Kanye West Tells Joel Osteen's Church That 'Jesus Has Won the Victory,' Because He's Working for God Now

Rapper and producer Kanye West told the congregation of televangelist Joel Osteen's church on Sunday that "Jesus has won the victory" because he is now working for God.

West was invited by Osteen to talk during the weekly church service about his upbringing in the church, his latest gospel album Jesus Is King, and his decision to rededicate his life to God. The musician, who is also a fashion designer and entrepreneur, told the audience that the "only superstar is Jesus" but also asserted that God would now use his signature "cockiness" and "arrogance." Throughout his remarks, West regularly paused as the worshippers erupted in loud applause and cheers.

"And all of that arrogance and confidence and cockiness that you all see me use before, God is now using for him," the rapper said at one point, drawing a particularly loud applause from the crowd. "Because every time I stand up, I feel that I'm standing up and drawing a line in the sand, and saying 'I'm here in service to God and no weapon formed against me shall prosper,'" he continued.

He complained that it often seems like "the Devil stole all the good musicians, all the good artists, all the good designers, all the good business people." However, West then asserted that this was all about to change.

Kanye West
Kanye West is seen out and about in Manhattan on November 7 in New York City Raymond Hall/GC Images/Getty

"The trend shift is going to change. Jesus has won the victory," he stated. "Because now, I told you about my arrogance and cockiness already, now the greatest artist that God has ever created is now working for him."

Osteen, a prominent Christian televangelist and author, holds multiple weekly services at his massive Lakewood Church, which hosts more than 50,000 attendees every week. His services are viewed by millions of followers online and on television as well. He is one of the most prominent promoters of the so-called "prosperity gospel," which many evangelical Christians consider to be "heresy." The teaching essentially promises adherents who follow God, and donate heavily to the preacher's personal ministry, will be blessed and become rich.

Dr. Heather Thompson Day, a Christian author and associate professor of communication and rhetoric at Colorado Christian University, told Newsweek that she believes West's conversion is sincere, but he may not currently have all his theology straight. "God will at every step, judge his heart and his intentions. You can be wrong, and still deeply loved by God," she said.

Describing the prosperity gospel as "problematic," Thompson Day pointed out that "eleven of Jesus's own disciples are believed to have been brutally murdered. Prosperity gospel tells poor people they are not loved by God, and rich people that they are nearer than everyone else," she explained. The author also said that Jesus was "clear" in the Bible about earthly riches, referencing a passage from the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus told followers: "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for someone who is rich to enter the kingdom of God."

Joel Osteen
Pastor Joel Osteen is seen outside Good Morning on March 18 in New York City Raymond Hall/GC Images/Getty

West has drawn significant controversy over the past few years as he has repeatedly voiced support for President Donald Trump, often wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat during public appearances. Although he didn't reference Trump during his appearance at Osteen's church, the president has aligned himself with the prosperity gospel as well. Osteen also spoke favorably of Trump ahead of the 2016 presidential election.

During an October 2015 interview, Osteen said Trump's message "resonates" with voters. "Mr. Trump is an incredible communicator and brander," he said, describing Trump as "a friend of our ministry" and "a good man."

Osteen and his wife were reportedly previously hosted by Trump at Trump Tower in New York, according to the Financial Times. At the time, Trump reportedly gave the preacher's wife a gold watch as a gift and offered Osteen any Trump branded tie he wanted.

The president has turned to another prominent prosperity gospel televangelist as his personal spiritual adviser. Pastor Paula White, who has been friends with Trump for years, was recently announced to have a formal role at the White House, where she will oversee the president's Faith and Opportunity Initiative. In January 2018, White – who has an estimated net worth of several million dollars – told her followers that they should send their first paychecks of the year to support her ministry, warning those who did not obey the call would face "consequences" from God.

White has also said that "wherever" she goes, "God rules."

"When I walk on White House grounds, God walks on White House grounds ... I have every right and authority to declare the White House as holy ground because I was standing there and where I stand is holy," she said.

Donald Trump and Paula White
President Donald Trump talks to Paula White while walking with first lady Melania Trump after an event to celebrate a national day of prayer at the White House in Washington, D.C. on May 2 BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty

Thompson Day said that Trump's support from prominent Christian leaders "sends a horrible message nationwide."

"The church is surely in a crisis of branding and Christianity should be promoting racial reconciliation and community," she said, pointing to the often divisive and racially-charged tweets and language of the president. She also warned that "the separation of church and state is a deeply Christian principle that I fear we are losing sight of as we chase power."

West suggested in his Sunday remarks that Christianity should be put front and center in the U.S., arguing that it is a Christian country. He suggested that prayer should be allowed in public schools. "When you remove the fear and love of God, you create the fear and love of everything else," he said.

While the majority of the U.S. population still identifies as Christian, the country has sizable populations of Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus and non-believers. The First Amendment of the Constitution also enshrines religious freedom, stating that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion."