It’s conventional wisdom secular people often “come to Jesus” just before death. I’m suspicious about how often it happens. I wonder if it ever happens.
In Billy Graham’s question and answer column yesterday he told of the recent death of a secular friend. Graham said a “Christian relative” had visited the sick friend just before he died and got the “death bed conversion”. No one else was there.
There is a story Charles Darwin had a death bed conversion. It was told, like the Graham tale, by a Christian. Darwin’s daughter, however, says she herself was by his bedside the entire time leading to his death and he had no such conversion. The Christian telling the tale was not seen visiting Darwin during that period of time.
I visited with a local hospital chaplain a few years ago about death bed conversions. She is a Christian but does not see her job as converting patients. It is, instead, to carry out patients’ wishes. She said there are aggressive Christian nurses she has to monitor to prevent these “conversions”.
People about to die surely must often be in pain, under medication, in various states of consciousness and in vulnerable circumstances. That one in such circumstances says “yes” to a question about faith does not count. And, if the story of the conversion is told by a Christian who is bragging, forget it.
Asking a person in the process of dying for a conversion is not a proud accomplishment. Anyone who plays such mind games with the dying should be ashamed.