HIP-HOP - "the devil's music"?? -by Andrew Strom My friend Darren Smith, who outreaches to the homeless and the youth with street-teams across South Texas, has told me that one of the most controversial things he has ever done is to use Hip-Hop music to reach the lost. He says that the churches hate him using that. And yet he has found it one of the most effective tools of all. Of course, 50 years ago it was Rock 'n' Roll that was the "devil's music". People like Bill Haley and Elvis Presley and Buddy Holly. Now we listen back to it and it sounds kind of "quaint" and 'bubble-gum'. Obviously, you cannot compare the violence and language of a lot of Rap today with what was around 50 years ago. But to utterly abandon an entire culture's form of music - just because of the way the devil is using it today - does that make sense? Is the actual 'style' of the music in Hip-Hop literally "evil" in itself? You see, when I look at the landscape of America today, I see a vast unreached people-group. -Just like we send missionaries to the lost people-groups of the 10/40 window. It is becoming clearer and clearer to me every week exactly where the fields are most white unto harvest in the West today. Millions upon millions of this country's youth are locked in the streets of the inner cities. And overwhelmingly their culture is Hip-Hop culture. In other words, this music is a vital part of their "language-system". (Actually, it is important to note that WHITE suburban youth are also more and more into Hip-Hop as well. -It is fast becoming the dominant music form of youth worldwide. -A "language" that they all share. So what is the church doing about it?) To me, when you say, "You can't use Rap" or 'You can't use Hip-Hop', what you are really saying is, "Lets abandon the field and allow the devil to dominate everything." And we have. And he is. There is a very good reason why three of the greatest Revivalists and Reformers in history were all reported as saying the same thing: "Why SHOULD the devil have all the best music?" (-Credited to Martin Luther, John Wesley and William Booth - who all began to use the rough music of the 'common people' in their day, turning it for God. This was one of the secrets of those great Revivals). I have to agree with Bobby Hill of Vanguard ministries, when he says (speaking of Hip-Hop music): "We often confuse the content and the wineskins. We should be conservative fundamentalists when it comes to content and liberals when it comes to containers." I thought that was a very insightful comment. We are always judging the "containers" - the outward form - when the most important thing is the 'content'. This is exactly what the Pharisees used to do. And so, all the time, we are withdrawing from the field and leaving it to the devil to dominate the hearts and minds of our youth. We are letting the devil "have all the best music". And in so doing, we are abandoning millions of lives. There is a reason that Jesus came to earth in the 'form' that he did. He came as a poor man preaching to the poor. He was born in a stable and lived in a despised neighborhood - "How can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" He spoke the language of the common people. He was "one of them". We would do well to emulate His example today. And yes - I do believe that God wants us to use Hip-Hop music to reach the inner cities and our youth today. -It seems totally obvious to me. Someone on the 'Revivalschool.com' Forum made a very interesting point the other day. This person has worked for years in commercial vineyards, and wrote the following about the "harvesting" of grapes: "Before the grapes are harvested the winemaker has total control. He comes out sometimes many times in a day all through the night and he continually tests the grapes until the sugar content is right... All of a sudden... he shouts "HARVEST!" ...And even if it is 2 AM IN THE MORNING everyone is instantly mobilised and they harvest the grapes and they continue until it is done, even if it takes WEEKS!!" Friends, I believe that God is now calling us into 'Harvest' mode - whether we are ready or not, and whether it is 2:00am in the morning or not! Let us now take out the appropriate tools and begin to reap - before the "night comes when no man can work." And let us never forget the music and the tongue of the 'common people' of our day. God bless you all. Kindest regards in Christ, Andrew Strom.