Recently there was a question asked at a a panel of professing believers at a National Center for Family Integrated Churches conference. Let me say first of all, that at this point, I am rather grateful that the church in which I am one of the Elders is not a member of this organization. I really don’t know much about this panel, other than that I have learned from Joel Beeke. I freely admit that I ought not to be the one speaking, for many are more than qualified. But, I also believe that the response against this should be overwhelming until there is true, sincere and clear repentance on the part of this panel.
Let me first ask, where are the men on this panel? Is not such a lack of response a witness of weakness in the face of wrong? It seems that speaker number five gave a condescending plea for “compassion” for these poor brothers who were so unfortunate as to have been brought up like this. These rappers need to be “brought in and discipled.” Sir, I would go to war a thousand times with these brothers then anytime with the men on this panel. Where are the men on this panel? Where are those who would stand up and rebuke this slander of brothers in Christ? I am offended that neither Joel nor anyone else present addressed the obvious malice in the words of these men. The condescending attitudes towards other servants of God has no place in those I associate myself with. I and many others issue a call for repentance! You men who were on this panel need to examine your hearts. How dare you stoop to such malevolent levels as to call our brothers in Christ disobedient cowards?
Surely there was something in your hearts that cried out that these words were completely inappropriate. Even sinister. Is it no cowardice to do nothing when wrong is being done or wrong things said? How appropriate it would have been for someone present to man up and speak out! This is nothing less than racism. What other cultures would you go in and demand that the Christians there accept your own European white man ancient church culture? You men who uttered these words ought to be ashamed of yourselves for taking part in the slander of other men of God who have battled the real enemy daily, preaching, planting churches, evangelizing and discipling. These men are on fire for God and are being used of God. In fact, this, along with the resurgence is a work of God and you may find yourselves to be opposing the very work of God. And why “Reformed Rappers” in the first place? Do you not know that there are rappers out there with very weak theology? Worldly rappers? Why the “reformed”? What are you trying to protect? We ought to be praising God that the gospel has penetrated to this culture also and the gospel is going forth in our inner cities, but you sirs have rather attacked your brethren.
The first speaker tells us that God cares not only about the words, but about the presentation. Of course, he, like the others, gives us not one scriptural source for their beliefs from what I remember, but there is a chance that my passions overtook me and I didn’t hear a bare mention. They have scruples about rap music and demand that we bow to their views. As a former traditionalist and legalist, my hackles rise at the very mention of things like this. These men were claiming to speak for God, without God’s authority. Is it not dangerous for men to claim to speak for God and provide no scriptural proof for what they are saying? Should we not warn the church of such dangers?
This first speaker in his arrogant salvo claims that the focus in rap is not on the words. This is laughable. Rap is first and foremost about the words. It’s all about the words. Then he says that music is to help us remember words. Is this a fact? Well, then, you have thousands of young people literally memorizing the Word of God due to our brethren who rap. They are memorizing “reformed doctrine”, verses, etc. on a level which would be hard to compare to with any other style of music or culture.
Then, this first speaker goes on to say that rap is about drawing attention to the rapper. How condescending once again. I personally know some of these brethren and have met many others and have not had one encounter where I would say that these brothers are not humble. Not one. Now, surely there is a proud rapper out there. We all struggle with pride. But these brothers have gone to war in one of the most difficult cultures to work in and here we are sitting back launching attacks against them instead of encouraging them. These young men are speaking into the lives of thousands. Thousands of young people and are giving them meat. They are teaching them. They are preaching the gospel and we, unlike the apostle Paul, cannot even rejoice in that. I say again, shame on you all!
The second speaker, again says that God cares “how we say it”. Again, no scripture. I am not saying that God doesn’t care how we say it. I am saying that the level of intellect displayed during this panel is certainly not one to be proud of. Here is some awful logic.1. “God cares about how we say what we say”. 2. “You aren’t saying things about God in the way God wants them to be said”. So, 3. “You should not say things that way”. Brilliant!
This second speaker goes on to say “Some of them are much more doctrinally dense than some of our songs…however”. So, it doesn’t matter that some of the rapping is theologically more intense than many of our Hymns, “we think it is bad”. How about we just tell them to go back to the plantation and gather around their sheds and sing their great old Negro spirituals? Just don’t bring them into our white church!
The second speaker goes on to speak about the “cultural milieu” rap grew out of. OK, so why don’t we just eliminate that culture, huh? Let’s stamp them out of society so they don’t taint our white churches! Here the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is changing people and redeeming a culture and this man just can’t see it. He actually goes on to say that what is redeemed changes, meaning of course, that in his view, if a black person becomes saved, he will certainly not use rap music to preach the gospel.. No, he will go on the streets with “whiter” types of songs, well like Hymns from the 1700’s and 1800’s of course, written by good European blood type people. Ugh ! We are at that point again where cultural standards are a test of spirituality, and of course, it’s a biased test written by white men.
In fact, at this point, I am willing to say that unless these men repent, they should not be listened to, supported, or encouraged to pursue ministry or further relationships in the church.
Geoff Botkin actually says something like, this rapping reveals “the weakness and surrender of those serving their own flesh”. I cannot condescend low enough to respond appropriately. Then he uses the words referring to our brethren as “disobedient cowards”. Sir, you speak evil words here. These were words that ought not to be mentioned in the fellowship of the saints. If I were in fellowship with you I would withdraw myself and wish that you were even “cut off”, from the fellowship of the saints, until you repent. And a small quote on a comment section is not enough. This panel needs to repent publicly. Soon!
These brothers you have maligned are confronting the world in a way that you never dreamed of doing. These brothers are going into the ghettos, our cities, into the streets and are preaching the Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ!
Speaker number 5 launches into a diatribe about Toby Mac. Not a Reformed Rapper, but what’s that got to do with it as long as it helps shore up the arguments. He goes on to speak about maturity and Christian Manhood. A 50 year old man with a backwards hat. Sir, we don’t need you to pull anyone up to Christian Maturity and manhood. We need you to simply get out of the way while we go to war.
Speaker number 6 then says that “some forms of music cannot be separated out of the culture from which it comes.” His proof text is that some young men wear earrings and he is able to teach them that the earring is identifying them with an unwanted culture. This is nothing les than ungodly legalism. Teach them how to dress. Teach them how to sound. Teach them to be “whited-sepulchres”. And they will. Oh they will Mr. Morecraft.
Joe, then goes on to say that “rap music is the death rattle in the throat of a dying culture”. Yes, again, strong logic being present by this entire panel.
Again, these men must repent. We must stand against such nonsense.
To all my brethren who have been spoken against. I am sorry. I am sorry you had to hear this. I’m sorry it is out there. Don’t listen to it. You are being used of God mightily. You know that. We know that. We have seen the fruit. We are witnessing a work of God. God is behind this.
Keep on keeping on.
I wish I were a better writer and more qualified. I probably made a mess of this whole thing, but I couldn’t help it.