Rapper Kanye West released his ninth studio album on October 25th. Titled Jesus Is King, it follows a Christian theme and he describes it as an “expression of the Gospel.” The album’s message aligns with West’s other new Christ-centered life changes that he instituted after a mental breakdown made him realize he needed to turn toward God and away from the devil’s distractions.
This seems like pretty straightforward positive news, but of course, there is more to the story if a high-profile celebrity is involved. West, who is married to Kim Kardashian, has been holding what he calls “Sunday Services” since January. He holds these religious services in various locations and on all days of the week. They are invite-only, and attendees are mostly A-list celebrities. West also recently appeared at televangelist Joel Osteen’s service at his Lakewood Church in Texas.
Some Christians are skeptical of West’s sincerity and the depth behind his self-professed change of heart. But if his testimony positively impacts one believer, then it is worthwhile. His Sunday Services don’t follow the traditional Christian format, but they are an opportunity for the Gospel to reach a group of people who might not otherwise hear it.
Attendees like Kendall Jenner, Kris Jenner, Chance the Rapper, Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Orlando Bloom, Courtney Love and more are unlikely to show up at their neighborhood Baptist Church. But when they attend their Hollywood hip hop buddy’s church service and hear his powerful worship music, they are experiencing the power of Christ moving in one of His witnesses.
Additionally, West performed worship songs for both male and female inmates at the Harris County jail. Eye-witness accounts told of convicts who openly wept and professed their acceptance of Jesus. Attendees likened the performances to those Johnny Cash played for prisoners of Folsom Prison in 1968. West and Cash’s singing – and clothing – styles may be different, but their public declarations of faith brought the Gospel and its truths to an underserved demographic.
Some Christian groups challenge the West’s sincerity in being a born-again Christian, saying he has written lyrics in the past that are a far cry from the Gospel. But, if Christians’ pasts were held against them and used to prevent them from publicly declaring their faith, pulpits would stand empty and church pews would be a lot fewer and farther apart.
Even Paul of New Testament fame was a murderer. West hasn’t killed anyone, but his bad-boy reputation most likely gives him more credibility with the prisoners and other high-profile celebrities he performs for. If he could have a change of heart and openly profess that Jesus is King, then maybe they can, too.
Ultimately, no human opinion of West’s or anyone else’s actions matters. God alone knows the truth in each person’s heart and the motives behind our actions. If West has decided to sincerely embrace the Lord into his heart for the remainder of his years and wants to share his passion for Christ with others, only a fool-hearted Christian would try to stop him.