Russell Brand Baptised a Christian to Leave His Sins Behind

Russell Brand Baptised a Christian to Leave His Sins Behind April 28, 2024

Screenshot from Russell Brand's X Video demonstrating immersion
Screenshot from Russell Brand’s X Video demonstrating immersion https://twitter.com/rustyrockets/status/1783793421049561130

UPDATED WITH SECOND VIDEO BELOW

“This Sunday, I’m taking the plunge, I’m getting baptized,” said Russell Brand in a Twitter video describing it as “an opportunity to die and be reborn; an opportunity to leave the past behind and be reborn in Christ’s name like it says in Galatians — that you can live as an enlightened and awakened person.” He is planning on being baptised in the Thames and used a hand symbol to make it clear this will be by immersion. The video leaves many questions of course:

Is this a sudden step?

For many of us it may seem like it’s come out of the blue. But I am only discovering now that it culminates several months of him speaking about exploring Christianity and wrestling with its claims as well as mentioning he is considering baptism. He said he has read  Rick Warren’s The Purpose Driven life and CS Lewis The Problem of Pain.  It is in wrestling with the reality of suffering that Brand says he has been drawn towards Christianity.  He is something of a philosopher and loves exploring spiritual truths. I hope he also finds Tim Keller’s book Walking with God through Pain and Suffering which I have written a long review and interaction with in the past.

Where is it happening?

Brand doesn’t reveal which church he will be getting baptised in, or who has been helping him in his journey. He does talk about being baptised in the River Thames, but says he’s a bit concerned about the risk of infection there. This is probably wise as nobody would want his baptism to become a huge chaotic event where his fans flock to see him make this step. Celebrities live in the public eye, but surely. baptism should be a more private matter  us, God, our church, and invited friends and family.

Does Russell Brand fully understand the gospel?

In the video he does refer to ideas of death and rebirth being discussed in other faiths. Is that a sign that he isn’t seeing Christ as the only way to God or is this just a sign that he is an intellectual who loves exploring ideas?  Do any of us fully understand the Gospel anyway? Should baptism be delayed or should it be an early step in someone’s Christian journey? Brand does clearly understand baptism as a spiritual death and resurrection, he talks of leaving the past behind, and even talks of “leaving behind the sins”.  The use of that word ‘sin’ is very significant as many people today do not like to think of themselves as a sinner.

Should we be rushing to conclusions?

Inevitably Christians and non-Christians alike are going to rush to make judgements on this news. Many will be eager to immediately welcome him with open arms as a Brother in Christ. All too often when a celebrity makes a profession of faith normal processes of patient discipleship are set aside.  Instead they are hailed as a leader immediately and transferred from a worldly pedestal to a Christian one. I can imagine that it must be quite challenging to genuinely pastor anyone with the degree of popularity of Brand, and it must be tempting to treat him in a different way to any other new convert rather than patiently teach and counsel him in his spiritual journey.  Russell Brand needs a pastor who will not be phased by him, who will not be overly impressed by his status, and who will not have their head turned by the opportunity to seek notoriety for themselves as being associated with Brand’s fame.

Christians ought not immediately see Russell Brand as some kind of ambassador for Jesus, but rather treat him as we would anyone else seeking baptism and taking baby steps in the faith.

But others will of course rush to a different conclusion. “Celebrities love the limelight”, some will say, “this is just a stunt”, “is he just trying to avoid being cancelled for the criminal sexual abuse allegations?”  Many Christians will be skeptical of the conversion of someone who has previously lived in a way that is so opposed to Christianity. And yet of course going back to the Apostle Paul there have been a long string of dramatic conversions. We should never presume that God cannot reach anyone!

Of course we do not live in a society which is exactly embracing of Christianity, so it is far from clear that this event will enhance his image within the media, traditional or social.  Embracing Jesus is not typically a route to fame and adulation here in the UK.

We ought not forget that Russell Brand is also in a process of investigation for alleged historical sexual assault and rape claims.  He admits to having been promiscuous, but states all his encounters at the height of his fame were consensual.  To what extent it is possible for a fan to consent to sex with their idol is of course a real question.  But as always we should not rush to judgement on this point.  Christianity has never believed in cancelling people.  Even if Brand was to be found guilty there is redemption on offer in Jesus for all.  His guilt or innocence before the eyes of the law has not been determined and we must allow that process to run its course.  His seeking a fresh start and new birth should have no impact on that process. You can be forgiven by Jesus but still have to face the consequences of your previous actions.  Too many people today want to punish people before they have been convicted. And in fact even our criminal justice system ought to be more about rehabilitation than punishment.

One question we should all ask ourselves today is if we immediately assume Russell Brand cannot become a Christian do we actually understand the gospel of Jesus amazing grace and forgiveness ourselves? Jesus offers forgiveness and rebirth to all people alike. There is no distinction!

So I do hope and pray that Russell Brand is on a journey and that over time we will see clear evidence of transformation and a gradual maturing as a Christian brother in Christ.  Let’s give him the time and space that is needed before we rush to any conclusions.

Most importantly of all, let’s pray for him just as we would anyone else making this step.

Russell Brand’s Video Announcements

Pre-Baptism

Post-Baptism

In his video today Russell speaks about feeling like another power is now helping him, and points out that this is a new journey for him, he says he will make mistakes, and thanks those who have been welcoming towards him and his newfound faith.  He says he is now surrendered to Jesus.

READ MORE

What is a Christian?

How to Become a Christian

What is Baptism?

How did the early church view baptism?

Child Believers Baptism – how young is too young?

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