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      Paul Washer Preaching to Reformed Rappers
      (2007 Legacy Conference)

      Thursday, April 24, 2008

      Before you watch this, I believe I should state my position on Reformed Rap music. I view the listening of it to be a matter of Christian liberty. As far as me, I used to listen to secular rap music a lot growing up. The more the Lord drew me, the more I started listening to people like Trip Lee and Lecrae and less to people like A Tribe Called Quest and Atmosphere though. For me, this type of music (namely the more "krunk" type) has a tendency to bring out my flesh. I know many dear brothers and sisters who listen to it that say they are are not affected by it, and I take them at their word. I may be the weaker brother in this sense. I have a friend who used to be a Christian rapper, but they, too, can't bring their self to do it anymore because it has a tendency to bring out the flesh in them, as well. I can read the lyrics to these songs and be in total agreement to what they present the majority of the time, but, again, it comes down to it being a stumbling block for me at this present time so it's a matter of subjectivity. I wanted to state this so I'm clear that it's not a matter of me condemning or promoting the listening of it in regards to others as a whole, but rather sharing how it affects me and whether or not I endorse it in regards to myself. I hold Reformed Rappers like Lecrae and Trip Lee to be dear brothers in Christ even though I find their music entices my flesh at times. I believe this may be in a large part due to the secular and gangster rap I used to listen to growing up and not a product of their music directly.  There are other rappers such as Shai Linne that I don't find myself having trouble with, however.  I think my friend, Eddie, at Recover the Gospel (a site I post on regularly) provides great thoughts on this subject, too. Again, I just wanted to share my stance on this issue. Here's the sermon by Paul Washer. I share many of his sentiments:





      END OF POST

      4 comments:

      Tom said...

      Hey Lane,
      I used to listen to hardcore rap myself, I mean the really wicked stuff. Now, I just have no desire to listen to any kind of rap music (Christian or not) Maybe It's a stumbling block for me too. Like a lot of others things, thats something that just isn't me anymore. Glory be to God!

      Kirby L. Wallace said...

      Man, I'm really conflicted on how to answer this one.

      I guess Paul is just sending a confusing message. On the one hand, I hear him. I kinda-sorta agree. But on the other hand, I recall him saying "...not to dress like Brittany Spears, not to look like the world, act like the world, smell like the word, do the things the world does, but to BE LIKE JESUS CHRIST."

      His message seems to have changed slightly. "Not only is the gate narrow, but the WAY is narrow" you may recall.

      Really don't know what to think about this one.

      As for me, music plays no part in worship anyway. There is no music that is not fleshly, if you ask me. That doesn't mean I have a problem with it - it just doesn't belong in worship. Music serves one purpose: entertainment. And music for entertainment purposes is just fine in my book.

      Under that clause of my statement of faith is where you will find me listening to "christian music" or any other music of any kind.

      Do keep in mind that the moving of your emotions is still the moving of your flesh.

      True worship consists of right knowledge that brings right and due reverence. I don't see any kind of rap music bringing any kind of reverence.

      Music in which the focus IS the message AND in which the music itself does not distract from that message - that is worthy, I suppose.

      Matt said...

      I recall him saying "...not to dress like Brittany Spears, not to look like the world, act like the world, smell like the word, do the things the world does, but to BE LIKE JESUS CHRIST."

      It is impossible to not look (as in style of dress) like the world. If you look around you, you probably look like most people from American/european countries. You probably dont look like people from the middle east or parts of Asia or any country that hasnt been westernized. More specifically, you probably look differently if you are from a rural area than if you are an urban one; you probably look differently if you work as a mechanic or a professional. Why is that? It is because dress is primarily a function of culture. A man who wears baggy clothing is no different than a man who wears a suit. If it is said that a man wearing baggy clothing is trying to look like rap stars/gangsters, then it can also be said that a man wearing a suit and tie is trying to look like greedy wall street bankers. "Dress", as is "look"(appearance) and "act"(mannerisms), is a function of culture. The impact of this in America has decreased as mass media has diminished the cultural gaps in various regions of the US. However, for an easy and obvious example, look at accent. A person from Texas "sounds" drastically different from someone from Boston. You can bet that their mannerisms will also be drastically different. Is this because they are trying to be "like" the world? NO. These are simply superficial (on the surface) functions of culture.
      What Washer is getting at is the heart. Do we dress, look, act, and smell, sinfully- as the world does? Or do we dress, look, act, and smell Christlike- as he would have us behave? We as people make FAR to much out of appearances. This is the core reason (beyond just our sinful nature itself) for racism/prejudice. We tend to judge negatively what we know not.
      To insist that there is only one "spiritually correct" culture is what the Jews were trying to do in the Galatian church. And Paul rebuked them, as well as Peter, accordingly. Yes, there is only one Christian body and one way into heaven, but it lies in the faith in the redeeming blood of the Lamb, not in superficial appearances.
      Paul Washer used (this is my opinion/interpretation, obviously I didnt ask him personally) the example of Britany Spears because she is a symbol of sexuality in the media (or was at least) and tends to dress immodestly and behave sinfully. Those are things which we are not to do no matter what the culture. And yet, young girls take fashion notes and behavioral ques from women like her, and begin to think that her behavior and dress is OK. IT CLEARLY IS NOT.
      To say then, hypothetically, "do not sing like Britney Spears." Does not mean that we are not to sing "pop" sounding songs. It means not to sing sensuously, with lyrics dripping of innuendo. It is the same with Christian rap artists. They may appear in the same form as the worldly rappers, but their lyrics and their behavior show that they CLEARLY are not "like" the world.
      The problem in Christians dressing like the world comes into play when it is done to gain acceptance from the world. This is dangerous because we are to be set apart and not to seek the approval of the world. When a man seeks to please the world he dishonors God. But to tell a man he can no longer dress, look, act like the culture from which he came is not Biblical. See Galatians.


      "His message seems to have changed slightly. "Not only is the gate narrow, but the WAY is narrow" you may recall."

      Again dont confuse terms here. "Narrow is the gate" The gate is Christ. "but the WAY is narrow." The WAY has nothing to do with a persons style of dress, lexicon, regional dialect, or any other superficial matter. It is a life in loving obedience to Christ. Obeying him because he has saved us by grace through faith, through his sacrificial death on the cross.


      "As for me, music plays no part in worship anyway. There is no music that is not fleshly, if you ask me. That doesn't mean I have a problem with it - it just doesn't belong in worship. Music serves one purpose: entertainment. And music for entertainment purposes is just fine in my book."

      I agree that no music is not fleshly. I agree that music can be entertainment. But I do not see how music has no part in worship. Does not scripture give numerous accounts of musicians in the temple. Some of the Psalms make mention of "harp and lyre." I do however believe that it is a problem when the music is more important than verbal praise/worship/adoration of God. To take a quote from Washer in this video, "Whenever eloquence becomes more important than the words spoken, there is no power. Whenever the music medium becomes more important than the truth it seeks to communicate, it is worthless." He said this in reference to preaching as well as music.



      "Do keep in mind that the moving of your emotions is still the moving of your flesh."

      But does that make it sinful? Jesus was moved in emotion to the point of tears when he saw the pain of Mary and Martha at Lazarus' funeral. He was moved in emotion to the point of anger when he cast the money changers out of the temple. Are we to live emotionless lives because emotion is fleshly?



      "True worship consists of right knowledge that brings right and due reverence. I don't see any kind of rap music bringing any kind of reverence."

      Now this is a comment made out of pure ignorance. Have you ever listened to any songs by the artists Paul Washer spoke with at the conference? Here are lyrics to a song by Lecrae called "Prayin for you"

      Father God, I'm prayin' to you for somebody, who knows you Lord but just hasn't, hasn't been seein' you in the right view lately, Hear me out...

      Father, I'm prayin' for a friend he and I are pretty close, and out of all my friends for this one I'm concerned the most. He say he readin' daily but he ain't really learnin'. He been in church but say that he ain't moved by any sermon. His face weak, he ain't prayed in a week, he wake up and just weep with his face in the sink Lord, you gotta help my man, I'm prayin' for him daily, he ain't sinned but it just seem as if he goin' crazy. He say he feelin' trapped, can't even hit up the mall coz every lady's half-dressed temptin' him to lust and fall. He keep the TV off, videos just make him feel that he ain't really nothin' without money, girls and shiny wheels. The other day he told me that he felt less a man coz he ain't have a five-year plan or a piece of land and man it's crazy coz his family think so much of him, plus he got a godly wife who always show her love for him but he's strugglin', even though he talk to me, I tell him what to do but he don't listen when he oughta' be. I'm scared for him coz there's people that look up to him, he got some younger siblings who been changed by what he's done for them but is it done for him, Lord don't let it be, if he don't wanna talk to you then Father hear from me, is it done for him, Lord don't let it be, if he don't wanna talk to you then Father hear from me...

      Yeah, I'm prayin' for you, yeah, I'm prayin' for you
      Yeah, I'm prayin' for you, yeah, yeah, I'm prayin' for you...

      God, his condition is worsen since we were last conversing, I'm with him now and he ain't doin' well, of this I'm certain. He say he tryna' trust you, doesn't wanna disgust you but he was in the mist of sinners and did not discuss you and just today his anxiety's got the best of him, he knows Christ but for hours refused to rest in Him, he's not the best of men but Lord I know he really loves you and I can't understand why lately he's not thinkin' of you. People trust this dude, you could crush this dude, Father he needs more of you I pray you touch this dude, what can I say to him? I'm determined to pray for him Father empty and break him I pray you'll just have your way with him, coz there's a change in him and the effects are strong, I pray you open up his heart before the next song and when he gets home, I pray he'll open up the sixty-six book love letter you wrote and soak it up coz he ain't hearin' You and he ain't feelin' me and God I know it's killin' You because it's killin' me and matter of fact there's somethin' else he's concealin' see, the person that I've been prayin' about is really me...


      Kinda reminds me of a Psalm. I believe that if we “test the spirits” we will see that this is something which exalts the name of Christ and holds to the Gospel which was preached.


      I believe in the end, it is important that the music point us to God and does not replace him. For that to happen would worshiping the music/musician and would definitely be wrong NO MATTER WHAT MUSIC MEDIUM. Any good and pure thing becomes sinful if it is the "thing" which we take pleasure in above Christ himself.

      lozersk8er said...

      I listened to a little rap when I was lost but never really liked it, but this stuff I love. Remember that all of our hymns were once new and even sounded "worldly". But what does the words say? These words, in these songs are better than most "church songs" I grew up with and have way better theology. I am not saying I would want to sing these songs on Sunday morning in church but it does let me focus on God and helps me renew my mind, when God first reformed me I learned more in one song from these men than a year in the church I was going to at the time. SDG

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