The NSA has been on high alert ever since the evangelical world started crashing websites with search terms like “coward” and “disobedient”. It’s time we clear things up with the U.S. Government (we know you’re reading). Do not worry, we (Christians) are not talking about civil disobedience, we are talking about disobedience in a civil manner.
Since I posted an open letter to the NCFIC panelists on December 1st, I have both contacted and been contacted by some of the panelists. Great conversations have been had, and I hope will continue. In a conversation with Geoff Botkin last night, there were two major agreements that stood out. One is that we both agree that the Gospel is more important than all other doctrines. We also agree (and have personally experienced) terrible situations that have been used for God’s glory and both look forward to see how this situation will be used to sanctify people on both sides of the musical barlines.
While an apology does not mean that the case is closed, it does offer a fantastic starting point. A starting point that—Lord willing—will lead to an ongoing and fruitful discussion amongst men who share a common relationship with the Creator of the universe and all that is within. Stay tuned as we work to reconcile all that we can this side of heaven as we await the day all is reconciled to its pre-sin condition.
Geoff Botkin’s Apology posted here:
For the last 20 years I have voiced concerns about the cultural influence of the commercialized Christian music industry, especially gatekeepers who exploit sincere artists. One of the newest in a long line of sub-genres is Reformed Rap. I recently made a serious error by attempting to contribute an opinion to a Reformed Rap discussion in a panel discussion comment. That one comment has generated heat, not light, and way more hurt than healing. I’m the guy responsible for this darkness and pain.
Some have asked me, with genuine interest, “What were you thinking, and actually saying?” Well, explaining myself and contributing to the cultural debate is not my primary concern right now. My comments on that panel raise a legitimate question about my qualification to even address the issue of Christian music with Christian people. My primary concern right now is to right several immediate wrongs, and to do it in a way that pleases and honors the Lord of this situation, Jesus Christ.
For Reformed Rappers, and those who have benefited from their work, what I said sounded like direct, deliberate disdain for what they believe and what they are doing. The intentions of my heart are immaterial to what was heard and what damage was done. What was heard sounded like an arrogant denunciation of sincere Christian men with noble hearts and motives, because I was not thoughtful enough to consider the effect of what I said. I was wrong.
This kind of thoughtlessness is not obedience to Christ’s command to active love in John 13:34. I did not season my speech with grace as commanded in Col. 4:6 in response to the question put before me. This is disobedience. Though in my mind I was not directing any criticism to the zealous, sincere, Christian Rappers who are doing the reforming, I was not clear and precise with my communication. As a result, these sins of disobedience have unsettled the body of Christ, and confused the important issues surrounding a strategic conversation that demands the utmost righteousness and precision. But most of all, the sin in my communication deeply hurt brothers who have my respect. A number of public responses to my comments have been civil and gentlemanly, for which I am thankful, but what is far more important to the Heavenly tribunal is brotherly confession on my part, and brotherly forgiveness from those who were wronged. This is my primary, respectful request to all of you. If you are willing and able, please forgive me.
A brother offended is harder to be won than a strong city, and contentions are like the bars of a citadel. Restoring trust with an offended brother is hard work. But I am determined to do what is right to achieve it.
Brothers, I will fight this fight not just out of duty, but because I love you as allies who are important to Christ. You are also important to the next big conflict of our generation. You who stand as architects of a developing theological music genre need to know me as an ally. I am not an antagonist. At the right time I will be happy to tell you those things about your work to which I have never objected, and those things I believe are strategic triumphs in the culture wars, such as your deliberate recovery of sound soteriology, your modeling of mature and responsible manhood in your lives and words, and your strategic decision to work with local churches and church government, all of which show uncommon wisdom. These are historic victories built on Christian heroism. This is not the fruit of disobedient cowardice.
Another thing. Your humility validates your testimony with a kind of power that is also uncommon on today’s Christian landscape. If we have the chance to walk together in any way, it will be a pleasure to watch you model the sanctification, running, boxing and preaching we are all learning from Saul of Tarsus. And may we all continue to learn the ways of holy discourse from the character and person of our merciful Savior.
Scott Brown’s apology found here:
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.
I also understand that a further failure was that I did not provide adequate context for the Q&A Session which existed in the midst of over 40 messages on the subject of the worship of God. Below is my opening message at the conference which explains that context.
Joel Beeke’s apology found here:
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.