Rapper Kanye West is used to making waves in the culture at large but lately, he’s been on the radar of many Christians and pastors. Kanye is attempting to cross the line from worldly rapper and celebrity to more of an evangelical worship leader and influencer. On Friday, September 27, 2019, Kanye brought his ”Sunday Service” to Detroit, Michigan, and gave 12 minutes of stage time to Pastor Adam Tyson.
Tyson told the crowd of believers and nonbelievers alike a concise message: God is holy, we’re all sinners, and Christ came that you could be born again.
Pastor Adam Tyson Was There to Talk About God
Not mincing words, Tyson told the crowd he was there to “tell them about God.” The senior pastor of Placerita Bible Church in the Los Angeles area started by saying there are three ways people far from God typically think about him:
God is an old man – Tyson said people sometimes think of God as someone who did great works in the Old Testament but isn’t around much anymore. He’s sort of like a grandfather–out of time and out of power. But, Tyson argues, the Bible says “God is the same yesterday, today, and forever.”
God is a sheriff – Sometimes people think God is “out to get you,” as if the only thing he’s interested in is punishing you. Tyson said that while God is the judge over the universe, he is also a God of mercy and love. Making it personal, Tyson emphasized that God “wants to be exalted in your heart today.”
God is a butler or a genie – Some people think of God as being at your beck and call. “God I need a new car. God, I need a new job,” Tyson said in example. He assured the crowd that while God doesn’t always give you what you want, he is sure to give you what you need.
While these ways of viewing God may be typical, Tyson urged the crows that they need to see God for who he really is. The next part of Tyson’s message may look a little different from other Gospel messages you may have heard. Instead of pointing to Scripture in the New Testament, to passages about Jesus, for instance, Tyson used the example of Isaiah to demonstrate someone who had seen the need for God’s love and forgiveness and who reached out for it.
Tyson told the crowd an Old Testament prophet named Isaiah saw God and everything changed for him. If you’ve ever really seen the God of the Bible, these three things will become clear to you, Tyson says:
You will recognize that God is holy – Tyson read from Isaiah 6:1, which describes Isaiah seeing God’s train filling the temple. When this happened, angels started praising God. The angels could have said “God is love, and they would have been right,” Tyson said. “They could have said God is powerful, and they would have been right. But instead they said God is holy.” Tyson emphasized saying God is holy is also saying there’s no one like him. As a church, city, nation, we need to remember the holiness of God. “Have you seen God?” Tyson asked.
The second thing someone who has seen God will recognize is one’s lack. “All have sinned and fallen short of the Glory of God,” Tyson said, quoting Scripture. Isaiah felt this when he witnessed God’s train filling the temple and the angels worshipping God. Isaiah describes being overcome with the realization that he is “a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips.” He could reconcile who he was with what he had seen (God). Isaiah needed help, and it came in the form of an angel rushing to him with a live coal from the altar, which he touched to the prophet’s lips.
The angel said Isaiah’s sins were atoned for. Which brings us to Tyson’s third point: We all need to receive Christ’s atonement.
“Today, through Jesus Christ, you can be made new again. You can have new life again; you can be transformed from the inside out. You’re no longer a sinner. In Christ, you are made a saint. You are made into a child of God,” Tyson said.
We do have a role to play in our atonement, though, Tyson implied. “You have a choice to make: You can run from God, or you can repent and know God.”
Tyson ended his message with an admonishment to the crowd to follow Isaiah’s example and tell God “Here am I, Lord, send me.” He gave examples of going to one’s neighbor, one’s family, one’s community to tell them about who God is.
This isn’t the first time Kanye’s invited a preacher to give a message at one of his Sunday Services. Earlier this year, Kanye’s friend and pastor Rich Wilkerson, Jr. spoke at one such service. The Vous church leader emphasized that Jesus is the only way to God.
Kanye recently brought his Sunday Service to New Birth Church under the watchful eye of Pastor Jamal Bryant. At that performance, which was merged with New Birth’s standard Sunday service, guest preacher I.V. Hilliard gave a full sermon while Bryant emphasized the service was not about Kanye’s music but rather a chance to worship God and give him the freedom to do whatever he wanted to do.