For years I’ve watched Newsmax for a few minutes each morning before leaving for work. Suddenly, it’s off our cable provider.
This morning I was watching Fox News. Brian Kilmeade was interviewing Cardinal Dolan, Archbishop of New York. It was a Good Friday interview.
The ending of the interview struck me.
Kilmeade asked Cardinal Dolan if he hoped to become Pope.
Cardinal Dolan replied, “I’m seventy-three years old. I’m very happy here. And as I said earlier, all I want to do is get to heaven.”
Kilmeade smiled and said, “You are on your way.”
Cardinal Dolan’s response was sadly less than what we might expect: “I hope so.”
I’ve heard that before from Calvinist and Arminian pastors and theologians.
I’ve had debates with three or four prominent Calvinists. They all admitted that they were unsure of where they would go when they died. They believe that only those who persevere in faith and good works will make it. And they aren’t sure they will persevere.
I’ve debated several Arminian pastors and theologians as well. Same answer. They are unsure of their final destination because they are not sure they will persevere until death.
If the people at the top of both Protestant and Catholic ministries are unsure of their eternal destinies, how can any regular folk be sure?
The answer is simple. We need to disconnect assurance from perseverance. Our eternal destiny does not depend upon the level and continuity of our faithful service to Christ.
Just today–Good Friday–I finished a final read-through of a soon-to-be-published book titled The Gospel Is Still Under Siege. It’s a follow-up to Zane Hodges’s 1981 book, The Gospel Under Siege. I emailed it to the typesetter this afternoon. Hopefully, it will be in print and available at our May 22-25 annual conference. Brian Kilmeade’s interview with Cardinal Dolan reminds me that the gospel is still under siege.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting that Christian leaders who are unsure of their salvation are intentionally attacking the gospel. They aren’t. They are genuinely unsure. They share their uncertainty with those who will listen. But regardless of their intentions, their traditions–whether Calvinist, Catholic, Arminian, or Orthodox–all conflict with the promise of everlasting life to anyone who simply believes in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Are you sure you will be with the Lord and His people forever? It does not take great faith. It only takes faith. Take Jesus at His word and you settle the issue of your eternal destiny once and for all. Check out John 3:16. Pray about it. It really is quite simple.
Happy Resurrection Sunday.