John Wesley Reid on Why Suicide Does Not Mean Going to Hell for Christians

Since the tragic news broke of Pastor Jarrid Wilson’s suicide, many have provided their thoughts and opinions on the topic. Some I agreed with, some were rather nuanced, and one written by Elizabeth Johnson, “The Activist Mommy,” that I disagreed with so strongly I couldn’t not respond.

To preface, Elizabeth is a dear friend. I’ve spent ample time with her and her wonderful family and am always encouraged by the ministerial influence they have to so many.

She exemplifies the love of Christ through kindness when needed and ferocity when needed, and by ferocity I mean the Department of Defense needs to consider contracting this warrior – she’s amazing. Her demands for justice and advocacy for the unborn routinely garner hateful reactions and even violent threats – threats that I would use every ounce of Marine left in me to fend off.

But friends can disagree – and sometimes these disagreements are on fundamental matters of Christian doctrine. She’s still a beloved sister in ministry – and I look forward to preaching the Gospel outside of abortion clinics with her and her army again soon.

In An Open Letter To Pastors In The Wake Of Young Megachurch Minister’s Suicide, Elizabeth takes a position on suicide that I vehemently oppose. She provides a compassionate and prayerful approach to the recent news Wilson’s suicide, and even uses her large platform to amplify a link to the family’s Go Fund Me. But then she took a turn that not only caught me off guard, but was a point I fiercely disagreed with:

Suicide leads inescapably to Hell.

Greg Laurie, pastor of Harvest Christian Church where Wilson attended, gave an emotional statement on Wilson’s death which included the phrase:

“He is in Heaven now.”

To which Elizabeth responded:

“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?”

To be fair, I hope all my readers read Elizabeth’s statement in full so the above paragraph doesn’t make her out to sound uncompassionate.

To Elizabeth’s claim that suicide is murder, I protest.

To her claim that suicide leads inescapably to Hell, I protest.

I don’t believe Elizabeth is being unfaithful to scripture, but rather misinterpreting it – and there’s a big difference. Unfaithfulness to scripture means to ignore, avoid, or intentionally manipulate. Elizabeth is not guilty of those actions.

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, John Wesley Reid