Recently I read Ralph Basui WatkinsHip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Rhythm and Rhyme. I hope to write a review of the book at some point; it’s certainly worth one! But today I want to excerpt a portion of the book I found thought-provoking. The tension between hip-hop and the church is well documented. Usually the relationship gets described in terms of the church’s unwillingness to embrace the art form and its eagerness to denounce it as the purveyor of misogynistic, violent, and materialistic worldliness.

Watkins writes to defend hip-hop by tracing some of its spiritual themes and contribution. And mid-way through the book he gives a more complex story of the relationship between hip-hop and the church. Watkins introduces deeper culture, class, theological and spatial issues.

Here are a few excerpts with my added emphases:

“Hip hop is situated in the gray space, much like the prophet Jeremiah was. Jeremiah was in that gray space between hope and promise during a time when things appeared to get worse. This is what hip-hop has had to deal with. Hip-hop came on the scene after the civil rights movement, only to realize that civil rights didn’t result in silver rights, a livable wage. The African-American middle class had been elevated and had escaped the ‘hood’. The former prophets who had graced the pulpits of black churches had been gunned down or beaten down, and their prophetic message of social justice had been replaced by the prosperity gospel of Creflo Dollar and Fred Price. The prophetic message that had once been in the hands of the black church had been abandoned, and now hip-hop prophets had to pick up where the institutional church had left off. Todd Boyd put it best when he said, “Hip-hop has rejected and now replaced the pious, sanctimonious nature of civil rights as the defining moment of Blackness. In turn, it offers new ways of seeing and understanding what it means to be Black at this pivotal time in history.” It is the role of defining and understanding the life circumstances of what it means to be black—and especially black and working class—that positions hip-hop as a prophetic voice for the present age.

In the past, the black church served as a leader with others as they fought side by side for justice. Cornel West says, “The civil rights movement succeeded primarily because of the talent, skill, and courage of the civil rights activists, its pronounced black cultural potency (rooted in black southern churches), and the rising tide of political liberalism facilitated by an expanding American economy (at home and abroad).” The very success of this movement, as attested to by West, also fueled the downfall of the center of the African-American community.

As the rising tide lifted the black church to the top, it took its money, status, and privilege and left the inner city; it ran to the suburbs. The African-American church became a bastion for middle-class African-Americans.

The black church is now looking this reality square in the face. It is finding it difficult to reach inner-city, working-class, working-poor, and nonworking-poor African-Americans. But the communities that are difficult for the African-American church to reach are the very places hip-hop culture lives. It reaches out, touches, affirms, and communicates with the pain, struggles, and realities of these communities. The face of the black church has changed; its membership does not consist of many in the hip-hop generation. “…The class divide within the African-American community is partially responsible for hip-hop being the first major cultural movement rooted in African-American culture that wasn’t nurtured by the African-American institutionalized church. Hip-hip was nurtured by the very streets from which the African-American church retreated and now finds difficult to reach. The institutionalized church didn’t nurture and lead the hip-hop prophetic movement. As the class divide within African-American community widened, the black church continued to become a middle-class bastion,” (pp. 49-51).

That’s how Watkins sees it. What about you? How would you characterize the relationship between the black church and hip-hop? Did the civil rights success of the black church lead to the church’s downfall? Has the black church become irrelevant to inner-cities realities because it’s become essentially middle-class and suburban? Has the black church forsaken the city? Is hip-hop the new cultural force that defines what it means to be black and the new prophetic voice articulating the life of the city?

Come up on the porch and tell us what you think by commenting below.

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  • Avatar Christoph says:

    I feel strangely unqualified to answer as a white dude in a mostly white church. That said, Christian hip hop was a godsend for me who, as a new believer, tried ditching secular music (not required for everyone, but individually for me) and found nothing satisfying in the rock/metal genre. Then I stumbled upon Cross Movement and, having enjoyed secular hip hop previously, listened to everything I could get my hands on. I still find it the most edifying musical genre that’s really taken off with numerous artists and labels popping up all over the place; much of it is reformed, too!

    So, again, I can’t speak to the questions you posed, but as an average European immigrant, hip hop sure reached me!

  • Avatar Tabulous says:


    First, let me say that I am a HUGE fan of Christian Hip Hop. It is all that I listen to these days (Eshon Burgundy is my favorite). Now for your questions:

    How would you characterize the relationship between the black church and hip-hop?
    – I’m not sure how I would characterize it. If we are talking about secular hip-hop music… then I say the church needs to call it what it is. GARBAGE (its content and not its style)!!!!

    Has the black church become irrelevant to inner-cities realities because it’s become essentially middle-class and suburban? Has the black church forsaken the city?
    – I would have to say yes and no 🙂 For every suburban/mega-church there are numerous smaller inner city churches. I say this as someone that grew up in Philly and goes back often. The church I grew up in is located in West Philly and just celebrated 55 yrs. It is still located in the same place and serves the same community. And I love that. The active congregation is no more than 50 – 70 members (and that’s being generous). The only goal of the church is to see souls saved… they are very active in the community. Much more active than the church I now attend which is located in the burbs and has many more resources than that small church in Philly. It should be noted that this church was never located in the inner city.

    – I have also been a member of a church that started in the inner city and then had to move as a result of growth. They now have a HUGE site in the burbs while still holding services at their former location. This church is trying to accommodate growth and still be a voice in the city.

    To God be the Glory!

  • Avatar JAYDEN says:

    I think the idea of Christian maturity in the Church has been one that lends itself AWAY from cultural expressions like hip-hop. As long as one believes that discipleship should move someone progressively toward this “cultural agnosticism” then there will be a problem with relevance. In other words, if the prevailing notion is “the more you grow in Christ, the less hip-hop oriented you will be,” we will continue to see the trends described in this article. It also impacts where Christians who believe such would live right? Surely, if maturity in Christ grows me away from hip-hop culture, then where I make my residence is an outward display of that maturity.
    Suburbs vs. Hoods as a matter of maturity. I hope that makes sense.

  • Avatar Christoph says:

    That’s interesting. I follow your argument, but can’t say that I have seen your premise, viz. maturity and cultural expression moving in opposite directions. Have you experienced it? Got any examples?

  • Avatar Matthew Marshall says:

    Wow, great post! I would say that I agree with many of the assertions being made here, but one thing that is not mentioned, yet very prevalent is the reality of middle-class, suburban, young and educated black men and women who parade as products of the inner city. This has been going on a long time, from people such as Ice Cube (whose mother worked at UCLA, and was himself very educated), Tupac (who did ballet at a performing arts school), to Jay Z (college educated as well). There are many other examples, but what they all had in common was the belief that they had to appear less educated, and more violent/gritty to be seen as authentically black. Where did this notion come from? I see this even in my own family. None of us grew up in “the hood,” yet many of my cousins love to “act ghetto.” I’ve never been able to be cool with this, as I think it’s breaking the cardinal rule of Hip Hop culture, “Keeping it Real.”

    One of the problem that I see is that we don’t allow within our own culture for our people to believe that we are truly diverse and dynamic. We want all of our MCs to look like, talk like, and live like they are from the projects. If any thing, while I would agree that there is a certain level of elitism present in the black, middle-class church (which is a problem), there is an equal amount of skepticism in the hood toward those of us who were not raised in the same conditions. However, that is not an excuse, as I believe this can be overcome through doing the incarnational ministry of the Church, and being willing to suffer and identify with our brothers and sisters who are suffering in the inner city.

    Now, along side the artists I mentioned before you also have your Mos Def’s, Talib Kweli’s, Common’s, and formally Kayne West’s, but they are not the norm. What these artists did well was keep that civil rights type of prophetic message alive, following same type of convictions that inspired Grand Master Flash and Melle Mel to pen “The Message.” But, many of these brothers were heavenly influenced by the church in some way, even if it was just memories of going to Sunday service with Big Mama. However, as time passed and Hip Hop continued to grow, more and more of the artist came from predominantly secular backgrounds. So, it shouldn’t surprise us that the current Hip Hop conversation has strayed even further away from truth. But, praise God for brothers like Lecrae, Sho Baraka, Propaganda, and many others who are resurrecting that same type of prophetic message of our Hip Hop forefathers, but also preaching the Gospel at the same time, and demonstrating that it’s okay to be a young, educated black man who loves the Lord.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Good word, bro. Especially appreciate the way you identify the problem of African Americans themselves not allowing much room for their own diversity in some of these discussions, while many of the hip hop images/personas are really fabricated/marketing.

  • Avatar JAYDEN says:

    I’ve experienced it. When I first became reformed, my discipleship under older brothers seemed over time to move me farther and farther away from a hip hop cultural identity to “middle classness.”

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    Hi Jayden,

    Thanks for joining us on the porch. I think you’re raising a good issue. I think you’re largely correct. We tend to think of American Christianity largely in middle class terms and images. That affects things like acceptable dress.

    But I wonder also if something of a generational factor is also at work. I consider myself a bit of a generational tweener. I’m a couple years too old to be hip hop (though I grew up during hip hop’s first decade or two). And I’m too young to be civil rights (though I’m more “civil rights” in culture than hip hop). It seems to me that folks my age or older equate certain kinds of dress with maturity in general (not just spiritual maturity). We still have in our minds (rightly or wrongly?) that men and women “carry themselves” in a certain way, which many hip hop trends offend or violate. So, when I taught teens in a pre-college math and science program, we used to have this back-and-forth about wearing hats in class. It was drummed in my head by my elders that you never wear a hat inside or in the presence of women. That was part of being respectful and respectable. My students thought of hats as accessories. They had dozens of them. They didn’t see the big deal. So we had these great cross-generational exchanges. Even today a small part of me struggles with the brothers rocking caps in church or at official functions. But I realize it’s a different cultural understanding of the hows and whys of hats.

    Anyway, I think your point is well made. And I think some part of the dynamic may also be generational.

    Keep talking, bros. You’re making the porch fruitful!

  • Avatar Christoph says:

    Ah yes, I understand now, though I haven’t experienced it myself. Thanks for elaborating!

  • Avatar Joshua Servanthood says:

    Christoph, I can identify with you, I believe that Christian Hip-Hop is an excellent way to transition from secular Hip-Hop. With that said, there are some presuppositions that one would need to have in order to do so though. For example, in my experience I enjoyed secular Hip-Hop artists who were thought provoking rather than someone who just flowed or rhymed on a beat. However, when transitioning into Christian (i.e. Gospel-centered, Gospel-driven) Hip-Hop, one would have to either be seeking after Christ (i.e. desiring to know more of Him) or seeking to grow in Christ (i.e. having a basic understanding of Scripture, and the music leads you back to Scripture) and this genre is a means of doing so. For example, I believe the first Christian Hip-Hop song I heard was “Don’t Waste Your Life” by Lecrae. This song was theological and the music behind the lyrics aided in preaching (i.e. urging you to do something) you to respond to the Gospel. Without these presuppositions, I don’t believe Christian Hip-Hop would have been edifying, considering a natural man only understands natural things (Rom. 8; 1 Cor. 1). Thus, sound Christian Hip-Hop is a means of edification, if the Lord is drawing one to repentance (i.e. conversion) or the Lord has converted the heart of an unbeliever (i.e. sanctification), because faith comes by hearing (Rom. 10).

    Jayden, I hope I understand what you are saying, basically, as one grows or matures, the cultural expressions we once enjoyed, tend to diminish as we draw nearer to Christ. If that is what you are saying, I agree. First, I want to help us to remember that we, who are in Christ, do have Christian Liberty (i.e. grace), not to sin against Christ (Rom. 6, Gal. 5), but to faithfully carryout the law of Christ (i.e. Seek Him first and His Righteousness [Matt. 6:33], and love one another [John 14:31]). Secondly, when we deal with the issue of maturity, the Lord has given everyone a conscience and each believer will have different boundaries that they need to prevent them from sinning against Christ (Rom. 14, 1 Cor. 10:23-33; Gal. 5). Now, I do believe that maturing in Christ (i.e. through trials, tribulations, sufferings; sanctification, 1 Pet. 5:10), frees us from the cultural expressions and influences of this world, and as we realize this freedom we are able to says as the Apostle Paul,”For though I am free from all, I have made myself a servant to all, that I might win more of them…I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share with them in its blessings” (1 Cor. 9:19-23). Therefore, Hip-Hop is a form of expression, if it glorifies God, Amen! If this is a means that Christ is using to strengthen our weaker siblings in Christ, Amen! If this is a means that Christ is using to call an unbeliever to repentance, Amen! May the Lord also send them to a church that exalts Him with their words and life, from the leadership to the membership.

    In closing, I am reminded of when Peter was asked does Jesus pay the temple tax (Matt. 17:24-27)? Christ, in His preeminence, knew what Peter was asked and how he answered, but He did not address either at first. He wanted Peter to see the spiritual reality from this experience, “…then the sons are free…”, although, He was not saying Peter should not pay the taxes. The point of this text is clear, those who are in Christ are free from this world (Rom. 12; Col. 3:1-11), to serve Him faithfully, by being the example (i.e. workmanship) of the power of Gospel in the life of the believer (i.e. a sinful, wretched being, who has experience the grace of God through Christ). May the Lord continue to draw men and women from this world, giving them His power to follow Him; and that He would send more laborers who are spiritually mature, humble, ready serve others in whatever circumstance we are place for the glory of God (Gal. 6); and that He would keep our hearts from loving the things of this world, from the deceitfulness of sin and from gratifying the lust of our flesh (1 John 2).

    Grace and peace be unto you,

  • Avatar Christoph says:

    You’re exactly right! I wanted to live more for him, however naively that may have looked, and the depths of the lyrics were amazing to me! They still are, and serve as reminders of who God is and who I am.

  • Avatar Ritetheology says:

    Hey yall, How does Hip-Hop fit in with the evidences of Spirit-filled living (Eph 5:19) “…..addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart…..”(ESV). Is it possible to truly baptize things like Hip-Hop, country, R&B? Or should we take those eight notes and create our own “Christian” thing?

  • Avatar Randy Thompson says:

    “As the rising tide lifted the black church to the top, it took its money, status, and privilege and left the inner city; it ran to the suburbs. The African-American church became a bastion for middle-class African-Americans.”

    I interpret this as the African-American working- and middle-class securing their plunder from the inner city, drawing the gate shut, and taking their defensive positions in the bastion and warding off hip-hop; preventing it from rising with the church. The quoted writer is not speaking explicitly of hip-hop here, because what is truly happening here is that hip-hop was a innocent bystander that fell along with many other things the church didn’t preserve in the African-American community, Hip-hop wasn’t alone. I don’t think it was / is the churches responsibility to nurture hip-hop.

    In regards to hip-hop “rising”, I posit that what one calls true hip-hop (‘pure’, clever, clean and catchy) has risen in its own respective ratio just as much as the “true church” has been able to rise itself over the years. Both the words hip-hop and church are commonly associated with money and other personal and cultural biases depending on experience.

    Can I sit in the glider up here on the porch? =)

    Hip-hop was birthed in the streets, in the hood, where the inhabitants are marked with poverty, further, extreme poverty, it in itself is a body of destitution. The cause of the impoverished life style can surely be traced to segregation which led to the civil rights movement. Poverty is the ghostwriter with the hip-hop artist, weaving itself into the vocals and context of every verse and album. Poverty and violence was part of the brickwork that the successful artist sojourned, and it is telling in their faces and in the music. Real recognizes real, if you don’t emanate that struggle, you’ll get ate up (excuse the vernacular).

    Hip-hop is an art, often negatively perceived, but it is an art nevertheless. In regards to paintings and that art, Edvard Munch, the well-known artist Scream said “Art comes from joy and pain, but mostly from pain”; that is integral to secular Hip-hop. You know, from rags (broke) to riches (freedom). Christian Hip-hop runs a parallel concept, the struggle or “pain” of sin, and the liberation of salvation. Hip-hop was not founded by deep theologians or highly educated scholars looking for a way to express themselves under streetlights. It was founded by an oppressed group in the inner city looking to be the voice of those that succumbed to the far-reaching and arching hooks of the streets, a weapon wielded by what most argue to be the government. The battle is really between church and state, that’s loaded.

    First, to effectively evangelize here, one has to be unwavering in their faith in order to speak to those of all colors and psyches (nations). Otherwise, judgment is passed on first impression which is why hip-hop and the African-american church have grown apart even though they share the same history. This is why the church cannot articulate The Gospel Message to the urban environment.

    Second, fear stunts evangelism in the inner-city, not so much the fact that hip-hop is in existence. Face it, the inner-city is risky business. What do you find in the inner-city? Drug addicts, street violence, drunkards; “How can we possibly put ourselves in front of this and risk our lives?”. African-american church or not, if you don’t emanate some tie-in to this environment, again, you’ll get ate up trying to be in there evangelizing is the thought, and in most cases will be the truth. This is why CHH is so important. Luke 6:45, once the heart is regenerated, what comes out of the artist is a different message. And that is how a lot of us CHH artist came to be today.

    Another contributing factor is that of the different generations. I am sure a predominately younger, millennial lead church would be more receptive to hip-hop in or affiliated with the church in comparison to a predominately generation X group who had parents that were alive during the civil rights movement. The current generation x group has observed hip-hop and its developments (or lack thereof) and was raised by those and had grandparents that had firsthand experience with the civil rights movement.

    I question the culpability put on the African-american church to oversee hip-hop and its nurturing since its induction into the culture. Where is the line drawn of what is adopted for church fostering and what is neglected? Many African-american R&B singers (Male and Female) first learned how to carry a note by singing gospel in the church and now sing enticing and lascivious love-ballads in queue with hip-hop. While the themes of guns, money, and the misogynistic exploitation have progressively evolved (for the worse) to what we see today, the music consumer is accepting this lower standard. By evangelizing to all, the hearts change and the idols die, as an idol doesn’t exist if it has no worshippers.

  • Avatar Thabiti says:

    “Can I sit in the glider up here on the porch? =)”

    Naw, you pulled a recliner up on this joint! 😉

    Thanks for diving in!

  • Avatar Randy Thompson says:

    Ritetheology, cf Col 3:16, as it echos Eph 5:19. My perspective is not concentrating on the industry “Hip-Hop, country, R&B”, but rather making a more broader stroke to the heart of man in any talent or line of work. To me its like asking, can we baptize corporate business models? It’s the people producing the music or the people within the corporate framework that we are to be sober minded for so that we can speak of our joy found in Christ. This way, no matter what ‘activity’ we are in, together, we can address one another cheerfully and make melody to the Lord with our hearts.

  • Avatar Donald Chavis Jr says:

    Yessss! This!

  • Avatar Donald Chavis Jr says:

    I’ve experienced this too! Right right!

  • Avatar Ritetheology says:

    Bro Randy, I’m not opposed to Hip-Hip, country or R&B they are a reality of the world we live in, like “pop-tarts” and TV. I think though that we are dead wrong in our thinking if we feel we need “worldly” vehicles to be “Relevant” or share the Gospel with certain segments of society. “Relevance” is NOT one of the “four spiritual laws”. Hip hop is NOT the power of God for salvation. Yeah, the city is tough, but there is not short cut to reaching it. You don’t need Hip Hop or any other Genre to reach lost people, you just need the pure and unadulterated Gospel. Brother this is about Sanctification and what that looks like in the hood. What happens when a man becomes a new creature in Christ? Honestly I think Hip-Hop is a culture and NOT just an “Art” and therefore an enemy of the Cross (1 John 2:15-17).

  • Avatar shatoyiabradley says:

    Could this be a result of the “spiritual rigor mortis” that Pastor Anyabwile wrote about in “The Decline of African American Theology”? There was definitely more church involvement within the African-American community pre-emancipation but it seems as if the character and purpose of the church within African-American communities were lost post-emancipation; the spiritual (gospel) emphasis was replaced with a more secular framework (self-help, prosperity, etc).

  • Avatar Tisha says:

    Might a bit of estrogen cop a squat on the porch here–and in the swing please? 🙂 First, I say very thought provoking conversation. I resonate most with Matthew and Josh’s responses as they read most sober & balanced. My head is spinning from the few angles I wish to approach. So to help me and my multitasking, female, mind stay focused, I’ll answer the questions:

    But before I do, I encourage US to reflect upon James 4:6-10 as kind of a “cleansing protocol” a “wash-up basin” to cleanse ourselves as we enter & exit what amounts to be lofty ideological discussions (per Psalm 131). For that is what they really are ideological musings. Almost intellectual sport for some of brilliant minds….

    Discussions where our intellectual pride can pimp us out and before you know it we are standing and defending ideas, systems, & people in a manner that reveal Christ is not Lord but our knowledge, affiliations, & preferences are.

    NOT at all saying this is the case here, but I fear my prideful nature so much and know it’s MO in my life, I feel it good sense to at least caution MYSELF as I enter this convo. For I have strong counter cultural and strong counter-typical black people opinions about America–that tend to get me in trouble. Lest I further digress.

    Q: What about you? How would you characterize the relationship between
    the black church and hip-hop?

    ANSWER: I don’t. I’m thrown off by the term “black church” as one born in the 70s, grew up in the 80s, adult in 90s and so on. What I mean is I understand why a “black church” came to be under the canopy of God’s Sovereign Providences although, I’m almost certain that a “black church” or “white church” or ____ church is NOT in our Lord’s vocabulary or economy.

    Please hear me. It is clear our Lord respects “culture.” It is natural to congregate with those most like us and do cultural things. But the fact that His grace ushered in a civil rights movement so as to FURTHER reveal (or give a clue) His perfect will of a Body of all nations tribes…etc. united by the CROSS not racial identity seems to be the main idea of the civil rights paragraph, IMO.

    Black people (and other cultures ,too, btw) seem to possess “civil rights” and our “culture” in a way that is or very close to idolatry to me. And some of reason why I’m inclined to be critical in my thinking around it. For it has potential to lead the heart astray to worship the struggle of our ancestors vs use awareness of it it to fuel our future & resolve to not be “primarily” defined by our color. I don’t mind being defined by it but you follow me, I hope. What I’m saying is these discussions seem to further encourage division & eliteness

    Consider the flip side that I suspect has already been discussed on the Porch.
    But I and others observe that there is an equally elite & arrogant
    heir amid those “humble ministers–called to the city to live among the
    lowly.” They seem to be proud of their calling to be among the poor as
    they look falsely humble upon those in those ignorant superficial
    un-progressive thinkers who live in the burbs and rural areas or in
    states like TX, SC, or MS. LOL!

    These conversations seems to satisfy something in we Christian academics that likes to wax eloquent about things that in the grand analysis seem to NOT affect much in the way of eternity. They feel like a chasing after the wind. A rearranging the wood on the altar when there is no FIRE.

    (Help me see any blind spot, ). I acknowledge this is just my opinion. I really would like to understand better, if my thinking proves to be limited/narrow/one dimensional.

    Q: Did the civil rights success of the black church lead to the church’s downfall? Has the black church become irrelevant to inner-cities realities because it’s become essentially middle-class and suburban? Has the black church forsaken the city?

    ANSWER: Yes I think the black church has become irrelevant–period. And shows like Preachers of LA the Tankards, etc…are helping it. I struggle to respect the post civil rights “black church” for many reasons. But mainly because I just don’t see it in God’s economy as the force and power we give it.

    Which brings me to the next point…what about RURAL areas? Cities and suburbs are often mentioned what about the rural poor? Are we aware of the immense poverty in these areas? The spiritual ignorance? How they copy what’s going on in the cities to their detriment?

    Is God not burdened for them as He would be for those in a NYC ghetto? Or some foreign country? Is God NOT calling young men and women to rural eastern NC or rural Mississippi? Urban “city” ministry just seems sexy these days amid my generation and later.

    Has anyone reading here heard of any Christian Hip Hopper being called to
    such a rural remote area? And if God were to call them there–would
    they enthusiastically go? Tweet it, FB Status it to all their friends? Or would they kick and scream into God’s will vs God calling them to NYC, Atlanta, or Chicago to live amid the poor.

    You always hear CHH folk getting called to some “city”–never to
    anywhere rural? Like really rural? Why is that? Again, correct me
    where I’m wrong. But such observations of the popular CHH community and
    the conversations within, lead me to be inclined to wonder in this

    Is hip-hop the new cultural force that defines what it means to be black
    and the new prophetic voice articulating the life of the city? I do think those CHH artist who are richly communing with God (e.g. daily renewing surrender & and mourning deeply sin), could be the new prophetic voice. Hip Hop culture in general –has potential to be prophetic as well. But again, at the end of the day it seems better to be preoccupied with being known by God than merely being “used” by Him (as a minister, CHH artist, or whatever). For the sweet irony is God ALWAYS uses those He knows but He often uses those HE DOES NOT KNOW but think they know Him. Matthew 7:21-23.

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  • Avatar Steve says:

    How about those who can testify to have been reached by Christian Hip-Hop? God actually used Christian Hip-hop (by way of lyrical content, Shai Linne’s in particular) to pull me away from heretical doctrines which I once ascribed to. That’s a reality that you can’t prove to be false. God in His sovereignty uses whatever He pleases to carry out His purpose, regardless of human reasoning and/or opinion. Blessings!

  • Avatar Steve says:

    -another side note. I agree when you say that “Hip-hop is NOT the power of God for salvation”. However, if The Gospel , which is the power of God for salvation, is preached in rhythm with a nice beat and some 808’s in the background, then the “power” to save is being transmitted through it and indeed can be used to call sinners to repentance and faith in Christ Jesus. Be blessed!

  • Avatar Ritetheology says:

    Steve my brother, no disrespect, BUT Hip-Hop Can’t be Christian. What pulled you away from heresy was NOT Hip- Hop but rather biblical truth,let’s not get it twisted. “Lyrical content”, and “808’s” while helpful for entertainment can’t sanctify. Jesus said we are set free and sanctified by the truth (John 17). No one is reached by Hip-Hop, rather God’s grace through His truth(Eph 2:8-9). Yes!!! “…God in His sovereignty uses whatever He pleases to carry out His purpose…: The question is, “What pleases Him”? Answer: His Son (Lk 3:22). God the Father uses His Son ALONE to accomplish His purpose (Sola Christus). God, because HE IS Sovereign does NOT need any help reaching His Elect with HIS Gospel. Steve I Just read TODAY about a so-called church in Springfield, ILL called the “Bar Church”. At this so-called “Bar Church” That meets in a “Bar”, people gather for live music, drinks and free food. The Pastor is a young 26 year old guy named Brandon Damm. His rationale for having a church in a bar is because the church in his opinion is in need of “…..a fresh approach to worshiping…at a time when mainstream religious congregations continue to dwindle across the country” He goes on to say that “Bar Church” is a “…great way to REACH people who wouldn’t otherwise feel comfortable in a traditional church setting”. Steve if we’re honest some Christians have lost confidence in the Authority of Scripture and the power of the Gospel, therefore we need to help God out a bit. John MacArthur wrote a book in 1993 entitled: “Ashamed of the Gospel” when the church becomes like the world”. I highly recommend this read. Let me close with one final thought. The gospel is NOT to be rapped, sung, instrumentalized etc., It is to be preached, it is to be taught(Rom 10). It is not our call to remove the offense of the gospel by accommodating it to certain cultural sensibilities. There is only ONE Gospel. There is no YOUTH version, or middler version or millennial version, no Country version or Urban version or HIP-HOP version or Rock version. There is just the biblical version. No female version, no male version, no black version, no white version nor Hispanic version, JUST a biblical version.


    P.S. Our next discussion must be about the definition of preaching, because that is key to this debate.

  • Avatar Steve says:

    So did God choose to reach me through Christian hip-hop, or did I myself choose? (there’s a question about God’s sovereignty behind this). Thanks for your reply, even though I feel like there is still a misunderstanding. However, at this point only the Holy Spirit can clarify all of this. I pray that the Holy Spirit would give us insight to all of this, and bring conviction where it is applicable.


  • Avatar itshome says:

    no response to Tisha, or did I miss something? I thought some very valuable comments were made from a generation closely related to my own. I sometimes feel like it’s the in between generation. Ha ha. Though Tisha seemed to stride aside the topic vs. straight end, I’d think some reciprocation from the author would be helpful for Tisha, as well as mysel and others sitten round on the porch… 🙂

  • Avatar itshome says:

    btw, I want to enjoy hip hop because it does seem to drive to deeper content than CCM POP. I don’t enjoy it much, but that is genre preferences I believe. I do find this discussion interesting as it seems closely related to the hate-rock discussions from the sixties through the mid eighties. Ha ha. One might remember, “why should the devil have all the good music.” Beat box that and many others. 🙂

  • Avatar Orlando coombs says:

    Black churches, some of them are doing some awesome things in our community. But other ones leave much to be desired. They are cleverly evading real life issues under the guise of “let us pray on it”, and “wait on the Lord” due to either fear from the powers that be or that they will alienate their congregants. Cause the black church as a whole wanna only hear sweet things, whatever tickles their ears. That’s why it’s full of young single mothers, old grandparents, and homosexuals. Cause that’s become acceptable behavior in the black church today. Faggots singing in the choir, youth pastors screwing young girls in the church, and Reverends stifling the church’s money and the community ain’t seeing a dime and nothing is changing. But we got churches that are doing some awesome things in the community. Others are just showboating. But the black church as a whole needs to return to its rightful place as the government of the black community pushing our race forward in this new millennium and beyond.

  • Avatar IsaacOnThePorch says:


    Would you mind emailing me at to discuss this comment? Thanks.

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