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Joel Beeke, Christian Rap, and Public Apologies

You may have heard of the recent controversy that unfolded in the aftermath of a conference associated with the National Center for Family-Integrated Churches. Among the sessions at that conference was a panel discussion and in that discussion the speakers were asked for their views on Christian rap. The answers were not good and many people have subsequently responded with calls for clarity and repentance.

I do not know any of those speakers by face or by name, except for one. Many people referred to him as “Speaker #4,” but I know him as Joel Beeke and consider him a friend. 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. I admire him as a man who has done as much as anyone to popularize the Puritans and to make them accessible, as a man who founded Puritan Reformed Theological Seminary and Reformation Heritage Books. He has had a profound, indelible impact on my life and faith.

When I watched the video of that panel discussion and heard his comments, I was surprised. I was saddened, because it didn’t sound like the man I so admire. I got in touch with Dr. Beeke to talk, to find out what had happened, and to express some of my concerns.

He had read some of the critiques of his comments and those of the other panelists and was already preparing an apology. I asked if I could share it on my site and he was willing to have me do so. Here is Dr. Beeke’s apology:

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.

—Joel Beeke

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.