The reports about Andrew Brunson’s release are just another example of how little the media know about evangelical churches.
Communicating the idea that Christians somehow deserve more of God’s protection would be untrue and would actually collide with the teachings of Jesus Christ.
On Tuesday, we reported about the tragedy in Colombia in which most of the members of Brazilian football team Chapecoense lost their lives: “Three evangelical Christians among plane crash survivors: ‘Only God can give us strength’”.
We would like to use the opportunity to comment on some criticism we read on the social media. Some say that reporting about the faith of some of the survivors could be used to promote the idea that being an “evangelical” is a kind of guarantee of receiving God’s protection, a shield against suffering.
This idea, nonetheless, is not in the line of the worldview and practice of our news platform. We report about Christians who die in the hands of jihadists and share testimonies of believers who suffer persecution because of their faith in Christ. We write about Christians in the midst of the refugee crisis and evangelicals who go through physical and psychological pain.
Although we have not been able to confirm this information yet, we believe that it is very likely that several people who died in the Colombia plane crash were evangelical Christians. The fact that half of the survivors were Christians clearly points in that direction.
Communicating the idea that evangelicals somehow deserve more of God’s protection would be untrue and would actually collide with the teachings of Jesus Christ and the whole Bible.
Therefore, we express our condolences, nearness and prayers for all the relatives and friends of those who lost their lives: football players, team staff members, airplane crew members and journalists.
The second idea we would like to clarify is our theological vision of salvation. The questions could come to our mind: “Are those who died in the plane crash going to be saved?”
With the term 'salvation' we do not refer to a “physical” salvation but the reality of an eternal life with God.
In this sense, our belief might not be politically correct. We believe that those who got saved were not evangelical Christians or Roman Catholics. They were not members of any other religion or people without a religious affiliation (agnostics, atheists…).
If we believe Jesus’ words, those who are saved with absolute certainty are only those who knew Him and trusted in Him.
What about those who did not? The letter of Paul to the Romans says that those who had not had the chance to know Christ will be judged in a just trial. There will be no excuses, subterfuges or apologies.
So, we are not in a position of judging who will spend eternity with God and who will not.
But if our opinion is asked, we would say that we strongly believe that salvation comes through accepting the Grace of God, a gift of eternal life that comes only through Jesus Christ, without intermediaries, for the forgiveness of our sins and the restoration of our relationship with God.
This is not a matter of becoming an evangelical Christian. It is a matter of trusting in Jesus and his Work.
The moment of going through the threshold of death will come for all of us. For some of us it will come unexpectedly. Our physical death will either lead to an eternity with God, or an eternity without Him.