SIMI VALLEY, Calif. — A California pastor who specializes in comparing messages and lifestyles of modern musicians to biblical Christianity says that Christians need to examine Justin Beiber’s fruit before accepting his recent comments regarding his profession of the Christian faith.
As previously reported, in an interview with Complex Magazine this month, Bieber spoke much about his views on Christianity, criticizing churches that warn about Hell and Christians who are “overly churchy.” He stated, however, the he personally desires to be more outspoken about the Christian faith and just wants to “live like Jesus.”
“I think that people, as soon as they start hearing me saying I’m a Christian, they’re like, ‘Whoa Justin, back up, take a step back.’ Also, I do not want to shove this down anyone’s throat. I just wanna honestly live like Jesus,” Bieber continued. “He created a pretty awesome template of how to love people and how to be gracious and kind. If you believe it, he died for our sins.”
Using profanity, the pop star, known for his run-ins with the law but also his relationship with NYC Hillsong ‘Pastor’ Carl Lentz, compared his relationship with God to that of a girlfriend.
“If I have an awesome, bomb girlfriend, I’m gonna wanna show her off and go around and tell people my girl is the [expletive]. I’m not gonna cheat on her because she’s the best,” he stated. “It’s like with God: The whole thing with religion is you present yourself holy and bring your offerings so that God can bless you, when the whole point of the relationship [should be], ‘No, I’m gonna do this because He loves me.’”
On Tuesday’s episode of “The View,” actress Candace Cameron Bure, known for her role as D.J. in the 90’s sitcom “Full House,” came to Bieber’s defense, remarking that being a Christian does not make one perfect.
“I think it’s important to remember that when someone says they’re a Christian, it doesn’t mean they’re perfect,” Cameron Bure said. “They are just a recognized sinner in need of God’s grace.”
“And so that’s all Justin is saying. He recognizes that,” she continued. “So, he’s not going to say, ‘Oh, I’m a Christian, and now all of a sudden, I’m an angel. I’m going to be perfect. I’m not going to do stupid things.’ … I’m sure he’s going to make a ton of mistakes from here on out.”
Cameron-Bure added that now Bieber “has the chance to make good decisions, and we should applaud him and encourage him to continue to be a good role model if that is what he is choosing to do.”
But Joe Schimmel of Good Fight Ministries and host of the documentary “They Sold Their Souls for Rock and Roll” sees the matter differently. He notes that while Christians may not have attained perfection, they are to be new creations in Christ—and that Bieber has not exhibited repentance for his actions nor signs of regeneration.
“While true [that Christians are not perfect], God’s word is clear that genuine Christians, owing all to God’s grace, are far more than ‘just a recognized sinner in need of God’s grace,'” he wrote in an article on Thursday. “Genuine believers are new creations in Christ and old things have passed away and all things become new.”
Schimmel noted that even after Bieber unveiled a “Jesus” tattoo on his leg several years ago, he was taken into custody by police on two separate occasions for vandalism and drug possession. And, he marveled that “[j]ust a month after Justin Bieber made headlines for allegedly groping a Playboy Bunny, and amidst another potential scandal wherein a teen model … claimed he hit on her after her drink was allegedly drugged at a party he hosted in Melbourne Australia, he is in the headlines again for his claim to be a Christian.”
“God’s word makes it abundantly clear that the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious by their behavior,” Schimmel, the pastor of Blessed Hope Chapel in Simi Valley, California noted, pointing to 1 John 3:10.
He said that Christians need to remember Christ’s instruction to be fruit inspectors (Matthew 7:15-23).
“Many Christians are star struck by Hollywood celebrities and musical icons. When a celebrity even hints at being a Christian, many are quick to believe it even though their lifestyles and doctrines contradict biblical Christianity,” Schimmel stated. “There is much danger in accepting what one says and ignoring Jesus’ directive to examine one’s fruit. Our walks must match our talk.”
“Bieber’s fruit is not only seen in his actions, but the lascivious lyrics in his music, which glorify the works of the flesh rather than exhibit the fruit of the Spirit,” he outlined. “The apostle Paul stated that those who truly belong to Christ ‘have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires’ and bear the ‘fruit of the Spirit.’”
Schimmel said that it is his hope for Bieber to come to true repentance and conversion from darkness to light.
“I have been praying that Justin Bieber and others who profess Christ would truly experience biblical regeneration and bear fruit to God’s glory,” he stated. “May our Lord Jesus, who wills that all would be saved, reach him and others before it is too late.”