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 Saint Augustine on Kanye West

Kanye West says he’s a born again Christian. He says he’s going to be spreading the gospel. His Sunday Service concerts feature gospel music, reading the Bible, and a sermon from Adam Tyson—a non-celebrity pastor of a normal church in California and a Master’s Seminary alum.

Kanye and Tyson got connected by someone simply inviting Kanye to their church. He came. He listened. They setup a meeting. Kanye shared his testimony, Tyson unpacked different aspects of Christianity to him, and Kanye said he believes and he’s ready to live it out.

Everyone has thoughts about celebrity conversions. Kanye’s profession of faith in Christ is no different in that regard. What I find so encouraging about Kanye’s pursuit of Christ is that he’s being discipled by Tyson, they are having Bible studies, and Tyson says he has seen fruits of repentance and encouraging signs from Kanye.

Augustine would be excited too.

While reading Augustine’s Confessions, it struck me that Augustine would be encouraged to hear of Kanye’s conversion. Augustine would praise God for the news of a celebrity trusting Christ alone.

In Book 8 of Confessions (8.3–9), Augustine tells the conversion story of Victorinus, a “celebrity” teacher. Victorinus was highly regarded in Roman culture. He tutored Senators and other Roman nobility. He used to worship the idols and took part in the cult of Osiris—he was even a defender of them. (Listen to Kanye describe the idols of our culture he used to worship.)

One day, Victorinus told a friend, another Christian, that he believed in Christ. His friend didn’t believe him. “I haven’t seen you at church.” Victorinus said that going to church doesn’t make you a Christian. True enough. But Victorinus wasn’t joining the fellowship of believers because he didn’t want to offend his idol-worshipping friends. But then, days later, Victorinus told his friend, “Let’s go to church. I’m ready to be a Christian (to believe it rightly, to live it faithfully).” He went. Professed his faith publicly and got baptized. Victorinus was taught how to live the Christian life and began to live it out. Their friend was “unable to contain himself for joy.” Rome was amazed at what happened. The church responded in joy.

As Victorinus walked up to profess his faith in front of the church, they began to whisper to one another, “Isn’t that Victorinus? Look! It is!” Isn’t that what we did when the headlines filled our social media feeds? “Kanye! Isn’t that Kanye!? It is!”

Augustine writes, “The lips of all rejoiced, ‘Victorinus! Victorinus!’ As soon as they saw him, they suddenly murmured in exaltation and equally suddenly were silent in concentration to hear him. He proclaimed his unfeigned faith with ringing assurance. All of them wanted to clasp him to their hearts, and the hands with which they embraced him were their love and joy” (8.5).

Hasn’t Kanye done the same? Standing before crowds, announcing his faith? Streaming before millions that he is a new follower of Jesus?

Augustine explains why we rejoice differently at the conversion of a celebrity. Heaven and the Church don’t rejoice more over a celebrity than we do a college student getting born again. All are equal in the eyes of God. But there is a different kind of rejoicing. Augustine says:

“The enemy suffers a severer defeat when he is overcome in a man upon whom he has a greater hold and by whose influence he dominates many. Pride in aristocratic nobility enables him to hold sway especially over the upper class, and by their title and authority he dominates many more.”
Satan is hit with a whopper uppercut when someone from the upper class, a celebrity, is converted. Kanye’s influence, like Victorinus’, gives a wide platform to the power of the gospel and that makes us smile deep in our souls.

“Special pleasure, therefore, was felt at the conversion of Victorinus’ heart in which the devil had an impregnable fortress, and of Victorinus’ tongue which he had used as a mighty and sharp dart to destroy many.”
We rejoice at the conversion of a Kanye or any celebrity because it is a particular manifestation of God’s mercy. Hollywood seems impregnable to the gospel. These conversions remind us that it isn’t. Kanye’s old music, like all of our lives before Christ, had themes the devil enjoyed. His new music, like our new lives, will make the devil shriek. That’s why we rejoice:

“Your children had good reason to rejoice the more jubilantly because our king had bound the strong man (Matt. 12:29), and they saw his vessels being snatched away to be cleaned and made fit for your honor to ‘useful to the Lord for every good work’ (2 Tim. 2:21)” (8.9).
If you wonder what to think about Kanye’s conversion, or the next time a celebrity, professes faith in Christ, look to Augustine. Don’t roll your eyes. Don’t get cynical. Get biblical. Rejoice. Be patient. Praise God. Celebrate fruit. Pray for your family members. May Kanye, you, and me, may we all be useful to the Lord, ready for good works.

from: https://jamedders.com/augustine-on-kanye-west/


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SI Moderator - Greg Gordon

 2019/10/26 7:41Profile
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 Re: Saint Augustine on Kanye West

Amen!
REJOICE!!!! :))))
May they be covered in the prayers of Gods children and may the saints stand with them 🙏🏻


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Fletcher

 2019/10/26 8:35Profile
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 Re: Saint Augustine on Kanye West

The mans a christian, Glory to God, celebrate with the angels in heaven.


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Elias

 2019/10/26 20:12Profile
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 Re:

Praise Jesus if this man is born again and the preaching and naming of Jesus is a pleasant aroma to the Father and a joy to His people. But, as to celebrity conversions having some implied greater benefit I would quote Paul (speaking by the Spirit):


For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth.
But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong;
God chose what is low and despised in the world, even things that are not, to bring to nothing things that are,
so that no human being might boast in the presence of God. - 1 Corinthians 1:26-29

God has a far greater purpose in bringing the lowly into the Kingdom.


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Robert

 2019/10/26 21:44Profile
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 Re: Saint Augustine on Kanye West

I listened to West's new album just released. Definitely filled with the praise of God. There is also the expression of gratitude for what God is working out.


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Jeff Marshalek

 2019/10/28 10:23Profile
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 Re: ha!

Brother Jeff,

I’m actually listening to it right now (as I saw your post) and yes indeed it sounds like his heart has been captivated by the Love of Christ 🙏🏻😆😇

Just hoping we all remember he is literally a “newborn” and needs our prayers and support not us throwin rocks every time he stumbles ~


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Fletcher

 2019/10/28 12:07Profile
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 Re:

Guys. Go on YouTube and watch Kanye West Airpool Kareoke. I don’t want to be unnecessarily critical, but if I heard correctly Kanye West is claiming that Jesus is “showing off” by giving Kanye millions of dollars in financial success. That is not coming from his Bible teacher and is dangerous thinking to the Gospel. I’m not saying he isn’t saved but this is not healthy for the Kingdom.


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Robert

 2019/10/29 9:37Profile
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 Re:

I haven’t seen the video you remark of but.... I’m pretty sure Kanye had a significant cash flow prior to Jesus showing up in his life. His company is valued at something like $3,500,000,000 (yes that’s billion) and that was well before he came to faith in Christ. So if anything it would seem to be that he is saying that God is “showing out” by saving him.... not only because of his wealth but even more so because of his notorious indulgence in all things fleshly - as if to say, look what my love can do for this man whom had given himself over to a depraved life and promoted it... if I can change Kanye in such a dramatic way so quickly, just imagine what I can do in your life/situation/heart ?

Brother Robert,
You may not be aware but, there is a figure of speech used among (especially African American) Christians -
“God showed up and showed out!”
It bespeaks of His mercy and His mighty power to save:)
So perhaps helps to inform Kanye’s remarks-


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Fletcher

 2019/10/30 8:54Profile
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 Re:

 2019/10/30 12:22Profile
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 Re: sweet sister Enid

Fortunately you are mistaken,... that is a person who calls themselves YG and it is not Kanye 🙏🏻

Honest mistake tho-

Again it’s important, especially for more mature believers, to welcome new converts and not nitpick their every misstep.... that’s the role of Holy Spirit😇


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Fletcher

 2019/10/30 13:28Profile





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