By Dr. Ted Baehr, Publisher, and Dr. Tom Snyder, Editor of www.movieguide.org
Huffington Post blogger, screenwriter and politically correct Kevin Miller has slandered renowned Christian evangelist Jerry Newcombe. In a radio appearance and in some articles, Newcombe opined that evildoers who massacre innocent people, like the killer who recently shot up a midnight showing of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, seem to have no fear of Hell.
Newcombe complained that people today have no fear of God or Hell because today’s society has rejected the Christian, biblical doctrine of Hell where Jesus and His apostles clearly say that those who reject Christ will have to pay for their evil sins by suffering eternal damnation in Hell.
An unsigned article on the Huffington Post falsely accused Jerry of consigning the victims of such massacres to Hell. The next day, Kevin Miller piled on and went on to deny the Christian, biblical doctrine of Hell, in a hateful screed that blasted all Christians who believe in the biblical doctrine of Hell.
In actual fact, of course, Jerry was only talking about the perpetrators of such horrendous acts, including their likely destination after death. Jerry had nothing but sympathy for the victims and their loved ones.
“It’s not my place to speculate on that,” Jerry told MOVIEGUIDE®, referring to the eternal destination of the victims of the DARK KNIGHT shooter.
Jerry agreed with us, however, that it’s possible that, before they died, Jesus offered any of the victims who hadn’t accepted Him yet a chance to do so during the last few seconds of their death. He said God will hold us all accountable for our sins but also offers us a chance to turn away from our sins through Christ.
Jerry responded officially to the Huffington Post’s hit piece with the following statement:
“Here’s the part that saddens me the most: During a time of grieving, the left-wing smear machine, intent on destroying the credibility of conservative Christians, used me (or really, a caricature of me) as a pawn to hurt people who were suffering! The key lie to the whole Huff Po article was the word ‘said’ (or says) in the headline. I never said anything about the spiritual status of the unsaved shooting victims in that theater. I don’t know that there were amongst them any that were unsaved. (And, it’s not my place to judge specific individuals.) If there were any unsaved amongst them, how do we know they didn’t call on the Lord at that moment (as in a death bed conversion)? We now know that some of the victims showed Christ-like love, by using their own bodies to shield others! In any event, only God knows the state of those particular people. We’re getting to the point in the culture wars that if you try to stand for Christ, holding to the historic Christian faith and traditional, biblical values (and you try to articulate these things), then some on the tolerant left will twist what you say and turn you into a hatemonger. But, let God be true and every man a liar.
“Since when is hell a negotiable doctrine for a Christian?
“As my friend, Dr. Mike Licona (Christian apologist), notes: ‘I’m forthright in saying I’m uncomfortable with several of Jesus’ teachings. I’m uncomfortable with His teaching that He’s the only way. I’m uncomfortable with His teaching about hell. I’m uncomfortable with His teaching that if I want to be His disciple that I must be willing to suffer, even to the point of martyrdom. I wish His teachings were different. But, He’s God, and He hasn’t asked for my opinion or counsel. The real issue is, therefore, whether Jesus is who he claimed to be. If he is, then it doesn’t matter whether I’m comfortable with some of his teachings.’
“That reminds me of the statement from Mark Twain along these lines: I’m not worried so much about the parts of the Bible I don’t understand, as the parts I do.”
As Jerry correctly notes in his reply, the Huffington Post article, and the article to which Miller later attached his name, starts off with a lie. Jerry never said anything in his original statements on the victims’ eternal destination. His articles were talking about the perpetrators of mass murder and were offering a suggestion for why mass shooters like these vile people do such terrible things.
Miller’s article actually breaks one of the Ten Commandments – it bears false witness against Jerry Newcombe, damaging his reputation publicly. Thus, Miller needs to print a full retraction and an apology to Jerry! In other words, Miller is guilty of hurting someone himself, a clear violation of the moral standard he seems to be setting up in his own article. This is deceitful AND hypocritical. And, since falsely slandering a person’s public reputation is similar to murdering that person, Miller is guilty of a great sin that can get Miller himself directly sent to Hell, the place he mistakenly thinks doesn’t exist.
The biblical God (if He exists; I report – you decide) is not just a God of Love, but also a God of Justice. Also, 1 Cor. 13:6 says true love doesn’t delight in evil or sinfulness but rejoices with the Truth. If you reject the One True God, the source of all Love and Justice, why would you want to spend eternity with Him in Heaven? The problem is, everyone sins and does great evil. After all, do you oppose abortion? If not, you’re guilty of supporting terrible torture and murder. If so, have you done enough to stop it? Probably not. Thus, every one of us most likely deserves to go straight to Hell.
As Douglas Grothuis says in “The Doctrine of Hell?” (Christian Research Institute, http://www.equip.org/articles/the-doctrine-of-hell/):
“Jesus warned His hearers of the eternal punishment awaiting those who reject Him (Matt. 13:40-42; 25:46). If we clearly and compassionately expound the truth about hell, we may be surprised to find people responding to it in faith.”
Jesus also preaches the doctrine of Hell in Matthew 10:28, where he warns, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both soul and body in Hell.”
The great Christian theologian Jonathan Edwards said that, since God is infinitely loving and infinitely great, He is worthy of absolute obedience, and any rebellion against God and His Moral Law is worthy of infinite punishment. Hence, the doctrine of Hell.
The Good News, of course, is that God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten son, Jesus Christ, who died for our sins so that those who believe in Him may have eternal life and infinite goodness with Him in Heaven (John 3:16). Thus, Jesus Christ suffered and died a terrible, horrible death so that we may be saved from Hell, not to send us there.
As Jesus says in Mark 1:15, repent and believe the Good News. And, stop bearing bigoted, deceitful, false witness against Christians!