At Advancing Native Missions we are now in a period of mourning. We have just recently lost one of the oldest members of our staff. The Reverend Gordon Shira was a part of ANM from the very beginning. Following a successful and varied ministerial career, he had spent the past 25 years doing volunteer work in our offices. He served as the mission chaplain for decades. He also did clerical work in our receipting department since the earliest days of this ministry. He was a generous, kind-hearted and deeply devout man of God. We will miss him greatly.
Being conscious of Gordon’s passing has made me aware of the issue of death, of the mortality that we all face. And it prompts me to write about death itself, and what happens when we die. May I tell you that this is an area where there is an abundance of myth and misunderstanding. Even in the church I often hear Christians make assertions about those who have died that are simply not true. We do not know everything about what happens when we die. But we do know quite a bit. The Scriptures are very clear on a number of things. Continue reading →
Question: Is the soul of man immortal, or does it ceases to exist at death? D. in Crozet, VA.
Answer: The word immortal basically means not liable to death, undying or deathless. There is a debate both within the church and without about whether the soul is immortal. To truly understand this issue, we need to first understand what we mean by death. Continue reading →
Question: Is it okay for a Christian to be cremated? What does the Bible say? ~ Pastor S. from Fluvanna, VA
Answer: This is an interesting question that is being asked more frequently. With the rising cost of funerals many people—including Christian believers—are considering cremation as an acceptable alternative to the traditional funeral and burial. But how are we to view this practice? Does the Bible have anything to say about cremation? Continue reading →
This book by Dr. Eben Alexander relates the account of his near death experience, and his vision of the afterlife. While popular, even among some Christians, this book presents perspectives on God, spiritual truth, and the hereafter that are problematic for Bible-believing Christians. You can read an in-depth critique of this book here. Proof of Heaven
I have several times in my life met individuals who have never been to a funeral. I cannot imagine this. Funerals have always been a part of my life. My parents were both from rather large families. My mother was one of seven children, and my father one of twelve. And both were among the younger siblings in their respective families. So growing up I had tons of aunts and uncles and older cousins—old enough to die even. Funerals were a part of my upbringing.
The first funeral I can remember was an uncle, married to my Aunt Lou. I was about three. That started the ball rolling. Then there was another uncle when I was about seven. Then another uncle. Then an aunt. Then my grandfather. A few older cousins began to go. It was beginning to look like a trend. The peak was reached when I was about thirteen. One fall day I lost my grandmother. This was my mother’s mother, who lived with us while I was growing up. Then an aunt died about a week later. Then another aunt about two weeks after that. I lost my other grandmother about two months later. This was definitely getting ridiculous. Continue reading →