Julie Roys on Is Kanye West Promoting Jesus or Exploiting Jesus?

Rapper Kanye West is releasing an album that’s all about Jesus. And social media, blogs, and fan sites are on fire with people praising West—and sharply criticizing him.

Some are mad because of repeated delays to the album’s release. Initially, West had promised that his new album, Jesus is King, would release on Friday. But late Friday, West’s wife, Kim Kardashian West, wrote on Instagram that the album would drop Sunday after a “few final tweaks to the mixes.”

Now Sunday has come and gone—and there’s still no album. And fans like Maurice Schoonbroodt are ticked.

But much of the hullabaloo over West’s album has to do with its content. West, a rapper known for both raunchy and sacrilegious lyrics, now says he’s born again. And over the weekend, Andrew Barber of the Chicago hip hop music blog, Fake Shore Drivesaid West will no longer produce secular music.

Some, like Chance the Rapper, who last year declared his faith in God to his more than seven million fans, clearly endorses West and his new direction. West made a surprise appearance at Chance’s concert on Saturday night where they declared in unison, “Jesus is King!” (See video in tweet below.)

However, Noah C., a writer at HNHH (Hot New Hip-Hop), expressed skepticism about West. “It appears that indulging in secular music would go against Kanye’s newfound mission as a newfound Christian,” Noah C. wrote. “We wish Ye the best on his mission, but it wouldn’t be the first time he publicly expressed a thought on a whim that never ended up manifesting. Kanye also claimed The Life Of Pablo was a gospel album – which featured hip hop production and wildly raunchy lyrics – so his understanding of religious music might be quite broad.”

Sunday Service: The Church of Kanye West

For the past year, West has been leading a “church,” but not a church in either the conventional or biblical sense. West’s church, called Sunday Service, is more like an exclusive, feel-good, musical extravaganza for Hollywood’s elites. Those who have attended the events, which have been held in various locations, include Brad Pitt, Justin Bieber, David Letterman, Katy Perry, and Chance the Rapper.

West’s wife, Kim Kardashian, called the weekly, invite-only events “a healing experience.” But she readily admitted in April to late night host Jimmy Kimmel that Sunday Service is Christianity light. “There’s no praying. There’s no sermon. There’s no Word,” she said. “It’s just music. And it’s just a feeling.”

Kim Kardashian talks to Jimmy Kimmel about Sunday Service:

This emotion-heavy, Bible-light version of Christianity, which has now evolved into an album, has drawn the ire of some Christians, especially given the outrageous things West has done in the past. In 2006, West scandalized many Christians for appearing on the cover of Rolling Stone magazine as Jesus, wearing a crown of thorns.

Seven years later, West released his controversial album “Yeezus”—a play on the name of the second person of the Trinity. The album also included a song entitled “I Am a God” with what many consider blasphemous lyrics. “I am a God,” the song says. “Even though I’m a man of God. My whole life in the hand of God.”

So, it’s not surprising that some Christians reject West’s latest project. Speaking to the NY Post, 68-year-old Charlene Kaleina said Christianity is constantly mocked “because of the strange and weird behavior of people like this.” She added that West “may be trying to understand Jesus in his own limited way and we cannot judge,” but “people who follow Christ sense something is not right with this scene.”

Similarly, someone on Twitter who identifies as a “follower of Jesus Christ” and “Adventist,” wrote: “Jesus is King is trending on Twitter except no one is talking about Jesus of Nazareth, the savior of the world . . . They’re talking about the self-proclaimed god Kanye West who is a mere man.”

Click here to read more.

SOURCE: Christian Post, Julie Roys