Stars in our crown? Huh?

Bible Issues

There is a belief going around that for every person we win to Christ, we will receive a star in our crown in the next life. I have searched in vain for any such teaching in the Bible. This is a belief that has been propagated by tradition – one preacher hears it from another and starts preaching it and so on, and no one ever stops to check it. Having said this, it is by no means a deadly false doctrine that will cause any to burn in hell, but it is unbiblical. Not only is the specific teaching not found in scripture, the principle behind it is also contradictory to the teaching of scripture.

This is the closest the Bible comes to teaching it. This passage states that the righteous, who win souls, will shine as stars in the next life. It does not say anything about stars in their crowns. They are the ones shining as stars.

Jesus gives this parable which unmistakably teaches that we could never do more than we are called to do. We can never go beyond the call. We can do less, but never more. Every good thing we do was ordained by God. We can do God no favors therefore we cannot receive extra reward, but for the most a full reward (2 John 8).

In this parable, Jesus teaches that his people receives rewards in heaven based on their faithfulness (vs. 17), while the enemies of God are punished. Our reward in heaven is based not on the amount of work we do, but our faithfulness in doing what we are called to do. According to this parable the reward is the extent of one’s rule. We will reign with Christ (Rev. 20:6) even over angels (1 Cor. 6:3). How much rule we obtain is dependant on our faithfulness in this life. Now that is worth sacrificing our lives for, not some stars in our crown.

Another question is who exactly receives credit when someone is won to Christ? 1 Cor. 3:5-9 state that we all have a part to play. Some plant, others water, but God gives the increase. It is God who gets the credit of saving people. We play various roles in the process. Some pray, some preach, some teach new converts, some support financially, some equip others to win souls. Who gets the reward? All do depending on each individual’s faithfulness.

This “stars in our crown” doctrine encourages competition in the body of Christ rather than co-operation. It gives the impression that some will be in a lowly position in heaven while others live in royalty. This is far from correct since in the next life, envy and pride will be no more. Thus it is unbiblical.

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