What to make of Kanye West’s conversion. I have to admit right off the bat, I never thought I’d be writing an article on Kayne West. Well, at least not in this context. You might have convinced me that I would have to refute something the hip-hop artist said or did. But to write an article of praise? That would have been laughable.
But here we are. Kayne has apparently had a conversion experience and is now a Christian. Along with this, he has released a new album “Jesus is King”, which is currently the #1 album on iTunes. It is, by all accounts, a remarkable transformation! The response to all this has been interesting to watch.
What Do We Make Of This?
So how should we think about this? Can we really trust that the same person that wrote the song “I am god” a few years ago is now a genuine Christian? How do we know he isn’t just cashing in on the Christian market? Couldn’t this just be a fad he’s going through?
I’ve been following this story since it broke, and can see no reason at this point to think that his conversion isn’t genuine. From all outward appearances, Kanye has been transformed. As Christians, we should rejoice in this! I’ve seen some take the “Oh Lord, not him!” approach. I couldn’t disagree more. If genuine, this is a cause for celebration!
Can People Really Change?
But should a transformation like this really surprise us? It’s not as if God hasn’t worked dramatic transformations in peoples lives before. He has taken a wrecking ball to souls harder and more closed off than Kanye’s. One quick look at the book of Acts and the transformation of the apostle Paul tells us as much.
Kanye has a big stage to share his conversion story on. I’ve seen many people encourage him to use his platform to share the gospel. I would agree with this sentiment whole heartedly. With one word of caution, however.
Is He Ready For This?
Recently we’ve seen some high profile de-conversions. Joshua Harris and Marty Sampson come to mind. In Joshua Harris’ case, he was thrust into a leadership role very early in his life. He was a relatively young Christian age wise when this happened. Kanye has a bigger platform than Joshua Harris did by a mile. To this point he’s used it well. But are we setting him up for failure?
Joshua Harris was more equipped to be a Christian leader that Kanye is. Kanye is a baby Christian. He will need time to learn and grow, just as any of us would. I can tell you, as someone that was thrust into a leadership role early in my walk with Christ, it isn’t easy. You are zealous and have a lot of energy, but don’t have the knowledge and wisdom to go along with it.
How Can The Church Help Him?
This is something that we need to be aware of as a Church. Kanye will no doubt make a misstep at some point. How do I know? Because ever Christian does! Even lifelong believers mess up. We are, as the Bible accurately describes, fallible and sinful creatures. So it would be unreasonable to think that this wouldn’t happen with Kanye West as well. Americans love their celebrities, and tend to give them a pass on a multitude of sins. Kanye can probably attest to that firsthand.
But Kanye is in a different position now than he has been in the past. He has now declared for a side, that of the Christian world view. And he will quickly discover that those that would excuse any of his previous behaviors will vilify him now that he has flipped to what they perceive as the wrong side. How will he handle the pushback he is about to receive?
Our Own Worst Enemy
Sadly, the harshest criticism he will face will most likely come from the Christian community itself. We have a wretched track record of eating our own. Ask anyone in a leadership position in a Church, and they will confirm that their harshest critics come from within the Church. Maryjo Sharp’s new book “Why I Still Believe” deals with many of her experiences as new Christian and the wife of a pastor.
It can be convicting to hear stories such as the ones she tells. But they must be told. If for no other reason than to help us remember that we should exercise grace with any Christian that we deal with. Especially those new to the faith and trying to figure this all out. I’m ashamed to admit, I’ve been guilty of this many times in the past. I definitely need to work on being more gracious with people that are new Christians trying to grow.
For many, becoming a Christian is a massive shift in the way they live their lives. It requires time to figure things out. Most of us get to do this in relative privacy. Kanye will have to grow in the public eye. Let’s give him the space he needs and temper our expectations. Pray for him, and above all rejoice! Welcome to the family of God Kanye!
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