Chance The Rapper: Faith In A Celebrity Culture

chancetherapper_faithinacelebritycultureFrom last year until last night at the Grammys, Chance the Rapper has captivated many with his open proclamations of faith in Jesus. We saw via Twitter last year, that he stopped smoking and stated that he’ll start going to church again. Then in a performance on the Tonight Show, as well as a music video, there were songs of worship that he sang. Last night at the Grammys he gave a heavy amount of honor to the Lord, and performed his rendition of Chris Tomlin’s “How Great” with Tamela Mann and Kirk Franklin. He worshipped God, even encouraging the audience to stand up as he glorified God.

While there’s been heavy usage of Christian themes and images in Hip Hop, there is something different about what Chance is doing. At the same time there’s also a history of artists in mainstream music who flirt along the lines of  faith in Jesus, who don’t bear fruit in the end. Thus making the church look as if we’re only concerned with the nod Christianity gets on the big stage, instead of looking for true fruit.

It can be so easy to adopt someone famous who speaks outwardly about Jesus on a national platform, and vice versa, it can be hard to caution people to wait for the fruit without appearing condemning and judgmental. You can make the mistake of compromising on holiness, or ignoring the complex nature of sanctification in our lives.

There are people who come to Christ with their past negative environment heavily surrounding them. For example, God can save someone and they fall in love with the Scriptures while in a crack house, as they show those still selling it what they’re reading. They can even make a theological statement that makes you cringe before they’re corrected and learn how to walk with Christ more and more. Then there are those who make the clearest separation from their past as they surrender to Christ, and immediately are involved with of a body of believers at church. There are those that live in homes and countries where outwardly professing Christ can literally get you killed, so there have been stories of Muslims still going to the mosque after giving their lives to Christ, and if you saw them you would think they still needed saving.

I don’t give these examples to convince you that Chance is a believer and to anoint him as the next Christian rapper. It just goes to show how easy it is to forget the many different ways God has transformed people, and lead them to Himself. We can diminish the things Chance has done to give God glory as him only being influenced by a trend or his upbringing, or we can take it as the validation of true and passionate faith. I’ve also seen Christian Hip Hop artists judged as people say, “If you were more like Chance, the world would hear you!” In fact, that’s the troubling thing about Christianity in America, there’s this constant danger of our microwave celebrity culture influencing our faith. God has always been concerned with the enduring faith of His children, not how much we can sing praise to Him, even in public. We want to see the change immediately to make a decision, when life doesn’t always work that way, or as clearly.

It can be hard to see if there is fruit in a celebrity like Chance right now because every move they make is open to the public for us to scrutinize and write think pieces on. I know, I know.

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Please keep Chance in prayer, and if God has given you a special burden for celebrities, organize intercessors to pray specific prayers for him and others. Do not compromise on the standard Christ has called us to by giving caveats for celebrities, but don’t ever forget the grace and love God showed you through personal experience and godly relationships. If by chance we’re seeing the real deal, you don’t want to miss it.

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