told in 1 Kings 6:7 that when the great temple of Solomon was constructed “it was with stone prepared at the quarry, so that neither hammer nor axe nor any tool of iron was heard in the house while it was being built.” To my knowledge, no other building in history was ever built in this way. Its construction was so well done it was almost silent. Silently, silently the stones were added, and the building rose.

So it is with the church. We do not hear what is going on inside human hearts as the Holy Spirit creates new life and adds individuals to the temple he is building. We do not even fully realize the part we are playing as we seek to build these other people up by focusing on the important matters, laying aside petty differences, and teaching the Word of God to each of them faithfully. But God is working, and the temple is rising. In the days of the apostles God was adding Gentiles to his church. Paul was his chief instrument in carrying the gospel to them. God added the high and low, slaves and freemen, Greeks, Romans, and barbarians. He added many at the time of the Reformation and in the days of the Great Awakenings and revivals.

He is still building his church today, and we are his workmen, laborers together with Jesus Christ. We have a responsibility to do the work well.

Release Date: 10/31

Preorder from:

wtsbooks: $20.69

Amazon: $22.38

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