Right now there are many Christians who are excited that rapper Kanye West has said he is a “Christian”, and he has now been invited to speak at scammer Joel Osteen’s Church.
Kanye West is scheduled to take the stage at Joel Osteen’s Lakewood Church this Sunday, TMZ reports.
West will reportedly have a back-and-forth with Osteen during service that will last between 20 and 30 minutes focused on “how Kanye has overcome significant adversity in his life.”
Citing sources with direct knowledge, TMZ reports that West is bringing his “Sunday Service” choir and will perform music during the evening service at Lakewood.
The same source said Kanye and Osteen have been talking regularly and have become friends. (source)
Joel Osteen has a reputation as a scammer, as he preaches the “prosperity Gospel” which is nothing more than a variant of the Calvinist heresy, and says that material prosperity or bounty are signs of the blessings of God and that God wants to impart temporal blessings to men.
While it is true that God does give temporal blessings to men, God’s grace is not necessarily indicated by this. To the contrary, many times the opposite is suggested, where material bounty is not a sign of grace, but of damnation, as this is all that one will “get”. It is the Wisdom of Wisdom 2, which notes that many of the wealthy and powerful are that way because they have chosen to reject God and indulge themselves in this life.
Some televangelists are very good. The saintly Servant of God Fulton J. Sheen is one of them, and arguably the first “televangelist”. However, many charlatan “preachers” are on television as well or have major “churches” in order to preach heresy so they can enrich themselves at the expense of others.
Now not everybody who appears with these people is necessarily bad. Our own Walid Shoebat, for example, appeared on the infamous scammer Sid Roth’s show, but he refused to appear any more when he was asked to change his mind about theology in exchange for his own financial gain. In my own experience, I was invited to speak to a group later that was discovered to have people, many of them Jewish, who were National Socialists, eugenicists, and darwinists, yet this does not make me a darwinist.
The fact that Mr. West would speak at Osteen’s church does not automatically make him questionable, but there is the added element of how in spite of Osteen’s fame, that he is known to be a highly questionable person because of his love of the “prosperity gospel.”
So what is Kanye West actually doing? Does he believe? Is he doing this for show? Is the answer somewhere between these two positions?
The fact is, the answer does not really matter and nobody should care save for the fact that hopefully, Mr. West truly does mean what he says.
God did not come to give people money, make them wealthy, or even to give any material blessing, although He certainly does these things and they must never, ever be discounted. He came to save the human race, and to reconcile man with God. This was His purpose, that for those who believe and remain faithful would find that their names are now “written in the Book of Life”.
Christ never tells men to rejoice of anything other than, if not suffering, then that their names are written in the Book of Life, for there truly is nothing else, not even the slightest thing, that matters more than this in terms of one’s salvation. A man can have the world, but he is not able to bring it with him, and all that he can bring is his life, his actions, and his obedience or failure to the will of God.
This is the constant danger of any kind of “celebrity Christianity”, for Christianity is not something that makes a man famous but rather infamous, not something that gives material wealth but rather takes it, not something that releases personal responsibility but increases it. Christ did not preach wealth, indulgence, and individualism, but poverty, chastity, and obedience, and the sins of others do not change doctrine because no man can do this.
Did Christ choose fame? Some people gave Him fame, but when He began to preach truth- such as the Eucharist -people walked away. When Christ entered Jerusalem, he was met with an entire crowd of fans, but when he was walking to His death, the only “greetings” He had save for a few women and a few disciples were people mocking Him.
Fame comes and goes, and one should never pay attention to a person just because he is famous. Truth is what matters, and often times, does not generate fame because truth is generally unpopular. Children want to be told “Ice cream will be for dinner tonight” instead of “You must eat your vegetables”, just as adults want to hear about money, power, and prestige instead of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Certainly one hopes that Mr. West truly is acting as he is because he believes for the good of his own soul, as one must always seek the good of another. However, he is not a “Christian icon” and should not be considered one, and even if good does come from this event with Joel Osteen, it is never a substitute for divinely revealed truth or the necessary sacrifices that distinguish a man who calls himself a Christian from the rest of the world.