Kanye

Over the course of the past week, I've been captivated by the Kanye West story. In case you’re unfamiliar, he’s the infamous hip hop star turned radical follower of Jesus and bold proclamation evangelist.

It's been a stunning turnaround.
Ben Pierce

Ben Pierce is the Director of Come&Live! and is the younger son of David and Jodi Pierce. Come&Live!’s vision is to create a worldwide mission community that will provoke and inspire Christian artists to use their God-given creativity to revolutionize the world for Jesus.
Instagram: @nzbenpierce
Twitter: @benalanpierce

Website: www.steiger.org/benpierce

Kanye’s conversion first started making headlines when he launched the “Sunday Service” at his Los Angeles home in January 2019. These outdoor church events include a gospel choir and Bible teaching, and he has since held them in additional locations throughout the United States.

I have to admit that at first I was confused. Was this for real?

Then Kanye's new album Jesus is King dropped last week, and every interview he has given since confirms that there is nothing symbolic about its name. Yes, this is for real.

Since its release, this bold, Jesus-proclaiming album has been streamed over 200 million times. It seems God is still in the business of redeeming sinners and using them to change the world.

But it's not all good news.

From the moment it became a national story, there has been a contingent of Christians who've reacted with skepticism, maintaining a "let’s wait and see" attitude, instead of celebrating this remarkable series of events.

This is beyond disheartening.

Modern-day Pharisees are truly alive and well among us, and I can only imagine how much my disappointment at seeing this must pale in comparison to God's.

To the concerned Christian, are we reading the same Bible?

Consider the heroes of the Bible: Paul the murderer, King David the adulterer, Jonah the coward, Noah the drunkard. This is an impressive list of sinful, ill-equipped, unprepared people accomplishing God's purposes despite themselves.

How do we claim to follow Jesus and yet have attitudes that in no way represent Him?

I get it—Kanye has a crazy life and a dubious past. He has made a career out of self-glorification, but our God changes people! As Kanye told Jimmy Kimmel, "Now that God has called me, and I have given my life to Jesus Christ… I work for God."

How can we react to this with skepticism?

Didn't He redeem you, too?

This "let’s wait and see" attitude displays incredible arrogance. If all of heaven rejoices when a lost sheep comes home, shouldn’t we as well?

Does Kanye have it all figured out? Of course not! And do I?

I’d imagine he still has some rough edges, but who doesn’t? Every day, I need God's grace and mercy, and I will spend the rest of my life praying that He continues to change me.

Here's the deal: Kanye West has a platform the size of which is hard to imagine, and while his peers are selling sex and self-worship, he's telling millions of people that Jesus changed his life and that He can change their life, too!

Please, brothers and sisters, let’s loosen our grips, widen the doors of our churches, and be wary of any pharisaical attitudes that may have crept into our hearts.

In Jesus’ day, the religious elite imposed impossible standards on those wanting to encounter God. But Jesus came for the sick and rejoiced when they were healed.

The Kanye West story is bad news for the religious. He's breaking the rules. He doesn’t talk or look like them, and yet God is moving in and through his life.

But for those of us who are imperfectly following Jesus, we should be celebrating. God is doing what He always does—displaying His awesome power by using what the enemy intended for evil, for His good.

Add Kanye to the ever-growing list of redeemed sinners who are changing the world.

It's not my job to worry about his motives, or wonder whether he will, at some point, abandon his faith. I pray that he doesn't. It's my job to rejoice when God moves, and to show the world that Jesus welcomes anyone who comes to Him.

Those that are unsure about Kanye West, please examine the life of Jesus as revealed in scripture, and ask yourself, “How would He respond?”

I think Jesus is proud of Kanye, and I can't wait to see what he does next!

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