A Theology of Rap

Dr. William Edgar, professor of Apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary gave a lecture back in 2005 on Hip Hip and Rap.  As someone who grew up in the hip hop culture and is somewhat a child of hip hop I found this lecture very informative especially his view on it’s history.  Click here to listen to the audio.


One of the oldest missiological questions we can ask is, how to contextualize the message without compromising its truth and its power? Rap was born in the streets of New York. It’s full of self-assertion and anger. Think of the names of the artists: Public Enemy, Ice T… What does this have to do with the gospel of Jesus Christ? Isn’t hip hop culture simply the “world?” Aren’t rap artists just anarchists we need to address with the opposite message of God’s love? Some rap is indeed anarchistic. But there is a surprising variety within this genre, and so it is unfair to make such a broad generalization. Besides, a closer look reveals analogies with the gospel. If we look for ways to contextualize the gospel message into the hip hop world, we will find them, sometimes in surprising


1. How does the gospel rap?
1.1 Defining the hip hop culture
1.2 Worldview and missions issues

2. The trickster personality in rap
2.1 From survival to creative reemergence
2.2 Being “bad”
2.3  Railroad Bill
2.4 The good subversive
2.5 Jesus, the truly good subversive
2.6 Jesus the story-telling “bad” guy

3. The truth about the blues and rap
3.1  Inventing Robert Johnson
3.2  Stagolee shot Billy
3.3 Jim Crow and Shakespeare
3.4 Imitation for redemption
3.5 Theodicy in the blues
3.6 Hip-hop and protest
3.7 Toasting the story
3.8 The Word is “tricky”
4. Good theology and good rap
4.1 Jesus loves us so
4.2 Rapping on our way to heaven

(HT: Consumed)


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