Greg Linscott of SharperIron asks, “What’s Wrong with This Picture?” in response to Curtis Allen’s presence at John Piper’s Bethlehem Baptist Church. You can view the video on YouTube. It’s also embedded below.
I don’t like rap. I don’t think it’s the best medium to use in worshiping God—primarily, though not exclusively, for associative reasons. That aside, I believe God is using the efforts of people like Curtis Allen to spread good, solid doctrine and bring Himself glory. In this I rejoice.
I believe a (not the only) Pauline response to Curtis Allen would be to do the same: “In every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice” (Phil 1:18). I certainly don’t mean to draw too close of a parallel here. The men Paul was speaking of had ill-intent; Curtis Allen certainly does not. I do believe, however, that a legitimate parallel exists.
To be fully Pauline is to rejoice in the proclamation of the gospel—no matter its source or method of delivery. I’m not saying that the concerns and objections of many (see here and here) are totally off the mark and don’t deserve to be heard. Rather, I think they are imbalanced and one sided. They focus on the negative and ignore the positive. Thus, they are not totally Pauline.
The fact that Curtis is proclaiming the gospel doesn’t automatically justify the means he chooses to use, but let these two be kept distinct in our evaluations. Paul could, and so must we. Let us also not neglect the positive where we can and should call attention to it. I’m afraid we’re too often guilty of being entirely negative when dealing with brothers with whom we disagree.
Update: I interacted with some criticisms to this post here: