Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Where will Suicide Pastor: Teddy Parker and the Suicide Bombers Spend Eternity?

Pastor Teddy Parker Jr.

              On November 10, 2013, Pastor Teddy Parker: the senior pastor of the 800 Bibb Mount Zion Baptist Church committed suicide in the driveway of his home in between services by shooting himself on the head. Many wonder if skeletons in his closet caused his suicide or perhaps it was murder by the book. His personal friend: Dr. E. Dewey Smith Jr. of the House of Hope Atlanta said that, “He was in treatment, but he just couldn’t step away from treatment.” This is typical of African dictators. They think that they are indispensable to the world or like the pastor’s case, to God. It is not like if he went away for some time the work of God will die. It will crumble if it was built on his personality cult and not on the person of Christ. Works that crumble are those that are not of Christ (Acts 5: 34-40). Even if your personal ministry crumbled, it does not mean the work of God has.  It is God who brings forth the increase and not man (ICor 3:6-7). The question one of my sisters’ in Christ asked me was if the pastor will go to heaven or to hell. If he goes to heaven, would the suicide bomber too go to heaven or to hell? My task, albeit cumbersome will be to unfold the fall in the theory of his departure to heaven and to expose where he went wrong. I will also juxtapose the suicide bomber with his act. Suffer that I explore all the facets in this screed.
The World Health Organization published a report in 2000 where 16 per every 100,000 die by killing themselves. Today about 1.1 million people kill themselves each year. People kill themselves in Japan more than they die in traffic accidents. They are tired of living and frustrated with the society. The importance of suicide has always been a debatable issue among thinkers.  While some individuals in most religions castigate it, others extol them. Suicide is a social problem that smuggles itself even into Christian milieus. In November 19, 1978, Jim Jones ordered his followers (most Americans) to drink Kool-aid with cyanide at Jonestown in the island of Guyan and The Waco Incident of 1993. The most recent was in Africa.
In Round the World in 80 Days, we are introduced to a scene where Philease Fogg meets a woman being burned on the pyre of the dead husband in India. It was no prevarication but a modicum of the suicidal tradition in India known as suttee. At times for a woman to show how much she loved the husband she would throw herself on his burning pyre. Surprisingly the Brahmins term this altruistic suicide. Still in India, a woman or man could light herself or himself on fire to show their disapproval of government policy. In 1941 during the height of WWII, the world was introduced to the Japanese Kamikazes overtly demonstrated the hara-kiri suicide culture). These were suicide pilots who did what Mohammad Atta did to the World Trade Centers on September 11, 2001. They take an airplane and crash it on their targets with the purport of killing people.
Suicide cases are mentioned six times in the Bible. The first one is Samson who kills himself to avenge himself against his enemies (Judges 16:25-30). The reason why Samsons’ case is exonerated is that he was given the task of delivering the Israelites from the Philistines and as such, his suicide action is considered as state execution which was acquitable . The second case is Saul who killed himself with the sword to avoid being captured by his enemies whom he considered unclean (1 Sam. 31:4). The third was Saul’s armor bearer (1 Sam. 31:5). The fourth was Zimri who burnt himself alive for making bad judgments (1 Kings 16:18). The fifth case was Ahithophel who hung himself because his advice was not followed: (2 Sam. 17:21-23). The sixth and last case found in the New Testament is Judas Iscariot for betraying Jesus  (Matt. 27:3-5). Therefore, not even Christianity is exempted from this charlatan slag. To these faithfuls, the fire of God is preferable to living in this world or surrendering to Satan, FBI or our enemies.
A good number of reasons engender such behaviors. First, it’s a shame to surrender to the enemy like the case of Samson, Saul and his armor bearer. Secondly, it’s a way of venting out frustration like the case of Ahithophel. Depression falls under this category. Thirdly, it’s a noble cause to die for the emperor who was looked upon as a god (Shintoism). Lastly, the encouragement and accolades obtained from the society was another fuel that inflamed the fire of suicide among the Japanese and Palestinians.
Then come the Palestinian suicide bombers who fine pleasure exploding bombs on themselves to kill not only themselves but innocent women and children in the name of defending Allah’s cause: (Hadith - Sahih Bukhari 1:35, Narrated Abu Huraira).  In Islam, the Qu’ran, condemns suicide and puts it at the same level with homicide: Hadith - Bukhari 7:670, Narrated Abu Huraira). (Hadith- Muslim #6485)
            Unfortunately, most frustrated young Muslims find their consolation in the Machiavellian promises whereby those who die in such acts will be rewarded 800 virgins in heaven by Allah. This explains why most suicide bombers are in their late 20s and early 30s. They are the ones who have the energy for 800 virgins. Yasser Arafat did buy that idea because only three virgins would have smoked him out. Osama Bin Laden did not buy the idea. Remember that fornication and adultery, which could be tolerated in other circles, will be death in the Sharia governed countries. This makes it difficult for young Muslims to gratify their members somehow. So any promise to enjoy the swimming pools of at least a dozen virgin is but gospel to these zealots.
The suiciders are no more considered nefarious but heroes whose cause is termed anomic suicide and blamed on the living (primarily on the Israelis and secondary the Americans) for failing to prevent it and a second thought given to their grievances. Sigmund Freud believes that suicide is not against the victim but against those who have irritated him or her. So Maschova is merely influenced by Freudian psychology. This is understandable considering that he too is an Arab and thus fighting for liberation. Unfortunately, the Bible does not condemn suicide undiplomatically.
Many ministers and preachers have killed themselves by hugging the pulpit too much. If you try to pray and you do not feel as God is hearing you that is when you get your family to do join prayers and then get your friends. If you try to serve but you don’t feel as God is using you, then take a little leave of absence and seek the face of God with friends and co-laborers. Indeed, we all go through stuff where we can’t feel God in our lives, but we do not need to feel God to know his presence; the righteous shall live by faith (Rom. 1:17; Gal. 3:11; Heb. 10:38), and by faith only they shall live! Unfortunately, he decided to kill himself instead of casting his cares unto God who cares for him; the same who calls unto all who labor and are heavy laden to come so that he will give them rest.
It is true that anxiety and depression are real and Christians too can suffer from them just like they could catch a cold. However, there is an antidote and autoimmune that they have which the world does not have. It is called Jesus Christ. If we rely on the arm of flesh, then we fail because it will fail us. Shockingly, some pastors blame his death on Christians because they were pall bearers instead of armors bearers. That is unscriptural! His responsibility and failure lie solely on him and him alone. Read this, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die. The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son: the righteousness of the righteous shall be upon him, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon him.” (Ezek 18:20.)
He committed suicide so he will go to hell as acts that obtain forgiveness are the ones where repentance and confession are uttered. His suicide has nothing to do with mental health. He was a failed leader who lived for himself. I will show you in the course of this discourse why I say so.   Pastors or leaders who have a high level of stress are failed pastors and leaders. Jethro a Midianite lent a little wisdom to Moses cautioning him that his style of hugging the “throne” was going to kill him and the people (Ex 18:13-26.). That was because he was going to be stressed, depressed and burnt out and then the people will fall away from the altar they were thrust.
I feel sorry for the wife and kids but looking at the bible, the pastor has forfeited All the benefits he had acquired in serving and living for God. Those dark moments in ministry are like our shadow of death. At that moment, we should call for the word of God to remind ourselves not to fear any evil. It is unreasonable for people to say that if a believer commits suicide, he or she will go to heaven because he is saved by faith. Well, his last act on earth for which he had no time and means to repent was murder. How does he then obtain the forgiveness of sin which comes by confession and repentance though? By stating my position contrary to the zeitgeist, many will say that I need prayers and need to humble myself. However, if wrongness and pride means following the scripture, then I prefer to take that route, for it shall be well with my soul. I understand that a position like mine will be called, “putting people down.” I do apologize for that and express my intention as the contrary. We try to draw our condemnation merely by implication and biblical deduction.
Pastors who are stressed about the work are the ones who do not know about ministry. They want to do it their way. Here is what good leaders like Moses and Solomon did. During the reign of Solomon, he created Israel’s Golden Age because he created a peaceful environment, knitted prosperous partnerships with his father’s old friends like King Hiram, mounted great infrastructure investments and built a great friendship with the Queen of Sheba. In the New Testament, Barnabas was a great leader as he created new leaders and built on existing ones. Good leaders avert church gossips (I Cor 2:2).
In Genesis 9:6, God tells Noah to watch over the sanctity of life. That whoever kills another person should be killed too. That will include killing oneself. Now if you kill yourself you could not be killed by man but then God would have to take care of your soul accordingly. Paul tells the Corinthians that their bodies are the temple of God and whosoever destroys that temple himself or herself would be destroyed (1Cor. 6:19). So the great respect and importance God gives to human life makes us think that he will not remain indifferent if someone killed himself or herself. Let’s leave the Bible and go to other circles.
If we kill unlawfully, it is the sin of murder. We can only be exonerated if we murder in the name of the law when the state is executing someone or when we are fighting a just war (difficult to determine). To vindicate the suicide bomber from murder and putting the blame on those he/she seem to fight against is making suicide anomic.
The suicider is committing murder whether on its victims or indiscriminately. The last act they committed before dying was killing themselves. As a result, they did not have the opportunity to confess their sins. Taking someone’s life is a very serious issue but that is different from taking one’s own life. Sinners lose both rewards and salvation of God if they fail to repent before meeting death (Heb 10:26; Num 15:30; 2Pet. 2:20; 1Jn.5:16). Ezek 3:18-20. That means, if you killed someone, repented and confessed your sin, you will obtain mercy (Rom 10:9-10). But if you killed yourself, you will go to hell because your act of killing is the last act you committed. Even if you confess your sin before killing, it will be redundant because the law of forgiveness is active only when there is a sin followed by confession and repentance.
The pastor was fully in their right mind; he had all the time to pray with his wife and friends. Surely he like many others had created a culture of distrust around their churches that they fear stepping away for some time thinking that they will be knocked off. If you have fostered love and care, you do not need to fear stepping away or aside for difficult situations. His death is a result of failed leadership.
He will go to hell despite all his good works; even those of saving the other person who wanted to commit suicide as authoritatively stated by prophet Ezekiel. “Again, When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumblingblock before him, he shall die: because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand ( Ezek 3:20).” Our previous good works do not exempt the consequences for our present or future sins. Since the last thing he did was commit murders and murderers shall not enter into the kingdom of God (Gal 5:19-21).

Until then, those who commit suicide will go to hell!

St Arrey of Ntenako.

“Bonyfish beware because the same net that caught the jawless fish, caught the cartilaginous fish” (Hamilton Ayuk). Beware earthly paradise seekers because there is a serpent in every paradise"(Hamilton Ayuk). "It is not how well you know a person; it is how well you treat them that they will live longer and happier with you." Idle people write, idler people read, and idlest people read and whine that idle people are taking their time (Hamilton Ayuk).

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