As you’ve probably noticed, Kanye West is back on Twitter, and for the last week he’s been firing off a variety of tweets on topics like politics, social issues and music. But one of the most interesting tweet had to do with theology.
He wrote: “I don’t subscribe the term and concept of God fearing. That’s a dated mentality that was used to control people. We are in the future. If God is love and love it’s the opposite of fear then … to fear God makes no sense.”
Kanye’s tweet raises an interesting theological question.
Throughout the Bible, “the fear of God” is referenced as a posture that true believers adopt. But the Bible also says, “There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.”
However, rapper Derek Minor had a pretty great response that unpacked the nuance of the term “fear.” He tweeted: “Fear in the idea of viewing God as the big bad villain in the sky that will destroy isn’t a Christian concept at all
Fear = Reverence like a parent. Knowing that God loves us but also disciplines us. Always for our good and betterment.”
Kanye’s thoughts aren’t uncommon among many Christians. But even though “fearing” God and not living in “fear” may seem contradictory, when viewed correctly, they actually complement each other. As Billy Graham once explained: “To fear God is not to shrink back from Him in terror. To fear God is to have a deep reverence for Him, and to stand in awe at His holiness and majesty and power and love. Only then will we love and serve and worship Him as we should.”
Jesse Carey is a mainstay on the weekly RELEVANT Podcast and member of RELEVANT's executive board. He lives in Virginia Beach with his wife and two kids.