Mike Huckabee to Osama bin Laden: “Welcome to Hell” (Part 5)

Mike Huckabee

Picture of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee

Adrian Rogers – Crossing God’s Deadline. Part 1

John Brummett in his article “Huckabee speaks for bad guy below,” Arkansas News Bureau, May 5, 2011 had to say:

Are we supposed to understand and accept that Mike Huckabee is in hell where he has official duties as a greeter,welcoming Osama bin-Laden?

Let us resist the evil urge to say it all makes sense — that the Big Huckster would be in that location and that Lucifer would have tabbed him for special responsibilities on account of his gift of gab.

But no one — absolutely no one — could possibly compete in the grandstanding sweepstakes with the tacky Floridian, meaning the second-favorite son of Hope, Mike Huckabee.

“Welcome to hell,” Huckabee presumed to say to this dead body, revealing himself, again, as more a tabloid headline than a responsible communicator.

Huckabee opened his altogether superfluous public statement by saying it was most unusual to celebrate death. So then he proceeded to celebrate death, apparently licensed by his own pre-emptive acknowledgment of the questionable taste that he was about to display.

That’s a little like the first three paragraphs of this column — saying something tacky by the trick of asserting that it would be inappropriate to say the thing being said. Those paragraphs were written only for ironic effect, you see, to make the point of applying Huckabee’s device to himself.

We all suspect strongly, of course, that bin-Laden will spend eternity in hell, whatever his form and whatever hell’s. But we should not embrace a politician’s seeking electoral gain by dictating and announcing after-life dispositions. Those we should defer to a higher power, whose divine authority no mortal man should dare usurp, even for TV ratings or votes, or both.


I really am uncomfortable with all this kind of lighthearted talk about hell.  Jason Tolbert mentions this same concern in his article yesterday, “American pride; Christian mercy,” Arkansas News Bureau:

However, in spite of the jubilation, some of the reaction was troubling.

“Welcome to hell, bin Laden,” Mike Huckabee wrote on his website last Sunday evening.

Wait a second. A minister of the gospel of Christ is welcoming someone to hell? Something about that just does not feel right.

The gospel I believe teaches that Christ died for all, the good and bad. It teaches that Christ’s redemption is strong enough to save the very worst person on the face of the earth. I think bin Laden meets that definition.

God’s redemption is much stronger than the human mind can comprehend. I can’t forgive bin Laden; only God can do that. I take satisfaction and flag-waving American pride that he was met with justice. But I take no pleasure in the fact that he rejected the love of God and never turned from a life of fanatical hate, leading to his ultimate eternal fate.

I was reminded last week of another fanatical, hate-filled terrorist. This religious leader of his day hated Christians so much that he made it his goal to see them stopped and executed, which he watched and supervised with glee.

He became the apostle Paul after Christ changed his life. He went on to write half the New Testament and was perhaps the greatest missionary of all time.

My point is this. Let us rejoice in justice but let those of us who profess to be Christians remember that we are driven not by hate but by love. And let us tell the world that God’s love is big enough to save even those we hate the most.

The traditional Christian view of hell is a very serious doctrine. 

The next few days I will be posting portions of the article “Hell:The Horrible Choice,” by Patrick Zukeran of Probe Ministries. Here is the fourth installment:

How Can a Loving God Send People to Hell?

Recently I was in a enjoying a pleasant discussion with an atheist named Gus. After answering most of his objections against Christianity, he paused for a moment of contemplation. He then leaned over the table and said, “I find it hard to believe in a God of love who says, ‘Love me or I will throw you into the fire!'”

This statement represents a common misunderstanding. God does not send anyone to hell; people choose to go there.

I explained that God is a loving God, and His earnest desire is that all turn from sin and receive His gift of eternal life. 2 Peter 3:9 states, “The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” God desires all to be saved and has made the way possible by sending His son to die in our place. He invites everyone to accept His free gift of eternal life through Christ.

Since God’s desire is that all be saved and He has made this possible for all men, God cannot bear the blame for people going to hell. People go to hell because they knowingly choose to reject His love. C. S. Lewis said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done,’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ “{4}

God’s love also keeps Him from imposing His will on individuals. If a person does not want to be with God in this lifetime, He will not force that person to be with Him for all eternity. In other words, the door of hell is locked from the inside.

After a brief moment, Gus asked, “Do people really have a choice since the Bible states that we are all born sinners and cannot help but sin?” I acknowledged that we are born in sin (Psalm 51) and have a bent to sin. However, our sin nature does not force us to sin. We are sinners and it is inevitable that we will disobey God. However, we can avoid sinning and often do so because disobedience to God involves a choice we make. We can choose otherwise. In a similar way although we are on the road to destruction, we can decide to get off that road and choose life.

What about predestination, some may ask? Does that not negate one’s ability to choose? There are various views on this doctrine but it does not negate our responsibility to repent. God holds us accountable for our decisions, and this responsibility implies the ability to respond. Although we as finite beings may not fully comprehend this doctrine, that does not excuse us from the choice we must all make about Christ.

The sad news is that all who go to hell could avoid going there, but they make a horrible choice.

Notes

1. Peter Kreeft and Ronald Tacelli, Handbook of Christian Apologetics (Downers Grove, IL.: InterVarsity Press, 1994), 282.
2. Bertrand Russell, Why I Am Not a Christian (New York: Touchstone Books, 1957), 17 – 18.
3. Charles Darwin, The Autobiography of Charles Darwin, ed. Nora Darwin Barlow, with original omissions restored (N.Y.: W. W. Norton, 1993), 87.
4. C. S. Lewis, Screwtape Letters (New York: Macmillan), 69.

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