Is Kanye West really a Christian? A reflection on Jesus is King

A look at ‘Jesus is king’ album by Kanye West
Image via 36forever.com

As a believer and huge Kanye West fan, I was eagerly anticipating Kanye’s new album Jesus Is King, and I tried to read every article about his recent conversion to Christianity.

Tone Deaf covered the news every step of the way, however the comments on our Facebook page across all articles were largely negative. Admittedly a lot were insulting his art (which is fair game), but the comments discussing his faith specifically were (to put it politely) all skeptical.

Kanye west comment

It appears by and large, people don’t believe his conversion is sincere, and worst still it seems Christians are his harshest critics.

However what is clear is that Kanye West is actively making massive, Christian changes to his family and life. He speaks about this in detail with Zane Lowe in the below interview.

Is it all a publicity stunt?

Maybe, however one thing this is for certain, no one knows except Kanye West, and maybe even he doesn’t even know yet.

Kanye is being spiritually challenged, and it must be incredibly difficult to manage such a turbulent spiritual journey in the public spotlight, especially when dealing with a lot of his self reported mental health issues.

And so the Christians who criticise him should keep reminding themselves;

“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.

For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.

Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye?

You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.“

Matthew 7: 1-5

Is a bad Christian still a Christian?

Now I’m not even saying Kanye West is a bad Christian here, but it’s an argument I see all over  Twitter by Christians on the #JesusIsKing hash tag; “Kanye has done X….therefore he can’t be Christian even if he calls himself one”.

This view point is arguably a heretical one, as C.S. Lewis points out in “Mere Christianity”

“The name ‘Christian’ was first given at Antioch (Acts xi. 26)….to those who accepted the teaching of the apostles. There is no question of its being restricted to those who profited by that teaching as much as they should have.“

So is Jesus Is King any good?

As a massive Kanye West fan who was super disappointed with his last two records, this was the most important question for me.

I was hoping for Jesus Walks on steroids, I was anticipating Gospel voices that would give me shivers like on Dark Fantasy and Ultralight Beam – however we got none of that.

Despite this, I actually think the record is good.

Here are my top 3 take always;

  1. It’s way too short, feels like a trailer for an album rather than an album itself. 11 tracks that only run for 27 minutes total? Please, what a tease.
  2.  ‘Jesus Is King’ sounds like a electrical malfunction that accidentally gives off sounds perfectly on beat and in tune.
  3. It has 4 really great moments which will keep you coming back

The top 4 moments from Jesus Is King by Kanye West

1. Selah – Kanye West

Easily the standout song on the record.

Everything old shall now become new
The leaves’ll be green, bearing the fruit
Love God and our neighbor, as written in Luke
The army of God and we are the truth 

2. We are all Adam and Eve

Kanye’s closing lines on ‘Everything We Need’ make us realise the power of the Garden of Eden story.

Is Kanye raising the question here that perhaps each day we are all eating from the forbidden fruit which is causing all the self inflicted pain in both the world and our mental health?

What if Eve made apple juice?
You gon’ do what Adam do?
Or say, “Baby, let’s put this back on the tree” ’cause….we have everything we need

3. Kanye West becomes vulnerable, talking about the hate he is receiving from Christians post conversion

Taken from ‘Hands on’

Told people God was my mission
What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me
Make you feel alone in the dark and you’ll never see the light

4. Jesus Is Lord – Kanye West

The closing song on the record is the closest we get to the “shiver moment”, however it is undeniably beautiful even if it’s only 49 seconds long

Source: tonedeaf

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