The endless debates around whether Kanye West is saved, or not, and the almost universal acceptance of him, not only as a brother, but a preacher and a great leader in the cause of the Gospel, has to be the lowest ebb of Evangelicalism, ever.
The previous low was when over 80 million Evangelicals in the USA hailed Trump as a brother, fellow believer, and defender of the faith, and continue to do so. (This article has nothing to do with his politics and whether you like his politics or not – it is about whether he is a believer or not). Most of the leading Evangelicals, including Franklin Graham, Dr Michael Brown, Pastor Robert Jeffress, and the head of the largest Christian University – Jerry Falwell Jr, have all but beatified Mr Trump and have, by their silence, approved of his use of the titles “King of Israel” and “the chosen one”.
Why are these such low points in the slide of the visible church towards apostasy? It is not primarily about West or Trump. It is about the Gospel. We have so perverted the Gospel that not even the leaders of evangelicalism, nor most of the 80 million evangelical “believers” understand the most basic tenets of the Gospel. I do not mean to be condescending, but please indulge me as I explain the Gospel again:
For the sinner, the process begins when he is convicted by the Holy Spirit of the absolute sinfulness and depravity of his fallen state and casts himself upon the grace and mercy of God who sovereignly causes him to be born again. This process of being born again, requires the death of the sinner in order that he may be raised a new creature. (Galatians 2:20, Romans 6:4-6, Colossians 2:11-14, etc.). This is not the overhaul or remodeling of the sinner, it is death to the old and being raised in newness of life. For this reason, Paul says “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” (2Corinthians 5:17) (also Galatians 6:15).
Jesus said: “…If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?” (Luke 9:23-25). Denying yourself and your selfish desires and dying to the old life is essential for salvation.
To Paul, the idea that anyone can continue in sin because of grace is abhorrent (Romans 6:1). Yet our modern idea of those who are saved, is that the only difference between sinner and saint is that the “saved” are justified and will go to heaven, but there is, and need not be, any difference in lifestyle. Part of the reason for this is the ongoing attack against the concept of repentance. Those in the Reformed camp have rejected the concept of repentance as part of the process of salvation for years and their propaganda has finally permeated all of evangelicalism. Repentance has become a byword and is maligned as though it teaches salvation by works.
Repentance is not salvation by works. The sinner can repent all he wants and attempt to reform himself but unless he is born again, he will just remain a sinner who feels sorry for himself. Repentance cannot save! But salvation without the fruit of repentance is no salvation either. If the individual has come to understand the gospel and that it was for his sin that Christ died, it must produce in him a revulsion to, and turning away from, his former lifestyle. The man who continues to love sin yet says he is born again has deceived himself. He is no more born again than the demons. The primary work of salvation is to save us out of our sins. “…and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Jesus is clear throughout the gospels that “…by their fruits you will know them.” (Matthew 7:20, Matthew 12:23, Luke 6:44, etc.). Fruit is the one infallible proof of the nature of the tree. A thorn tree can “self-identify” as an apple tree but the fruit are undeniable. This is a universal principle in both nature and the spiritual realm. Let me be plain: A man who continues in a sinful lifestyle is not born again, no matter how many times he was baptized, signed a decision card or prayed the “sinners prayer”. Even if he uses the name of Jesus in every sentence, preaches, casts out demons or performs miracles in Jesus’ name – he is unsaved and will spend eternity in hell (Matthew 7:23). It is in this context that Jesus warns against wolves in sheep’s clothing (Matthew 7:15).
Every pope of evangelicalism can declare Trump a saint and every prosperity preacher can anoint West as the savior of evangelicalism and the greatest thing that has ever happened for the gospel. Every one of the 80 million evangelicals can claim them as their own, but their fruit are evident for all to see. Trump has never repented of his adultery and continues in bribery, cheating, lying, arrogance and foul speech. At the same time none of the fruit of the spirit are evident in his life – it is plain – he is no more saved than the limousine he rides in. West has never repented of his satanism (and continues to use satanic symbols in his performances) neither has he repented of his hedonism, materialism, blasphemy and extreme arrogance. West has never been humbled by the great love of the Savior who died for him and still insists that he is the greatest artist God ever made and that God needs him to spread the “gospel”. (God needs no one – it is blasphemy to say He does).
argument that their behavior must be excused because they are baby
Christians is total rubbish. Trump claims to have always been a
Christian and West dates his Christianity to 2013 (6 years). And if
they are babes, why then are hands being laid on them in anointing
them as God’s chosen vessels? “Do not lay hands on anyone
hastily, nor share in other people’s sins; keep yourself pure.”
(1Timothy 5:22). However, in the absence of a single statement of
sorrow over their past lives and not a single act of repentance, they
are clearly not even babes. They are not born-again. If this is what
it looks like to be born again then the gospel is a sham and it
cannot transform sinners nor save from Hell. Yes, the true believer
does grow, but there is a real and visible change from the moment he
puts his trust in Christ. His desires, view of himself, his view the
world, and his attitude to sin is dramatically and powerfully
transformed the moment he is born again. The Gospel is the most
powerful thing known to man and if these men are saved then either
the Gospel is a lie, or they are liars. My vote is with the Gospel.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the
power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew
first and also for the Greek.” (Romans 1:16).
But the problem is not with Trump or West (and I do pray that they will get saved). The problem is with the millions who claim to be born again, and their leaders, who cannot see that these men are not Christians. I have seen a few good men speak out and bemoan the fact that there is no discernment among believers. But is that the real problem? I fear that it may be more serious than that. My concern is that the vast majority of those who hail men like these as believers are themselves not born again and hence have no ability to discern spiritual things (1Corinthians 2:14). These things should be as clear as daylight and previous generations of Christians would not have given them a second look. But we live in a time of such spiritual blindness that we even accept the devil as an angel of light. In this lies the calamity of these events:
I believe that Trump has been a trial run for Satan to see if the “church” is ready to accept anyone, and ultimately the Antichrist. He now knows that the visible church is ready and that the time is ripe for the vilest of men to rise and to be hailed as the chosen one and the King of Israel. (I do not believe Trump is the Antichrist – he is simply a test dummy). This would not have been possible at any time in the past 2,000 years. Even 20 years ago the “church” was not ready, but now it is!
Likewise, I believe West is a trial run for the False Prophet who will work in concert with the Antichrist in the end. Again, West is not it – not by a long shot. But Satan now knows that the “church” is ready to receive anything, even the beast that comes out of the land “And he deceives those who dwell on the earth – by those signs which he was granted to do in the sight of the beast, telling those who dwell on the earth to make an image to the beast who was wounded by the sword and lived.” (Revelation 13:14).
For centuries believers have said that Rome is the Great Harlot and indeed Rome is the mother of harlots. But finally, evangelicalism is being revealed as being the harlot daughters and have become like Israel of old “For My people have committed two evils: They have forsaken Me, the fountain of living waters, And hewn themselves cisterns – broken cisterns that can hold no water.” (Jeremiah 2:13).
If you believe that these men are Christians, then I fear that you may well not be one. Yes, I am aware of the gravity of those words, but “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you? – unless indeed you are disqualified.” (2Corinthians 13:5).
For the few who have seen these things for what they are there remains only one thing to do: “Come out of her, my people, lest you share in her sins, and lest you receive of her plagues.” (Revelation 18:4).
the Lord have mercy on us.