Thursday, October 1, 2009
Monday, September 21, 2009
I shouldn't have left you..." Those words are from a song by Eric B. and Rakim called "I Know You Got Soul." I think Rakim is on my mind because he currently has a song out called "Holy Are You," which, as a follower of the Nation of Islam, paints himself in a most blasphemous self evaluation equating himself to God. A wonderful response by Evangel from Christcentric was sent out to some non-Christian rap webpages of which death threats were sent to Evangel by Muslims. Yep, pretty wild stuff. Anywaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyy...
Sunday, August 9, 2009
Monday, July 27, 2009
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
First, let me say that I remain encouraged through your music Voice. The Truth of GOD'S WORD spills from your albums with practical simplicity. I must confess, I do not have your initial two albums. In the earlier days of my walk, I found your music exuded a significant amount of "happiness" and "joy" that I myself was not used to (hopefully this is not offensive, but it would take MANY more emails to explain. Suffice to say, with a "similar" background to yourself, the transition into joy and light, was difficult after so many years in darkness and sorrow). As time passed, and the light of CHRIST began to shine in, darkness was slowly thrust out. So when the time came for that joyous chorus (like on "Unstoppable"), the Process of the Pardon emerged! Anyway, I know your time if limited, with "Santiago" and "Mrs Betsy Allen," so let me cut to it. I enjoy your music brother, and have been INSTRUCTED on the Pardon, specifically with the jewels from Dr. Grudem, Duncan, and even Imago Dei (what's that, "non-posse-bacardi"????)
My question is in regards to NT Wright's New Perspective. I will confess I am largely unlearned in the area. I have read several articles by Wright, and glanced at the introduction to Piper on Justification (where he credits NT Wright as a tremendous Biblical Scholar). I have had several discussions with a few brothers from Westminster in Philly, some of whom acknowledge Wright to be amongst their favorite scholars. This is to say nothing of his interpretation of Justification. My question is that you steadfastly refute Mr. Wright's position as being heresy. I know you are in (I think you refer to it as) Pastor's College, thus I give great deference to your study on the matter. But I been skimming the surface on modern changes and transitions in Biblical Scholarship (see Enns on "Inspiration and Incarnation" for example), and it seems ("seems" brother), there is room (not necessarily with Wright and Enns) for correction on our understanding of "certain" things in comparison to our understanding several hundred years ago. I guess my question is how did you come to your position against Wright with such steadfastness? Again brother, I do not assert you are wrong (for I continue to hold to the traditional understanding of Justification, lest I find my Salvation is LOST!), I just want to understand how you reached your position bro, that's all. Take your time in response Voice, I know your labors are many.
"A Theist" is nice so far. Favorite track (From an emcee perspective, thus far) is Uni-verse! Hope all is well with you brother.
Sorry it took so long for me to respond to this. I set it in my email group and I lost it or something to that effect. In any case I appreciate your humble question and the subsequent follow up email and encouragements. I hope I can answer your question with clarity although I must admit there are plenty of other people (Jon Piper, Ligon Duncan among others) who have done a fine job bringing discernment to this issue. If you haven’t I would encourage you to get some of there materials to see what those who actually have something worthwhile to say about it. I will also avoid commenting on the scholarship of Wright but will say that yes in many areas he has proven to be an excellent scholar of the bible. However, he is not infallible and in his position on Justification, I have to say his infallibility is apparent =)
In answering a question like this Nate I have to be honest and say that most of what we know and believe today we stand on the shoulders of the great saints that preceded us. What I offer is no new insight into scripture or some how I have come to this position on my own as if some angel revealed things to me about Justification that shape my “perspective.” Having said this I will try to answer your question. This will be a non-scholar answer to by the way. Not that I could give a scholar answer lol.
One of the main reasons I disagree with Wright is that this position would not have been a position that has historically been in the church as a matter of question. As far back as we can know this “new” perspective is in fact that, new. I find it hard to believe that the further we move away from the original days of biblical writings that we come into more clarity on those writings. Wright’s interpretation of the Greek word for Justification is not used in the way that he describes in most texts that use this word. The connection that the word makes to justification is not an issue of family but an issue of position. At least that is what everyone (that we, including Wright, have sided with) who has weighed in on this issue throughout church history has seen Justification as a legal declaration from God not a term referring to family. I find it hard to believe that in all history this has not been put out there, especially by all those who have studied this intently.
Another reason I disagree with this position is because of the implication of this position. If this is true (new perspective) then a person’s standing before God isn’t guaranteed by God and therefore becomes about works to assure one of salvation where the scripture speak so vehemently against works as earning salvation. This new perspective gets down to the issue of how can I be sure I am saved, being “a member of God’s family” doesn’t indicate that soteriological implications are present. Sadducee’s and Pharisee’s were also a part of God’s family as in that they were the chosen people by God. People weren’t struggling with being a member of a family in second temple Judaism. Yes people wanted to worship in the temple and were kept out but the issue was acceptance by God and worship of God. They all knew they were “part of the family.” If this perspective is true then one’s own assurance seems to not be certain which makes us Neo-Judaizers in trying to attain certainty in our salvation.
Lastly, I think this new perspective doesn’t line up with the totality of scripture. While the Pauline epistles offer the most data on this issue other aspects of scripture highlight the work of God and what makes us acceptable to Him.
Christ’s atoning death definitively secures our forgiveness for sins past, present and future.
- “But when Christ had offered for all time a single sacrifice for sins, he sat down at the right hand of God… For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:12,14)
- “For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit,” 1 Peter 3:18
- God not only removes our sins (Ps. 103:12) leaving us “neutral” before God, but he also credits us with a perfect righteousness (Is. 61:10, Rom. 4:3)
Again brother there is so much to say here. This was a little answer to a big question. I appreciate your heart man and I hope that you continue to be encouraged in Christ and in your justification!
Tuesday, July 7, 2009
Wednesday, July 1, 2009
Friday, June 26, 2009
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Sorry to bother you, my name is Jose and I had a question. I was trying to get a hold of your first album, but I was having trouble doing so, would you happen to know? i tried going to your website, ihearvoice.com and to no avail. Also brother, I wanted to thank you for your service bro. It's encouraging to me,my favorite song you have written and composed will always be "Contemporary Job" great song. Also, just wondering, do you think the orchestration of music (the organizing of tones, rhythm and what not) has a moral quality to it? Inyour song "Contribution" you stated "It's the heart of the man, not the style of the mic" to which there is truth, I do believe God is more concerned with why you are doing what you are doing.
But what about issues of association? For example, in houses if ill repute, you will not hear amazing grace playing, but bump and grind music, why is that? I think it is because that kind of music caters to the mood, makes you feel the "vibe". I just wanted to share some thoughts with you, just because I am searching these things out, and I do like alot of your music, and lyrically by God's grace you're very sound. It's just i figure, why not ask someone who creates music for God, and see what they have to say? I am by no means judging you brother, it is not my place. you will have to stand before God, and give an account, so i have no worries there. Also, I believe you are a true Christian, as far as I can tell, and you Love Christ, and He through the work and ministry of the Spirit has changed, is changing, and will continue to change you further into the image of Christ (Imago Dei :-)
So as a brother in Christ, I esteem you, and I am just curious about what you think my brother. Anyways, go with God brother. Hope to hear from you, and Forgive me if I have been unloving or unChrist like in anyway, for it was not my intent.
Brother thank you for your humble question. I can see you have thought this through. I wouldn't have the time to go into all of the details of an issue such as this but I will attempt an answer to your great question.
I think the key issue here is not musical notes and their moral quality. I think the issue is regeneration and what does God do in the heart of someone he saves. Is God capable of redeeming someone and there music preference; to then use that preference as a vehicle to reach those that are lost within it, or edify those who are saved but still enjoy the artistic quality of the art form? To use your example of houses in ill repute and the bump and grind music playing is missing a doctrine of sin perspective. There are serial killers and rapists who listen to classical music while they attack their victims. Should then classical music be deemed as unfit bcuz there are some who are unregenerate that listen to it for sinful purposes? Rap is not the first and only art form to be created with an emphasis on self-glorification rather than God glorification. I know people who sing Amazing Grace that are not saved or people that listen to black gospel and even cry when listening to it that are not saved. The issue is not external its internal. What is in the heart of the individual? While there are DEFINITELY things that must be given up on as a believer I don't think beats are one of them, particularly when used to honor God.
At the end of the day I still stand by 1 Corinthians 10:31. Brother I so appreciate your humble thoughtfulness in this. We may both be wrong but we both serve the right God and for that I am thankful.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Don’t you love to hear a good testimony? I mean, if you’re a Christian, a testimony can really be used to encourage you in your faith in who God is and what He’s doing in the world. Sometimes you cry with the person telling it, and others you laugh as you relate to aspects of it. Often, testimonies include everything from the grandiose to the mundane. But regardless of how dramatic the story, its details should share one aim: glorifying God.
However, testimonies can have the opposite effect and can actually breed jealousy or an ungodly discontentment. In my travels across the country speaking and performing I’ve come to realize that even the story of what God has done in one’s life can become a subtle battleground for sinful comparison.
The Problem with Testimonies
One of the great joys I used to have was being able to share my testimony. Upon request, I would share the details of my life that involved guns, drugs, murder, betrayal, prison and eventual salvation. My life, to some people, was the stuff of movies, but for the most part I believed the emphasis of my story was on God and how awesome He is.
I learned the skill of highlighting the aspects of my testimony that would be helpful to my various audiences. For example, an audience that could relate to the circumstances of my life was more impressed with how I changed, while an audience foreign to this kind of life was more impressed with the depravity and boldness of my sin. I could always tell which was which by the questions asked afterwards.
Over time, my audiences began to look the same. More and more I found myself speaking to audiences of a different culture than my own. Because of this, many of my life experiences were only visible to them through the media, which glamorizes sin.
I would address thousands of people at a time, and you could hear a pin drop as I shared my experiences in the underworld of pop culture, where danger is cool and death is a badge of honor. I would talk about my lowest lows only to end with the highest highs of redemption accomplished and applied. People would roar with applause as if the grace of God was more evident in my life than their own. Almost always people would come up to talk to me afterwards and thank God for His work in my life.
What would follow was more the usual than the unusual. One after another people would ask me questions about my life, and then they would begin to share the details of their own lives. Here is where the problem with testimonies began.
A common statement, especially for those who grew up in a Christian home, would go something like: “My testimony is pretty boring. I never did the stuff that people like you did. I am not even sure when I became a Christian. I just kind of grew up into it.” Then they’d wish they had a better testimony, maybe some Apostle Paul, Damascus Road experience. Maybe if that had happened, they’d be more grateful for their faith and maybe even a more dedicated believer. There were many that actually said and hoped for this.
It was then that I began to realize that there can be a real problem with testimonies. I decided if I was going to share my story with people who would compare their salvation with mine, I needed to find out what God thought so I could encourage them.
The Great Misconception
I have often wondered, what is a testimony that pleases the Lord? And also, how does a person who has not sinned grievously against the Lord realize they still have a testimony? Two thoughts came to my mind.
The first was a passage in Luke 18:15-17. It reads: “Now they were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them. And when the disciples saw it, they rebuked them. But Jesus called them to him, saying, ‘Let the children come to me, and do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. Truly, I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.’”
There is a lot that you can learn from these verses but I don’t plan on fleshing out all the sermonic details. I do want to highlight something from this passage, though, and it’s the fact that God desires children to come to Him. God is pleased when children glorify Him from the earliest ages. Jesus even says the kingdom of God belongs to them.
This means the belief that God-glorifying testimonies must involve dramatic pursuit of sin is a great misconception. Those who follow God from a young age likely won’t have the experiences I did. These people would have testimonies like those of the Christians I meet who, underneath it all, appear to wish they had sinned more.
My second thought was that when you have the perspective of “I never did the stuff that people like you did,” you are actually saying your sins aren’t severe enough to warrant Christ’s death on the cross. And that only those “serious sins” required His substitutionary sacrifice.
What sins are excusable to God? Did lying to parents, disobedience and idolatry of music, people and possessions somehow escape God’s notice? Has anyone who grew up in the church or in a Christian home loved the Lord with all his or her heart, soul, mind and strength? How many have continuously loved their neighbor as themselves? What Christians, who grew up into their faith, call rebellion and “not that bad” God calls sin, and all sin is worthy of His wrath.
Apart from His grace, a holy and perfect God has never looked favorably upon anyone who has sinned, even one time. Whether you have grown up in the ‘hood or the woods, I guarantee that you and I fall into that category, incurring the wrath of God for all eternity. Yet, because Christ died on the cross for that sin, you and I instead fall into the category of forgiven.
A Better Testimony
Lastly, I would like to take a moment to encourage those who do not have the dramatic stories of conversion. I want you to know that if there is such a thing as a better testimony, you’re the one who has it. Think about it like this: We live in a world where sin is greatly encouraged and promoted. Sex outside of marriage, drug use, immodesty, lying, pride, anger and anything you can name beckons to us from all sides. In this society it is much harder to not sin than probably ever before. Sadly, a virgin is novel. At its best, humility is called being “down-to-earth,” while gross sins have cool names such as “an affair” or “alternative lifestyles.” This is the fallen world we live in.
So, how easy is it to pursue sin? How easy it is to sell or use drugs, or do any of the sins that make up a dramatic testimony? The answer: too easy.
In this day and age, honoring your parents and being pure, humble, patient and honest are powerful miracles. I would even venture to say it is abnormal to not sin in “dramatic” ways.
Which is the better testimony? The person, like me, who was easily and whole-heartedly in the world, or the person who didn’t do those things even though they are heavily encouraged? I think it is more powerful to say you haven’t done much then to say you’ve done it all.
I recently told a group of college students, who have mostly grown up in the church, that I wanted my son to have their testimony instead of mine. I would rather him say he hadn’t experienced much of the “grotesque” sin that his dad did than to say he sinned so willfully and wickedly against God. At the end of the day, that is all having a dramatic testimony means. I have sinned against God more than you. No rewards for that.
If it is possible to have a better testimony, then to me, the one with the least amount of sin has it.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
Thursday, May 7, 2009
It has been a long time since I have had a significant online presence. I actually wasn't going to have one either but I AM STILL MAKING MUSIC and have lately been asked about having a website. My last one I loved very much but the url got to someone else before I could renew. So here I am with a blog, a bunch of new vids and pics, and some perspective to talk about. I will be, as best as possible, posting all things related and unrelated to Voice. Please feel free to comment on whatever you would like. Lastly, this picture was of me at one my first concerts as a Christian rap artist. This was May '05 @ UMBC in Maryland. If for no other reason I put this up just to remind me of how this all began and how grateful I have been to have been able to make music for something other than myself and my selfish desires and goals. All the while, strengthening others to know and love God. I pray that this site is an encouragement to you!