Jesus has made a second coming in pop culture and it’s all thanks to superstars like Justin Bieber, Kanye West, Chris Pratt and more.
In October 2019, West released his ninth studio album and it was titled simply, “Jesus Is King.” The 44-year-old rapper’s album was a huge hit and it garnered him a number one spot on the Billboard 200 Chart a month after its release and several nominations by The Gospel Music Association. (RELATED: REPORT: Kanye West Walking Away From Secular Music, Only Going To Do Gospel Music From Now On)
The album released through GOOD Music and distributed by Def Jam Recordings had a Christian theme which Kanye described as “an expression of the gospel” with song titles that include, “Follow God,” “Closed on Sunday” and “God Is,” among others. (RELATED: ‘Wash Us In The Blood’: Kanye West Releases First Track Since ‘Jesus Is King’)
“JESUS IS KING”
OCT 25th pic.twitter.com/Ug4ghlQYk7
— ye (@kanyewest) October 21, 2019
During an interview with Zane Lowe for Apple Music Beats, the “Yeezus” hitmaker said he’s “on the planet” to serve God.
“Music is my job,” West shared at the time. “That’s why I’m putting out the album. Serving God in everything that I can do is my job. That’s why I’m here. That’s why I’m on the planet is to be in service and in fear, love, and service to God.”
Fox News described the album as an “evangelical rant” about the evils of the modern world, including a hit on Instagram and telling young people to “put the ‘gram away.”
In October 2020, Kanye sat down with Joe Rogan and the two talked about many things, among those was “God’s” plan for him and how he was in the process of “building a monastery” that will be the “future of monasteries” with “full sustainable energy.”
His faith also led him to hold weekly Sunday services at a homeless shelter in Los Angeles starting in 2018, which brought out celebrities like A$AP Rocky, Dave Chappelle, Brad Pitt and many more, People magazine reported.
Stars who attended West’s Sunday service who are also vocal about faith also included Justin Bieber and his wife, Hailey.
The “Baby” hitmaker talked in the past about his Christianity and credited his faith with “saving him” during an interview with Complex magazine.
“At this point, my faith has gotten me to where I am,” Bieber said. “My faith has brought me to a whole other level. I love talking about my faith.”
“I think that with Christians, they’ve left such a bad taste in people’s mouths,” he added. “Just like, overly pushy with the subject, overly churchy and religious.”
“I, personally, love Jesus and that was my salvation,” Bieber continued. “I want to share what I’m going through and what I’m feeling and I think it shouldn’t be ostracized. 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.'”
In February 2020, Justin talked about his upcoming album at the time “Changes” and reflected on his past drinking, doing drugs and having sex before coming to Christ.
“I really took a deep dive in my faith,” Bieber explained during his appearance on Apple Music’s Zane Lowe. “I believed in Jesus but I never really, like … when it says following Jesus is actually turning away from sin, and so there’s no, it talks about it in the Bible, there’s no faith without obedience.”
“I think it was my perception of who Jesus really was,” he added about his changing views on Jesus. “I’d had really bad examples of Christians in my life, who would say one thing and do another, so they were my direct example of who Jesus was.”
In April of this year, the “Yummy” hitmaker opened up about his struggle with faith with GQ and said he got to a “place” where he flat out asked God if “you’re “real” to “help” him because he couldn’t do it on his own.
“‘Like, I’m struggling so hard,'” Bieber shared. “‘Every decision I make is out of my own selfish ego. So I’m just like, ‘What is it that you want from me? You put all these desires in my heart for me to sing and perform and to make music—where are these coming from?”
“‘Why is this in my heart?'” he added. “‘What do you want me to do with it? What’s the point? What is the point of everything? What is the point of me being on this planet?'”
Bieber’s even opened up about his faith on his hit YouTube docuseries titled “Seasons” and said he hasn’t set out to persuade anyone to believe in God.
“I never want to be someone that’s trying to persuade anyone to believe in what I believe,” Justin said. “I think God persuades people. But I definitely want to tell my story so that if that resonates with anybody they can hopefully learn from it.”
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And his supermodel wife, Hailey, doesn’t shy away from talking about her Christianity, and in the past has said it is the cornerstone to her marriage with Justin.
“Being able to share that with each other — to have that bond of faith and spirituality — is so [critical] for us,” the 24-year-old supermodel shared Elle magazine. “It’s the most important part of our relationship, following Jesus together, being a part of the church community together. It’s everything.”
In a recent article for Christian Today, the model said she and Justin are so happy becuase of their faith.
“And I’m like, ‘It’s our faith,'” Hailey explained. “It’s what we believe in. If we didn’t have that, we wouldn’t even be here. We wouldn’t even be together.”
“Guardians of the Galaxy” star actor, Chris Pratt, just might have brought faith to a new generation when he thanked God and talked about praying during his acceptance speech for the Generation Award at the MTV Movie and TV Awards in 2018.
In his speech, he highlighted his nine essential rules in life which included that God “is real” and why it’s important to “learn to pray.”
“God is real,” Pratt said. “God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that. I do.”
“Learn to pray,” he added. “It’s easy, and it’s so good for your soul.”
He also told the audience that no one was born perfect, “you’re imperfect. You always will be”
“But there’s a powerful force that designed you that way,” Chris continued. “If you’re willing to accept that, you will have grace. Grace is a gift. And like the freedom that we enjoy in this country, that grace was paid for with somebody else’s blood. Do not forget it. Don’t take it for granted.”
In an interview later that year, he defended Hollywood and argued it’s not “anti-religious.”
“I think that there’s this narrative that exists out there that Hollywood is anti-Christian or anti-religious, but it’s just not the case,” the 41-year-old actor told The Associated Press.
“They are kind of not anti-anything,” he added. “They are kind of pro-whatever is authentic to you. And I like that.”
“Because for me it’s authentic for me to be pro-Christian, pro-Jesus,” Pratt continued. “That’s my thing. I like it. And I’ve never had anyone try to shame me to my face.”
The “Jurassic World” star explained even if they did say something about him behind his back it wouldn’t change his faith.
“If that’s the case, go ahead,” Chris shared. “You can say whatever you want about me, to my face or behind my back. I’m not going to change.”
One celebrity who talks about serving God would be Chance the Rapper, who took the idea of gospel hip-hop mainstream. (RELATED: Ariana Grande, Justin Bieber Release New Song, All Proceeds Will Go Towards First Responders)
In 2013, the 28-year-old “Acid Rap” hitmaker talks about his faith and worship, with lyrics in “Acid Rain” about being “sanctified,” NPR.org noted.
“I am a new man, I am sanctified. I am holy, I have been baptized,” Chance rapped.
Three years later, he released a mix-tape called “Coloring Book,” a religious rap album from a superstar who credits his success to God, DJBooth.net reported.
In “Coloring Book,” Chance opened up about hardship and loss with titles, “Same Drugs,” and “Summer Friends.” He also highlighted the positivity around him which he credited as coming from a higher power. Check out the lyrics in one of the songs on the tape called, “All We Got.”
“I get my Word from the sermon/I do not talk to the serpent/That’s a holistic discernment,” Chance rapped, before he threatened to “give Satan a swirly,” Pitchfork noted.
In 2020, Bieber teamed up with “Acid Rap” hitmaker for a new single with religious undertones titled simply, “Holy.” The video that accompanied it comes with a sad, but uplifting story.
In the clip, Bieber plays an oil-rig worker who lost his job during the pandemic. His love interest is played by a nurse. The two end up stranded and on the street until a member of the military invites them into his home for a warm meal.
And this list would definitely not be complete without rapper Kendrick Lamar, who raps about his faith, but takes his struggle with God to a new level as he questions a higher power about everything. He isn’t pushing a gospel of positivity but more about our collective failings and God’s judgment, as NPR noted.
In 2017, the 33-year-old rapper came out with his fourth studio album called “DAMN.” The album deals with being a Christian, the idea of self-sacrifice, personal revelation and that suffering is part of the journey.
“I always felt like God used me as a vessel, whether to share my flaws, my intellect, my pain,” Lamar shared with NPR at the time about his album. “[I’ve] always been a vessel. I can say the nastiest thing on record but I still feel like that’s [being] a vessel. You need to hear it. I can’t sugarcoat the reality.”
Responding to comparisons between Chance The Rapper’s “Coloring Book” and his “DAMN,” the “To Pimp A Butterfly” hitmaker said he felt his calling is more about sharing the “power” and “FEAR OF GOD,” as DJBooth noted.
“I feel it’s my calling to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD,” Kendrick explained. “The balance. Knowing the power in what he can build, and also what he can destroy. At any given moment.”
“Our God is a loving God,” he added. “Yes. He’s a merciful God. Yes. But he’s even more so a God of DISCIPLE. [sic] OBEDIENCE. A JEALOUS God. And for every conscious choice of sin, will be corrected through his discipline.”