The Question That Will Never Die posted by John Sorensen on Mar 15, 2012
Many Christians I speak with often say American culture is different than in the 1960s when Dr. Kennedy founded EE. They say people aren’t interested in the gospel and not as concerned about what happens after death as before. And, therefore, it’s not relevant to ask them whether they know for certain that if they were to die tonight they would go to heaven.
That’s the suggestion behind an item in the March Christianity Today headlined, “The Question That Died.” It cites a recent Lifeway Research poll that found 46 percent of Americans never ask themselves the question, “If I were to die today, do I know for sure that I would go to heaven?” The poll also reports that the number of people who think about that question daily dropped from 20 percent in 2006 to 8 percent in this recent poll.
Well, Christianity Today didn’t report it, but the poll also found that 42 percent of Americans do wonder if they are going to heaven. Here’s the breakdown as to when they wonder: 8 percent daily, 12 percent weekly, 11 percent monthly, and 11 percent yearly. That means a total of 130 million Americans wonder whether they’re going to heaven; 25 million ask themselves about it daily. This is a question about which Americans are concerned.
And, really, the question should be, “Are you willing to think about eternal things?” Because we find few who are not, regardless of whether or not it has been on their mind in the last day or month. As Ken Silva EE North America Vice President told Christianity Today, “People are open to talking about eternal things, whether they’ve thought about this question or not. It tends to be people who don’t evangelize who imagine people aren’t open.”
Agreed. Just last week my team approached three people and all three were open and interested. We shared the Gospel with all three, and one gave his heart to Christ.
Let me add this story. The day I heard about the earlier Lifeway poll reporting that 20 percent of Americans, one in five, wonder about heaven daily, I was in Dallas and went into a steak house with a pastor friend. I was amazed by the poll result, so I mentioned it to the waitress.
“You’re the first person I’ve talked to since I heard that. I’ve got to ask you, do you think about death every day?” And she just began to weep and she pulled up her sleeves and her wrists were just destroyed. She said, “I’ve tried to kill myself on several occasions. This last time, about three months ago, I was in the hospital for a month. I’ve been out and every day I’ve been wondering, ‘What’s gonna happen to me.’ And I’ve been praying to God, ‘If there is a God, would you please send someone to tell me what’s gonna happen?’” We had the joy of sharing the Gospel with her, leading her to Jesus, and plugging her into my pastor friend’s church.
The truth is people are very much interested in what happens after death. The interesting thing is that so few Christians are willing to go out and have those conversations. What we desperately need today are believers willing to go out and engage people and share the claims of Jesus Christ with them. And, you know, doing so is actually the most fun a Christian can have this side of heaven!