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  • « The Hidden Treasure (3 -- Finding the Gold: B. In What Manner it is to be Sought) | Main | The Puritan Library »

    More Reformed Hip-Hop

    In the past, I've mentioned Lampmode, a label featuring some thoroughly reformed hip-hop artists. Well a Lampmode artist, Shai Linne, just finished a new album, The Atonement, ready to be released February 12th, and already available for pre-order at Lampmode. I just received a copy, and it really is excellent -- absolutely loaded with the theology of a definite, penal substitutionary atonement, total depravity, free grace, etc. The lyrics to most of the tracks, including "In Adam All Die," "Were You There?," "Jesus Is Alive," and "Triune Praise," are available on Shai's blog. As a highlight, I'm posting the lyrics to what is likely to be the most controversial, but also one of the most edifying tracks, "Mission Accomplished". If you like what you read, check out Lampmode for more of the same.

    Mission Accomplished
    written by shai linne

    Verse 1

    Here’s a controversial subject that tends to divide
    For years it’s had Christians lining up on both sides
    By God’s grace, I’ll address this without pride
    The question concerns those for whom Christ died
    Was He trying to save everybody worldwide?
    Was He trying to make the entire world His Bride?
    Does man’s unbelief keep the Savior’s hands tied?
    Biblically, each of these must be denied
    It’s true, Jesus gave up His life for His Bride
    But His Bride is the elect, to whom His death is applied
    If on judgment day, you see that you can’t hide
    And because of your sin, God’s wrath on you abides
    And hell is the place you eternally reside
    That means your wrath from God hasn’t been satisfied
    But we believe His mission was accomplished when He died
    But how the cross relates to those in hell?
    Well, they be saying:

    Lord knows He tried (8x)

    Verse 2

    Father, Son and Spirit: three and yet one
    Working as a unit to get things done
    Our salvation began in eternity past
    God certainly has to bring all His purpose to pass
    A triune, eternal bond no one could ever sever
    When it comes to the church, peep how they work together
    The Father foreknew first, the Son came to earth
    To die- the Holy Spirit gives the new birth
    The Father elects them, the Son pays their debt and protects them
    The Spirit is the One who resurrects them
    The Father chooses them, the Son gets bruised for them
    The Spirit renews them and produces fruit in them
    Everybody’s not elect, the Father decides
    And it’s only the elect in whom the Spirit resides
    The Father and the Spirit- completely unified
    But when it comes to Christ and those in hell?
    Well, they be saying:

    Lord knows He tried (8x)

    Verse 3

    My third and final verse- here’s the situation
    Just a couple more things for your consideration
    If saving everybody was why Christ came in history
    With so many in hell, we’d have to say He failed miserably
    So many think He only came to make it possible
    Let’s follow this solution to a conclusion that’s logical
    What about those who were already in the grave?
    The Old Testament wicked- condemned as depraved
    Did He die for them? C’mon, behave
    But worst of all, you’re saying the cross by itself doesn’t save
    That we must do something to give the cross its power
    That means, at the end of the day, the glory’s ours
    That man-centered thinking is not recommended
    The cross will save all for whom it was intended
    Because for the elect, God’s wrath was satisfied
    But still, when it comes to those in hell
    Well, they be saying:

    Lord knows He tried (8x)

    Posted by Nathan on February 6, 2008 01:27 PM


    As John Murray would say...that's the schnizzle!

    Wow. I'm not much for hip-hop. In fact, I really don't like it at all, but this is the stuff that Christians are made of.

    Thanks for sharing this. Good good.

    The real question is when will support and sell this cd's?

    I'm looking forward to The Atonement. shai's labelmate Timothy Brindle was used in part by God to lead me to a Reformed Baptist church where I came to an understanding of Reformed Theology. Soli Deo Gloria!

    "The Lord is calling me with Reformed Theology, to warn your colony to avoid idolatry. He's victorious! So who's the next challenger? My pocket Bible's sharper than you excalibur." ~ Ram's Horn, Timothy Brindle (The Great Awakening)

    Go to this link to download the free Lamp Mode sampler "grassroots" and shai linne's song, "Trinue Praise" from his forthcoming cd, "The Atonement".

    Very interesting, indeed. I really like the lyrics, but I'm not one for hip-hop either. I wonder what Eric Svendsen would say? He's done a couple of posts on Christian music, and I don't think he's a fan...

    Click here, and here, and here for his thoughts.

    BJ Buracker


    Obviously these lyrics seek to expound the doctrine of definite atonement. Knowing what I do of this doctrine, I'm not sure this rap squares with it. What does the author mean by the phrase, "when it comes to those in hell, Lord knows he tried." Does he mean Jesus tried to save them? Does he mean the atonement was available to them, but according to their hardness and impenitent heart they treasure up wrath against the day of wrath?"

    I happen to think this rap is conflicted with the author affirming definite atonement in the verses and denying it in the refrain. I do think the refrain, however, is biblical. Definent atonement seems logical, but I think the scriptures contradict it.

    1 John 2:2 says, " 2 And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world." I have heard the reformed explaination of this verse that explains "ours" refers to Jews, and "whole world" refers to Gentiles. The context of 1 John, though, does not allow this interpretation.

    1 John 5:19 says, "19 We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one." Here John plainly tells us that the "whole world" phrase refers unbelievers, and "we" refers to believers. So, looking at 1 John 2:2 in light of 1 John 5:19, the "not for ours only" plainly refers to believers, and "whole world" refers to unbelievers.

    John, knowing that Jesus broke down the middle wall of separation(Eph 2) would certainly refer to the church as one group, and not as Jewish and Gentile believers, and the Reformed explaination wants to do.

    So, we could paraphrase 1 John 2:2 like this: "And he himself is the propitiation for the sins of believers, and not for believers only, but for all mankind."

    Therefore, since John flatly contradicts the assertion that Jesus died only for believers, we must believe that Jesus died for all.

    If you ask how this logically fits with the doctrine of election, I would say that our logic must conform to God's word and that our reason is flawed. We must elevate our reason to conform to His reason.

    The scripture says, "Or do you despise the riches of His goodness, forbearance, and longsuffering, not knowing that the goodness of God leads you to repentance? 5 But in accordance with your hardness and your impenitent heart you are treasuring up for yourself wrath in the day of wrath and revelation of the righteous judgment of God, "

    Many unbelievers despise God's kindess towards them in providing a sacrifice for their sin. His kindess is meant to lead them to repentance. They refuse. In the case of the elect, he sovereignly overcomes our rebellion. How these two truths fit together is something our finite minds cannot comprehend.

    I have thought long and hard over this over several years, and because of my study of Scripture, must reject the doctrine of Definite Atonement. The other 4 points are taught in God's Word. This doctrine is contradicted by It.

    Anyway, could you a least explain from your veiwpoint, how the refrain of the rap squares with the verses?

    Also, I would be interested in what you think of the exegesis of 1 John 2:2

    Your fellow bondservant of Jesus Christ,



    You're misinterpreting Shai's refrain -- he's drawing out a logical conclusion of universal atonement to show how foolish it is (reductio ad absurdum). If you believed in a universal atonement, the logical conclusion is that there are unbelievers in hell for whom Christ died, and that he did everything he could to save, but couldn't get it done. If the irony is too subtle it would help you to listen to the track, where Shai says a few sentences in between each verse (that are not written out in the lyrics) where he makes that much clear.

    As far as your thoughts on universal atonement, let me just ask you this: do unbelievers experience God's wrath in hell? Before you say no, consider passages such as 2 Thessalonians 1. But if they do, then that means God's wrath against them has not been propitiated, plain and simple. So are you just going to redefine the term propitiation to mean something other than the actual appeasement of wrath? If you start doing that to key theological terms, who knows where you might end up. Denying penal substitution? That's one outcome of changing the term propititation so that it no longer means what it actually does mean. Instead, I think the easier answer is to compare the scriptural usage of the term "world," etc., particularly in Johannine literature. Have you ever compared the parallel Johannine passage, John 11:51-52, which is a grammatical mirror but only changes a few key terms to make the antecedents of "us" and "world" a little more clear? That's just good exegesis. Assuming there is an interpretation that doesn't conflict with other scriptures and using biblical theology to see what that is. It doesn't involve a redefinition of the term propitiation, which would have such devastating results for passages like Romans 3 -- no, it simply involves seeing similar Johannine constructions and teachings, and using them to delimit the meaning that he intended from the beginning in the groups of people (Jews and worldwide elect) he was referring to.

    In Christ,

    Just to clarify: I agree with your basic method, looking to other Johannine usage, but I think you misapplied the method in your appeal to 1 John 5:19, for two reasons: one, 1 John 5:19 is not dealing with the same theme or motif that 1 John 2:2 is -- so of course he might be using the same words with a different nuance. Some words have a wide range of meaning, and context plays a big role in narrowing the range of possibilities. So this means, do not *just* look for passages where both words ("us" and "world") appear, but look for passages in which the same thing is being taught, or the same subject is being dealt with. And the second reason is this: the interpretation to which your 1 John 5 comparison leads you is in real contradiction to other biblical teachings, and not just teachings supported by an obscure verse here and there, but teachings clearly explained by Christ and the apostles in many, many lengthy didactic passages (eternal wrath/punishment in hell).

    Just a quick note to affirm the biblical clarity of these lyrics.

    We need to support these guys in whatever way God would allow. This isn't an easy ministry!

    It's hard to be a Calvinist in white suburbia!! Imagine in downtown Philly.

    Let's continue to be in prayer for these guys as well as supporting them with our words and wallets!


    re: alan's comment.

    the entire chorus/refrain: "Lord knows he tried" is shai presenting the counter argument to the doctrine of limited atonement. in other words..if you don't believe in limited atonement..then your only argument is:

    "God must have really tried to save everyone, but He couldn't!"


    "Lord knows he tried!"

    I'm sorry, but I don't follow Eric Svendsen's logic. He takes two groups out of thousands, examines their lyrics, finds fault(rightfully so!), then generalizes the whole genre? That's a fallacious argument. People take a few bad apples out of the Reformed Tradition and then make generalizations out of the whole, do we then conclude that their argument is solid? Absolutely Not!

    Lampmode are personal friends of mine, I love them to death! But also check out Reform Ordinance at they are also a Reform hiphop group and which I would say that Roldan is one of the if not THE pioneer to this movement he is a member of the PCA in Winter Haven, FL. and is under care as we speak he attends his fathers congregation and has been teaching there for 12yrs its called Iglesia Berea Reformada oh yeah they are latino and Roldan works with the inner-city and has been a major influence in Christian HipHop and in bringing I would say hundreds to a reformation in their theology. He has a ministry called Urban Reformed Ministries.

    Semper Reformanda

    Good post and I must admit as well that it is hard being reformed in the south as well.

    I'm not a calvinist. But I have been led by God over the last few months to read a lot more on "Christian" history. During this time I've read a lot more ok reforms theology and Calvin as well as listened to another lampmode artist, Stephen the levite and recently, shai and timothy brindle. To put things straight though I don't identify my self to a particular denom. Of the many denoms out there, I would have to say that messianic Jews and calvinists have an acutate picture of election. When Gabriel told Yosef that his wife (fiance) Miriam would conceive a child by the power of the holy Spirit and that this child would be called the Son of God. He made it clear that he should be named Yahushua because he would save his people from their sins. (matthew 1). He didn't save the whole world from their sins. But he did come to save them and indeed die for their sins as much as he did ours (the elect). The thing is that the world including yisra'el have denied him and so have denied Salvation, rejecting God's Grace. Showing is who are elect two things. First that no one can come to Christ in genuine faith unless he the Father wills it (election) for no man can say Yahushua is lord but by the Holy Spirit. That same point shows us that all men are naturally children of wrath and that had it not been for God's Grace we would be just like the children of disobedience who are they of the world. So Allan you're right, Yahushua did die for all the sins of mankind, but only those who believe are justified. And only the elect who are the bride of Christ have believed by God's Grace. So in effect Yahushua's sacrifice has been applied to us alone. And the world remains it's sins. Shai is right and Gabriels pronouncement about Yahushua the Messiah's mission has been shown to be
    True. Like Yohanan said, He was in the world and the world did not know Him. It still doesn't know Him if it did it's people would be at His feet weeping and washing his feet with their tears showing repentance and gratitude for His loving kindness which he made manifest through his sacrifice. Shai's rhetoric is correct. Because only the elect have by God's Grace confessed Christ as Lord by faith, Yahushua has in effect died for many, for us who have accepted Him. As far as we're concerned that is. Grace is still available to the world. But will they accept it? No. That is why the day of the lord approaches quickly like a thief in the night. Because Elohim's wrath still abides on them who have rejected the means of their salvation.

    Your brother Mwiya aka Eliyahu

    The real question about 1 John 2:2 should be:
    Does Propitiation require expiation?
    If so, then we know for absolute certain the context of the verse does not allow for "universalism" or any type of impotent savior. The sovereignty of GOD in salvation remains clear in Scripture and no form of arminianism can be claimed from this verse.
    The silly concepts that there is such thing as an impotent savior (one who cannot achieve what he came from heaven to do and that allow for man to be the final authority on who is saved) are put to rest.
    Besides, if HE died for the sins "of the whole world" then what about the sin of unbelief? Is that one the exception that disproves the rule?
    Let's face it. If GOD is not sovereign in salvation, then HE is not sovereign at all. Scripture is manifestly clear that HE is SOVEREIGN. Since we MUST use scripture to interpret scripture, and since the audience is "my little children" then how can anyone warp what is being said to try and maintain that this could possibly mean "the world" in the non-believer sense?
    Just my two cents worth.


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