LISTEN: Losing the Christian Death, Part 1 (Preparing for the Inevitable #11 with Daniel Whyte III)

Daniel Whyte III
Daniel Whyte III

This podcast will help you get ready to face the inevitable unpleasant things that will happen in your life — things like trouble, suffering, sickness, and death — the death of people you love and your own death.

The Bible says in 1 Corinthians 15:26: “The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.”

The featured quote for this episode is from Benjamin Franklin. He said, “Many people die at twenty five and aren’t buried until they are seventy five.”

Our topic for today is titled “Losing the Christian Death (Part 1)” from the book, “The Art of Dying: Living Fully into the Life to Come” by Rob Moll.

Instead of fighting death until the end, church history teaches us about the good death — one in which a believer seeks to faithfully express her hope in eternal life. It is a tragedy that the church has lost this vision of the good death. We are sending fellow believers into eternity unprepared for their journey. They may be sure of their destination but unsure how to get there. For Christians in previous centuries, death was a sacred moment long prepared for. It was considered one of the most important events in life, an event on which hung all of eternity. Christians took care to perform their dying faithfully. On their deathbeds they received family and friends who sat watch with the dying person, seeking evidence of their entrance to heaven.

Christians sought to learn from the dying because of their increased spirituality as they neared eternity. Pastor John Fanestil writes, “Christians living in early modern England and America believed that the closer a person drew to the edge of death, the closer that person’s soul was to God.” Deaths were recorded by family and friends and retold to those in the community who could not be present. The community drew comfort and encouragement from reports of those who crossed over in peace and hope. Preachers took the opportunity of a death to remind congregants of the source of death — sin — and its remedy through eternal life in Jesus Christ. In all these ways, people learned how to die well, so that when the time came, they were prepared.

Another feature of this tradition taught that the dead were a permanent part of church life. Centuries ago (and in some traditions that celebrate All Saints Day still today) the church saw itself made not only of the members who sat in the pews each sabbath but also those entombed believers awaiting the resurrection. The bodies of those Christians were often buried in the cemetery next to the church building, under its floor and inside its walls. The “communion of the saints” meant far more than pot luck dinners and small group fellowship.

Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry which publishes a monthly magazine called The Torch Leader. He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University School of Divinity. He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica for over twenty-seven years. God has blessed their union with seven children. Find out more at Follow Daniel Whyte III on Twitter @prophetdaniel3 or on Facebook.