This past Monday evening February 5, 2024, country music super star Toby Keith passed away. He had been battling stomach cancer for a little more than two years. Late in 2023 before he died he gave an interview to Robin Marsh with Channel Nine news.
He spoke early on about how this disease is devastating and like a rollercoaster ride being up and down. When Marsh asked him how he handled it he said he did so with his faith. He said he was “born with faith.”
The interview lasted a little longer than an hour and toward the end he talked about how he had not been a church goer or done many of the things expected of Christians. He then quoted John 3:16 and that Jesus had said you only need to believe.
I liked Toby Keith and many of his songs but not all of them. As popular as he was and as many times as I have seen or heard him in his public life, I cannot recall a single time he credited Jesus Christ for his salvation nor a time in his life when he repented of his sins.
His songs were secular. One of his early hits was “I Should Have Been a Cowboy,” another was “How Do You Like Me Now?” Not bad in themselves but he made other songs like “Red Solo Cup” that seemed to glorify drinking and another one titled “I Love This Bar.”
Until this interview I had never heard Toby Keith talk about his faith. When he talked about only needing to believe I wondered if he had ever read what James had written, “What use is it, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but he has no works? Can that faith save him?” James 2:14.
Genuine faith, what is called saving faith, has a transformative effect on the believer that changes his total outlook on life and how he should live. James goes on to answer his own question, “Even so faith, if it has no works, is dead, being by itself,” James 2:17. Faith that does not lead to a transformation of how we live is graveyard faith, dead faith.
Listening to this interview left me wondering if Toby truly understood what saving faith is. It may be that Toby did not know how to articulate his beliefs and he is actually a believer but the interview did not convince me of that.
Of course, I am not his judge and there is One who knows the heart of every man and with whom there is no favoritism. He is a righteous Judge and will do what is right by everyone He judges.
The point I wish to make is that among entertainers and athletes and those who are known as celebrities seem to think they know what is expected of us by God, but when they speak about matters of such as faith and the many other issues addressed in the Scriptures seem to be very ignorant, and that is because they do not read the Bible.
What the Bible says is important when discussing eternal truths. What celebrities say about such matters isn’t so important.
One fan remark that Toby could reunite with Jimmy Buffet, he died September 1 last year, and they could have a couple of Margaritas. Just shows us how those who do not know what the Bible says have a skewed picture of eternity.