Joe Battaglia: Kanye’s Lakewood Performance Gave Me a Flashback

Rapper Kanye West speaks with Pastor Joel Osteen at Lakewood Church in Houston, Texas, on Sunday November 17, 2019. | Lakewood Church

Joe Battaglia is the founder and president of Renaissance Communications, a media company whose mission is to provide media platforms for gifted communicators of Biblical truth. He is a successful author an executive producer and General Manager of the nationally syndicated radio program “Keep the Faith,” the #1 faith-based music radio show in the country. The views expressed in this commentary do not necessarily represent those of BCNN1.


So, I’m sitting here watching with interest the Kanye West phenomena being played out on a national stage at Lakewood Church in Houston as he continues to proclaim his newly awakened faith in Christ. From major church platforms like Lakewood to engaging prison inmates with his message of redemption, I listen to sense if this may be a true spiritual shift in the heart of one of the most visible and controversial artists of our day. Or, is it just a passing fad, as some of his critics like to believe.

And then I’m having a flashback. To over 40 years ago, when I was actively involved in the nascent stages of the contemporary Christian music industry and Christian music radio.

During those early days when mainstream artists found God, they used their platforms to proclaim how Christ changed their lives. That WAS their message. So, when I watch Kanye, it is reminiscent of artists like Terry Talbot, Keith Green, Second Chapter of Acts, and Carman, to name a few. People I grew to know well, spend time with, produce concerts with, and appreciate their unique perspectives of how their new-found faith should be expressed. Therefore, from my experience, what Kanye is doing is nothing new.

As I see his fervor and listen to his heart, it takes me back to when our faith-filled music was fresh, innovative, laden with passion for Christ and the desire to tell others…when proclaiming the Gospel and lifting up the name of Jesus was WHY you left the mainstream world to embrace this music and its message. Changed hearts lead to a change in direction in most everything you do.

Of course, none of those artists had the international notoriety of a Kanye West. But that’s not the point. The point is that Kanye’s purposeful, outward expression of faith in Christ is attracting major national coverage, and criticism. That’s to be expected. Simply because this is a potential cultural game changer, as he openly decries the things he once expressed in a musical genre that has captivated the hearts and minds of a generation of young people, and not-so young people, as well.

“I know that God’s been calling me for a long time, but the devil’s been distracting me for a long time,” he states during his interview with Joel Osteen. “When I was at my lowest point, God was there…the only superstar is Jesus.” And then he talks about repentance…how following the Bible’s principles and the person of Jesus set him free from himself and his sin. Now there’s a word you don’t hear too often in our culture today.

For a man formerly so self-consumed in an equally self-aggrandizing society, that’s quite a statement. Which is why Kanye will get so much heat from the secular mindset…he’s going against the spirit of our current culture that grows more and more uncivil by the day…where the problem is always someone else other than me. Kanye’s new mantra is that the problem IS me.

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Source: Christian Post