I’ve been thinking a lot about the whole subject of “Holy Hip Hop” or “Christian Rap” since I wrote three blog posts on the subject a couple of years ago. The upshot of it all is that I’ve taken down the blog posts and I want to apologize to my African American brothers and sisters in Christ for four wrongs:
1. It was the wrong time: The Reformed movement among African Americans is still in its infancy, taking baby steps, as it were. It was not the right time to come along with such a strong critique of some of those trying extremely hard to influence the African American community towards a more biblical theology.
2. I was the wrong person: I did not fully appreciate how delicate and volatile race relations were in the USA. For a white Brit to critique African Americans is something like a German criticizing the Jews. Due to painful historical circumstances, for any legitimate critique to get a hearing on issues like this, it really has to come from African American voices. I hope I wasn’t being racist, but I was definitely being racially insensitive.
3. It was the wrong forum: I should not have gone so public with my concerns without first reaching out privately to African American Christians in order to understand the historical and cultural context of this genre of music. As one African American pastor told me recently, when he read my articles, he said, “Just another white guy who doesn’t understand where we’ve come from.” The one huge blessing that has come from my posts is the numerous wonderful African American Christians who have made contact with me and even built friendships with me. It’s been one of the richest experiences of my life to get to know these dear brothers and sisters in the Lord.
4. It was the wrong balance: I had never really written or spoken about African American Christians before. Therefore I had no “credit” in the bank to draw on when I made these critical comments. That was simply stupid. Also, while I did concede the good motives behind the work of many Christian rappers, and I did try to distinguish between the styles of different rappers, I really only highlighted negatives in my articles.
This may seem silly, coming as it does 2-3 years later, when most people have probably forgotten all about it. However, the Lord has been convicting me about this, and I want to follow through by apologizing and by asking my African American brothers and sisters for forgiveness.
One huge positive that’s come out of this for me is that the Lord has given me a heart passion for His beautiful plan of racially integrated churches. I hope and pray that God will yet graciously use me to realize this world-transforming vision.
I’ve turned off the comments on this post as I do not want to start the debate up all over again.