Beyond the Hype: A Biblical Perspective on Celebrity Christians

Hi friends,

Over and over, I’ve seen Christians rush to celebrate a celebrity talking about Jesus. But is this wise?

For instance, in January 2019, rapper Kanye West launched what became known as “The Sunday Service.” He made headlines for gathering people to sing worship songs together each week.

The attention went to the next level in September 2019, when his wife at the time, Kim Kardashian, talked about it on The View:

It was a really personal thing, and it was just friends and family. He has had an amazing evolution of being born again and being saved by Christ…

…it is for God and it is a Christian church.

Later that month, Kanye dropped his Jesus is King album. I played the album and enjoyed it; according to Wikipedia, the album won “Top Christian Album and Top Gospel Album awards at the 2020 Billboard Music Awards and Best Contemporary Christian Music Album at the 63rd Annual Grammy Awards in 2021.”

However, some reviewers took a different stance. For instance, Robert Christagu wrote, “Spiritually he’s an egomaniacal shell, and the music is nothing. May he be born again for real, but I’m not holding my breath.”

Despite the hype for Jesus is King, it looks like Christagu exercised the wiser discernment.

Instead of seeing Kanye develop into a mature disciple of Jesus, it appears that he’s continued to act inappropriately.

For instance, Kanye has:

  • Made inappropriate rants praising Hitler, posted a swastika to social media, and made antisemitic comments

  • Punched one of his fans, assaulted photographers, and threatened multiple people

  • Engaged in lewd behavior in public; is accused of controlling his wife’s diet, clothing, and social interactions; forced employees at Adidas to watch porn

(These and other examples can be found at The Most Problematic And Shocking Things Kanye West Has Ever Done).

Despite Kanye’s protestations to be a Christian, I think we can evaluate the fruit of his life and conclude that there is no evidence that he is humbly, obediently following Jesus.

In many ways, this appears to be a fulfillment of 1 Timothy 3:6,

[An overseer] must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and incur the same condemnation as the devil.

Before anyone viewed Kanye as a responsible Christian leader, there should have been an extended period of time when he proved that his character matched Biblical expectations.

Here’s the entire passage in 1 Timothy 3:1-7,

This saying is trustworthy: “If anyone aspires to be an overseer, he desires a noble work.”

An overseer, therefore, must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, self-controlled, sensible, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not an excessive drinker, not a bully but gentle, not quarrelsome, not greedy.

He must manage his own household competently and have his children under control with all dignity. (If anyone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he take care of God’s church?)

He must not be a new convert, or he might become conceited and incur the same condemnation as the devil.

Furthermore, he must have a good reputation among outsiders, so that he does not fall into disgrace and the devil’s trap.

Clearly, this wisdom is difficult to implement because the allure of a famous person testifying to Jesus is exciting.

This week, I see many Christians praising Russell Brand’s conversion and videos about following God.

For instance, his most recent video has over 1.3 million views (and climbing).

What Russell doesn’t mention is that he’s currently under investigation for sexual offenses against four women, all of which he denies (Here’s a link to the BBC’s reporting (warning, highly graphic detail): Russell Brand: Thames Valley Police investigates allegations).

In the video, Russell says he’s been a Christian for a month. He says he’s in a process of active repentance and inner illumination that helps him experience mercy and gives him a sense of peace. He says he’s being broken in the same way that a dog has to be broken and trained. He ends with, “Stay free!”

One ministry leader responded with,

Welcome to the Faith, brother :pray: Thank you for your openness, I will pray for you!

Another media personality wrote,

This is incredible. What a testimony to how the Holy Spirit changes everything.

Another said, “Absolutely fabulous!!!”

A journalist wrote,

Russell Brand bringing the simple gospel. We love to see it ! :clap:

Another popular leader said, “This already seems more legit than Kanye ever did.”

But I’m not so sure.

Is a short video on X about repentance a more legitimate expression of faith than Kanye’s Sunday worship services?

In any case, I fear that the rush to celebrate a celebrity’s conversion is unhelpful for everyone.

It doesn’t help Russell, if he is a new Christian, to go viral for sharing basic thoughts on repentance. It would be far more significant for him to learn about repentance by making things right with the women he’s harmed.

It doesn’t help Christians to exalt Russell. Instead of gushing with enthusiasm at the testimony of a potential new believer, we should exercise patience, wisdom, and discernment. A slower approach shows that we are more concerned with transformation than sensation.

Finally, from what I’ve seen, it doesn’t impress skeptics.

Browsing social media, the response from nonChristians is anything but curious. Here are some examples:

He wouldn’t be the first con man to try to rehabilitate his image by finding Jesus.

I’d probably “convert” too if I was being accused of rape… the Christian card works so well with that one.

Russell Brand is ironically a large part as to why I completely separated from Christianity.

I don’t know the state of Russell’s heart or the sincerity of his faith.

And that’s my point. None of us know.

So, before we celebrate Russell’s talk about God, what if we waited to see what his walk with God looks like?

What if we encouraged him to spend a couple of years developing the fruit of the Spirit in a local church?

I believe that if we did this, we would look less naive and credulous - and more concerned about following Jesus. It would show that we value faithfulness over fame.

What’s your take?


Thank you for sharing your thoughts. I never thought of it this way. I think believers want to see the Gospel in action so much that we grab hold of anything. You bring up a great point about waiting and seeing how the Holy Spirit works or whether it is marketing for their brand. Thanks again.


It’s a temptation that I’m prone to give into. I appreciate the encouragement - we can help each other resist this, be patient, and wait to see how (or if) new Christians develop into trusted disciples of Jesus.


Patience is vital because God works slowly most of the time.