- The Washington Times - Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Much is being made about rapper Kanye West’s conversion to Christianity, his release of “Jesus Is King” album and, most recently, his “Sunday Service Experience” that drew thousands to The Forum in Los Angeles for a church-slash-religious-slash-musical-like event.

And all the old timey, long timey and more traditional timey believers go: But is he for real?

That’s a good question.

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But it’s not the best question.

Why not?

The conversion of West — the final determination of the to-be or not-to-be Christian leanings of the rap artist — is ultimately a matter between West and God. As Christians know full well, it’s the Holy Spirit that taps open the doors of saving grace; humans only influence and serve. And as Christians also know full well, God doesn’t save perfect humans. Witness: Paul. Formerly Saul. Formerly Saul of “Persecute the Christians” Pharisees persuasion.

Witness: The thief on the cross. The thief on the cross who didn’t have time to change his actions, atone for his past, get baptized or go to church. The thief on the cross who turned to Jesus, repentant and sorrowful, and voila, was told by Christ, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in paradise.”

Witness: Every Christian in the country; every follower of Christ in the world. Nobody’s perfect. Nobody’s worthy. Nobody; that’s just Basic Christianity 101.

So is West a true Christian?

Who knows. Maybe. Maybe not. 

But this is the better question: Does it truly matter?

There’s a part in Luke in the Bible that goes like this: “‘Master,’ said John, ‘we saw someone driving out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not accompany us.’ ‘Do not stop him,’ Jesus replied, ‘for whoever is not against you is for you.’”

That’s a good passage to keep in mind when considering West.

Some men and women of faith worry West is leading the flock down a path toward the devil — deceiving the unbeliever with false teachings that ultimately undercut the work of the Lord. And again: Maybe he is. 

But maybe he isn’t.

And maybe, just maybe, in the process of doing his thing, West is actually sparking some interest in Christ in those who otherwise would have absolutely no interest in Christ. Maybe he’s opening doors that otherwise would have remained closed, and from there, the Holy Spirit’s gaining a foothold.

Maybe, just maybe people come to see West in all his celebrity starry wonder, but leave with a bit of amazement at the idea of a saving God who can actually turn someone of West’s celebrity starry wonder into an open advocate for Jesus — and they want the same for themselves. It’s why churches offer food to the homeless; the principle’s the same, right?

In any event, so long as West isn’t glorifying himself more than Christ, Christians ought not worry.

Christians ought not scorn.

So long as West hasn’t crossed that red line into calling for worship of himself over God, then he deserves the same sort of prayer, encouragement and kudos than any other sinner.

Besides, in time, all will be revealed, anyway. False prophets, as the Bible teaches, are always outed by their fruit.

• Cheryl Chumley can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @ckchumley.

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