When I first learned of Michael Jackson’s untimely death last week, I had three initial thoughts. First, I thought about how young he was and what a hard life he had had in the public eye over the past several years. Secondly, I was taken back to my days as a high school student and recalled how he defined music, dancing and music videos for my generation. The debut of the “Thriller” video on MTV was one of the most anticipated television events of my youth. And, finally, I realized that I knew very little about his faith.
Much has circulated about Jackson’s faith on the Internet. By all accounts, he was raised as a Jehovah’s Witness. Others say he explored Kaballah and other religions later in life. I also received a disturbing press release from one organization with a headline that reads “World’s Leading Internet Evangelist Claims Michael Jackson Is in Hell.” How nice.
Only God knows the true condition of a man’s heart. It’s not my place to say whether someone is saved and where he or she will spend eternity. And, quite frankly, I’m glad I don’t have that responsibility. (If you’re like me and find yourself playing God way too often, I recommend spending time in the book of Job for a good humbling.)
There are many Christians who have prayed for Michael Jackson over the years. We should all desire to see others come to discover the life-saving truth of the cross and that includes the most controversial celebrities. For those who have prayed earnestly for Michael and his salvation, there are a few reports worth noting. The first is a blog post on urban Gospel duo Mary Mary’s website. Many others have found comfort in comments made by Jackson to Geraldo Rivera in 2005 where he discussed reading the Bible, learning about God and Jesus, and practicing Christian values.