Note: This article is a sidebar to this month's cover story, "W.W. Jay-Z."
Lecrae Moore is the Grammy Award–winning rapper who represents the face of the gospel hip-hop movement. In songs like "Jesus Muzik," "Don't ...
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I'd be fine with putting that to music because it would be scripture! There is a distinct difference in the esteem of God between: "I love, I love, I love, I love the way you hold me I love, I love, I love, I love the way you hold me I love, I love, I love, I love the way you hold me I love, I love, I love, I love the way you, the way you" and "Stricken, smitten, and afflicted, See Him dying on the tree! 'Tis the Christ by man rejected; Yes, my soul, 'tis He, 'tis He! 'Tis the long-expected Prophet, David's Son, yet David's Lord; Proofs I see sufficient of it: 'Tis the true and faithful Word." I'm sorry, but you can't legitimately say that CCM has the appropriate reverence for God.
Nathan, don't knock love. “Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has washed My feet with her tears and wiped them with the hair of her head. You gave Me no kiss, but this woman has not ceased to kiss My feet since the time I came in. You did not anoint My head with oil, but this woman has anointed My feet with fragrant oil. Therefore I say to you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much. But to whom little is forgiven, the same loves little.” Put that to music and you would have your "low presentations of Him in CCM." Simon had doctrine, but she had something more.
Rick, God "holds" me in the sense that He holds everything together by the power of His Word. He is not "holding me" in the romantic sense. The verses you reference are obvious references to our position in Christ, not romantic holding. Further, what would you say about Peter's crucifixion, Paul's "thorn in the flesh", Stephen's martyrdom? Did God drop them; stop "holding" them? God is so much higher than these low presentations of Him in CCM. Lastly, having Toby Mac on an album or song isn't exactly a ringing endorsement.
Nathan, does the Father hold you? Do you love the way He holds you...OK...like....OK...appreciate the way He holds you when you've had a particularly stressful day? Does your relationship with God seem to make every day special? Are you grateful for all that He has done? What do you think about someone who thinks of God all day long? David says, "I cling to you; your strong right hand holds me". John says "I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand." Deuteronomy 33 says, "The eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms." I love the way he holds me. That is the testimony of three men, Moses, David and John. I may not appreciate Jamie Grace's singing, which is perfectly fine, but her lyrics are spot on. And by the way, rapper TobyMac is featured in the song.
I couldn't have been more surprised if you hit a clap board behind my ears! I've just joined with hip-hop Pastor Jomo Johnson at the Philly Open Air Church as an editor and ghostwriter. Jomo has spent time with Cassidy, who has experienced a major transformation, and I'm working with Aaron tha Don of Global Hustlaz in California. So you'll have to give the Hip-Hop Pastor, Jomo Johnson, some props in a follow-up!
Rick, I think Scripture is clear in Hosea's marriage to Gomer as picture of God's faithfulness to a people that are whoring around after idols, not that God is our husband. The Bride of Christ is a term for the invisible Church, not my relationship to Christ (since I'm male, that would be a little to 2013 for me). Since you asked, my interpretation of Song of Solomon is as a real example of the type of one man / one woman marriage, not an allegory for Christ and the invisible Church. Regarding Peter's expressions of love for Christ, please give me a specific example. I submit that none of the Biblical examples you cite are as amorous in their language and romantic love language as today's CCM: "Hold Me" by Jamie Grace may be the most noxious; "Held" by Natalie Grant; "Love Song for a Saviour" by Jars of Clay is a jingle for a dating site!
As with artists of all genres, some are far better than others. What always impressed me with most of the rap and HH acts is the theological soundness of the lyrics. Much of the genre are basically sermons in a musical form and for general consumption, speaks deeply. Whether one is a believer or not, much of that deepness is accessible and understandable. Not a rap or HH fan myself but this is great stuff.
Bob Bobo, funny, I met the Ambassador and one of his mates during my time at Lancaster Bible College when they were there taking classes, speaking or doing some of their thing for the folks at that very culturally-conservative college (early to mid 2000's). We all were blessed by their presence and Christ-centered lives.
Nathan, does that mean that terms like the Bride of Christ, the parable of the 10 virgins, or the book of the Song of Solomon or God's love for his bride as seen by Hosea for Gomer or Peter's expressions of love for Christ are off limits for you? How do you interpret the Song of Solomon?
When it is an expression of the personal realization of God's mercies, worship has many legitimate forms. The Gospel message however isn't nearly as pliable. To the degree it is expressed in a popular way, to that degree the power of the Gospel is diminished. Redemption from sin through His sacrifice (shed blood on the cross) and the power of regeneration (by His resurrection and ascension) can not be put in other terms and retain the true salvation affect. If were not so, Joel Osteen and Benny Hinn and their fellow hucksters would be genuine.
These guys are awesome! I wish more people would listen to them and that mainstream media would recognize them more and play their music and videos. Our youth really need to hear this type of hip-hop that builds on something lasting instead of those which promote negative lifestyles. However, we need to pray for those in mainstream media for a change in their lives and a conscience to see how their negative lyrics affect our youth. Maybe they don't even realize it if they believe that's what life is all about.
The majority of these artists' lyrics are light years better than "family friendly" "uplifting" local Christian radio. Christian hip hop is largely as theologically sound as the old hymns, whereas today's CCM is largely identical to secular music, where Jesus is being addressed in completely romantic ways. I always think if I can replace Jesus' name in a "worship" song with my wife's name and the meaning of the song doesn't change, there is a problem, and that is unfortunately the case in nearly 100% of today's CCM. Good on these young artists and to the rest of the CCM crowd I would say - "sir, that we would see Jesus!"
I worked with Cross Movement years ago. Great sound, great guys. I really like the Rap style, and and if these artists can reach their generation, and if you don't mind me saying "race" becuase rap is organically from a black voice allthough gone beyond that. But the other side of this coin is, I wonder how many "chriatianity today" readers actually heard of any of these artists. Small number I'm sure as they are, and apporpiately are part of reaching their generation and their culture.
honestly, DC talk first came out as the first "christian rap" commercial band. Well that may be true yet they were not hard core rappers, and soon left that organic style. They were the darlings of the middle class white teenager in christian culture. No they were not "street" , but dont get me wrong. "Jesus freak" is still one of the best christian albums of all history in CCM. All Im sayin is
real rap is not middle class and God bless it!
This is wonderful to see. "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." We need as many sincere ministers as we can get.
In Luke 9: 49,50 -- "And John answered and said, Master, we saw someone casting out demons in Your name; and we tried to hinder him because he does not follow along with us. But Jesus said to him, Do not hinder him; for he who is not against you is for you."
So, if any minister of the Word is true to the Word, he is welcome. There are so many little corners of the world filled with people you would never see in a conventional church setting; God wants people from the four corners of the earth.
I am a huge Lecrae, Trip Lee, Tedashi, Shai Linne, Propaganda fan. I am grateful for their Theological soundness, their Christological centeredness, and their linguistical profoundness! They are missionaries serving a largely ignored and forgotten culture called hip hop. Thank You for profiling them!
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