Several months ago, I was honored to spend several moments discussing faith, culture, and music with Lecrae. I respect Lecrae, his music, and his mission. I am grateful for his commitment to the Lord, his understanding of the gospel (he insists it is the power of God and must not be viewed merely as a genre of music), and how he steps into the culture with the transforming message of Jesus.
Richard Niebuhr’s classic work Christ and Culture has been a helpful discussion starter on how believers have interacted with culture throughout history. Niebuhr offered these five typical stances:
- Christ above culture
- Christ of culture
- Christ against culture
- Christ and culture in paradox
- Christ transforming culture
As ambassadors of Jesus, I believe our dominant posture must be “Christ transforming culture.” Because God has reconciled us to Himself through Christ, He has given us the ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:20).
We are His ambassadors. An ambassador is not a citizen of the country where he serves as an ambassador. He belongs to another kingdom and serves on a temporary assignment in the culture where he has been sent. In the same way, the culture where we have been sent is not our home, not our kingdom. Our citizenship is in heaven. But our King has sent us on a temporary assignment into this culture. We are His ambassadors. We represent Him in the culture.
At the same time, there are moments when we must speak truth that is in deep contradiction with the culture (against) and moments when it is wise to pull back (above).
Lecrae is doing this well. In some songs, such as “Fakin’,” he speaks against the lies of some in the rap culture. In other songs, such as “Lucky Ones,” he presents the life-giving gospel with powerful lyrics:
My sin I should be burned with, I’m guilty, filthy, and stained
But He became a curse, drank my cup and took my pain
And for that He reigns, through faith I’m changed
Here is the interview.