Kanye and the King

I have not been surprised by recent events. The praise given to a famous person for joining “our side” doesn’t shock me. The fear that his new found faith is a publicity stunt or maybe just a stint soon to be replaced by the next thing he embraces is not new when it comes to celebrity transformations. The rush to say that because of his past he may not be what he says he is doesn’t shock me any more than the rush to ignore his past because of his latest confession of faith. God can transform a life and man can imitate a transformed life. Both are not only possible but have been part of human history from the moment a piece of fruit changed us from God reliant to self-seeking beings.

There is a case for optimism.

The very fact that the creator of the universe is involved means that anything is possible. John’s account of Jesus’s life includes these words said by the saviour of this world “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” John 3:16-17 (NIV). There are no ifs, ands or buts. Jesus died for all and those who believe will not be lost.

There is reason for scepticism.

Mankind wants to be front and centre. If there is an advantage to be gained by publicly attaching oneself to a product, movement, political figure or religion, people will flock to whatever is the “in” thing. Luke records the actions of one such person as he documented the history of the early church.

“Now for some time a man named Simon had practiced sorcery in the city and amazed all the people of Samaria. He boasted that he was someone great, and all the people, both high and low, gave him their attention and exclaimed, “This man is rightly called the Great Power of God.” They followed him because he had amazed them for a long time with his sorcery. But when they believed Philip as he proclaimed the good news of the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women. Simon himself believed and was baptized. And he followed Philip everywhere, astonished by the great signs and miracles he saw… When Simon saw that the Spirit was given at the laying on of the apostles’ hands, he offered them money and said, “Give me also this ability so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit.” Acts 8:9-20 (NIV)(abridged). Christianity and its popularity can be tempting for all the wrong reasons.

There is a case for optimism.

There are signs that Kanye West has seen the path toward destruction that his life was taking without Jesus as his king. There have been statements that he has made that suggest not only a change in what he says but also a change in what he does. He would not be the first famous person to say they have made Jesus their king and also change what they are doing so that their life reflects the selflessness of a follower of Jesus the Christ.

There is reason for scepticism.

Kanye West has had a long history of mental illness demonstrated by strange behaviour. As Christians we do not see aligning ourselves with Jesus as a strange behaviour but we would all agree that, based on his past, this is out of character for Kanye. He would not be the first famous person to claim to be a follower of Christ but in no time begin living the life they had in the past. This could be, like it has been for many, a passing fad with moral demands that are not a viable way for him to continue to live.

There is a reason for concern.

Many Christians have taken a wait and see approach to Kanye’s stated beliefs. I would say that welcoming him as a brother in Christ while being wary of this sudden change is a solid approach. Other Christians have outright denounced Kanye’s faith, suggesting that he has not changed at all. I would say they have made a judgement that they, unless they are God, are not qualified to make. Other Christians have condemned, even attacked, the first two groups because if Kanye says he is a Christian then he is and who are we to judge? They have called out even those who have suggested cautious approach lacks grace and true understanding of the life of a Christian. I would say they too have made a judgement they, unless they are God, are not qualified to make.

There is one issue that no one seems to be talking about.

The infatuation that we have as North American Christ followers with pop culture drives our preoccupation with seeking its acceptance. Some are worried that Kanye West will not continue to live as a Christian, others are worried that we are not accepting of him because of his past but no one seems to be worried that his celebrity is the driving force behind our interest in him in the first place. I do not know if his faith is real. I do not know if his faith will remain. I do know this:

My faith is just as valid with or without Kanye West, it is just a little more exciting when I see what appears to be God at work in a very public way!


  1. Good points, Dave, especially at the end where you point out the American obsession with celebrities and, as a result, with having celebrities vindicate us Christians. We seem to forget they are just human beings. I would say, however, that while adopting Christianity as a fad may be controversial and generate attention, it is really not “popular,” which makes me feel less sceptical. Whatever happens from here, his new album is chocked full of non-vague gospel messages that may plant the seed for many listeners, so for that, I feel grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. one thing I do know, you can’t put the tooth paste back once you squeeze it out – even if he were to turn away millions have heard the truth about Jesus. Early indications say he has embraced more than just the title Christian (the fad), he has stood against things that pop culture adores and Christian abhor

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I think some wonder if this could be a watershed moment, a sort of religious awakening among young people-fans-who imitate those they admire. If Kanye remains faithful, who knows what could happen among his “followers.” It doesn’t take much to begin a movement.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I hint at that in some of my Facebook posts. I don’t understand how a person can post a meme about how low Hollywood has sunk, and then post later how much they enjoyed the latest blockbuster or how thrilling the latest episode of the Walking Dead was. I realize we can’t escape every influence the world throws at us, and we have no choice but to support entities that have values that don’t align with Christian values (Google, Apple, Microsoft – we need their products), but we have to draw a line somewhere.

        Liked by 1 person

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