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Judging Kanye West

by Cowboy Bob Sorensen

This article takes a very different approach for me because I am not a fan of rap or Kanye West, nor have I heard his release titled Jesus Is King. I had read about West's conversion to Jesus Christ and have been surprised by his pro-life stance and assertion that black people do not have to automatically vote Democrat. Now he is on trial.

Kanye West has made a profession of faith in Christ and been active. Some Christians are judging him, and they need to slow down and let God work.
Credit: FreeImages / Jason Morrison
Don't be disunderstanding me now, pilgrim. Mr. West is not going before a tribunal or standing trial in a court of law that I know of. No, he is on trial in far worse places: the courts of public opinion and the judgement of professing Christians.

There is a podcast called Cultish that examines false religions and has interviews with people who have left various cults, but the people at Cultish rode a side trail to discuss Kanye and Christians. What is happening here has resonated with me, because some religious folks can be petty and judgemental. (On the other hand, we've been fooled by celebrities that had announced their alleged Christian commitments when it was in vogue, then proceeded to live like the devil.) When I was asked about his profession of faith, I said that I was taking a "wait and see" approach since I did not have much information on West's conversion.

If you study on it, he has an uphill road to climb. A successful recording artist who has won awards, is known as a man of the world, has views that are unpopular with leftists, is bipolar — and now a new Christian. His conversion can cost him friends and business dealings while he is attempting to live a godly life.

Things become worse because Mr. West has to deal with professing Christians who seem to expect perfection while forgetting their own growth in sanctification. It is not instant. Suppose Pastor Highlyrespected was overheard using profanity or doing something that is blatantly wrong, would that mean he was never saved in the first place? Not hardly! We all sin (Rom. 3:23), even after salvation (1 John 1:9).

Related to sanctification is what the Bible calls bearing fruit. This is a part of growing as a Christian where our relationship with God develops; we become more Christlike, God works in us and we bear fruit spiritually. It takes time. Again, sanctification is not instant (consider the Parable of the Sower). Some people make a pretense at religiosity but are consumed with hate and receiving the adoration of people who hate God. When that continues, it is apparent that they need to examine themselves to see why they are not bearing spiritual fruit or if they really are in the faith.

How are they lyrics on Jesus is King? Are they the words of a shill, or someone who is new in the faith and enthusiastic? Don't be expecting expository teaching from rock, pop, country, or rap lyrics.

There are also people who want to judge West for not believing "the right way". In my own experience, I have had to correct professing Christians who have bluntly stated that if someone believes in evolution, that person is not really a Christian. Wrong-o! Their understanding of Scripture is probably lacking or they may be compromising to gain the approval of secularists, but rejecting Darwin and embracing recent creation are not essentials of salvation. Then there are those who condemn people to perdition for not believing the "correct" end-times views. Oh, grow up.

I have been criticized because I refusing to confess either Reformed or Arminian doctrines. In fact, some in the Calvin cult have told me that if I do not accept the Doctrines of Grace, my faith is immature — or I may not even be saved! One angry Arminian would essentially quirt me with stories (often myths) about how John Calvin was allegedly a bad person, so I should reject his teachings. Such guilt by association "reasoning" is used by atheists and anti-creationists, and Christians should rise above bad logic.

People who want to judge Kanye West should realize that they are not the Holy Spirit. Let God do his work in his own way and his own time. Not yours. Sure, West has been in the company of the false teacher Joel Osteen. That caused me some discomfort, but I heard that Kanye talked more about repentance in just a few minutes than Osteen has over a much longer period of time. Maybe Mr. West will have such an impact that Osteen repents of his false teachings.

My advice to Christians is to rein in and holler, "Whoa!" Let God do his work, pray for Kanye, and give him time. Ask yourselves if you are really interested in furthering the Kingdom of God, or if you want to build up your egos by criticizing others. The narrow road is not an easy one. If you want to hear the podcasts on Cultish, I have three ways for you: go to the site and subscribe to the podcast so you can get the MP3 downloads, listen online, or save the direct download links that I'll give you. Interested? Okay. The first one is "Discerning Kanye West, Conspiracies, & Joel Osteen" (direct MP3 link here), and the second is "Part 2: Discerning Kanye West, Conspiracies, & Joel Osteen" (second direct MP3 link here).

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