“Say Hello to Heaven” is the title and chorus of a song recorded and made famous by the band “Temple of the Dog” in 1991. Temple of the Dog was a unique group of musicians from what would become two of the most influential and successful bands of the last 25 years (Pearl Jam and Soundgarden). The song itself was written by the singer from the band Soundgarden, concerning the untimely death of his roommate and friend, Andrew Wood. “Say Hello to Heaven” details the writer’s relationship to his departed friend. Moving through the lyrics takes you on the singer’s journey as he tried to save his friend, who was attempting to silence his demons through heroine. In frustration in the last verse the singer declares with great force “There’s just one thing left to be said…” (a huge high octave wail)… “Say Hello to Heaven”.
Did the writer of the song believe his friend was in heaven? Most likely, but that heaven is nothing like the eternity Jesus guarantees for those redeemed through His shed blood. The “heaven” written about in the song reveals a place where one can run away from their earthbound problems in order to rest in peace. This idea of heaven is one where a person is not accountable for their sins or debauchery. This idea of heaven is one devoid of the love and Presence of God. The writer’s version of heaven is that of a world that seeks solace, comfort, and fullness apart from the Creator; some do this through religion. The writer of the song was Chris Cornell, husband and father of three. He, in a cowardly fashion, ended his life a week ago.
Cornell’s song reveals the unfounded and sinful view of many lost men and some “Christians” concerning life after death. No doubt it is for that reason I was so enamored with the singer and the song, as a young man who had demons of his own. His song also reveals our silly and destructive musings about sin; and more germane to our discussion, the sin of suicide. In order to see this plainly, let’s consider responses from fellow “rock stars” this past week.
Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin fame tweeted out “R.I.P” along with other niceties. What kind of peace could Page be referring to, as he is a man steeped in Satanism and the occult? Elton John declared Chris Cornell “a lovely man” with similar blather of resting in peace. Other’s have expressed his suffering is over (really), or “He’s in a better place”. Of these platitudes not a one reflects anything remotely true concening Cornell’s present state or final destiny. These are empty words at best.
Heavy Metal icon Dave Mustaine, who claims to be a born again Christian, proclaimed in his tribute that he would see Chris Cornell in heaven (directly after he commanded a bored concert goer to “shut the F@#K up”). Funny how the Christian world in America goes crazy when celebrities like Mustaine and Alice Cooper “get saved”, only to find out they are basically Universalists who believe in a fairy tale heaven. Christian news outlets cheer their “conversions” presenting them almost as spokesman and evidence of God’s moving among us. We ought to get wise to these men who continue to make filthy amounts of money off of lost people, by singing their old evil songs all while professing a new life in Christ. We ought to command them to “come out and be separate, touching no unclean thing…” (II Corinthians 6:14-18). We need to call them to repent of their wickedness, being that they are poisoned with bitterness and bound in iniquity (Acts 8:20).
More importantly we ought to use Mustaine’s comments as fuel to grow a burden in our heart for proclaiming word of God truth concerning issues of sin, redemption, death and eternity. Although Dave Mustaine was in error concerning his declaration, he may be one of only a few professing Christians giving definitive answers about suicide and its reward or punishment. In a time when networks produce shows like “13 Reasons Why” which highlights suicide (almost romanticizing the act) among the young, most ministers and lay Christians are silent to give any light or truth on the situation. Oh we often offer platitudes about God’s mercy, or we don’t know what happened the moment before they die or even “maybe they repented”, but we appear to be flippant—confused—or simply scared to give an answer.
Years ago while my wife and I were at a dinner celebrating new deacons in the church we attended, our pastor was asked a very specific question. As was often the case while eating together at a restaurant, our pastor declared to the waitress that we were followers of Jesus Christ and asked if there was anything we might pray with her for concerning her life or family. She turned down our prayer request but asked if he might answer a question for her. Her question was concerning her cousin who had recently killed herself. The waitress wanted to know if the deceased was in heaven or hell. I will never forget his reply “I am sorry I just don’t know, but what I do know is that wherever she is, she is in the hands of an infinitely merciful God, who never makes mistakes. You can take comfort in that”. His answer, seemed to quell the angst in her question, and the answer did have truth in it, but was it true he did not know? Some may declare affirmatively YES or NO to her question, or at least ask whether the deceased person was a believer (even though that should not matter). Most would not even attempt and answer.
While attending another local fellowship’s youth ministry, my two oldest children were involved in a discussion concerning the eternal destiny of those committing suicide who were “believers”. To answer this question the youth pastor called on the senior pastor, who simply and quite inadequately pronounced “when it comes to suicide we will let God be the judge”. Knowing this pastor and how gifted and caring he is, I was shocked. Never was there any mention of suicide being sinful, or any positive scriptural reinforcement to keep LIVING! Like so many others, in the face of the plague of self-murder where the culprit is a professing believer, this pastor waffled, leaving young and impressionable youth to find an answer on their own.
Church we need to wake up! In a culture where our youth are inundated with evil in floods from the time they wake up till going to bed, we must understand the question demands an answer. This answer need not be concerned about whether it is perceived as being judgmental or unmerciful or legalistic.
Christians speak our minds concerning rampant homosexuality and rightly so. We understand that particular perversion keeps a person (whether a professing Christian or not) out of God’s Kingdom forever, if not repented of (Revelation 22:15). We will speak passionately to those who are drug addicts, who are practicing a form of sorcery (pharmekia), which will keep them from God’s eternal kingdom, if not repented of (Revelation 22:15). We will speak with pleading and aggressive rhetoric concerning the murder of living souls in the womb, for murder if not repented of keeps a person out of the Kingdom of God (Revelation 22:15). In the American church we ought to speak with power in the Spirit concerning the sin of being dishonest, as all liars (meaning unrepentant concerning dishonesty) are barred from God’s eternal Kingdom (Revelation 22:15). We ought to speak to all people who chose these particular sins or any sin practice that keeps a person from God in Christ; whether outside of Christ or a professing follower of Jesus. It is our calling.
2 Corinthians 5:18-20 (NKJV) Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation, that is, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not imputing their trespasses to them, and has committed to us the word of reconciliation. Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
Yes we need to be pleading with the lost, as well as those who profess Christ and have fallen into sin, to repent of that which breaks their relationship to God. Since this is the case, why don’t we speak more clearly concerning the sin of suicide? While we sit idle in our silence, our culture infused with murderous and demonic hatred, continues to offer its satanic glorification of self-murder. In the afore-mentioned television series “13 Reasons Why” the responsibility for suicide was not placed on the person who decided to murder themselves, but on the people who damaged them or let them down. Is that not the spirit of this age, to point fingers at others for our own sinful behaviors and problems? Should we not seek to give clear and definitive answers to our Christian young people concerning the wicked sin of suicide?
Next post we will continue to explore the truth concerning our silly and sinful musings concerning suicide, beginning with my personal encounter with suicide.
To read Part #2 right now, click here… PART #2