This is not a happy post. Sorry. Take a long look at that picture. Those men are about to die at the hands of their own government. We could engage in a very philosophical debate about whether non-believers all go to hell. The debate over this subject is such a giant waste of time and I don’t want to add to it more than necessary. One side would bust out their Bibles and read the words of Christ that say that no one goes to the father except through him. They would then have that bizzare and disturbing look of satisfaction that some Christians get when they feel they’ve accurately predicted the eternal damnation of another human being.
Some will argue that a person only goes to hell if they are first told about Christ and only then intentionally reject him. As David Platt points out, this would mean that telling someone about Christ literally creates the possiblity of hell where there previously had been none, which is hard to believe. After that we’ll start talking about whether babies go to hell and that’s where it really gets heated.
My analysis? I don’t know. The end.
We don’t really know one way or the other. Decision: Do you assume they are not going to hell and do nothing? Or assume they are and we get our tails in gear? If we live our lives treating the eternity of others with that level of urgency, what harm have we caused? None. So why on earth would we run the risk and waste time debating the topic in place of getting out there and spreading the word? You know… just in case.
What prompted all this? I saw an article about innocent civilians being gunned down by the Syrian government. Are these men going to hell because they died never knowing Christ? I don’t know. And neither do you for sure, let’s be honest. And “I don’t know” isn’t good enough in this situation. And if you’re one of those uber-confident Christians that can say with full authority that these men are definitely going to hell because they didn’t know Christ, then I have a very convicting question for you: What did you do about it? Stop patting yourself on the back for knowing that answer with such confidence and start convicting yourself to the thought that you knew they were going to hell and did nothing.
Personally, I never lifted a finger. I see their photo standing their with their backs to me, one of them turned just enough that I can see the fear on his face knowing he is about to die, and I know that I did nothing to change his eternity. I bet he’s thinking about his eternity. Why wasn’t I thinking about his eternity when I had the chance? I’m angry that these men were killed by their government. But I’m more angry that I was sitting in my posh midwestern suburban home while it happened and did nothing to affect their eternity.
We have a lot of work to do. A planet’s worth of work to do. Let’s not sit around debating whether we need to do the work, and let’s just do it. I’d much rather meet my maker having done more than I needed to, as opposed to seeing him and explaining how I won the debate on not needing to do anything at all.
We were built to be heroes. It’s about time we started acting like heroes.