Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Heaven is a place where you can eat what you want and never get heavy."

Thank you, Ted Haggard, for that nugget of wisdom, as well as for the insight that heaven is full of all kinds of pastries.

Haggard is the president of the National Association of Evangelicals. He appeard last night on Barbara Walters' special, "Heaven: Where is it? How Do You Get There?" I didn't watch the whole thing, but I did tune in for the portion when the obligatory evangelical leader shares his obligatory nuanced/know-nothing thoughts on heaven and who goes there. I didn't tape it. I'm not wasting time searching for a transcript. I tried to type a couple choice quotes as I listened to Haggard, so I'll be paraphrasing Walters and getting as close as I can to Haggard's quotes. I'm not using quotation marks because I don't want to imply that I got every quote exactly right.

TH: There is only one guaranteed way to go to heaven according to Scripture—Jesus Christ. If you don’t know Jesus you have no assurance [emphasis mine] of going to heaven.

TH: If you believe in another god or no god at all, there is no guarantee. Jews, Muslims, and people of other faiths have to work out their own way to heaven.

BW: Do people who do not believe in Jesus Christ go to hell?

TH: I think so, unfortunately.

(To be fair, Haggard later said concerning the necessity of faith in Christ, "There’s no if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.")

Paleo: Thanks, Ted, for being so dogmatic on the fabricated promise of a glutton-friendly heavenly buffet, but refusing to affirm with equal certitude the biblical teaching that those who do not believe are condemned. How very helpful to the advance of the gospel you were.

Can we really call the 30 million people and the 52 denominations he represents, "evangelicals"? Doesn't "evangelical" imply a belief that what the Bible teaches is true—even the parts our culture or even we ourselves don't like?

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