Is Rap Music Sinful?

Some time back, one godly man asked another if rap music was sinful. The question of course pointed to a deeper debate about culture, meaning, and beauty. Had I been asked, here is my answer.

Rap music is sinful like…

  1. Spitting on your kitchen floor.
  2. Preaching in boxer shorts.
  3. Making fun of your wife’s weight.
  4. Greeting the president with a chest bump.
  5. Playing a kazoo at a funeral.
  6. Choosing to wear filthy clothes to a wedding.
  7. Calling your parents by their first names.
  8. Dressing a little girl in a negligee.
  9. Wiping your nose on your pastor’s tie.
  10. Relieving yourself in a public place.
  11. Putting a black man in the bed of your pick-up truck while your dog sits inside the cab.
  12. Arranging a game of bingo in parliament.
  13. Playing heavy metal for Sunday morning worship.
  14. Refusing to shower or groom before a social function.
  15. Greeting your in-laws with “Yo, dog” and “Dude man.”
  16. Putting muddy feet on your host’s couch.
  17. Smirking when you hear that your friend’s father passed away.
  18. Spending money for an air-conditioned doghouse.
  19. Voting for a candidate only because of the color of his skin.
  20. Replacing men with women in active-duty combat.

All the items on this list are—at the least—offensive, but we don’t have verses that explicitly condemn even one of them. This list represents unchristian behavior because the items on this list objectively degrade the sacred or exalt the profane. Our first task is to get these two categories. Our second task is to rightly populate each one. Unfortunately, the mood of the day earns its daily bread by blending the sacred and profane.

In other words, God honors some things and condemns others in words that we have cleverly learned to disarm. For example, if someone reading this disagrees with me, I don’t think he’ll be convinced by one of the many clear proof texts I could offer: Do not be conformed to this world. The two believers on the road to Emmaus had so badly missed the point of the proof texts that they had been given, that Christ Jesus calls them fools with a heart problem (Luke 24:25). When my friend debated a Muslim, the unbeliever actually tried to use the New Testament to demonstrate that Jesus was not God.

Too often we ask for a proof text, when only a change of heart will serve.

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