What do artist like Christian Hip Hop Artists Lecrae, Bizzle, Sho Baraka, and G.S., have in common with great church pioneers Martin Luther, John Calvin, and John Wesley? They all possess a heart for God and a zeal to see the Church and the Body of Christ radically reformed to the glory of God and the advancement of the Kingdom! These “New Age Reformers”, with their bible-centered lyrics and transparent messages, are compelling an urban and universal culture to seek God with fervor that is producing change in the hearts of youth and young adults all over the world. There are those who may feel like my comparison to these great theologians is bit extreme, considering the denominations and movements that were created through their works, but before you count it out, consider these comparisons:
- Age- The great reformers of times past were in their 20’s and early 30’s at the height of their ministries. Likewise, these New Reformers are vibrant and energetic in their youth, ranging from 18-35, with the same level of intensity for the truth as our patriarchs of the 16th-18th centuries.
- Zeal for Reform- These artist, like their Reformation contemporaries, have a heart to see the syncretism of worldly values and wisdom that has infiltrated the church, removed in order to redeem the glory of the church revealed to us in the book of Acts. This quest for reform, has led our New Age Reformers to obtain degrees in Biblical Studies and other theological areas in order to adequately represent the richness of the Word of God in fresh, relevant messages.
3. God over Money(pun intended)- Like our Reformers of old, our New Age Reformers are more concerned with the truth of the gospel being revealed to a culture in need of truth that is reluctantly given by pompous prosperity preachers, dogmatic leaders, and untrained charismatic orators. The desires of both eras of Reformers is that God is exalted above money, pomp, and any other self-seeking, self-fulfilling instruments that can rob God of glory and exalt humanity
4. Movements- Luther produced Lutherans, Calvin produced Calvinist, and Wesley produced Methodists. Similarly, Lecrae and Reach Records has produced a movement that has youth screaming “116”(Romans 1:16- For I am unashamed of the gospel; for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith… which also the same Scripture that liberated Luther from his internal torment and a freshness in Christ). Bizzle and Willie “P-Dub” Moore, Jr has produced God Over Money/Young Fly and Saved, respectively. These are movements that shatter the stigma that money is the end-all-be-all and living for Christ in your youth is what having SWAG is all about. Respectively, these movements and others like Sho Baraka’s Forth District are shaking the foundations of traditional church structures to demand holiness, zeal, and passion for Christ in new and fresh ways.
As one can see, the similarities are there and the movement of Christian Hip Hop is on the rise. Our churches and theological institutions are now witnessing the next new move in the progression of the gospel message that is causing millions to receive the salvation given to us in Jesus Christ by the power of God!