By Troy Newman, President, Operation Rescue
“If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God…For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” -Hebrews 10:26-27, 30-31

The death of George Gardner didn’t surprise anybody; he had been suffering from an acute affliction of cancerous tumors for over a year. What did come as a surprise to some was my forthright observation that Gardner is in hell, suffering for the sins he committed in this life. By comparing Gardner’s life and doctrine to Scripture, it is clear – by his own behavior and statements – that we must reach the conclusion that he is not in heaven. However, the outcry over this comment is something that must be addressed because, for Christians at least, this goes to the heart the ability to make righteous discernments, warn sinners of the judgment to come and provide comfort to those who live by faith. Let us briefly examine Gardner’s life, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the responsibility of Christians to make conclusions based upon objective evidence.
George Gardner was ordained in the United Methodist denomination. Had Gardner adhered to the historic doctrine of the Christian faith we might safely assume that his soul is securely locked in Christ’s arms. Yet early in Gardner’s ministry, he deviated from the tenets he vowed to uphold and teach. He clearly and openly sinned against God by performing heretical same-sex marriages. He supported and endorsed the sexual deviancy of homosexuals and lesbians. He overtly promoted abortion on demand through all nine months of pregnancy, thus rebelling against the Author of Life. Gardner was later defrocked by the Methodists for an adulterous affair that led to his own marriage ending in divorce.
Until his death, he remained on staff at the Unity Church, an apostate group that does not even describe itself as “Christian.” Gardner clearly deviated from, and in fact rejected, the orthodox principals of the Christian faith. Finally and what may be the worst example of his blasphemous deeds was his administration of the holy sacrament of baptism on murdered infants within the walls of a notorious abortion mill. Gardner was the de facto priest of abortion, giving his blessing to late-term abortionist George Tiller and the mothers who killed their pre-born children. More resembling a priest of Baal than a Christian pastor, Gardner worked for decades to insure that the shedding of innocent blood continued in Wichita, forming the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice and acting as an “escort” to women to prevent them from hearing about information that would help them to save their babies from abortion. Gardner’s life was the antithesis of Jesus’ teachings.
Gardner had apostatized, or left the Christian faith. This is evidenced by his own public words, quoted in the Wichita Eagle (Jan. 31, 2004), where he stated, “If I were to define myself today, I’d say I am a Zen Buddhist Hindu with Christian overtones.” Clearly, Gardner himself no longer considered himself a Christian. He made similar renunciations of the faith to me personally.

However the Bible clearly teaches the following:
“‘I tell you the truth, the man who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber’…Therefore Jesus said again, ‘I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep? I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.'” -John 10:1, 9
This teaches us that there is only one legitimate way to enter heaven, and that is through the Lord Jesus Christ alone.
“Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'” -John 14:6. Again, NO ONE can go to Heaven, where the Father dwells, by any other means than Jesus.
We know from Holy Scripture that no one deserves to enter in to God’s holy place after death, but that Jesus has made salvation only for those who, by faith in Christ, have their sins forgiven. All those who live and abide in Christ will obtain eternal life. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die. Do you believe this?” When I personally asked Gardener this question he said, “No.” Again Jesus said, “I am the way the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.” Gardner explicitly told me he had abandoned this doctrine. Therefore, not only did Gardner live a life in opposition to the clear mandates of God’s Holy Word, he openly and publicly rejected the only means of redemption from his sins.
It is clear by Gardner’s life and doctrine that at the time of his death he was shut out of the kingdom of God, barring a last minute deathbed act of God’s sovereign grace that has been hidden from everyone. I know this seems to be a radical statement and very unpopular in today’s pluralistic society. But allow me to go one step further. It is the mandate of Christianity to make the fate of Gardner’s soul public and thus to deter other men from pursuing the same fate. The church can and must form an opinion on a person’s afterlife. This provides a comfort for those who abide in Christ and a stern warning for those outside Christ’s teachings. It does no favor to Gardner’s unbelieving associates to allow them to continue to believe the lie that he was a good man, a Christian Minister, and a follower of God who is now in a place of comfort and peace. It would be spiritually devastating for Gardner’s disciples to follow the example of his life, thinking that it is somehow pleasing to God, when in fact it was in open rebellion to His Teachings.
I am reminded of the tragic story Jesus tells of the rich man who had wealth and adulation in life only to find himself condemned to an eternity of suffering in hell upon his death. He begged to send Lazarus back from the dead to warn his family and friends, but it was not allowed. Warning the unbelievers of their danger of eternal judgment is still the duty of Christians.
The Bible teaches that a good tree bears good fruit and a bad tree bears bad fruit (Matthew 7) and that by observing the fruit of a person’s life, we can and should determine what kind of person they are and act toward them accordingly. The Christian Church must both judge and remove a wicked man from their midst (1 Corinthians 5). We are told in I Timothy 1:20 to hand men over to Satan for their blasphemy, and again in 2 Timothy 3: 5 to avoid men who say they are Christians yet by their life prove they are not. John 7:24 tells us to judge according to God’s righteous standards. The Christian Church is given the “keys to the kingdom” in Matthew 16:19 and told to lock out of the kingdom those who practice lawlessness. In Matthew 18 the Church is told to “bind” the sinner out of heaven and God will agree when it is done in accordance with His decrees. Revelation 21:8 describes those who practice sin are sent to their second death. (Murderers are included in this list of sins leading to hell.) Mark 9:42 “Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe to stumble, it would be better for him if, with a heavy millstone hung around his neck, he had been cast into the sea.”
In other words, the Scriptures are replete with examples where determinations have been made about a man, based on his words and deeds. Numerous examples exist of the Body of Christ being warned about the wickedness or heretical teachings of a particular person so that the devastating effects of the bad influence will be avoided. I also believe this helps the faithful to be assured that they are spared from death when they walk in faith.
However, in all these judgments we are told to restore a man when he repents of his sin (2 Thessalonians 3:14-15). The intent of the warning and rebuke is to bring the sinner back to a right relationship with God. It is an act of love to confront the sinful man in the hope that repentance and restoration will replace discipline and judgment. Proverbs 27:5 tells us that “Open rebuke is better than concealed love.”
Unfortunately, Gardner had no such remorse for his sin. He continued even until the end to seek the ministry of a Shinto priest, along with other pagan rituals for healing. He sought healing everywhere but from the one and only Great Physician, Jesus Christ. Gardner sought every way into the “Sheepfold” except through the Great Shepherd who shed His blood in the only atonement that can possibly wash away sin.
Hebrews 10: 26-29 speaks to this point: “If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. How much more severely do you think a man deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God under foot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified him, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace? For we know him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”
Romans 2:5-8 discusses further the fate of the unrepentant who has rejected Christ as the Way, the Truth, and the Life: “But because of your stubbornness and your unrepentant heart, you are storing up wrath against yourself for the day of God’s wrath, when his righteous judgment will be revealed. God ‘will give to each person according to what he has done.’ To those who by persistence in doing good seek glory, honor and immortality, he will give eternal life. But for those who are self-seeking and who reject the truth and follow evil, there will be wrath and anger.”
God’s justice and righteousness are perfect. When God sends a man to Hell who has rejected the only means of escape, then that is a just and righteous thing, as hard of a reality as that may be to face. We cannot presume to be “nicer than Jesus” but should humbly submit to His judgments as the King of Kings, a just and Sovereign Ruler who has the right and the authority to do with men as He will.
We do mourn with those who mourn and I take no joy in publicly declaring that George Gardner’s death is eternal. (Again, aside from an unknown last minute miraculous conversion.) We are very sad that George Gardner has died because this means that there are no more opportunities for him to repent and be saved. But we trust that God, in His wisdom and justice, knows what is best and has done it. I pray that all those who followed George Gardner’s errant teachings will heed the warning and turn rather to the one Jesus who can save both body and soul.