JESUS IS KING by Kanye West

Hi friends, @Interested_in_Arts,

It seems like everyone is talking about Kanye West’s new album JESUS IS KING.

As an amateur diving in, it appears to be a monumental shift in his lyrics and approach.

As he raps,

I’m just tryna find, l’ve been lookin’ for a new way
I’m just really tryin’ not to really do the fool way
I don’t have a cool way, bein’ on my best, though

To me, this is the language of repentance and new birth.

The album also contains incredibly lyrical and beautiful expressions of worship. For instance, in the song “God Is” we hear:

Everything that I felt, praise the Lord
Worship Christ with the best of your portions
I know I won’t forget all He’s done
He’s the strength in this race that I run
Every time I look up, I see God’s faithfulness
And it shows just how much He is miraculous
I can’t keep it to myself, I can’t sit here and be still
Everybody, I will tell ‘til the whole world is healed
King of Kings, Lord of Lords, all the things He has in store
From the rich to the poor, all are welcome through the door
You won’t ever be the same when you call on Jesus’ name
Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane

At the same time, given his former statements and reputation, there has been skepticism about whether or not his conversion as real. This seems to have pained Kanye. In “Hands On”, he laments,

What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Feelin’ like nobody love me

As far as I can tell, this album expresses sincere devotion to Christ and is a remarkably inspirational and worshipful experience.

Let’s Discuss!

Let’s talk about it! What do you think?

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I think Kanye needs prayers from us but not to criticize or nail him to the cross. I dont recall him sinning the sin unto death that prevents us from praying for him. Galatians 6:2 says we should carry each others burden and so to fulfill the law of Christ. Lets pray he stays as he now claim.

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I’m always doubtful when it comes to celebrities suddenly finding a religion (Jesus or otherwise). Too often it feels like a marketing move (remember the Kabbalah fad?), and often ends up being the case. That said, I’ve been proved wrong in the past (Justin Beiber seems legitimately saved, huzzah!). I was a Kanye fan during his earlier albums (College Dropout, Late Registration, and Graduation), and he’s mentioned some faith in passing, so it wouldn’t be entirely out of the blue. At the same time, he’s one of those more “experimental” rappers, so I’m just afraid for the setup and the other shoe to fall.

As for the music itself, it’s actually a bit of a return stylistically to the older albums, with more melodic verses by West than his rougher recent work. But the production value is as high as any of his albums, which are some of the best out there. Compare the sweeping instrumentals in “Closed on Sunday” with the electronica on “On God” that sounds like it was pulled from an SNES MegaMan game or the more modern Chiptune scene, and then the a capella in “Everything We Need.” All top notch stuff.

The guest stars are more of the same group he’s been with before, who have rapped verses with your expected sexual content. SO while they are present here, I have doubts about their “buy in” to Kanye’s message, and are likely on board for the visibility of the most recognized name in modern rap.

But @CarsonWeitnauer, I have to agree with you regarding “God Is.” His delivery is emotionally driven and laden with the personal weight of a saved soul. It’s the one track that makes me believe that Kanye may have found Christ.

Listen to the words I’m sayin’, Jesus saved me, now I’m sane
And I know, I know God is the force that picked me up
I know Christ is the fountain that filled my cup
I know God is alive, yeah
He has opened up my vision
Giving me a revelation
This ain’t 'bout a damn religion
Jesus brought a revolution
All the captives are forgiven
Time to break down all the prisons
Every man, every woman
There is freedom from addiction
Jesus, You have my soul
Sunday Service on a roll
All my idols, let 'em go
All the demons, let 'em know
This a mission, not a show
This is my eternal soul
This my kids, this the crib
This my wife, this my life
This my God-given right
[Thank you, Jesus, won the fight]

It’s not Kanye’s best album ever, but it is a 180 degree flip, and I’m interest to hear more, and praying that this is legitimately the sign of another soul Jesus has touched and saved!

But as always with celebrities… trust but verify.

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I’ve had some fun conversations about this over the past 48-72 hours, so glad I’m not the only watching it, haha.

From the surface it seems like there’s been a definite change in him, I mean, he’s hosting pop-up concerts and having the Gospel shared at them. That’s fantastic, right? Philippians 1:15-18 talks the motives we have as we proclaim Christ and ends up saying, “Who cares about the intent behind the preaching? All that matters is that Christ is made known.”

However, I think it’s totally normal and to be expected for many to be suspicious of Kanye’s sudden change given his history. Nobody wants to be duped or fall for false advertising. But, I think there’s something important that we have to remember: we’re not to judge the motives of a person’s heart. And, if we’re honest with ourselves, we’re not able to do that very well. We’re told to look at the fruit of a person’s life and see if it matches the fruit of the Spirit. It’s probably too early to be able to tell what’s really going on with Kanye, we’ll know more in a year and a whole lot more in 5 years.

In the meantime, we should probably pray for him and ask the Holy Spirit to be constantly active in his life. If God wants to use a person with a troubled past that’s a talented musician and has the ability to reach millions of people that most of us will never be able to reach, I’m all for it.

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Does the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 12:3 help understand true conversions?

Therefore I want you to know that no one who is speaking by the Spirit of God says, “Jesus be cursed,” and no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit.

Is it possible for someone to name the name of Christ without having the new birth spoken about in John 3; where Jesus said to Nicodemus ‘ye must be born again’?

Now there was a Pharisee, a man named Nicodemus who was a member of the Jewish ruling council. 2 He came to Jesus at night and said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher who has come from God. For no one could perform the signs you are doing if God were not with him.”

3 Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, no one can see the kingdom of God unless they are born again.[a]”

4 “How can someone be born when they are old?” Nicodemus asked. “Surely they cannot enter a second time into their mother’s womb to be born!”

5 Jesus answered, “Very truly I tell you, no one can enter the kingdom of God unless they are born of water and the Spirit. 6 Flesh gives birth to flesh, but the Spirit[b] gives birth to spirit. 7 You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You[c] must be born again.’ 8 The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.”[d]

9 “How can this be?” Nicodemus asked.

10 “You are Israel’s teacher,” said Jesus, “and do you not understand these things? 11 Very truly I tell you, we speak of what we know, and we testify to what we have seen, but still you people do not accept our testimony. 12 I have spoken to you of earthly things and you do not believe; how then will you believe if I speak of heavenly things? 13 No one has ever gone into heaven except the one who came from heaven—the Son of Man.[e] 14

Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the wilderness, so the Son of Man must be lifted up,[f] 15 that everyone who believes may have eternal life in him.”[g]

16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

like a newly born physical baby, a brand new Christian is going to take a long time to mature; think back how much in our own lives we (hopefully) have more understanding of Who Jesus is compared to 1, 5, 10 years ago… if we think about what our own lives would look like now, given how our hearts still are if we are honest, if we did not meet Jesus ourselves. The process of sanctification takes time in a person’s life.

I’m encouraged when people publicly name Christ as Lord. Jesus did not come to make good people bad, but to make dead people alive.

The problem, we often think Jesus Christ came into this world to make bad people good.

That’s wrong. It’s not got anything to do with making bad people good. He’s coming to the world to make dead people live.

I was dead to the claims of God upon my life. I had no purpose.

How do you find purpose without a transcendent moral first cause? (Ravi Z from the Ruben Report discussion).

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Thank you Carson for sharing, I had not heard this. I just listened to “God is” and was so blessed by the raw emotion. I am encouraged when anyone, especially someone with a platform such as his, tries to put out a positive message of Christ. Imagine the temptation this man has been exposed to.
We are not the final judge of a man’s journey. Even when it looks chaotic. Even when they fall, again and again and again. As Christians, we should “rally” around a person who professes Christ as Lord. Pray for them diligently, because we know we have an adversary who will try to devour them and shut down their message.
I know that I would certainly not want my life “displayed” in the way Hollywood and the media displays. It would not always look “Christian” but no man knows the heart. Only God. I believe that many, who are in the “limelight” see that it does not fulfill the longings of the heart, but feel trapped. They may want to speak out, they may want to change, but fear the loss and backlash. After all, that is their livelihood. Hollywood has been on my prayer list, so I am encouraged by this.

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For a semi-popular take on this, but with some great clips of Kanye explaining the album, Steven Crowder gives a surprisingly good set of thoughts and reactions:

One of the risks of putting Kanye is this situation is that new Christians’ theology isn’t always the strongest, and throwing someone like that into the deep end of answering tough questions on a big stage can sometimes end poorly and not reflect well on the rest of us. Shoot, some pastors out there who have been at their jobs for decades have done this (See Ravi’s comments on Rob Bell). So I’m going to pray for Kanye, and that the Holy Spirit informs his words so that more and more people can come to know Christ. I mean, bottom line, if this album leads to ONE person coming to know Christ, then it was well worth it. And it’s going to reach a LOT of people:

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Honestly, this whole event left me confused and discouraged. Not to send this column in a different direction, but perhaps the bigger question that I wrestle with is the role of more mature believers and the church in testing or encouraging or giving foundation to new believers when they proclaim their faith.

When I first saw the video of Kanye with Jimmy Kimmel, on the echo-chamber that Twitter can be, I honestly cried at my desk. I found his answer that he is a “Christian-everything” to be beautiful and also incredibly convicting for myself. I checked out his album on Spotify, and when I accidentally found the Jesus is King playlist instead of the album (NOT the same !!), I found his album and interview to be all the more inspiring.

I’m still confused and a bit shocked that when I went back to Twitter later it was full of people questioning whether his faith is valid and bemoaning “yet another” celebrity faith confession. I expected the Christian community to be rejoicing and “celebrating the lost coin.”

I’ve moved around the country and have lived a bit of a transient life the past few years, and regret that I haven’t been able to put down roots in one church community for an extended period of time lately. I’d be curious to learn from you all, when a new believer (celebrity or not) says that they have come to faith, what IS the church called to do? How do we welcome them into the fold and guide and love them?

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Hello,

I was shocked when I found out last week about this. I honestly never listened to Kanye, except probably when I heard him somewhere on the radio, so I gave this album a listen these days. I was a bit sceptical as well of Kanye’s conversion so I did a bit of digging on him and listened to some interviews with the pastor that helped him along the way and how he sees his conversion.

My opinion is that he is saved and I really hope I am right. I mean I heard the pastor saying that Kanye actually wanted to quit rapping when he got saved because he thought it was the devil’s music. And he spoke out against pornography and how he is battling that addiction and wants to serve Christ in a recent interview. Also he asked people who were working on the album ‘Jesus is King’ to stop having pre marital sex and to pray and fast. Even if they were not Christian. How crazy is that haha? Hearing Kanye say these types of things feels surreal.

I find it fascinating how so many people who would could not care less about Christianity are talking about Jesus through this album now and get to hear the gospel. A quick YouTube search will reveal that.

Regardless of where Kanye is in his walk he certainly got people talking and hopefully thinking about God and salvation. Maybe it is too early to judge but I am optimistic about this.

Here are some links if anyone is interested:

Kanye talking about where he is now.

People discussing Kanye with the pastor that did Bible studies with him.

I really am wondering what this means for the culture. Kanye is a huge pop culture figure and I am really curious to see how this will influence the view pop culture has on Christianity. What do you guys think, will Kanye make Christianity look ‘cool’ and the new way to be rebellious and counter cultural?

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I’m sure he’s going to have both unbelievers and believers shooting at him! Both sides have reasons to question his actions. But, for me, I’m all in on supporting the man. I wouldn’t have known a Kanye song from a Czech folk ballad before this, but I’m going to buy his music and have it on in the car for my teen daughter (much better alternative to what her age group listens to!).

I’ve got to say, I am astounded by God and the way He works. I can turn on the radio or satellite and hear Lauren Daigle music honoring God on one type of channel and now this too on a different type of channel. Amazing! To me, this seems to have the possibility of a national revival. As Ravi has been known to quote, “Let me write the songs of a nation and I don’t care who writes its laws.” Maybe God has found it fitting to let the Billy Graham’s of the world step aside for His chosen entertainers that can connect to younger generations.

Listening to a couple of the songs made me cry and praise God for His incredible, surprising goodness and to pray fervently for Kanye and his family. Because of his stand, they will surely be in for a prolonged battle from many who will want to see him fail.

Intercessory prayer for him is now on my daily to-do list…

Kevin

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Paul has been a notorious persecutor of Christians during his time. It is no wonder that fellow believers were still afraid of him when he professed that he has now become a Christian. He needed endorsement from respected disciples such as Peter and even Jesus’ supernatural intervention so he could be accepted by the Christian community. I can understand the hesitation of the body of Christ to fully accept Kanye as one of us. But if I were to think about it, who am I to limit the power of Jesus Christ to redeem a lost soul? I would love to encourage him more and support him for the decision he made to accept Christ as his Savior and even applaud him for shouting it to the rooftops using his God-given talent to praise Him. I agree with @matthew.western that sanctification is a process and takes time for a believer. I even expect that Kanye like many of us will encounter trials and probably fail in some of them. If he stumbles, I hope to be one of the people who will encourage him to get up and keep running the race, not even looking back but fixing his eyes forward towards Christ.

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This also reminds me of Paul and how the church was skeptical of his conversion. The example of Barnabas should be the one we all follow no matter who the new Christian is. If I were to put myself in Kanye’s shoes I would definitely want my fellow believers to come along side me and encourage and support my decision. Why is anyone afraid of being duped by another celebrity conversion? Is it because we have a tendency to put them on a pedestal and then are embarrassed when they fall? We should not be so self serving. Christ’s example is that we love and encourage everyone, especially those who profess to believe in Him. Kanye is in a tough place for a Christian surrounded by his enemies in many ways so let’s not be his enemies too. Let us rejoice, encourage, and pray for our new brother and that the Spirit will strengthen him and help him grow in wisdom. And pray that God will be glorified through Kanye’s work and life.

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Great idea to buy his music! I thought the same thing yesterday. I have NEVER liked rap music but found myself listening to it half the day yesterday and was quite inspired :pray:t3:

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Hello everyone,

If anyone is interested, I stumbled upon this recently. These are testimonies of unbelievers who have started to seek God after listening to Kanye’s album! Pretty cool to read.

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Wow, that is SO encouraging!!

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I think it’s wonderful and heartfelt and true. He probably has much more to lose by expressing his faith and belief openly than keeping it to himself. That’s brave! Who is anyone to say that another is not a Christian? He says he’s a Christian I believe he’s a Christian. Praying for the brother in Christ.

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I just listened yesterday. Powerful lyrics! Even my husband was impressed. :smile:

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I love the scripture in Daniel 4:17 … that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives to whomever He will and sets it over the lowest of men. There is a lot of conversation about Kanye West here in New Zealand where rap is big amongst our indigenous who are incredibly gifted musically. We have prayed that God will move through the entertainment industry and continue to pray that God would release the aroma of Christ in Kanye’s life and that many will be saved.
There is incredible power in worship from the choir and Kanye on his album, Jesus is King. It is like a modern day Handel’s Messiah, one can’t help but to be bought to adoration and worship of the Lord God.

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Thank you for reminding us of Ravi’s quote - so true and so applicable in this instant… how awesome for your daughter… and yes prayer for Kanye and his family.

Kanye might take it out of the box… but hey God was never in a box. Love the interview by Zane Lowe. I thought there was some really good conversation in the interview.