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Welcome to the online home of Tim Challies, blogger, author, and book reviewer.
July 29, 2006
I really dislike rap music, or most rap music at any rate. For some reason, I have only rarely been able to appreciate it as a form of musical expression. I’d like to think that my powers of discernment have decided that this music is somehow inappropriate for Christians, but I think it’s more likely simply a matter of preference. And beyond simple preference, I have long been disgusted by the culture of sex, violence and exploitation that seems to surround the genre.
I believe that music, assembled notes and chords, is morally neutral. I don’t think there is music that is inherently good and music that is inherently evil. Therefore, I don’t think I can consistently believe that there is anything inherently wrong in rap music. It is, after all, words set to music, much like the hymns and worship songs we sing.
I few days ago I finally bought Progression, an album by Curtis Allen who goes by the name Voice. He is a rapper and a pastor, a pastoral intern at Covenant Life Church, to be exact. His music has proven to me that rap can be used to share the gospel and to bring glory to God. The lyrics are consistently biblical and cross-centered. They are even distinctly Reformed. Here is an excerpt from his song “Unstoppable:”
Man, with no umbrella stuck in the rain, I never knew life was so much pain. And it’s hard to maintain same story different person will falter, where more accurate is same idol different altar. A present day mocker, man, the only time it’s appropriate for me to say I am. The situation gets much darker I’m in the hood, and heard about the Lord but unsure of his plan, you can see now I’m probably in a jam, and that was good for me, cuz it left me - hand against hand. I was like “mmnn, mmnn” Lord now I’m just a man, If there’s ever anyone to help I know you can. At that time, what was certain I thought probable and had no evidence of God as unstoppable. I saw nothing but the wicked everything from murder down to drug use to scalping tickets. I didn’t know what I spose to see, what I was looking for, until the day I walked in the local church’s door. I heard the Gospels power never falls and the Savior who’s crucified covers us all becuz he’s
All powerful, unchangeable, immovable, unstoppable
The Gospels, the power of, almighty God, though His holy blood.
Shook off my doubts and I came from the streets poutin back to them same streets like how bout them. Reformed essentially, informed more than mentally, I’m living my life’s oddities through God’s sovereignty now. I’m takin all questions when and now, In the hood they like cuz how you change your style, In the church it’s more grace is so amazing wow and to the enemy it’s more how you like me now, I been exposed to bright lights the doctrines of grace, I’m elected, imputed perfected. Becuz of the power of God resurrected and his gift of faith, that when we see his face we’re not rejected. Cuz nothing can stop his plan, and as far as the east is from the west more than time zones man He removes our sins from us even though it’s hard to believe, I plead from Psalm 103 No harm will ever come on we, no harm and that’s from me to you via him to me. We the choice of eternity past, present and next, cuz we the church the unstoppable context and we here as
I have to admit that I’ve enjoyed listening to Voice’s CD. While rap is still not my favored genre of music, I do believe that Voice is bringing glory to God through his rapping.
So let me ask you: do you think rap music is inherently evil, or do you feel that even this genre can be used to bring glory to God? Is music morally neutral, or are there some forms that simply cannot be God-honoring?