Rapper turned gospel artist Kanye West, who referred to himself as “the greatest artist that God has ever created,” spoke to the defense of motivational speaker and author Joel Osteen on Sunday, resulting in a standing ovation from many in attendance at Lakewood and Osteen joking that he had “made it” by having West’s support.
“There’s a lot of people in the Christian community that try to give Joel a hard time because when you turn on the radio, he keeps on showing you how good God is,” West said to much applause, with many standing to their feet. “God is not the enemy. God is not the negative part. God is not just the perception of fire and brimstone.”
“God is love, is the greatest, is the glory,” he continued. “God is family. God is friendship. God is prosperity. … Keep your eye on the beauty and the love and the grace of God. The grace that allows us to be here today with all of our sins. We know that when we accept Jesus as our lord and savior, we will be granted eternal life.”
“That’s so good. I love that. When you’ve got Kanye defending you, you’ve made it, man,” he quipped.
During the 20-minute interview, the two talked about West’s journey and the messages in his new album “Jesus Is King.” West said that he wanted his previous record, “The Life of Pablo,” to be a Christian album but didn’t know how because the gospel had not been shared with him.
“I didn’t know how to totally make a gospel album and the Christians that were around me were too — I would say — beaten into submission by society to not speak up and profess the gospel to me because I was a superstar,” he stated. “But the only superstar is Jesus.”
West said that he felt the devil wanted to keep him in the dark as well.
“Even for someone who’s professing God and saying, ‘This is going to be a gospel album,’ the devil’s going to come and do everything he can to distract people from knowing how to fully be in service to the Lord,” he remarked.
The rapper, who recently started weekly “Sunday Service” gatherings across the country, said that he was brought up in the church, and now being a father, he realizes the “responsibility to be more like my mother … and father.”
“We have our own daughters and we still be rapping about how to hook up with somebody’s daughter. Like, not taking responsibility as a man,” West lamented. “That’s why I say in the song ‘Closed on Sunday’ … [about] protecting your kids from the indoctrination of the media, the thousands and thousands of images that are fed to children by the age of six and seven.”
Osteen soon played a clip from West’s song “God Is,” which says in part, “Every man, every woman, there is freedom from addiction/Jesus, you have my soul … All the idols, let ’em go/All the demons, let ’em know/This is a mission, not a show/This is my eternal soul.”
“You said more in 60 seconds than I say in my 30 minute message,” the megachurch leader remarked.
During the conversation, West acknowledged that he has been known for his pridefulness, but said that the difference now is that “[a]ll of that arrogance and confidence and cockiness that ya’ll see me use before God is now [being used] for Him. Because every time I stand up, I feel that I’m standing up and drawing a line in the sand and saying ‘I’m here in service to God and no weapon formed against me shall prosper.'”
“The greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for Him,” he later boasted, referring to himself.
However, West also outlined at one point, “Christians are not going to be Christ. We are going to follow Christ and be Christ-like and repent for our sins.”
“It’s being in constant repentance. A lot of people who don’t want to accept what the Bible says don’t want to accept that they are in the wrong or that they are basking and living and capitalizing on sin,” he said.
Explaining that he wanted the people to know what West stands for, Osteen later remarked that the Christian life is not about “turning over a new leaf,” but “about a personal relationship with Jesus, knowing He died for our sins [and] we repent of those sins and we say, ‘God, I’m going to walk with You.'”
West then closed out his time in prayer, thanking God for the “hundreds of thousands of people that Joel has brought to Christ” and for being able to be at Lakewood without judgment “next to one of the strongest voices in the Christian community.”
Osteen has been a controversial figure among evangelicals as his positive thinking, self-help messages are devoid of preaching on sin, repentance and eternal judgment. His books have included “Your Best Life Now,” “Become a Better You,” “You Can, You Will, ” “It’s Your Time” and “The Power of I Am.”
Osteen’s message on Sunday again touched on God opening doors and opportunities for His people, advising those listening to make positive confessions over themselves, such as “I am enough,” “I am strong enough” and “I am attractive enough.”
From “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” to “The Late Late Show With James Corden,” West has been making the rounds after publicly declaring that he has been born again and releasing an album entitled “Jesus Is King.”
Previously known for profane rap hits such as “Homecoming,” “All Falls Down,” “Stronger,” “Jesus Walks” and the blasphemous “I Am a God,” his new record includes the gospel tunes “Follow God,” “God Is,” “Use This Gospel” and “Jesus is Lord.”
West’s weekly “Sunday Service” gathering has featured various speakers from Hillsong New York’s hipster pastor Carl Lentz to Los Angeles-area preacher Adam Tyson, a graduate of John McArthur’s Master’s Seminary. McArthur has expressed concern over Osteen’s lack of teaching on sin and holiness, presenting man-centered messages about God’s blessings and favor.
West had stated during a Sunday Service concert in Jamaica that one of his favorite Scriptures is Mark 1:15, where Jesus said, “Repent and believe the gospel.” West implied during his discussion with Osteen that he does not currently have a home church. Tyson had been reported by some as being West’s pastor, but he had only been flown in to Wyoming — where West currently lives — for Bible study.
As previously reported, West is scheduled to perform at Lakewood at the 7 p.m. young adult service with his choir. Tickets for the free event were reportedly spoken for within hours of being made available, and the 16,000-seat auditorium is expected to be packed to capacity. A report by Hip Hop Overload claiming that Osteen was paying West and his choir $300K to perform was refuted by Lakewood as being false.