The unexpected and untimely death of the King of Pop three weeks ago today literally rocked the world and completely altered the landscape of entertainment as the world said goodbye to the biggest star–however controversial he was–in the world.
But do not think for a minute that his death also silenced debates and arguments about the entertainer. Hardly, now Christians are literally fighting over whether or not Jackson was saved before he died.
I posted a link from legendary gospel singer Andrae Crouch’s Facebook page where people were telling of how the Crouches led Jackson to Christ 3 weeks before his death. Crouch denied this story later and the fight was and still is on.
On one side are those who believe that God was pursuing Jackson while knowing the end was coming. On the other side are those Christians who believe that Jackson’s alleged sins and his lack of a public profession of faith in Jesus Christ PROVE that he could not have possibly been saved before his death.
I’ll hold my own opinion on the matter until the end but I will say this: what if Jackson hadn’t died? What if he DID make a public profession of faith.
Would the Church today, especially in America, been able to deal with it?
In my opinion, NO.
Because the church in America is a fraud for the most part, masquerading in a loveless apologetic and theological bravado vigorously defined as Christ-centered, Spirit-driven discipleship. There would certainly be those wise, seasoned saints who would have walked with the singer through his faith journey without compromising the truth of God’s inerrant Word.
But I fear that the majority of Christians, especially those with any kind of media platform would have either attempted to exploit his newfound faith in Jesus OR hounded him about child molestation allegations and the trial (being tried and acquitted means nothing to Romans 13 Christians, I suppose), plastic surgery, his appearance, his sexuality, his marriages, his children, and on and on.
Forget it. By virtue of everything I just listed, he would have been deemed unqualified for any kind of ministry. The child molestation allegations alone would have done him in, even in the minds of some readers right now who have priests, pastors and bishops who wink at their indiscretions (AKA sin but don’t tell anyone).
The entire Jackson-salvation discussion has caused me to think long and hard about what salvation is and how the Spirit of God “does” it. I am deeply troubled by the legalistic and narrow view that anchors genuine, biblical faith to saying the “Sinner’s Prayer.”
What in the world is the sinner’s prayer? I never said one. I just remember lying on my bed at the age of 16 and saying “Jesus, I’m yours.” I stumbled along the way but I never looked back. One of my dearest friends doesn’t even have a date for her salvation “experience.” She just remembers it finally “clicked” in her heart that Jesus was exactly who He said He was and she started her journey.
Public professions of faith in Jesus are absolutely awesome—when they are real. Too many people have been duped by the false belief that if you say the right things, then everything is “cool” with you and King Jesus. But we all know people who walked the aisle, uttered the prayer but their hearts were never in it and they walked away from the faith.
So much for leaning on confession to prove you’re saved.
The last few weeks of Jackson’s life were marked with an accelerated spiritual search that culminated June 25th. God alone is absolutely certain Jackson is spending eternity.
But if some Christians can easily dismiss even the possibly of Jackson’s 11th hour salvation, then I can take the opposing view. I personally believe that at some point before his death, he DID surrender his life to Jesus.
And then Jesus took him and spared him the foolishness of having his faith ran over by both a world that made fun of him and a Church that would have constantly questioned his credibility.
No matter which side it “right” I think what is most troubling is the horrific, tabloid-saturated legalism that misguided saints (including me) get wrapped up in when judging. I just want the heart of Jesus to beat through me even if it makes my flesh uncomfortable.
How funny that Jesus loved the one lost sheep enough to risk everything for it while the 99 probably questioned the quality of that sheep. Spiritual amnesia—forgetting the hole from which one was rescued by the Lord Jesus—is dangerous and I believe dampens our passion for reaching the lost.
Just my opinion.