“Why do Jehovah’s Witnesses refuse blood transfusions?”

Acts 15:19-21,28 is the Scripture Jehovah’s Witnesses typically point to as the reason they refuse to accept blood donations. Acts 15:20 says, “Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood.” It is clear from the context that the instructions were against eating / drinking blood, not blood transfusions. Blood transfusions were not even possible in Bible times, so there is no possibility that this Scripture could be referring to blood transfusions. There were many pagan religious practices that involved eating and drinking blood and/or strangling an animal to keep more of its blood in its meat. This is what the Bible speaks against, not blood transfusions.

Is it acceptable for a Christian to receive or give a blood transfusion? Since the Bible does not explicitly say, a decision of this nature can only be made between a person and God. One consideration might be that God created billions of people over the centuries, but only four blood types, making it possible to transfuse blood from one person to another, regardless of race or nationality. Perhaps this is an argument for the legitimacy of blood transfusions. A person should carefully and prayerfully consider what God would have them to do in regards to receiving / giving a blood transfusion. There is no command either way in Scripture. Blood transfusions are therefore a matter of conscience.

About Dr. Mike Harmon

Dr. Harmon began preaching at the age of 15 while living in southern California. He has conducted over 600 revivals and evangelistic campaigns nationwide, and has served as Senior Pastor at seven churches. Dr. Harmon has degrees from Central Baptist College, the University of Central Arkansas, and a Ph.D. From the Christian Bible College and Seminary. He has served as trustee for Southeastern Baptist College and Chairman of the trustees for the BMA Theological Seminary. He also served as Chaplain for the Mississippi Highway Patrol, the Arkansas State Police and the Arkansas State Senate. His many sermons and articles on Christian Apologetics are widely published. He is married to one wife of 43 years; has two sons, and seven grandchildren. He considers the simple pleasures of cooking, dining with family and friends, and liesurely rides on his Harley through the Texas Hill Country to be some of the most enjoyable blessings from the Lord.
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