On Monday, a man named Ben Dillon died. He was only 43 and there are a lot of people mourning his loss, including a church community, his wife, and two children. Your heart has to go out to all of them at a time like this.
What’s puzzling to me is the church’s reaction.
I wouldn’t criticize anyone for grieving in a religious way, making the usual remarks about Heaven, or saying they’ll see him in the afterlife. That’s how Christians often cope with a loss of a loved one.
But it seems downright cruel to urge people to pray for Jesus to resurrect him, as if that’s ever going to happen. The plea comes from Ben’s brother, Danny Dillon, the pastor of Rock Church in Franklin, Virginia. He even uses the hashtag #ComeBackBen in the following video:
… Ever since Monday morning, we’ve been praying for resurrection… When the paramedics were pumping his chest… when he was in the hospital and they announced his time of death, we’ve been believing God for a miracle.
At the funeral home, we’ve been praying over his body. Now, at the church, we’re just believing God to do something awesome. You should see his wife Micah as she continues to worship God and continue to try to call her husband back. And we just know that, whatever the outcome, whatever God has, we’re gonna continue to give Him the glory. So I’m wondering if you’ll join with us and you’ll pray.The Kingdom of Heaven is near… what if you need something in your life? What if you needed healing?… Let’s do this thing together. Let’s bring revival back to the nation and across the world… Believe in God for a miracle. Over these next 24 hours till his memorial service, and even then, we’re gonna still call on God to raise Ben back…
Spread the word that God is God and He’s still on the Throne and He’ll forever be on the throne…
I know I’m an atheist and everything, and this has to be a devastating loss for everyone who knew Ben, but there’s a clear difference between giving people a false hope about Heaven — which they can carry with them their entire life without any real consequence — and telling them there’s a possibility that Ben is coming back in the very near future if they just pray hard enough.
What an awful, misleading message to send his children. What are they supposed to think a week or two from now? That if only they had more faith, they could’ve brought their father back to life?
Again, I’m not saying this lightly. I’m certainly not trying to make them feel worse. But this goes far beyond a typical religious response to death. Instead of celebrating Ben’s life and helping his family move forward, people are devoting their time and energy to a goal that can never be achieved and has a very real downside.