DJ Maj, legendary DJ for tobyMac & longtime supporter of CHH, has written a letter to the Christian Hip Hop community. Let us know your thoughts in the comment section.
16 Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.
As one who has labored in the in various aspects of the Christian music field for close to 2 decades, I’ve been blessed to see the genre grow on many levels. I sit watching one of the most pivotal moments in the history of the genre as hip hop begins to finally take root and flourish as never before. Running parallel to this Kingdom advancement is an outright assault from our enemy (Satan) who desires to divide and conquer.
I’ve seen the ongoing conversations online from those who are trying to wrestle through the “Christian Rapper” title along with those who believe that shunning the title is outright blasphemous. In an attempt to bring perspective on the matter I’d like to point us to the account of our Lord’s arrest in Gethsemane:
Matthew 26:47-52 (NLT) 47 And even as Jesus said this, Judas, one of the twelve disciples, arrived with a crowd of men armed with swords and clubs. They had been sent by the leading priests and elders of the people. 48 The traitor, Judas, had given them a prearranged signal: “You will know which one to arrest when I greet him with a kiss.” 49 So Judas came straight to Jesus. “Greetings, Rabbi!” he exclaimed and gave him the kiss. 50 Jesus said, “My friend, go ahead and do what you have come for.” Then the others grabbed Jesus and arrested him. 51 But one of the men with Jesus pulled out his sword and struck the high priest’s slave, slashing off his ear. 52 “Put away your sword,” Jesus told him. “Those who use the sword will die by the sword.
John 18:10 will reveal that it was Simon Peter who drew the sword.
I can imagine what prompted Simon Peter to respond in this way. It’s as if Peter felt that he was part of the rejected and oppressed group on the school campus who were finally part of something cool, unique and powerful. In Peter’s mind, here’s an opportunity to assert the same treatment on those who once oppressed him. For lack of a better term, let’s call this “gangism.” The Lord was quick to respond to Peter’s ignorance as if to lovingly say, “That’s not what this is about Peter. Your actions will only push people further away. Besides, there’s a difference between being condemned and being misunderstood. Let’s reason with them.”
I believe we’re in a similar hour (since nothing is new under the sun). We can all feel it as doors are being opened to take gospel to the ears of those who have an affinity to urban art and culture. Specifically through the form of hip hop. In the spirit of Colossians 3:16 it is my sincerest desire to warn us against our fallen tendency as humans to, like Peter, desire revenge on those who once rejected us (specifically the mainstream urban music community). Is it possible that the desire to insist on the “Christian Rapper” label is another way of asserting vengeance on what’s known as “Secular Rap?” Like, “yeah, that’s right, THE CHRISTIANS ARE HERE FOOL…WHAT?!?!?” Has this become another way of drawing a sword and abruptly making our presence known to those who once rejected us? Furthermore, is this the enemy’s way of once again causing division in what could be the greatest hour of establishing righteousness?
I’m not one to declare a mandate that all Christians who rap should choose the label “Christian Rapper.” That’s entirely up to that individual and God who reveals all true motives in time (1 Corinthians 4:5). I do, however, challenge us to be discerners of the times (Luke 12:56) and pray earnestly for the artists and their music to continue to advance in this season when hip hop music as a whole is having such an impact on all cultures. Side note, I wonder what ever happened to the soldier whose ear was cut off and then instantly healed by Jesus. I wonder if any labels mattered in that moment. Just a thought.
I’m honored to continue to serve in any manner the Lord allows and I pray that this can be a moment when the world can truly know us by our love for them and for each other. May we all check our hearts in this hour and understand that so much favor has come through love, dialog and sincere hearts who desire to transform lives. May this also be an hour which unifies us and not divide us. For a Kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.
Peace & Blessings Family,
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