Monday, July 16, 2012

A Response to 5 Pt. Salt- Is Reformed Rap Promoting Syncretism?

I recently came across an article that  was posted on  the website below

If one wants to read the full article it will take you to

When on FB I disagreed with the guy
who had posted this article on his blog (He says he is not the author of the article) in which he said on his FB post that he was open for dialog yet when I responded he deleted my comments instead of engaging in a healthy dialog.  

Here is where I found the original post on FB )

I see these type of arguments used against Christian Rap all the time and in my opinion they have no substance at all and always ends up with those who disagree with it because they do not themselves like it and thus pronounce it to be sin for all others.  The arguments were very weak, shallow and do nothing to demonstrate his point that Reformed Christian Rap encourages   syncretism.  I would encourage those interested to read the article that was posted and the readers can decide for themselves.

Lastly let me say I am GREATLY disappointed that instead of engaging in dialog 5ptsalt chose to delete my comments and refused to dialog.  During an exchange he said

" And yes, i'm happy to engage in dialogue - as long as it's on-topic"

He was not the author of the article but posted it on FB and his blog so I would expect him to be able to defend the serious charge that he is promoting on his blog and FB. I would invite 5ptsalt to feel free to comment on my blog if he cares to defend the claim that Reformed Rap promotes syncretism, and unlike what he did to me I will not delete his comments and censor him but would love to have good healthy debate.

My response which was deleted is reposted below.

So it is clear I am not angry. I am disapointed because I was wanting to have a healthy dialog and I think if people are going to make such claims they really need to be willing to defend them.  I wish 5ptsalt well and certainly have no bad feelings towards him.  I see these arguments used many times by those who do not like Christian Rap so I think it is important to show the arguments just dont hold under scrutiny!

My Response which was deleted

In your article I see three arguments that you say are normally given in defense of Christian Rap.

1) Redeeming hip-hop culture for Christ

2) A matter of musical preference

3) Music is morally neutral

I am going to go through all of your responses to these arguments because I do not think the objections you raise demonstrate your point at all.

In response to the first argument

1) Redeeming hip-hop culture for Christ

It would be helpful to get a definition of what you mean by "hip hop" culture? Do you mean drugs, guns, pimps, etc? If this is what you mean then obviously to be a Christian would mean to abandon all this stuff to follow Christ.

The Reformed Rappers I have seen such as Shai Linne certainly do NOT promote anything but Godly living and devotion to Christ. Which maybe there needs to be a distinction made between Christian Rap, and hip hop culture.

I found this definition from the Urban dictionary which defines hip hop as

" Hip-Hop"
A culture and form of ground breaking music and self expression with elements that consisted of the elements of graffiti art, DJing, MCing, and breaking. Today Hip-Hop is considered to be dead in the mainstream because so-called mainstream Hip-Hop doesn't have the elements of hip-hop and have no meaning.
The stuff on MTV and the radio can't be called Hip-Hop because the lyrics don't have any meaning or self expression."

I would ask why would you say that hip hop could not be redeemed for Christ? A Christian could do those things and be expressing their love for Christ and His word. The fact you may not do it or do not like it does not mean it is a sin. I would ask you to explain why these things could not be redeemed for Christ. (Note: Graffiti if it was done from a Christian would be done in a legal setting and would be part of aesthetics).

Sadly I was hoping to find your response but did not see one. You have stated the argument but never went on to refute the point. Maybe you (or the author if you are not him) could provide a response because the definition of hip hop as I find it I think could certainly be redeemed for Christ.

To your second point

2) A matter of musical preference

I agree it is more than a matter of preference in that the words have to be theologically sound. In response to this point you said

"Punk music [including hip-hop] is the ultimate statement of musical rebellion. Changing the words and the artists and calling it Christian will never sanctify it. It has no place in a new Christian’s life."

1-Please demonstrate the music is rebellious

2-Changing the words will not make it God honoring and Christ glorifying? It is the propositions in the music which determines if the song is glorifying to God or not. Are you saying sound in itself can be immoral or ungodly? One could play whatever sound they wanted with an instrument and it would be neither Godly nor unGodly because the words are not there.

The words is HOW we determine if something is Christ honoring or not. I could sing a Garth Brooks song set to "Amazing Grace" and it would not make it God honoring because you may like that style of music better. Sorry but this point really demonstrates you do not understand the issue. It really highlights the fact that you do not like it but it is not based on actual content but rather a "straw-man" caricature that you have made up of what you think SOME Christian rap is.

You posted Go on to say

"When we examine the lyrics of rap songs we are amazed to see that they are incoherent, meaningless drivel, although they invariably contain a few biblical phrases."

There probably is some Rap out there like that, but you can not throw out all of it because some are bad. There are some really silly hymns that are not theologically deep at all, should we throw out all Hymns?
I posted a song and gave an example and REALLY hope you will respond and tell me what in that song is theologically inaccurate because that song has more theology in it then most Christians are exposed to in a year at their church.

It is simply sophomoric and fallacious to discount all Christian Rap based on some bad ones.

Lastly you say in your third point

3) Music is morally neutral

This point you respond by saying

"But this is wrong thinking. According to the Oxford Companion to Music, a composer ‘has the desire to express himself. If he were a poet he would do so in words, if a painter he would do so in line and colour, and so forth. As a musician he uses sound.’[8] The composer has a dual aim—to express his emotion and his sense of beauty. Therefore the only valid question about a composition is, ‘has the composer succeeded in expressing his emotion and his sense of beauty.’[9] So when music is composed it is not composed into a neutral nothing, it has a form that expresses a message and shows the composers vision of beauty. The message of hip-hop is of rebellion against all that is good and decent, and the vision of beauty is a vision that has been corrupted by evil."

So is it your contention that one could tell whether a song is glorifying to God or not by simply listening to the music playing (for example a guitar)? If so please tell me how you are able to tell without hearing the words. If you are going to claim based on the Holy Spirit giving you discernment then what about Christians who say there discernment finds nothing wrong with it?

I really would love to have a dialog and go over these points and hope to hear from you soon. None of my response has been rude, nor have I tried to offend you in anyway so please do not be offended.

That being said I see you have removed one of my previous comments and I really hope you do not remove this before people can read it and we can engage in fruitful dialog.

What I have seen is nothing more than your dislike for Christian rap which is fine, but you take it a step further and claim those that promote it are guilty of syncretism. I have yet to see a solid argument from you that demonstrates your point and numerous reasons to praise God and thank Him for raising these young reformed rappers who are actually getting out in the community and reaching people for Jesus Christ and are doing so with good, sound, Biblical reformed theology.

Sola deo Gloria!

No comments:

Post a Comment