Wednesday, December 21, 2005

The Weak Evangelical Response

Last night a two hour Barbra Walters special inquired from religious figures across the spectrum, and the world, about the place of heaven and how we may get there. Her "findings" were not really that suprising. Most, assured her that heaven was a place that everyone eventually got to go where there was good food, family, and no sorrows. The most frequent response was something to the effect that heaven will be a place where you can eat all that you want and never gain weight.

There were a few responses that considered heaven to be a state of mind, an existence unknown, and Mitch Albom (author of The Five People You Meet in Heaven) seemed to suggest that heaven might simply be a concept that is only meant to make this life better. All these answers how ever were not suprising. These are the same assertions that I have heard from numerous non-believers, it was the fearful and unassertive response of the only evangelical interviewed that did suprise me.

In the interview Ted Haggard, President of the National Association of Evangelicals, was asked if those who do not accept Jesus as their savior will go to hell. His response? "I think so." I was saddened to hear President Haggard say this. His geniune concern to not offend is a noble thing, but when such concern affects honest answers to non-believers it is wrong. His statement that those who are not Christians will have to "Work out their eternity, and there is no guarantee," is completely false.

I believe that President Haggard is a genuine believer and a good man, but in his attempt to please the world and make Christianity appealing he has stated a complete falsehood. There is no "working out your eternity" without Christ. And there is simply not a lack of guarantee for non-believers to get to heaven there is in fact an impossibility for non-believers to get to heaven. Hell is their destination, and while this is a sorrowful statement we must be honest with people. If we "beat around the bush" or fear to offend then we will never tell people they are sinners, which means they will never see a need for salvation from the wrath of God.

President Haggard you fell short of your responsibility to speak the truth, may we all learn from this and accept our duty to speak honestly and gently to the world about sin, salvation, and hell.


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