Shalom. I am one half of the duo Hazakim, who responded to Craige Lewis's name-calling against other believers. While Craig has many valid points, I ask you this: Do his few valid points make up for calling other believers "fags" and claiming that they are "not saved"? Do his FEW valid points (which an unbeliever with an ounce of moral clarity would agree with) make up for his historical inaccuracies and absurd claims? And please answer this: Why does the black church often fall into the error of labeling everything "cool" or "new" as being of the world? I mean, is the "world" a state of the heart or a beat or a style of dress? Please read the Biblical references of when Jesus and the disciples condemned "the world". You will see that is NEVER in reference to music, a style of dress or slang (though it can encompass these things). Jesus condemned the "world" in terms of SIN. Slander is one of these sins (please read 1 Corinth 6:9-10). Here is an article I wrote before our song's release. Just something to think about.
In recent months, many within the holy hip-hop community have taken up the task of answering the contentions of G Craige Lewis and his organization, EX Ministries. The mature, gracious and gentle fashion in which these brothers have answered this man makes us truly proud to be numbered among them in this awesome movement. Rarely do we see an argument refuted with such grace, humility and gentleness; especially when the opponent being refuted has shown absolutely no grace, humility or gentleness in his approach.Initially we, like many within holy hip hop, decided to ignore this man and his inflaming rhetoric. Despite the contradictions, historical inaccuracies and invective accusations spoken by G Craige Lewis, we believed that a gracious response would provoke him to eventually see the error of his ways. Even after he arbitrarily posted our ministry’s name, among many others, on his web-site and demanded that parents and pastors not support us until we submit to his demands, we did not speak out against him. Even after I sent him a very brief non-confrontational e-mail in an attempt to engage in honest dialogue and received a response telling me to “get a life”, we still took it with grace. Recently, however, G Craige Lewis has taken his personal attacks on various ministries to the next level. In the December episode of his “EX Cast”, he and his guest Rondy Long spent at least an hour and a half mocking, condemning and name-calling legitimate ministries; ironically, all in the name of “holiness”. They went on record as calling the Cross Movement “backslidden” and “ridiculous” and even asserted that they had ‘signed the devil’s contract to make money’. In addition to these ridiculous claims they spent a good half hour gossiping about Kirk Franklin and, at one point in the show, shared a hearty laugh after Craige stated that GMA (Gospel Music Association) stands for “Gay Men With AIDS”. While his misconceptions and lies about the origins of hip-hop need to be and have been addressed, the primary focus is to expose him for his scandalous remarks. Put bluntly, this man has had it coming.
Our problem is not with Craige’s addressing the violence in secular music or the secularisation of the Christian music industry but with the lies, name-calling and gossip that he speaks in the process. This man has publicly referred to certain Christian artists as “fags” and “cross-dressers”, having no clue as to their personal lives or what the Lord has delivered them from. His “sermons” are filled with enough gossip to make Joan Rivers blush!
The Scriptures are loud and clear on the issue of tale-bearing and gossip.
“‘Do not go about spreading slander among your people... “ Leviticus 19:16
“LORD, who may dwell in your sanctuary? Who may live on your holy hill? He whose walk is blameless and who does what is righteous, who speaks the truth from his heart and has no slander on his tongue, who does his neighbour no wrong and casts no slur on his fellowman” Psalm 15:1-3
“A perverse man stirs up dissension, and a gossip separates close friends” Proverbs 16:28
“Without wood a fire goes out; without gossip a quarrel dies down.” Proverbs 26:20
“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.” 1 Corinthians 6:9-10
The scriptures are clear that we must forgive our enemies and love those who despitefully use us. Many may interpret our response as unforgiving but Hazakim can say with a clear conscience that we love Craige Lewis and long for the day that he repents and puts a halt to this misled crusade of his.
In addition to the command to forgive, the scriptures declare that it is unlawful to tolerate a false teacher or prophet (1 John 4:1). Every messenger, message, and method is to be tried according to the Word of God and exposed if it is proven to be false. Sadly, in our Western society, the church is often compelled to keep the peace and remain silent at the expense of truth and principle.
The scriptures are replete with examples of how these loving men of God addressed dissenters and false teachers of their day. As a matter of fact, their harshest words were almost always reserved for those who operated in the name of God. Paul was forced to address and confront certain of his fellow Jewish believers who were spreading the false doctrine that gentile converts had to be circumcised in order to be accepted by God. Here was Paul’s response: “Brothers, if I am still preaching circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been abolished. As for those agitators, I wish they would go the whole way and emasculate themselves!” Galatians 5:11-12
In other words Paul, being filled with righteous anger, declares that he wishes that these agitators who were spreading false doctrine would not only cut off their foreskins but completely cut “it” off!! In our western minds these words may seem too strong but we must keep in mind that those who teach false doctrine, adding their personal hang-ups to God’s laws, shut up the Kingdom of heaven to lost souls. This is a serious offense! While we are not suggesting that our opponent practice self-mutilation, it is hard to miss the striking parallels between the logic of these misled believers of old and that of G Craige Lewis.
In another passage we even find that Paul was forced to rebuke his fellow-laborer and apostle, Peter, for setting a bad example and mistreating other brothers.
“When Peter came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he was clearly in the wrong. Before certain men came from James, he used to eat with the Gentiles. But when they arrived, he began to draw back and separate himself from the Gentiles… When I saw that they were not acting in line with the truth of the gospel, I said to Peter in front of them all.” Galatians 2:11-14
Furthermore, we see that in cases where gossip was being spread about valid ministries, the apostles did not hesitate to expose the culprit and name names. In the following passage we find that, when defending his ministry:
“Alexander the metalworker did me a great deal of harm. The Lord will repay him for what he has done. You too should be on your guard against him, because he strongly opposed our message.” 2 Timothy 4:14-15
“I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to be first, will have nothing to do with us. So if I come, I will call attention to what he is doing, gossiping maliciously about us. Not satisfied with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers. He also stops those who want to do so and puts them out of the church. Dear friend, do not imitate what is evil but what is good.” 3 John 9:9-11
At any rate we can see that exposing the error, rebuking the methods and naming the names of dissenters who slander and cause division in the Body of Messiah, is well within the boundaries of Scripture. We pray that G Craige Lewis repents of his grievous, self-righteous attitude and that he joins the true fellowship of the Spirit in the bond of peace. Until then, we encourage pastors, parents and all believers to boycott his efforts until he apologizes and repents. As the scriptures declare:
"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" Romans. 16:17
One of the major problems with Craige’s argument is that its very foundation is built upon incorrect assumptions and historical inaccuracies. His contention is that “holy hip-hop” is an oxymoron because, according to him, hip-hop culture is a false religion that was spawned by Afrika Bambaataa and KRS One. This is patently absurd. Firstly, it is common knowledge that DJ Kool Herc is largely credited as the “father of hip-hop”. When asked by hip-hop historian Davey D what hip-hop is, Herc gave the following answer:
“Hip Hop... the whole chemistry of that came from Jamaica... I was born in Jamaica and I was listening to American music in Jamaica... My favourite artist was James Brown. That's who inspired me. A lot of the records I played was by James Brown. When I came over here I just put it in the American style and a perspective for them to dance to it… I'd find out where the break in the record was at and prolong it and people would love it... the rhyming came about because I liked playing lyrics that were saying something.”
This answer, given by the man rightfully credited by old school heads as the “father of hip-hop”, does not mention religion a single time. The saddest part is that G Craige Lewis has been corrected regarding this, yet continues to willfully spread misinformation. I guess he is “in too deep” now to recant any inaccuracies he has already spoken.
Craige claims that KRS is a founder of hip-hop. Hip-hop was “born” in 1973. KRS came on the scene in 1986 and dropped his first album, Criminal Minded, in 1987!!!! Furthermore, while Kool Herc was on the wheels of steel (creating this sub culture), KRS One was only 8 years old!!!! Are you telling me that, at 8 years old, KRS helped to found a religion called “hip-hop”, 14 years before he became a part of its music!?!? Big Daddy Kane came out around the same time as KRS, therefore, saying that KRS is a “founder” is like saying that Big Daddy Kane is a “founder”. This is absurd! While I respect KRS’s musical achievements, he is an eccentric personality who has switched his religious and social views more than once. He went from criminal minded to socially conscious to a metaphysical guru. So he created “The Temple of Hip-Hop” nearly a decade after his first album dropped. What does that mean to hip-hop? NOTHING. Craige, please answer how KRS is even relevant or qualifies as the “spokesman” any more than Schooly D or LL Cool J...
What is hip-hop?? How can Craige go from stating that KRS is the “prophet/spokesman of hip-hop” and that Bambaataa is the father of hip-hop, and then use an example like the Ying Yang Twins or some gangster rapper to state that hip-hop is violent, despite the fact that KRS and Bambaataa would consider these guys an AFFRONT to hip-hop culture? As we speak, KRS One and the Zulu Nation are attempting to boycott MTV and BET until these media outlets stop glorifying violence and show a more balanced view of hip-hop. How can it be both ways?? Don’t get me wrong, I agree that the religious views of Bambaataa and KRS are nonsense doctrines, but their hip-hop is not the hip-hop of 50 Cent. If Bambaataa is truly the originator and KRS the “prophet”, as Craige claims, he must define hip-hop according to their terms. So, is hip-hop a socially conscious metaphysical religion of "black empowerment" or a dumbed-down “slave” culture of black on black violence? Craige tries to have it both ways for the sake of convenience.
Lastly, would God give a man a "message" that is built upon false beliefs and historical inaccuracies? Surely God knows about the aforementioned facts. God would NOT give a message built on falsehood; therefore, we believe that God has not spoken to G Craige Lewis. Couple this with his comments on other valid ministries (conveniently before he drops his own “gospel rap” album), we assume that G Craige Lewis is a wolf in sheep’s clothing. A man who disguises his own hang-ups in holy garb. I post the following scripture: "Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them" Romans 16:17. Shalom.
Anthony of Hazakim, Contending for the Ministry
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