Christopher Hitchens Death: A Reformed Reflection

Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment (Hebrew 9:27), Christopher Hitchens, one of the “Four Horsemen” of New Atheism destined day was Thursday night of 15 December 2011. He died at the age of 62, after a 18-month combat with esophageal cancer.

The “blogshere” was kidnapped by reflections of his death. Here are highlights of some of reflection coming from Christians blogoshere:

Justin Taylor’s at Between Two Worlds in Gospel Coalition: Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

He was a brilliant and entertaining man. He was enormously gifted, and in his final years he took those gifts and used them to mock God, using his considerable wit and sharp tongue to convince as many people as possible to do the same.

Glenn Peoples’ at Say Hello to my Little Friend: Hitch: Being dead does not make him any more noble

He may have been a good journalist and writer, but in the arena he became notorious in – attacking religion, he was a prat, and deliberately so. And not just a prat, a pretending, smug, arrogant (certainly more arrogant than was warranted by his ignorance), belligerent prat. He – along with his equally vapid adoring fan base – was quite taken by the idea that you’ve offered a sensible critique of Christianity if you just describe it in scornful terms with a serious look on your face, or that a deep Oxford educated voice and some dirty innuendos made a point all that more logically compelling.

Douglas Wilson’s at Christianity Today: Christopher Hitchens Has Died, Doug Wilson Reflects

Christopher knew that faithful Christians believe that it is appointed to man once to die, and after that the Judgment. He knew that we believe what Jesus taught about the reality of damnation. He also knew that we believe—for I told him—that in this life, the door of repentance is always open. A wise Puritan once noted what we learn from the last-minute conversion of the thief on the cross—one, that no one might despair, but only one, that no one might presume. We have no indication that Christopher ever called on the Lord before he died, and if he did not, then Scriptures plainly teach that he is lost forever. But we do have every indication that Christ died for sinners, men and women just like Christopher. We know that the Lord has more than once hired workers for his vineyard when the sun was almost down (Matt. 20:6).

Edward Feser’s: Christopher Hitchens (1949-2011)

Except on religion, where he was a complete bore and an insufferable hack. There is no use sugar-coating that fact now that he is gone, and Hitchens was not in any event a fan of the polite obituary. Religion is the last subject about which to have a tin ear or a closed mind, and Hitchens had both.

Russel Moore’s at Moore to the Point: Christopher Hitchens Might Be in Heaven

Christopher Hitchens was a blasphemer, true enough, and a nasty character. Aren’t we all, in our different ways. Christ Jesus came for nasty characters like us. And the same blood of Jesus that can deliver us from wrath could do the same for Hitchens had he, if he, at any point, embraced it. It’s not likely, but it’s possible, and, if he did, then Christopher Hitchens’s past atheism would be no barrier to communion with God. It would be, like my sin, crucified with Christ, buried, and remembered no more.

And John Podhoretz, Commentary, Juli Weiner, Vanity Fair, Christopher Buckley, The New Yorker on list goes.

I do agree with much that has been said by all brilliant thinkers and writers above. As Christians who hold to the truthfulness of the doctrine of grace, the death of Hitchens’ reminds us how grateful we ought to be to our Sovereign and wise God. We are to thank him because the Cross of Christ is not a stumbling block to us as with Jewish nor fool as with non-believers but power of God and the wisdom of God ( 1 Cor. 1:23-24)

I was not better than Hitchens. I also was a blasphemer. I hated God and unable to walk to the Calvary. Jesus put it this way: “No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him. And I will raise him up on the last day.”(John 6:44) I am a Christian because the Father drew me to His Son. As Lydia of Thyatira(Acts 16:14), it’s Yahweh that opened my heart to give heed unto the Gospel of the crucified and resurrected Savior.

When non-believer dies, we ought to ponder on how wonderful our Lord and God is that in His grace and mercy we found favor. As Paul said, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God”(Ephesians 2:8)

NB: Please do read the blogs for the context of the quoted part.

Christ’s Cross: The Drama Of Debtors, Enemies and Criminals

R. C. Sproul’s The Truth Of The Cross was my 3rd advent present from my dearly and lovely wife Lea. As was with  C. J. Mahaney’s book: Living The Cross Centered Life, Keeping the Gospel the Main Thing, I would share one of the most remarkable part in this book.

In this book, Sproul examined how Christ Jesus death on the cross redeemed those who are in Christ. Dr. R.C. aimed to show that it was God who provided the Lamb to be slaughtered as the manner to which the salvation of those in Christ was obtained.

Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner, a Professor at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary wrote:

“The cross stands at the very center of our Christian lives. Still, many Christians are confused about the heart of the gospel, for many deviant views are in the air. R.C. Sproul blows the fog away in this wonderfully clear, theologically profound, and pastorally rich work. Learn afresh or anew what God has accomplished in the cross, so that you will boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.”

One of the most remarkable part in this Sproul’s book, for me, was chapter 3. The Debtors, Enemies and Criminals. He began explaining the quote he came across in Barlett’s Familiar Quotations: “Sin is cosmic treason”. He wrote:

We rarely take the time to think though the ramifications of our sin. We fail to realize that in even the slightest sins we commit, such as little white lies and other peccadilloes, we are violating the law of the Creator of the universe. In the smallest sin we defy God’s right to rule and to reign over His creation.

Sproul then went on to show that every sin is “ truly an act of treason against the cosmic King”. He went on:

When God issues a law, when He legislates a kind of behavior, it is our duty as His creature to do as He says. A Moral obligation to conform to that law is imposed on us justly from His hand. When we don’t conform, we are breaking that law, which means we are committing crime in the sight of God. When a crime is committed, His justice has been violated and we are worthy of sanctions.

God function as a Judge, says Sproul, has an obligation to bring judgment of us. His justice demands that sin be punished. A debt that demands a payment.

Sproul showed how the drama of the cross is played as he answered, “How satisfaction was be achieved” How a cosmic criminal set free. How God’s justice satisfied. How those in Christ debt paid.

R.C pointed out that Christ Jesus played a crucial role in the drama as he “summarize the roles of each of the actors in this way”:

Sin as …

Man

God

Christ

Debt

Debtor

Creditor

Surety

Enmity

Enemy

Violated One

Mediator

Crime

Criminal

Judge

Substitute

Sproul showed that when sin is depicted as a debt, the New Testament calls Christ our Surety (Heb. 7:22). That’s an economic term, just as debt is an economic term, when sin is expressed as enmity to God’s holiness, Christ plays the role of Mediator reconciling God and Man (2 Cor. 5:19b) and when sin is characterized as crime, Christ is the One Who actually comes under judgment in atonement in our place. Our substitute.

Two chapters later came the most awesome and strong observation.

Expiation [taking away of guilty through the payment] is the act that results in the change of God’s disposition towards us. It is what Christ did on the cross, and the result of Christ’s work of expiation is propitiation [bring change from “against” to “for”] – God’s anger is turned away. The distinction is the same as that between the ransom that is paid and the attitude of the one who receives the ransom. (p.76-77)

The Truth of The Cross  is a 167 paged and easy read book that I would recommend my fellow Christians and curious non-Christian to read.