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".
When I first learned Tasha would be releasing a song with Nicki, my discernment automatically went: "NO!" ….. "AHHHHH!” …. “LUKEWARM ALERT!" … "DECEPTION DETECTED!"
But I reluctantly told myself to chill and wait until I actually heard the song before making my final assessment. After all, I thought, "I'm Getting Ready" may be Tasha saying she's "getting ready" for Jesus to return. I figured Nicki is on the track to publicly announce she is "getting ready" to give her life to Christ.
Tasha and Nicki just wanted to tell us they're "getting ready" for their "overflow"...their "break through"...their earthly "blessings". They're basically letting us know they're getting ready to stunt on their haters...in Jesus name!
Tasha's new song is, indeed, sharing "a gospel". But it ain't rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It ain't rooted in God's Word! It ain't rooted in our Lord at all. And if Nicki Minaj being on the track wasn't evidence enough that this song is NOT a work of the Lord, the lyrics are proof that it isn't. "I'm Getting Ready" is a WORK OF THE FLESH. Period. The theological errors in the song, alone, would require a separate post. It doesn't edify the Body of Christ in the things of God, and it most certainly doesn't witness Christ to the world. But, again, it's not doing anything most mainstream "Gospel" songs aren't already doing. It's not doctrinally sound, but it's got powerful vocals, dramatic crescendos, a choir, a call-and-response element, and it includes the terms "blessing", "God" and "angels". Thus, I suspect the undiscerning within Tasha's and Nicki's fan base are "getting ready" to put this song in heavy rotation. So, on that note, I ain’t got much else to say to anyone who wants to entertain that tune.
However, since we’re on the subject...
I want to slightly switch gears and speak to those who might be willing to entertain a few Biblical lessons these types of projects tend to present. Tasha, Lecrae, Snoop Dogg, Jay-Z and others are turning the “gospel industry” on its head with their unexpected participation/collaborations/samples as of late. Typically, Gospel/secular artist collaborations are said to be in the name of discipling the secular artist and/or witnessing to the world. Further, the professing Christian community has a habit of readily embracing secular artists who so much as sneeze a semblance of "Jesus" on a track. For example, Karen Clark Sheard’s fans were 100%, absolutely, without a shadow of a doubt HERE for Jay-Z sampling the Clark Sisters on his recent album. Never mind that the song on which the sample appears is filled with profanity and Jay-Z utters a quick praise to Allah. The fans don’t mind it because, according to them, Jay-Z sampling Twinkie 'n' nem is a relevant way to spread the Gospel. (Chyle!) And I imagine this same logic will lead professed Believers to readily embrace Tasha's collaboration with Nicki.
But here’s the truth, no matter how we want to slice it:
Light Cannot COMMUNE with Darkness
I would be remiss if I didn’t take the opportunity to reiterate God’s word regarding partnership with unbelievers. 2 Corinthians 6:14 makes it clear that such is prohibited. Why? Because it leads Believers to compromise and it could ultimately lead them astray. Frankly, it leads us to idolatry. Moreover, unequal yokes do more harm to Believers than they do good for unbelievers. Just as this collaboration grants Tasha access to a larger audience, it also grants Nicki access to a Christian audience. From my understanding, Tasha acknowledges her music as her ministry - not merely her job. Thus, she is in grave error by giving an unbeliever a platform and a mic before the Lord’s people. Certainly, there have been cases where churches have invited in someone from the world to “teach” or “minister” to their congregations. Certainly other Gospel artists have also collaborated with secular artists. But precedent does not denote “right”. God's Word does. Thus, in this and similar cases, “precedent” just means a perpetuated error. Put plainly, those churches and artists were out of order - and so is Tasha.
Two Cannot Walk together Unless they Agree
In Amos, we are met with the rhetorical inquiry: “Can two walk together unless they agree?” (Amos 3:3). The immediate context of this verse is God asking Israel how He can strive with them if they don’t agree with His commandments for worship/living. (How can Israel walk with the Lord if they won’t agree to walk in the ways of the Lord?) Yet, we also understand the eternal truth and wisdom in this question: two cannot walk together unless they are in agreement. Practically speaking, this “walk” can be marriage, a business partnership, a ministry... a song. Whatever the joint-walk is, there has to be a foundational agreement guiding it. With that said, perhaps Tasha’s and Nicki’s collaboration is being presented as an agreement that the two are worshipping or glorifying God through Jesus Christ. But, as we’ve already established, this song doesn’t demonstrate that. It doesn’t share, mention, nor glorify God through Christ Jesus. Thus, such a claim would be disingenuous. As a result, there has to be another agreement at play. I will leave discerning Christians to conclude what that is. (*Y’all already know.*)
This Song Can’t and Won’t Save a Soul
One might argue that Nicki being on this track could lead her and/or her fans to Christ. Unfortunately, that's not true. Only the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit can do that. Again, there is no Gospel in this “gospel song” so there isn’t anything there by which Nicki or her fans can be won. “Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God” (Romans 10:17, emphasis mine). “How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher” (Romans 10:14)? Tasha nor Nicki is “preaching” in “I’m Getting Ready” so no souls will be saved from this work. I’m sorry if this is a rude awakening for anyone. But it's the hard, yet necessary truth.
Now, arguably, a fan in Nicki’s camp might be introduced to Tasha and, from there, be led down a path of Gospel music discoveries that eventually help them find their way into a church and that eventually leads them to find Christ. Yes, that could happen. But it would occur because of the sovereignty of God, NOT because Gospel/Secular artist collaborations is the way God prescribes that we make disciples.
I Said All of This to Say...
“I’m Getting Ready” ain’t a work of the Lord. I’m sorry, but there’s just no way around that. There’s no way anyone could ever Biblically support how that would be the case (though, I don’t doubt some will try). Now, if it is Nicki’s desire to come to Christ, I pray that she does so and I pray that she comes with a true and full understanding of His Gospel - which is antithetical to everything she currently raps about, including her verse on “I’m Getting Ready”. But, indeed, if Nicki has a sincere desire to know Jesus and live for Him, I pray the Lord works to ensure that happens. Just keep in mind that nothing in the Gospel and living for Christ is about material gain (Matthew 6:19-21, 19:23-34; Luke 14:33; Colossians 3:2; 1 John 2:16-17; 1 Timothy 6:9-10...and elsewhere).
As for Tasha Cobbs…
Sis? What (clap) is (clap) you (clap) doinnnnng (claaaaaaap)?!!! Please repent!
If it is Tasha’s goal to disciple Nicki, she can do that behind the scenes, being sure to guide Nicki to the truth of God and serving as her accountability partner as she grows in her knowledge of Christ. I don’t see anything wrong with Tasha doing that. God’s word doesn’t prohibit that...in fact, it encourages it (Matthew 28:19). If Nicki wants to sing about God blessing her with a beach house and multi-million dollar deals, she can do that - on her own album. That would be her business. Yet, it would be clear that her work applies to the world and her "praise" is one rooted in a worldly, carnal-minded understanding of God. But, with this collaboration, Tasha has invited the Church into the mix. She’s invited our commentary about this project -whether she wants to hear it or not. She’s made it our business because, as a professed Christian, SHE is our business - whether she likes it or not.
As such, I pray she sees her error; that she focuses on using her ministry to build the saints in the truth of God; and that she truly uses her gift to glorify God and share the Gospel. She and SO MANY OTHERS have a platform to really do the work of the Lord. Yet it seems they sacrifice it to say what they want to say rather than what this dying world NEEDS to hear!
As for the Gospel Music “industry”...
Last month Shai Linne made headlines with the release of his Still Jesus project, on which he calls out the Christian Hip Hop (CHH) community for abandoning the glory of the Lord for the glories of men. Yet, I believe his rebuke is applicable to the Gospel music industry as a WHOLE. The mere fact that it is an “industry” and not a “ministry” implies a problem enough. I get that artists may desire to reach more people and thus desire a larger platform to do so. Yet, I wonder if any ever stop to honestly ask God if He told them to pursue larger platforms at all. Is that what He's leading them to do, or are they merely operating from what they think they should do? Certainly, the Great Commission tells Believers to go into the world and make disciples of every nation. But that command was not for each, individual Christian to be burdened with trying to reach everyone by themselves, and especially not on their own volition. Even the Apostle Paul was prevented by the Holy Spirit from preaching in Asia (Acts 16:6-10). This doesn't mean Asians would never receive the Gospel. It meant that Paul and his companions were not called to them.
Further, even if pursuing a broader audience is genuinely led of the Lord, the disconnect comes when SO MANY neglect to share the Gospel when they finally get the platforms they’ve been seeking! With this in mind, I tend to believe that the Gospel music genre was small and hidden by design. I believe it was intentionally set apart. It was intended for the Lord’s special, holy purposes. It was a ministry to reverence the Lord and to invite those who wanted to know Him to come to Gospel music that they might worship him through song. All the “artist” has to do is sing the truth and allow the Lord to draw those who would be reached. Instead, these secular collaborations seem to be contrived attempts to do the Lord's job. In lieu of the Holy Spirit, artists and/or their labels appear to thrive on human ingenuity (the flesh) to attract new ears. Sometimes it feels like they leverage the popularity and prevailing reputation of their secular counterparts for shock value and to remain relevant - as if to say, "Hey! Look who I got to sing about God. Look who I managed to bring into the Kingdom?" And they do all of this under the guise of “ministry”. Meanwhile, ain't nobody nowhere near mo' saved! Yet, everybody is getting paid! They're treating Gospel music like a mere product! A lot of this stuff is false praise and vain worship, if there is any "praise & worship" in it at all! This is shameful, and it's sad. And the most disheartening aspect of it all is some (ahem...many) won't even stop to ponder the merit of these concerns. Instead, they'll be too busy defending these "Gospel artists" for doing "what the Lord put on their heart" when it is abundantly clear the Lord did not author this confusion!
But I digress. *sigh*
Certainly, everyone won’t agree with what I’ve shared here, but I don't mind. After having my edges snatched by the “Lecrazies” (Lecrae's super-duper fans) because of what I said about him, I don’t think there’s any critique or backlash I have left to fear. (Y’all, Lecrae’s fans snatched my figurative edges BALD! But glory be to God, because I have nothing left to lose!). With that said, I welcome your thoughts. But, honestly, my mind is made up: “I’m Getting Ready” and, frankly, most of today’s “gospel music” ain’t the work of the Lord. Yet, I pray the Lord makes that clear to the Body, and may He guide us to artists and music that reflect His Spirit and His truth (John 4:24). Amen.