The Gospel Whitney Houston Heard

Note: This is not an indictment on the eternal state of Whitney Houston’s soul. God will do right regarding what everyone deserves in the end.

I happened upon Whitney Houston’s funeral service yesterday while channel surfing. I only caught the last 45 minutes or so, but the last message caught my ear.

Pastor Marvin Winans delivered the eulogy at New Hope Baptist Church; Winans seems like a passionate articulate leader. But with stars from around the world in attendance and an audience of  millions in television attendance, he  dropped the proverbial gospel ball a bit. To his credit, when bringing up Matthew 6:33, he did stress the “Kingdom of God and His righteousness” before all things be added to us. But righteousness was equated to merely right living, not the righteousness that is only given through the perfect work and person of Jesus Christ. Pastor Winans last sermon point he stressed to the listening masses was this: We need to “keep God first” and make Him “our priority” in all things. I agree with him, but what gives us the strength to carry out such an impossible task?

Let me say I know I may be looking through all this with a negative lens. My wife is always surprised by my ability to find the touch of grey in every silver lining. Sometimes I seriously wonder if God has given me the spiritual gift of  discouragement. : )

I really don’t know what gospel Whitney heard throughout the duration of her church life. There may have been some thorough biblical Christ centered teaching that she accepted or rejected at one time. But I am treating the message at the funeral service as a microcosm of the broader message most people hear from American Christianity:

The gospel of behavior modification.

This type of gospel when fully lived out will lead well meaning men to become “twice the sons of hell” they once were (Matt 23:15). It is certainly powerless to lead any man or woman out of the grim demonic grips of drug and self addiction.

Did Whitney hear on a consistent basis that sinful man had to pull himself up by his own boot straps, activate his own faith, or just rearrange his lifestyle to fit God’s standards? I hope not. Because that gospel only births desperation in the hearer. Though it masquerades as a gospel of grace, that gospel is actually the bad news of law keeping mingled with very little good news. Jesus said the flesh “profits nothing” (John 3). Paul said the purpose of the law was to “reveal sin” (Romans 3). James said to fail in one letter of the law is to be “guilty of all of it” (James 2)

Our greatest issue is not that we are merely failing to be Christlike. That’s a given. Our greatest issue is that we are dead in our sins and need supernatural resurrection in Christ (Ephesians 2).

As Pastor Tullian Thcividijian says: “Jesus came first to effect a mortal resurrection, not a moral reformation-as his own death and resurrection demonstrate.”

I’m sure over the course of her life Whitney Houston probably heard the gospel of self-fulfillment, the gospel of behavior modification, and maybe even the prosperity gospel. But this may be the saddest commentary of all regarding Whitney’s death: Despite her Christian heritage I don’t know if she ever consistently heard the gospel of the bloody righteous Savior Who lived a perfect life she never could live, and died a perfect death she never could earn. This is the undeniable understated gospel with a resurrection power that can obliterate the deepest sins, weaknesses, and addictions.

Did Whitney ever hear this clearly? Do we?:

God made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that we may become the righteousness of God (2 Cor 5:21)

A tragedy is a life lived in utter bondage. But an even greater tragedy is life everlasting in total bondage. May the biblical gospel we preach always address and free the captives of both.

Bryan Daniels

Author: Bryan Daniels

I am a follower of Jesus, a husband to Jessica, and a father of three boys: Josiah, Gideon and Judah. I teach high school math as a job, read reformed theology as a hobby, and write this blog just for kicks. With the rest of my time I coach football and track.

117 thoughts on “The Gospel Whitney Houston Heard”

  1. Interesting post. It’s hard to know what she heard over the course of her life, but I don’t think that can be determined by the message given at her funeral. The Pastor who did the eulogy was Pastor Marvin Winans of Detroit. Pastor Carter was the pastor of the church.

    1. Thank you for that correction (I changed it)! I’m using the message as a “microcosm” of gospel message in American as a whole. Like I said in the 4th paragraph, I really don’t know what Whitney heard throughout the duration of her whole life BUT it likely reflected what most people hear in America.

  2. I think where we should direct prayer now is to the people that are heartbroken for Whitney. Also to the people that may have been adversely affected by her actions and in-actions. You are correct as we don’t know where her eternity is going to be spent, but we can only pray that her death was not in vain. And her actions will show the demonic hold and influence that alcohol and drugs can have on a person.
    God Bless!

  3. So good, Bryan, and so, so true! The church, especially in the U. S., has been dropping the ball on the true Gospel for a long time. I agree that part of the Gospel includes all kinds of blessings in this life as well, but without the ROOT of that Gospel — the fact that we must die to sin and be born again through the righteous Spirit of Jesus Christ Himself — none of the rest of it applies anyway. We MUST tell people that there is no way to righteousness — no way to be ready to live face-to-face with an utterly holy God — except through the blood of Jesus Christ!
    Thanks for posting this article.

  4. amen, amen, amen!! what a missed opportunity to share the truth of the Gospel–without the shedding of blood there is no remission–that perfect, once and for all sacrifice that opened the doors of heaven to all who would believe in that perfect Lamb of God.

    discernment, not discouragement, by the way…

      1. That was great.. I get it completely.. Think I might have that gift myself.. Really good blog.. And great points!

  5. Excellent post. I chose not to watch the funeral because of the disdain I felt for Governor Christy choosing to lower the flag to half mast for for a drug addict. Yes, she had a beautiful voice and chose to abuse and lose it all to satisfy earthly addictions.

    Let us remember the lovely voice…a gift of God abused but perhaps someone will learn from this lesson.

    1. Interesting how you see her only as a “drug addict” and not someone Jesus loved enough to die to save. Casting stones? Jesus makes it clear that the only people who are qualified to throw stones are the ones who have no sin. I think you might have a log in your eye my friend. Better brush up on what God has to say about judging people. You can judge their sin, but when you cross the line and judge the person you take the place of God. It’s like saying they have no worth and don’t matter to you or God.

      Maybe if more Christians would have loved and reached out to Whitney during her life she would have made better decisions. Or perhaps the only Christians she encountered judged her like you. Not our place. Not our call. Probably the reason 87% of non-Christians see Christians as judgmental and hypocrites.

      1. so good of you to “judge” me and the “log in my eye”

        I stated an opinion….which one is free to do and it may differ from yours…so sorry that I decided to do so on your on so Christian blog.

        As for being a Christian….I do not call myself a Christian. I believe in leading a spiritual life wherever that may lead which will not be back to your blog to be censored.

        As a matter of fact, being American Indian, I am offended by the image on your blog, unless you are truly an Indian chief.

        1. Uh purpleborough? I’m afraid you are responding to the wrong person…The comment you are responding to is that of “Chris Jones” and not me… i’m sorry you are offended by my gravatar though…I’ll prayerfully consider changing it if it offends people so much….

  6. Great post! I appreciate your articulation of a common misunderstanding of the gospel. We need more voices who will speak truth in the world and more importantly in the church.

  7. You know what, I’m pretty sure I’m going to be made out to be a callous cold-hearted kind of guy, but I wanted so badly to do a post on this subject after sitting within ear-shot of the proceedings on t.v., occasionally tearing myself away to go take a peek. I grew up in churches of that very same modus operandi; most of the times shaking my head at the goings on. This is the reason I say churches today are a joke, I wanted to put ear-plugs in so I couldn’t hear, but finding myself wanting to go, as it were to look at a train wreck.

    The only way to know just how off a thing like that is, you just got to get down to business…..I mean the Father’s “bidness”. The only measure of fitness for such things is Jesus….not the powerless form-of-godlilness Hollywood one we have today. I mean the Galilean Nazarite, carpenter’s son. The Lazarus raising, multitude feeding, storm talker leper cleanser, prison breaking, grave-robber! Just paint Jesus in that picture and you’ll quickly find out what’s wrong with it.

    First of all they wouldn’t haves been having no service like that. Whitney would be sitting up in one of those chairs because Jesus would have gotten to her just after the coroner pronounced her cause of death and certified it medically authoritatively and legally; so there would be now dispute that she was dead. People scratch their heads today and ask themselves whether it’s the will of God to raise the dead… asking an eagle if it should fly, or should fish swim…..that’s what they do—and God gave us to mind to know that: if you are in Christ you are a life-giving spirit you give life to things that are dead—that’s what we do….as well as all the other works of Jesus. How many ways did God have to tell Israel to go into Canaan. If you are going to die….die right. Wake her up and when the right time comes, let her do it right. My dad died the nursed said no one had to fix him….he reclined back in his bed, crossed his hands over his chest, feet straight in front, and went to sleep. More important is the state of folk’s spirit. We can do all the white-washing we want but where a tree falls that’s where it remains and God is no respecter of persons.

    The problem is that we never are really thinking seriously enough about such things to risk being a fool in the attempt. Everybody like a domino effect buckling under peer-pressure while the devil is laughing his head off over our state of analysis paralysis.

  8. I agree with you 100%, brother, but some of your comment-ers here should refrain from generalizations. When saying the Church in America has been dropping the ball… or we rarely hear the gospel anymore… you are being quite demeaning to the Churches in the U.S. that do preach the Word and do not water down doctrine. You are always going to find buildings that call themselves churches that do not teach true doctrine… but instead teach self-love, prosperity, word-of-faith, home church is the only church, seeker friendly, emergent, and many others of this ilk. But Church in the real sense… the body of Christ… is not found here… so we need to quit saying that the Church is dropping the ball or that we rarely hear the gospel anymore. We do and they don’t… you just need to find a Bible believing, God fearing, Christian Church… with a capital “C”.

    1. I’m not quite sure how this response passed my notice for few days but sometimes God hides things from our eyes for his reasons. Now that I see it; I apologize for my late response and am delighted to reply. It is possible my statement is not what you had in mind by your comment, but just to ad clarity to it I submit this follw-up. If I have mistaken the meaning of your comment you may disregard.

      If the council of man is to be respected; then the council of God standing all the more sure is worthy of exceeding more consideration. Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and forever never changes. In my comment I mentioned I certainly took exception to the things that are the apparent stock and trade of churches generally; for I see no Lazarus among them, and the kingdom is not in the words where they wax eloquent. This is where they do not honor the directive of Jesus printed in red ink to those who believe in him. He says to them: the works that I do shall you who believe in me do also, and greater works. I envisioned what Jesus who is the same yesterday today and forever would have done it he were present in that whole scenario. Hardly any needs to guess based on the Lazarus account of his ministry and his expectation for us. My observations are valid. We may misinterpret scripture now and again but you can’t misinterpret what Jesus did and it is of no private interpretation what he told us to do where all things are possible with us because of him. Forasmuch we are the extension of his life, and are to be the continuation of his works, I maintain that the tradition of his works are not seen in world wide Christianity, and have not been seen except in precious rare glimpses as it was with him and his disciples since the middle of first century Anno Domine. No man lights a fire only to puts it under a bush to hide it, but for it to be seen does he light it. If these things are done in America, or anywhere in the world, they would be known. Even where Jesus commanded that no one make mention of his mighty deeds they were published the more widely. That was Jesus’ challenge to suppress the knowledge of his mighty works, as Elijah’s was who drowned the wood in water to defy the natural tendency of thing so the witness of God could not be controverted when he called down fire from above to consume them. The Gospel I speak of is that Gospel that allows a believer to walk over to a Whitney Houston’s dead body and call her back to life even if it were cremated and reduced to ashes, knowing that God has given to us all things dead and living, and committed judgment to do so by the commandment given to do so.

      The fact remains that as with David generation the men of Israel would not face Goliath but hid in holes, dens, and caves of the earth from the challenge issued to them, today the clergy who haven’t defected to become atheists have fled into every possible human rabbit hole of excuses instead of standing flat-footed and answer affirmatively, without equivocations Jesus’ charge given us to raise the dead of our generation before the time of the coming great resurrection when we know that all the dead shall be raised. So profound and forceful is the nature of command issued down the military chain from the commander in chief that even Joe private citizen knows you don’t question such commands but execute them. Once issued, the discussion phase is over; the council of God stands sure; it’s not for us to question the wisdom of folly of raising the dead, we are told to do it, and such command has not been moderated or rescinded. Yet you have all this equivocation by the clergy. How many times did God have to tell these people to go into Canaan; and must now tell us to do what Jesus did; It’s not like the world is overrun by Lazarusses and we ought to consider backing off.

      The kingdom of God is not in word to which it is reduced today; but it is in power…that power is Jesus. Leave him out and you have no gospel. We tend prefer the honor of men rather than the honor of God. Instead of seeking to the living God the clergy clutches the dead letters of the written cannon of scripture as though they were life itself, when they are only that which tells about the living God, but they won’t go to the living God to know how to do his works. How can anyone stomach characters like that who think nothing about being an impediment to the Kingdom of 2000 years, and their consciences are not even pricked or stirred when this is pointed our. They’d rather gnash their teeth and if they could tear at you.

      Ten people doing what Jesus told us to do could accomplish more in 1 year than these physicians of questionable valor have done in 1000 years of making buildings, campuses, and models of world commerce and purport them to be works of God. They are adept at burying the dead, but none will honor the witness of God’s testimony and raise them.

      Imagine a scenario where that was done. That would be of no less significance that Lazarus was in his day. It would headline the news for the next decades. Whitney would outsell any box office draw and destroy the music charts for the foreseeable future. Christianity would no longer be some declining form of Godliness, and moralizing philosophy. You don’t hear the ministers at her funeral mention this as a possibility, but where you posted the comment to raise this issue…..not one person even reflects on this prospect which GOD ORDAINED TO BE FOR OUR GLORY IN THIS WORLD BUT WE HAVE HIDDEN IT UNDER THE BUSHEL OF FEAR AND IGNORANCE. Instead of receiving notoriety and glory we have contented ourselves to be an inconsequential pariah among religions having lost our meaning. Without the power of God we have to wax more and more eloquent in great orations of words wherein God protests is not his kingdom. If we were blind, then we could see and do this, but now because we see how we cannot do it, it remains impossible unto us as we reel our endless excuses for not doing it. When Israel came our of Egyptian bondage the fear of them fell upon all of Canaan because of what God did for their glory among the nations as the works of Jesus was ordained of God for our glory to cause the fear of God to fall over the earth. This is what we walk away form, but now my eyes are open to see that we can no longer countenance nor continue in this remissive faith.

      1. Sorry, but I disagree with a lot of what you have stated… that which I could understand, but the phrasing is difficult to follow.

        The Church as a whole is alive and well in America… with exceptions of course. The churches you are condemning are in the minority… and are not even churches in the real sense… but make believers all.

      2. I don’t want to appear trivial, but please try and condense what you are saying… and break up your paragraphs. Makes it easier to read. The longer your response, the more difficult and less appealing to read it becomes.

  9. Great post my brother yes the gospel is always the power of God unto salvation… The Gospel makes known, salvation! When it ceases to present salvation it ceases to be truth as we know it.

  10. At the end of the day, it’s all about have “I” been obedient to God regardless of what the preacher teaches, my spouse teaches, my best friend says, etc. At death, we enter into the place on the other side of the door…eternity…one on one with Jesus…accountable for what we have done by the choices we have made. “You shall know them by their fruits” says our God. We are able to discern who is and who isn’t but that’s NOT the ultimate decision by which our choices should be made. It’s “me” with “my” Jesus and “my” Bible. “I” am the one who makes the right choice. “As for me and my house, we shall serve the Lord”.

  11. I’m only left with one question and I can’t seem to let it go. What happened to the altar call??????? And maybe that’s not for me to know. For countless millions, who watched and listened, they too have the same appointment that Whitney had, that they must keep. And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: Hebrews 9:27 Although it was not up to me and I know God’s word will not return to him void. I’m still just a bit perplexed. I ‘m thinking those folks would have had to make a decision before they got up out of those pews. Hopefully, that decision would have been clear. I’m not talking about some kind of renewed encouragement to be good and do good works. Most every last one of those works will be burnt up anyway. I’m talking about a decision to serve God or the devil -the plain and simple truth of the Gospel. Accept Jesus and repent or reject Him, and that choice would have been laid at the door of their hearts. What they did with it would have been up to them. Truthfully we don’t know how God will use the message that was shared, so I’ll leave it there.

  12. As a child, mom used to march my brother and me to church every Sunday morning, and again in the afternoon for Sunday school. After Sunday school we had to stay on for night service. Sundays were dedicated completely to church. But mom never allowed us to know Christ for ourselves.We were like soldiers carrying out orders.

    I would like to assume that’s what happened to Whitney Houston. She heard the gospel but she was never totally committed to Jesus Christ. As a matter of fact, she rejected Christ for the pursuit of fame and fortune and by the time she returns to her first love it was too late.

    She had fought her demons for about 2 decades and I find it astounding that nobody in her family or her inner circle was able to help her.

    1. In my opinion from the Scriptures… I do not believe anything can keep us from God’s love… if God has compelled us. Romans 8:38-39

      If we are of the elect, our salvation is assured.

      1. Are you saying that once I have accepted Christ I can return to my sinful ways and still be assured of my salvation? So what about John 14: 15, ““If you love me, you will keep my commandments”. and Matthew 7:21-23, “21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.”

      2. No… that would be ignorant of me to assume that a saved person could somehow unsave themselves… if we could… salvation would not be eternal, now would it. Also, it would mean we could do something to unearn salvation… and if that is so, then we should be able to earn it as well. Now since we know that we cannot… salvation is by grace and grace alone and nothing can separate the believer from God.

        Somebody who as accepted Christ will not and does not return to the prior ways. Yes, we will always sin, but we are changed… God has changed us and we will no longer sin as we had in the past… we will recognize our sin and repent.

        The Bible verses you quote are regarding make-believers or false converts… not those who are truly in Christ.

  13. That is the reason I inferred that Whitney Houston was not a true believer in her early years–even though she sang on the choir and was present in church every Sunday.

    We are on the same page. Thanks a lot for sharing your wisdom. God bless.

  14. Excellent piece. It touches on the “gospel” that so many people hear today where preachers try to take away the stumbling block “scandalon” of the gospel. We said.

  15. It was Clint Eastwood who once said that “opinions are like the wonderfull design that God has given each man for His waste to pass through after digestion” or words to that effect. And that includes me. The word is the only truth and God the only reality. Is Jesus a cocaine fiend or a drunk? Does He live up loud in expensive Hotels? The words says by thier fruits you will recognize them. God keeps his children from sin and calls that we denie ourselves and live in obedience and so live peacfully in Him. If the Lord say that the spirirtual man judges ALL things then the actions of one who declares to be a sister in Christ will be no exeption. I can see only a myriad of excuse for a decadent self indulgent life with little integrity. The word is clear desire gives birth to sin and sin in turn death. God continues His work in His people untill the finish. Personally I do not see Gods work unto the end in whitney Housten as to made a perfect, blameless and spotless bride. To me she currently looks like she died a worthless and filth ridden selfish death. But I do not know the full given circumstances of her life and do understand the pressures and influences that evil company can bring upon a person BUT God saves and delivers his children form the bondage thier own hearts get themselves into. I have first hand experience of this work in my own life and from similar people and substances. I beleive that according to the word if Whitney was putting the Lord first in all her works and life she would be alive today.

    1. And we have no idea where her heart was when she was alone and dying in that bathtub. Did she cry out to God with a repentant heart? Did God call her home. That is why we should never judge where a soul ends up… we can only discern the fruit while alive.

  16. As a medical doctor and an ordained minister I must politely disagree and take issue with a few commenters and some of the content of this particular blog. Usually, Bryan, you do hit the nail on the head and I agree with the statement / indictment of the American church you have made. Too many churches are preoccupied with a gospel of prosperity or other false gospels. And our preoccupation with that false gospel means that we tend to neglect the very people who need the word of life that is Jesus. Our own tendency to believe the gospel of prosperity causes us to turn a blind eye when our brothers and sisters are in need. We do need to get back to the heart of the gospel of Jesus and preach Him alone.

    In this instance of a funeral, however, the family has a great deal of weight into the content of the message. My husband just recently gave the message at his own grandmother’s funeral. His grandfather specifically asked that he not have an altar call and that the message not be, in his words, “too preachy.” Steve’s grandma is a believer and we were assured of her salvation. She had lived her life well and had modeled a life of faith for her entire family. So, we, as observers, cannot know the role of the family’s wishes in Ps. Winan’s content.

    What I do know is that Ps. Winans preaches the gospel of Jesus Christ and has a powerful evangelistic ministry. For full disclosure, my pastor was trained by him. You cannot put into someone else what you don’t exhibit yourself. In my opinion, his content was likely directed by the family’s wishes, which is fairly routine for funeral messages.

    Secondly, regarding Whitney Houston’s soul, we cannot know her place before God. I understand the concept of judging the fruit of her life, but let me provide a little insight from YEARS of counseling and deliverance ministry. It was highly likely that Ms. Houston suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and possibly other mental illness as a direct result of the beating and abuse she suffered at the hands of her ex-husband. These are powerful forces of evil that can bring any believer to a place of utter torment, where they are powerless to resist the pull of self-medication and addictions.
    I have seen people who are absolutely saved and know they shouldn’t be suffering or addicted, suffer horribly following trauma like she underwent. Those who are believers and who are trapped in addictions often have the added weight of condemnation – for they know they should not be struggling with these things. But, let me tell you, they become entangled in a web of lies and bondage that may take extensive sessions of counseling, prayer and fasting to untangle. What the Lord Jesus did for the demoniac in the Gadarenes, he gives us the power to do today. It just might take us longer because we are not the Lord.
    In short, for me, her life reflects the greater tragedy that the body of Christ could not, chose not or failed in their efforts to help her escape the confines of the prisons she was in as a result of abuse and trauma. She became needlessly trapped, falling prey to the lies of an enemy who only wanted her destroyed, and woe to us if we think ourselves strong enough to resist this ourselves. There go I, but for the grace of God. This is why the lack of a godly support system and the presence of the church in her final days is so tragic to me.
    But, we should take heed to learn a lesson from her death. People, we must look around us. Instead of casting judgment on those who struggle with addictions, mental illness and self-hatred, we should reach out to them and show them the love of Christ and bring them into a place of freedom. Yes, it is possible. Yes, I have seen it many times. Christ is the answer and we are the method of delivery. Our brothers and sisters are trapped, as are others who don’t even know the grace available to them in Christ.
    My heart breaks for Whitney and for her family, most of all for her daughter. The greatest gift we can give her in her death is to pray that the Lord would rescue those who are mourning now and bring the liberty of His grace into their lives. The greatest thing we can learn from her death as believers is that the world not only needs the salvation of Jesus, but His redemption in every area of our lives.

    1. As a believer, I must respectfully disagree almost entirely with what you just wrote. The entire time you put limitations on God’s power to heal… that everything Whitney went through was an excuse for bad behavior and fruit. That somehow, God was unwilling or unable to completely change this woman’s life as a believer. We are all depraved and wicked… and only God’s grace can change our hearts to where we choose God above our flesh and sin… if one is not choosing God above their flesh and sin, their hearts have not been changed. This fallacy that we as believers can go through such bad things that God can no longer reach us is an ignorant fallacy… even for a physician and an ordained minister. The Bible does not say that we are known by our fruit… except for those who have experienced more than they can handle… they will have no fruit. The Bible is very clear here. Sorry, Dr. Cristy but this is another false doctrine you are preaching here. God can change the heart of anybody He desires… and when He does… you will know it by their fruit.

      And as for the funeral… I agree… it is difficult for a pastor to remain true to Scripture when the family is making requests… but… he must remain true, despite that… and if he cannot… he should not reside at the funeral simply because it is Whitney Houston.

    2. I appreciate that perspective drchristy! You included a couple things I didn’t consider. The family may have told Winans to hold back. In that case, my apologies for “calling him out” (I don’t really know much about his ministry to judge). I agree, through the power of the Holy Spirit, there can be complete healing in Christ for those enslaved to addiction.

      Mark, I appreciate your fervor for biblical truth, but I don’t think Christy is saying the gospel is insufficient (she may want to clarify). I don’t think she assuming Whitney was a Christian either. To me she is saying the knowledge God gives to the medical field and addiction counseling may be used to draw people out of there bondage. I believe God can use the common grace of medicine to help heal others (I think you probably do too).

      I give my props to all those in the medical field ministry who serve those who are dying (my family has benefitted greatly from hospice care) or in bondage! Great discussion to all involved on this thread.

      1. I appreciate your honesty and comment, but I disagree with you on what she was saying… or at least what was conveyed to me. That believers entangled in addiction my take long periods of time or may not at all become well despite the help we give them in the name of the Lord. Jesus was able to do it instantly, and because we aren’t Him, it takes longer. I disagree with this. Jesus is still doing the healing, the Holy Spirit is still involved… we are just vessels. So the length of time should not vary along this line of reasoning.

        It seems as if the good MD were saying that healing takes a while coming from us because we aren’t the Lord… when in fact it is the Lord doing the healing. Even in Scripture healing took place through the apostles and others after Jesus left earth. God can and does heal those who place their faith in Him… if it is His will.

        Scripture clearly tells us we are known by our fruit… so despite her illness of addiction… and as a medical professional, I still struggle with the idea that addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disease but rather a sin that takes over your life… I believe the Lord could and would have freed her from this addiction had she placed her faith in Him as the Bible commands.

    1. If Whitney did not repent before she died, she cannot repent in the grave. There is absolutely no repentance in the grave.

  17. Well done Bryan. I happened to tune in with my mom and sister over fish sandwiches and lemonade. By the time the Word was up I was eagerly anticipating a powerful delivery. Instead, we got a performance. To me it was a considerable let down. T.D. Jakes and Tyler Perry were more in alignment with my expectations. However, your commentary bears considerable thought into the overall backdrop of the ministry flaws associated with Christianity today. Thanks for keeping it real. Christ is the “key” to Christianity which saves to the utmost. Keep serving us brother!

  18. I didn’t watch the funeral nor pay much attention to the Whitney issue, but I’m sure you folks have noticed that as long as we’re just talking about ‘God’ and/or ‘Spirituality’ and not Jesus, not too many people get too riled. If you just talk about God, it’s not too threatening, ’cause nowdays, people make God into whatever and whoever they want Him (or her) to be.

  19. Thank you for liking my blog, Helping Children Heal from Divorce and Other Losses. I am glad you did so I could read this blog, which I tweeted. I saw other parts of the funeral and do believe the truth of Jesus and His grace was preached to millions. Sadly, the lie of salvation by “good works” was also. I just pray that some heard it right and made their reservations for heaven.

  20. “Our greatest issue is not that we are merely failing to be Christlike. That’s a given. Our greatest issue is that we are dead in our sins and need supernatural resurrection in Christ (Ephesians 2).” – Well said, Bryan Daniels. May the Gospel continue to inspire you to write posts as awesome as this. God bless…

  21. Great thoughts, sad reality.
    I caught a bit of the funeral, I liked what Tyler Perry had to say, but it too fell short of the tremendous opportunity. I wanted (the Rev.) Jesse Jackson to hear the gospel.

  22. To shed some light some years ago maybe about 10, I just happened to see this Preacher on a gospel ENTERTAINMENT show where he stated he didn’t preach about the devil because as a young boy he was told and preached to about the devil and burning in hell so much he had many sleepless nights; he remembered how scared he was of that coming up as a young man that he said when he grew up he was not going to scare anyone they way he was scared.

  23. Thanks for checking out my site, loved her music didn’t know her but her life style was sad. I live in Okinawa Japan and didn’t follow all that transpired but it was in the news here quite a lot, but usually in Japanese so I didn’t pick up a lot of what took place.

    But here as well as in America far to often friend, family, fans in this chase want to believe she died and went to heaven and she’s looking down smiling on all of us.
    We don’t know her real heart condition God does. By the outward appearances I would say she doesn’t fit the bill as to what we (established religion) would deem a “”good Christian”” should be; but that would be a far cry from how God would evaluate her life.

  24. Thanks for visiting my blog, Bryan. It’s always great to meet my fellow wordpressers who love the Lord.

    I really agree with you that we can only find true help in Christ, surrendering all and allowing Him to become our Lord and Savior.

    No addiction can be eradicated by self-help or just moral living … it can only be managed that way, and that isn’t permanent … which is why some people call themselves “recovering” addicts.

    The supernatural power of God that comes from a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus is the only permanent cure for any soul sickness (which is the root cause of addictions). I was diagnosed with PTSD … so I really get the soul sickness thing, and, unfortunately, addictions, too. This is something that’s common with survivors and others who have post-traumatic stress disorder.

    I’m not sure you said this here, but I feel that you inferred this … and I agree that each and everyone of us who has received His Cure through our own personal walks with Him have a responsibility to spread His Truth to everyone who hears or reads us.

    Thanks for this reminder.

    ~Donna Marie

  25. This was very enlightening (both the post and the comments). My head is spinning, actually. It will take a while to process all of this. But, it sure is meat to chew on (and I’m thankful for the challenge).

  26. I agree with what you say here, but I also have to say that there was no certain gospel that could save Whitney. There was the one and only gospel of Jesus Christ and every one knew that she knew that. Her understanding may not have been perfected, but no one’s is until we land where she landed on that fateful day…and we’re not here to talk about it when we finally do it get a perfect glimpse of the gospel.

    I once asked my grandfather, at the age of 96, “Did you ever figure it out?” I didn’t even have to explain what I meant. He answered “Honey, I don’t think anybody figures it out until it’s time to check out.”

    Pastor Winans also took a moment to “dig in” on the prosperity gospel at that time. He said “People tell me that they don’t believe in the prosperity gospel. I’ll bet not one person in here can raise your hand and tell me God wants you broke,” or words to that effect.

    The problem I had with that is double-fold: (a) Most of the 3,000-member audience were very rich and famous celebrities, how were they supposed to respond to that? and (b) The choir couldn’t respond since they were acting in a professional capacity and not as respondents in the congregation.

    I disagree with it because I have heard and seen too many people whose level of faith was judged based on their material possessions.

    Is there such a thing as “not having ENOUGH FAITH” for material gain? Really?

    I wish I’d been there, I’d have raised my hand.

    Apparently God does want some people broke because they are, and I don’t think that is a correct way to judge another person’s faith. They can have all the faith in the world and still be dead broke: The poor ye shall have with ye alway.

    That does not speak to their level of faith; it just means God isn’t a heavenly vending machine in which we can pop prayer coinz and affirmations of faith just so He can just pop out funds and “stuff” in response to it.

  27. A tragedy is a life lived in utter bondage. But an even greater tragedy is life everlasting in total bondage. May the biblical gospel we preach always address and free the captives of both.

    Bryan Daniels
    What a powerful truth!

  28. I think it is so sad that there are so many likes on this post. I wonder how many people even heard the eulogy. I also wonder if you truly listened to it because the “grey” in the silver lining that you have seen was not there. Christians are so busy fighting each other that the TRUE enemy is frolicing in and around the church and the lives of those who congregate and worship there. We must keep in mind the audience the pastor was speaking to. His message was on point and he spoke very boldly to them. Everybody’s a critic smh.

    Anyways, thanks for visiting my blog.

    1. Thank you for your thoughts.
      Though I have to disagree. The audience the pastor was speaking to was largely LOST celebrities (and lost millions on TV) in the entertainment business. He should have preached Christ crucified, the only power of God unto salvation (1 Cor 2:2-4). The enemy is not frolicking because Christians take the gospel message too seriously, the enemy is frolicking because leaders preach self esteem feel goody sermons that have no power to save. Our only hope is to restore biblical gospel preaching about sin and a bloody Lamb, not unifying under a vague and powerless message that is man centered in the end. Peace and grace.

      1. Hm. He spoke to people wrapped up in demonic forces in order to gain money and power and he addressed it bodly. That’s just my opinion. But reaaly, our opinions are irrelevant. He must pray to God concerning the message he delivers.

  29. Reblogged this on solafivereformed and commented:
    A post worth reading. I’m always amazed when a minister fails to clearly proclaim the Gospel of redemption through Jesus Christ alone at a funeral. What better object lesson could exist than that of a lifeless body lying in a casket?

  30. A gospel message without the redeeming blood of Christ leaves us exactly where we started – slaves to sin. May we never forget the power of the resurrection…On a lighter note, if discouragement was a spiritual gift, I might just give you a run for your money!

  31. Can I reblog this article on Whitney Houston on my blog site?

  32. Bryan thanks for your post. I watched the funeral and although most of it was uplifting, the final message was anti-climactic. This was an incredible opportunity to re-present Jesus to the world, and it seemed somewhat watered down. I agree that we heard a message of behavior modification, almost as if he didn’t want to offend people by saying Jesus is the only way to God. I can’t judge his motives, just evaluate what I heard.

    My prayer is that if I ever have the chance on a national or international stage (or in a private setting) to proclaim the full gospel, I would do it with clarity, conviction, and boldness.

    I also wrote a blog about Whitney’s life/death:


  33. I don’t know what Gospel Whitney heard, but I know what Gospel the world did not hear at her funeral. Sad missed opportunity. This so-called spiritual correctness is going to lead many to eternal loss. Those who are timid with God’s truth will surely give an accounting some day.

    Great post, loved reading the comments.

    And thank you for visiting my blog, and “liking” my post – “HE BEATS ME – BUT HE IS A GOOD MAN!”

    God bless.

  34. Political correctness won another round. I’m so glad Jesus didn’t cave in to the religious majority of His day, or we’d all be lost. Let’s keep our heads in the Kingdom and boldly proclaim Jesus and His Gospel.
    Great post… from one Christian blogger to another.

  35. Wow a fire storm declaring the power of sin and surprised at the WORLD and it’s task master who enslaves sinners with worldly reward? I guess that is why we have to keep our eyes on Jesus and the price he paid, the gift given in love and the power of the blood. Don’t preach the power of sin but the power of love in the price paid in blood. Keep your eyes on Jesus, hate the sin love the sinner and let’s let our light shine in a world lost in sin, Keep up and push up the pace bringing them in. God is not willing that any should parish!

  36. thanks for visiting my blog post “Disabled Artist Joni Eareckson Tada to Receive Wilberforce Award.” I enjoyed your take on Whitney. If you don’t mind me posting, here is my own blog post on the topic (which links out to a longer article on the same subject):
    The gospel according to Whitney Houston: Whitney’s gospel roots (gospel videos included)

  37. “Let me say I know I may be looking through all this with a negative lens. My wife is always surprised by my ability to find the touch of grey in every silver lining. Sometimes I seriously wonder if God has given me the spiritual gift of discouragement. : )”

    Yep, your wife is spot on…
    How you coming along with the Nazareth investigation, by the way?

  38. Wow!! Yes my husband and I wondered what kind of gospel she heard too. We grew up listening to her. Her voice wasn’t given to God. Perhaps no one taught her to give her gift back to Him. She lost her soul for power, fame and wealth. (Sadd) This is a very good post.

    Thank you for liking my post “The Darkest Hour.” Looking forward to talking with you soon.

  39. Touchy subject. I remember watching documentaries on Whitney in the beginning where she would have prayer meetings before concerts. Only God knows what happened just before she died…Thanks for liking my post. Look forward to more. 🙂

  40. Very though provoking. You wonder sometimes if these celebrities who claim to be Christian actually know the difference between what Christ calls us to be and what we desire to be despite what He wants. Thanks for the inspiring thoughts. Very well thought out.

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