How Should Christians Respond to Jesus Is King?

How Should Christians Respond to <em>Jesus Is King</em>?

This guest post by Ruth Soroski originally appeared at Behind the Lens. Follow Ruth on Twitter.

This weekend, I, along with the rest of America, took some time to listen to Kanye West’s latest album release, Jesus is King“.

I have never been a Kanye fan before. Now don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty of jam sessions to some of his greatest hits like Stronger, Heartless, and Gold Digger, which could be considered to be some of the pillars of 2000’s music. But I have never listened to one of his albums all the way through. When he announced his conversion to Christianity would be followed by a worship album I was extremely intrigued.

I had many thoughts while listening to Jesus is King. Musically it is incredible. It’s Kirk Franklin meets Lecrae and everything one could hope for from a Gospel album. What surprised me was how each song revealed the truth of the Gospel. As each song played, I was encouraged and convicted and even reminded of my calling as a believer.

However, there was one song that genuinely upset me; track nine on the album, a song titled Hands On .

Here are the words that disturbed me:

//Said I’m finna do a gospel album
What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me

Told people God was my mission
What have you been hearin’ from the Christians?
They’ll be the first one to judge me
Make it feel like nobody love me//

These lyrics unfortunately proved to be true. This past weekend I’ve seen countless tweets, Facebook and YouTube comments, magazine and newspaper articles, and blogs that have something to say about Kanye West and his newfound faith. Most of these words are either criticizing or doubting West’s intentions and many of those come from within the Church.

Kanye’s faith is not the first that the church has questioned.

Look at this response to Saul’s conversion:

“Then Ananias answered, “Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he has done to Your saints. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name.” But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake.””

Acts 9:14-16

Saul, who was later renamed Paul, is widely recognized as one of the world’s greatest missionaries to ever live. The man who once murdered Christians was used by the Lord to share the hope of salvation, and is still being used by the Lord today through his Spirit-inspired writings in Scripture.

How about this response to Matthew’s conversion:

“As Jesus went on from there, he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the tax collector’s booth. “Follow me,” he told him, and Matthew got up and followed him. While Jesus was having dinner at Matthew’s house, many tax collectors and sinners came and ate with him and his disciples. When the Pharisees saw this, they asked his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.””

Matthew 9:9-13

Matthew was a despised tax-collector, and he became one of the twelve men that was closest to Jesus here on earth. After Jesus returned to Heaven, The Lord used Matthew as a vessel to bring the Word of God to those who had not heard. And just like Paul, Matthew continues to be used by God through his Spirit-inspired words in the Bible.

Brothers and sisters, it is never our responsibility to judge the soul of another, regardless of an individual’s past. The Lord “has removed our sins as far from us as the east is from the west.” (Psalm 103:12) If God is willing to send His son to die to atone for and forgive the past, present, and future sins, of ALL people, we should be more than willing to do the same. In fact, we should be excited when God’s child repents and returns home.

I hear Mr. West’s story and I am encouraged. Kanye’s story is just one of many. Everyday God is saving countless sinners, just like Kanye, just like you, and just like me.

So I don’t know about you, but I will be turning up Kanye’s new album and celebrating the fact that Shepherd has been reunited with his lost sheep.

//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// (Song: God is)

I encourage you to listen to Hands On , and reflect on how we as a church view Gospel transformation. Join me in praying for our new brother Mr. West, and our many other brothers and sisters as the Lord begins to work in their lives and work mightily through them.

Photo courtesy: Kanye West/GOOD Music/Def Jam Recordings