The below is a guest post by Phil Kayser, Ph.D. — pastor of Dominion Covenant Church in Omaha, Nebraska. Lately, I have become interested in the rap music of Lecrae and Sho Baraka. Phil Kayser talks below about these men and others like them.
Time to startle my Reformed friends and list some of the Reformed (and reforming) rappers who have lyrics on the doctrines of grace (aka five points of Calvinism – yes, even songs on Limited Atonement), on the beauty of God’s law, on the applicability of God’s word to all of life, and songs that boldly take a stand against the hyper-charismatic movement, antinomianism, liberalism, the emergent church movement, the “love unites doctrine divides” movement, etc.
Because of the rap that I had heard (and turned off) in years gone by, I was kind of skeptical when two of my children started telling me about “really solid rappers” who were Reformed. “Yeah right,” I was thinking. But as I started reading lyrics and approving musicians, I was blown away.
I even attended a rap concert a few years ago and came away smiling. Though I will admit that I couldn’t always catch everything that they were saying, I was impressed with what I could understand, and started reading the lyrics of these amazing guys.
Here is an old gray-haired guy giving tribute to a generation of musical theologians who are really preaching more boldly than the pulpits that criticize them (obviously with some exceptions). To those of you who assure us that there are no good lyrics coming from live musicians, have you heard of Shai, Lecrae, Tedashii, Andy Mineo, Jovan Mackenzy, IV His Son, Sho Baraka, Stephen the Levite, J-Son, Propaganda and a bunch of other guys at reformedrappers.com who are either Reformed or reforming?
Some of them still have a ways to go in my opinion, but honestly, the lyrics of some of their songs are more solid than the lyrics of at least 1/10th of the Trinity Hymnal – and that’s saying something. I still don’t think they are useable in our Sunday morning worship, but I am impressed nontheless.
Unlike some reformed people who claim Calvin (but have never read him), these guys read the likes of Calvin, Turretin, Edwards, various Puritans, and dig Gary DeMar, Vodie Baucham, and other hard core modern Reformers. I think of the song, “Take up and read” that insists that you will never grow up and mature if you are not reading the great theological books of the past, and which includes references to Luther’s Bondage of the Will, Sproul’s Almighty Over All: Understanding the Sovereignty of God, and other books by B.B. Warfield, Charles Spurgeon, Boice, Schaeffer, Charnock, John Murray, Ed Clowney, William Hendriksen, D.A. Carson, J.I. Packer, etc.
Thanks to Phil Kayser who gave me permission to share this post with you.
Here you’ll find the video for Lecrae’s “Just Like You”. It’s one of my favorite songs from his album “Rehab”.
Another Lecrae song, “Church Clothes” from the album of the same name:
More about reformedrappers.com
Launched in 2011, reformedrappers.com is a growing hub of Christian rappers who hold to the essential reformation Doctrines and passionately labor to advance the Kingdom of God by communicating the truth of His Word through Christian Hip Hop. Our purpose is to serve as an outlet for reformed artists through which they can share their ministry and as a hub where christians can get to know and support these reformed lyrical theologians.