Is Nelson Mandela in Heaven?

13 Dec

This may seem like a very strange question to ask about a world leader.  But Nelson Mandela has passed from this earthly scene.  For some, the question is, “Is there even a heaven to be entered?”  Many in our world hold to a strictly materialistic view of human life and say that when you’re dead, you’re dead.FirefoxScreenSnapz160

The anthropologist Richard Leakey said, “What happens to you after you die?  I don’t think anything need happen to you after you die!”

FirefoxScreenSnapz161For those who believe that there is life after this life, the question is “On what basis do you hold that belief?”  Is it because one wishes such to be true?  Or is there authoritative, reliable information available about the after-life?

Christianity teaches that Jesus is the Savior who died for our sins and rose from the dead — and promises eternal life to all those who trust in Him.  These claims are either true or false.

Has Mr. Mandela ever declared himself one way or the other on the issue of belief in Jesus Christ?  In The Raw Story’s article “Atheists and Christians lay claim to Nelson Mandela — but which was he?“, both atheists and Christians have staked claim to this great leader’s worldview allegiance.

The most important question is not the great things he has done for South Africa and the world in his self-sacrificing service.

Our question is:  Is Nelson Mandela in heaven?  We can only determineFirefoxScreenSnapz162 the answer to that question by asking, “What did he do with Jesus?  Did he put his faith in Him and trust Him to forgive his sins?”

Some websites discuss Mandela’s Methodist history and answer, “Yes, he was a believer in Jesus.”  Others sites criticize him for his lack of a clear witness as to his faith in Jesus.

The truth is — only God knows whether Nelson Mandela is in heaven.  We are grateful for the many deeds he did on earth, but what did he do with Jesus Christ?  That is the question.


Posted by on December 13, 2013 in conversion


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12 responses to “Is Nelson Mandela in Heaven?

  1. Gerry T. Neal

    December 13, 2013 at 6:12 pm

    He was raised Methodist, but abandoned Christianity for the materialistic, atheistic, philosophy of Marxist-Leninism. By the teachings of the church in which he was raised, someone who apostasizes loses his salvation. By the teachings of the Dutch Reformed Church of his Afrikaner enemies, a member of the elect can never lose his salvation, and so “once saved, always saved”. There is a bit of irony there I think. Of course there is always the question of whether he genuinely believed in Christ in his Methodist youth. That is ultimately, as you say, between God and him. As I concluded my recent less-than-hagiographic essay about Mandela “Let us pray that in his last hours he repented of his sins, turned back to the faith of his childhood, and experienced the grace and forgiveness of God in Jesus Christ.” ( That is about all we can hope for him.

  2. John

    December 16, 2013 at 6:49 pm

    I am glade to see Mandela be honoured by the world community. The mindset of our world leaders is governed by the political correctness of our current time and means very little to me. To discuss Mandela’s religious views with the aim to place him into Heaven or Hell is not what I would call a respectful topic at this time. (nor any other time).
    Hang on to your belief that Jesus is your own ticket to Heaven, but stay away from unfounded speculations about what will happen to other people.

    • Jack Brooks

      February 4, 2014 at 1:04 pm

      Jesus is the Christ, the Son of the living God. He rose bodily from the grave. He said that He will judge you and all people, so that is not an “unfounded speculation.”

  3. Mike Barnett

    December 17, 2013 at 8:44 am


    I’ve forgotten my Word Press password. Tried to comment on the last few of your blogs. Send the “I forgot my password” email but never hear form them??

    So, i can’t comment.

  4. helen

    December 28, 2013 at 3:00 pm

    i was not there on mandela’s death bed,it was him and his GOD,let us not judge,amen

  5. Marshall Shelley

    February 4, 2014 at 1:50 pm

    When Peter posed a similar question to Jesus (John 21) about the fate of John, Jesus refused to answer the question. “What is that to you?” Jesus said. I think speculation about Nelson’s fate, while interesting or useful for evangelistic purposes, must also be left with Jesus.

    • Jim Powell

      February 4, 2014 at 8:41 pm

      Nice Marshall. I’m with you.

  6. dad7d

    February 4, 2014 at 2:38 pm

    If we think him to be a Christian then his testimony (or lack thereof) is indeed “fair game” to examine as we are not to judge the outsiders but definitely we are to judge the validity of those who portend to be Christians else we let wolves in to devour us. Was there a testimony for Christ? Did he embrace the body of Christ in faithful koinonia? Did he bring glory to God in his life or glory to man? The question is not whether he was a great man or not. The question is was he a saved man? The answers to the previous questions already point to the clear answer. Why the effort to make him something he is not?

  7. Hugh Holleman CBC67

    February 4, 2014 at 6:38 pm

    Best to make your peace with the Prince of Peace while alive and well so there will be no debate when you depart the land of the living.

  8. Gwendolyn J Hoskins

    February 4, 2014 at 8:25 pm

    I know it would take Jesus’ character to be kind and gracious to the apartied oppressors of Mandela’s Nation. And he displayed those qualities. Were Ronald Reagan and his wife Christians ? When Reagan was President and coalitions were developing a front against the Hitler like regime of the South African Government Ronald Reagan emphatically refused to support or participate in an economic boycott against apartied in spite of the murderous atrocities of that government against its native people. He was clear along with some other suppose to be conservative evangelical Christians. So I am not sure how Christian a position that was. The Bible says, ” Do Justice and Love Mercy!” Reagan’s position did not fall on the side of justice or mercy for those oppressed under apartied. Now Mrs. Reagan was an avid follower of the horoscopes and signs. Any Bible believing Christian who knows Scripture knows that this is a forbidden practice in the Old and New Testaments. Was she a believer who followed the stars ? You know some conservative evangelicals Christianize who they want to and question others integrity and character who do not fit into their social, political, and doctrinal frameworks. But since this is Black History Month, I will personally proclaim what the old Negro Spiritual said, ” referencing the slave masters.” Everybody talkin bout Heaven ain’t going there!” Just like those religious Pharisees who were not anything, ” like fair you see!”

  9. David

    February 8, 2014 at 3:17 am

    As the Scriptures so thoroughly remind us, our own “goodness” be it political, social, humanitarian, even spiritual, hold no swaying power with God. The world may be impressed with our achievements (our goodness) but God never will be. Unless the goodness of Christ is deposited into our “accounts” through a personal faith in Jesus we will never experience heaven. Our works fall seriously sort of the requirement. In the end every knee will bow, every tongue will confess that Jesus is Lord of all, and then we’ll know for sure who made it to heaven. Until then, I agree, we can’t know and we don’t need to know.

  10. David Paul

    February 13, 2014 at 5:03 am


    “Captain” Larry Dixon did not only shy away from the issue, but after he boldly announced he would win a sea battle (where is Nelson Mandella) in which few dared engage, criticizing former commanders, he then, in the dead of night, in the fog of war, while threatening waves rose and the dark clouds blew in, this “bold” captain deserted his flag ship in a tiny skiff and with quietly muffled oars, accompanied by a group of cowardly deserters, stealthily rowed towards shore, never even commanding a clearly defined answer.


    CON: About 1961 a pastor, a CBC grad, placed an ad in the local paper declaring he would preach on the topic, “Is Communism Christian”. His country church was filled with curious locals, but Rev. *** missed the boat. He declared it did not matter; after all, Daniel served under both Babylonian and Persian despots. Never mind Communism was designed to sweep gods from the skies and capitalism from the face of the earth. Never mind Nebuchadnezzar and Cyrus were both converted, redeemed, and changing both their theology and their political actions proving the point that both theology and politics matters.

    PRO: While I was at C.B.C. I heard the late Dr. Hutchinson ask the same question, to which a class member replied, “If the government owns all you make and only leaves you with what you need to survive, how can you tithe?”… Quietness… then Prof. Hutchinson smiled and said, “Good answer”.

    POINT: Columbia International University author is like my old C.B.C. grad pastor. He is certified, credentialed, probably has lots of letters before after his name, this Professor crafted the question to avoid the important teaching point. A man’s theology and politics do matter to God and are open for examination, as we are commanded to document a man’s spirits (documenzeta ta numata pardon my poor Greek transliteration, I was never very good at that) what they mean in I John 4. Compare Mr. Mandala’s theology writings and actions while he lived on earth to the Bible mandates and leave it alone.

    HERE’S AN EXAMPLE: A construction worker who labored all day, crafting things with his hands, bought and read what Martin Luther King himself wrote about heaven (he did not believe in it), the virgin birth, (same), about miracles (same) substitutionary atonement of Christ (same) and affirmed near the end of his life he never changed the mind about what he wrote in college (this construction worker found all this in King’s multi-volume collection of writings) then this common tool using guy who works with his hands all day long declared what God affirms…. “If M.L. King said in effect, ‘I’ll be damned if I believe that pre- Copernican mythology’, God’s response would be ‘I respect your integrity’ “.

    THE ISSUE: If that busy, tired at the end of the day construction guy could, in his spare time, without the use of a hundred thousand volume theological library, unlock this mystery of M.L. King’s Christianity by spending a little money and by reading a bit, Why can’t a full time, fully paid professor of a prestigious International University, with students available to do leg work, and collegial peers to review his work, international travel experience, writing for thousands of the University’s alumni in the official theological newsletter give a simple answer, like that, for Mandala?

    Respectfully Submitted
    David Paul (’67)


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