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Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Subjectivity

Shai Linne and I are having a conversation between Christian brothers about Christian rap. This post will not make sense unless you start at the beginning of this discussion and read through all the posts. You can find the other posts in this discussion on this page or on the right hand side of this post. This is Shai’s answer to my fourth question.

Scott-thumb-300x300Shai, you insist that my interpretation of music is relative since it is “culturally-conditioned” and based on my personal associations. Do you then believe that your own interpretation of the music is likewise relative? Isn’t this true that even our interpretation of Scripture is influenced by our culture and presuppositions? How, then, can you insist that your opinion of the music or of Scripture is superior to anyone else’s and force your interpretation on others?

Shai_Bio-300x300The word I used for your music analysis was “subjective”, not “relative”.  The dictionary definition of subjective is

“based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or opinions”

For the purpose of our discussion, I would add “preferences, associations and cultural backgrounds” to that list. And yes, my judgment of what music without lyrics is communicating will be subjective as well. You then mentioned Scripture and that our interpretation of it is subjective in the same way. In your question, you’re comparing instrumental music with Scripture, then? I think it goes without saying that there are major differences between those two things. For one, you’re talking about a propositional form of communication (Scripture) vs. a non-propositional form of communication (instrumental music). Surely you see a major difference between “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” and the Chinese zither music you gave as an example of holy music in a previous post. There is no argument or confusion about what Genesis 1:1 says. Even an atheist would agree about what that text says. They may differ about whether it’s true or even what the author meant, but what it says is crystal clear to any literate person. If I ask 100 people to tell me what Genesis 1:1 says, provided they can read, I’ll get the same answer each time. This is simply not the case with instrumental music- not even close. There is no universal agreement on what instrumental music communicates (or “says”), even among people from the same cultural background, let alone people from different cultures.

It’s easy to go down the rabbit trail of the difference between “subjective” and “relative”, etc. But let’s remember the context of what this conversation is about. You have made the claim that instrumental music can be inherently holy or sinful. I deny that claim. In your post where you explained your comments on the NCFIC panel, you said

“But if a form of music that is inherently denigrating is redeemed, it becomes something different. Simply changing the lyrics, as much of an improvement as that is, is not the kind of change characteristic of ‘new creatures’”

I’ve been asking you all along to demonstrate how music apart from lyrics can be “inherently denigrating”. You still haven’t done that, brother.

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Scott Aniol

About Scott Aniol

Scott Aniol is the founder and Executive Director of Religious Affections Ministries. He is on faculty at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he teaches courses in worship, hymnology, aesthetics, culture, and philosophy. He has written two books, dozens of articles, and speaks around the country in churches and conferences. He is an elder in his church in Fort Worth, TX where he resides with his wife and two children.

27 Responses to Discussion about Christian rap with Shai Linne: Subjectivity

  1. Jesse B. says:

    Great questions by Scott. They are directed at the heart of the matter…..Biblical interpretation. A little disappointed in Shai’s, not only short answer, but his apparent evasion.

  2. Martin says:

    I guess Shai would say he doesn’t want to force his opinion on others, just as others should not force their opinions on him. Yet, when he uses rap in a church service, he is in fact forcing his opinions on those present. This is the same with CCM-based worship, where you can only either take it or leave. Of course, ‘forcing’ traditional worship on a congregation works out the same. No way around agreement, then.
    In making the distinction between Bible and music interpretation, Shai is assuming there is no universal meaning in music. In light of the previous post and the references given, this position is hard to understand. Whereas I agree with him that music is non-propositional and not morally relevant, Shai does not even seem to recognize that music does shape content in defined ways, based on musical gestures that are universally understood. Many examples have been given to illustrate how music communicates universally (think of the funeral march), so this is odd. My question to Shai would be, do you then hold that
    a) music has no definitive meaning, i.e. it can be understood in diametrically opposed ways by different individuals;
    b) music will be understood universally only within a given sub-culture that has agreed on the specific meanings of musical cues;
    c) music has both culturally conditioned and universal meanings.

    To advance discussion, Scott already showed last time that a) is not what musicologists would say, although it appears to be Shai’s position. b) is probably true, but only with respect to associations, whereas there is also universal meaning beyond such associations. So I would suggest c) applies, which means Shai is wrong in asserting musical interpretation is only subjective. Surely, there is subjectivity in interpreting music as representing very specific feelings or action, yet things get a lot more universal when we get to the ‘garden variety’ of emotions, such as sad or happy. I would also submit that the more training one has, the more one can understand the universal meanings in music.

    On the other hand, I would agree with Shai that ‘denigrating’ is something that cannot be expressed through music without lyrics. Also, Scott would need to explain how art (music), which is representative of action but is not the action it represents, can be inherently good or evil. Even gangsta rap, which expresses feelings of hatred and often, explicit violence in the lyrics, is not hate or violence itself. It communicates immoral feelings or thoughts but is not the same as committing them. What is wrong is to use such music to incite to hatred or violence, as well as letting oneself be influenced in such a way (the uses of the music).

  3. Jesse B. says:

    Seeing as Shai’s is reformed in a lot of his Theololgy, of course his interpretations of, both music and scripture will be screwed towards his preferences and cultural tendencies. The Bible explicitly states in 2 Peter, scripture is all we need for “life and godliness”. Scripture looks past all presuppositions, preferences, and cultures. To that end, a biblical method of interpretation needs to be established. I have lessons of Bible interpretation on my blog. ( http://www.ablogblessing.blogspot.com) These lessons were actually written in the 1930s, but need to be learned by all of God’s children. Bible interpretation is critical in this debate because it’s very hard to know how another interprets various passages. That method of interpretation is apparent in one’s view of music. As for forcing opinions on others, the only true opinion ( I would say it’s more than just an opinion, but a dogmatic stance) that is of any importance is the Bible’s. I try my best to rightly interpret any passage of Scripture, but not everyone does, which is why a method of interpretation needs to be the first thing established, in any discussion, not just this one.

  4. Martin says:

    So by analogy, would it then be possible to devise a method of music interpretation for this discussion to come to a common view on musical meaning?

  5. Jon Crappel says:

    I’ve generally enjoyed and benefited from this conversation, so I say this somewhat with tongue in cheek. After these last few posts (especially where Scott analyzes the music), I’m beginning to think I’ll need a PhD to figure out if the music I listen to morally good or not.

  6. Jesse B. says:

    I will post a more detailed response later, but in my limited knowledge, not having a PHD or anything, can see that principles and commands in the Bible that are interpreted correctly, even when the context is not related to music or worship, do come through in one’s musical taste. For example, Phil. 4:8 has nothing to do with music or worship, but those elements can easily be seen in one’s musical choice. I’ll post more examples and things later.

  7. Cheryl says:

    Jesse, Philippians 4:8 commands us to think on what is good. Shai’s music is nothing but the gospel. If we think about the lyrics of his songs, we are thinking about what is good. Do you agree with that?

  8. Rick says:

    Shai handles this very well (and patiently I might add). It is simply a bad comparison when you compare the interpretation of music with the interpretation of Scripture, and Shai does a good job of explaining why. The most important thing he did though was snatch us back off the rabbit trail and back to the main assertion of Scott’s that music can be inherently holy or sinful. I agree that it still needs to be demonstrated how music apart from lyrics can be “inherently denigrating”. That has not happened yet. There have been many rabbit trails and many words typed about these rabbit trails but it all boils down to showing how to identify music that is inherently immoral. Doing so should solve the whole issue….correct?

  9. Brandon says:

    I really think this debate is getting off-track. It is stuck on the issue of whether or not instrumental music can be immoral. The real issue is not about morality, but appropriateness: Is the hip-hop genre an appropriate vehicle for communicating biblical truth? If it is, what about other genres, like circus music? Is there any genre that is NOT appropriate for communicating biblical truth? If you said yes to hip-hop and no to circus music, how did you come to that conclusion?

  10. Jesse B. says:

    Martin initially addressed the a main issue, Bible interpretation. I should clarify that I am only sharing the things that I have learned over the years and do not want to come off as a “know it all”. Also, I should have stated previously that a correct Bible interpretation is not just important in some passages of scripture, but all. There needs to be a consistency in all of scripture when it comes to interpretation. Cheryl, please re read my comment because I am talking about Bible interpretation not musical interpretation.
    Eph 6:11-18 describes the whole armour of Godfor the believer. Someone who is thouroughly reformed in the Bible interpretation or is searching for scriptures that may, if stretched in a different direction, support their view. The gospel of peace in verse 15 to some is rightly interpreted as being prepared to share Gods peace with all who will listen, but to others who want to stretch scripture to support themselves may interpret this to mean that believers need to prepare themselves in whatever way they feel is necessary, even if its unbiblical, to prevent any type of confrontation. It may even mean that they will embrace gay marriage and some will use this passage, perhaps, to support sharing the gospel with others. And you can also see that I have taken this single phrase TOTALLY out of its context. That is common also with misinterpretations, but it is OFTEN assumed that everybody is interpreting scripture correctly AND the same. Simply not the case at all. I held a one on one Bible study once with someone who was open to understanding my view of worship, but we did not interprt the Bible the same. He assumed we did, but when I started with a simple overview of interpretation, well….we didn’t get far at all in the study.

    Another brief exampleof misinterpretation is the often misuse of Jer. 29:11. Great verse and I love it, but it was written to Israel. I have been to Bible studies where that verse is brought up as an promise towards all believers. This verse is written to Israel AND in a different dispensation, which also needs to be distinguished. There are 7 dispensations in the Bible and most promises found in the O.T. are not for the church age, and that fact is sadly disregarded.

    Assumptions have no place when interpreting Scripture. Most times the Bible actually interprets itself. In the book of Daniel, how do we know what the different metals in King Nebuchadnezzar’s statue is? There is no need for us to guess because we are told right in the same book. It would be folly to say that each metal represented the different layers found in the earth’s surface or to be interpreted as 5……..fill in the blank.

    A biblical and consistent method of interpretation is paramount in discussions like this and any discussion involving Scripture.I hope I did a good job explaining my point and I can try to explain again if need be, which im sure will be needed, perhaps utilizing a different approach.

  11. Jesse B. says:

    FYI…..the words in all caps are for emphasis, Im not “yelling”.

    Martin and Brandon, Psalm 29:2 “Give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name; worship the Lord in the BEAUTY of Holiness.” Would you really choose to approach the Almight and infinitely Gracious Father of Creation, the One that saved you from eternal Damnation, with circus music??

  12. Sven says:

    Caution: Rabbit trail in progress…Jesse, are you not also assuming a lot? What is your interpretation of Galatians 3? Especially verses 9, 16, and 29?

  13. Jesse B. says:

    I am simply going to stick to my point that Bible interpretation needs to be consistent with all of scripture. I am not here to push my interpretations on anyone else. I 100% agree that this is turning into a rabbit trail and Im not trying to be evasive, and the issue isn’t what is my interpretation of those verses, especially because I may or may not be wrong…..about a lot. My only goal is to point others to Gods Word. A lot of people have mis used Scripture and that is something between tnat individual and the Lord. I only felt lead of the Spirit to say that there is a right way to interpret the Bible, which I believe is being neglected more and more.

    I know that some will say that this is an “easy out”, but I honestly think that it would be folly to discuss MY interpretations when that is going to be a much bigger rabbit trail

  14. Martin says:

    Post on morality from William Lane Craig this week:

    “Thus, the faulty assumption behind your question is: “If these values and duties are objective, then it seems they should have known this was wrong.” That is a non sequitur. It doesn’t follow from the objectivity of moral values and duties that they should be clearly perceived by everyone. This fact should be especially evident to anyone who has a serious doctrine of sin. The Bible explicitly teaches that fallen, sinful people are darkened in their understanding and have a debased mind and so plunge themselves into immorality (Romans 1.18-32). Indeed, Paul seems to affirm that even though people really do know that such acts are wrong, they do them anyway for selfish pleasure (Romans 1.32; cf. 2.15). The failure lies in the perceiver, not in the perceived. “The eye is the lamp of the body. So, if your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light; but if your eye is not sound, your whole body will be full of darkness. If then the light in you is darkness, how great is the darkness!” (Matthew 6.22-3).

    On top of this comes the cultural conditioning that results from being raised in a society which is twisted or debased. Sin is not simply an individual matter but becomes ensconced in societal institutions and structures that shape people’s lives. But notice that when we express moral disagreement with a society or when we judge that mankind has grown morally from its earlier condition, we implicitly affirm the objectivity of moral values and duties. We think there has been moral improvement, not merely moral change. Far from supporting relativism, moral disagreement and improvement actually presuppose the objectivity of moral values.

    Moreover, I think that you exaggerate the degree of moral divergence among peoples. Anthropologists tell us on the contrary that there is great commonality among the peoples of the world in their fundamental moral codes. What might give the appearance of relativism is the different ways that these common moral values come to expression culturally. For example, modesty is a commonly held virtue, but what counts as modest can differ radically from society to society.”

    Comment: This is a parallel to our discussion on musical meaning. But rather than suggesting people need to be somehow enlightened to understand meaning in music I’d rather say some old-fashioned training might suffice. If we agree that some music is not suitable for Christian messaging, we have common ground and can go from there. If not, well… then all is indeed relative and the Bible’s ‘strive for the best things’ is meaningless (and we can probably forget about interpreting it, too).

  15. Seth says:

    So, as a teen Christian guy, who does enjoy listening to Christian rap, my question is this: where has Scott proved that rap does contain characteristics that make rap, by it’s nature, evil? It would seem that until he proves that point, he cannot deny the holiness of rap. (I use the word “holy” as discussed in previous posts)

    Thoughts/Feedback?

  16. Rick says:

    Seth, you haven’t missed anything. Scott has not done that yet. He and all those in the comments here that hold the same point of view have been asked many times to take one of Shai’s songs and show us how the music is evil. However, it still hasn’t happened.

  17. Lotus says:

    From what I have been able to gather, it is not possible to properly discern non verbal communication (in this case music without lyrics) without using presuppositions to fill in the data the context of the communication would normally provide. To explain using an analogy suppose to happen upon a conversation between someone you know and a stranger. One person is responding to a statement that you did not hear with a series of shoulder shrugs, a couple of hand gestures and a barely audible sigh. If the person is the stranger you will, base on your own presuppositions begin to fill in meaning to the that person’s nonverbal communication. Some of it will be spot on, others can be way off. Of course if the roles were reversed, you would be more likely to discern your friend’s nonverbal communication correctly do being more familiar with their mannerisms.

    There is definitely meaning in non verbal communication but I would not agree that those meanings are universal.

  18. I haven’t been following this discussion for a while after it seemed to have been getting off track, although I’m glad that Shai’s last comment brought us all back to the real reason why this discussion is even taking place.

  19. Grant Hooper says:

    the thing that bothers me most about scott and those who agree with him (even though i consider them brothers) is that, because of the fact, that we cannot get a straight answer about HOW a rap instrumental is inherently bad or sinful….. it becomes clear that you can only see what they’re seeing outside of scripture. it seems like they’re suggested that it must be “discerned”…. or perhaps it must be discovered after much intense study and some arithmetic.??? i empathize with them, as I think I problem have some things that I err on that are due to my preferences, environment, bias, etc…. however, this is what bothers me most… there is SOME truth in what their saying. they likely see christian rap that is very showy, pragmatic, and man centered… the most popular names are going in a more worldly direction. so this may be an overreaction and a blanket response to that. ” Because the most popular christian rappers appear worldly… worldly is sin, and they go on thinking there is no christian rap done in a God-honoring way, because perhaps they haven’t seen much of it. shai linne would be one of the few i would be comfortable as labeling as “good” God glorifying music. its a shame that these folks could take an album like ” the attributes of God,” with all the sinful music out there and watered down ccm music, and actually believe it to be sinful, DUE TO THE BEAT IN THE BACKGROUND mainly, when there a few albums that stick so closely to the Bible. That album could pass for worship. It really is a shame. I believe it is accidental legalism, and it worries me, that if these believers could be so blind to it…. what am i missing that I’m blind to in my own life? It’s the height of lunacy to suggest some Chinese Zen music or this or that, especially with its pagan origins, as a Holy alternative to an album laced with more of God’s Word and Biblical teaching than you’ll find in most churches on sunday.

    It’s also a shame that a bunch of folks who are HARDCORE sola scriptora wouldn’t realize the irony that what they are doing is veering off from scripture and allowing themselves to believe that there is some mystical discernment or feeling that is a part from scripture. This is a misunderstanding of discernment. Discernment is not separate from scripture. They work hand in hand. If you are asked again and again to show evidence from scripture to back up a claim that something is universally objectively sinful, and not a liberty issue, or varying, or subjective, and you cannot do it…. then you are probably discerning incorrectly. I do not need the pope to tell me spiritual things that I cannot understand on my own…. I do not need a PHD is musical studies….. and I don’t need a Spidey Sense. Scripture is enough to tell me what honors God. And “the attributes of God” by Shai Linne is beautiful, God-honoring music. To dismiss it, due to a beat is prideful, and may even be sinful in some cases.

  20. Rick says:

    Grant, I hereby award you the “Comment of the Year” award! Excellent post!

  21. Martin says:

    Not specific to rap but the analogous question could be asked:
    “No doubt part of the meaning we hear in a given kind of music is “socially constructed,” which raises the possibility that an alteration in the construct will alter completely how the music sounds. Simon Frith makes such an argument when he proposes that it is “cultural ideology,” rather than anything within the music or its beat, that produces most of the sexual and bodily associations of rock ‘n’ roll. But his elaborate and brilliant defense of that claim is too clever. Nothing one can do will convert Gregorian chant into a style as bodily and erotic in its center as various kinds of rock; nor can rock be made to sound as contemplative or as ethereal as chant, though it can indeed take on an aura of ecstasy.”
    From an article by Frank Burch Brown (2000) – http://www.religion-online.org/showarticle.asp?title=1959

    Which confirms the idea of appropriateness when combining styles and lyrics. It’s not an exact science, but to say anything goes is clearly wrong.

  22. Grant Hooper says:

    to reply to martin….
    this makes a lot of sense.
    to the people who have suggested that the beat somehow “hypnotizes” people, causes sexual lusts, makes people want to do the devils bidding…. well, first off, there are influences all around us, most a lot more powerful then this. the question is of the heart. Spirit-filled christians will not approach a beat to get amped up to sin… and if they notice music causing feelings of anger, or resentment, or lust…. the obedient christian will do away with it. This policy is less confusing, then trying to tell the average believer they better figure out whether the beat is bad or not. They could never enjoy music, if so, and would waste more time analyzing it, when they could be doing less futile things. We believers are fully equipped. There isnt some hidden knowledge we havent tapped into. Its an issue of the heart. The reason we see music associated with worldliness and sin, and aiding in pagan worship… is because a heart intent on evil will approach music to be inspired to do that evil. An unbelieving soldier hears the music from gladiator and fantasizes that he shooting people and killing people and dominating on the battle field, because he has murder in his heart…. he may even use music to aid his rage. But a christian listens to an epic beat and thinks of the attributes of God. anyone looking to sin, can specifically turn to all sorts of music to manipulate their emotions…. same way you can turn to video games, or turn to alcohol, or to drugs, perhaps in a less potent way. It’s the heart. I think the same people who think beats are evil, secretly suspect that there is no way a christian should have a drink in their hand ever. And while I rarely drink at all, the fact is Jesus turned water into wine…. forget the extra- biblical arguments about being diluted etc etc…. he made alcohol. It was a heart issue. Alcohol is not bad. My guess is that people at the party who were evil, and looking to fornicate, used it to get drunk and do just that. And those who were obedient to God, drank and remained sober minded, or didnt drink at all. Its the same with music.

    Here’s the bottom line, and this is exactly why it is SUBJECTIVE. If you could play a rock and roll beat or a rap beat to 100 peoiple in the 1700s….. what would they do? Would they associate it with sex and sin? Well perhaps if that was what was on their mind. But there’s no way we would see that consistent positive correlation. No way. Any evil we associate with those sounds now, is absolutely due to what we have come to expect with those sounds, based on what we have seen, learned, and been culturally influenced by.

    There is nothing sexual or anything else associated with a rap beat…. How do we know? Its simple. Because you cannot point to it and say “that right there” is why. It cannot be measured. And one person sees it…. and the next doesnt. So if you wanna lust or sin because of a rap beat… fine. dont listen to it. but dont make it universal law. it is completely the opposite of that..and its clear. We do the holy Spirit a disservice when we fear things like this. Anyone ever had a new convert who went through a phase of trying to figure out how neutral things can be good? I’ve seen a few. My one friends whole world is turned upside down… everything he has known was wrong. he only abused God’s gifts for evil. He couldnt figure out how he could justify spending 9$ on a movie ticket or even 15$ on t-shirt….. he is a talented golfer and could be a professional (but had sort of wasted that gift up until now) and he didnt know how he could golf and not sin…. he didnt know how someone could take medication, drink coffee, or drink alcohal and not sin…. he made sweeping blanket statements. “pankillers are always sin” etcetc…. my suspicion is its because he had only ever used those things for selfish evil purposes. he had to learn how to glorify God. im not saying he should be all for beer and painkillers and golfing 7 days a week. but this legalistic thinking plagues young immature Christians…and they sitin a room and dont know what to do. i was one of them. i felt gfuilty unless i read my bible for 3 or 4 hours….and then i realized that i took in more of Gods word by resting, and reading it for only on hour or two…..then overloading. i had only used rest to benefit my desire for laziness… now i used rest…. to aide my work… for the Lord. i was missing the point. it was not minutes and seconds of bible read. it wasnt pages and ink.those were the means to the end. i might not always have access to a bible…. the words were to take in, and have them written on my heart, to change me, and give me direction when i walk out out the door. ive taken in more of Gods word by …. resting, working out, paying my bills,doing my errands, and going home and reading focused for a half an hour at times….. then i have in a three hour sitting other times.

    i cant help but think that this rap beat stuff is missng the point, could hurt average and newer believers… that it is taking us away from scripture and towards relying on experience. and that it is dumbing down the power of the spirit. after all, was their ever a truly “likely convert?” has anyone had an easier time witnessing to strangers than your own family or close friends? i’ve found that the reason is that i am always calculating why “i know them ” and i KNOW they couldnt be christian…..”well they would never break up with the girlfriend they are having sex with. they wouldnt quit their sinful job. they are way too skeptical and analytical. too prideful. they would never.” and the truth is that none of us would ever. its a good view to have. to realize you cant just convince someone to be a christian with your smooth logic. it is supernatural. legalism is like a playing the Holy spirit. its like playing big government. its trying to micro manage because you dont trust people are equipped to take certain things, that other people have used for evil, maybe you yourself, and use them for good. But God is able to keep people…. and not lose them.

  23. Grant Hooper says:

    Here’s the bottom line, and this is exactly why it is SUBJECTIVE. If you could play a rock and roll beat or a rap beat to 100 peoiple in the 1700s….. what would they do? Would they associate it with sex and sin? Well perhaps if that was what was on their mind. But there’s no way we would see that consistent positive correlation. No way. Any evil we associate with those sounds now, is absolutely due to what we have come to expect with those sounds, based on what we have seen, learned, and been culturally influenced by.

    There is nothing sexual or anything else associated with a rap beat…. How do we know? Its simple. Because you cannot point to it and say “that right there” is why. It cannot be measured. And one person sees it…. and the next doesnt. So if you wanna lust or sin because of a rap beat… fine. dont listen to it. but dont make it universal law. it is completely the opposite of that..and its clear. We do the holy Spirit a disservice when we fear things like this. Anyone ever had a new convert who went through a phase of trying to figure out how neutral things can be good? I’ve seen a few. My one friends whole world is turned upside down… everything he has known was wrong. he only abused God’s gifts for evil. He couldnt figure out how he could justify spending 9$ on a movie ticket or even 15$ on t-shirt….. he is a talented golfer and could be a professional (but had sort of wasted that gift up until now) and he didnt know how he could golf and not sin…. he didnt know how someone could take medication, drink coffee, or drink alcohal and not sin…. he made sweeping blanket statements. “pankillers are always sin” etcetc…. my suspicion is its because he had only ever used those things for selfish evil purposes. he had to learn how to glorify God. im not saying he should be all for beer and painkillers and golfing 7 days a week. but this legalistic thinking plagues young immature Christians…and they sitin a room and dont know what to do. i was one of them. i felt gfuilty unless i read my bible for 3 or 4 hours….and then i realized that i took in more of Gods word by resting, and reading it for only on hour or two…..then overloading. i had only used rest to benefit my desire for laziness… now i used rest…. to aide my work… for the Lord. i was missing the point. it was not minutes and seconds of bible read. it wasnt pages and ink.those were the means to the end. i might not always have access to a bible…. the words were to take in, and have them written on my heart, to change me, and give me direction when i walk out out the door. ive taken in more of Gods word by …. resting, working out, paying my bills,doing my errands, and going home and reading focused for a half an hour at times….. then i have in a three hour sitting other times.

    i cant help but think that this rap beat stuff is missng the point, could hurt average and newer believers… that it is taking us away from scripture and towards relying on experience. and that it is dumbing down the power of the spirit. after all, was their ever a truly “likely convert?” has anyone had an easier time witnessing to strangers than your own family or close friends? i’ve found that the reason is that i am always calculating why “i know them ” and i KNOW they couldnt be christian…..”well they would never break up with the girlfriend they are having sex with. they wouldnt quit their sinful job. they are way too skeptical and analytical. too prideful. they would never.” and the truth is that none of us would ever. its a good view to have. to realize you cant just convince someone to be a christian with your smooth logic. it is supernatural. legalism is like a playing the Holy spirit. its like playing big government. its trying to micro manage because you dont trust people are equipped to take certain things, that other people have used for evil, maybe you yourself, and use them for good. But God is able to keep people…. and not lose them.

  24. Martin says:

    For the record, I heartily disagree with the notion that “We believers are fully equipped”, or that it’s all subjective, which is exactly why I quoted Burch Brown as saying that only “part of the meaning we hear in a given kind of music is “socially constructed.” Of course we are in dire need of learning and training, as the Scriptures clearly teach:
    Heb 5:12 you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word all over again. You need milk, not solid food!
    Eph 4:14 so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine

  25. I agree with Grant Hooper when he said “There is nothing sexual or anything else associated with a rap beat…. How do we know? Its simple. Because you cannot point to it and say “that right there” is why. It cannot be measured”

    This was exactly what I was trying to say this before on another post when someone said they heard and “erotic type of sensuality” in Shai Linne’s beat. I kept asking what in the beat made it sound sensual. The person who commented said that it was the drum beat. I listened to the drum beat and heard no type of sensuality. The reality is that hearing sensuality vs. not hearing sensuality is completely subjective. Which is why it doesn’t make sense to objectively say that a hip-hop instrumental is inherently sinful because it communicates sensuality, lust, etc etc. Not everyone hears those things. Therefore, if you hear sensuality and lust in a hip-hop instrumental alone, then that is a heart issue and you shouldn’t be listening to hip-hop.

    If I’m honest, I still have no idea how one could hear sensuality in a hip-hop beat apart from sensual lyrics. I don’t listen to Lil Wayne not because his instrumentals cause my mind to go places where they shouldn’t go but because his lyrics are filled with lust. However, I won’t deny that some people hear sensuality in the beat. What I don’t understand is why some think that what they hear in a hip-hop instrumental is what everyone else hears.

  26. grant says:

    martin. i agree. i dont mean fully equipped in that sense. i mean we have the full ability now….to pursue knowledge and attain it and such, uninhibited.before salvation, it was a legitimate question about whether or not we were even able or had the resources to look at music in an unbias manner with our flesh always getting in the way. but now…. we have the ability in the spirit, to go out and learn right from wrong and do it…. im not skipping the middle step of attaining that knowledge. but what im saying is this…. i know the bible. and i know it well. and i continue to learn. i am equipped on this particular matter to assess the music and my response to it, and if theres questions i go to someone i trust who also knows the bible well, who can watch me from afar to see if i missed anything. so yes…some believers may have work to do in order to “be equipped” to biblically discern these things…but i was highlighting the fact that before salvation…. we had no discernment. now, in the spirit, we can discover how to please God, and even carry it out! but yeah. there are some people who need to go out and learn more, and even some mature christians who need to re-learn. but if your in the spirit, not the flesh…doin what you ought everyday…searching the scriptures. going to God in prayer…. your equipped.

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