Skip to comments.Christians Grieve Death of Christopher Hitchens; Share Hopes for Deathbed Conversion
Posted on 12/18/2011 6:31:25 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Christians everywhere have been responding in grief and sadness over the death of famed atheist Christopher Hitchens, who passed away late Thursday evening after a yearlong battle with esophageal cancer.
From pastors to theologians alike, all expressed pain and sorrow over the recent news, which Vanity Fair was the first to announce. The magazine reported that Hitchens had died from pneumonia, a complication from his stage IV cancer. He was 62 years old.
Pastor Rick Warren, founder of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., tweeted, My friend Christopher Hitchens has died. I loved & prayed for him constantly & grieve his loss. He knows the Truth now.
Warren also relayed messages of hope, sharing the Gospel through repeated posts. God so loved you that he gave his only Son, that if you believe in him you will not perish but have eternal lifeJn3:16.
Anyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved Joel 2:32. No one has ever seen or heard or even imagined the wonderful things God has prepared for those who love him! 1 Cor.2:9.
President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Albert Mohler, an influential leader among evangelicals, also tweeted multiple posts in response to Hitchens passing.
He said Hitchens' death "is an excruciating reminder of the consequences of unbelief. We can only pray others will believe.
Immediately after his first post, Mohler added, Few things are so valued in this life as brilliance & eloquence. Neither will matter in the world to come.
The point about Christopher Hitchens is not that he died of unbelief, he concluded, but that his unbelief is all that matters now. Unspeakably sad.
Author of the New York Times bestseller God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything, Hitchens is considered one of the most prominent figures in the new atheism movement, though the English-born author has described himself as an anti-theist.
The heavy smoker and drinker was diagnosed with esophageal cancer last year and underwent several treatments from radiation therapy to a specially designed treatment created in part by outspoken evangelical scientist Francis Collins, which mapped out Hitchens entire genetic make-up to target damaged DNA.
During his treatment, Christians offered their prayers for the atheist and also established the Everybody Pray for Hitchens Day last year. But Hitchens advised believers not to trouble deaf heaven with your bootless cries unless, of course, it makes you feel better. He also told CNN last year that he would not turn to Christ on his deathbed, at least not while hes lucid.
It was just two months ago in October when Hitchens again affirmed his atheist beliefs, declaring that there is no absolute truth and no supreme leader.
Along with other Christian leaders, atheist-turned-Christian Lee Strobel, author of The Case for Christ, expressed his grief over Hitchens death on Twitter.
I was among many who shared Christ with him; so sad he rejected Gospel, Strobel added.
Denny Burk, associate professor of biblical studies at Boyce College, also mourned the death of the unique public intellectual with a rapier wit and an even sharper pen.
Hitchens always fascinated me not merely because of his intellect and prose, but also because of his independence, Burk penned on his website.
He was a darling of the left, yet he remained a firm supporter of the Iraq War. He was an avowed atheist, yet he insisted on the superior quality of the King James Bible and chaffed against gender neutral translations. He wanted to ban religious arguments from rational discourse, yet he wrote a book with Calvinist intellectual and pastor Doug Wilson.
In the last year of his life, Hitchens wrote some searching essays about his cancer and impending death, he continued. He seemed to stand ever resolute in his atheism and to insist that the hour of his demise must be the proving ground of his unbelief.
I would like to think that perhaps his skepticism didnt win out in the end, Burk hoped. I would like to think that the gospel he heard from Wilson and others might have broken through just in time as it did for the thief on the cross. Stranger things have happened, and the Lords arm indeed is not too short to save even in such a moment. Nevertheless, we may never have any evidence this side of glory that the light finally broke through to Hitchens.
Pastor Douglas Wilson, a conservative reformed evangelical theologian who was featured alongside Hitchens in the documentary Collision, wrote in detail about his relationship with the British-American journalist and his thoughts on his death on Christianity Today.
The two had together created the book Is Christianity Good for the World? a small compilation of their debates together and had since gotten to know each other better.
Christopher knew that faithful Christians believe that it is appointed to man once to die, and after that the Judgment, Wilson penned. He knew that we believe what Jesus taught about the reality of damnation. He also knew that we believe for I told him that in this life, the door of repentance is always open.
We have no indication that Christopher ever called on the Lord before he died, and if he did not, then Scriptures plainly teach that he is lost forever. But we do have every indication that Christ died for sinners, men and women just like Christopher. We know that the Lord has more than once hired workers for his vineyard when the sun was almost down.
Wilson knew that Hitchens was concerned with that aspect of faith, discussing several times with interviewees the idea of a deathbed conversion.
Though he assured everyone that if anything like that would happen, it would be certain that the cancer or the chemo had gotten into his brain, it appeared as though Hitchens entertained the notion, Wilson observed.
When Christopher gave [those] interviews, he was manifestly in his right mind, and the thought had clearly occurred to him that he might not feel in just a few months the way he did at present.
Like Burk, the Christ Church pastor and prolific speaker hoped that Hitchens had accepted Christ during his final moments and had a gracious twist at the end. We ... commend Christopher to the Judge of the whole earth, who will certainly do right, Wilson declared.
Justin Taylor, vice president of editorial at Crossway, also captured a hint of what Wilson saw in Hitchens.
On The Gospel Coalition website, he uploaded the debate-documentary Collision, finding the final scene with Wilson and Hitchens especially telling of what Hitchens thought of God and religion.
The scene portrayed both men in the back seat of a car, discussing debating itself as well as Hitchens difference between fellow atheist Richard Dawkins.
If I could convert everyone in the world, not convert, if I could convince to be a nonbeliever, and Id really done brilliantly, and theres only one left, one more and then itd be done, thered be no more religion in the world, no more deism, theism, Hitchens stated, I wouldnt do it.
And Dawkins said, What do you mean you wouldnt do it? he recalled. I said I dont quite know why I wouldnt do it. And its not just because thered be nothing left to argue with and no one left to argue with. Its not just that. Though it would be that.
Somehow if I could drive it out of the world, I wouldnt, Hitchens revealed to Wilson. And the incredulity with which he (Dawkins) looked at me, stays with me still, Ive got to say.
I guess he believes now
I was just thinking how three very famous atheists have recently died - Steve Jobs, Andy Rooney and now Hitchens.
Don’t know about the first two, but Hitchens sure made it clear that if it was reported that he had a “deathbed conversion”, it would be because he was not lucid, ss was reported in this article and elsewhere. I wish most Christians were as ardent in their “faith” as was Hitchens in denying it.
But I hope he DID convert, regardless of what he said. Only God knows.
He was a brilliant man. We are not his judge.
Joh 5:28 `Wonder not at this, because there doth come an hour in which all those in the tombs shall hear his voice,
Joh 5:29 and they shall come forth; those who did the good things to a rising again of life, and those who practised the evil things to a rising again of judgment.(Young's Literal Translation)
This judgment period is spoken of in Revelation:
Rev 20:11 Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away. And there was found no place for them.
Rev 20:12 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.
Christopher Hitchens will be standing there. He will finally have had his mind and understanding opened by God to hear the gospel from "the books"..the books of the bible...and will be given the time to comprehend and understand the good news and accept it if he will.
God wants nobody to be lost.
He wasted his "brilliance" on petty, childish cutdowns of believers. We may not be the final judges, but we can call a man on his actions - we should, however do it in a way that might be conducive to his hearing the Truth. My tagline explains my thought train. He did not appear to have the humility to be aware of his shame and that is a sad affair whcich likely resulted in a lost soul.
That is a dangerous heresy and not rooted in scripture, the white throne of judgment is to reward believers and to judge non-believers, like goats and sheep.
Amadeus - burial scene:
He chose the smoking section of eternity.
We have a just God.
Jesus offered him the non smoking section.
Let the dead bury the dead.
Another Deputy Judge is heard from. Gotta help out God all we can. Right?
Lord have mercy. It gets tiresome.
No, we are not his judge. Scripture and his own words have condemned him.
I can spout all sorts of eloquent talk proclaiming my disdain for the “so called Law of Gravity”, an obvious bourgeois plot to control the proletariat. I can earn Pulitzer Prizes for my erudite dissertations. Who knows, I might even get the Nobel!
But if I, while basking in the acclaim of pundits & columnists, decide to fly from the top of the empire State Building to the top of the Chrysler Building by merely flapping my arms I will soon discover that I was in error. I will have a few seconds to ponder this before Mother Earth wraps me in her all too unyielding embrace.
So what if Hitchens had a way with words? He was wrong, and now he knows so.
“President of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Albert Mohler, an influential leader among evangelicals, also tweeted multiple posts in response to Hitchens passing.
He said Hitchens’ death “is an excruciating reminder of the consequences of unbelief. We can only pray others will believe.
Immediately after his first post, Mohler added, Few things are so valued in this life as brilliance & eloquence. Neither will matter in the world to come.
I can’t imagine not having God and Jesus in my life. During some of the worst times of my life, I would have just ended it but for the comfort of my faith. I knew the Good Lord would see me through this and that was a better life down the road. When I am on my deathbed, as sad as it will be to leave my loved ones behind, it will of great joy and comfort to know that at some point we will be reunited for all eternity. But to be an atheist, your belief is that once you’re dead, that’s it. Nothing to look forward to.
And in reality, according to my belief, you will have eternal suffering of the worst kind.
This is for anyone who may be interested:
The way to be assured of going to Heaven when one dies is simply to trust in Jesus Christ alone for one’s eternal salvation. Faith alone in Christ alone.
He is eternal God, the second Person of the Trinity, who became incarnate. Without ceasing to be God, He took on Himself true humanity. He did this in order to die on the cross in payment for our sins.
As He hung on the cross, our sins were judicially imputed or ascribed to Him. Our sins were poured out on Him and judged by God the Father. Jesus Christ paid the penalty for our sins.
The Bible tells us to accept Jesus Christs finished work on the cross (His substitutionary atonement in payment for our sins) as the only way of salvation.
Its worthless to rely instead on our own works (or a mix of faith and works) to save us.
Then they asked him, What must we do to do the works God requires?
Jesus answered, The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent.
2 Corinthians 5:21
For He (God the Father) has made Him (Jesus Christ) to be sin for us (He was judged for our sins, He died as a substitute for us), who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He who believes on him is not condemned: but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.
(Jesus Christ said) He who believes in me has everlasting life.
I give them eternal life and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand. My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, no one can snatch them out of my Fathers hand. I and the Father are one.
And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.
Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved...
For by grace you are saved through faith and this is not from you, it is the gift of God. It is not from works, so no one may boast.
1 John 5:11-12
God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.
Every one who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.
Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.
(Jesus Christ said) I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?
I don't know where Warren gets off calling Hitchens a "friend". Hitch was one of the few people who had the guts to call Warren the fat fraud that he is.
I'm surprised that the revelry in punishment of the dead is much less than I expected from most evangelicals, but not surprised at Warren's comments.
I think Hitchens problem wasn’t with God, it was with the frauds who acted in his name.
Nice to know you think he belongs there with Stalin--Hitler--Mao--Pot Pol and they other butchers of history
People who claim to know that fate of someone's eternal soul with certainty are themselves frauds.
Believers are rewarded before the great white throne judgment, in the first resurrection:
Rev 20:4 And I saw thrones, and they sat on them, and judgment was committed to them. Then I saw the souls of those who had been beheaded for their witness to Jesus and for the word of God, who had not worshiped the beast or his image, and had not received his mark on their foreheads or on their hands. And they lived and reigned with Christ for a thousand years.
Rev 20:5 But the rest of the dead did not live again until the thousand years were finished. This is the first resurrection.
Rev 20:6 Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years.
The first resurrection, the resurrection of those who are Christ's, happens at the return of Christ. It's described in scripture in a couple of places:
1Co 15:51 Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed
1Co 15:52 in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.
1Th 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first.
1Th 4:17 Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.
These are the "elect"...those of us who are called in our lifetimes to be servants of God today. Our reward will be eternal life at the return of Christ and the opportunity to serve in the kingdom of God that will be established on the earth.
Christopher Hitchens was not a believer. Those who are not believers, at the great white throne judgment, will FINALLY be called by God to hear and understand the gospel and will be given a choice...learn and obey God or go to the lake of fire for eternal death.
Steve Jobs was a Buddhist, and said he thought the odds for God’s existence were 50-50. That makes him an agnostic, not an atheist. He certainly was not a Christian.
RE: I think Hitchens problem wasnt with God, it was with the frauds who acted in his name.
I’ve read his books and I don’t think that’s his problem. He doesn’t even think that Mother Theresa, for all she did, was admirable.
I think his problem is even more FUNDAMENTAL than that. It is the whole idea of the existence of GOD.
He calls FAITH, an OVER-RATED trait.