A movement starts with a moment. Rosa Parks at the front of a bus. Martin Luther nailing the 95 Theses to the chapel door. William Seymour, a one eyed preacher praying with his head in a wooden crate on Azusa street. The movement is never specifically about the moment, it wasn’t created by it. The moment was only a catalyst, whether good or bad.
The current discussion about Lecrae is another moment. His choice and the choice of others to label themselves just rappers (or insert artists) as opposed to Christian rappers, doesn’t make Lecrae the originator of the issue at hand. I would even venture to say it doesn’t make Lecrae the person that we need to point the finger at, eventhough it doesn’t exempt him from being part the discussion. The issue stems from what the root cause is.
The inclination of the older generation is to say “this younger generation” has a problem. But if I’m fair it’s not just this generation. The problem reflects on the people of God, young and old. Disagreement implies disunity because we are supposed to be one Bride, one People. The greater issue is not our lack of unity with each other, the real issue is our lack of agreement with the Holy Spirit. If we were in agreement with the Holy Spirit, likely we would experience more agreement and unity with each other. We can’t agree to disagree, because in walking away nothing has changed, we are still in disagreement.
We should be like the Bereans, turning to the Word and open discussion, with a willingness to give up our own convictions for God’s convictions, if they don’t line up with scripture. There’s a need to read scripture not through doctrines of men, or a specific theological lense, but through the lense of the Holy Spirit. Not examining it to create new doctrine, but going back to examine the Word in all it’s authenticity. There are times that I’ve been wrong, and there are times I’d like to think more often that not, that I’ve been right, but if I’m right its because I’m in line with scripture.
Most people that know me well would say, that as I’ve matured I’ve been more willing to concede my wrongness without offense. This is because as I’ve continued to mature in God, his Word increases in value to me personally. I’ve become more aware of my smallness as opposed to God’s greatness.
I think however, that for much of the church on this earth, our hearing has become muddied with opinion. And much of the opinion, is flowing from a secular worldview-it’s self-serving, politically correct and fearfully tolerant. We hear things repeated over and over and it begins to sound like the truth to us. This only happens because over time we are not continually searching the scriptures. The search is what helps us daily wash off the dirt of a sinful world. If we stop searching, God’s voice becomes dull and distant.
What’s been most disturbing to me is the rise of tolerance in the Christian church. If an evangelist stood up and said or did things that didn’t line up with scripture he was questioned, because he had a greater responsibility. He was held responsible for what was said from his pulpit. A response to sin or errant behavior in an evangelist or preacher wasn’t hating, it was necessary because from their pulpits they influenced thousands or millions.
The evangelists, no longer are just people that stand behind a traditional pulpit, they are mostly artists. Their pulpit is the stage and the web. From that place they influence thousands and sometimes millions and yes many of them even preach or teach. These teachers, preachers and evangelists through the arts have great responsibility and with that responsibility come questions. The Bible says we have a right to ask, based on when we appear to see a conflict with scipture. Clarity requires that we state the apparent problem and wait for an answer. However, in saying it, often it’s viewed as casting judgement. Christians, we can’t have sacred cows, the Bible says idolatry is a sin.
If you are standing on a pulpit, whether it’s on the stage or on the web, there will come a time that you will be required to respond to an issue. If people can’t reach you, they’ll pose the questions the same way that you present your opinion or your preaching-publicly. That’s not hating, that’s not bitterness, that’s not anger or resentment. It’s responsible behavior, especially for those of us that have a responsibility to safeguard a flock which may have some of it’s members regularly visiting the Church of the Artist. So we must state what we see and we must ask questions. To quote Uncle Ben from Spiderman, “Remember, with great power comes great responsibility.” Peter Parker’s response was, “…Stop lecturing me please.” It turns out Uncle Ben was right. -Leigh Piatt-Gonzalez l Hope Center