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Blow ye the trumpet in Zion, and sound an alarm in my holy mountain: let all the inhabitants of the land tremble:

for the day of the LORD cometh, for it is nigh at hand, Joel 2:1.


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Sunday, 8 December 2013

Joel Beeke apologies for offending 'Christian rap' musicians!

At a panel discussion which took place at a conference sponsored by the National Center for Family Integrated Churches, the subject of 'Christian Rap' music was discussed. The whole panel discussion on the subject can be viewed here. The list of panelists included: Dan Horn, Scott Aniol, Geoff Botkin, Joel Beeke, Jason Dohm, and Joe Morecraft.

In the main the discussion took a negative line regarding rap music, and rightly so, although there was no mention of the most fundamental argument against such music being the Bible's teaching on the doctrine of separation from the world. Dr Joel Beeke spoke only briefly on the subject and not in the most negative terms as compared to some of the others. One comment remarked that his contribution to the discussion was the "least offensive".

It now transpires that Joel Beeke has repudiated these mild comments that he did make and wishes to apologies to Christian rap musicians for any offence he may have caused.

His contrite apology has been conveyed through the channel of Tim Challies, who is a pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto, Canada. Tim Challies who is a New Calvinist, and evident supporter of Christian rap music, was unhappy with the nature of the comments made by the panellists on rap music, describing them as "not good". Tim Challies also makes reference to the unhappiness of others about the comments made by Joel Beeke and his fellow panellists saying that: "many people have subsequently responded with calls for clarity and repentance". 

Tim Challies considers Joel Beeke a friend, saying of Dr Beeke: We have written a series of blog posts together, we have shared a conference platform, we have met together and talked together and prayed together". 

Challies says that after watching the video of the panel discussion and hearing his comments he was "surprised" and "saddened, because it didn’t sound like the man I so admire". He subsequently contacted Joel Beeke to: "find out what had happened, and to express some of my concerns" and evidently sought "repentance" from Joel Beeke. 

Tim Challies managed to elicit a statement and an apology from Joel Beeke which reads:
Recently I was asked to participate in a panel discussion at a Reformed Worship conference. In that discussion the panelists were asked to address the subject of Christian rap music (which I took to mean rap music primarily in the context of a local church worship service). To my regret, I spoke unadvisedly on an area of music that I know little about. It would have been far wiser for me to say nothing than to speak unwisely. Please forgive me. I also wish to publicly disassociate myself from comments that judged the musicians’ character and motives

Tim Challies reported this on his Blog concluding with this comment: Having spoken to Dr. Beeke, I know his remorse for the words he spoke and the hurt they caused. I would encourage you to accept his apology in the spirit it was offered.

It would seem that Joel Beeke has rowed back not only from his own comments but he is also disassociating himself from any adverse comments made by his fellow panellists. That would seem to be the import of the last sentence of his statement to Tim Challies.

Those who support Christian rap music are taking much solace and comfort from Joel Beeke's apology. This cannot be good or proper. This leads to confusion. Is this music wrong or not? Is it only a matter of personal choice or are there wider and deeper issues at stake? 

It is not the first time that Joel Beeke has been unclear and ambiguous in his positions. His associations with Refo500 and other clearly ecumenical organisations even when pointed out to him have gone unclarified for some time. 

If he believes it necessary to apologise for making mild criticisms of Christian rap music/musicians but says nothing publicly about Refo500 etc then it must be concluded that Joel Beeke sees nothing wrong with associating with New Calvinists, Romanists, feminists, Seventh-day Adventists who are part of these ecumenical organisations. 

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