Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How Would You Respond To This?

A while back, I posted an exchange I had with a brother who disagreed with my use of a particular phrase in one of my songs. I get all kinds of emails and messages from people who disagree with what I do. And some of you might be surprised to see how angry and cruel some of these people can be. For some reason, though, I actually find these messages refreshing because, if nothing else, they're honest. And it also reminds me that there are many out there who are opposed to what we do and that those who take the time to send angry messages are boldly, and at times, sinfully expressing what is on the hearts of many.

With that said, I want to post a message that I got from someone with the screen name of "Michelk". In response to my post on Christianity and the Arts. I'm curious- how would you respond to a message like this? And do any of you think this person makes any valid points? What do you think?

From "Michelk":

Quite a new low for the reformed world. I would like to know how anyone thinking they are "reformed" could support this obvious compromise with the lowest element of American entertainment culture. As a parent I teach my children that rapp, rock and pop are not for the child of God. Rapp's origins are from the pit of the black gangster, druggy, welfare culture! What are you people thinking?!! Just before you call me a racist, rock music comes also from the 60's white, hippie, sex and drugs culture (though they say rock actually has its roots in black music and was popularized by men like Elvis). I want pure kids not "christianized" versions of the worldly heathen/hedonistic culture. What reformer would endorse such a thing? none. You know, the Reformers left the Roman Catholic church because they realized that it was shot through with paganism/heathenism. Looks like its time for a new Reformation! You should all be ashamed of yourselves!

Let's Discuss...


Elected said...

Shai respond by asking him:

If something is initially sinful does that mean it can't be used for God's glory? If so, I guess you and I are in trouble because as the sinners we are, we hated God before he redeemed us.

Crappel said...

Wow, where to start? SO many assumptions, presumptions, etc. So non-biblical. To be honest, it would be hard for me to respond to this rightly, so I likely wouldn't even respond at all. That whole "if you don't have anything nice to say" thing.

One thing I can say though, from what I've seen in reformed circles, they're intellectual. This rant is not.

May the Lord continue to bless your ministry Shai. It has been a tremendous blessing to me. You opened a whole new world of Christianity to me. Thank you.

Chris said...

There are so many stereotypes and misinformation in that note it's almost not worth responding to. But, if I did respond, I would inquire about his (I'm assuming Michelk is a man) assumption that he can raise "pure kids". If he's reformed, then he can't possibly believe that any person can be pure. Our nature will lead us to things that do not honor God, whether they be musical, sociological, political, etc.
Also, if things with pagan roots are to be avoided, then many of our most beloved hymns needs to be discarded since their roots are indigenous bar tunes.

I would be interested to know what kind of music he thinks is OK and why. It can't depend on just lyrics. Is it the beat? The syncopation?

Overall, this seems like a rant more than a thoughtful comment and it deserves little to no response since it didn't come from a place of open dialogue and discussion.

Barbara said...

Well, actually the Reformers sought to Reform the Church in order to bring it back to sound doctrine. Not to quibble, but there was more to it than just being "shot through with paganism/heathenism". That paganism/heathenism resulted from having moved away from the teachings of the Scripture. So that point is erroneous.

There are some aspects of the music that do make me uncomfortable at times - I think it's vastly important to make sure that even with good sound doctrine throughout that it's not bowing to the culture it's seeking to proclaim the Gospel too. But with that said, I go back to the fact that a marriage born out of heinous sin (David/Bathsheba) produced an heir through which the promised Redeemer would come.

...this from a middle-aged white woman who jogs with the 116 Clique playing in her earbuds....

SIRROD said...

A lot of our hymns are set to then common bar tunes. Amazing Grace is set to a slave song that may have contained pagan themes. Michelk's likely music choices are not as pure as he demands. Redemption is wonderful. Thank God He has redeem me from the pit and breathed new life into this former object of His wrath and contempt. If me, why not a music style?

Randy said...

I guess that means the internet is the Devil's playground and we should avoid it since no other industry has benefitted from it more than the porn industry. Internet porn revenues are in the billions so we can't as Christians associate with such an obviously Satanic institution can we? How many families have been destroyed because of online affairs? Check this, I am not ready to surrender the internet to Satab and I am not ready to surrender hip hop to him either. My God is able to sanctify both and use them for HIS glory!

Gerrimy said...

The bible is full of stories about God using sinful people to accomplish his perfect plan. Abraham was a liar, Moses was a murderer, David and Solomon were adulterers. I think God goes out of His way to show humans that it's not about what we do, its about what He did and what He can do. God can't be associated with sin, this is true, that is why He died on the cross. He has already dealt with that sin and paid the price for it. Everything man has touched he has stained with sin. To take the approach you have suggested then we could not praise or worship God at all. Music is simply a tool, the means to an end. A knife in the hands of a cook is used to prepare a meal; in the hand of a murderer is used to take a life. Is it the knife's fault or the person who uses the knife for taking the life or preparing the meal? Is the cook responsible for how the murderer uses the same knife? What Mr. Linne is simply doing is taking the knife and preparing a meal composed of the living water and the bread of life that is Jesus Christ. A meal that not only satisfies but taste good to those who eat it.

Tadd Winter said...

I agree with the others who previously mentioned that Hymns derived from pub songs.

Also where is the grace, if the Gospel can redeem someone as horrid as I am, can it not redeem a style of music?

I have always hated rap because it was always so vile of form of music, then I became a Christian and to my displeasure I was forced to listen to Shai Linne and Lecrae and I was blown away.

Now Holy Hip-Hop is one of the only modern worship songs I listen to, because so much of modern Christian rock is so shallow and so void of the Gospel that it could as easily be about a woman as it is about Jesus, but H.H.H is so deeply rooted in Scripture and delves into depths that many modern pulpits don't reach.

I believe that God is doing amazing works through this genre of music and if I am not listening to a sermon by MacArthur or Sproul I am usually listening to H.H.H.

I would also question Michelk if the internet should be used then? The majority of its content is Porn so perhaps we should write this medium off as well, following the logic that Michelk uses to vilify H.H.H.

In terms of modern worship H.H.H. is the absolute best form of music for a Reformed person, because contemporary music is so very man-centered and pelagianistic in nature, whereas H.H.H has proved in my experience to be very God-centered and Reformed lyrically.

Alison said...

Man, I still can't believe someone would send you an email like that. But there are many people out there that think this because of the genre. I don't know how I would respond. The difference with lyrical theology and regular thug rap, is the lyrics. How can you know the lyrics that you guys spit. It's awesome. Thank you Shai for all that you and the other Reformed rappers do!!!!!! Soli Deo Gloria!

Anonymous said...

I would not give this man the gratification by responding to his post. It seems to me he is out looking to argue or debate on an issue with no biblical foundation. If you going to discuss "Christian Principles" with someone, shouldn't Scripture be involved?

Clearly this guy doesn't understand the word "reform"

: to change to a better state, form, etc.; improve by alteration, substitution, abolition, etc.

You have done this very thing with hip hop Shai.

Nuff said...

Irian said...

What an ignorant post. so i guess the apostle paul was wrong to use philosophy to preach the gospel and even quote secular philosophers in the areopagus?

J-Real said...


You don't have to answer every critic or respond to every naysayer that wants to express their feelings to you. Choose your battles carefully. They are only tactics of the enemy to rob you of your precious time, energy and strength! That's how you know that you're doing what's right by having opposition!! :) Look at Nehemiah, he wouldn't have fulfilled the will of God by rebuliding the walls of Jerusalem if he would have listened and tended to the enemies of Israel. God is using you mighty man of God!!! Keep lifting Him up!
Soli Deo Gloria!!

Anthony said...

It, in one sense, reminds me of God declaring that a particular thing is accepted and given to His people, and that it may be enjoyed and is cleaned, and, like Peter, it is refused and called unclean.

sachakun said...

I would want to point out that this father (so I suppose) wants to protect his children from a culture that is clearly often not christian or biblical. For this I commend him. As a father I feel the same need.
The basic question is that if we can separate the music from its surrounding, from the environment that produced the music. People that do rap pursue a certain lifestyle (I remember seeing Snoop Dog having 2 woman on a leash) or a public picture that does not conform to a christian / reformed / biblical lifestyle.
I'm not sure if children could see the difference.

So I would start there and than try to find common ground.


J-T said...

I'm not sure a response is warranted.

In our church we're trying to integrate various cultures (not assimilate). It's not always easy because we already have rich diversity in our congregation (we've been meeting less than two months). When people are unfamiliar with a cultural medium it's all too easy to claim it's wrong or sinful. It's as if some people think the apostles' hymns were in 4/4 time and played on an organ.

Last Sunday we played Trip Lee's "The Invasion" for preparation for communion. For our folk who are not familiar with hip-hop, we showed the lyrics on-screen during the song. One woman (who is about as far from the hip-hop culture as one can be and still have grown up in the US) posted this, along with a link to youtube for this video,

"Awesome song, not my style of music but you HAVE to read these words."

At the end of the day it's really about the theological content of the song. As Harold Best said,

"The best way to appreciate a music that you're not familiar with is to get to know the people that make it."

Trip's heart was open to all and because of the rich theology in his song, God's people worshiped Him more deeply during communion than they would have apart from hearing that song.

Shai, if you're ever in Grand Rapids (again) stop by for a visit!)

Geoff Francian said...

The passage that comes to mind is Romans 14:1-12, as I think it pertains to this situation. I personally think it would be best "not to quarrel over opinions." This person has passed unfounded and irrational judgment on you, which reveals they are indeed one who is "weak in faith", according to the passage as I understand it. They are convinced in their mind, as are you, and both of you will give an account to God, specifically in regards to this situation.

I have actually been following this ordeal since the beginning, and just wanted to say how edified and instructed I have been by the way you have handled it. I thank God for your patience and willingness to listen. He is surely using you to instruct guys like me how to handle such an open rebuke.

On a personal and unrelated note, your music has impacted my life in ways you will never know. I have grown theologically, have been challenged in my understanding of Scripture, and have been led to some of the greatest times of worship I can remember. Thank you for your faithfulness to God's word, you labor for His bride, and your passion to glorify the King. Can't wait for the album (I listened to you message "Christianity and the Arts" and heard that sampler- which ruined any patience I had while waiting for it ;) and am confident God will continue to use you to build up the saints in the way He already has. Much grace and peace to you and your bride.

Soli Deo Gloria!


Jonathan Batteas said...

The letter is obviously shot through with error, both historical and philosophical, but it is obvious because of the tone the letter is written in that this is a deeply-held conviction for the writer. To try to persuade them to change their way of doing things, may be leading them into sin if they can not do it "by faith." How would I respond? 3 things. Love them. Pray for them. And agree to disagree.

Lotus said...

Funny, I just read a interview with G Craige Lewis, and now this blog post.

In my experience, the only response that has gotten to anything positive starts with grace and, then, an agreement on what some essentials of the faith. If we cannot agree on salvation by faith alone, through Christ alone, then we can not go further on discussing Hip Hop. At that point we need to discuss the Gospel! But where I have been able to get on the same page about the Gospel, I can then turn the conversation to culture in general. The point is to keep from demonizing things of the world and elevating the incarnational nature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

I guess for me the response is never a short one. It is a conversation that leads to really digging into what the Gospel is all about and how we should then live it out.

Even for those to adamantly oppose anything related to hip hop, our disagreement should not cost us our fellowship as believers. Sometimes that requires us to be a little more gracious, sometimes even to repent.

ryangeer said...

I think that Michelk's comments don't warrant a response. You can tell when someone has an opinion but wants to learn - in those cases there can be mutual edification even if there's no real agreement. Having come from a fundamentalist background, I feel that there can be no edification with this person.

My family and I (wife & 6kids) love and have been taught and convicted by your work. Keep it up! Please.

Dos said...

Shai, please keep doing what you're doing. You're music only brings glory to God and this person's stance on what "Christian" music should be only feeds into legalism. This post is absurd! PLEASE keep writing and recording your music...myself, my husband and my very young KIDS thank you!!!

Shane Reynolds said...

Genesis 50:20 comes to mind, but at the end of the day, I think this falls under missions. Your music goes to get people that might not listen to Chris Tomlin or Amy Grant, and God can use your music to open that person's mind to the Gospel. Can and does God do it in other ways? Certainly. Regulativists find instruments in church heretical. I think, though, that the people who object to your music may raise fine, pious children who have no idea of how to engage people in a conversation about the Gospel because they have chosen to be neither of the world or even in it. To be clear, I do not think your music is appropriate for worship services because it would be difficult for all worshippers to sing together as a congregation, but outside of that setting, I think it's wonderful.

FWIW, I got in trouble with my pastor a few years ago for playing "Jesus is Alive" after the worship service concluded.

Christopher said...

Tell them to listen to the "Killling Sin" and "The Atonement" and allow the Holy Spirit to convict them.

Steven Wayne Howard said...

hey Shai,
I agree with most of what the people above have said. Michelk says that he won't listen to rap because its origins are foul. Would he still worship Christ then? God took the cross, an object with history more horrible than hip-hop and rap and used it for His greatest glory- to save people like you and me and Michelk from our sinful ways and thinking.
Most commenters have already said that replying would probably not be the best. I think that it is one of those times where you "do not answer a fool according to his folly" rather than "answering a fool according to his folly"- Proverbs 26:4,5
Hope that helps, Shai. Thanks for a humble heart to seek out help from other brothers and sisters as well as wanting to reach out to people... even those most opposed.
-steven w. howard

BerlinerinPoet said...

Uhm, he didn't spell "rap" correctly? And how would he be familiar with your music if he never listened to "rapp." Also, rap had its roots in Jamaica, so I'm confused about the anachronistic "welfare" comment. I guess that nitpicking is probably not a godly response though, huh?

I agree with some of these posts. It's not always necessary to answer everyone, but if you wanted to maybe you could point out that there are people in this world who are perhaps uncomfortable going straight from the life of an average worldly young person, to listening to hymns all day. And maybe since they already like rap, a "reformed" type of rap should be offered to them.

Also, what happened to enjoying God's gifts. I mean, Tupac for example, had a gift of poetry and rythm given to him by the Lord whether he acknowledged it or not. Rappers like you, Trip Lee, and Lecrae also have God-given talents, and thankfully you are giving Him the praise. I can't see what's wrong with it.

Also, please point out to this man the "real" reason the reformation happened. And it wasn't because of the church's paganism/heathenism. He should probably look up what those words actually mean.

Eldric said...

Its hard to respond to the comment by Michelk because I do not know what phase or stage he is in. He definetly needs to grow in CHRIST

Bernard Rosario said...

Redemption performs best when it performs for the worst. Arguments like these belittle the Cross.

DJ Lowrance said...

In response to this man, I believe we must deal graciously and in love. John 13:35, "By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another." I feel for him as I once too was part of the fundamentalist movement since a child and just recently have left it. It stems from a belief that all that is or at least at one point sinful must be shunned. It is a pharisaical way of creating boundaries to keep one's self as far away from breaking the law as possible. Fundamentalism is based on the logic and understanding of law and grace that states, that grace is hard (you must rely on God) law is easy (just obey a rule). Which i believe is true, however the fundamentalist gives in and desires to follow the law because it is easier, instead of following Christ. I pray for this man that he would have a faith that is truly liberating and a life that is led by Christ and not the law.

WalksbyF8h said...

"Michelk" needs to look at what is said. Your lyrics are doctrinally correct - in fact, you could catechize a child with it. Further, the 'music' does not have an R&B bass line that encourages sensuous movement of any kind. Therefore, the person's complaint it bogus.

Just as a classical violinist can play the blues to convey a different mood or way of thinking, so can a person use speech to do the same thing. After all, you're only talking. If you take rhythm away, what would be the complaint then? Nothing. So, ignore comment such as these. Tell "Michelk" that this is a perfect example of 'what the devil meant for evil, God uses for good'. Lastly, perhaps you might explain to "Michelk" that there is no such thing as 'pure kids'.

Bradley said...

This is one of the more ridiculous comments I have ever heard on a track thats filled with spirit and truth. There really is no merit to what this person is saying n the argument besides personal convictions that really have no heart to what the reformers where about, Which was getting back to the heart and truth of why we believe in Christ and acknowledging his truth and Lordship in everything that we say or do. whether it is musical expression and or preaching behind a pulpit. No arguent can stand before personal experience. with that sad I'd like to testify the fact that artists like Shai Linne has used there musical talents to present sound doctrine, theology in a creative and expressive way that has blessed my life abundantly. The fruit of his efforts within the quality music expressed threw his rap tracks has challenged me in my faith and trust in Christ and in often times been used of God to bring me into repentance numerous times and to draw me into reading the word of God as a Berean would to search for the truth in the scriptures that the Christian rap artist exposited, and expressed. Lyrical Theology has changed my life and has helped developed me as a Strong follower of Christ as I am now Getting read to pastor youth and help mentor, teach, and multiply many young disciples whom will be ready to make other disciples. Thank God for artists like Shai Linne record labels like Lampmode Recordings.

Dexter said...

I took a lesson at a school once to speak on the negative impact and hidden messages of secular music and realised that I may have unknowingly fuelled a Nigerian lady's predisposition to hip-hop as a style, who later said "I always knew there was something demonic about that music my children listen to". If I was to emphasise one point, it would be that no particular style of music is deemed holy, just as no particular race, occupation or gender deemed holy.

I think Tadd Winter's point is definitely valid, you can't write off a particular medium because of the normative use of that medium.

AnalisaSATX said...

First, let me say that I thank God frequently for you and other artists in your genre for producing music with biblical lyrics which exalt our Lord. While I do not enjoy rap personally, my husband has shared your work with me, and I am amazed by the lyrics! Such beautiful comprehension of and communication about Christianity. I am grateful that you speak so strongly for the Kingdom. Each of us has only to answer to He Whom we serve (Romans 14:4), so I would not respond to this person who criticizes your calling.

I am personally very thankful that so many styles of Christian music are available today. Hymns are wonderful, but I don't want to sing along to them in my car. I think it is ridiculous, not to mention un-biblical, to indicate that any "style" of music is sinful; to me it is all in the lyrics. If the lyrics promote the Christian message, there is not sin in that.

Music is a ministry for Christian artists, and my life has been deeply affected positively by Christian music. It is my prayer that Christian rap keeps growing in popularity so that people who weren't being reached in other ways are being reached by your music ministry, much as ApologetiX is reaching people who may not otherwise be open to hearing "Christian music."

Thank you for the fantastic lyrics you rap, I appreciate the TRUTH in them. I appreciate you. Blessings to you and your dear wife. <><

Janice said...

@Geoff Francian get outta my head, man! LOL. You covered pretty much everything I wanted to say as well.

I think it's important to deal graciously with those who are caught in legalisms. And remember, we are all prone to various forms of legalism in our own lives. I can kinda understand his concern about rap. It does come from a dark background. And this fellow may never get past that. However as so many others here have said, I'm really excited to see how God is using it in such amazing ways through godly men. (May He do the same with much of the CCM one day!!!)

I admit I would be curious to see how this man would react if he were presented with just the lyrics to some of these songs on paper. His reaction might be quite different.

Anyway, Shai, it's great that you're willing to consider these things thoughtfully. We all need to examine ourselves regularly to see that we are truly glorifying God and not just seeking after our own ways. It's hard to do when it comes to criticism, especially when because it can be challenging to determine when it's warranted and when it is not. And thank you again for putting yourself out there for God's glory. Your music ministers greatly to me and often brings me to tears. May God continue to use you to accomplish mighty things for His glory.

djdesignz said...

Unfortunately, everyone believes they're right and believes they have the right to be right! Thus is the current state of Christendom.

I Ain't Nobody!

eve said...

Hey shai.

As has been mentioned by others, the best response is simple prayer for this brother. Clearly not the "I thank YHWH that I'm not like this man" type of prayer, lol, but he needs support in the prayer realm on his behalf for his growth in Messiah. After all, his walk is important AND he's been given the huge responsibility of husbandhood & fatherhood meaning that others are to a certain extent affected by his maturity or lack thereof. Please continue to pray for this guy.

You're to be commended, though, for reading the remarks of naysayers. There wouldn't be much worse than a believing emcee who only allows himself to hear from folks who are overly impressed with him. It appears being aware of critics and honestly considering what they say in light of Scripture would benefit you and any other in your position. Props for that, fam.



djdesignz said...

Forgot to say how I'd respond. I would dialog, listen to what they have to say. Not try to convince them that they're wrong... Believers are good at proving they're right!

I would lean on the Spirit for guidance on how to respond in love. For everyone believes their understanding, their viewpoint, their position is right... is the truth! And until we consider that at times in our walk, we were wrong in our viewpoint, wrong in our understanding and wrong about our position we will always miss opportunities to grow and be corrected.

Too often as Believers we're quick to dismiss one whose assessment differs from ours. We're quick to feel the need to minister or correct someone who doesn't know Christ. And rightly so, but again can be dismissive to those who may challenge why we're right! Jus something I've learned.

When I didn't know Christ, His viewpoint was vastly different from mine. Even so, He went all the way to the cross for me, helping me to correct my viewpoint. And He did all this without violating MY will... with God ALL things are possible. The question is, will we be the vessel?


I Ain't Nobody!

Ginger said...

Shai I am sorry that you get these kind of emails. I think your music is such a blessing, encouraging, and God glorifying.

"So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved." 1 Cor 10:31-33

I think these verses pose an interesting question. You could say that you are doing this to the glory of God, and those who are offended do not have to listen to your music. But is that like telling the Christian brother in this passage to not look at you while you eat food sacrificed to idols?

kalvin said...

What do you think Shai?

I'm sure your just as opinionated as the rest of us.

Anonymous said...

FWIW - http://www.apologetix.com/faq/faq-detail.php?faq_q_id=89

Are some hymns just rewritten bar songs?

Legend has it that Martin Luther and John & Charles Wesley (of the Methodist Church) rewrote popular music from the taverns to accompany some of their hymns. Recently, church scholars have presented pretty convincing proof that Luther and the Wesleys did NOT do so, and that the legend arose from a misconception about the word "bar tune" or "bar form," which seminary students assumed meant a tune sung in local drinking establishments, but is actually a form of poetry popular in Medieval times -- a different kind of bar altogether.

shai said...

Thanks for all your comments. @kalvin: How would I respond? Hmmm.I would first need to pray so that I wouldn't respond in anger! After fighting the temptation to correct him for spelling rap with two p's (lol), I would probably deal with the phrase " the pit of the black gangster, druggy, welfare culture", which is ridiculously offensive (and false) and not at all softened by his claims to not be a racist in the next sentence.

One thought would be to ask about his contact with Black people and whether he would show that comment to his Black friends. Beyond that, though, I agree with many who said that graciousness and humility would be the right approach. I would want to assume the best and look at him as a father who desires to shepherd and protect his daughters from evil, worldly influences, which I can relate to (though I don't have children).

I would possibly try to connect on what we agree on. He seemed to really emphasize historic reformed practice, so I might try to engage him on that level.

Because of the complete lack of charity in his tone, I probably wouldn't assume I was dealing with a believer, so I would emphasize the work of Christ and the biblical to Christian love as a primary evidence of being in the faith. I wouldn't try to convince him to listen to hip-hop, as that would violate his conscience, which I wouldn't want to do. Just a few thoughts...

grace and peace,

Jerod said...

Shai, I believe what you do Is vastly different than what 98% of other "H.H.H." artists do when it comes to your obvious focus on giving God the maximum amount of glory in your music. (the other 2% would belong to the rest of Lampmode and Christcentric)

To Michelk, in case you're into 'Barouque' which I like as well as artists like Shai. Barouque was the name coined by the Christians of that time which meant 'ugly' or unacceptable music of the day.

I would love to know what you would consider an acceptable form of music.

Buyaah said...

I'm Dutch, we had quite some struggles like this, there's a strong extremely orthodox group of church people, that focus more on the form of their religion then on their love for CHRIST, they argue even over the hymns and psalms, only full notes, no hymns only psalms, only the original translation of their bible no revisions, woman not wearing a skirt that covers the knees are indecent, if you're not from a certain denomination you can't be a saved Christian, television is the eye of the devil, let alone INTERNET or rap. it's funny how they became exactly what the reformers turned away from.
This man's comment reminds me of someone from one of those denominations.
I'd advise him to watch John Pipers series on Christian Hedonism.

Seth said...

When you take out rap(p?), rock, and pop; what other genre can you use for worship?


Mark S said...

POW!!! What's that sound? Oh, that's Romans 14 being tossed out the window by this cat.

allison said...

fact of the matter is according to 1 corinthians 6:9-11 especially referring to verse 11 which states "Such were some of you; but you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and in the Spirit of our God." So did God through Paul write this verse only to address the Corinthian church? Or only to reformed christians, or dare I say only to white people (i am white, not that it matters, but apparently to this un discerning, errant brother (or sister) it does)? No of course not! Jesus WENT to the sinners, but He did not terry there, He always retreated…thats what your music does, is it goes to a particular group and reaches there, your music does not stay there (as in the typical themes in mainstream rap). Furthermore would a missionary have much impact if he went to mongolia taught all the towns people english (those willing to learn) and proceed to evangelize in english!? That is absurd, missionaries learn the language and culture of the people they wish to impact. Its called engaging culture, and to assume that we are all a part of one big melting pot where we lose our culture completely is frankly an archaic view. We need to embrace our different cultures and be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves (matt 10:16-part of the great commission). Okay, okay, okay i'm gonna go ahead and step off my soap box now.

Andy H. said...

Sounds like a Fox News enthusiast.

Seriously though, it's about time we address the elephant in many sanctuaries: abstract racism in the church. I mean, we dance dangerously near the topic in scenarios such as this one, but we bail before really digging into a discourse. I hope some day can we actually have an open and honest dialogue about it.

If it already happened and I missed it, please let me know!

spaaaaam111 said...

I love reading these comments, Genesis 50:20, romans 14 and others mentioned with wisdom in my opinion.

I think the poster has taken an emotional and deep assumption against modern music...I cant exactly blame him for it! however it is illogical to think that the something like rock music or rap is wrong for a christian to listen to because of its roots. We have been set free! Free from sin to bear fruit!

Indeed, there is nothing in this world untouched by sin, even the church its self is torn by controversy, polarisation and bad deeds!! Well then, I'm not going to church!! haha.

Music, clothes, what you eat, going to church does not make you clean, only faith in Christ makes us righteous in Gods eyes. And we can be pure by putting our hope in his him and his return (1 John 3:3) not by avoiding 'sinful things/objects'


Tina said...

I am thankful for the ministry that God has given to you, Shai. While I don't do it, I think it would be a great idea for ALL believers to read Romans 14 every morning, before their feet hit the floor, before they even kiss their spouses good morning.

I confess to being slightly irked that so much emphasis is put on being "reformed". I understand it's historical context and it gives one a point of reference in communicating with other believers, but we "reformed" believers so often wear it as a badge of honor, preaching "Grace! Grace!" and yet having very little for our brethren.

That aside, in this instance I can't help thinking of 1 Corinthians 1. Friends pick at me for bobbing my head with "holy hip-hop" and when I pause and SPEAK the lyrics to them, they are bowled over. Knowing the negative prejudices to rap (well-merited by the world's most popular rappers) I take the time to gently and lovingly explain that I am listening to a SOLID, THEOLOGICALLY SOUND, MEATY sermon. You and so many others are preaching more truth in less than 5 minutes than most pastors do in an hour. The fact that these sermons are set to a beat makes them quick to memorize and they are so good in the midst of spiritual battle! They are CHRISTocentric and point me to Him when I'm in the middle of a war with the world and my flesh.

Several scriptures come to mind: 2 Peter 1:13; 2 Peter 3:1; Hebrews 3:13... I think of Galatians 6 and Paul writing with LARGE LETTERS and think of the burden on your hearts to write and rhyme to your listeners in LARGE LETTERS so that we will be stirred up. It is NECESSARY that brethren encourage one another and point one another to Christ. I can't find in scripture "Rap is evil." and so we'll have to use the WHOLE counsel of God and our sanctified common sense and put aside our prejudices to see that the word of God proves true: "For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe." These raps are PREACHING... and GOD is using them to reveal the depravity of men's hearts and to cause them to seek Him. He is SO GOOD like that! It makes me want to Psalm 150!

raverson.mingmao.corea! said...

i'm tempted to write a book about this...but i'll simply say, keep movin brother shai, there should be a curriculum on The Atonement

David said...

I found helpful, profound wisdom on page 157 of N. D. Wilson’s book, Notes from the Tilt-A-Whirl:

The world is rated R, and no one is checking IDs. Do not try to make it G by imagining the shadows away. Do not try to hide your children from the world forever, but do not pretend there is no danger. Train them. Give them sharp eyes and bellies full of laughter. Make them dangerous. Make them yeast, and when they’ve grown, they will pollute the shadows.

Thanks Shai for doing what you do. God Bless!

Anonymous said...

Coming from who wrote the letter, or email, I felt major hostility in the first place. God can use anything to bring Him glory. Brother man was judging harshly and and close-minded as well.

Liz B said...

I would encourage you to shake the religiosity out of the Pharisee - sometimes people need to be reminded that legality is not the Gospel, and that legalism is of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh. Colossians 2:20-23 comes to mind.

miss_malkia said...

To this person's question, what reformer would do such a thing, i kindly respond Martin Luther. Many hymns that were written in the era of the reformation were remake of local songs sang by drunks in the taverns. I believe the weslleys also remade popular songs into gospel hymns... welfare is synonimous with poverty as in poor people.

June Bug said...

Well, that's his opinion so hey. I think shai said it best with the opening comment even the one about david/bathsheba... Me personally I rap about the good news so of course i'm against what he said, it's just one man's opinion just like there are many other :-/ and former illuminati members and former satanist say that satan started "rock music" so not sure on how he put that on black ppl not that I care too much about that, but im just saying. G.O.E. God Over Everything

Furlow said...

Hi Shai,

At a church I got to your song the Atonement Q&a was used in an easter sermon. Again the words were put up on a projector. The resounding response was that although many would not listen to hip hop or rap, that they where completely fine with it based on the lyrical content. They could clearly realize that the major point was not the music, but the content of the lyrics.

If any response is given it would have to be founded on how God wants us to praise and worship him, but I don't think you should bother to respond.

I think that the way in which you carry out hip hop to praise God is a good way to do it.

Dyork said...

I'm gonna go against the grain of what everyone is saying here and suggest that michelk is a woman.

Me Ku said...

Hi Shai,

At the end of the day, let's not forget that it's not the number of people who is supporting you that makes your action right before God. and it's not about how many people who condemn u as "doing the wrong thing" that makes your action sinful before God.

Keep your Heart Holy, keep your motivation Holy. Praise the Lord. use your talent, strength, intellect to please the Lord. Don't seek the praises of Man.

saying that imo, your songs is good. Keep praying so that through your song people can see God and not distracted by the slave.


ReformedbyScripture said...

The writer comes through very antagonistic and angry. The message of Christ is that Christians would be known by their love for the brethren. The Lord is Sovereign over all of life. Whatever we do, as believers, is to glorify God and bless the body! The body of Christ is identified by its unity and allegiance to the Triune God of Scripture.

D Green said...

He does have some valid points, but is probably guilty of generalization as well. As Christians, we've got to be very careful about trying to find our relevance to the world by becoming like the world. We are not relevant because we are like the world - we are relevant becuase we offer the world something entirely different. We actually lose our relevance if we try too hard to become like the world in order to deliver our message. That being said, you are reaching people who would probably not otherwise be reached in many cases, which is why I can endorse the genre of Christian hip hop. I myself would not want to see my kids listening to it, because I don't want them to get drawn into the rap genre. If the heart is not right, it would be a very short step indeed from Christian hip hop to non-Christian hip hop. But, for those already in the genre, I can be more supportive.

Trap said...

I can understand Michelk's feelings, it's a knee-jerk reaction I've witnessed over and over again, even in Christians who should know better but are going through some sort of "new spiritual awakening" In my experience time, patience and prayers for these people is the best solution. I've rarely seen explaining, arguing or other forms of direct response work.
For my part, even though I disagree doctrinally to an extent I still happily listen to and am blessed by many reformed theologians including HHH artistes like Shai Linne. Plus this quality of music is rare in a genre that is not so financially lucrative. Must be a big temptation for these guys to try secular HH and I just want to say I really appreciate them and thank God for their faithfulness.
Soli deo gloria.

Anonymous said...

It's not that rap was created evil, is that evil is giving rap a bad "rap" so to speak. Before conclusions can be jumped to think about this. Satan used God's own word to try to convince Jesus to sin. How crafty is that? You approach God with his own word and try to fool him? The bible says God is the CREATOR of all things. The Enemy does not create anything. He manipulates what is created so he can use it against God, against us. The Enemy saw through rap a path to take control and he is doing a good job. Besides, who is to say there isn't any classical music with evil undertones..

suzanne b. said...

I have been blessed to hear God's redeemed version of hip-hop and rap, and see how its rhythms and lyricism are so conducive to talking about the deep things of God. That heartbeat in the background just always reminds me that I'm mortal and time is passing! :)

Thank you for your hard work, your creativity, and your rock-solid theology. I'm sorry you receive email that's "off".

I'm sorry the person who wrote that letter questioned both your purity and your status as a reformer. That actually kind of made me laugh, because who more a reformer than someone who brings a holy God to a party that has so long been filled with the profane?

And that little notion that you should be pleasing any long-dead reformers is silly, anyway. I guess it's possible Zwingli wouldn't have liked your music. But he would have loved your heart. :)

seth hale said...

Considering that many hymns were set to "bar music," by this logic would mean that they should fall under the same judgment. I understand how someone could feel the way this person does or did because it is really hard to tell where to draw the line in the whole "in the world and not of the world" text.

There are those things which are inherently evil that we should stay away from regardless and those that are essentially neutral until the hand of man touches it and makes it evil if it is outside of the context of the God.

People have probably already covered everything I just said, but I figured I might as well say it... just in case.

grant said...

i think you prolly have better emails worth posting. this sounds like a westboro baptist member. unless she listens to "the attributes of God," then unfortunately, this isnt a letter worth getting concerned over. by her logic, poetry is bad. by her logic, even singing hymns without instruments, but with a rhythmic tone is bad. cause we all know there are evil beat poets and evil people who like to say evil things with rythem. all musical things are of pagan origins except davids harp. where is the verse that says that if something has been used for evil, it, itself, must be evil? if that were the case, there could not be christian books. no sermons on youtube, which was certainly created for the pagans, not the saints. there could be no anything. all you have to do is follow the line of logic to realize its legalistic and unbiblical.

Maiorem said...

He probably shouldn't be using the English language, then, and just stick to Hebrew. Even innocent words like "cottage" had not-so-innocent etymologies, and the language in itself came from pagan tribes that invaded Britain which further evolved with the invasion of various other nations.