Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary

4 Dec 2013

My Personal Take on Rap and Hip-Hop as Worship Forms


I’m finding myself somewhere between pity and embarrassment as I watch otherwise respectable middle-aged white men tripping over one another to be first in line insisting that they’re not racist because they’re OK with Reformed Rap and Holy Hip-Hop as valid worship forms. Not everyone is riding the wave (see esp. Darryl Hart’s comments here), but I’m definitely feeling inundated right now. How did we get here? Let me suggest three culprits:

  • Evangelicalism: In one sense I am forced to concede that I am an evangelical, because I affirm tenaciously the central tenets of the Gospel. But while evangelicalism is ever concerned about the practical success of the Gospel, the movement has never really been about the “central tenets” of anything (indeed, the admission standards to the Evangelical Theological Society have absolutely nothing to do with the evangel). Evangelicals place primary concern on horizontal interests (how to successfully connect with the people we need to reach and the people we need to keep). Whether people are properly catechized to live and worship in the right way is secondary to whether they are being touched by the Gospel.
  • Neo-Kuyperianism: There is nothing profane in culture, so everything in culture can and must be redeemed. We must eliminate explicitly sinful deeds, of course, but those are incidental intrusions into culture—the culture itself is a product of people in God’s image variously and creatively fulfilling the dominion mandate. Every culture is equally good or at the very least equally neutral. To affirm otherwise is racist, which is probably the worst possible label you can affix to an evangelical.
  • Celebrity: Christianity is, to a greater or lesser degree, publicly performed by celebrated individuals and subsequently experienced by worshippers in the form of personal admiration, pleasure, and ecstatic experience. Though these experiences may be felt in a group setting, the experience itself is individual, not corporate.

Since I am not a card-carrying evangelical, am not a Neo-Kuyperian at all, and am contemptuous of celebrities, every possible reason for embracing Reformed Rap and Holy Hip-Hop as a worship form disappears for me. Note the following:

  • Since I despise Christian celebrity, I cannot fathom how rap or hip-hop can find a place in public worship. At this point I am saying nothing about the credibility of the art forms in general, only that some forms are totally non-conducive to biblical worship (see, e.g., Eph 5:19; Col 3:16). Congregational rap does not and cannot exist. No rap exists other than celebrity rap.
  • Since I reject Neo-Kuyperianism emphatically, I do not define culture as neutral people in God’s image variously and creatively fulfilling the dominion mandate in neutral ways. At the very root of every depraved human culture (no discrimination here) lie elemental principles and philosophies that are woven into the very fabric of its cultural expressions (Col 2:8, 20). I do believe in common grace, and thus that all people are not equally evil or as evil as they can possibly be, but the fact remains that common grace often functions more as a brake on a runaway train than as the track on which the train runs. As such, (1) some cultural expressions are so hopelessly interlaced with depraved assumptions and associations that they are irredeemable (eating meat in a cultic context); (2) others are so closely connected with depraved assumptions and associations that they should be politely declined (eating meat that is perceived by pagan community itself to be evil), and (3) still others must be eaten (eating meat after it has been successfully extricated from depraved assumptions and associations so as to be profitable for the cause of Christ) (1 Cor 8–10). From where I live in a semi-rural suburb of Ann Arbor, the cultural forms of rap and hip-hop hover somewhere between (1) and (2). It is possible that my evaluation is wrong and that the evaluation of my own particular pagan community is likewise wrong, but I do not see how the use of these media could ever be justified in my context.
  • Since I do not self-identify primarily as an evangelical, my first question in matters of corporate worship is not a horizontal one (i.e., how can the gathered church successfully connect with the people it hopes to reach and the people it hopes to keep): a great many other questions precede this one, and none that impel me to use rap or hip-hop. That is not to say that I eschew evangelism or tear 1 Corinthians 9:19–23 from my Bible; however, (1) I do not see the context of this passage as one of worship, and (2) I find qualifications placed on the sentiment of this passage elsewhere in Scripture.

Is it possible that I am a self-deceived racist. I truly hope that this is not the case. I take solace in the fact that for 20 years I’ve been a fairly aggressive equal-opportunity critic (more so, I admit, than my colleagues, and at times more than has been wont—please see this as a personal reflection, not as an institutional one), and during those years my targets have overwhelmingly consisted of very white musical forms. In questioning the use of rap and hip-hop in worship I am not demeaning the race or tastes of those who embrace the forms, much less calling them “disobedient cowards” (which, by the way, was way out of line); instead, I am doing my best to make a biblically-informed judgment of the propriety of these forms in worship. And at the end of the day I don’t find a place for them.

19 Responses

  1. Sam Hendrickson

    “Congregational rap does not and cannot exist.” We tried this once, I got a headache and one person said some things (extemporaneously) that they shouldn’t have–something about “communion wafer and Morley Safer”…It went downhill from there. We took that mp3 off of Sermon Audio as quickly as possible… 😀

    Critiquing anyone’s worship/proclamation style is yet another third rail (there seem to be a lot of them).

    Good thoughts.

  2. Will Pareja

    Hi Brother Mark,
    Thanks for your lucid thoughts. I appreciate your rigor and precision in writing. You’re a great example.

    Are you including Al Mohler’s recent take as one of the white men tripping over himself or was the tripping comment at the beginning of your post referring to the dudes on the NCIFC panel? Pardon my dullness to understand your opening line. Either way, seems like Mohler’s take was quite fair and irenic and seems like a godly voice of reason for us educated white peeps.

    Your blog post addresses the public gathering of God’s people, and so I understand what you’re saying. But, who is and how many (-ish) people are arguing for the inclusion of rap/hip-hop into gathered worship? My head could be in the sand (really), but the surge of rap/hip-hop into the Christian “mainstream” is more into the realm of personal preferences as I see it. I’m fine with not using that medium (I’m w/holding the word “art” so as not to frustrate you=+) in gathered worship as you are, but are you arguing your case about Xian rap/hip-hop in public worship as an opportunity to eschew a matter of personal taste? Seriously, just wondering. However, I’d venture to say that the Reformed Hip Hop is doing the Church and the world some good and NOT necessarily as a public expression of worship. I don’t think you’re giving that credit.

    I know of some urban house churches that have tried the form in their worship service. I don’t know how it went. Even though I live in a large urban context, I still have no clue what it is like to live and “do church” in a context where violence and poverty are just a gunshot away. They have realities that neither my northwest side of Chicago or suburban Ann Arbor life can possibly comprehend. I do know that these brothers and sisters in those urban churches are fulfilling the same great commission that you and I are called, and we can both learn from them.

    My guess is that our friends who produce (Reformed) Hip Hop records are not singing for all human audiences. I know they write, produce and perform for the fame of our Lord (I’m with you about the celebrity culture thing, btw). Those brothers and sisters are invading territory controlled by Jay-Z and Lil’ Wayne, etc. I don’t think they want to be Christian celebrities. No doubt they probably struggle with the accolades or fame when it comes (as betrayed in some of their lyrics), but that isn’t a skin color thing as I’m sure you would concur as it is an Adamic-race thing. I admire them going into “dangerous” territory culturally and physically (as Andy Mineo raps ‘where the wild things are’) armed with the powerful Gospel on their lips. They go where you, restricted-access missionaries, and I cannot go. May God multiply their tribe (I guess this is where my bias just seeped in=+).

    Having grown up in a similar “cultural” expression of Christianity that you did (and being a DBTS grad, too), I think I understand what you are saying about Neo-Kuyperiansim. You’re obviously much more versed in the nuances of that worldview conversation, etc., than I am. That was some helpful stuff! Thank you. However, I think you might have too quickly or broadly slapped the “Neo-Kuyperian” charge (as eloquent as it was). I actually think that our brothers and sisters who are responsible for the purveyance of this musical expression for Christ might share similar convictions about redemption, culture and worldliness as you do, brother, because that is what this is about, right? Worldliness; not the propagation of Kuyperian thought.

    I admit that I listen to the musical forms under question (and so do my children to a limited degree). Having been informally trained as classical-sacred musician long ago, I still appreciate that heritage. In fact, today I was moved by a fresh Te Deum text put to Gustav Holst’s popular THAXTED tune by a Lutheran composer. I also admit that I have some popular secular music on my iPod, and I enjoy it. But that enjoyment is limited and often short-lived. I soon have to get back to Trip Lee, Getty’s, Sovereign Grace or Shai Linne. They’re much more edifying than Bono or Imagine Dragons.=+)

    My thoughts are somewhat scattered. Maybe I’ll weigh in more clearly a little later. Of course, I think listening to the Aniol-Linne conversation might be better for us.
    Thanks for your thoughtful and stimulating post, Mark! May the Lord bless you and DBTS!

    From the lightweight here in Chitown,
    Will Pareja

  3. Mark, I know you were just sketching, but are you really certain that your description of neo-Kuyperianism is one that its proponents would affirm? I don’t think Andy Crouch is a neo-Kuyperian, exactly (he identifies as a Wesleyan and attends an Anglican church), but his book Culture Making seems to hit a lot of the same themes. He certainly wouldn’t say that culture is “neutral people in God’s image variously and creatively fulfilling the dominion mandate in neutral ways.”

    And the most notable neo-Kuyperian I can think of, Al Wolters, wouldn’t say that either. It is precisely because of the F in CFR that Wolters has to introduce his concepts of “structure” and “direction”—the created structure of this world, including its pluripotential for cultural expression, is good. Without a concept of structure, it seems hard for me for Christians to justify expending much energy in the academic disciplines, cultural domains, and institutions of our world. But Wolters has a Fall chapter, too. Like C.S. Lewis’ “bent ones,” bent image bearers tend to bend and twist their academic disciplines, cultural domains, and institutions. I, too, think that some of these cultural expressions in any culture (all, but for God’s common grace) are so deeply twisted that Christians involved in them are forced to begin alternate disciplines, domains, and institutions. I think Wolters would agree. I don’t think he’d call any cultural player neutral.

    I’m not claiming the neo-Kuyperian label for myself. I haven’t done enough reading to justify taking a pro or con label. But my reading in the area made me question your summary.

    (By the way, I come to the same conclusion you do about Reformed rap, and I liked much else that you said:

  4. David

    I agree with Mark. I would classify neo-kuyperians as those theologians and philosophers in the neo-calvinist/reformational tradition following the line of Bavinck, Kuyper and Dooyeweerd. Some modern representatives of this tradition (though many have made constructive contributions) include Al Wolters, Vincent Bacote, Richard Mouw, James K. A. Smith, Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew. My understanding is that far from treating culture and culture makers as neutral, neo-kuyperians are quite emphatic in stressing that they are not neutral which is why both culture-makers and the culture they make needs to be redeemed. Furthermore, neo-kuyperiansim is not monolithic in that everyone in the tradition agrees on what conclusions should be drawn from its tenets in evaluating cultural artifacts. This is the case because the issues involved are often very complex and require the help of Christian experts in the field in question. I suspect that you could make an argument for or against “reformed rap” on a neo-kuyperian basis. Neo-kuyperianism offers a context in which to situate the discussion. To use Wolters’s categories, it all depends on whether you view rap as a normative development of a creational structure (in this case, the stuff of music) or whether you view it as a misdirection that a creational structure can take. Structure refers to the good givens and potentials inherent in creation. Direction arises due to the antithesis introduced by the fall which means that creational structures can be directed sinfully or to the glory of God. As I understand it, within a neo-kuyperian framework, the proponent of “reformed rap” would need to show that rap is a normative god-glorifying development of the creational structure of music (or you could say they would need to show that it is a legitimate unfolding of creation’s potential) and the opponent of rap would need to show that the very genre is an anti-normative misdirection of that structure (i.e. it is an inherently sinful distortion of God’s creation, an illegitimate or misdirected unfolding of creation’s potential). If I’ve understood you correctly, you’re saying that all neo-kuyperians view rap as a normative development. I’m not sure that’s the case. At least there’s no reason I can see why that must be the case.

    Here’s a few quotes from neo-kuyperians regarding neutrality:

    “Central to this [Reformational] tradition is the view that redemption involves the recovery of God’s purposes for all of creation and that no area of life, including philosophy, is neutral and exempt from religious presuppositions.” — Michael Goheen and Craig Bartholomew in “Christian Philosophy: A Systematic and Narrative Introduction”

    “We touch here upon an essential point. What distinguishes a reformational worldview is its understanding of the radical and universal import of both sin and redemption. There is something totalitarian about the claims of both Satan and Christ; nothing in all of creation is neutral in the sense that it is untouched by the dispute between these two great adversaries.” — Al Wolters in “Creation Regained”

    “There is no sphere of life that is neutral; rather our practices and institutions are always shaped and informed by faith commitments. . . what pretends to be neutral or secular in fact masks some other faith commitment.” —James K. A. Smith in “Discipleship in the Present Tense”

    For a good overview of this tradition see:

  5. Mark Snoeberger

    Mark, you’re right that the Neo-Kuyperian recognizes the existence of sin, and I did overstate things for effect. Neo-Kuyperianism sees culture as battered, damaged, and twisted, but always redeemable because its domains, institutions, disciplines, or “spheres” are ultimately divine or “cosmic” in nature.

    There is a sense in which I can agree with this. For instance, I agree with Kuyper that the broad spheres of economics and education and aesthetics are of divine origin and may be used for good. I do not believe (as Neo-Kuyperians regularly do), that redeeming these spheres is in the purview of the church or that culture can expect to enjoy broad “redemption” in any of these spheres this side of the Second Coming, but the spheres themselves are unobjectionable and as a Christians I should personally try to do good in each sphere.

    What is troubling to me in this discussion is that modern Neo-Kuyperian seems to be deciding that the number of redemptive spheres is almost infinitely expansive. Rather than limiting the spheres of redemption to Kuyper’s original list, there is a progressive tendency to add sub-spheres of human origin to the list of “redeemable” domains. So, for instance, we should not just view the broad spheres of economics and education and aesthetics as redeemable, but also sub-spheres like Keynesian economics, public education, and rap music. This is to me an unsustainable development in an already flawed theory. I’d be interested in your further thoughts. Thanks for the prodding.


  6. I think the creation/dominion mandate in Genesis 1 makes me want to be a bit more forceful: it’s not just that individual cultural spheres “may be used for some good” by individual Christians; believers must, in fact, jump in and build traditions, invent artifacts, create culture—precisely because it’s commanded by God. It is a very Genesis 1:28 thing to say, as Kevin Bauder did a few years ago at a Bible faculty summit, that the very definition of scholarship is “advancing the discipline.” And I really like Crouch’s dictum, repeating Ken Myers, that culture is “making something of the world” in both senses, and that this creative cultivating is something we’re obligated to do during our trek from garden to city. And Frame says that the Great Commission is the “republication” of the creation mandate. People can’t obey God’s full intent for Gen 1:28 if they aren’t regenerated.

    And though I agree that the institutional church is not called, exactly, to cultural labors, it is called through its teachers to equip its members to do everything Christ has commanded—including Gen 1:28.

    I don’t think the answer to evangelical neo-Kuyperian overreach is to deny (and I’m not sure you’re doing this) the validity of their most important exegetical basis, the never-abrogated commands to fill the earth, subdue it, and have dominion over it as divine image-bearers. It’s to do precisely what you did: to question how deeply they’re willing to go in sub-disciplines to perform the work of redemption. Is it rap that should get redeemed, or is it music?

    It’s also to do what we fundamentalists are good at doing: reminding evangelicals, often through the regularly neglected category of worldliness, of the F in CFR. Ironically enough, it’s the (largely) non-Calvinist fundamentalists who sometimes seem to believe the most practically in total depravity.

    Have you read Wolters’ Creation Regained?

  7. Ethan Gotcher

    Dr. Snoeberger,

    Thanks for the post. I guess I just wanted to add a perhaps obvious 4th culprit for the present scenario. That being, some of the comments made on the video actually were racist. In his post, Thabiti expressed thankfulness for all the white dudes stepping up to speak against the panel’s unfortunate comments. Shouldn’t we share some similar thankfulness rather than pity and embarrassment alone? I agree that white guys shouldn’t act as if their approval/disapproval of RHH is proof they aren’t racist. I agree that it is pitiable when that is the case, for racism and prejudice are far too deeply impressed in our sinful flesh for there to even be such a proof. But I have been saddened to see the overwhelming response from “our circles” be one of defense for the condemnation of rap, not one of remorse for the hurtful sentiments shared on that panel.

    Lastly, I’d just like to share a quote from Thabiti I found helpful and challenging.

    “A thing can be both an ‘ignorant thing’ and a ‘black/white thing.’ In fact, ignorance seems to have most often and most virulently shown itself on ‘black/white things.’ That’s what racism is… ignorance attached to skin color.”

    I think there is a danger here we should be cautious of.

    Your brother and student in Christ,


  8. Hi, Ethan. I’m curious which comments on the panel you thought were “actually racist.”

    I personally thought several of the comments were ridiculous. A few of them were unkind.

    But race was never part of the equation. For one thing, I grew up in Detroit. The rapper with whom I am most familiar is a white dude! 🙂

    Mark and Mark, the issue you are discussing is very helpful I think.

    I’m wondering if some of this falls to definition of terms, like “redemption,” for example.

    Mark W, you don’t define that term in your CFR paradigm like anyone else in the debate today. And I agree with your definition, by the way.

    But by using that paradigm and term in discussions of culture, because of how things are defined in typical Neo-Kuyperian contexts, I’m wondering if it’s simply misleading and not helpful.

  9. Mark Snoeberger

    Ethan, the question whether any of the panelists are racists, to me at least, remains an open question. It is surely possible that some of them harbor racist sentiments, but none of them made any identifiably racist arguments. As Scott opined, some of the comments were ridiculous and stupid, but it’s not fair to the panelists to accuse them of racism for identifying features within the rap culture that lead to inferior worship music.

    I have no doubt that racism is very real, and I abhor it. But just because it is real doesn’t mean that we get to indict people on suspicion of racism. Joe McCarthy is dead.


  10. Ethan Gotcher

    Dr. S,

    It was not my intention to say that the panelists were racists in the 1950’s separate drinking fountain way. That would be an unfair and exaggerated criticism. I’m not even saying the have an inherent dislike for black people at all. Rather simply that racism and prejudice, like all sin, can be traced to their roots in all of our hearts. That is all that was meant by calling their comments racist. Perhaps the word carries a bit too much weight to be fairly appropriated to their remarks.

    This leads right into Dr. A’s question. Personally, I think that relating a “sideways-cap” to spiritual maturity would be one comment that clearly expressed cultural prejudice. I also think that speaking of rap as a genre capable only of violence and anger is really precarious. Again to you though, I’m really thankful for you and Shai’s discussion flowing from this. It’s been helpful and challenging to my thinking already.

    Grace brothers,

  11. Dave, amen to your comments. Looks like you’ve dug deeper in your reading in this area than I have. And don’t be anonymous—I wanna know who you are!

    MAS, it does seem as if Dave has helpfully focused the issue: is rap music a creational structure, or is it wholly and solely perversion of one? And maybe it would help us all avoid charges of racism (I’m certain no one making public statements on this topic is being purposefully racist) if we add “and country-western” anywhere we can. So are rap and country western creational?

    A follow-up question: if there’s anything creational about them, are there any situations whatever in which rap or country western (or jazz or ska or reggae, etc.) might be used righteously? If, for example, rock is sex (can’t attribute this, but I’ve heard rockers say it and Christians repeat it), what’s necessarily wrong with that? Absent the cultural meaning tied up with rock since the 50s or 60s, could a married couple make use of the form? I’m kind of sorry to be so apparently crass—and I’m a Western cultural elitist who listens mainly to highfalutin choral music like Pärt and Tavener—but I think it helpfully focuses yet again the question we’re asking. In other words, we can’t leave out Frame’s “situational perspective.” We’ve all tended to assume we’re talking about worship music, but even some of rap’s proponents have recognized publicly that congregational rap is impossible. So what are we talking about? iPods, parties, concerts, car stereos, movie scores, exercise clubs? Maybe one way to help keep the discussion civil is to clarify just what uses of the form we’re objecting to.

    I think that musical forms like rap and country western, in addition to their intrinsic meaning, are tied up with cultural meanings I don’t think we can easily jettison. Rap and rock are, for now (2013), unredeemable. So I do not use them at all in any context. But I’d want to be make sure, in my rush to condemn the machismo of contemporary rap and the Romanticism/sexuality of modern rock, that I don’t malign something that is part of God’s good creation and will one day be restored to God-glorifying use.

    To be clear, I’m also, as a fundamentalist, wary of the evangelical inclination to find tiny babies in great floods of bathwater (how many more movies does the WORLD staff have to watch to gain insight into total depravity?). Any neo-Kuyperian ideas I hold stem, I hope, not from a desire to partake of fallen elements of my culture but from, first, a faithfulness to Gen 1:26–28 and, second, a desire to protect the arts and academic disciplines from the kind of dispensationalism that doesn’t want to polish brass on sinking ships when God’s very first command was to go get polishing!

    I’m still exploring these ideas, so I’m genuinely happy to receive pushback from those who lean 2K. I haven’t yet made it through Van Drunen’s work.

  12. Hi, Ethan. I’d like to push back once again, because I really think that this is a matter than needs to be put to rest.

    Culture and race are not the same thing. I make this argument in this journal article:

    Furthermore, there is nothing intrinsically “racial” about any culture or cultural behaviors.

    Thus, while certain critiques of cultural behavior may be motivated by racism (as in, “I hate that behavior because I think it’s associated with a race of people I despise”), this is not inherently the case.

    Rather, to critique cultural behavior, even sideways hat wearing and especially musical form, whether or not one agrees with the critique, is not automatically racially motivated or “culturally prejudiced.”

    In fact, I would argue that cultural prejudice is biblical: we should judge culture (behavior) and prefer culture (behavior) that embodies Christian values.

  13. Ethan Gotcher

    Dr. A,

    Thanks for a second pushback :). More and more, I’m realizing the value of pushback and my need for it. I truly appreciate your willingness to interact with some of my thoughts.

    You bring up a good thing for me to do some thinking about. Off hand I’d say that I don’t necessarily disagree with your claim that culture and race are distinguishable. However, my gut tells me that the lines may be a little more fuzzy than you portray them. Thus the need for some thinking. Looks like your article will be a good place to start. Thank you for the link.

    Additionally, I totally agree that evaluation of culture is biblical. I wasn’t intending to communicate otherwise. I would, however, question the profit of comparing certain depraved cultures with others. “It [culture] can only be godly or godless,” says Goldsworhty. If total depravity is a universal reality, then there is no inherently godly culture, only a whole slew of godless ones in desperate need of divine restoration.

    If you reduce your second to last paragraph to its simplest form it would read something like, “To critique cultural behavior is not automatically culturally prejudiced.” Again, I have no reason to disagree with that. But you do include the infamous “sideways hat” example. Here, I suppose we just disagree in our interpretation of that particular example of cultural critique. For that panelist to take what would apparently be a sign of spiritual immaturity in his culture and transport that onto another culture is really troubling to me. The very man you are having a discussion with on your blog has been wearing a sideways hat both times I’ve met him. He is a godly man and an elder in Christ’s church.

    What are we to make of this then? Is “ignorance” a fair word? If so, then I would maintain my evaluation of cultural prejudice. As is indicated in the Thabiti quote I shared above, I think that ignorance and prejudice are more closely related in our hearts than we sometimes give them credit for. We must understand racism and prejudice to be more than only their most ugly forms of predetermined hatred for a particular race or cultural behavior. I think Thabiti’s definition of racism as “Ignorance attached to skin color,” is a helpful and challenging one. Failure to understand this will likely cause us to continually sound prejudiced to the ears of cultures we critique, to their hurt and our frustration. This, I believe, was the great failure of the panel. Although Dr. Beeke admitted the panel likely understood little of the “hip-hop culture,” the comments by and large failed to communicate with this same spirit. To pushback on your own statement to me a little, you wouldn’t claim to have grown up in Detroit when speaking on this issue were it not for a bit of cultural ignorance. There is a substantial difference in the minds of the people of Detroit between the hood (where they live) and the suburbs (where you and I lived).

    You are my older brother in Christ Dr. A, and you have a lot more knowledge on these things than I do. I have truly benefitted from your reflections on these issues and will continue to. But I do think we just plain disagree in our evaluation of the panel. It’s totally possible that I’m just dead wrong. If so, I’m sure the Lord will mercifully reveal it to me sooner or later for the good of my own growth in humility. Again, thanks. It was a kind condescension on your part 🙂

    Your brother,


  14. BE

    I know that I’m rather late in posting, but I wanted to share three unconnected comments.

    1. Though rap is probably not the best medium for congregational participation (though those accustomed to the style would it much easier than I), that would not necessarily preclude its use from public worship. I’ve been in services where Snoeberger and Aniol offered musical selections that would have been difficult if not impossible to perform congregationally, so theoretically, rap could be used in a similar way (if the genre was considered appropriate in itself to express worship to God).

    2. I’d be interested to see the arguments for this discussion applied to a non-musical form–yoga. Some of the defenders of Reformed Rap have also been adamantly opposed to Christian yoga. They believe that yoga inherently carries unbiblical meaning and cannot be redeemed by Christians (I’m sympathetic to the argument). It seems those who oppose Reformed Rap are making a similar argument.

    3. I’d like to modify Ethan’s comment above and offer a fourth reason why so many white Christians are quick to distance themselves from the charge of racism–racism was an ugly, dark blot on the heritage of white Christians in America. It was a horrible sin that was not only excused but even promoted by white American Christians. Many of those who have been quick to distance themselves come from areas of the country and particular denominations that are still working to rid themselves of the remnants of the sin of racism. Thus, I can understand the desire to be public and clear in opposing racism. It is a terrible sin.

    Of course, since it is a terrible sin, we also need to be cautious in applying the label of racism. I think that caution was not properly exercised here. But we should also be cautious before dismissing the charge of racism–which I’m not sure was exercised here either. It’s an unfortunate reality that our sinful history continues to have ramifications today.


  15. drfiddledd

    Celebrity? Has anyone looked to some of the soloists is our churches? It’s all the congregation can do to keep from applauding the performance so they just “amen” a little louder. Or choir arrangements that require lot of rehearsal and skilled singers capable of handling music that is beyond the ability of the congregation?

  16. Mother of Two

    My husband grew up in a Christian home, went to a Christian private school, and grew up in the suburbs in a a primarily black city.

    After getting saved a few years ago, he soon realized how racist he was in his heart. He was always friendly toward black people, listens to hip hop, but he bought into stereotypes because of the culture he grew up in, the subtle (and not so subtle) attitudes of his (Christian)friends and family.

    I myself have been surprised at the comments made by his parents about black people. And they would consider themselves God fearing Christians, and would be scandalized at any implication that they might be even a little racist.

    I grew up on an island in the Pacific, so I was not exposed to much diversity growing up, always seemed like a thing of the past to me, when I heard about racism and the way America used to be. Recently I read a book about Mrs. Jonathan Edwards, and was amazed at her abilities as a wife and mother, until I found out that they were slave owners and she probably had slaves at her disposal to help her get her tasks done. Why the book failed to mention this ‘detail’ is beyond me.

    I think this issue is deeper than people realize, and God might be using the controversy to further purify his bride. I pray for repentance in all of our hearts on this issue where it is necessary.