Greg Strand is EFCA executive director of theology and credentialing, and he serves on the Board of Ministerial Standing as well as the Spiritual Heritage Committee. He and his family are members of Northfield (Minnesota) EFC.
Earlier this week I posted about the panel who responded to the question about rap music and rap artists and the many responses from those who appropriately took issue with them.
A number of the panelists have publicly apologized for their responses. Just as it was important to say something about the sinful comments made, it is also important to include their confessions here.
Often many will point out the wrongs stated or done, which is appropriate. But then once a rebuke has been made there is little to no follow up, even if those who did wrong attempt to make it right. It is true that controversy and polemics (which is necessary) create interest and traffic/readership.
However, if and when there is a retraction, a restatement, repentance, that is also important to note. If the initial response reflected sin, the response following the exhortation manifests the gospel.
I have read three apologies which I include below. There is much I could say, but it is best to let these individual's words stand on their own with no further comment. I will say this: I am encouraged.
Geoff Botkin, “An Apology”
I need to apologize for the unintended offense and confusion of my comments on disobedient cowardice. I certainly do not believe that all of today’s Christian rappers are cowardly. My most sincere apologies go to anyone out there who was hurt by my strong language. While I do hold concerns about the use and misuse of rap, my words were not directed at any particular artist. My greater concern is for the broad cultural conformity and compromise that is not limited to reformed rap.
Scott T. Brown, “Please Forgive Me”
During the panel discussion on rap I should have engaged such a controversial subject as this with greater discernment, explicit scriptural grounding, clarity, definition of terms (like “rap”) and precision that comes from a full grasp of the subject. These were lacking in the rap discussion. The very question itself lacked clarity and nuance which opened the door to the misrepresentations common to the broad brush. In framing the question, I failed to distinguish between the use of music in worship compared to simply listening to music. We failed to distinguish between the various expressions of the artists. I failed to correct a panelist who made an unsavory comment. Panel discussions, off the cuff are useful for certain things, but to use a surprise question to a panel to engage a broader audience on such a complex controversial topic as musical genres they may not have been knowledgeable of was unwise. I did not engage this topic with the required care. There were moments where it lacked the brotherly tone that is essential for our critiques within the body of Christ. In at least these senses, it was unworthy of our Lord. Please forgive me.
Joel Beeke, “Christian Rap and Public Apologies”
Recently I was asked to participate in a panel discussion at a Reformed Worship conference. In that discussion the panelists were asked to address the subject of Christian rap music (which I took to mean rap music primarily in the context of a local church worship service). To my regret, I spoke unadvisedly on an area of music that I know little about. It would have been far wiser for me to say nothing than to speak unwisely. Please forgive me. I also wish to publicly disassociate myself from comments that judged the musicians’ character and motives.