Kanye West’s new album “JESUS IS KING” is good. It might not be for everyone, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s Christian music I actually enjoy, which I have been wanting for some time. I feel like the genre had taken a bit of a dive since the ’90s and, aside from random artists like Josh Garrels, I haven’t exactly been happy with it.
Apparently, many are in agreement, because it’s at Billboard’s number one spot. Kanye’s success brought with it a lot of joy, but it’s accompanied by skepticism. Many people are watching Kanye, waiting for him to pull back the curtain and reveal that he’s been playing the public all along in order to push record sales. He can then continue to claim he’s the greatest artist of all time, not just because he put out a number one album, but because actually got the public to invest in his “art” en masse.
To his credit, Kanye saw this coming from a mile off. In his song “Hands On,” he wrote that Christians would be the first ones to judge him. He wasn’t wrong.
People shouldn’t be blamed for this skepticism, though. The glitterati has proven time and again that their sense of right and wrong is shaky at best, and is subject to change at the slightest rise of a trend. Kanye is definitely a figure among them. He may very well prove a lot of people correct and either come out as a liar or relapse into his old life.
I think the latter is more likely than the former. I think that because we Christians do that. A lot. It’s a big reason why Christ did what He did.
But I’m not sure Kanye is insincere about his faith. He’s been rapping an awful lot about Christ for a long time. I remember being blown away by “Jesus Walks” from his album The College Dropout, and thinking it was pretty bold of him to call out the industry for their cowardice about God, and discouraging musicians to openly talk about Jesus. That was back in 2004.
Kanye was far from a model Christian then, but many Christians weren’t in their past. C.S. Lewis was an avowed atheist until he read the wrong book and debated with a guy who likes hobbits and magic rings.
Since then, Kanye has caused some amazing things to happen. During a segment on his show, James Corden was singing along with a gospel choir on an airplane, a huge smile on his face, as they worshiped Christ in song. He actually confessed that he felt closer to God, right there on live television.
Not long after that, over 1,000 people gave their lives to Christ during one of Kanye’s Sunday services in Lafayette, Louisana.
I can attest personally that Kanye has inspired people to turn to Christ. I’ve been speaking to one woman who has been privately contacting me about wanting to accept Christ but struggling with religion.
It’s hard to deny the impact that the man has had in just the past few months. It’s right there in the masses blasting “JESUS IS KING” in their cars, and gathering en masse to praise God, be it on a grassy lawn or around an iPhone screen to watch it on YouTube.
So, with that in mind, let’s say Kanye’s turn to the Christian path does end with him regressing, or even worse, coming out as false. At this point, it’s too late. Christ has already infiltrated the mainstream in a way that hasn’t been seen in decades. Even if people follow suit and turn away from Christ themselves — which would be the worst part about it — so many already found Christ who wouldn’t have otherwise.
God used ravens — once considered unclean birds — to feed Elijah and sustain him. The parallels here are glaringly obvious. God arrives wherever He wants, and in ways we don’t expect.
No matter how you slice it, Kanye bore much fruit. Jesus wins.
It’s my honest hope that Kanye continues down this road. It’ll cost him even more than just a mass of Twitter followers and invites to glitzy parties. While he’s successful now, cloud 9 will eventually turn gray and the road is going to get bumpy. If he stays the course, however, and continues to produce art during it all, I can guarantee you that we really will see some of the best art Christians have seen in a long time.
Pray that what we’re seeing isn’t a marketing scheme, but a full-blown revival.