For those Christians who have been bad-mouthing rappers like Kanye West and Jay-Z, condemning Kelly Rowland for music like “Kisses Down Low,” and saying Michelle Williams should not be singing secular music, an LA pastor says you are in the wrong.
On Sunday, August 25, Touré Roberts of One Church International blasted the “religious demons” in the church, apologized to Rowland and Williams, and affirmed their careers, while suggesting they had been called by God to the world.
“It’s been amazing. I’ve been coming to this church, it’s been some months now. And today I felt something I’ve never felt before. I don’t know what’s going on but [I feel] so much freedom, so much happiness and light—literally,” she chuckled, referring to the bright lights on the stage.
Williams also recounted her struggle with depression and how a One Church Member’s simple encouragement to her, affirming that God loved her, touched her deeply.
“I know God loves me. John 3:16, for God so loved the world…” she began quoting, while mimicking an exhausted, mumbling voice, to relay to the audience how she felt inwardly about the message she so frequently received from other people.
“And you hear that all the time, God loves you, God loves you, but for some reason, I took that one differently. And I literally went home and I boo-hooed, because I know that God loves me. I just hadn’t accepted it. For me, that’s profound,” Williams said.
“That might hit you when you get home, but I had not accepted His love because I was feeling so guilty and just ashamed of things. And coming here for a while now, I’m just telling you how restored I am and how God is definitely a healer. It is definitely a work in progress and as the old song says, ‘One day at a time sweet Jesus, that’s all I’m asking of you.’”
After delivering her soulful performance, Williams opened up about her struggle with coming back to the Gospel side. “I don’t see. I have to be honest with you. I had a moment this week. I said, ‘God, you have to tell me if this is what you told me to do, ‘cause I don’t see it.’ So I’m singing a song saying if I had your eyes, and here I am saying, ‘God, I don’t know. I don’t see it. I’m finna go back to what I was doing, ‘cause I don’t see it. I’m tired.’”
But she did not know that both she and Rowland would receive encouragement and affirmation from Roberts who called them up out of the audience, prefacing his public speech to them with this: “When you put the traditions of man, before the move of God, then you’ll do things like call Jesus Beelzebub. I need to do something. I need Kelly and Michelle to come up here. I need to say some things to you.”
Once the emotional ladies took the platform, holding each other tightly, Roberts launched a verbal assault against the approach of the church when addressing mainstream rappers.
“People accuse Jay and accuse Kanye of being anti-church, and anti-Jesus. But I’m gonna tell you something. The church picked that fight. You ain’t ready for it. The church picked that fight.” During his spirited dissertation, Roberts pointed out that Kanye’s “first smash that put him on the map was called Jesus Walks.” He added, “And a lot of times what we think is an anti-church perspective is really just a response to a fight that was started from a community that should have loved first. If we had His eyes, we wouldn’t be cursing and condemning, and judging. We would be praying and—watch this—prophesying the future that we want to see in the lives of anyone in our community that we feel may not be in alignment. ”
Roberts then delivered an apology to the women. “We’re sorry, but we’re getting it right. So I affirm you. I affirm you in who you are. I affirm you in God’s dream concerning your life. I thank God for the strength that He’s given you. Greater is He that is in you than He who is in the world,” he said, while leaning in closely.
“I praise God for the plans that He has for you. They are good and not evil. Plans to prosper you and not harm you. And I say go forth. Go forth. And go forth with the blessing of the church.”
Roberts’ tirade did not end before expressing his personal views about why the church is ill-equipped to reach people outside the borders of the faith community—which is the reason why, according to him, God told him he was not to go to seminary.
“You go into this industry and you talking about the Greek and the Hebrew and all these other things that mean absolutely nothing to people, you’re not gonna have any impact or any effect. There’s gonna be a small rung of society that you’re gonna be able to touch and talk to,” he said.
“And that’s why, for me personally, He said, don’t you do that. You’re gonna lose your anointing going [to Bible school], because your anointing is to people that don’t care about theology. They care about God. They care about purpose. They care about destiny. And they care about His word.”