DOES U2’s BONO – A PROFESSING CHRISTIAN, BELIEVE THE BIBLE?
(354) EMERGING TRENDS IN THE CHURCH TODAY – U2’s BONO
Like many, I love U2’s music. I am a relative newcomer to U2. While I have been familiar with their main hits for decades, I never really considered myself a fan until listening to more of their music after I heard Bono interviewed by Larry King. This interview came after an interview with Joel Osteen, in which Osteen couldn’t give a clear Gospel message on the Larry King show. Osteen couldn’t even declare Jesus as the only way of salvation indicating that even Mormons, as well as other faithful followers of non-Christian religions may be saved – he just didn’t know? That message was broadcast on King’s show on CNN to millions of people across the country…and across the world. The following night, Bono was also interviewed and asked similar questions. Bono gave, what I thought, was a clear Gospel message. I was struck by the contrast in the responses between Bono and Osteen. From that point, I became a fan of U2.
That said, I also understand from seeing other interviews with Bono, that his life and witness as a Christian hasn’t always been consistent nor biblical. These phases in his career also influenced his music resulting in a wide range of lyrics – not all of which I would consider biblical. But, through all of this, I still find it encouraging to see and hear of a highly influential entertainer declaring his faith to millions of people across the world – not perfect by far, but encouraging none-the-less. With that, it is good to understand his message even further and I thought this article by Marsha West to be very revealing and challenging. I am not sure if it changes my views about Bono, but I think it is very important to know the message being given by Bono. In many ways, his situation mirrors the message presented by some in the church today (ie. Emerging Church).
June 15, 2015
Does U2’s Bono, a professing Christian, believe the Bible?
By Marsha West
Any [teaching] that is good is in the Word of God, and any that is not in the Word of God is not good. I am a Bible Christian and if an archangel with a wingspread as broad as a constellation shining like the sun were to come and offer me some new truth, I’d ask him for a reference. If he could not show me where it is found in the Bible, I would bow him out and say, “I’m awfully sorry, you don’t bring any references with you.” ~ A.W. Tozier
There’s an ongoing debate as to whether or not Bono, U2 front man and one of the world’s most recognized rock stars, is an authentic Christian, although he states that he is. Many Bible believing Christians have looked at the evidence and have come out and said that, although he professes Christ, he’s not a true Christian.
So let’s examine the evidence.
On his belief about Jesus Christ, Bono said this:
I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God.
Does he mean the Jesus who’s the Second Person of the holy Trinity?
In 2005 after the release of his book “Grace Over Karma” he stated:
The point of the death of Christ is that Christ took on the sins of the world, so that what we put out did not come back to us, and that our sinful nature does not reap the obvious death. That’s the point. It should keep us humbled. It’s not our own good works that get us through the gates of heaven.
He’s right. It’s not our own good works that gets us to heaven “for by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast” that saves us. (Eph. 2:8-9)
In 2014 Jim Daly, President of Focus on the Family, interviewed the rock star on his radio broadcast and said this:
[H]e’s known great success, both in his career as a musician, and in his work as a global advocate for the poorest of the poor. He’s also the co-founder of The ONE Campaign, and their motivation is to help people who are suffering.
All of this is true. But that means he’s a do-gooder. It does not make him regenerate.
Not surprisingly, when Daly invited him on the show conservative Christians who are aware of some of the controversial things he has said over the years thought it was a mistake. Many people wondered why a pro-family leader of Daly’s stature would pass him off as a Christian by saying, “he’s a believer in Jesus Christ, and professes Christ as his Savior. In fact, Bono’s spiritual journey has been greatly influenced by a mutual good friend – Eugene Peterson, who’s the author of The Message. And he’s also written a great book called Run With The Horses that has had a great influence on Bono and many of us.”
I don’t have the space to address my concerns with Eugene Peterson or The Message Bible he penned – it’s a parody of the Bible. So links are included below.
Looking at the things Bono has said (I’m coming to that) although he professes a belief in Christ clearly he doesn’t believe that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. Moreover, his social views are decidedly “progressive.” In fact, his religious beliefs blend nicely with emergent gurus such as Brian McLaren, Jim Wallis and Tony Campolo. These men are leftists who are leading the Church away from Sola Scriptura into what Ken Silva referred to as the “emerging cult of the new liberal theology.” The controversial movement, called the Emerging/Emergent Church(EC), seeks to reach the unchurched with their unbiblical version of the Christian message. In so doing they have cooked up a cauldron of syncretism stew.
So – what’s important to know about EC leaders is that their aim is change and theirplan, and they do have one, is to dismantle historic orthodox Christianity and bring forth a “new paradigm,” a “new kind of Christianity.” Be wary of words such as story (story of God, story of Jesus)… becoming… conversation… missional… reimagine… tribe… deconstruction… vision, etc. Emergents are “Christ followers,” they are “Social Justice Christians.”
Social Justice Christianity
The moniker liberals who profess Christ prefer is Social Justice Christian. One conservative blogger commented that Bono is “social justice, ecumenical, globalist, Agenda 21 promoting.”
He’s all of that for sure. Bono’s an activist and philanthropist with a stated goal to eliminate world poverty. Because he’s hugely popular people want to know what he thinks about this and that. So naturally he takes every opportunity to promote causes he cares about including HIV/AIDS infection in Africa and third-world debt relief. Tom De Weese of the American Policy Center once quipped that he “dogged political leaders around the world, using his rock star status to pressure them into accepting his brand of global guilt.”
So – should it matter to Bible believing Christians that Bono is a “progressive”? Should we be concerned that he’s spreading Social Justice Christianity around the globe? I mean, he’s telling people about Jesus, isn’t he?
Well, yes, it should matter to Christians that a person as famous as Bono is promoting an unbiblical version of Christianity and a “different Jesus.” Many people idolize celebrities. Adoring fans hang on their every word. And, sadly, many Christians don’t read their bibles so they not only are ignorant of its teaching, they lack spiritual discernment. In other words, they’re easily influenced by celebrity but not so much by the Bible.
When it comes to a LIE-celeb such as Bono, the question we must ask ourselves is this: What gospel is he sharing, the true Gospel of Jesus Christ or is he sharing another Jesus…another spirit…another gospel (2 Cor. 11:4)? If it’s the later then it makes him a false teacher.
The Apostle Paul spoke out against counterfeit Christians:
And what I am doing I will continue to do, in order to undermine the claim of those who would like to claim that in their boasted mission they work on the same terms as we do. For such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ. And no wonder, for even Satan disguises himself as an angel of light. So it is no surprise if his servants, also, disguise themselves as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their deeds. (2 Cor. 12-15)
Elliott Nesch of The Waundering Path writes:
How many of those who have been saved from extreme poverty through Bono’s ONE Campaign are now saved from their sins through the same effort? Can social justice, debt relief, and elimination of the AIDS epidemic bring glory to God when it is completely unconnected to the preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ? (Source)
A very good question.
Can’t We All Just COEXIST?
Lighthouse Trails Research (LTR) has a piece entitled Focus on the Family Gives Bono a Platform – Another Example Where 2 +2 Don’t Add Up. LTR shares a quote by Christian researcher Berit Kjos from her book Protect Your Child From the New Age & Spiritual Deception:
U2’s 2005 tour was aimed at joining all religions into a unified global spirituality. To emphasize the coming solidarity, the word “COEXIST” was featured on a giant screen. The capital “C” pointed to the Islamic crescent, the “X” symbolized the Jewish Star of David, and the “T” was a reminder of the Christian cross. Bono led massive crowds in a vibrant chant: “Jesus, Jew, Mohammed – It’s True!
Not everyone approved. Singer/songwriter Tara Leigh Cobble said, “He repeated the words like a mantra, and some people even began to repeat it with him. I suddenly wanted to crawl out of my skin. . . . Was Bono, my supposed brother in Christ, preaching some kind of universalism?”
“I felt like I was witnessing an antichrist,” said her friend.
In one song, “God’s Country,” Bono belts out the words, “I stand with the sons of Cain,” The Bible tells us that Cain “was of that wicked one, and slew his brother” (1 John 3:12), not exactly someone who a Christian would want to be found standing in agreement with.
Kjos later says:
Are Christian leaders speaking up and warning others about Bono? No, on the contrary, reveals one Christian journalist:
“One of the leaders being promoted today by those purporting to be officiating the way for our young people – to include Bill Hybels, Brian McLaren, Rick Warren, and Rob Bell – is ‘Christian’ Rock star Bono of U2, whom many emergents view as their ‘prophet’ and the main icon of their movement. In Bono’s rendition of Psalm 23, he alters the entire thrust and message of this beautiful psalm to something that sounds nothing less than blasphemous. For example . . . he alters the wording to say ‘I have cursed thy rod and staff. They no longer comfort me.'” [This rendition of Psalm 23 is documented in The Submerging Church DVD.]
And in the summer of 2005, Rick Warren attended the Live 8 Concert with Bono where he was made the official pastor at the event. Rick Warren did not issue a warning at the event about Bono, leaving the impression on thousands of young people’s minds that Bono is OK. (from chapter 17, HPC)
Bono Helps Gays Win The Day
Bill Muehlenberg of Culture Watch is one Christian who isn’t standing up for Bono. And he isn’t concerned about issuing a warning either. Muehlenberg came out swinging after Bono threw his support to Bible torturing radical gay activists who were out to legalize same-sex “marriage” in Ireland. Homosexuals were ecstatic to have a rock star behind them in their effort to legalize same-sex “marriage.” Pink News reported:
Irish singer Bono, speaking ahead of the band’s latest world tour, said “Marriage is an idea that transcends religion.”
Bono, who is from a mixed Anglican and Catholic family, told the Irish Times:
“[Marriage] is owned by the people. They can decide. It is not a religious institution.
“As far as I know, Jesus wasn’t a married man and neither are most priests talking about it. It is not a religious idea.
“In my mind, commitment is one of the most impossibly great human traits. It is a hard thing to hold on to, and anything that brings that together is a totally wonderful thing.”
Gay-affirming Bono does not understand the implications of tossing aside God’splan for marriage – one man one woman for life – so that men can marry men.
Muehlenberg had these harsh words for U2’s front man:
Another clear-cut acid test of Christian commitment has to do with the issue of homosexuality. If you get someone trying to tell you that homosexual marriage is just peachy and Jesus would be fully supportive of it, then you know you’ve got a religious fraud on your hands, and you should give him a very wide berth.
One so-called believer who has worried me greatly for years has in my eyes nailed his coffin completely by his recent support of sodomite marriage. Bono and U2 are going utterly brain-dead in supporting the Irish vote on homosexual marriage.
So if you think Bono is some sort of great Christian, you better think again. This comes from the U2 website:
On Friday Ireland votes in an historic referendum on legalizing same-sex marriage. Here’s what the band say: #voteYes.
“Commitment, love and devotion are some of the most impossibly great human traits. Trying to co-opt the word marriage is like trying to make love or devotion gender- or religion-specific. And that has to stop. Marriage is human-specific: a human commitment, one that transcends religion, transcends politics. It should be encouraged wherever, whenever and between whomever that love, that devotion and that commitment exists. #voteYES”This has got to be one of the most idiotic things I have read in a long time. We expect atheists and militant homosexual activists to come up with sheer baloney like this, but someone who calls himself a Christian? This man is a fool, in the biblical sense of the word. (Source)
The bottom line is this: A person cannot profess a belief in Jesus Christ and live like the devil. Like so many so-called Christians, Bono takes Christianity cafeteria style – he picks and chooses what pleases him and avoids what doesn’t.
Christianity is serious business, brethren. Jesus requires much of His sheep. “If you love me you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15).
Do you love Him?
“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119:105).
Do you get your guidance from the Bible?
Bono does but only when it suits his purpose.