What do I think about Kanye West, his new Christian album "Jesus is King" and most of all his dramatic public proclamation of salvation? Let me say right from the outset, so there is no doubt about what I think.
God bless this young man!
I think the boldness of his actions speaks volumes about his character but going even further, after listening to a couple of his most recent and very extensive interviews, the word genius or prodigy comes to mind because unlike many "celebrities and stars", I find this young man to be highly intelligent and extremely thoughtful and if you don't think he's seriously considering a presidential run, think again. Most importantly, I find him to be profoundly sincere in this new direction he has undertaken, proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus and having zero qualms about proclaiming Jesus as King. To say Kanye is swimming upstream against the current is an understatement because at his level of celebrity, his new direction is the classic example of what it means to swim upstream.
As far as the music the album is extremely well done and it's going to be instrumental in turning many lives to the Kingdom of God and away from the world. In a brief listening, I'd say my favorite tracks so far are "Closed on Sunday," "Follow God" and "On God."
That said, there is a but in my assessment and before I share my "humble" opinion let me say this... I believe Kanye's sincerity regarding repentance and walking with Jesus is genuine, heartfelt and authentic and to me that makes criticism of his conversion off-base and if you'd pardon me for saying so, very unlike Christ. We should be embracing him and encouraging him because for a young man in his position, an upstream swim against the raging current of our society takes boldness, courage, moral strength and tenacity.
Having stated that, here is my criticism; I'd like to see the same thing from Kanye, I'd like to see from any new or recent convert to Christianity; and that is a willingness to sit down and just be one of the church attendees and not always be the main attraction. From what I understand he's sat down under the teaching of Pastor Adam Tyson so it's encouraging to know he didn't just jump out into leadership without any preparation. As someone who is no where near the billionaire status of Kanye, I can't even imagine the level of celebrity Kanye enjoys, so it's very easy for me to give my two cents and say he should do this or that, but as a minister of the Gospel of Christ Jesus, one thing is for certain, Jesus alone is the only star and His Name alone is the only Name of which every knee will bow and every tongue confess, something Kanye's clearly knows by evidence of his song on his album, "Jesus is Lord."
Nevertheless, as one who comes from a background of music, entertaining and performing, albeit on a far, far smaller level than him, I know one thing for certain and that is this; we should go to church, first and foremost to be fed, to learn and to grow into becoming a proven, faithful servant. Most pastors in most churches, follow this basic principle before allowing people into leadership and let's face it, if you're on the platform as a speaker, vocalist or musician, you're ministering.
I believe in his heart, Kanye sincerely wants people to come to church to see Jesus, however the enormity of his celebrity dwarfs any idea of knowing one way or another if that is the case and one can successfully argue that if a person comes to see Kanye and ends up meeting Jesus, that's the bottom line and what ministry is all about!
We can love Kanye and still be honest about what's very easy to see; People are going to church to see Kanye and not Jesus. But if Kanye can continue pointing people to Jesus, as he seems to be, to God be all the Glory, let God use Him to expand the Kingdom and let us pray for his continued growth and expansion into ministry.