The FAITH + influence Compromise
With intimate ties to the Church and the world, Lecrae has been introducing the Body to much deception and stumbling blocks as of late. Whether intentional or out of sheer naiveté, a man who has worked this hard to cross over for the sake of impacting lives hasn't been as careful as he should be with how he moves. As I said in the intro to this piece, Lecrae is free to do whatever he wants. After all, he has free will. However, as a professing Christian he is accountable to God first, but ALSO the Body of Christ. And while he has Christian liberty, that liberty is limited by love - love for God, fellow Believers and even unbelievers. Whatever any Christian does has to be filtered through how it would honor God then how it would be most beneficial to their own walk with God as well as how it might impact the faith walk of others.
Yet, based on recent interviews, Lecrae seems to be in a mindset of simply "doing him". He's over all of the constraints and pressure and "judgment" from people and their expectations. So, he says he's broken free of all of that. "I'm just a follower of Jesus. That's it," he recently shared with Relevant Magazine. "I don't belong in any camp."
But what about the people who follow him? What about the people in Lecrae's camp? Again, this is a man who intentionally seeks to reach the world, so he's certainly aware that there are people under his influence. "I'm a firm believer that most new in their faith aren't following Christ, they're following the closest Christian they know," one of my Instagram pals recently commented. We were discussing Lecrae's career, as it relates to his faith and his influence and she made some excellent points. She continued, "What happens when that person isn't actually following Christ?"
While I hesitate to definitively say whether Lecrae is or isn't a Christian, I will say he's shown some pretty convincing signs that he's moving at warp speed away from his first Love. I'm sorry, but the man has made some consistently questionable and dangerous moves lately as it relates to faith and influence. I've been watching this as a fan and eventually out of genuine concern as a Believer. I don't know what the issue is and I'll continue to pray for him. But I do know there is something off. I do know nothing good could ever come of his "I'ma do me" attitude. And I sincerely doubt Jesus has been directing him to partner with the world in the way that he has recently, as these moves totally contradict who Jesus is and everything He teaches.
Last summer, for example, Lecrae was a featured performer at Together 2016, a day-long ecumenical Christian event. The event was a call to “unify all Christians” in prayer for our nation, which sounds like a great concept. But it is wholly antithetical. Not all "Christian" denominations fully embrace the fundamentals of Christ and His Gospel, so any form of "unity" is a contradiction (at best) and an impossibility (at worst). In order to "unify" it would require those who hold to the full counsel of God to compromise the truth. Further, the event was free of any true teachings of Jesus Christ, there was no call for repentance for America (though the goal was to pray for the nation), and the BIGGEST red flag was Pope Francis was invited as a keynote speaker. For those unfamiliar with Roman Catholicism, know that it is the queen mother of heresy and error in the Christian faith. It is a false Christianity that teaches false doctrine, a false means of salvation and, ultimately, a false Christ.
For this reason, 500 years ago this October, those who wished to abide purely by God’s word via guidance of the Holy Spirit, broke away from Roman Catholicism - a split formally known as the Protestant Reformation. Yet, at Together 2016, the Pope was slated to make a public plea for protestant denominations to return to the Roman Catholic Church for the sake of unity. Many believe, myself included, that such a reunion is only a precursor to an interfaith movement, which the Pope is also spearheading for the sake of "love" and world peace (see video above).
Never mind that Jesus is explicitly against such efforts (Matthew 10:34-39). Let's overlook that Jesus said that He is the way, the TRUTH and the life, and that he is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). Forget the fact that "love rejoices in TRUTH" (1 Corinthians 13:6). Let's ignore the fact that God said His TRUE worshippers worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH (John 4:23-24). There is no true love or unity without God's truth. Yet, ecumenical and interfaith movements claim that there are many paths to God, they don’t require nor promote repentance of sin, nor do they lead individuals to search for and come to know the True and Living God. So, yeah, it was that and a slew of other signs that helped discerning Believers realize this event was to be avoided. Nevertheless, Lecrae and a few from his 116 Clique were present!
Then, this year Lecrae was involved with the movie soundtrack for The Shack, a Christian-based film adapted from a New York Times bestselling novel that just so happens to promote the heretical doctrine of universalism. Similar to the ecumenical movement pushed at Together 2016, The Shack presents a distorted view of God and compromises His truth by presenting an an “all paths” salvation. Essentially, it says repentance of sin isn’t necessary and, at the end of the day, everyone goes to heaven. Though the plot of the movie is said to be extremely heart-warming, the theology that guides it is not only erroneous, it is wholly dangerous if ingested by one unlearned in the Word of God. I previously shared a more detailed review of this film and its theological errors in Why Defending the Shack is Whack. Yet, Lecrae not only worked on the soundtrack, he gave the film a raving review! So, essentially, Lecrae wasn’t at all bothered by the false doctrine the story brought forth. In his defense, he might not even be aware of it. Though, for a man with his level of influence on young Christians and new believers, that is also problematic.
Friendship with the World
Lastly, but certainly not least, is the issue with Lecrae’s ongoing co-signage of worldly artists whose faith-based views and lifestyles either counter or undermine the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Lecrae's musical influences growing up included Lauryn Hill, Tupac and Outkast. He praises them mostly because of their ability to effortlessly infuse spirituality with "good music". Because he didn't grow up in the church, he's said he never owned a Gospel record and had no desire to own or listen to one. Today, Chance the Rapper and Kendrick Lamar are two of his greatest inspirations. But they not only inspire him musically, he's managed to form personal friendships with both artists, often speaking highly of them and promoting their respective albums during his interviews and live appearances.
Lecrae has yet to collaborate with either artist, though there are rumors that a project may be in the works. In the meantime, however, Lecrae has collaborated with other secular artists like David Banner, E-40, Paul Wall and B.o.B. His most recent project,“Blessings”, is a collaboration with secular rapper Ty Dolla $ign, whom I only came to know through Lecrae, scored him his first top 10 hit on Billboard’s mainstream hip-hop chart.
To be sure, Chance, Kendrick and Ty all believe in God. At least, their recent projects indicate they do, and that’s a great thing! But "[e]ven the demons believe and tremble" (James 2:19). At this present time, neither of these men bear fruit which demonstrates they are followers of Jesus Christ. Ty is singing about blessings, but he's still unsaved and 100% of the world. Chance is professing to be a Christian while still living like the world. Kendrick says he's being used by God, but he's out in these streets lying to the world! The man's entire new album is telling Black folks we're "cursed" because we've neglected to keep the law of Moses! Meanwhile, Lecrae is shouting out these men and promoting their music for "the good of the culture".
But what about the good of the Body? What about the good of the souls of his fans? What about the Good News!
Lecrae's constant promotion of these artists only links his fanbase back to the world. As these influential entertainers call themselves "blessed" and "Christian" yet continue to live worldly, seemingly "successful" lives while making music shrouded in false doctrine, fans will wrongly assume one of two things 1) Christianity is merely a religion like any other or 2) Christianity is the pathway to fame and wealth. Either way, even if Lecrae and his friends were to convince impressionable fans to come to the Christian faith, those poor kids would not be coming to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. It only sets them up to live as apostate believers destined to later fall away.