It has only been a week since we first heard the news that Robin Williams had passed away at 63. It sent ripples throughout the world, so strongly that other news stories failed to hold our attention. The day after it happened, I had finished editing and posting an article that I hoped would give the Christian position on Hell and mankind’s need for a Savior. I wrote about how we don’t know where Robin Williams ended up for eternity, but we do know that he needed Christ throughout his life. Whether he came to the Savior at the end of his life or not, the answer is still that Hell is real and God has made a way for us to come back to Him, through Christ.
Many took this post as an arrogant slap in the face to the memory of a man we admired at some point in our lives. I was quoted on Patheos by a “secular humanist” claiming I said Robin Williams is in Hell. He linked to my post, which has now hit nearly 1.400 views since last Tuesday.
Soon afterwards, hateful comments filled my inbox, claiming I was on a “high horse” “judging” Williams. One man wished I was sent to Hell because I wasn’t acting like a Christian. One guy wished God would treat me as his waste target (in cursing language). Another person claimed that I am the reason 9/11 happened (huh?). It’s unlikely that all of them read the entire article, as the hateful comments claimed I said Robin is in Hell, which I did not say.
After getting counsel from a few friends, and a public Christian figure (I emailed him and he emailed back!), it has seemed that the best route for this blog to take is one where modern issues are looked at in light of Scripture. To take what society says about identity, death, salvation, faith, and every sort of subject, and show what the Bible says about who we are without Christ, and who we become in Christ.
To finally clear up some issues from the Robin Williams post:
1) Did I say Robin went to Hell?
No. I said he might be. Never said it was a comforting thought. God doesn’t delight in the death of the wicked (Ezekiel 18), so why should I rejoice when someone dies who may not have known Christ?
2) Was I judging him and sitting on a high horse?
Depends. For me to call him a sinner who needed more than rehab, and needed Christ to make him new, doesn’t make me guilty of judging in the self-righteous sense, because it’s true for every one of us. God says we are sinners (Rom. 5:9, 1 Tim. 1), so I’m not making any specific judgements. The word discernment in the dictionary implies judgement. God’s word is sharper than a two-edged sword, judging our hearts intentions. Judging isn’t bad, it’s just a question of what you’re using to judge. The Bible calls us to discern and test (Heb. 4:12, Rom. 12:2), while judging those inside the Church (1 Cor. 5) with God’s word (Jn. 7). So, we Christians can call each other to repent because we have the same standard of authority (God’s word).
I have no Biblical right to judge someone who doesn’t know Christ. Therefore, I wasn’t judging Williams, I was saying his life, however happy or inspiring it may have seemed, needed redemption. None of us are graded better than another by God.
3) Was it bad timing, especially since it was revealed that it was a suicide?
I don’t have an answer for that. I could say yes, because his family was mourning his loss and it was all raw in our minds. The post could be read in a way that sounds like I am insensitive to how he died. It could also be interpreted in another way, as if it was timed properly since it was fresh in the public’s minds. It was my conviction that I needed to share with my friends that Hell is real, that we can’t throw words around like love unless we understand the chains of Hell and the freedom in Christ.
4) Was it written to draw attention to the blog?
No. It was not intended to be read by a wide audience. It was only intended for my Facebook friends. It was meant to be read within a closed circle. The title is not a cheap attempt at luring people into reading it. The title explains in a nutshell what is written in the post.
Hopefully that answers some of your questions!
Until next time,