Wrapping up the Reformed Rap?

FLAVA-FLAV(Flav cannot understand why Shai is getting flack)

Okay. I’ve been aware of a few things on the radar recently that I have purposefully not said anything about, mostly because I’ve had a few large things on my plate as of late…and I simply haven’t cared enough to weigh in on some stuff.  I’ve heard about the Janet Mefferd issue with Mark Driscoll and plagiarism, but I’ve only commented on Facebook (and probably said far too much there already). I’ve heard about the Michael Brown kerfuffle with Grace to You, but I’ve only made a few comments on Facebook as well. I’ve finally heard about the whole the whole reformed rap thing, and I admit that I’ve watched the video and I’ve heard the discussion on reformed rap hosted by Alpha and Omega Ministries, but I haven’t read any of the comments online until tonight (I’m slowly catching up on what I’ve missed in the last month).  I read and recommend my readers read the overviews given by Joe Carter and Brent Hobbs.  I then read the “apologies” by some of the National Council for Family Integrated Churches panel members:

1.  I read the apology from Scott Brown, the mediator of the Q & A…though some people may want to read just how subtle and nuanced he was in 2012 when he reviewed the newest album from TobyMac.  What was that about drinking urine and eating cattle dung?  Yup.  Subtle.

2.  I couldn’t find any sort of retraction by Dan Horn.

3,  I read the”I like to restate that I don’t know what I’m talking about” commentary written by Scot Aniol where he linked to his series about how a specific musical style is inherently nonredeemable.

4.  I read the somewhat unconvincing apology (“when I said ‘you’re a coward’ I really meant ‘you’re a hero’.  Sorry about the confusion…”) written by Geoff Botkin over at the Western Academy of Arts and Sciences.

5.  I read the short but appropriate apology written by Joel Beeke.

6.  I couldn’t find any sort of retraction by Jason Dohm.

7.  I couldn’t find any sort of retraction by Joe Morecraft.

I’m not really going to weigh in and toss out a whole series of interactions with their comments or apologies outside of the short jabs I’ve already taken (as well as what follows).  I’d just like to ask a simple question:

Since when did the category of “stupid” disappear from our collective vocabulary?

Are we so politically correct that we think all opinions are equally valid and nobody says/does anything actually stupid anymore?


Not stupid as in “he seems to have the i.q. of a boiled prune” but stupid as in “he simply doesn’t know what he’s talking about and should have shut up about that”.  I mean, honestly.  Some people actually say stupid things and get rightly called out for it.  Some people have stupid ideas (and most likely take my disagreement as a compliment).  Some people also are generally smart folks who, for whatever reason, have a moment of temporary insanity and just say things that are overtly stupid.  I happen to do that daily, much to my ongoing frustration.

I don’t care who you are or how educated you are: nobody can have an informed opinion on everything, and I’m guessing that next to nobody at the NCFIC is actually familiar with the nuances of reformed rap music; the only artist that was even mentioned was not a reformed rapper.  Does anyone honestly think that any of those guys are familiar with the different strains of Christian rap music if the topic is “reformed rap” and someone brings up TobyMac or they start talking about music in worship?

Who thinks TobyMac is really even a rapper in the first place?

Who is ever suggesting that we replace the worship teams with a DJ?

Let’s just face it.

On this specific issue, that whole panel was just stupid.

The didn’t know what they were talking about and it was as plain as day.  None of them could find the reformed rapper in the following image:

Name the Rapper(going from clockwise from the top left – Bono, Larry, the Edge, Adam)

I’m not advocating tossing any of them under the bus, or suggesting that the NCFIC is generally characterized by stupidity, or anything like that.  I’m wondering as to when it was no longer an option to simply roll your eyes, chalk up a comment to stupidity, and for the simple sake of extending grace to someone ignore a comment, let love cover up an offense, and move on?  Who knows why they said what they said…but who really cares? I’m guessing that it’s because they simply hate rap music, they conflated their personal preferences with the teaching of scripture, and they said something stupid.

It wasn’t the first time that has happened to anyone and it certainly won’t be the last.  You can bank on it.


Until Next Time,

Lyndon “Rap is the source of problems in church!  The solution is dancing!” Unger

Church Dance Team(Now THAT would be a church service!)


5 thoughts on “Wrapping up the Reformed Rap?

  1. You must not watch Wretched. Todd Friel has shown dancing services are passe’, nowadays. By the way I love reformed rap(and I must admit as a former filthy rap fan and later arminian, I love T-Bone too!)and I was wondering what this conference or whatever it was you were talking about is. I hadn’t heard. Do you like Reformed rap?

    • Mason, sorry…I don’t watch Wretched. There are more things online that I wish I could keep up with than I can actually keep up with.

      I have been listening to Christian music (of a rather wide spectrum), since the mid 1980’s. I kinda grew up on SFC, PID, and others. I went to see DCTalk on their first tour, opening for DeGarmo and Key, in 1988 when their stage names were “Chocolate”, “Vanilla” and “Swirl”.

      I’m a big fan of Shai, Ivey, and a bunch of other artists too, though I don’t listen to T-Bone anymore (I got tired of the “cappin’ demons” talk).

      The conference was a worship conference held by the National Council for Family Integrated Churches (which is an association of people that, more or less, thinks that youth ministry is the reason why teens are leaving the church). I don’t take them very seriously and don’t understand others that do, but I also don’t follow them very closely. I’ve done some research into Geoff Botkin and his minor-league famous daughters (because of some media they’ve put out), and the Botkin family strikes me basically as Gothardites with a few twists. The rest of the guys I’m more or less unfamiliar with beyond knowing their association with the NCFIC and having read a bit of their writing/having listened to a sermon or two of theirs.

  2. Gosh! I wish I knew more big words of superlative praise with which to heap upon you for this article! No, really! Loved your take on the whole kerfuffle. Love covers a multitude of sins (and stupid remarks). I was more or less intimately involved with the CCM music scene from 1987 to 1996, being a “Christian-concert” promoter in the fourth largest American city and finally co-owner of a fledgling Christian record label. CCM is an industry like any other. Good actors and bad actors. Christians and wannabes. Some who think their singing is a “calling” to present the Gospel to a lost world and some who think of themselves as simply a Christian alternative to secular entertainment. There are sincere well meaning spirit filled Christians who invite the audience to their dressing room after the concert “only if they want to seriously talk about becoming a Christian”, and their are the ones who throw a diva like hissy fit if we didn’t remove the green ones from the obligatory bowl of M&Ms required by the contract. I have seen it all.The good, the bad and the ugly. I have produced concerts with everyone from Sandi Patti to Steven Curtis Chapman to DC Talk or TobyMac as is his current iteration. Petra, WhiteHeart, Newsboys (Peter Furler days not Nate of DCTalk days), Kim Hill, Margaret Becker…I could go on but you get the picture.How many Christian rappers are Reformed? or Other? or “in the Faith”? God alone knows. I have no problem with CCM music. For many years that was the only kind of music I listened to at all, and was from time to time edified greatly from one song or another. Bottom line. Like you said, sometimes people talk about a topic using their personal preferences as a springboard for dragging God and scripture into a personal preference battle that they alone are hyper concerned about. Thanks for your shedding the light of clarity on this Kerfuffle. I enjoyed it immensely.

    God bless you and yours as you seek to do His will.


    • Thanks for the kind words Kent.

      I has rather struck me how so many people have got up in arms about something that seems to be a bunch of guys getting caught with a question that they were unprepared for and forgot that they were being recorded (and voiced misinformed opinions that they would normally not voice, or said things in a way that they would never have done so if they remembered that they’d be scrutinized).

      You worked as a promoted for the CCM industry? What a small world! I was a semi-professional musician for years (mostly teaching, but also a bit of band work with touring and whatnot). I also worked for a promoter for a few years, and also as a music journalist (though not too much)…but one of the last things I did before heading to seminary was working Stage crew for a Def Leppard show.

      I have been around a whole lot of musicians though, and the ones in the CCM scene vary greatly. I’ve met the “music missionary” guys and the “Let’s talk about the music, not religion” guys. The CCM scene is actually fairly overrun by an overwhelming amount of garbage, and I honestly don’t listen to around 99.998% of the “Christian” music that’s out there; it’s lyrically and musically just as obnoxious as the secular stuff.

      The whole personal preference thing was a huge issue in the 1980’s with the Peters Brothers and the “Hell’s Bells” video type of stuff, but those attitudes more or less disappeared when the CCM scene got big (and all the Christian labels got purchased by secular labels). In recent years, I’ve seen a bunch of that “rap/metal/anything with a strong beat is inherently evil” stupidity coming back. It’s sad to see those bad ideas be recycled, but shallow ideas sell since an overwhelming majority of Christendom is frightfully shallow.

      Now with the internet, bad ideas are almost impossible to extinguish and undiscerning people can fill their minds with idiocy at lightening speed.

  3. Pingback: Responding to the Authentic Fire Alarm | Watch Your Life and Doctrine Closely...

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