Unlike plenty of evangelical leaders who haven’t spoken directly about the eternal implications of suicide after the passing of megachurch pastor, Jarrid Wilson, one activist is being pummeled for suggesting that suicide perpetrators don’t enter the Kingdom of God.
Lots of evangelical leaders have been busy this week preaching a Justification by Suicide, acting as though it is some kind of certainty that the progressive and seeker-friendly pastor is in Heaven after having murdered himself. Leftists like Russell Moore have given the impression that Wilson’s entrance into the Pearly Gates is sure thing, as well as many others who are offering condolences. Rarely do evangelical celebrities stop and think about their actions, like how celebritizing, victimizing, or excusing those who perpetrate suicide often lead to a rash of copy-cat suicides.
“Activist Mommy,” whose name is Elizabeth Johnston, wrote the following…
But as I read further about this tragic situation, my broken heart quickly turned to shock when I read his Senior Pastor’s remarks about his young minister’s death. Greg Laurie, senior pastor of the 8th largest church in America, Harvest Christian Fellowship, posted these words on Instagram:
“One dark moment in a Christian’s life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross. Romans reminds us that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:39). At times like this, we must remember that as Christians, we do not live on explanations but on promises. We fall back on what we do know, not on what we don’t know. We do know that Jarrid put his faith in Jesus Christ and we also know that he is in Heaven now.”
He is in heaven now.
Jarrid’s wife uttered the same sentiments. She is a traumatized and grieving wife and I have absolutely no criticism of her. But Pastor Greg Laurie, who personally watches over the souls of 15,000 people and has a worldwide ministry? We need to talk.
Johnston took exception with the presumption of Christian leaders that Wilson was in Heaven. She then gave her theological reason…
Can we just slow down for a minute and have a very important, life and death conversation about suicide and the conditions one must meet to enter heaven for all eternity? Are there conditions? Does everyone go to Heaven who wants to go there, regardless of their actions? Or are there conditions one must meet to inherit the greatest promise ever given to man, namely, eternity with our Savior in a place of unending righteousness, peace, provision, and joy?
Doesn’t scripture say that “no murderer will enter the kingdom of God”? Isn’t suicide murder of one’s self? Doesn’t the Bible say that “murderers will have their part in the lake of fire”? Isn’t the last act of a person committing suicide, self-murder?
Johnston’s theology seems to be slightly askew if she assumes that we meet conditions for salvation. Of course, Jesus has met the condition for our salvation and we receive that gift by faith alone.
But, Johnston at least has a point, and it seems better than that made by Russell Moore, Greg Laurie, or others who assert Justification by Suicide, in which we assume that perpetrators of suicide are “victims” of it, or that suicide is not a horribly selfish act that speaks to the condition of one’s soul.
Jeff Maples made this point at Reformation Charlotte. Maples writes…
Nobody can “lose their salvation” for committing suicide just as nobody can “lose their salvation” by renouncing their faith. The act of apostasy is not that someone can lose their salvation but that, as Scripture argues, they were never saved to begin with.
They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us. 1 John 2:19
To take one’s own life is the ultimate act of renouncing your faith — it is to announce to the world in one final act that you did not trust Christ, you did not love God, and you were not going to obey Him. The Bible does not make excuses for depression or suffering. The Bible commands us to suffer along with Christ so that we may be glorified with Him (Romans 8:17).
What the Bible does say, however, is that we are all without excuse (Romans 1:20). Is suicide the unforgivable sin? No. But it is, however, an act of apostasy for which we have no chance of turning from once it has been committed.
People might scoff at “Activist Mommy” for not being a theologian. However, it seems that she’s handling the issue of suicide more theologically than most classically-trained theologians who are, by and large, ignoring the doctrinal issue altogether.
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