RT Kendall, a preacher known for his zeal to combine evangelical and charismatic Christianity, says in an interview that he wouldn’t be surprised if he met Palestinian freedom fighter/terrorist Yasser Arafat in Heaven. In fact, he has met him here on earth five times, bringing him closer and closer to Jesus. Premier reports:
The first time RT Kendall was granted rare access to Arafat,the Christian writer and speaker told him he had prayed for him every day for 20 years. According to Kendall, the 20-minute appointment turned into an hour and 45 minutes, and an unlikely friendship began.
The third time Kendall visited Arafat, the pair watched The Passion of the Christ together, along with 30 members of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).
Arafat wept during the viewing and allowed Kendall to pray for him at the end. During each of his five visits, Kendall was able to speak to Arafat about Jesus’ death and resurrection, and of how to accept Christ.
Kendall says that, despite Arafat’s translator attempting to intervene, the Arab leader was determined to hear more about Jesus and the gospel.
Now, there are no evidence that Arafat ever became a Christian. Of course, even if he did convert there are tons of reasons why he and PLO would keep silent about it. Kendall doesn’t say he know that Arafat received Jesus, but he “wouldn’t be surprised” if he did. And this is primarily because of two prophetic visions (I told you he’s charismatic!):
The day after Arafat died, a woman in Jerusalem called Kendall and said that her friend had a vision two o clock the night before, where she heard a voice saying “Yasser Arafat is in Heaven owing to RT Kendall”. A little bit later, a man calling from York who is walking in the miraculous said that he woke up in the middle of the night hearing “Pray for Yasser Arafat!” Indeed, Arafat did die about that time (3:30 UTC).
How trustworthy is this? Well, I have heard and read RT Kendall before and respect him as a wise and Biblical charismatic leader. I don’t find many reasons to distrust his testimony. However, it’s not unusual that Christians claim that famous persons received Jesus right before they died, and there are reasons to be a bit skeptical towards the claims about the visions – even though I think they are entirely possible. Since both people told Kendall about this after it was public that Arafat had died, there are not as marvelling as many other visions I’ve heard of and experienced.
However, nothing is impossible. What I really like with Kendall is that he doesn’t demonize Arafat like many other Christians have, nor does he claim that most Arabs can’t be saved as the op-ed of Charisma News recently claimed. Instead, he’s committed at loving and witnessing to a fellow human being. Of course it’s possible that Arafat was saved – if God could save Paul who almost destroyed the entire church, who is then out of his reach?