As the religious right rallies around Kanye West in support of his recent declarations of his Christian faith, Family Research Council president Tony Perkins and his colleagues at the Family Research Council sat down to try to understand West’s latest album, “Jesus is King.”
In a segment uploaded yesterday to SoundCloud, Perkins is joined by FRC Director of Christian Ethics and Biblical Worldview David Closson and FRC Vice President for Brand Advancement and Chief Brand Officer Jared Bridges to try to answer the question: “How should Christians respond when a public figure comes to faith in Jesus?” To start, the trio addressed skepticism of West’s newly declared faith.
“His enthusiasm for his faith has got a lot of people talking, Some people saying, ‘Is it real?’ Well, I don’t know. To me, the evidence is pretty strong. In fact, he’s out with a new album, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ or ‘Christ is King,’ and I’ve listened to parts of it. It looks like the real thing,” Perkins said.
Bridges added, “I think for some people it’s easy to be overly cynical, but we got to remember that’s not a biblical way of looking at things. Suspicion is not—the Bible doesn’t teach us to live in a cloud of suspicion, so I think we’ve got to take Kanye West or anyone else who confesses Christ, according to the scriptures, at their word and deed.”
“I don’t see that he has anything to benefit materially in this world from taking this route,” Perkins said. “I’m more concerned about him growing in the faith and people too quickly elevating him to a position of kind of, as you said, a celebrity, a religious celebrity.”
Closson and Perkins compared Kanye to the biblical character Saul, who became Paul the Apostle despite having persecuted Christians and blasphemed God earlier in his life. Closson backed up his argument with old Kanye lyrics: “I went back and looked at some of his old lyrics, and he famously had one song titled, ‘I Am a God,’ and the chorus was simply, ‘I am a god. I am a god. I am a god.’” But now, Perkins claimed, the songs on West’s new album are “more solid theologically than what I hear from some of our quote unquote Christian artists that are out there doing praise and worship songs.” Perkins added that Kanye was “certainly a trophy of God’s grace,” but he said that Kanye needed to grow in the faith just as Saul did and that they should pray for Kanye.
“This whole episode reminds us that conversion is real. God still changes lives,” Bridges said.
Perkins added, “This should renew our effort of evangelism, sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ, knowing that no one, no one who is still breathing is beyond the reach of the gospel of Jesus Christ.”
“This should give encouragement to parents who maybe have a wayward child who’s not been plugged into the faith in years. This shows that anybody can be saved. No one is too far gone,” Closson said.