We’ve been inundated by reports of late about people like Kanye West, Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez and others all sharing personal testimonies of God’s impact and influence in their lives. When looking at the Mountain of Arts and Entertainment, it can become quite easy for us to slip into a seat of judgment because so many in Hollywood have rushed to the stage of Awards ceremonies and given shout outs to God or crediting Him for their success, all while seemingly displaying a life that wholly contradicts anything resembling a Christian walk.
However, the recent professions of faith by the aforementioned Hip Hop artist Kanye West seems to have struck a nerve among Christians. What’s interesting is seeing how his confession of faith has been seen by people in his own circle. So many in entertainment readily admit there is a marked difference in him. Christians on the other hand are all observing it in an apparent confusion and uncertainty; like seeing something on the side of the road, not quite sure what to make of it. Do we go in for a closer look or run the other way?
In looking at scripture, we can easily see that the Early Church had reservations about the conversion of Paul. Considering Paul’s history as a persecutor of Christians, the evidence of being present at the stoning of Stephen, you can understand the hesitancy that would have existed for them. There’s a sense of, can we trust that his conversion is not a set up that will result in many more Christians being led to their death? God had directed certain ones by Holy Spirit to affirm and confirm that Paul’s conversion was genuine.
Yet, today, the question that I’m left with is whether we are growing as a Church. Are we called to judge or call into question other people’s salvation? In the case of Kanye and others on the mountain of arts and entertainment, it would seem more valid, not to question salvation, as there does not appear to be any biblical evidence to support that. When someone makes a confession of faith in Christ as savior and Lord, we are called to embrace them as brothers and sisters in Christ. However, as disciples of one another, we are called to judge the fruit. Does the fruit produced by an individual who professes salvation appear as spiritual, good and godly fruit?
My hope is that the Church will not spend so much time judging people’s confessions of conversion but spend more time seeking to pray for those who’ve made confessions. None of us are perfect, have had perfect lives, present or past. If we had, would we be in need of a savior? Jesus died for all, and if he saved many of us who have not lived our lives under the scrutiny of a public life, how much more affirmation and support does someone who has lived such a public life need the support of a faith community that will love and disciple like Jesus?
My prayer is that others on the mountain of arts and entertainment are encouraged to seek God and boldly confess salvation. My prayer is that they can reach others on their mountain that the church today has not readily been able to reach because of hypocrisy, prejudice, fear, suspicion, or sheer avoidance. I pray that the Church will mature to recognize that a true harvest will come when we acknowledge that Jesus went to those whom the religious ignored and said was unworthy, and pursue them like Jesus.
QUESTION: Do you believe the Church has been called to judge salvation?