Preacher’s Toolkit: How Do I Handle an Unbeliever’s Funeral?

Phil A. Newton | April 29, 2016

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The funeral chapel overflowed. Unlike some funerals I’ve conducted, this faithful Christian and longtime church member had given voice to the message I now delivered amid grief. I’d watched for years how this 85-year-old lady lived daily with hope in Christ. With a twinkle in her eye, she would regularly affirm with Paul, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Phil. 1:21). 

But that’s not the case at funerals for those with an unknown—or perhaps too well-known—spiritual condition.

A gospel minister’s angst heightens in wondering how to lead a memorial service for an unbeliever. So how do ministers serve families whose deceased loved one has given no evidence…

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