After Turning Theological, Christian Hip-Hop Turns CriticalWhat Shai Linne's takedown of Joyce Meyers suggests about Reformed rap.
[ posted 5/30/2013 7:41AM ] Original Article: CHRISTIANITY TODAY
Just five years ago, uttering the phrase "Christian hip-hop" in the average evangelical church would have met with blank stares.
All this has changed as artists such as Lecrae and Flame have exploded in popularity—winning awards, selling out shows, and racking up millions of downloads. Young believers have responded enthusiastically to the movement's blend of doxology and pedagogy.
But Christian hip-hop is showing signs of entering a new phase. Call it the "critical phase," one in which artists broaden their program to address cultural issues in evangelicalism or the public square.
In April, Sho Baraka, a rapper and elder at Blueprint Church in Atlanta, released a song entitled "Jim Crow" that uses strong language—including the controversial word nigga.
The song drew a heated response and engaged Christian leaders.
"It's being used in the same way that it was used in Uncle Tom's Cabin," noted Ken Jones, senior pastor of Glendale Missionary Baptist Church and a relative of Propaganda, a spoken-word poet. "Part of the baggage that [the term] will carry is that people are expecting a Sunday school lesson, and they're not necessarily going to get it."
Daniel White Hodge, author of Heaven Has a Ghetto: The Missiological Gospel and Theology of Tupac Amaru Shakur, approves of language that reaches "the general human experience."
"People aren't interested in coming to some crusade, saying a little prayer, and then thinking that their lives are going to be okay," he said. "Christian art tries to answer ultimate questions."
Rapper Trip Lee said he probably would not use the word, but noted that hip-hop is about provocation.
"It's a bold, in-your-face art form," he said. "It lends itself to movements—often rebellion against God and morality, but it can be used as a counter-rebellious force in society."
But Thabiti Anyabwile, senior pastor of First Baptist Church of Grand Cayman, said Christian rappers should note the call for pure speech in Ephesians 4:29. While this verse applies primarily to speech inside the church, its principles also "ought to go outside the church with hip-hop," he said. "That's part of what is going to make it an effective witness."
"Jim Crow" is not the only recent rap song to ignite controversy. Shai Linne's recently released "False Teachers" states that advocates of the prosperity gospel are "heretics Christianizing the American dream." Linne calls out a number of prominent pastors by name—including Joyce Meyer, Joel Osteen, Paul Crouch, T. D. Jakes, and Paula White.
White's son, Brad, publicly responded to Linne, calling the song "pure cannibalization without biblical reference" and arguing that the rapper had maligned his mother's genuine faith in Christ. Linne defended the song in an open letter. "Paula White lists 'financial abundance' as one of the promises of the Atonement," he wrote. "This is false. It is also a slap in the face to the millions of godly saints … who do not live in 'financial abundance' like many of us live here in America."
Observers wondered whether Linne should have named false teachers publicly. But theologian Bruce Ware cites passages such as 2 Timothy 2:16–18.
"Warning against false teaching is a mandate," he said. "False teaching comes through false teachers, so you have to warn your people about certain people whose teachings will lead you astray."
"Jim Crow" and "False Teachers" raise different issues, but reflect evangelical rappers' growing desire to speak to sociological and theological issues as their influence in the church grows.
"You can deal with tough subjects," said Anyabwile. "But you need to do so in a way that meets [that] litmus test."
As Christians, we debate and pontificate on many matters. is there a Rapture? If so, when does it occur? Can you lose your salvation? and the list goes on and on and on. But, are these questions that really matter? Why does it matter if there is a rapture? If you are living a life in Christ and are his child, you will go, and if there isn't one, God will keep you and get you through the bad times. Can you lose your salvation? again, what does it matter, if you are living your life for Christ and are his child.? so, what are some valid things to ponder? How about, what are you doing to serve others? To feed the poor, take care of the widows, and most importantly share your faith! What can we be doing to get closer to God and to live a more holy life? These are the questions that TRULY Matter. Paul summed it up quite nicely in 1 Corinthians 2:2 when he stated " For I determined not to know anything among you, except Jesus Christ, and him crucified."
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In a world that encourages us to “Be Proud, to do whatever we like, just as long as we don’t hurt anyone, have it our way, never let them see you sweat, and to think of ourself first, the wisdom of the Bible seems pretty radical. Philipians 2:3 tells us Do not act out of selfish ambition or conceit, but with humility think of others as being better than yourselves. “Romans 12:10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.
The enemy of Humility is PRIDE, Pride has been referred to as the “complete anti-God state of mind.” in Prov. 16:5 is says Everyone proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD; and God detests pride. He even hates a proud look according to (Prov. 6:16-17). It’s funny how that which God hates, is the crowing principle of our modern society. So my challenge to you is to take some time, ask the Lord to search you, and uncover any pride in you…….For God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”
Devotionals by Donovan de Necker from South Africa, also band member of the J.C.H.C. band THE OLD-TIMERS.
Matthew 27:14 But he gave him no answer, not even to a single charge, so that the governor was greatly amazed.
Silence is Golden
What amazing obedience we see in Jesus. Falsely and unjustly accused, with every right and ability to defend Himself and refute all accusations...yet He remained silent. Of course, as believers, we know why He did not defend Himself. He had a destiny to fulfill. Jesus came to redeem a lost and sinful world (John 6:40), not to defend Himself. As believers and followers of Christ we should always walk in His footsteps, learning and teaching from His perfect example (Matthew 16:24).
Turn Turn Turn
Don't get me wrong, the Word in Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us there is a season for every purpose under Heaven. And all throughout the New Testament the Apostle Paul tells us to contend for the faith. We even see Jesus strongly rebuking, even to the point of calling names, like "hypocrites" or "brood of vipers" (Matthew 23). So, how do we know when to speak and when not to?
Pride Goes Before
Proverbs 16:18 warns that pride goes before destruction. That's a good rule of thumb to go by. I can't tell you how many times I've been guilty of being right, yet being SO wrong. I constantly keep my tongue in check by asking myself that old line, "what's my motivation?", if what I'm going to say is self-seeking then it's probably not even worth saying. Even if, and often, ESPECIALLY if I'm right.
As Christians we are told to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matthew 5:13-14). Salt is flavoring but also an abrasive, it's rough, but can polish. Sometimes we may need to share the raw and salty truth with someone who needs to hear it. And that's not prideful, that's love. And then there's times when we just need to silently yet brilliantly shine to light the way. Or maybe just be a warming soft glow that comforts. Whatever the need, we can always know just which is necessary when we remove "self" from the equation. And that's what Christ did for us, so should we for each other.
This article was written by Thomas Austin
Seasons change four times within a year and those changes take place overtime. There is a time and place for everything. Nothing happens overnight. You may be in a place where change seems like it isn't showing it's face. But just as the seasons take three months to change into a new one, so is the same with life. Now, in no way am I putting a timeline for those changes to take place because Heaven Knows it can take anywhere from months to years for a change to be noticed.
But consider this... your favorite meal. Eating your favorite makes you feel pretty warm on the inside and out, right? Let's say your favorite meal was baked chicken (haha, you thought I was going to say fried? LOL), with homemade mashed potatoes and corn on the cob. Now what if you found out your favorite wasn't prepared fresh for you, but was heated up in the microwave? Would you still want to eat it and would you feel all warm and fuzzy inside? Now, think about how MUCH better you would feel if you found out Paula Dean from The Food Network prepared the same meal from scratch! (My, my that would be a blessing!)
We all want to reach a feeling of satisfaction after time has passed by. But if you want the microwaved version of success then by all means, it will be ready for you within the next 5 minutes or so. You may have to reheat it over and over again which will cause distaste, distress and disappointment! But for all those who are willing to be patient through prayer, KNOW and HAVE FAITH that God has created a recipe for success and you must trust Him enough to bring it out at the right time to serve you a well prepared meal!
Live in Peace of Mind, Keep it JESUS and Much Love!
- Harlem Witness
I know it's been a while since I posted, my apologies. However, I am back and come bearing no gifts, but a question. May I continue?
Excellent, so I thought about the word value... and I asked myself, "Self, what do you value?" Well, I value God, Family, Time... and honestly although it may be true, it's easy to say.
I've heard it said, that on whatever you spend most of your time on, that's what is of the most importance to you. So, I have a different question, same subject matter of course. "What's most important to you?" Guess what, you don't have to answer because if we look closely, we'll surely see for ourselves.
Could it be money, accessories, makeup, hair, parties, drugs, friends, family, yourself, or above all... God?
Whatever it maybe, I can only hope that we understand that God values us and wants us to spend time with him. This is a relationship and knowing OF God is completely different from knowing Him. I hope we value our relationship with our Heavenly Father and our time spent with Him will only prove if it's true... or not.
Live in Peace of Mind, Keep It JESUS, Much Love!
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