Creflo Dollar, a prominent televangelist and founder of World Changers Church International based in Georgia, defended secular rapper Snoop Dogg's decision to produce a gospel album and rebuked Christians who questioned the rapper's claim that he is a born-again Christian.
Preaching on "The Spirit of Grace" on Sunday, Dollar pointed out that the church should not be about focusing on one's sins but on God's grace. He further pointed to the church's reaction to Snoop Dogg as a perfect example of how judgmental Christians can be of people who fail to meet a perceived standard of righteousness.
"I'm gonna say something publicly. I don't know if I'm really correct in saying this but I want to say something publicly. Recently, a man in California, he's a rapper, in fact, he's known as a legend, they call him, I think his nickname is Snoop Dogg. He just released a gospel album to minister to people because his grandmamma ministered to him and he had it on the inside of him. Isn't it sad that he received rejection and flak and 'how y'all gon' support somebody like this after what they did and what they said?' What's wrong with us?" Dollar asked.
Snoop Dogg, whose real name is Calvin Broadus and is known for promoting a licentious lifestyle, released his double gospel album called The Bible of Love last month to much controversy, despite his claim that he is a changed man.
A viral clip from Dollar's Sunday sermon on speaking specifically about the church's reception of Snoop Dogg as a minister of music has sparked a debate over whether Christians should be skeptical about the artist's ministry particularly because of his history. In 2009, the rapper announced that he had joined the Nation of Islam. Three years later, he became a Rastafarian as he dabbled in reggae music and now recently he has declared himself to be a born-again Christian as he promotes his new album.
Dollar insisted that Christians should be thanking and congratulating the rapper for creating a gospel album.
"Somebody, I don't know, I might give him a call. Somebody shoulda said 'congratulations. Thank you so much. Thank you so much for releasing something that can minister to people and encourage people. That can help people. We were so busy trying to dig up his past that we couldn't see the working of the Holy Ghost on the inside. What's the matter with us? Naw, you gotta go through your checklist," Dollar said.
"I don't know if you're saved enough," the preacher continued mimicking a check mark with his hand. "I don't know you've been saved long enough and I just showed you a dude who just believed and now you wanna be the Holy Ghost police to decide if somebody has done enough to be respected as a child of God. Y'all need to stop."
Dollar explained that that kind of judgment is "unrighteousness."
"Somehow in your self-righteousness declaring you are better than they are because they did something that you didn't do. That's self-righteousness. Self-righteousness is unrighteousness," he said, noting that everyone inside his church, including himself, is just "one Jesus away from hell."
"You know why you are righteous? You're not righteous because of what you've done," he said. Christians, he explained, are righteous because God declared it so.
"Understanding that should help you be a little bit more merciful with other people. No, you're not condoning sin but you're saying if you believe Jesus, I may not see the fruit of His working right now but He working in you," he added.
In an appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel" Monday night, the rapper was asked if the album was his idea and he said it was pointing out that he decided to make the album to counter negativity in the world.
"Yeah. Well you know my whole life I was raised up in the church. I was brought up in the church. The world that we're living in right now with all this negativity and this violence, I just wanted to make something that represents peace, love and happiness and use my platform," he said.
Reacting to his Christian critics just over a week ago at the 33rd Stellar Gospel Music Awards, Snoop Dogg called them hypocrites.
"The devil is a liar. I thought church was supposed to welcome sinners," he told TV One. "If you find someone trying to find their way back home, the natural thing would be to accept him with open arms. We not gonna throw stones while you trying to get right and walking back into the church house.
"That's what's running people away from church right now as we speak: We're trying to get people back in church with a different perspective of come as you are, show love. We show love, we give love," he continued. "What about you? Have you checked your status? Are you going to Heaven? Why are you judging me? How much have you done for the Lord?"
He also told Jimmy Kimmel Monday that he "definitely" believes in the devil and joked that the devil is like "the president."
When asked what he thought Heaven was like, he said: "Heaven is a beautiful place. I think it's happiness, no diseases, no violence, just forever life and just everybody loving each other and you know, trying to get to the next day. That's my vision of Heaven."
He also quipped that he knows there is marijuana in Heaven as well.