Apr 19, 2024 Print This Article

Burreson, Hoeltke co-author new book on death, natural burial

Book scheduled for publication in August

Lay Me in God’s Good Earth, a soon-to-be published book co-authored by Concordia Seminary’s Professor of Systematic Theology Dr. Kent Burreson and Dr. Beth Hoeltke, the former director of the Seminary’s Graduate School, offers a Christian understanding of death and burial and provides practical instructions for navigating the important questions around modern funeral and burial practices.

Scheduled for publication in August, the book is grounded in a Lutheran confession of the faith. It is available for preorders through InterVarsity Press (IVP).

The authors are advocates of natural burial, which refuses the practice of embalming and places the body into the ground in environmentally friendly containers, allowing it to decompose naturally. They believe natural burial reflects a more accurate picture of Christian hope in the Resurrection and also is better for the environment; thereby expressing a faithful Christian stewarding of the creation.

“Resurrection hope is the bedrock for our funeral and burial practices,” Burreson said. “We bury our baptized dead in the promise that, like our Lord Jesus, God will raise them and us on the Last Day to enter God’s new creation.

“We should care for our dying and our dead in ways that flow from this Resurrection promise and what we believe and teach about the Triune God who created and redeemed our bodies.”

Pastors and counselors who are interested in helpful biblical and theological reflection for navigating important questions around funeral and burial practices are encouraged to use this timely book. It provides a practical guide to natural burial for those grieving the loss of loved ones.

Burreson, a member of the Seminary faculty since 2000, teaches courses on systematic theology and worship. Hoeltke retired from the Seminary in May 2023.

About Concordia Seminary

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis provides Gospel-centered graduate-level theological education for pastors, missionaries, deaconesses, scholars and other leaders in the name of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod (LCMS). To learn more, visit csl.edu.