Flame Rapper (Lutheran Rapper)

This was the title of the email I got. The email from a 20-something, confessional Lutheran went on to say: “He graduated with a Master’s in Systematic Theology from St. Louis. The second song references a Dr. Joel Biermann [a Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, professor]. My personal favorite is “Sola Fide,” but “2KR” and “Scattered Tulips” are good too.”

You can watch the theological rap video here https://youtu.be/F0pM0LrJSFo .

I watched the video and this is my reply: Can content redeem form? At Higher Things one of their steps away from confessional Lutheranism was when they started having contests of pastors rapping the liturgy. Since our liturgy in the main says back to God what He has first said to us, ought we to be so loose with it? Doing so smacks of Belshazzar toasting the gods of wood, stone, silver, and gold with God’s sacred vessels. There are Lutheran churches that have the liturgy to Polka and Jazz music. Is that still the same liturgy?

This is from my paper “Church Music – Turn the Beat Around.” The date on the edition found on www.trinityaustin.com is 2004 but it’s at least 10 years older than that. “Well, if you think the music is neutral, then you wouldn’t mind singing your beloved “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” to the tune of Gilligan’s Island? And a favorite closing hymn, “Savior, Again to Thy Dear Name We Raise,” let’s start singing that to Helen Reddy’s “Delta Dawn” —if the music is neutral to you. And if you like Lennon’s tune “Imagine” so much, with a few adjustments we can sing “Abide O Dearest Jesus” to it.”

I didn’t see the 2020 Super Bowl halftime show, but I heard on talk radio the day after many people being offended by the raciness, objectifying of women, and the dress. One commentator asked himself what I ask myself when I come up against things like Christian rap. “Have I reached an age where culture, society [and in this case theology] has developed beyond what I am capable of appreciating? It’s just too different.” The commentator concluded no: that halftime show was objectively offensive according to any normal standard.

I don’t know if I can say the same about this rap and rapper. The fact its pedigree is linked to the St. Louis seminary where “change or die” is an unofficial motto inclines me to say ‘yes.’  And it’s worth remembering: In the Old Testament the Baal worshipers claimed they were indeed worshiping Yahweh at their high places and altars just in another form.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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