Lil Nas X’s “Christian Era”

“[Y]all mind if i enter my christian era?” wrote Lil Nax X in an Instagram post on November 29, 2023. The rapper rose to fame with his 2018 smash hit song, “Old Town Road,” and has been making headlines ever since. Given his past controversies, many people were immediately critical of his new “Christian era.” In the music video of his 2021 song “Montero (Call Me by Your Name),” he rides a stripper pole to hell and proceeds to provocatively dance on Satan. Around the same time, he released a limited run (666 pairs) of “Satan Shoes,” custom Nike sneakers covered in satanic symbols and containing a drop of human blood. The artist’s so-called Christian era has led to his latest song, “J Christ.” The video contains much Christian imagery with Lil Nas X playing various biblical roles, including Jesus on the cross. Naturally, the video caused significant controversy among Christians who found it extremely offensive.

Christian Era
After watching the video of “J Christ,” it’s understandable why people are skeptical of Lil Nas X’s “Christian era.” There’s nothing remotely Christian in the lyrics of “J Christ,” other than the artist saying he’s “back like J Christ.” He isn’t crying out to God for help, pursuing virtue, or admitting his moral shortcomings. The video ends with 2 Corinthians 5:17 (ESV) on the screen: “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” This is truly a wonderful promise to followers of Christ. Yet, it doesn’t fit the context of the song or video at all. As Jewish political commentator Ben Shapiro notes in his reaction to the video, “I’m not a Christian, but my assumption was that when you became a Christian, something has to change about you. What changed?” The old is supposed to pass away, meaning our past, sinful self is crucified. Instead, Lil Nas X doubled down on his lifestyle, saying that he could be a Christian and still commit sex acts with other men.

*Please note this video includes profanity and potentially offensive imagery and ideas.

We all go through phases in life, whether it’s our musical tastes or fashion, but Christianity is not just a phase. It is a complete commitment to following Jesus. He told his followers: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). Paul commands us to offer ourselves as a “living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God” (Romans 12:1). Of course we stumble and step into sin at times, but we repent and try to live as righteously by the empowerment of the Holy Spirit.

Everything Is Spiritual
Perhaps Lil Nas X has unknowingly tapped into something deeper, acknowledging that there is a spiritual influence behind everything we do. This is certainly true of the media we consume. Nothing is neutral, and everything—from music to movies—represents a broader worldview. While Lil Nas X makes light of angels and demons, Heaven and Hell, Jesus and Satan, these are true spiritual realities in the world. Satan’s power and dominion of darkness is at work against God’s Kingdom of light.

Lil Nas X isn’t the only artist reflecting this. In his reaction to “J Christ,” Ben Shapiro reminded us of Sam Smith dressing up as Satan at the 2023 Grammys. We can brush these things off as musicians using controversy to seek attention or we can view them as signs of cultural decay. Our culture is straying further and further away from biblical morality, and what greater symbol of that fact is there than Satan? He is a tempter (Matthew 4:3), the father of lies (John 8:44), and out to destroy us (1 Peter 5:8). If any artist is touting Satan, we need to wake up and take notice. It’s as if Satan himself is openly mocking us.

It’s possible Lil Nas X is sincere and truly seeking Jesus. Or maybe he is just trying to get attention as his critics believe. Only he and God know for sure. Whatever you think about his “Christian era” and song “J Christ,” it is a reminder to us that our spiritual state is not something to take lightly. Following Jesus requires a total commitment and a change in lifestyle. Jesus is not only our friend, our Savior, and our God—he is our King. Being “a new creation” means that we no longer continue in our old, sinful lifestyles. Our habits and actions should reflect our King, however imperfectly.

If nothing else, Lil Nas X’s “J Christ” presents us with an opportunity. We can be outraged over such things (and we should be), we can remain silent, or we can respond reasonably with truth and grace. However disrespectful such media is, it keeps Christianity in the cultural conversation. Let’s leverage it. No, it is not okay to mock Jesus. But we must model his example in return. Jesus commanded us, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (Luke 6:27-28). After all, Jesus faced mockery, beatings, and crucifixion to rescue all of us from our sins—Lil Nas X included.

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Timothy Fox

Timothy Fox has a passion to equip the church to engage the culture. He is a part-time math teacher, full-time husband and father. He has an M.A. in Christian Apologetics from Biola University as well as an M.A. in Adolescent Education of Mathematics and a B.S. in Computer Science, both from Stony Brook University. Tim lives on Long Island, NY with his wife and children. He also blogs at