A few days ago someone asked me if I had bought and listened to Kanye West’s new album? I looked at them with a joking face waiting for the punchline. It never came. They proceeded to tell me that Kanye West had been converted and was now following Jesus. Since then I have heard a myriad of responses from people on the topic of Kanye’s proposed conversion. Some people have voiced their skepticism and some have voiced their optimism. But is there a right way to how we should respond? Yes, I believe so. It probably will not be well received in this I-want-it-now microwave culture. But it seems that the wisest thing for me to do, as a Christian, is to patiently pray for Kanye West. Notice those two words. Patient Prayer. Now let me speak on both of these words and in the process address some issues.
What do I mean by patient prayer for Kanye?
What I mean is that time is always the greatest tester of truthfulness. I have seen two extreme responses to this news of Kanye. One response has been rather ridiculous by acting as if it is impossible for Kanye West to be “saved.” To be honest I am rather shocked that I should even have to mention this, especially to people who claim to be a Christian. Dear friend: The power of God is strong enough to save any sinner. Just so you know it wouldn’t be the first time in church history that God saved a blasphemous person. In fact, it was the great hymn writer, John Newton who refered to himself in an autobiography as “the African blasphemer” alluding to his involvement in the African slave trade and his blasphemous life style as a hardened sailor before meeting Christ. That same man would later in life pen the soul stirring words of the hymn Amazing Grace. We should also consider the Apostle Paul who was a murderous persecuting blasphemous sinner before The Lord graciously and marvelously made him into a new creation on the road to Damascus. Dear friend, we should not act as if this has never happened. I assure you, church history is overflowing with salvation stories far more radical than a Kanye West conversion.
But what about the other extreme? The other day I read a young lady’s social media post who was attempting to argue that we should accept this profession from Kanye without reservation. The thrust of her argument was that “Paul had his skeptics and critics too!” Can I say that I think their skepticism of Saul of Tarsus was well founded. The man was on his way to kill and imprison Christians. To argue that “you” would not have been skeptical of Saul at first I believe is to be naive and silly. However over time Saul became known as the Apostle Paul. Time will always prove truthfulness. So here is a bit of wisdom that seems good to share. In a world that provides endless avenues for influencers to sway your heart, be careful who you allow to drop anchor in there. It is a wise thing to guard your heart and to not allow everyone who claims something to have immediate access to influence your heart.
So how should we respond? I believe patience is a wise response. Here is an example of how I am trying to respond with patience. I refused to comment on the topic to my Sunday school class this past week. My silence was primarily because I have very limited information and insight about this proposed spiritual rebirth in Kanye’s life. I personally hate it when people speak so confidently about something they know nothing about-You know, when people speak in ignorance– so I try my best to refrain from doing that. Since then I have learned some pertinent information regarding this news and so many thanks to Jeremy Vuolo for his unbiased presentation of the facts. According to Vuolo, Kanye West had apparently been visiting a smaller church whose Pastor is a theologically-sound faithful expositor of the Bible (This Pastor also graduated or is currently enrolled in the Master’s seminary which was founded by John MacArthur). Upon his visits to this church Kanye was struck by what he heard and confessed that he had never heard preaching like this. In response to the true preaching of the Gospel Kanye has since claimed to have been born again, that he is a new creation in Christ. In addition to this, according to Vuolo’s remarks, Kanye has continued some type of discipling relationship with this Pastor and has surrounded himself with mature disciples of The Lord. Listen, I don’t know Kanye’s heart, and neither do you, but that is certainly a conducive environment for a genuine conversion.
So how will I continue to respond? The same way that I respond to any newly professing Christian. I wouldn’t give any new professing Christian immediate influence over my heart. But I also would not discourage them. I would patiently pray for them and will do the same for Kanye.
Oh yes, pray. As with any professing Christian, his faith will be tested and tried. If you think the liberal media is going to respond kindly to Kanye you too are naive. Oh sure, there may be the initial kind response but there will come a time when his convictions regarding many moral issues will be brought into question. Don’t expect the media to take kindly to his Christian convictions. In addition there is also the question of how his wife and family (the Kardashians) will respond? Will they claim he is a lunatic or will they follow his leadership as the head of the household? The point is that this man undoubtedly has some trials that await him, as does every new Christian. But if his profession is genuine then the grace of God will sustain him until the end. So as we patiently wait for time to test truthfulness, we should also pray for our new brother in Christ. I tell you a truth. Kanye West does not need you to buy his hoodies nor does he need you to buy his album. He needs your prayer and encouragement to press on and grow up into maturity in Christ. So how will I respond? I will patiently pray for Kanye and truth be told I hope that Kanye will pray for me too. And as time proves truthfulness I will give him some influence in my heart and eventually buy his album. And though it sounds strange in the moment as I listen to Kanye rap about his love for Jesus my heart will be stirred to worship too.