Is Rap for the church?

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Redness

Puritan Board Freshman
In my previous post(s) I displayed my hostility toward rap which perhaps could have been more sensitive. But hey, no one is perfect. I do tend to make bad first impressions as I'm a bit... passionate about what I believe. Forgive me. Below is an article that pretty much says what I did, but is more kind in it's delivery. May God grant us all eye to see and ears to hear.

Reformed Rap: My Thoughts at Christian Research Net

Btw, I'm not a racist, I'm a cultural-ist!
 

Kim G

Puritan Board Junior
Use the search bar on the right to type in "Reformed Rap." You'll see lots of threads about this already. Praise God for our brothers in Christ preaching the gospel to the hip hop culture. Here is reformed rap artist and pastor Shai Linne who already addressed this issue in another forum where a bunch of old white men chatted on for thirty pages against this music although they knew nothing about it. I challenge you to read it.

************

'Wow, what a fascinating discussion! With this being my first time posting here, I guess I should introduce myself. My name is Shai Linne. I found this forum because it was linked from a Christian Hip-hop website (yes, they do exist). I'll come clean immediately and let you know that I am a Christian Hip-hop artist myself and I count Curtis "Voice" Allen as a personal friend and a dear brother in Christ. I've followed this thread from the beginning. I was tempted to post when the discussion was still around 4 or 5 pages long. At that point, there had already been so many over-generalizations, false assumptions, factual inaccuracies and downright offensive statements that it would have been almost laughable had it not been so grieving. As the Lord's providence would have it, I had other obligations to tend to and had to wait until today to post. Little did I know that it would explode into more than 30 pages!

'Honestly, it's a good thing that I didn't post yesterday, because I would have posted in anger, which obviously would not have been honoring to God. As the thread got longer, I continued to watch in amazement at the things that were being discussed concerning rap by people who were clearly uninformed concerning the genre. People who seemed to be otherwise intelligent and knowledgeable in the Scriptures said some of the most baffling things! I chuckled more than once as nearly everyone prefaced their statements by saying something to the effect of "I don't listen to rap", "Personally, I hate rap", "I'm not defending rap. We would never use rap in our church...", etc. Even those who sided with Piper were quick to acknowledge their disdain for the genre. So there you have it. If you can't agree on anything else, you were universally united in your negative opinion of rap! Who said there was no unity here?

'As I signed up to post on this site, I gladly concurred with the fundamentalist doctrinal statement. I love Jesus Christ! I am passionate (though not nearly as I should be) about the glory of God, the supremacy of Jesus Christ in all things, sound doctrine, the doctrines of grace and discipleship. I am also passionate about reaching out to those who are either a part of or influenced by Hip-hop culture. In light of that final passion, there is much to be discouraged by in this thread. It was amazing how, among those who have such a high view of Scripture, how biblically uninformed this discussion has been! I'm grateful for the few who at least attempted to bring Scripture to bear on the conversation, even if I disagreed with some of the conclusions. I was also discouraged by how few people actually did any research at all about Hip-hop culture. I mean, If you're going to reject something with little to no biblical support, I would at least hope that you would do a little research, so as to give an informed opinion about what you're rejecting. I do appreciate the brother who took the time to look up "hip-hop" in wikipedia, only to come to the (incorrect) conclusion that "holy" and "hip-hop" are mutually exclusive. Very disheartening indeed.

'I'm really not here to either present a defense or even address your arguments. That would take more time than I have, considering that the thread is about to close. However, the the more I thought about it, the more I realized that you all have very valid reasons for having the opinions that you do. I absolutely understand why you reject rap and question the integrity of someone who would use it in a Christian context. I understand why many of you consider rap to be "aesthetically bankrupt". I understand why some of you believe that anyone who could possibly think of using rap to glorify God obviously needs more discipleship. What other conclusion could you come to? Here's what I mean:

'Of course you paint all "rap" with a broad brush. How could you make any differentiation at all? You have no idea that there have been at least 5 distinct eras in rap's brief, thirty-plus year history. Of course you see rap as a profane medium. What has your exposure been? The only exposure some of you have had is when you've walked into the room and caught your teenager watching MTV and told them to cut it off. Or when a car pulls up next to you blasting rap music at an obscenely high level- to the point where you can't even hear the music in your own car!

'Of course you view rap music as "aesthetically bankrupt". Your ear is not trained to hear the brilliance of the cadences, rhythms and structure of the songs performed by the best Hip-hop lyricists. You haven't been exposed to the multisyllabic poetic forms of the best rappers that would put some of the best hymn writers to shame, in terms of verbal dexterity and lyrical complexity. All you hear is a loud beat with profanity being shouted over it!

'Of course you believe that all rap is "intrinsically erotic in composition". (By the way, I'll refrain from telling Curtis that presumably older, caucasian men found what he did at Piper's church to be erotic. That might be more information than he needs) What are your examples? You've only been exposed to the crass, over-sexualized rap songs that typify much of the popular secular rap. Your conclusion is absolutely reasonable, based on how uninformed you are.

'How could you possibly think that the rap's medium is appropriate for carrying the weight of the triune God's eternal truth? You could only believe that to be true if you've been exposed to rap lyrics such as the following:

"God doesn't just save us for forgiveness of sins
He takes us to shape us into an image of Him
Christ fulfilled the law when we were doomed with Satan
So believers get His righteousness through imputation
Now there's no condemnation for His consecrated
I know the process stated seems complicated
But it's the Holy Spririt's keen medication
All by His washing and regeneration"
(Timothy Brindle, "Sanctification")

'Of course you don't believe that rap is appropriate for worship! You haven't been exposed to rap songs with lyrics such as this:

"On Mt. Sinai when He appeared the assembly near
Shouted violent cries and trembled in fear
And you can trust He'll delete and crush and delete
All lust and deceit, the clouds are the dust of His feet
Ask Nadab and Abihu, Rahab and the spies knew
Check Psalm 76, Asaph will remind you
A loud singing choir flips in the heavenlies
The proud King Uzziah stricken with leprosy
Those who don't fear get the harshest of punishment
Like Uzzah when He touched the ark of the covenant
The Lord struck him down?
Because he was a guilty man who assumed his filthy hands
Were cleaner than the dusty ground!
It defies your reasoning to try conceiving Him
His foes will flee and hide when the Son comes
My eyes have seen the King and I'm an evil thing
Woe is me for I am undone!"

Holy, holy, holy is the LORD!
Holy, holy holy is our God!
Holy, holy, holy is the LORD!
The whloe earth is filled with His glory!
(from "The Holiness of God" by Vessels of Mercy)

'You have no idea that there is a group of young, Christ-exalting, theocentric, passionate, missions-minded believers in our generation who see Hip-hop not just as a genre of music, but a culture that shapes the worldview of a distinct people group that needs to be reached with the gospel. How could you know this? You haven't been to the evangelistic services in the Chicago area that featured Christian Hip-hop and culminated with gang members laying their guns on the altar as they weeped in repentance, crying out for the Savior. You haven't been privy to the multitudes of emails that testify of believers being led into sound doctrine and away from churches that promote false teaching because God's grace led them to actually look into the Scriptures for themselves to see what that Christian rap artist was talking about.

'Of course you believe that rap can't be used for edification. You have no idea that calls are coming in from places as far as China and Brazil for Christian rap artists to help teach local pastors about discipleship because of the clear fruit that is abounding to God's glory in urban areas like Philadelphia, St. Louis, Dallas and Memphis. You are not aware that many in the Hip-hop generation are currently enrolled in or have graduated from some of the most elite seminaries and Bible colleges in our country. How could you know this?

'Forgive me for being so long-winded. I just want to let you know that I absolutely understand your concerns. They are borne out of ignorance. And you are to be excused for that. However, your lack of basic Christian charity, lack of grace, cultural pride and refusal to acknowledge that God is glorified whenever the person and work of His glorious Son Jesus Christ are clearly explained, believed, understood and rejoiced in is inexcusable. And for that, some of you in here need to repent.

Soli Deo Gloria,
shai'

************
I personally believe that rap/hip hop is one of the best mediums for Christian songs because it is basically preaching set to music. There are SO MANY lyrics compared to a hymn or praise song. Here's my personal favorite: a breakdown of the entire book of Romans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K2r4ujFeuqk
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Introduce Yourself is for just that; it is not for discussions such as this. Moving to General Discussions.
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
Redness,

1) We're now talking about the performing of, or listening to, rap music outside of a worship service, right? I doubt you'll find many on the PB who would think that rap was appropriate as part of a Sunday morning service.

2) Why single out rap? Do you believe that rap, or the "culture" associated with it, are any more sinful that that of rock, or country-and-western?

I'm not a fan of rap, but trying to be fair, I would think that the cadence and structure of rap would make conveying a message lyrically easier for rap than for many other styles of music.

I get that a Christian rap artist would have to be careful not to become absorbed by the worldliness around him, and that we are influenced not just by lyrics but by the music itself, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why you think this entire style of music is unredeemable.
 

InSlaveryToChrist

Puritan Board Junior
I admit that Christian rap, as it tends to be, involves a lot of sinful habits and motives. But leaving those things aside, "rap" (call it whatever you want) can be an effective way of delivering the truth; the rhythm and especially the rhymes make messages very easy to memorize! Here is a great example by Shai Linne:

[video=youtube;7RUciHVpCbw]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7RUciHVpCbw[/video]
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
Redness, I appreciate you phrasing this argument in a much more respectable manner. I read the article you shared and I would agree with it. I don't care for rap, but I especially don't care for Christian rap. Here is a thread I started last year. You can see most people will disagree with us, but I am with you and I believe that rap music is something we should leave for the world.
 

Redness

Puritan Board Freshman
Redness, I appreciate you phrasing this argument in a much more respectable manner. I read the article you shared and I would agree with it. I don't care for rap, but I especially don't care for Christian rap. Here is a thread I started last year. You can see most people will disagree with us, but I am with you and I believe that rap music is something we should leave for the world.

Fantastic!!

---------- Post added at 01:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:57 PM ----------

Redness,

1) We're now talking about the performing of, or listening to, rap music outside of a worship service, right? I doubt you'll find many on the PB who would think that rap was appropriate as part of a Sunday morning service.

2) Why single out rap? Do you believe that rap, or the "culture" associated with it, are any more sinful that that of rock, or country-and-western?

I'm not a fan of rap, but trying to be fair, I would think that the cadence and structure of rap would make conveying a message lyrically easier for rap than for many other styles of music.

I get that a Christian rap artist would have to be careful not to become absorbed by the worldliness around him, and that we are influenced not just by lyrics but by the music itself, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why you think this entire style of music is unredeemable.

I feel the same about Rock, Punk and Pop etc. Leave them to the world.

---------- Post added at 02:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:59 PM ----------

Introduce Yourself is for just that; it is not for discussions such as this. Moving to General Discussions.

Thanks!!
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
Redness, I appreciate you phrasing this argument in a much more respectable manner. I read the article you shared and I would agree with it. I don't care for rap, but I especially don't care for Christian rap. Here is a thread I started last year. You can see most people will disagree with us, but I am with you and I believe that rap music is something we should leave for the world.

Fantastic!!

---------- Post added at 01:59 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:57 PM ----------

Redness,

1) We're now talking about the performing of, or listening to, rap music outside of a worship service, right? I doubt you'll find many on the PB who would think that rap was appropriate as part of a Sunday morning service.

2) Why single out rap? Do you believe that rap, or the "culture" associated with it, are any more sinful that that of rock, or country-and-western?

I'm not a fan of rap, but trying to be fair, I would think that the cadence and structure of rap would make conveying a message lyrically easier for rap than for many other styles of music.

I get that a Christian rap artist would have to be careful not to become absorbed by the worldliness around him, and that we are influenced not just by lyrics but by the music itself, but I'm having a hard time figuring out why you think this entire style of music is unredeemable.

I feel the same about Rock, Punk and Pop etc. Leave them to the world.

---------- Post added at 02:01 PM ---------- Previous post was at 01:59 PM ----------

Introduce Yourself is for just that; it is not for discussions such as this. Moving to General Discussions.

Thanks!!

You forgot country and western. Lots of drowning in the bottom of a wiskey bottle and rebellion there, too. I like Hank Williams music, but he was also an alcholic and pill popper who slept around. Does this mean that country and western should also be verboten for the Christian?

I think that I would agree with you that the Christian needs to be more discerning and that we (the church) often land up falling prey to worldliness. What I'm trying to figure out is at what point does a musical style become unredeemable? At one point does the fact that artist A is a fornicator or artist B is an atheist mean that the musical style is inappropriate?

Are you concerned more with the lifestyles and the sin surrounding many in the genre, or is it the formulation or instrumentation etc... that is your primary concern?
 

Redness

Puritan Board Freshman
You forgot country and western. Lots of drowning in the bottom of a wiskey bottle and rebellion there, too. I like Hank Williams music, but he was also an alcholic and pill popper who slept around. Does this mean that country and western should also be verboten for the Christian?

I think that I would agree with you that the Christian needs to be more discerning and that we (the church) often land up falling prey to worldliness. What I'm trying to figure out is at what point does a musical style become unredeemable? At one point does the fact that artist A is a fornicator or artist B is an atheist mean that the musical style is inappropriate?

Are you concerned more with the lifestyles and the sin surrounding many in the genre, or is it the formulation or instrumentation etc... that is your primary concern?[/QUOTE]

I thought the article nailed it with regard to the style when the author talked about the aggressive attitude and nature of the music itself. This would go for rock and punk as well.
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
I thought the article nailed it with regard to the style when the author talked about the aggressive attitude and nature of the music itself. This would go for rock and punk as well.

Actually, the author discusses a number of reasons why he doesn't like rap. Most of the article seems concerned with the sin and worldliness of many in the genre and then draws conclusions based on this, which is why I asked about Hank.

The first problem I see with Christian rap is that rap as a genre has a lot of baggage. I don’t think anyone would deny that. Secular rap celebrates and glorifies things that are antithetical to the gospel; things like drugs, crime, promiscuous sex, hate, rebellion, and violence. In addition to these more obvious things, rap, and the culture that surrounds it, celebrates pride and arrogance. The clothing, the cars, the attitude, and more, all reflect self-centeredness and self-glorification.

Just to clarify, your concern has more to do with the nature of the music (the instrumentation and the beat) than the culture surrounding the genre?
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
Personally I have mixed feelings.

In grade school and high school I was in a dance troop and rap group. I've won contests for dancing and rapping. When I became a Christian I started to find rap very distasteful and in time stopped listening to music in general. I was happy to find hip hop with sound theological leanings but still do not listen to it often. The music, for me, just brings up past sins, everything from violence to fornication so in general I avoid it.

Is it bad for the church? I can't speak for the church at large but for me...the music has a negative affect on me. I'm weak in this area. A familiar baseline or sample in a song and I'm rattling off lyrics that I thought I forgot and these lyrics are not God glorifying.

I pick a banjo now and sing hymns of praise, thanksgiving and sorrow over sin.

jm
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am not claiming to know God's mind, but Im wondering if any have considered that God in His sovereignty has ordained rap music to stem from the ghetto so that at some point He could use it to reach those in the Ghetto? Genesis 50:20 comes to mind. If you have never been to the ghetto, don't come to the ghetto you don't belong in the ghetto, but Shai Linn and the Voice have and are reaching those people in a biblical way, where Christ is preeminent in all that they proclaim. Their lyrics are amazing and drenched is doctrinally sound theology, and it seems to put to shame (lyrically speaking) most of all the CCM out today.
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
Their lyrics are amazing and drenched is doctrinally sound theology, and it seems to put to shame (lyrically speaking) most of all the CCM out today.

I agree. I can't stand most CCM for this reason, but every example of reformed rap/hip hop I've heard has been lyrically and theologically sound.
 

Philip

Puritan Board Graduate
I thought the article nailed it with regard to the style when the author talked about the aggressive attitude and nature of the music itself.

Which would only eliminate certain forms of rap. So ones with a soul or R&B beat would be fine?
 

ryanhamre

Puritan Board Freshman
If the style in which the lyrics were presented were removed to only put forth the text as a poem or a literary piece, would you then be OK with it?
 

lynnie

Puritan Board Graduate
The problem is the presupposition that music is morally neutral.

There is much research about the soothing qualities of certain music, and the good and bad emotional and physiological impacts of various music. All the way back to the Greek and Roman philosophers it was understood that music has a great impact on the soul and is not morally neutral at all.


It does not take much common sense in my opinion, to grasp that any music which brings to mind a bunch of naked savages doing a war dance in a ring while torturing their prisoners- before the final death blow and subsequent feast-is not music for Christians.
 

CIT

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I didn't realize that savages were rappers. Can you show me where this is true?
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
It does not take much common sense in my opinion, to grasp that any music which brings to mind a bunch of naked savages doing a war dance in a ring while torturing their prisoners- before the final death blow and subsequent feast-is not music for Christians.

Hmmm. Is this a "cultural-ist" statement?

As I mentioned earlier, I am definitely not a fan of rap. But, I certainly didn't envision the above when listening to Curt Allen rap about the Heidelberg Catechism.
 

Quickened

Puritan Board Senior
It does not take much common sense in my opinion, to grasp that any music which brings to mind a bunch of naked savages doing a war dance in a ring while torturing their prisoners- before the final death blow and subsequent feast-is not music for Christians.

What? Would you care to elaborate?
 

Quickened

Puritan Board Senior
It does not take much common sense in my opinion, to grasp that any music which brings to mind a bunch of naked savages doing a war dance in a ring while torturing their prisoners- before the final death blow and subsequent feast-is not music for Christians.

Hmmm. Is this a "cultural-ist" statement?

As I mentioned earlier, I am definitely not a fan of rap. But, I certainly didn't envision the above when listening to Curt Allen rap about the Heidelberg Catechism.

Ha! That's one of the funnier posts i read here!
 

Rufus

Puritan Board Junior
It does not take much common sense in my opinion, to grasp that any music which brings to mind a bunch of naked savages doing a war dance in a ring while torturing their prisoners- before the final death blow and subsequent feast-is not music for Christians.

People can use music with pianos and other classical western instruments to put in the background of there anti-Christian movies or the background to any type of immorality, its not the music that makes it wrong but the act itself.
 

calgal

Puritan Board Graduate
The problem is the presupposition that music is morally neutral.

There is much research about the soothing qualities of certain music, and the good and bad emotional and physiological impacts of various music. All the way back to the Greek and Roman philosophers it was understood that music has a great impact on the soul and is not morally neutral at all.


It does not take much common sense in my opinion, to grasp that any music which brings to mind a bunch of naked savages doing a war dance in a ring while torturing their prisoners- before the final death blow and subsequent feast-is not music for Christians.

Are you joking? Please say you are being sarcastic.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Wow? That is quite baffling? I would venture to say that if someone who had never heard or knew anything about Rap music prior to hearing it for the first time, would probably never think of naked savages. That only comes with ones own presuppositions that anything with a beat comes from Satan. Could you explain how Rap = pictures of naked savages.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
I'm a 50 year old white guy who doesn't like rap. That said, I am not prepared to put rappers in Satan's camp. If you have a scruple regarding rap, that's fine; but be careful about painting word pictures that may offend Christian brothers or sisters.
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Some things that are fine for personal use are not fine for the official worship music of the church. That goes for all genres of music.
 
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Reformed Roman

Puritan Board Freshman
I have very strong feelings about this. Rap is one of the things that no, God did not use to redeem me, but God has used to sanctify me. I listened to some of the worst hip hop imaginable before God saved me, but after I got saved rap helped me further understand what God really did in my salvation. It helped me understand how much God did for me. I would listen to many songs, weeping because of how great God is. Songs about the gospel.

When I get greedy, and I just want things, and want things, I think of a song that says, "things could be better, but they could be worse, it's good to be last sometimes and not first...." and later, "be content, I'm not saying be complacent, but some things aren't for you, watch what your chasing". (By Young Joshua)

A song that can remind me to be content as God has commanded me. Or through the Atonement QnA song above, I learned what imputation was.

The majority of us listen to music outside of church. And I love listening to hip hop. Lecrae has a song called "Desperate" and it's pretty much going over Psalm 51 and has been a comforting song to me in times I've sinned.

It's just a way to bring out the gospel. God is using hip hop to reach a generation none of us expected to be reached, and a people that most people just give up on.

Because God uses His Word.... and Christian hip hop uses the Word of God to change lives, and help us grow in Christ.

Without Christian Hip Hop, I never would have gotten around solid believers. Without Christian Hip Hop, I never would have known John Piper, Paul Washer, John Macarthur, Jerry Bridges, John Owen, Jonathan Owens, or any solid teachers. I was in a Christian church for years that taught you had to be baptized to be saved and you could lose your salvation. Through God placing biblical people in my life and growing me, I learned of the doctrines of grace.

Yes, some things can come with Hip Hop. Just like they can come with Preaching. Being on a stage in front of people, and rapping, you can get caught up in coming up with the nicest rhymes. You can get prideful, but you can do that in any occupation or thing you do. When you submit to the LORD and use your gifts in humility, He can do wonders.

I praise God for hip hop. Without hip hop I wouldn't have met some of my best friends, people who lived in the hood but people who God redeemed. People who if you just looked at how they dressed, you would think they might be thugs. Just because they might wear their hat backwards. But they are people who love the LORD. People who LOVE His Word. Reformed brothers who I dig into the scriptures with. In fact, these guys are the most solid people I know.

Is it okay in a Worship Service? I don't see why not. As the main and official worship music? I wouldn't go that far. I would still myself be 50/50 on that. I would rather just sing hymns. We can get caught up in a genre of music we like and not get caught up in the SAVIOR.

Just because people use forks to kill people, doesn't mean we can't use them to eat. We show them how to use forks to the glory of God. Lame illustration, but it's the same thing with hip hop or any genre of music. Humility is key though, and making sure the Word is the thing that changes people, and not just people trying to do it on their own.
 
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