Kanye, Christians, and Conversion

 Photo Illustration by The Daily Beast / Photos via Twitter/Getty

The only take I have on Kanye West’s profession of faith in Christ and his new album Jesus is King is that I rejoice in his profession and was blown away by how strong and bold the lyrics are on the album. Like with all professions of faith, I am filled with excitement, and I’m prayerful and hopeful.

The point of this piece is not to focus on Kanye’s faith but, instead, to focus on the general Christian response of many believers to the news. Some have responded with typical skepticism, and one has to wonder whether how much of that skepticism is simply due to Kanye not fitting the stereotypical mold that some have for an evangelical Christian. I would remind them that Saul of Tarsus didn’t fit the mold in his day either nor have countless others since then.

Others have not only been gushing with excitement at the news of Kanye’s profession but seem to think his celebrity status makes his faith something more significant than other conversions. Of course, it is more significant to the media and general public because Kanye is such a visible public figure. Where Kanye eats dinner and shops is already a news story, much less his Christian testimony and an album titled Jesus is King.

I have heard and read from some that Kanye’s profession is the beginning of a new great awakening. Others latch on to the incredible kingdom impact potential on the culture that someone like Kanye West may bring. But this should not be the response of evangelical Christians. That is not how the Bible would instruct us to think and it is not how the kingdom of Christ works.

Now, I do not mean that Christians should be less excited about Kanye’s profession. Not at all. I am saying that Christians should be as excited about every single profession of faith in Christ. After all, Jesus says, “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10).

Paul reminds us that the advance of the kingdom is not, in any way, dependent on reaching celebrities and the cultural elite,

For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are, so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, “Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.” (1 Corinthians 1:26-31)

Kanye, and all of us who have declared that Jesus is Lord and the only hope of our salvation, are part of a counter-cultural kingdom where there are no celebrities (or at least there shouldn’t be). In Christ’s kingdom there are only guilty, hell-bound, sinners, of whom, our best offering to God is “filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:4) and “rubbish” (Philippians 3:8) apart from His redeeming grace. As Kanye’s album cover declares, “Jesus is King.”

May we join the angels expressing joy when one sinner repents whether their name is Kanye, Doug, Sally, Jose, Anastasia, or Aaliyah. May we welcome them all to the “clay pot” kingdom of those who know the “power belongs to God, not to us” (2 Corinthians 4:7).

By |November 6th, 2019|Categories: Blog, Featured|

About the Author:

David E. Prince is pastor of preaching and vision at Ashland Avenue Baptist Church in Lexington, Kentucky and assistant professor of Christian preaching at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He is the author of In the Arena and Church with Jesus as the Hero. He blogs at Prince on Preaching and frequently writes for The Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, For the Church, the BGEA and Preaching Today