...neither should most Christian music! I'm just saying!
Christian Music definition: “Christian music is music that has been written to express either personal or a communal belief regarding Christian life and faith. Common themes of Christian music include praise, worship, penitence, and lament, and its forms vary widely across the world. Like other forms of music the creation, performance, significance, and even the definition of Christian music varies according to culture and social context.” (Wikipedia)
So by that definition, i have to ask: WHO decides what qualifies as Christian music? Does the Bible come with a list of acceptable chord progressions and music styles? (oO.)
I know some people in the world (Christians included) have a hard time accepting Christian rap but is God not the creator of ALL things regardless of what the devil wants to use them for? I could think of a lot of things associated with “evil” that we all use...
The first time i heard a Christian Rap song i was at home watching TBN.. they have (not sure if it's still on, don't watch tv as much as I used to) a teen music show that played contemporary and r&b type Christian music.. I think I was bored with Mtv and TraceTv or whatever, anyway I was just flipping through channels and I wanted to see what was on that’s when Lecrae’s song “Prayin for you” came on, I had heard bout Christian rap like T-bone n Toby Mac but i’d never really looked into it...So anyway this song caught my attention, I could kinda relate to the lyrics. Having grown up with Christian principles though I hadn't always been saved, point is after I heard the full track and my first thought was wow! I was like why didn't I know about this?!
I had always been a fan of rap but I never heard it like that...that song opened my eyes to a whole new side of music. I loved what I heard so much I did more research online and found music by guys like K-drama, JayMay etc.. (this must have been around 2005/6 I think). Anyway I pay attention to what’s happening in the Urban Christian music (rap, r&B etc) and I’m always happy when I read testimonies of young people (and grown too!) who were saved at a Christian rap concert or something, even just from listening to the music and watching videos on YouTube! (look it up if you think i’m lying).
Reminds me of this one time a Congolese praise team was invited to my church at home and their type of praise music was what i’d call African Rhumba and if you know anything about Rhumba most of the videos are on some “drop it like it’s hot” tip lol (sorry i couldn’t think of a better phrase). So anyway when the music started playing i was like waah!!? Somebody get some anointing oil or something! hehe ok that’s not what i said but you get the idea of what was going through my mind plus my face was like ----> <(oO.)> lol... So anyway one of the guys from the praise team said something that got me thinking...
What he basically said was to the effect that, the rhumba we see on tv is only the secular side of Rhumba but the style is cultural and that made sense because i started thinking about all the different types of Church music or Gospel music i’d heard from various parts of the world, the style usually originates from the people’s background or musical preferences so obviously the presentation will differ right? And again i ask, who decides what qualifies as Christian music?
Christian music as a whole has always been surrounded by controversy, not just rap.
the following are extracts or quotes if you may, from different Wikipedia pages, i put them in point form just to highlight some stuff also because i know if i post the whole thing some people might get too lazy to read it all hehe... Anyway for confirmation you can always look it up yourself :)
All i’m saying is if my words glorify God, My intentions are to please Him, who are you to stop me just because you don’t like it? Anyway...
Early Christian Music: (see top for definition)
Controversy: * The use of instruments in early Christian music seems to have been frowned upon. In the late fourth or early 5th century St. Jerome wrote that a Christian maiden ought not even to know what a lyre or flute is like, or to what use it is put.
* The introduction of church organ music is traditionally believed to date from the time of the papacy of Pope Vitalian in the 7th century.
Gospel Music: defined as - “characterized by dominant vocals (often with strong use of harmony) referencing lyrics of a Christian nature. Subgenres include contemporary gospel, urban contemporary gospel (sometimes referred to as "black gospel"), Southern gospel, and modern gospel music (now more commonly known as praise and worship music or contemporary Christian music). Think of artists such as Donnie McClurkin, Kirk Franklin, Israel Houghton (i like that te amo song #justsayin), Cece Winans etc...
Controversy: * Some proponents of "standard" hymns generally dislike gospel music of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
* Commercial success led to a proliferation of such music, and "deterioration, even in a standard which to begin with was not high, resulted.
* There is no doubt that a deterioration in taste follows the use of this type of hymn and tune; it fosters an attachment to the trivial and sensational which dulls and often destroys sense of the dignity and beauty which best befit the song that is used in the service of God.
* Today, with historical distance, there is a greater acceptance of such gospel songs into official denominational hymnals. For example, the United Methodist Church made this acceptance explicit in The Faith We Sing, a supplement to the official denominational hymnal. In the preface, the editors say, "Experience has shown that some older treasures were missed when the current hymnals were compiled, a diplomatic way of saying, "It's all right to sing these songs in church."
Contemporary Christian music (CCM): defined as - “a genre of modern popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. Today, the term is typically used to refer to the Nashville, Tennessee-based pop, rock, and worship Christian music industry, currently represented by artists such as MercyMe, Casting Crowns, Jeremy Camp, Third Day, Matthew West, tobyMac, Chris Tomlin, Brandon Heath and Aaron Shust and historically by artists such as Amy Grant, Jars of Clay, dc Talk, Steven Curtis Chapman, Newsboys and Michael W. Smith.”
Controversy: * Contemporary Christian music has been a topic of controversy in various ways since its beginnings in the 1960s. (interesting isn’t it)
* Others simply find the concept of Christian pop/rock music to be an unusual phenomenon, since rock music has historically been associated with themes such as sexual promiscuity, rebellion, drug and alcohol use, and other topics normally considered antithetical to the teachings of Christianity.
* This controversy caused by evangelical pop music was explored by Gerald Clarke in his Time magazine article "New Lyrics for the Devil's Music" (oO.)smh
* This point i personally found rather interesting and note the words i’ve made bold - “ On the other hand, some writers from the Reformed Presbyterian tradition, such as Brian Schwertley, assert that CCM violates the second commandment and the Regulative Principle of Worship because it adds man-made inventions, lyrics and instrumental music to what he asserts to be the biblically appointed way of worshiping God. An example of exclusive psalmody is the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), in which there is only the acappella singing of the psalms.
It should be noted that i listen to music from all the genres mentioned above though most of my Christian music is R&B, Soul and Rap type music. My point is the music you’re so comfortable calling acceptable Christian music has probably been through its fair share of drama, that’s all i’m saying :)
Everything being considered, any music that uses instruments not mentioned in the Bible, or according to some Christian denominations, music that isn’t acapella or whose lyrics are not taken completely out of the Bible or perhaps that’s composed with Instruments not mentioned in the Bible should not be called Christian music since most of the music we listen to now only got “approval” way after Jesus was on earth. If you do research on some of the traditional Christian songs and find out how they were originally sang by whoever came up with them, you might find out that the version you know is a “remix” of the original (different instrumentation and style). Anyway if your concern is truly out of love then you might want to consider praying for those of us who listen to music that is wrong to you (note i said IF your concern is out of love). Like i said to someone on Youtube if the music doesn’t appeal to you (you don’t like it) then the answer is simple... Don’t listen to it! It’s really that simple. Different types of Christian music (in fact music in general) were created to appeal to God’s various types of people. If God created us with different taste in sports, tv shows, food, clothes and other various things then why would music be the exception to the rule? Some people like to say by rapping we are ‘conforming’ to the world - lets be serious about this for a second, relate to knowing ‘em by their fruit (not their beats). If you sing the words from John 3:16 does that make you better than someone rapping ‘em over a beat (oO.) sayin! also i’d like to talk bout those people who r quick to judge it before theyve even listened to a single rap song..i dont mean become a fan or anything but before u decide something is from the devil, it might be good for u to have ur facts right before jumping to conclusions :) anyway on that note here’s a couple of rap songs im feeling right now...hot tracks right here! give a short list!!
I think i’ve stressed my point lol... anyway just a reminder, the things written in those post agree with my opinions, you are entitled to yours :) I have one last question though, those who don’t approve of Christian Rap: If the lyrics in these songs were sung instead of rapped would you then call it Christian? Or if the instrument arrangement was changed would that change your opinion? I’m just curious.
God Bless :)
PS: Sorry this is so long but If you know me, then you know music is something close to my heart :)
“..speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord”