Much has been said and written about the life and death of Whitney Elizabeth Houston and still there is a politically incorrect but eternally Â significant question regarding her life and death. Simply put, “Did Whitney Houston go to Heaven?”
Kim Burrell said she did. Kevin Costner said she did. Marvin Winans, her eulogist, was expected to say she did, but his eulogy never attempted to define where Whitney Houston is now (read the eulogy transcript here). And perhaps that’s best.
Whitney Houston openly spoke of a personal relationship with Jesus Christâ€”in fact, her last public performance was the singing of “Jesus Loves Me.” But some would argue that her lifestyle was inconsistent with a “disciple” or follower of Christ. In the end, most of the people who would argue longest and loudest never knew Whitney Houston to give accurate testimony to her life so it seems wise to just stick to the Scriptures.
While the Gospel does not give us the authority to determine who goes to Heaven, God has written a book that is exceedingly clear on how one might get to Heaven. Jesus Himself said, “I am the way.” (John 14:6)
We search for absolutes and authorities. We want to feel secure and safe. We want formulas and fixes that ensure maximum result with minimal effort. In church, this amounts to “fire insurance” Christians who want, only to make sure they are “saved enough” to miss Hell. But the Gospel, the good news of salvation, calls each one of us to examine ourselves to see if we are living faith-filled God-honoring lives (2 Corinthians 13:5).
Did Whitney Go to Heaven?Â In the courtroom of eternity, there is but One Judgeâ€”God Almighty and here on Earth we reach too far to pass judgment on another’s relationship with God. We are in no position to say who goes to Heaven and who goes to Hell. At best, we can give confident testimony to the way a person lived and to their commitment to Christ and say with hope, “I’m confident He made it.” But, that doesn’t make it so…consider the sobering words of Matthew 7:22-23:
On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
Rather than being judge or jury to anyone else’s life, our time is best spent nurturing our own relationship with God and being faithful to preach the Gospel. We are to model in our own lives and then call others to repent of sinâ€”to turn our backs on it and to instead trust in (adhere to, follow, cling to) Jesus.
As damaging as the judgmental, religious Christian is the placating, non-discerning Christian who will not tell the truth. We love to hate the “holier-than-thou” Super-Saint but what about the Christian who never stands up for truth? Is he any better of a KingdomÂ representative?
In the life and death of Whitney Houston, millions of people have been forced to wrestle with the reality that the next breath is not promised; that “tomorrow” may never come. Her life and sudden death has opened a window to spiritual discussion and it is my prayer that we would not sit proudly as false judges, damning her to Hell or commending her to Heaven NOR that we would sit silently as millions seek for truthâ€”but that we would, each of us, be about the Father’s business, preaching salvation from sin and abundant, eternal life through Christ.