Title & Purpose

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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Monday, 16 December 2013

What is 'Christian Rap' & 'Holy Hip Hop' music?

'Christian Rap' is a form of music that comes from the 'Holy Hip Hop' music culture. 'Holy Hip Hop' in turn comes from the secular 'Hip Hop' music culture. 'Rap' music generally is also closely associated with the 'Hip Hop' music culture.

This particular style of music came out of the gangland culture of New York city in the 1970s, when 'Block Parties' became increasingly popular, particularly among African American youth residing in the Bronx.

'Hip Hop' is a style of music used to express the views and feelings of gangland youth about the different aspects of life. Its style was developed to reflect the disenchantment and disenfranchised of these young people who live in inner areas where poverty abounded. As one writer described it:
Hip Hop oozed forth out of the crime infested ghettos of New York.

'Hip Hop' then is the music of rebellious, sinful youth! 'Hip Hop' is the expression of street gang culture!

'Holy Hip Hop' is an attempt to redeem this music culture by employing it to present the Gospel to those who come from a gangland, inner city culture, where 'Hip Hop' music is prevalent. The music style is the same but the lyrics are changed to give a Christian flavour. As one promoter, and user of 'Holy Hip Hop' music, said:
Traditional churches often are suspicious of hip-hop's sinful side, but I'm not ready to give poetry, creativity and visual expression up to the forces of evil when they can be used for God.

Since the mid 1990s 'Holy Hip Hop' had grown in use and acceptance. One organisation which promotes this style of music says:
Our Mission, since 1997, is to Take the Gospel to the Streets through the global proliferation of Spiritually-Enlightening Holy Hip Hop Ministry, Music & Entertainment Glorifying Jesus Christ.

There are those from a 'Reformed' background who have employed this style of music in an attempt to make 'Reformed Theology' more widely known and acceptable. Hence we have 'Christian Reformed Rappers'. These are the individuals around whom the controversy, involving Dr Joel Beeke and others, recently developed, at a National Center for Family-Integrated Churches conference panel discussion.

Is this a God honouring, Scriptural way to present the Gospel? No, it most certainly isn't and can never be! How can it ever be right to employ the music of the world, styles of music that stem from a rebellious, immoral culture, to present the Gospel? You cannot 'Christiansise' that which is ungodly in its origin or nature. The Scriptures ask an important question in Job 14:4: Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? The answer is clearly given in the same verse: not one. You can't 'Christianise' ungodliness; you separate from ungodliness and repudiate it. This was the thrust of the initial comments made by the panellists before they started backtracking and apologising and they were correct as far as they went. Scripturally speaking, there is no such thing as 'Christian Hip Hop' or 'Holy Hip Hop'. All Hip Hop is worldly, fleshly and devilishly. 

Separation from the world is an essential part of the doctrine of sanctification. Those whom Christ saves He is making holy. That holiness involves separation from the sinful culture of the world in all its various forms. These attempts to employ the world's methods to present the Gospel are therefore contrary to the Scriptures and is just old fashioned worldliness raising its ugly head once again. 

Only a worldly believer would repackage 'Hip Hop' music with a 'Christian' label. Calling 'Hip Hop' music 'Christian' just because the lyrics are better doesn't work. 

The Apostles, who when they went out to minister to the Gentile world and confronted pagan culture, didn't resort to employing practices found in that same pagan culture to present the gospel to these pagans. They remained faithful to the methods God had ordained. The preaching of the cross of Christ was 'foolishness' to the Gentiles, 1 Corinthians 1:23, but it was blessed of God to the saving of souls and the separating of a people out from among pagan culture to live for and serve the living and the truth God.  

Surely it is best and Scriptural to remain true to what has the blessing of God upon it!

2 comments:

ovationeddie said...

You wrote: "You can't 'Christianise' ungodliness; you separate from ungodliness and repudiate it."
Therefore, like Paul in Acts 17, we should smash the altar to the unknown God rather than 'Christianise' it? Oh wait, Paul actually did Christianise it. Looks like you better rip Acts 17 out of your bible!

Rev Brian McClung said...

ovationeddie

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