What Mike Bickle Really Thinks About Kanye West’s Christian Conversion by IHOPKC/ADAM WITTENBERG for Charisma News
It’s exciting: A major celebrity makes a public profession of faith in Jesus. Even better, his new album is called Jesus Is King and includes songs that quote Scripture. “Every knee shall bow, every tongue confess, Jesus is Lord” are the lyrics of “Jesus Is Lord,” which references Philippians 2:10-11.
What are we to make of Kanye West’s testimony? Is it encouraging—something to celebrate with the hope that it will help reach the masses for Christ? Or is it more like a phase or fad—something that will “wear off” when the pressures of this world mount? How do we handle our hearts in response to this big news?
Mike Bickle, director of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City, shares some helpful thoughts on Kanye’s profession and dealing with new believers in general, whether they are famous or not.
Affirm the Testimony
Gratitude as a response to someone’s profession of faith in Jesus Christ should be the first attitude we express.
“I look at this man, and I think, I’m so grateful for your confession,” Bickle says. “[Revelation 12:11, NKJV] says we overcome by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony, and he’s giving a bold testimony.”
While some can be quick to dismiss Kanye’s faith, others go the way of raising him up to “super saint” status. But Bickle cautions against these extreme views.
“I think our approach should be different from either one of those polarized views,” he says. “I think we look at [Kanye] and say, ‘Here’s a person who is making a confession: “Jesus is King—He’s King of my life.”‘ It’s a recent confession, and we need to take it at face value, that it’s sincere, unless he gives us strong evidence in his character in the days to come that it’s false, and it’s public (but even then, we don’t need to have a big opinion on it).”
Focus on Jesus, Not Man
The reason we don’t need to form a strong opinion about Kanye’s salvation, Bickle explains, is that he’s a new believer. Scripture cautions us about too quickly elevating a new believer to a leadership position in the church.
“[The leader] must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap” (1 Tim. 3:6-7, NIV).
Jesus Christ is our Savior, not a man. And every new believer needs time to grow. The church’s role is to surround and support them in their faith.
“I say … we need to be in a spirit of encouragement to him,” Bickle continues. “He might find some stumbling and some tripping, like all of us in our early days in the Lord. He isn’t going to come out of ‘the spiritual womb’ in perfect doctrine, in perfect maturity, in perfect humility. No one does. We give each other tons of grace.”
New believers, like newborn babies, need grace. And famous people, including Kanye West, likely need more because of all the people forming judgments about them.