After Death Experience?
One teaching that attracts many people to Mormonism is its belief that people will have a chance to repent after death. “The spirits in prison are “taught faith in God, repentance from sin, vicarious baptism for the remission of sins, the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands, and all other principles of the gospel that [are] necessary for them to know” (D&C 138:33–34). If they accept the principles of the gospel, repent of their sins, and accept ordinances performed in their behalf in temples, they will be welcomed into paradise.” (True to the Faith, p. 46 – 47)
A Bible passage that Mormons often point to in support of this teaching is 1 Peter 4:6. For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men in the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.” But note that it doesn’t say “is preached” but rather “was preached”. Tenses are important. Peter is talking about something that happened in the past. Nowhere does he say that the gospel is or ever was, being preached to the dead. In essence, Peter is saying that in the past, when these people were still alive, the gospel was preached to them.
This is the consistent witness of the Bible. Never does it give any reason to hope that people have another chance. In fact, it says the direct opposite. Many Christians point to Hebrews 9:27. “Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment.” Mormons often counter that by saying that this allows for a time lag between death and the judgment in which people can have a chance to repent. Because of that I have found it more effective to refer to Proverbs 11:7: “ When a wicked man dieth, his expectation shall perish: and the hope of unjust men perisheth.” At death, the hope of unjust people (which in the Bible includes all unbelievers) dies. The Bible is clear. There are no second changes.
This is very sobering. This generates urgency – urgency both in regard to ourselves and others. We should never become lackadaisical about our own spiritual health, thinking that we have all the time in the world. For who of us knows when we will die?
Neither do we know when anybody else is going to die. That means that we need to strive to make use of every opportunity the Lord gives us to tell others the wonderful news that Jesus has conquered death – including eternal death – for us.
In that regard, I want to share with you the exciting news that our website encouraging and equipping people to witness to LDS missionaries is now up and running! I encourage you to check it out here. PleaseOpenTheDoor.com I realize that the first reaction of many people is that this is not for them. But I encourage you to read a few of its articles. Dozens of people who initially said this wasn’t for them have had some awesome witnessing experiences. Therefore don’t say no too quickly. Who knows? Some young man or woman might have a wonderful after death experience living in the presence of God for all eternity because you opened the door to them and lovingly shared God’s truth with them.