Friday, July 25, 2008

Speaking the Truth About Those Who Die

This morning I learned that Harvest Crusade founder, Greg Laurie, lost his son Christopher in a car crash this morning. Christopher leaves behind both parents, his pregnant wife, two-year old daughter, and his brother.

It is very sad to lose a family member, but especially a child or a parent. From all that I read on the various Harvest websites/blogs, their view is that they (the family and church) are trusting in Christ Jesus and seek to find His comfort. This has been my prayer for them this morning, as the wander in shock and grief. No, we grieve knowing God is fully in control, that He is the God of All Comfort, and that He will get us through such dark times...and especially we can have joy when it is a Christian who has died....they are in heaven with the Master! What joy, however, to know that we do not grieve as if we have no hope (1Thes. 4:13).In such cases, it is a bittersweet joy, if I can put it in human terms.

I do have concerns however. Just two nights ago I had said something about Tony Snow, FOX tv show host, radio show host, and President Bush's press secretary. I joked (half kidding) about how Snow was a" profession liar...whoops, press secretary". Boy did I get slapped for that! After all he just died and we need to respect the dead and be sensitive to his family.

Huh?

(I'm pretty much thinking his family wasn't on Paltalk two nights ago).

Ok, my view of press secretaries is based on years of watching them stand and spin, avaid, and contort actions and things the current president has done and said. Don't you call that lying? Now, did Tony do that all the time? No. He was likely one of the more "honest" PS's, but the job requires spin control; its the nature of the position.

That aside (it is only politics after all), MY concern is how all the "Evangelical Christians" claim Snow as their own.

WHY?

The very last thing Snow did on this earth, was to be buried by his Roman Catholic Church.

Hello? The RCC isn't Christian. Snow had time to realize how close to death he was---twice. He loved his family and was intellegent, so I am giving him the benefit of the doubt that where he wanted to be buried, who he wanted to preside over the funeral, and who he wanted to invite and to speak, was decided before hand in his will.

The problem is that "Christians" are so quick to believe anyone and everyone's saved if they mention Jesus or the Bible or "faith". But what are folks really doing? They are accepting and approving of a faith that may indeed not be of "like faith"; that is, calling an unbeliever, a believer.

We have to be VERY VERY careful who we call brothers and sisters in Christ. Now that things are escalating into deception and heresy at light speed, and with more and more "Christians" having NO discernment whatsover, we MUST question all things, even people's testimonies.

Joh 7:24 Do not judge by appearances, but judge with right judgment."

Heb 5:14 But solid food is for the mature, for those who have their powers of discernment trained by constant practice to distinguish good from evil.

Gal 1:8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:9 As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received, let him be accursed.
Gal 1:10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.

1Co 5:11 But now I am writing to you not to associate with anyone who bears the name of brother if he is guilty of sexual immorality or greed, or is an idolater, reviler, drunkard, or swindler--not even to eat with such a one.

1Jo 1:6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.
1Jo 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

1Jo 2:4 Whoever says "I know him" but does not keep his commandments is a liar, and the truth is not in him,

The Roman Catholic Church has no Gospel, no Truth, no Light, no Christ Jesus, No Bible. Those who embrace her are lost. But God, who is rich in mercy, has saved many a Catholic, OUT of RCC and certainly not through it, because of it, or in it.

He ONLY saves people IN Truth and Through Truth, By Truth, for Truth, for HE IS THE GOD OF Truth:

James 1: 18 He chose to GIVE US BIRH THROUGH THE WORD OF TRUTH, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all He created.

1John 2:21.. NO LIE IS OF THE TRUTH.

2Thes. 2: 10 and in every sort of evil that deceives those who are perishing. They perish because they REFUSED TO LOVE THE TRUTH and so be saved.

2 Thes. 2: 13 But we ought always to thank God for you, brothers loved by the Lord, because from the beginning God chose you to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit AND THROUGH BELIEF in the TRUTHH. 14 He called you to THIS THROUGH OUR GOSPEL , that you might share in the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

The other concern I have is this:

Why is someone off limits simply because they are dead?

What is the magic time span where we can start to question the validity of their claim of faith? Months? Years?

John Paul II died a few years ago. I rejected all he taught and stood for while he was alive AND after he died. He gets no free pass just because he's in hell.

I do not understand where Christians get this notion of "not to speak ill of the dead", when clearly Scripture does otherwise. Just take a look at Jude for instance.

Jude 11 Woe to them! They have taken the way of Cain; they have rushed for profit into Balaam’s error; they have been destroyed in Korah’s rebellion.

I dare say "ill" (aka know as the truth even if it sheds negativity on the dead person) speaking happened immediately after the death of Ananias and Saphira. Their sudden death for lying to God was the talk of the town, causing all to fear God and HIS church there in Jerusalem.

Act 5:11 And great fear came upon the whole church and upon all who heard of these things.

How about other people who are spoken about in Scripture. Clearly they are long gone. People like Saul, Judas, Philetus, Hymenaus, Alexander the metal worker, Diotraphes. Are they off limits too, simply because they are dead? Or are centuries a good, safe passage of time to then discuss their hatred of God?

Here's the thing: whether a person is dead or not, doesn't matter, if they were lost, they were lost. If a dead person was a deceiver, then let's not cover up that horrific fact just because they recently died. Indeed, many people laud a person when the die...maybe to comfort or protect the family members, but what good is that? Are we giving false peace? False hope? Should not the death of a lost person cause us to proclaim the Truth all the more and use it to caution the living?
I say yes.

Nor should we deal with someone in gross error/heresy/deception/a false church/immorality any differently while they are alive than when they are dead. Truth is truth period. Comfort is not sentimentality. Its resting in God and HIS Word while we face such hard issues in life.

I believe God put in the harsh realities of the enemies of the Cross and their deaths for our benefit and warning. He is a God who is just. He is love, too. But He is holy, holy, holy. He is the "God of truth". He never sugar-coats truth to make anyone feel better about themselves OR their loved one. And if we are HIS children, we should be the same way.

Do we rip people apart? No. But we don't sweep under the rug the fact that a person was lost or deceived, either. What we can do is proclaim the truth, caution the listeners (like in a discussion with others about a recently deceased person), and in regard to the family, we can pray for them and point them to the God of all comfort, giving them Scriptures to hold on to while they walk through such a hard trial.

3 comments:

Carla said...

I don't know where the original saying came from "don't speak ill of the dead", but I can assume it came as a result of showing some compassion and sensitivity toward the surviving family, friends and loved ones that are in the initial stages of grief.

It's a brutally painful time. We're always called to stand for truth, but to do it with grace and with the understanding that all men are created in the image of God, will generally temper the tone we speak with.

NWProdigal said...

Denise,

While I agree that Mr.Snow was acting for the President, I would not go so far as to say that his job included lying without one or more examples as evidence.

As for how he stands with God, I agree that it would seem he believed the wrong thing, but we can't know what he believed in his heart and how much of the RCC's teachings he actually believed and practised. I, too, have serious doubts, but God alone is his judge and we should leave it there.

Let's keep our focus on the living, not the dead, for they may still have hope.

God bless you!

Denise said...

The issue is this: people don't feel comfortable talking about someone's religious beliefs and spiritual condition after they die.

Why?

Why is it that is a huge no-no? It should not be anymore off limits than when they were alive. Because with someone so well know, what they held to is proclaimed at their death. It could be said, its their last statement to the world.

Sadly, many professing Christians will embrace these folks as one of their own, instead of standing firm on the Truth. Case in point: John Paul 2. Even Billy Graham revealed his love of the anti-biblical RCism, showing his lack of grasping the Gospel. Many will follow his embracement of Rome as a result. This is what I am concerned with.