Some celebrities that you’d never expect to become Christians posted about their conversions & baptisms in the past year. We saw TV reality star Kat Von D leave her occult lifestyle to become a Christ follower back in October (I wrote about it then). She noticed friends who were into the occult (like witchcraft & Tarot cards) & who did drugs were miserable & broken people. She realized she was one of them. When she compared their lives with friends who were practicing Christians, she noticed a difference. They weren’t perfect, but she thought, “I want what you have…I love the light that you have.” Since coming to Christ, she said it’s “like a deprogramming has taken place. Things that I used to find attractive are disgusting to me, you know?” She recently said: “I’ve never really felt like I belonged anywhere,” but after leaving L.A. she’s now enjoying the environment of a rural Indiana church & attending Bible studies.
Meanwhile, another former reality TV star, Blac Chyna (who has a child with both rapper Tyga & with Rob Kardashian), was baptized last year and began making lifestyle changes earlier this year. She went back to her birth name of Angela White, & quit as one of the top earners at the most popular pornographic performance site (which got her about $2 million over 2 years). She said, “Something just came over me — like, the Holy Spirit came over me. And I was like, you know what? I need to figure out about what’s my purpose in life. …When I got baptized, I knew that God told me, you do not need to be doing this. This is not why I put you here to degrade yourself. Because our bodies [are] a temple.” She had her “demonic” tattoo removed, & is now part of a support group of Christians as she continues to transform her life. “I think my baptism…played a big part,” she said, “I was reborn….” Angela has since earned a degree from a Bible college.
Earlier this month pro wrestler Hulk Hogan & his wife were baptized. He’s spoken before about his Christian beliefs, having accepted Christ as savior at 14 years old. But he didn’t live that lifestyle. At his baptism, he posted: “Total surrender and dedication to Jesus is the greatest day of my life.” The Hulkster recently went on the Joe Rogan podcast wearing a John 3:16 shirt, explaining his faith & inviting Rogan to church (while still sprinkling in a little profanity though). Rogan had to admit that the world would probably be a better place if people lived like Christians.
Have you ever prayed for celebrities to be saved? In a sermon from 2006 about dramatic turnarounds, I asked, “What if Kid Rock were converted? Or Eminem or 50 Cent? Would we be surprised to see Marilyn Manson preaching someday?” They need Jesus just as much as any of us. Never give up hope because those who may seem least likely to accept Christ (even among your own family & friends) may eventually become the most devout & outspoken for Christ!
Yet, why is it that no one’s talking about the fact that last month in an interview about backing off the Bud Light boycott, Kid Rock said, “As a God-fearing man, as a Christian, I have to believe in forgiveness.” Um…what?! Can I refer you to my April Fool’s Day prank post this year about Kid Rock becoming a Christian & appearing at our church? Now, is there any evidence that Kid has transformed his life? Not that I can see…yet. The same is true for some other supposedly Christian celebrities who continue in their lurid lifestyles. Eminem last year rapped some gospel on a Kanye West remix, but there’s no evidence he meant anything he said. Meanwhile, Kanye, whose conversion seemed genuine a few years ago, has more recently gone off the rails. Oh yeah, Marilyn joined Kanye on a gospel album a couple of years ago too, but there’s no hint of a real conversion…yet.
This year’s CMA New Artist of the Year is Jelly Roll. As a man with a sordid past including plenty of prison time, this man’s country/rap style music has caught on with its gritty realism & spiritual reflections. He’s spoken about his Christian upbringing while sporting a cross tattoo on his face. Some of his biggest songs are “Save Me,” “Church,” “Son of a Sinner,” & “Even Angels Cry” (with the video setting inside a church). This year’s tour was called the “Backroad Baptism Tour.” But his music isn’t limited to one spiritual perspective, & his vulgar conversation in interviews isn’t fit for family listening.
And that’s the concern with many celebrity “conversions.” It’s difficult to tell when it’s the real deal. Sometimes we see life transformation, sometimes we don’t. Only God knows, but the Scriptures say we can’t claim to walk with Jesus but continue in our old lives of profanity, promiscuity, & carousing. Repentance means leaving the old life behind to walk in newness of life (read Rom. 6:1-14). We celebrate confessions of faith & immersions into Christ, but we pray for continuing growth in godliness, discipleship, learning & applying biblical doctrine. We need full surrender–not one-foot-in, one-foot-out halfway professions. No riding the fence. We deny ourselves, pick up our crosses daily & follow Him (Luke 9:23).
I hope these celebrity professions are legit, but ultimately Jesus is the only “superstar” that matters. Of course, this isn’t just about celebrities. It’s about all of us. As we begin a new year, we hope to see many more come to Christ! But more than that, we pray for maturing in Christ–theirs & ours (Col. 1:9-11).