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Suicide

The following are a few examples of what is typically taught concerning the eternal destiny of those who commit suicide. It is completely contrary to what the Bible teaches.

1. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches,

Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide.

We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives. By ways known to him alone, God can provide the opportunity for salutary repentance. The Church prays for persons who have taken their own lives. (CCC, p. 550, #2282 & 2283)

2. The Lutheran Church (Missouri Synod) says,

Q. What is the LCMS stand on suicide? If a person commits suicide, can his/her funeral be held in the church? Does the LCMS believe that the person is condemned to hell since after suicide there is no way to ask for forgiveness?

A. The Synod does not have an official position regarding the eternal state of individuals who have committed suicide, though theologians of the Synod have commented from time to time on pastoral questions that often arise in such cases.

Since the spiritual condition of an individual upon death is known only to God, our theologians have proceeded cautiously in making judgments in this regard. LCMS pastor and author Otto E. Sohn, for example, has stated:

"Assuredly we would not wish to judge anyone who resorts to self-destruction. It is impossible for us to plumb the depths of gloom into which even Christian people may sink and irresponsibly lay unholy hands upon themselves. Perhaps the Lord will not hold them responsible, but we do not know." (What's the Answer, CPH, 1960, p. 144).

In one of his "Table Talks," Martin Luther himself commented: "I don't have the opinion that suicides are certainly to be damned. My reason is that they do not wish to kill themselves but are overcome by the power of the devil." Luther goes on, however, to express concern that this statement not be misunderstood or misused in a way that would downplay the danger and seriousness of this sin in the minds of people (Luther's Works, American Edition, Vol. 54, p. 29). [www.lcms.org/pages/internal.asp?NavID=2123, copy on file]

3. John Piper of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Minneapolis, MN preached a "Funeral Meditation for a Christian Who Committed Suicide (1981)":

No single sin, not even suicide, evicts a person from heaven into hell. One thing does: continual rejection of God's Spirit. Our friend, we believe, gave up that resistance and accepted the forgiveness of Christ. What sort of momentary weakness, what brief cloud of hopelessness caused her to take her life remains a mystery. (hard copy on file)

It's not a mystery for those who know the truth (Colossians 1:23). She had such a debased mind (Romans 1:28), she killed herself, which is simply the result of an unregenerate heart.

4. Chuck Smith of Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa California writes in Answers For Today,

Q: Is a person who commits suicide totally lost for eternity?

A: Definitely not! I believe that a person who is driven to the point of committing suicide no longer has full responsibility for the things he's doing. Driven to a point of such mental extremes, he isn't necessarily responsible for the action of taking his own life. (p. 88-89; revised edition p. 116)

5. Charles Stanley of First Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia, teaches,

. . . suicide is an act of rebellion against God. Fortunately for all of us, however, God's grace is without prejudice. Whoever believes will be saved. Nowhere in the Bible does God compartmentalize sin and reserve grace only for those who commit "acceptable" sins. There is no such thing. Does God forgive suicide? Yes, He does.

If the person who committed suicide at some time accepted Jesus' death on the cross as payment for his sin debt and asked Him into his life, he is forgiven. Absolute assurance of forgiveness is found in Romans 8:1: "There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus." If a person has ever taken that step and received Christ as Savior, nothing can alter the truth that, as children of God, we are forgiven. Even when we rebel against God. (Handbook for Christian Living, p. 49, italics in original)

6. Dr. Gary Cohen, "one of the translators of the NKJV Bible and serves on the Board of Zion's Hope" (p. 27) wrote in "Zion's Fire" magazine,

In the Middle Ages, it was commonly taught that suicide was an unpardonable sin, as it allowed no time for repentance or for obtaining forgiveness by partaking in the sacraments. This is not the Protestant viewpoint, and it is admitted by most that a saved person can commit such an unfortunate act as suicide. In any case, all of us must be careful not to make statements beyond what the Scriptures teach (Deuteronomy 29:29). [p. 31, "Zion's Fire," September-October 2010; "Zion's Fire" is published by Zion's Hope, the ministry of false teacher Marvin J. Rosenthal]

7. It is recorded that Dr. J. Vernon McGee (1904-1988, "Thru the Bible" radio) taught,

Q. I was completely surprised when one of my friends from church committed suicide. How could a Christian kill himself?

McGee's answer, in part, reads,

I can understand that a Christian might have a mental breakdown, a catastrophic illness, or certain other things which might cause him to do this. I would not sit in judgment upon a professing Christian who does this because, to begin with, the minute he commits this act he is out of your hands and out of my hands. We cannot pass judgment on him. And I do know this: if that person is a child of God, he is saved. I don't care what you say, he is saved if he is a child of God. (Questions and Answers, copyright 1990 p. 50)

8. David Jeremiah, pastor of Shadow Mountain Community Church in El Cajon, California, says,

I've had the funerals of a number of people who have taken their own lives, and quite often family members will come and say, "Is there any forgiveness if someone takes their own life." And I need to report that that sin is neither accorded any greater or lesser value in the economy of God than the other sins which are chronicled in the word of God. And it is possible, I believe, for a person who has gone through some terrible stress in their life and in a moment of not thinking clearly has ended their life that person very easily might find his place in heaven; especially because he could have given his heart to Christ in this life; and even to take one's life does not undue what God does in the inward act of salvation. (Saul's Suicide, tape TTW13)

9. Billy Graham is asked,

My cousin had very serious emotional problems most of her life, and finally they overwhelmed her and she committed suicide. I firmly believe she was a Christian, but did she lose her salvation by doing this? Is suicide the unpardonable sin? - Mrs. W.L.

In the third paragraph of Graham's answer he says,

Suicide is always a tragedy - but in itself it is not the unpardonable sin. The only sin God cannot pardon is the sin of rejecting Him. God knew your cousin's heart, and He also knows that mental illness sometimes clouds a person's judgment so much that they aren't fully responsible for their actions. (www.billygraham.org/MyAnswer_Article.asp?ArticleID=1861, copy on file)

In other words, it's possible she went to heaven, according to Graham.

10. Mark Driscoll, founding pastor of Mars Hill Church in Seattle, Washington, wrote about the suicide of Rick Warren's son,

I rejoice that your son worshiped God’s Son who not only died, but rose from death and ascended into heaven where he welcomed your son and is preparing a family reunion that will last forever upon the resurrection of the dead. It will be a glorious day when you hug your son again! (underlining added, http://pastormark.tv/2013/04/10/rick-warren-critics-and-the-hope-of-god-s-son)

Driscoll clearly believes Warren's son went to heaven.

11. The "Bible Answer Man" Hank Hanegraaff wrote regarding so-called Christians who commit suicide,

. . . God will never spurn them. (The Complete Bible Answer Book, p. 398)

12. John F. MacArthur, pastor teacher of Grace Community Church, Sun Valley, California, makes the following claim in his article entitled "Can one who commits suicide be saved?"

Suicide is a grave sin equivalent to murder (Exodus 20:13; 21:23), but it can be forgiven like any other sin. And Scripture says clearly that those redeemed by God have been forgiven for all their sins--past, present, and future (Colossians 2:13-14). Paul says in Romans 8:38-39 that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus.

So if a true Christian would commit suicide in a time of extreme weakness, he or she would be received into heaven (Jude 24). [www.biblebb.com/files/macqa/IA-suicide.htm, copy on file]

These all speak directly against Matthew 24:13; John 15:1-6; Romans 11:22; 1 Corinthians 15:2; Colossians 1:23; Hebrews 3:6, 14; 12:25; and 1 John 5:4. Committing suicide is not enduring to the end (Matthew 24:13). It is not abiding in Christ (John 15:1-6). It is not continuing in His goodness (Romans 11:22). It is not holding fast the word (1 Corinthians 15:2). It is definitely being moved away from the hope of the gospel (Colossians 1:23). It is not holding fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm to the end (Hebrews 3:6). It is not holding the beginning of our confidence steadfast to the end (Hebrews 3:14). It is refusing and turning away from Him who speaks from heaven (Hebrews 12:25). And, it is not overcoming the world (1 John 5:4), but rather being overcome by the world and the devil (1 Peter 5:8; 1 John 5:18).

This kind of teaching on suicide opens wide the door of death and Hades (Luke 16:19-31; Revelation 20:11-15) to those in despair.

Some might argue, "What about Samson? He committed suicide." Samson's "suicide" was actually an act of war, as he killed three thousand Philistines in his vengeance upon them (Judges 16:28-30). He died in his effort to kill others, as he said, "Let me die with the Philistines!" (Judges 16:30). It was not, as a typical suicide of our day, because of a lack of hope, or a deranged mind. He died with the Philistines to "take vengeance on the Philistines" for his two eyes (Judges 16:28). Plus, this was the only choice he had, to kill them as he did.

Typical suicidal people today are those who have no hope, and they are thus not in Christ (Ephesians 2:12; 1 Peter 1:3; 3:15), or they have been moved away from the hope of the gospel and are thus lost (Colossians 1:21-23). Those with deranged minds, or who "might have a mental breakdown," are those who do not have a sound mind and are therefore not in Christ (Isaiah 26:3; 2 Timothy 1:7). These people will end up in hell if they die in such a state. Such people are not saved.

MacArthur, in the article mentioned above, ends his article with these words:

So though it may be possible for a true believer to commit suicide, we believe that is an unusual occurrence.

One unusual belief in this damning doctrine will result in one long eternity in hell!

Finally, below is an email sent to a man who argued Jesus committed suicide. He wrote,

(My own opinion: technically God committed suicide on the Cross; albeit for the all-time most altruistic reason).

Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 3:29 PM
To: Bron
Subject: Re: Your need to repent.
 
On the cross and in His death, Jesus did not lose or forsake hope in God nor rebel against Him as those who commit suicide today do. Moreover, no man could or can do what Christ did, lay His life down of Himself (John 10:18; Ecclesiastes 8:8 “No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit”). He also was murdered by men (Acts 7:52).
 
Paul says,
if indeed you continue in the faith, grounded and steadfast, and are not moved away from the hope of the gospel which you heard, . . . (Colossians 1:23).
Jesus said,
he who endures to the end shall be saved (Matthew 24:13).
God does not promise salvation to those who forsake Him (e.g. 1 Chronicles 28:9; John 15:1-6; Hebrews 10:26-31). Paul warns,
Therefore consider the goodness and severity of God: on those who fell, severity; but toward you, goodness, if you continue in His goodness. Otherwise you also will be cut off. (Rom 11:22 NKJ)

“Mental Illness” (as in the realm we are talking, suicide, self-destructive behavior) is a symptom of a “debased mind” (Romans 1:28). When someone is so utterly given over to wickedness, hopelessness, and rejection of Christ that they kill themselves (as masochistic behavior is noted as demonic in Scripture, Mark 5:2-5; Ephesians 5:29 “no one ever hated his own flesh”), such behavior reveals there is no faith in Christ. God has made Himself very clear: “the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10), the “unbelieving” go to the lake of fire (Revelation 21:8). The Bible is not a lie.

Sent: Friday, June 6, 2014 6:28 PM
Subject: RE: Your need to repent.
 
You make some extremely good points. I'll do some contextual study on the scriptures you've provided. Suicide as you characterize it is indeed the act of an unbelieving, desperately depraved man. Not all suicide fits in that box however. I also agree that those who fall away and reject  Christ are doomed to hell.
 
So I will get to my studying. I will reply further later on. In reviewing my initial email to you I realize that I need to apologize for my tone. So I am sorry.


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