Furtick is charismatic in the pulpit, and he is eager to share his desire to reach the lost. But he seems to believe that once the lost are “found” his work is done. “If you know Jesus Christ, I’m sorry to break it to you, this church is not for you,” Furtick says. This applies even if you’ve only known Christ for as little as a week. “Last week was the last week that Elevation Church existed for you,” Furtick declares.
Many Americans are having a hard time grasping why Christian baker Jack Phillips declined to make a custom cake for a gay wedding. One would think the conflict is obvious, but there are many who seem to be appalled, if not downright enraged, by Mr. Phillips and his position. There's been very little attempt to view his position with care and understanding. Instead, there have been tweets, Facebook posts, thought pieces and political pundits seemingly committed to dragging the man through the mud. They say Mr. Phillips wasn't motivated by sincerely-held convictions to decline to make the cake. They say he was motivated by "bigotry"! They say he was motivated by "hate"!
I say that is malarkey.
I say, those who desire to malign Mr. Phillip’s convictions aren’t only being grossly disingenuous, they're being wholly hypocritical.
#ChurchToo is now trending.
Taking its cue from social media’s explosive #MeToo campaign, #ChurchToo allows victims of sexual harassment, assault and abuse in a church setting to share their stories. While some are taking this as an opportunity to leave Church, I'd like to offer up a few things the Church MUST do to make things right going forward.
Saints, I'll be the first to admit that I am not a fan of Farrakhan's ministry through the Nation of Islam (NOI). As most of you know, while he is a world-renowned and respected religious leader, his religion counters Christ. So he’s an automatic “no go” in my book. But if this man has converted to believe on Christ, I'd be among the first to welcome him with sincere celebration and praising the Lord!
For the past week, a video posted by Louis Farrakahn Ministries Facebook page has made its rounds under the caption “I know my Jesus Lives.” The short clip (less than 1 minute, 30 seconds) appears to show Farrakhan denouncing his NOI teachings, publicly professing his faith in the resurrected Jesus Christ, and it seems he’s confessing that he is believing on Jesus Christ for eternal life. The video has has gotten 1.1 million views at the time of this writing, and most folks in my social media circle, including myself, couldn’t help but let out a shout of praise at the prospect of it after viewing it for ourselves.
IF this is the Lord doing a “Saul-to-Paul” type of conversion in Farrakhan, I say BLESS the LORD!
Nevertheless, there's this little warning from Jesus to take heed that no one deceives us (Matthew 24:4). Let's explore how we do just that.
In Tasha's defense, "I'm Getting Ready" (ft. Nicki Minaj) doesn’t actually stray from the prevailing message in today's Gospel music. I read the song's lyrics today and, of course, I really read Nicki's verse. Honestly, I didn't find anything out of the norm.
Unfortunately, however, in most Gospel music today the "norm" is about glorifying SELF! Most Gospel music today, at least most mainstream music coming out of the INDUSTRY, is shrouded not in the Gospel of Jesus Christ (as it is truly revealed in Scripture), but in a "prosperity Gospel". THAT "gospel" makes EVERYTHING about YOU! It milks God for material wealth and health, and it lays claim to "blessings" while altogether neglecting to glorify the "Blesser".
Lecrae is not a Christian rapper. He’s said this time and time again since about 2012. For many in the Church, however, this has been a tough proclamation to grasp. But it’s high time we finally accept it. It’s time for those of us who have been clinging to him to let him go and instead embrace the fact that Lecrae is free to do and be called whatever he wishes. If removing the “Christian” label from his identity is what he really wants to do, I say we fall all the way back and let him do it. After all, as he once said, “If I was a plumber, I wouldn’t say ‘I’m a Christian plumber’”. Touché! I can totally respect that perspective.
But here’s the thing: Lecrae previously indicated his music wasn’t merely his vocation. He treated it like his ministry. On numerous occasions he claimed his ultimate goal was to reach the world with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. His favorite Bible verse, Romans 1:16, and many of his songs presented him to be one who was unashamed of the Gospel. He said he would tell the world about Jesus EVERYWHERE he’d go. So what does he really mean by, “I’m not a Gospel rapper” and “My music isn’t Christian” when he, himself, once told the Church AND the world:
““That’s why it’s Christ in my rhymes
That’s why it’s Christ all the time
See my whole world is built around Him
He’s the life in my lines”
— Lecrae, "Don't Wast Your Life" (2008)
That’s how he introduced himself to us. So, as I prepare to fall back on the kid and officially bid the new Lecrae adieu, I wanted to at least express where many of his original fans are coming from that he might understand why it’s taken us so long to accept his new direction - a direction he might call "growth" yet so many of us discern is regression or "falling away".
According to Lecrae, the “Christian” label is a hindrance to his “ministry” (sorry, his “career”). It blocks him from taking his ministry (I mean his music) to the world - a world that wouldn’t typically buy a Christian record. To ensure he reaches the most souls possible, he doesn’t wish to be confined to any category - especially not “Christian”. But he readily confesses he’s “authentic to hip-hop”. He says this is why he’s more comfortable around “Sway over Hillsong” and why he’s able to “befriend the Kendrick Lamars and the Chance the Rappers” of the world.
Since Ferguson, Lecrae’s been much more vocal about racial injustice, and he’s taken some heat for that. In recent interviews he’s implied this backlash has come because American Christians are just too privileged to “get it”. According to him, the American Christian culture sees a black man speaking on such matters as being “too black”.
But as a Black Christian, I’ve have to interject and say, NO, my brotha! That is NOT the heart of the issue.
Lecrae has a song, a book, merch and did a whole tour on being “unashamed”. And while he’s crossed over into the secular music world, my understanding he’s still part of the 116 Clique (referring to Romans 1:16). Nevertheless, every time he does an interview or public appearance and someone asks him a direct, faith-related question, he swerves and hits folks with the #KanyeShrug.