Elizabeth Johnston, the writer of the Activist Mommy blog, has chimed in on the recent suicide of Mega-church pastor Jarrid Wilson. Her latest post, “An Open Letter To Pastors In The Wake Of Young Megachurch Minister’s Suicide,” shows her penchant for making inflammatory comments and her legalistic reading of the Bible.
Johnston loves to blog on all the familiar Religious Right talking points. She is Anti-LGBTQ+, Anti-Muslim, anti-feminist, anti-abortion and a climate change denier. She homeschools her ten children to keep them safe from the liberal infested school system, and she writes extensively on how to beat your children properly.
Her latest rant concerns Jarrid Wilson, who committed suicide. Specifically, she is upset over Pastor Greg Laurie’s comments after Wilson’s suicide. Laurie posted on Instagram,
“One dark moment in a Christian’s life cannot undo what Christ did for us on the cross. Romans reminds us that ‘nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus’ (Romans 8:39). At times like this, we must remember that as Christians, we do not live on explanations but on promises. We fall back on what we do know, not on what we don’t know. We do know that Jarrid put his faith in Jesus Christ, and we also know that he is in Heaven now.”
The Activist Mommy goes apoplectic at the thought that Wilson might be in heaven. Her legalistic god would never allow a person who committed suicide into heaven. She is appalled that Laurie chooses words of grace and comfort over words of condemnation.
The Activist Mommy shoots off a round of rhetorical questions to set the stage for a very bad case of poor Biblical interpretation.
Can we just slow down for a minute and have a very important, life and death conversation about suicide and the conditions one must meet to enter heaven for all eternity? Are there conditions? Does everyone go to Heaven who wants to go there, regardless of their actions? Or are there conditions one must meet to inherit the greatest promise ever given to man, namely, eternity with our Savior in a place of unending righteousness, peace, provision, and joy?
Now the last time I checked, the requirement to enter heaven is trusting in Jesus. However, Johnston decides that the Bible is a legal contract and supposes there must be a verse to condemn Jarrid Wilson to hell. Her Religious Right legalism is on full display and instead of offering comfort is mean spirited enough condemn Wilson on what she thinks is in the Bible. her goal is to promote fear so other people won’t try to kill themselves and get a free ticket to heaven.
She writes, “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?”
She offers more rhetorical questions instead of solid Biblical interpretation. “Doesn’t scripture say that “no murderer will enter the kingdom of God”? I guess she couldn’t be bothered to google the bible verse. I’ll help her out.
“Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” (Galatians 5:19-21 KJV)
There are three problems with using this verse to oust people from heaven; first, the word murder is from a variant text and doesn’t appear in all translations. It’s there in the King James, but you won’t find it in the NIV, NASB, or NRSV. Take a look at it in the NIV translation,
“and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.”
Second, the Kingdom of heaven and heaven are not equivalent. The Kingdon of Heaven is made up of people who follow God. Third, Paul is writing that people who practice these things aren’t part of the Church. Notice it’s people who practice these things (Those who live like this) not someone who does one of these things. It is about habit and character, not a one-time act.
The Activist Mommy is too busy being outraged by words of grace and comfort to actually read her Bible and relies on a “doesn’t it say somewhere?”
Maybe she meant these verses from Revelation.
And the One seated on the throne said, “Behold, I make all things new.” Then He said, “Write this down, for these words are faithful and true.” And He told me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the thirsty I will give freely from the spring of the water of life. The one who is victorious will inherit all things, and I will be his God, and he will be My son.
But to the cowardly and unbelieving and abominable and murderers and sexually immoral and sorcerers and idolaters and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” (Revelation 21:5-8)
Two problems with using this verse: first, it talks about people who practice these things not people who commit a one time act. While it is technically true that if I go to church one time I am a churchgoer, but it doesn’t define my character. I might give a dollar to a homeless person one time, but it doesn’t mean I’m a philanthropist. While I may kill a person one time, it doesn’t mean I’m a murderer. It means I murdered someone. It’s an issue of habitual character, not one time actions. Second, homicide and suicide are not equivalent. Of course she’s just asking, “isn’t suicide self-murder?” If she doesn’t know, then maybe she shouldn’t condemn people to hell out of her own ignorance.
She calls out Greg Laurie for comforting the family by saying he knows that Jarrid is in heaven. She screams, “HOW CAN HE KNOW!” maybe Pastor Laurie can know because he knows the character of Christ. Christ wasn’t a legalist. Christ didn’t spend His time searching scripture to find ways to keep people out of the Kingdom or out of heaven. Christ welcomed the hurt, the wounded, and those in need. Opening His arms wide and welcoming Jarrid Wilson into heaven is more in line with the character of Christ than condemning him to hell for a tragic mistake in a dark time of his life.
The Activist Mommy worships a god who keeps the letter of the law and must be feared. One slip up and you’re fuel for the fire. Forget all that grace and lovey-dovey liberal nonsense, you toe the line, or you burn. The Activist Mommy presents an angry, wrathful god who is just waiting for his creation to slip up so he can condemn them.
If you want to play the legalism game maybe you should read what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount.
Ye have heard that it was said of them of old time, Thou shalt not kill; and whosoever shall kill shall be in danger of the judgment: But I say unto you, That whosoever is angry with his brother without a cause shall be in danger of the judgment: and whosoever shall say to his brother, Raca, shall be in danger of the council: but whosoever shall say, Thou fool, shall be in danger of hellfire. (Matthew 5:21-23 KJV)
A literal and legalistic reading of this would mean we are all going to hell. Let’s hope the Activist Mommy has time to repent and pray for forgiveness before she dies or she will find herself in hell. Let’s hope she doesn’t die in an accident without time to repent or pray for forgiveness; her god isn’t very understanding about things like that.
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