Posts

The Rushmore Report: Michael Strahan on Who Will Be in Heaven

When sports stars and famous actors speak out on politics and religion, people notice. That’s why mega-star Michael Strahan made news with his recent declaration, on ABC’s morning show, on who will be in heaven. The NFL hall-of-famer didn’t stop there. He offered a new definition of the church. I like Michael Strahan. But what he said – if he really believes it – is scary.

1. Multiple roads to heaven

First, let’s consider what the TV star said about heaven. Strahan said, “There are so many different religions,” but “they are all the same,” offering “many ways to the same heaven.” He continued, “There’re so many different religions that they all end up boiling down to the same thing, but at some point in my heart of hearts, I think we’ll all end up in heaven.”

Theologians call this universalism. The idea goes like this. God is an all-loving being who will, at the end of the day, welcome into heaven all who have ever been born, because his grace is the ultimate response to our sin.

If Strahan is right, Jesus is a liar. He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life” (John 14:6). If all roads lead to heaven, Jesus lied by saying he was the only way.

If Strahan is right, God is the worst father who ever lived. He sent his Son on a death march to the unnecessary cross – if Strahan is right. Since all roads lead to heaven, why let Jesus die as though this was the only way?

But Strahan is not right. There is one way to God and that way is through his Son, Jesus Christ.

2. New definition of church

When asked on air if he goes to church, Strahan said, “On occasion . . . I mean, I’m pretty much working six days a week and then football on Sunday.” Then he excused, “I’m always at church because sometimes church can be in a state of mind.”

The Greek word for that is bologna. Each believer makes up a part of the church. We, the church, are Christ’s bride and some day he will return for his church. At that same time, some will be left behind and not be in heaven. The church is not a “state of mind,” but rather a body of blood-bought, faith-filled, regenerated and Spirit-sealed believers in Jesus Christ – the only way to heaven.

I like Michael Strahan. He was a great football player. He is a wonderful entertainer. Of course, when it comes to getting to heaven and the subject of “church,” he has a right to his opinion. And I don’t doubt his sincerity.

But on the most important issues man will ever face – issues of eternal life – Michael Strahan is sincerely wrong.

Just One Road

It happened in the big city of Kingman, Arizona. A dude rancher filed a notice of appeal with federal authorities to stop the use of a bypass road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Nigel Turner is the owner of the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, which supplies the total income and livelihood. His problem with the bypass road was that it was an unnecessary route into the Skywalk area because two other routes already exist.

Here’s the real issue. Nigel wants all tourists to the Grand Canyon to pass by his resort. This means more business for him. He is already upset that two routes exist; he can’t stand the thought of three.

Most places have multiple routes. When my wife and I drive somewhere, her smart phone tells this dumb driver about three possible routes, whether we want three possible routes or not. But that comes in handy in times of heavy traffic.

But there is one place that only has one route. That place is heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way.” There is one way in and no way out.

Texan in London

The story is told of the Texan who visited the Summer Olympics in London. He was taking a taxi tour of London as he was in a hurry to see as many sites as he could in a short amount of time. As they passed the Tower of London, the cabbie explained what it was and that construction started in 1346 and continued until its completion in 1412.

The Texan replied, “Shoot, a little ‘ol tower like that? In Houston, we’d have that thing up in two weeks!”

A few minutes later, they passed the House of Parliament. The driver explained that it was built from 1544 until 1618.

The Texan replied, “We built a bigger one than that in Dallas in less than a year!”

As they passed Westminster Abbey the cabbie was silent. The Texan asked, “Whoah! What’s that over there?”

The cabbie scratched his head and said, “Now that, I don’t know! It wasn’t there yesterday!”

The Bible says that Jesus has been building a mansion for you ever since he returned to heaven. That is 2,000 years of construction. Even for a Texan, that will be an unbelievable place. I hope to see you there some day!

Heaven

A few weeks ago, I was blessed to attend First Baptist Church in Dallas with my wife and two of 0ur dearest friends. Pastor Robert Jeffress brought an amazing message on heaven. He taught from Daniel 12:2 – “Many of those who sleep in the dust of the ground will awake, these believers to everlasting life, but the others to disgrace and everlasting contempt.”

Dr. Jeffress made four great points about heaven.

1. There is the promise of a resurrected body.

God’s original design is that of spirit and flesh (Genesis 2:7). His future plan includes two resurrections, one of the dead and one for the living.

2. There is the possibility of a resurrection body.

“How are the dead raised? And what kind of body do they have?” (1 Corinthians 15:35). Paul goes on to answer his own question. We have the opportunity of a new body.

3. There is a prototype of the resurrected body.

The Scriptures say, “Beloved, now we are children of God, and it has not appeared as yet what we will be. We know that, when he appears, we shall be like him, because we will see him just as he is” (1 John 3:2). Jesus is the picture of our resurrected body.

4. We see the particulars of the resurrected body.

Our bodies will be physical (1 Corinthians 15:39-44). Our bodies will be perfect (Revelation 21:4). And our bodies will  be personal (Luke 24:39). Heaven is real, and our heavenly bodies will be real, as well.

Not Home Yet

A missionary couple came home aboard a ship after many years of faithful service in Africa. It so happened that there was a very important diplomat also on the same ship who got special treatment and special attention. When the ship arrived, this couple stood back and watched from the deck as the band played and the people had gathered and there was great applause. As the diplomat walked down the gangplank and was whisked off in a limousine to the sound of applause, this dear saint put his arm around his wife and he walked off with her into the streets of New York.

“Honey,” he said, “it just doesn’t seem right after all of these years that we would have this kind of treatment when we came home, and here this fellow gets that kind of special treatment.”

Then she put her arms around her husband and said to him, “But honey, we’re not home yet.”

Is life tough for your sometimes? Is your road hard to travel? Do others seem to have the gain while you get the pain? Don’t ever forget, you aren’t home yet. There is a celebration waiting. But until your ship comes in, keep trusting. The best is yet to come.

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away” (Revelation 21:4).

Passing the Exam

An attractive young college student was doing well in all her classes except Chemistry. She found that to be the most difficult class she had ever had. But she just had to pass, or she would lose her scholarship. So the student made an appointment to see her professor in his office.

“What can I do for you?” he asked her.

“I just have to pass your class,” she said. “But I am really having a hard time. I will do anything, if you will pass me.”

“Anything?” asked the professor. “You are willing to do anything to pass my class?”

“Oh, yes,” she replied. “Use your imagination. I am willing to do anything you want, one time, if you will give me a passing grade.”

Then, as she began to undress, the professor stopped her.

“Are you sure you mean this? You are willing to do anything one time, in order to pass my class?” he asked.

“Yes, I said that. Now just tell me what you want me to do.”

To that, the professor responded with one word: “Study!”

The Bible says we will face final exams one day. It is called the Great White Throne Judgment. But if you want to pass the exam then, you need to prepare now.

“Study to show yourself approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed” (2 Timothy 2:15).

Just One Road

It happened in the big city of Kingman, Arizona. A dude rancher filed a notice of appeal with federal authorities to stop the use of a bypass road to the Grand Canyon Skywalk. Nigel Turner is the owner of the Grand Canyon Ranch Resort, which supplies his total income and livelihood. His problem with the bypass road was that it was an unnecessary route into the Skywalk area because two other routes already exist.

Here’s the real issue. Nigel wants all tourists to the Grand Canyon to pass by his resort. This means more business for him. He is already upset that two routes exist; he can’t stand the thought of three.

Most places have multiple routes. When my wife and I drive somewhere, her smart phone tells this dumb driver about three possible routes, whether we want three possible routes or not. But that comes in handy in times of heavy traffic.

But there is one place that only has one route. That place is heaven. Jesus said, “I am the way.” There is one way in and no way out.

No Place Like Home

Dignitaries lined the street when the funeral procession passed. Thousands waited just to catch a glimpse of the coffin. In fact, the people of the United States and all parts of the world loved and revered the deceased man so much that his remains were disinterred in Tripoli and brought to the United States for a magnificent funeral.

His name was John Howard Payne. You probably haven’t heard of him. But his well-loved poet was best known for composing one simple verse:

“‘Mid pleasures and places, though oft I may roam, Be it ever so humble, there’s no place like home.”

There’s no place like home. And the good news for the believer is that he isn’t home yet. This world is full of struggles, illness, and pain. But remember, we aren’t home yet.

So the next time you complain about life’s problems, remember that it gets better. God said, “I know the plans I have for you – plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11). And the greatest hope of all is . . . there’s no place like home.

Mere Christianity

When I think of God’s best future, I think of the words of Max Lucado. “We may speak about a place where there are no tears, no death, no fear, no night; but those are just the benefits of heaven. The beauty of heaven is seeing God.” I think of Francis Chan, who wrote, “True faith means holding nothing back. It means putting every hope in God’s fidelity to his promises.”

But I mostly think of the words of C. S. Lewis. From 1942 to 1944, while teaching at Oxford during World War II, he offered a series of radio talks on BBC. The transcripts from the broadcasts were put together in three separate pamphlets: The Case for Christianity, (1942), Christian Behaviour (1943), and Beyond Personality (1942). Then someone got the idea to put them all under one cover, and the result was Lewis’ greatest work, Mere Christianity.

When I think of God’s best future, I especially think of this except.

Creatures are not born with desires unless satisfaction for those desires exists. A baby feels hunger: well, there is such a thing as food. A duckling wants to swim: well, there is such a thing as water. Men feel sexual desire: well, there is such a thing as sex. If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world. If none of my earthly pleasures satisfy it, that does not prove that the universe is fraud. Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing. If that is so, I must take care, on the one hand, never to despise, or to be unthankful for, these earthly blessings, and on the other, never to mistake them for the something else of which they are only a kind of copy, or echo, or mirage. I must keep alive in myself the desire for my true country, which I shall not find till after death; I must never let it get snowed under or turned aside; I must make it the main object of life to press on to that country and to help others to do the same.