Is U2 A Christian Band?

Is U2 A Christian Band? September 22, 2016

Is U2 a Christian Band? What about the work Bono does? Is he doing the work of Christ for His sake?

Who is U2?

Most of us have heard of U2. This Irish rock band was formed in Dublin, Ireland in 1976 and includes Bono, Adam Clayton, the Edge, and Larry Mullen. There are some who believe that they are a Christian band or that the members (at least some) are Christian. Bono and Edge paint broad pictures of what their faith looks like, but is it true saving faith where repentance and faith are required, just as Jesus demands (Mark 1:15)? I have never read or heard a statement from Bono, Edge or the other band members where they have publically stated, “I am a Christian and I follow the risen Savior Jesus Christ and His teachings in the Word,” and neither have any of the band members publically said that the Bible is the final authority on their life and that they are going to follow Jesus. True followers of Christ place their own life at the feet of Jesus and are His slaves, so where does this belief that U2 is a Christian band come from? Is this simply an “urban legend?” Can we assume that they believe because of what they do for others?

Is Doing Good Enough?

Since Bono has done much for others who are less fortunate, can we gather from this that Bono is a Christian? For sure, only God knows this, but there is a demonstration of faith that should validate whether someone’s a true follower of Christ or not. Jesus did say “You will recognize them by their fruits. Are grapes gathered from thornbushes, or figs from thistles” (Matt 7:16), and He also said, “For whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother” (Matt 12:50), so is Christian philanthropy proof of one’s citizenship in the kingdom? Speaking of our works, the Bible states that “We have all become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment. We all fade like a leaf, and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away” (Isaiah 64:6). Doing good to others is not how a person is saved, but a person that is saved will naturally do good works (Eph 2:10), but it is only “by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast” (Eph 2:8-9).

Not-everyone-who-says-to (2)

A New Creation

If we claim to know Christ, then we must have had a time in our life where we’ve repented and put our trust in Christ, and this trust in Christ will be followed by obedience to Him, as Jesus said, “You are my friends if you do what I command you” (John 15:14). This doesn’t mean believers have perfect obedience or that a Christian is sinless, although we should sin less, day by day, as we grow in the grace and knowledge of God. The process of sanctification is a lifelong experience and believers should be able to look back at their lives a few months or a few years ago and see growth in holiness. The Apostle Paul tells us that we should be a different person since “if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2nd Cor 5:17). This means that if a person who’s been regenerated, they will have new desires and new passions for God; not the old passions and desires things in life where we were only concerned about pleasing our self. Instead, we should be striving to please God. A new creation in Christ should compel them to do new things for Christ.

Public Professions

For the Apostle Paul, it was easy to tell that he was a Christ-follower, because he stated publically that “I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom 1:18) and as Christ Himself said, “whoever denies me before men, I also will deny before my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 10:33), but how do we deny Christ? It is by our silence, which is a sin of omission. To not publically speak (or write) to others about our faith is to publically deny Jesus, and that’s a very serious issue to Him because He says, “For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels” (Luke 9:26). Paul said he wasn’t ashamed of the gospel, but many who profess to be Christians privately do not do so publically. There should be no Christian that is ever a silent, underground one. That’s incompatible with Christianity. Can a person be a follower of Christ and not ever express their faith publically? I don’t see how that can be reconciled.


Jesus warns that many will come to Jesus on the day of His visitation (or second coming) and believe that they are going to enter the kingdom, but the Lord says, “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven” (Matt 7:21). They will claim to have done good works for Christ (Matt 7:22), but tragically, Christ will tell this same “many,” “I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness” (Matt 7:23). Ultimately, God alone knows, but there should at least be some evidence. If there is no fruit, then there is likely no root. Jesus tells us, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit” (John 15:5) and like with any fruit, it must be visible in order to pick it, so “If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned” (John 15:6). We can’t always see the root, but we should be able to see the fruit, and if there’s no fruit, can there really be any root?

Article by Jack Wellman

Jack Wellman is Pastor of the Mulvane Brethren Church in Mulvane Kansas. Jack is also the Senior Writer at What Christians Want To Know whose mission is to equip, encourage, and energize Christians and to address questions about the believer’s daily walk with God and the Bible. You can follow Jack on Google Plus or check out his book Teaching Children the Gospel available on Amazon.

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  • Kiwibrit

    Okay I will bite,
    But first a quote from Scripture
    Mark 9vv38-41

    Teacher,” said John, “we saw someone driving out demons in your name and we told him to stop, because he was not one of us.”
    “Do not stop him,” Jesus said. “For no one who does a miracle in my name can in the next moment say anything bad about me, for whoever is not against us is for us. Truly I tell you, anyone who gives you a cup of water in my name because you belong to the Messiah will certainly not lose their reward.

    You ask if Bono has made any public profession of faith and seem to be under the mistaken belief Bono has made no public statements about his faith so here are a few I found in a few minutes no doubt there are many more he has made to those around him which you and I would not be aware of.

    ““Even though I’m a believer, I still find it really hard to be around other believers. They make me nervous, they make me twitch. I sorta watch my back.”

    “It is impossible to meet God without abandon, without exposing yourself, being raw.

    “I am a Christian – but sometimes I feel very removed from Christianity. The Jesus Christ that I believe in was the man who turned over the tables in the temple and threw the money-changers out
    . I’m holding out that Jesus took my sins onto the Cross, because I know who I am, and I hope I don’t have to depend on my own religiosity”
    “So what you’re left with is: either Christ was who He said He was—the Messiah—or a complete nutcase. I mean, we’re talking nutcase on the level of Charles Manson. – Bono on whether Jesus was Son of God was far-fetched.”
    But with Christ, we have access in a one-to-one relationship, for, as in the Old Testament, it was more one of worship and awe, a vertical relationship. The New Testament, on the other hand, we look across at a Jesus who looks familiar, horizontal. The combination is what makes the Cross.

    When you align yourself with God’s purpose as described in the Scriptures, something special happens to your life. Bono

    I believe that Jesus was, you know, the Son of God. And I understand that… we need to be really, really respectful to people who find that ridiculous and… preposterous. Bono

    It’s very important for Christians to be honest with God, which often, you know, God is much more interested in who you are than who you want to be.

    My understanding of the Scriptures has been made simple by the person of Christ. Christ teaches that God is love.

    So you cannot, as a Christian, walk away from Africa.

    Seems to me that Bono has made many public declarations of faith.

  • Lazarus

    A most uncharitable, ill-informed and even unpleasant article.
    What Christian goal or message do you believe you have complied with here?

  • Actually, three of the four members of U2 were members of a Christian rock group before forming U2. What is more interesting to me is that you claim a public profession of faith to be the only way of displaying that one is a true Christian. I would say that Jesus often talked of praying in private, of not making a public display of showing one’s “goodness.” One does not need to show off to everyone or prove to anyone how Christian they are; it is God who knows the true heart of an individual. I could quote you all sorts of passages in the Bible, but I won’t do that, because doing so is taking the Bible dangerously out of context and misusing it for personal advantage. Have you listened to any U2 songs? Please do.
    From “Magnificent”
    I was born, I was born to sing for you;
    I didn’t have a choice, to lift you up,
    and sing whatever song you wanted me to–
    I give you back my voice, from the womb,
    my first cry, it was a joyful noise…
    Justified, til you we die, you and I will magnify,
    Oh, the Magnificent.

    • Kinshasa Brown

      I’m not surprised to hear that some of the members of U2 were in a Christian band prior to forming U2. I am absolutely convinced they are a Christian group as their lyrics speak of it. I can tell perhaps some of their lyrics may have been changed to appeal to the masses. “After the flood the colors came out” come on!!! Their true Christian fans can tell who they serve.

  • guy smith


  • Gwynn Colvin

    The writer clearly hasn’t done his homework…a simple Google search will render multiple quotes and interviews of Bono publicly confessing his faith, as well as the other band members. For the writer to suggest that U2 isn’t a “Christian Band” is dogmatic and judgmental…and indicative of the type of so-called Christians that leads nonbelievers to recoil from us. We are treading on dangerous territory when we make assumptions about the salvation of others…that’s God’s job, not ours.