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.