Christian Rap And The Glory of God

This video has been making its rounds through the blogosphere and I know many friends on Facebook listen to those individuals who are identified as “Reformed Rappers” therefore I wanted to give my thoughts and provide a helpful link for anyone who has questions about the legitimacy of Reformed Rap as a worship form. At first this video saddened me that we are still having these type of discussions. On the other hand I have been encouraged by the response of many  Evangelicals rejecting much of what has been said and supporting these Christian artists in what God has called them to.

trip lee logo thing

Justin Taylor has done a great job of providing the original video and some responses to it. As  a result I’m not going to give a critique of the video (since the responses provided do an adequate job). However I am going to provide some suggested ways to think about the issue  (and others like it) that will hopefully help people respond to such things in a godly way.

#1 Be clear in what you want to say and think about how people will hear your message

On the one hand I felt somewhat sorry for the panelists. I have never been on a panel where I was asked questions at random, but I can’t imagine that it wasn’t easy the best answers on the spot. That being said, its hard to believe that after watching the video most of the panelist were happy with what they communicated. For the most part all that I heard was in the words of Bobby Boucher’s (Adam Sandler in Waterboy) mama, “rap [of any kind] is the devil”. The reason? Because its “roots” are non-Christian. I don’t want to go to much into this since the other critiques address this, but the same can be said for Christmas and Easter.

#2 Be aware of your own cultural biases

It seemed quite clear that the individuals on the panel were not raised on hip-hop or rap. As a consequence they had what I’m going to call a “book understanding” of what it stood for. They had ideas about what rap was (and evidently is) and couldn’t see any positive aspects of it.  I can only suspect the reason for this is that they haven’t experienced the power it has for someone who is raised on ungodly rap in helping them come to Christ and grow in Christ. We all have these kind of biases and they can often times blind us to what God’s Word actually says. This seemed evident given the only scriptural passage/reference I heard was relating to “do not be conformed to world” (Rom. 12:2). The problem of course is that the artists who fall under the category of Reformed Rap are following Paul’s command in not being conformed to the world by the lyrics they proclaim and what they do with their platform.

#3 Do not respond with knee-jerk reactions to things you don’t agree with

Some of the things that were said on the panel such as saying “Reformed rap is the cowardly following of the world instead of confronting and changing it” are frankly sin because its not true and could be seen as a form of slander. Its hard to imagine what some of the individuals were thinking with their responses but believers are called to correct error in truth and love (Eph. 4:15). It would be easy to respond angrily to these individuals and exponential make the situation worse. We need to be praying for all those affected, the panelists, those who heard the message and the Reformed Rappers who have had to deal with this sort of thing frequently in their ministry. The hope is that a result of this “conversation” the ministry of Reformed Rap would have a greater impact for the Kingdom of God.

These types of videos should lead us to prayer not anger and certainly not bitterness. Rap is another art form that God can (and I would argue has) redeemed through individuals like Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashii, etc. Christians need to do a better job of engaging the various art forms and redeem them because we have the greatest source of inspiration: God Himself.


~ by simplesage on November 29, 2013.

2 Responses to “Christian Rap And The Glory of God”

  1. Interesting angle to approach the matter. I especially appreciate the second point of understanding your own cultural bias. In academic circles, as well in any other platform, identifying one’s own natural focus creates a challenge for deeper perspective and maturity. Cultural bias affects even how I respond to this article, as how you did your own. It’s when we take all things into consideration that we can humbly have a genuine contribution to the conversation at hand. As I read the responses, what I kept noticing was that their perception of what rap intends to do is actually quite wrong and limited in its understanding! They were so filled with their own cultural bias that they could not step outside of their own understanding to genuinely relate to what the purpose and aim of an MC would be. // I also find it helpful that you encouraged the reader to be fervent in prayer and not quick to anger. An immature and sinfully-natural response would be to quip back and say how illogical and ridiculous all of this is. Yet the point is not even the argument, but loving those who are contending for their points. “By this all men will know you are my disciples, by your love for one another” [John 13:35]. Your call to love was more powerful than our disagreeing-brothers’ condemnation of “holy hip hop.” What truly makes a difference is our love for one another and how we actually exude this love. Love for God with our minds? Yes! Love for God with our arguments and thinking and worldviews? Absolutely. But I contending for the faith, may we remember that “faith, hope and love abide, but the greatest of these is love.” [1 Cor 13:13]. // finally, Francis Shaeffer has dramatically impacted my thoughts on all these issues. Stellar thinker. Have you read any of his material? // May we redeem the time, the culture, and the generation that we might display his love to be more profitable and powerful than all else.

  2. Good thoughts Jared. I have read portions of his works and enjoyed his holistic approach to theology and culture.

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