Recently I read a quote by Henry Scott Holland that was shared and meant to bring comfort to the family and friends following the death of their loved one.
As I read it, I was shocked at the incredibly bad theology written by a Regius Professor of Divinity from the University of Oxford. It’s filled with lies that come from the pit of hell.
Death is nothing at all. It does not count. I have only slipped away into the next room. Nothing has happened. Everything remains exactly as it was. I am I, and you are you, and the old life that we lived so fondly together is untouched, unchanged. Whatever we were to each other, that we are still. Call me by the old familiar name. Speak of me in the easy way which you always used. Put no difference into your tone. Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow. Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes that we enjoyed together. Play, smile, think of me, pray for me. Let my name be ever the household word that it always was. Let it be spoken without an effort, without the ghost of a shadow upon it. Life means all that it ever meant. It is the same as it ever was. There is absolute and unbroken continuity. What is this death but a negligible accident? Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight? I am but waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near, just round the corner. All is well. Nothing is hurt; nothing is lost. One brief moment and all will be as it was before. How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!
First and foremost, only those people who have repented of their sin and confessed Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior have the assurance of heaven. Only those family and friends who have done the same will have the hope of heaven and the promise that they will one day see their loved one again in heaven.
All human beings will continue to exist after death. Some in heaven because they have been saved by grace through faith, not of themselves, but it was a gift of God lest we boast. Tragically far too many will find themselves in hell after living a life of rejecting God or thinking they will enter heaven based on their own good works.
All is not well for the loved one who died without Christ. They are hurting very much and will continue to do so eternity.
Death is huge…it is a confirmation of Genesis 3 when sin entered the world and the consequences that all humanity will face entered in- death!
Anyone who has lost a loved one to death knows it is something huge. Death brings to a close any chance of salvation through Jesus Christ. Men are appointed to death once and then they will face judgment. For those who are in Christ they are absent from the body, present with the Lord. For those who did not receive Christ they are awaiting judgment and face eternity in hell.
Following death our relationships change forever, even for those who grieve with hope in Christ. Ask a mother who lost a child, or a husband who lost his wife. There is grief and at times our sorrow may be overwhelming. It’s not wrong to feel sorrow in the face of death. Our relationships will change after we die. What our relationships are today is not what they will be or remain once we die. For those who know Christ and are in heaven, relationships will continue, but they will be different.
Praise God for the wonderful memories you may have of a loved one who has died. Those memories are a gift from God. You may weep, grieve and feel sorrow and that’s okay because you have experienced a great loss. The Lord desires to comfort you in your sorrow. Lord willing, you will once again you will find joy and happiness, but that doesn’t mean you won’t have an ache in your heart when you remember your loved one who has died. Life does go on, but you can’t help but think of all the things your loved one will not be there to see.
In his writing Mr. Holland erred when he said, “pray for me.” I can assure you that you do not need to pray for person who has already died. If they are a Christian they are in heaven with the Lord – absent from the body, present with the Lord. If they are an unbeliever, they are awaiting judgment and hell. Your prayers will not change their eternal destiny one iota once a person dies. Save your prayers for the living, for the family and friends who are grieving the loss of a loved one.
The thing that troubles me the most about this writing by Henry Scott Holland is that he did not share the Gospel message of salvation through Christ alone. He gave the illusion that death is nothing, when in fact the knowledge that we will all die ought to grab our attention and cause us to ask where will I go when I die.
Except for the Christian who is alive when the rapture occurs, we will all die…Christians and unbelievers alike. However, our destinies are different.
For the person who has repented of their sin and believed on the Lord Jesus Christ they will be in heaven forever. A place of no more sorrow, sickness, death, tears or sin. For the unbeliever they are facing judgment and an eternity in hell forever. It’s a place of weeping and gnashing of teeth, punishment and eternal torment.
If I really thought that death was nothing I would have no reason to share the Gospel message. I wouldn’t need to. But death is indeed something huge…it’s a game changer and people’s eternal destiny is fixed once they die. Until then, we need to share the Gospel message of salvation in Christ alone
I can’t help but believe that satan is quite pleased with Mr. Holland’s writing. It’s puts people minds at ease and comforts troubled emotions that people may feel in the wake of someone’s death. It does nothing to warn about the reality of hell and makes death seem like it’s nothing significant.
Henry Scott Holland is very wrong indeed. Bad theology brings no lasting comfort in the face of death.
A great resource to better understand about death and our eternal destiny is Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort. Click on the link below to read this book.