Sunday, May 31, 2009

He's 'Long" On Gospel Music

The following is my modified response to Annie Brock's post on the This Old Black Church Blog entitled, Hip Hop and the Church. In the post is a video of an apparent hip hop service at New Birth Church. Annie said it was an example of why she doesn't like hip hop gospel and her belief that it is a tool of Satan (paraphrasing her sentiments)....

I am a former gospel radio announcer. From May 2008-March 2009, I was the morning drive radio personality on WLOU 1350 in Louisville. My husband is well known in this city as a radio program director. We have worked all genres of urban music including hip hop and R&B. We have been gatekeepers in terms of what music gets airplay and what doesn't.

I understand your concern. Satan is the prince of the power of the air, including and especially the air waves. I have been slow in playing a lot of hip hop gospel because a lot of it has no redeeming value- you can't hear the lyrics or the lyrics are shallow with no spiritual depth. Sometimes, it's because the young people behind the music are not skilled in rightly dividing the Word of God, or they are so arrogant that you can't tell them anything.

There are some hip hop gospel artists, Canton Jones, for example comes out of Eddie Long's church, who are getting national airplay. "Stay Saved" was one of his big songs. That song resonated with young, black men--strong, positive message, nice tempo. We need to do all we can to reach them, and many of them have lead hardcore lives.

Eddie Long has a new CD out that targets a young adult demo called, Bishop Eddie Long & Friends, The Kingdom Vol. 1 Featuring GW's. He's backed by the heavy hitters of contemporary gospel, Mary Mary, Tye Tribbett, and Dorinda Clarke Cole. Smokie Norful comes out of Long's church. Like it or not, Eddie Long is a force to be reckoned in gospel music. He's "long" on gospel music, I guess you can say.

Even though I don't care for Eddie Long's prosperity theology, the New Birth Total Praise Choir has put out some great music--"Suddenly" and another song on on the Spirit & Truth CD, "Thank You for Your Grace." I admit, I have wrestled with playing the choir because of their association with Long. I think this is the dilemma discerning radio stations and their gatekeepers are up against, not just concerning Edddie Long, but also T.D. Jakes, Noel Jones, and Creflo Dollar who are producing a lot of contemporary gospel. And it is no secret that I love the City of Refuge Sanctuary Choir CD because it's not about us. It's about Jesus, and that is exactly the point.

When I listen to gospel music, I am listening for sound biblical doctrine first and foremost, audible lyrics and strong rhythms. It's not just hip hop gospel that Satan is using. He uses all of it. That's why we must pray about this issue and for our gospel radio stations and church music ministries, the music directors, program directors, and even general managers, owners, ministers of music and worship leaders that "saved," biblically-educated people are in those positions who are watching out for the sheep, and who are doing the will of Almighty God.

Remember, it is not Mohammad, Buddha, Confucius, nor New Age that saves. Jesus saves!

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