Today at the Southern Baptist Convention 2014, as Jason Smathers wrote in his report “The Bible is Sufficient to Know Heaven is Real“
“Southern Baptists declare afterlife books and movies to be “antithetical to Scripture.”
While choosing not to name any book or movie in particular, following the huge success of books and movies like Heaven is For Real, 90 Minutes in Heaven, and 23 Minutes in Hell, the messengers to the 2014 Southern Baptist Convention has addressed the issue through a resolution which states these accounts cannot be corroborated, are self contradictory and are antithetical to Scripture.
The resolution can be read below.”
Please read through the resolution, which I heartily applaud, and then read my questions at the bottom.
ON THE SUFFICIENCY OF SCRIPTURE REGARDING THE AFTERLIFE
WHEREAS, There have been numerous books and movies purporting to explain or describe the afterlife experience; and
WHEREAS, These books and movies have had a considerable impact as seen in the best seller lists and high box office receipts; and
WHEREAS, Many of these books and movies have sought to describe heaven from a subjective, experiential source, mainly via personal testimonies that cannot be corroborated; and
WHEREAS, Many of these are not unified and contain details that are antithetical to Scripture; and
WHEREAS, Many devout and well-meaning people allow these to become their source and basis for an understanding of the afterlife rather than scriptural truth; and
WHEREAS, Though the Scriptures include explicit accounts of persons raised from the dead, such as Jairus’ daughter, the widow of Nain’s son, and Lazarus, in God’s perfect revelatory wisdom, He has not given us any report of their individual experience in the afterlife (Deuteronomy 29:29; Mark 5:21–43; Luke 7:11–17; John 11:35–44); and
WHEREAS, The Apostle Paul wrote about “a man in Christ” who was caught up “into the third heaven” who “heard inexpressible words” that “a man is not allowed to speak” (2 Corinthians 12:1–4); and
WHEREAS, The doctrines of the afterlife are critical to a full understanding of salvation and repentance (Luke 16:29–31; John 3:16–18); now, therefore, be it
RESOLVED, That the messengers to the Southern Baptist Convention meeting in Baltimore, Maryland, June 10–11, 2014, reaffirm the sufficiency of biblical revelation over subjective experiential explanations to guide one’s understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.
Here are my hypothetical WHEREAS’ questions: Will the following happen now that the largest Protestant denomination in the US has made a public declaration and resolution regarding the unscriptural nature of heaven tourism and its cunning destabilization of the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture?
WHEREAS, will SBC churches finally stop inviting Don Piper, author of 90 Minutes in Heaven, to preach at their churches with his ‘experiential witness’ at the center of his sermons?
WHEREAS, Jim Hammond, former youth minister at First Baptist Church in Fort Stockton, Texas was fired last week because he stood up for biblical truth and had concerns about Piper preaching at his church,
WHEREAS, Pastor Hammond, according to Pastor Justin Peters, “his wife, and two young children will now have to vacate the church parsonage which had been there home and look for a new residence. Why was he fired? FBC Fort Stockton has Don Piper scheduled to come and preach in October. Jim knew that Piper’s account of going to Heaven (aside from Piper’s self contradictory statements of the matter) does not square with Scripture. He did his research and talked with the pastor about his concerns. The deacons were notified, a meeting was called, and Jim was fired,”
WHEREAS, will Pastor Hammond now be reinstated, with back pay and apologetic repentance from pastor and deacons?
WHEREAS, because it has been resolved by the SBC that heaven tourism books and movies sway people from an understanding of scripture, and according to SBC resolve have “allowed these to become their source and basis for an understanding of the afterlife rather than scriptural truth“, will LifeWay Christian Resources no longer sell, offer, or promote heaven tourism books? Will LifeWay understand that continuing to sell these books which have details in them “antithetical to scripture” would be UNaffirming to SBC’s declaration that the “biblical revelation of the afterlife is sufficient, over subjective experiential explanations, to guide one’s understanding of the truth about heaven and hell.“
I hope and pray that each of my hypothetical WHEREAS’s come true. I’m looking at YOU, LifeWay.