Kanye Understands A Crucial Part Of The Gospel Other Celebrity ‘Christians’ Don’t: ‘It’s A Hard Road To Heaven’

The problem with so many Christ-claiming celebrities is that they don’t actually believe Jesus is King. It seems Kanye does.

Kanye Understands A Crucial Part Of The Gospel Other Celebrity ‘Christians’ Don’t: ‘It’s A Hard Road To Heaven’

Oct 30, 2019

 

Kanye is starting quite the conversation, a conversation that has Christians, non-Christians, white people, black people, Democrats, and Republicans all engaging for different reasons. Is Kanye really converted? Does his affinity for Donald Trump take away from his impact, or aid it? Is this a phase that will fizzle out? Is his album objectively good? Or are his lyrics just refreshing?

While questions like these are worth asking, we can make observations about his newly released album “Jesus Is King” without having all the answers. One fact that simply cannot be overlooked is the truly countercultural message in Kanye’s lyrics — one that is essential to the message of the gospel but so often left out of pop-culture claims to Christianity that ultimately fall flat.

That message is hard to miss: Jesus is King. Kanye weaves this theme throughout his lyrics, and now throughout his life.

Culture Promulgates a Weak Version of ‘Christianity’

How does this differ from other professing faith-filled celebs? To recall an opportune example, consider Bachelor Nation’s beloved Season 15 Bachelorette “Alabama Hannah” Brown. Hannah talked about her faith and being a Christian consistently throughout the show, and although it was unfortunate that the infamous sex “accusation” occurred courtesy of the most universally hated bachelor on the show, Luke P., Hannah revealed her worldview is no different from other celebrity, in-name-only Christians.

When Luke confronted her, however narcissistically, about the possibility of her having sex with one or more of the few remaining bachelors, the conversation escalated to Hannah dismissing Luke from the show. When he all but refused to leave, Hannah replied, “I have had sex … and Jesus still loves me.”

She’s not wrong. She did have sex, and Jesus still loves her. Good theology, Hannah. But her remorseless attitude perfectly encapsulates the flagrantly unbiblical worldview of countless pseudo-Christian celebs. Upon Luke’s exit, she continued, “I didn’t just go to the Fantasy Suite, I f-cked in a windmill. And guess what? We did it a second time,” before winking at the camera, her face in an ear-to-ear grin.

I’m not here to beat the dead Hannah B. horse. She is merely symptomatic of our culture’s exceptionally weak notion of what passes as “Christian.” As Refinery29 put it, Hannah is “a devout Christian who praises Jesus Christ in her Instagram bio.” Really? Is that all it takes to call oneself a Christian these days?

Real Christianity Results in Obedience

Pop culture icons tend to appeal to Christianity only insofar as it broadens their appeal to a Christian base. As soon as it seems not to benefit their wallets anymore, their faith doesn’t seem to be all that active. Not that keen spectators can’t see the reversal coming, for their faith doesn’t result in any identifiable fruit.

Often, the only evidence of Christianity is simply an Instagram bio — directly above an erotic pose in Calvin Klein underwear. Or in an interview soundbite — promoting an explicit new album. Or in a gaudy cross tattoo or necklace — stuck somewhere amid cleavage. These icons are Christians in name only. Not in understanding, not in message, and not in obedience.

That last part — obedience — is the hardest. Believing God exists is common sense, but merely acknowledging that isn’t Christianity. Making Jesus “King” and doing what he asks of you — that’s the difficult part. It’s that whole idea the book of James carries, that “faith without works is dead.”

Kanye’s theology isn’t perfect. “Excuse me if I mispronounce anything,” he says. “I am a recent convert. It means I recently got saved within this year.” But the gospel isn’t complicated. (In a sentence, as Pastor John Piper articulated, “The gospel is the news that Jesus Christ, the Righteous One, died for our sins and rose again, eternally triumphant over all his enemies, so that there is now no condemnation for those who believe, but only everlasting joy.”) Children can understand it. And Kanye has grasped the transformational aspect of the gospel that so many haven’t.

In one new song, “Use This Gospel,” he sings, “Use this gospel for protection. It’s a hard road to heaven.” Yes, it is, Kanye. If it weren’t, Jesus wouldn’t have instructed each of his followers to “take up [their] cross daily and follow” him.

As my friend put it, “[Kanye’s] passion for simple obedience is just so contagious.” It’s true. His simple obedience is evidenced in his lyrics, in his calls for modesty, in his warnings against premarital sex, in his denouncing of unbiblical public policies, and in his parenting goals.

Kanye Confesses Jesus Is King

His message in “Closed on Sunday” (Chick-fil-A mentions excepted) is rich with the practical outworking of a Christian not being “conformed to this world” but instead being “transformed”:

Raise our sons, train them in the faith
Through temptations, make sure they’re wide awake
Follow Jesus, listen and obey
No more livin’ for the culture, we nobody’s slave
Stand up for my home
Even if I take this walk alone
I bow down to the King upon the throne
My life is His, I’m no longer my own.

Whether Kanye is truly a Christian or not is something only he and God know. But one thing we do know is that a person can’t be a Christian if he doesn’t believe and live by these simple truths.

That’s the problem with so many Christ-claiming celebrities: They don’t actually believe Jesus is King. It seems Kanye does.

Kylee Zempel is an assistant editor at The Federalist. Follow her on Twitter @kyleezempel.

A Country That Honors God

What truly protects a Nation

July 3, 2018 by Charles F. Stanley

 

As you look at the state of our nation today, what do you see? The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12), but this is not a popular belief in our society. However, it’s the only way our nation can flourish. Further support for this truth is found in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Abandoning the Lord leads to disgrace and the loss of His blessings.

Contrary to popular belief, what actually protects a nation is not military strength but the righteousness of its people and government. When the Lord is honored in a nation, He is exalted, and the people are protected. Therefore, we should look at our nation today and ask ourselves whether we as a country are honoring God. Our future depends on the answer.

Freedom doesn’t come cheaply, and it’s always under attack by our enemy, the devil. His ungodly and unbiblical influences fight against our beliefs, but the Lord gives us courage to resist.

As believers, we are under the divine guidance of our Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we do not fight with weapons but with the Word of God—the only message that can transform lives and influence the world for good. Christ’s church will not be overpowered, and He will be faithful to raise up believers in every generation. We have been commanded to proclaim the gospel throughout the world, and this commission is not just for those trained as missionaries but for each of us in our own places of influence.

However, this means we must be willing to stand firmly for our convictions when they are challenged. Convictions are unaffected by the times, the values of the culture, or the popularity of current ideas. Christian beliefs may be unpopular presently, but the Lord is our defense as long as we exalt and obey Him as Lord and honor His Word as our compass for life.

As followers of Jesus, we are His representatives, and there is no room for compromise with the immoral, disrespectful, or self-indulgent aspects of our culture. So, how are we to respond to this world in which we live? Others may criticize and stand against Christianity, but we who love the Lord must stay true to Him. We can’t afford to let ourselves be lulled into thinking that because we live in a free and prosperous nation, nothing bad is going on or could happen to us in the future.

Despite the sinful condition of our culture, we should not be discouraged. Our God is greater than the world’s knowledge and wisdom, and His purposes are not thwarted by sin. He is sufficient and adequate to guide us through whatever we face—our responsibility is simply to believe, trust, obey, and follow Him, modeling the Christian life for those around us.

 

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message“Standing on Your Convictions” which airs this weekend on TV.

https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/a-country-that-honors-god

VIDEO A Country That Honors God

What Truly Protects a Nation

July 3, 2018 By Charles F. Stanley

 

As you look at the state of our nation today, what do you see? The Bible says, “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Ps. 33:12), but this is not a popular belief in our society. However, it’s the only way our nation can flourish. Further support for this truth is found in Proverbs 14:34, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” Abandoning the Lord leads to disgrace and the loss of His blessings.

Contrary to popular belief, what actually protects a nation is not military strength but the righteousness of its people and government. When the Lord is honored in a nation, He is exalted, and the people are protected. Therefore, we should look at our nation today and ask ourselves whether we as a country are honoring God. Our future depends on the answer.

Freedom doesn’t come cheaply, and it’s always under attack by our enemy, the devil. His ungodly and unbiblical influences fight against our beliefs, but the Lord gives us courage to resist.

As believers, we are under the divine guidance of our Commander, the Lord Jesus Christ, and we do not fight with weapons but with the Word of God—the only message that can transform lives and influence the world for good. Christ’s church will not be overpowered, and He will be faithful to raise up believers in every generation. We have been commanded to proclaim the gospel throughout the world, and this commission is not just for those trained as missionaries but for each of us in our own places of influence.

However, this means we must be willing to stand firmly for our convictions when they are challenged. Convictions are unaffected by the times, the values of the culture, or the popularity of current ideas. Christian beliefs may be unpopular presently, but the Lord is our defense as long as we exalt and obey Him as Lord and honor His Word as our compass for life.

As followers of Jesus, we are His representatives, and there is no room for compromise with the immoral, disrespectful, or self-indulgent aspects of our culture. So, how are we to respond to this world in which we live? Others may criticize and stand against Christianity, but we who love the Lord must stay true to Him. We can’t afford to let ourselves be lulled into thinking that because we live in a free and prosperous nation, nothing bad is going on or could happen to us in the future.

Despite the sinful condition of our culture, we should not be discouraged. Our God is greater than the world’s knowledge and wisdom, and His purposes are not thwarted by sin. He is sufficient and adequate to guide us through whatever we face—our responsibility is simply to believe, trust, obey, and follow Him, modeling the Christian life for those around us.

 

This article is adapted from the Sermon Notes for Dr. Stanley’s message“Standing on Your Convictions” which airs this weekend on TV.

https://www.intouch.org/read/blog/a-country-that-honors-god