Whatever it is, frankly, I hope it is not what I think
Rap, hip hop and rock gospel music - ministry or entertainment? Personally, they are not my favorite musical genres.
In fact, I am not a big fan of modern music, period. Why do I single out rap and hip hop music? I don't hate black gospel music. But these just happen to be the dominant gospel music genres of our generation, so I am discussing them. The question, "Is classical gospel music of God" is meaningless.
The majority of young Christians today like rap, hip hop and rock music. This is the kind of music that moves them, and as a result, ministers of these genres of music have tremendous opportunity and responsibility.
But what I'm about to write applies to all forms of Christian music and ministry. The deeper issue is the question of what is ministry and what is entertainment.
Can God use rap and hip hop gospel music for His purposes? Of course God can. God can do anything. Is rap gospel music being used in a way to glorify God, proclaim his message, and draw people to Christ? Or is it not? Music is just a vehicle through which ministry flows.
Romans 12 speaks of spiritual gifts that we have in order to serve others. Music is not one of them. Music is a talent or a natural gift.
Someone may use music as a tool through which they exercise their spiritual gifts. Or that person may use music in a way that accomplishes nothing for the kingdom of God.
It can be used for noble or ignoble purposes. The beat, melody and rhythm have absolutely nothing to do with anything other than musical palatability. It is the message propounded by the music that makes it good or bad.
It is the way the music is used as a ministry tool that makes it harmful or beneficial. My purpose in writing this article is not to condemn rap, hip hop or rock, but just to ask some probing questions and provide some guidelines to maximize their effectiveness as tools in Christian ministry.
The Message in the Music How strong is the Christian message in a song? Some of them have strong biblical lyrics. Others sound like this: GP are you with me? I sometimes wonder if people respond to the lyrics or the beat. And if it is the beat that moves them, does it matter if the lyrics are Christian or not?
The major reason why hymns have endured so many decades and centuries is the strong biblical content of their lyrics. Why are most Christian rap and hip hop songs so quickly forgotten and replaced by the new?
Music which is lyrically weak is unable to minister in any meaningful long-term manner. It may make people dance and get excited, but when the air clears and the dust settles, who is really changed? Is it ministry or entertainment? Therein lies a big problem with modern Christianity - the propensity toward entertainment rather than worship.
Now I am aware that there are exceptions. There are ministers of rap, hip hop and rock gospel music who genuinely want to make a difference. And there are songs which have very strong lyrics and meaning.Freak Out!
- Verve D (Great / Very Good) Best song: Trouble Every Day. Just as Athena was not born as an infant but instead emerged fully grown and clothed out of the split-open skull of Zeus, Freak Out! presented Frank Zappa and The Mothers of Invention as a fully matured (ha) entity ready to take on the world of pop music from day one (of .
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Winner of the American Book Award from the Before Columbus Foundation () From its beginnings in hip hop culture.