fbpx

Communicating Reformed Theology through Hip Hop

For Christ the Center’s 300th episode, we welcome hip hop artist Timothy Brindle to speak about his work in Christian hip hop and the recent musical movement as a whole. The episode explores hip hop’s stylistic capability to communicate the gospel and reformed theology and includes clips from Timothy’s recordings.

Timothy is a student at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, and his record label is Lamp Mode Recordings. Download “The Daily Gospel” by Timothy Brindle for free.

The first 300 episodes of Christ the Center are available for download as a 7.3GB .zip file. We may not be able to maintain this link into perpetuity. Download the file while the link still lives.

Participants: , , ,


Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

Leave a comment


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Preston L. Boone

6 years ago

Peace. Thanks so much for this episode, and your faithfulness through all 300 episodes.

I’ve been lookinvforward to this one since I saw mention of it on twitter a few weeks ago.

A couple of times in the conversation, the relationship between hip-hop music and the congregational/corporate worship moment came up.

The question of rap music’s suitability to corporate worship is a big reason why I am so axiously looking forward to Mr. Linne’s next album, ‘Lyrical Theology, Part 2: Doxology.’

Without having heard any of that album, I am hopeful and prayerful that it can help us all to rethink the possibilities of this genre to glorify God and edify his people – collectively!

Soli Deo Gloria.

timothy brindle

6 years ago

My dear brother Preston Boone!

I am so glad you commented on the subject of Christian hip-hop’s suitability for corporate worship! While I think it takes a special kind of Christ-centered hip-hop that would include the congregation to “together with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ,” (Romans 15:6), I agree with you brother that there is a way to corporately, intelligently, Biblically, and Christo-centrically exalt the LORD through hip-hop in a congregational setting! Which is why I also am gratefully looking forward to my dear brother/mentor/close-friend shai linne’s next album, ‘Lyrical Theology, Part 2: Doxology.’! Unfortunately we ran out of time and I was not able to share about his project. Also, I must add that I not only was introduced to Reformed Theology (i.e., Romans Soteriology!) through my brother shai, but also I was introduced to the rich hymns of the faith (especially from the Trinity Hymnal and James Boice’s Hymns for a Modern Reformation) through our brother shai linne as he led worship for several years at Lance Lewis’ PCA church we joined together. What’s interesting is that the rhythm we used for singing hymns–was a hip-hop style beat-box (i.e. vocal-percussionist) or a jazz band with boom-bap drums! Glory to the King of Grace!
P.S. shai linne’s “Lyrical Theology Part 1: THEOLOGY” is my favorite album ever–a thoroughly rich systematic-theology album! The track titles alone resemble the Table of Contents in a Systematic Theology Volume!
http://lampmode.bandcamp.com/album/lyrical-theology-part-1-theology

grace to you brother!

ctrace

6 years ago

Frankly, disappointing subject for the 300th show.

Camden Bucey

6 years ago

Thanks for the feedback. But just out of curiosity, were you able to listen to much of the episode? We were able to get into some theological depth, but it came a little later in the program.

ctrace

6 years ago

I’m sorry and apologize that I didn’t actually hear the show before I posted that comment. Rap is just such a turn off for me in any context that I was disappointed for that reason alone. I’ll listen to the show now and shut up.

RubeRad

6 years ago

Yes, even if you are turned off by rap generally, this discussion is worth listening to. I don’t by any means guarantee you’ll come out a rap fan, but at least you will have heard some intelligent, meaningful discussion about it.

gus garcia

6 years ago

Reformed theology + Hip hop = one great show! I am from south central Los Angeles and Hiphop is nothing new to me; on the contrary, I recently came to believe reformed theology for about 4 years now (reading everyone from Muller, Silva, Frame, Horton, Kline, Vos, Clowney ect.) I have no issue with the content of reformed theology but rather what troubles me is that it seems many would like to confine it culturally to a certain time and style. What I mean is that though I enjoyed the episodes with favorites such as Truman, Oliphant, and Kruger, I was blessed to hear the 300th episode because it shows that reformed theology (a biblical understanding of the scriptures) is no longer confined to the Dutch( or any other European cultures); rather sound theology has traveled through the “ghetto” streets of LA via hiphop to reach someone like me. Thanks guys! You know what actually sparked interest in my mind about reformed theology was a song by Brindle called “Ram’s horn” feat. J-silas, one line said ” The Lord is callin’ me with Reformed Theology to warn your colony to ignore idolatry…” and the rest was history. Again, thanks.

Camden Bucey

6 years ago

Gus,

You make an excellent point. Thanks for the feedback and the encouragement to let Reformed theology out the confines where we like to keep it.

Brian Davis (not the hip-hop artist one)

6 years ago

It was a great show guys!!! As a musician and worship leader I am interested in a wide variety of music, especially those styles that aren’t typically found in ccm or traditional Christian music circles. I have listened to quite a bit of Shai’s tracks over the past year, so it was great to be introduced to a few more artists that are passionate about the hip hop style and Christo centric ministry. I especially enjoyed the conversation about the redemption of music. It will certainly be the subject of some in depth study for me in the near future. I’ve heard the comment many times that most forms of Christian music tend to be derivative, and while this can be said of much ccm, this is one genre where there is some pretty stark originality taking place. I personally am interested in fusing some “alternative” rock/pop sound and good solid reformed lyricism. The show has inspired me to forge ahead and also has given me a couple new artists to add to my music library. To God be the Glory…take care bros!

Scott Trunko

6 years ago

I must admit that when I saw the topic I was disappointed. With some reluctance I started listening and was quickly hooked! I have since went to Lamp Mode Recordings and already made a purchase. Would be great if you could arrange to have Timothy on again, but this time with Shai Linne, who I am certain would make for a great interview! Keep up the great work! Thanks!

Mike R

6 years ago

Very thought provoking show. I am not sure what to do with rap music, but I am fascinated by it. It is powerful and plays a large part in the formation of our culture. Having Christian voices involved is important. I will say that it did make me a little sad to see you throw Ken Myers under the bus. You guys totally missed the point of what ken was talking about. You quoted him and than assigned a meaning that had little to do with Ken’s main points. I would be interested to know if you guys have read any Begbie or dug into Ken’s thinking on music and specifically musical forms. I think he would agree that rap music has its place in God’s world and that rap music (like all other music) is not sanctified by the words, but is judged by how it represents God’s world. The form communicates meaning without the words and the form of rap music generally moves us towards a set of emotions that are much different than say classical music. Rap as a form generally communicates a message of anger or excitement, it is full of emotion and the heavy baselines and rhythms communicate a message and that message is incapable of communicating the full gospel. Rap as a folk genre is closely tied to lyrics and so although it in some way transcends the limits of the form of rap music (you guys are right to appreciate the rich lyrics and they really do have a place). A danger is that sometimes we find two messages that are contrary to one another. An angry rhythm that speaks of gods grace confuses us, a song that begins with a rhythm that excites and angers, but than speaks of calm and peace is not quite right. This idea of music and form and meaning is rich and Myers and his posse (look them up) are doing some fascinating work and trying to figure out ways to teach the church how to think about and listen to music. They are fighting against an assumption (which was evident in your episode) that can best be summarized in warren’s quote about Christian music being Christian because of the words that are sung (very rough paraphrase). I wrote this way too late so please forgive any of the confusing parts and if Ken would do an episode on his thinking about music I think it would be amazing.

Andrew

6 years ago

I’m not sure I understand the (seeming) fascination you chaps have with hip-hop. I have listened to some of it, and I just don’t like it. No doubt there’s lots of reasons for this.

If it’s about lyrics, then obviously hip-hop can communicate theology. Who would argue otherwise? So talking about how rich the lyrics are in any given song isn’t really that helpful, or interesting. And I’m not sure the need to insert Christian propositions into everything comes from a good theology of creation.

The more important questions have to do with form and culture. And the parts of this episode that dealt with this issue were the most interesting.

I do have a certain sympathy for the views of people like Myers, Jeremy Begbie and Roger Scruton. Although how these views select for particular genres shouldn’t be frontloaded, and I don’t know hip-hop well enough to give an informed opinion.

There’s a good series of lectures by Ken Myers on music over at CanonWired. There’s several lectures by Begbie on youtube, and a helpful interview with him on Vimeo. I’m more familiar with Roger Scruton, and his writings on music and culture, and although I wouldn’t agree with everything he says, I would recommend them.

Greg - (Tiribulus)

6 years ago

I am not a fan of RAP as a music genre though being that it amounts to rhyming words in pretty much spoken cadence, there’s nothing inherently wrong it with it either. The important point is then that the very best theology by a million miles is in Christian RAP. It ain’t even close.

Gus Garcia

6 years ago

Tim H

6 years ago

I was really hoping Camden + Jared + Nick would lay down a few beats for us.

Alexander

6 years ago

Why the episode name change?

Camden Bucey

6 years ago

“Holy Hip Hop” is a name sometimes used for this musical movement, but it didn’t describe what the episode was about. We are speaking about hip hop, but more specifically, how it can be used to communicate Reformed theology. Moreover, speaking of a form as “holy” might be misunderstood in a transformationalist direction.

Greg (Tiribulus)

6 years ago

Most pulpits don’t have it this good. Rock solid lol! I cannot stand this “music”, but I sure am in favor of as many folks as possible hearing it.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8SPwT3nQZ8

RubeRad

6 years ago

Camden et al, thanks for this episode; I got more out of it than expected I would. I’ve never been a hip-hop fan (or much of a fan of any kind of pop music, unusually for a genX-er), but I did enjoy the discussion. I also appreciate that you included as a closing thought that this is not necessarily appropriate within a context of congregational worship. I totally agree; ‘popular’ music by definition is not suitable for the reverent, transcendent, multi-generational, tradition-binding purposes of worship music, see T.D. Gordon’s Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns et al.

About your 300GB zip, you may be better off in the long run creating an RSS feed that is not truncated at a few months back, that way many RSS readers could download complete sets of audio automatically.

RubeRad

6 years ago

Hey what was the track that was played after Daily Gospel, the one with the Jamaican dude? Or why not spell out in the post the specific album/track info for all 3-4 clips that were played?

RubeRad

6 years ago

Hey, I managed to find the answer to my own question. This track is called “The All-Sufficiency of Christ”, and it is also available as a free download:

http://lampmode.bandcamp.com/track/the-all-sufficiency-of-christ

Jonathan

6 years ago

Really loved the episode. I agree with about the amount and depth of theological content you can pack in a song, they are like musical catechisms. Thanks again

Mike Waters

6 years ago

Tim Brindle,

My Presbyterian brother! Great show! Keep up the good work!

Peace and grace,

Mike
Heritage Reformed Baptist Church

Michael Head

6 years ago

What a great episode! After being a fan of both Brindle (and shai linne) and CTC for several years now, it was a true joy to have them both together for an hour. Thank you so much for this great discussion on Christian hip-hop.

Earlier this year I was sardine-packed in the back of a van on a mission trip. The folks in front had control of the music and were playing a style of music which – in this case – highlighted the vocal ability of the artist. As the artist held a high note out for what seemed like forever, I thought, “a Christian hip-hop artist could’ve preached a deep Gospel in the time this guy sang this one note and syllable” (not to disparage other styles…just an observation). The depth and densely-packed content of Brindle, shai, and others makes this stuff great learning material. I run to it, drive to it, and play it around the house for my children to hear out here in the remote desert Southwest.

The Lord continue to bless CTC, Brindle, and all those committed to the whole counsel of God! THANK YOU.

reformed-forum-logo-white400

Contact

Reformed Forum
115 Commerce Dr., Suite E
Grayslake, IL 60030

+1 847.986.6140
mail@reformedforum.org

Copyright © 2019 Reformed Forum