Tim Lee: Evangelical Pastor Explains His Belief in Heaven, Hell

Article excerpt

Returning to the subject of life after death, I will present the antipodal position to my previous column highlighting an atheist's perspective. To get a clear picture of the traditional evangelical viewpoint, one need look no further than the teachings of one local minister. Pastor Ed King has been in the Christian ministry for 37 years. He and his wife are the founders and co-pastors of Redemption Church International, begun in 1978 with 21 members. In addition to pastoring his flock, which now boasts a membership of more than 2,000, King produces a television program, holds international crusades, conducts leadership conferences, authors books and plants new churches.

Regarding heaven, hell and the afterlife, King's theology is quotidian conservative evangelicalism, as he adduced in our recent conversation.

Heaven or hell awaits us, depending on the "arrangements" made in this life. Heaven will be home for those who have been "born again," those accepting Jesus Christ's vicarious suffering and death on the cross, those embracing the lordship of Christ over their lives. Good works, church membership or living a decent moral life will not grant entrance through the pearly gates.

At the moment of death, angels in some number escort believers into the immediate presence of God, where having some form of a corporeal body, they will eternally enjoy the substantially celestial and terrestrial abode. In this nightless, painless, tearless utopia, heavenly citizens will continuously worship God.

Loved ones whot have passed will be recognizably present. Animals, like the horse and the eagle, will be there. And in an intriguing CD teaching, King asserts strong biblical evidence suggests that pets will be in heaven also.

Yes, Fido can go to heaven, too!

What about children who die young? While not insistent, King offers an "age of accountability" that comes around 20 years old. Meaning, anyone younger than 20 at the time of his or her passing goes to heaven. …