Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Is U2 A Christian Band?

The greatest question…. The one everyone is pondering……… The one that caused heated debate between a “friend of a friend” on facebook (not really heated, but he was not in agreement with me)……..
Was it “Did you choose God or did God choose you?”
How about, “Should we not pray because God is sovereign and therefore our prayers don’t really do anything anyway?”
Then it’s got to be, “Did Adam have a belly button?”
And, no again.
It was, “Are U2 Christians?” And I’m sure that if you have read even a single post on my blog, you already know what my stance is. A sound no. Well, I can’t say with a 100% certainty they are not Christians, but unless they have forsaken their sins, turned from them in repentance and put their whole faith in Christ it is a definite no.

By they, I of course mean Saint Bono and Saint Edge, the other guys are just kinda there and nobody knows who they are anyway. And by “unless they have forsaken their sins, turned in repentance and put their whole faith in Christ”, I mean nobody knows. They seem to wear their faith on their sleeve. Right? Well, not exactly.

In numerous interviews and quotes found throughout the internet, they (Bono and Edge) paint broad pictures of what their faith looks like. Thing is, it looks different all the time and not in a sanctification kinda way, but in a “We’re going to do what feels comfortable for us” kinda way. They refuse to say what their faith is based on and who that faith is actually in. From what I gather though, they have amalgamated a plethora (my $2 words for this post) of spiritual concepts into one big ball of jello that changes shape depending on which way the wind is blowing at the time.

What is really damaging is their use of Biblical themes in their music and even using Christian terms to describe some aspects of their beliefs. But, neither Bono or Edge have said “ I am a Christian. I follow the risen Savior Jesus Christ. The Bible is the final authority on my life and I lay my life at the feet of Jesus and am His slave.” Nothing even remotely like that. I have found where he says a lot of truth about Jesus and who He is and what faith in Him requires, but nothing that says without a doubt “I am a Christian”. And with that I will have to quote Martin Luther “You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say”

U2’s faith is very reminiscent of Universalism, at best. Roman Catholicism is held in deep regard to the band. They have a pragmatic approach to their spirituality using humanitarian aid as a catalyst to their good works, as well as a sign for others to point to saying “See, they’re good guys, they help so many people”. I will not discount their generosity, but that is not necessarily a fruit of the spirit on display. (see my last post on non-Christian philanthropy). It is great that they try to help kids in less wealthy nations, but it is not proof of their spiritual condition. It could be, however, a condition of their conscience, the God given “voice” that points to God. The pragmatism of U2 is at center of their philosophy. The “ONE” movement that has pulled in many mainstream “Christian” bands and leaders is very works based philosophy. It is about serving the poor and needy, but makes no mention of God while doing these works. If you watch the video below you will see the pragmatism on display by Bono. He is somewhat knowledgeable of scripture and also the twisting of it. The “ONE” group/ movement has enlisted the likes of Bill Gates, Third Day, Rick Warren and Islamic Relief. So, as you can see the ecumenical push to join together for the betterment of mankind, to step join together and give credence to false religions and people and groups that are blatantly anti-Christian. I don’t think that is such a good idea and neither does the God of the bible.

I do think U2 have a lot of knowledge of Biblical things, but this can be said of most of professing Christians across the world. Knowledge does not equal conversion. Knowing a bunch of facts will not put you on the narrow road, but still leaves one on the broad path to destruction. Sadly U2 are pulling people that are headed to the narrow path back towards the broad. Actually U2 are embraced as full-fledged Christians by a lot of liberal professing Christians and especially those engrained in the Emergent movement. Bono and Edge truly are saints to those people. This is quite damaging as the lifestyles of the members of U2 are emulated. Chomping on cigars, cursing like a sailor and embracing other religions as true are very commonplace in both the liberal and emergent circles which would make U2 the poster children for either movement.

Conservative Christianity is under attack. Actually when you say Christianity the conservative part should be a given. The liberality that is the pursuit of so many stand in contradiction to most of the New Testament. They mention grace an awful lot, that they are free to do what is good in their own eyes, but neglect the command to be holy. They sin and sin and sin some more because “Jesus died on the cross for me”. They do have that right, but not in the way a true believer says it. Their context is “I’ll sin all I want, I have a license to sin and it’s the blood of Jesus”. The true Christian, however, truly see’s that Jesus did die for them on the cross, that Jesus did pay it all and they no longer desire to sin because of their sins that did put Him on the cross. They want to be Holy as He is Holy and strive to be more like Christ instead of still like their old self with the trinket of Christianity hanging around their neck.

So, is the band U2 Christian? Could be, but if so they would be the new creation talked about in 2 Corinthians 5:17. They would proudly profess Who their hope lies in and Who they are slaves to. Their wouldn’t be the omission and the broad paintbrush strokes to leave people wondering. To some that sounds radical or extreme Christianity, to actually live for Christ, to profess Christ in all that you do. It is radical that all things become new, but it is the fruit of the Spirit that start being produced. You might even say that those “radical” Christians that actually look like nut cases because they love the Lord so much are actually what normal Christianity looks like. Not like the mish mash of worldly entwined with whatever is convenient to a particular person at any given time. Christianity is a call to Holiness and Christ-likeness that is not found in a secular rock band, or any other thing that Satan uses to muddy peoples thoughts.

If there is even a little doubt if something is of God or not, I would strongly suggest to err on the side of caution. Do not try to justify a band, a relationship, a book, a movie, a website or anything else that you find interesting. If you must scour scripture to find something that is not there to justify something, then it is probably a bad idea. Scripture is clear that Christians are to be separate from the world.

In closing, this is yet another call to discernment. Any true Christian will desire holiness as a characteristic. They will seek righteousness and FLEE from sin, not try to justify. They will not condone sinful musicians, they will not justify a crass TV show, they will not find “the spirituality in” Twilight, Harry Potter or Gilligan’s Island. They will seek a true understanding of God in His glory and not use the Blood of Christ as a ticket to sin. So, where do you stand? Are you justifying sins, embracing the darkness of the world? Do you not desire holiness in your life? Do you care that professing Christ, but living like the world is blaspheming His Holy Name? Repentance is the first key to a true walk with the Lord. Turn from your wickedness and sin to the Holy God. Trust in Him for everything. Lay your life at His feet and say, “take me, I am Yours. Do with me what thou will.” And do not look back at the sinful past of your life. Flee from sin, put your hand to the plow and do not look back, truly trust in Him, for everything.

Bono’s pragmatic philosophy from his own mouth. Rick Warren will be proud.


blueshifter said...

"I don’t think that is such a good idea and neither does the God of the bible. "

And you know what the God of the Bible thinks... how?

Jeff said...

blueshifter: "And you know the God of the Bible thinks...how?"

Because His Word reveals what He thinks.

Ephesians 5:8-12 For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light for the fruit of the Spirit[a]is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.

2 Corinthians 6:14 Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness?

1 John 2:15-17 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.

Here is a link to a great article from Steve Camp that explains things better than I can in this comments section:

Jim said...

Having watched the video you posted, I would have to disagree with you. I think Bono is a prophet to today's church. I'm not trying to say that I am on the same page as he is in every area, but what he says in that video is good, plain, biblical sense! It really speaks to me and motivates me to get out and do something for those who are less fortunate than us!

bini said...

You are right on the mark my friend. Bonoand Edge are not Christians who have abandoned everything worldly, setting themselves apart for God in pursuit of sanctification. No, my friend, they are two friends who heard about Jesus in a Christian youth club, admired him, went about forming a band with acouple of other high schoolacquaintances, Thought enough about the life of Christ that they felt compelled to put some of his favorite themes from the psalms and gospels into their songs and sing them to all people, not just Christians. Then, St. Bono was asked to go to Africa to see how people were dying from aids. Bono thought, "gee, how come these people are dying when it costs a few cents a day for them to live...the developed world has a few cents, and most of them like jesus...I think i'll ask to see if they can help. After he asked the Christians in Christian USA and they said "no, those africans can sleep in the bed they've made", Bono thought, "hmmm maybe these people who are into the holiness/sanctification movement have become more like roman catholic monks than Jesus who ate with prostitutes and other sinners, had no place to lay his head because he didn't invest money, and was recorded as being violent only once, when he chased money changers out of the temple because they were exploiting the poor by charging all kinds of money for sacrificial animals...the animals that could have helped them become more sanctified...hope you rethink at least a little bit of your very judgemental view of some very brutally honest musicians who just happen to really love Jesus.

bini said...

You are confusing sanctification with being a follower of Jesus in some of the earthy ways he lived, bringing to light the hipocracy of the rulers of the day whether they were Roman, Greek or Jew, eating with taxcollectors, prostitutes, divorcees and challenging them to face their faults. It would also be good for you to learn alittle about other cultures so that you can understand that all people who drink or use what you seem to consider sinful words or ideas may just be sinful to you because your cultural roots are Puritan, a group that kept becoming smaller and smaller as they disapproved of each other's sin more and more... food for thought from an elderly lady who loves the Jesus who wouldn't mind if his hame was not capitalized.

Joel said...

I grow so weary of people pointing a judgmental finger at Bono and U2 in the so-called name of "true Christianity." Conservative Christianity is under attack because it spends more time pointing it's finger at others and parading in their own self-inflicted holiness than it does reading the parts of the Scripture that supposedly backs your insistence to throw stones at others. Putting aside the fact that it is unchristian to question the faith of four men you've never met and don't know personally, I'd like to clarify a few things. Bono spends a good portion of every day in prayer and meditation and submerging himself in scripture. He also is not afraid to share his faith through his lyrics. "Magnificent," one of the band's more recent songs, contains lyrics such as "I was born/I was born to sing for You/I didn't have a choice/To lift You up/And sing whatever song You wanted me to/I give you back my voice/From the womb/My first cry, it was a joyful noise." These are words written by someone who is worldly and questionable in his walk? Unlike other celebrities who have claimed a Christian faith, Bono has been married to the same woman for thirty years. He is a strong family man who has never shed those values. He may swear on occasion, may have times when he enjoys a bit too much of the drink, but he is a human being, and he without sin may cast the first stone. Through his thirty-year walk with Christ, Bono has used his fame and popularity to encourage political leaders and church leaders alike to follow the suggestion in Leviticus to erradicate debt owed by the poorest of nations. Like Christ, he encourages others to feed the hungry and heal the sick. Isn't that a much better way to spend your time and efforts than to call out the Christianity of others on a blog? What's more Christian, to spend a career helping others and encouraging others to do likewise or to spend your days sitting at a computer criticising the faith of people you obviously know little about? The last time I saw U2 play live, Bono sang "Amazing Grace" with a passion that I have not heard in most of the church sermons I've attended. Read Bono's remarks about his faith in the link at the end of my comments and tell me these are not the concepts of a man who is obviously Christian and unafraid to share his beliefs. What you're doing here is not Christ-like at all. Rather, it is more similar to the actions of the pharisees who had Christ nailed to the cross.


James Wottle said...

You most certainly miss the mark when you equate the,false dichotomy of conservatism and liberalism with true Biblical Christianity. True Christianity IS NOT subservient to modern political ideology. Perhaps you should consider Matthew 7:3-5 while you spout your politically motivated undertones. Perhaps you should more closely consider what you say about that which you clearly misunderstand.

Conservative, and for that matter liberal, should not only not be a given, but should not be used or even implied in conjunction with Christianity.

Jeff said...

James - You are very mistaken in my use of "conservative" and "liberal" in this post. My use has nothing to do, whatsoever, with politics. My use of these two terms was Conservative Christianity and Liberal theology. You should probably look those terms up and see how they are polar opposite.

You, James, are the one who should "more closely consider what you say about that which you clearly misunderstand".

If that is what you came away with from this post then you totally missed the point.

deliveredinfull said...

Bonos Christ is a false jesus clearly, how obvious is that and how ignorant must you be to nothing see it? The real Jesus of the bible was not a pacifist, his mission was not to change social structures. Confrontation with the jesus of the bible leads to repentance. Bonos ridiculous christianity allows him to have the best of both worlds. This world and God's kingdom and you can't have both.there's no way he would have gotten as far as he has without a serious compromise of the gospel. Bono mockingly asserts the death of jesus for himself so that he can continue to live in sin, and believe things will be well for him in the end, without any fear of God. Advertising a false universal love of God, rather than a holy God who hates all workers of evil. My my all you people supporting bonos have been taken for quite a ride.