It's an increasingly common experience: a young African American learns to love Reformed theology because he believes the Bible teaches God's sovereignty in all of life, including salvation. He's frustrated that his historically African American church didn't help him understand the beauty of this teaching about God's unshakeable love for his Son and the elect. He grows in a gospel-centered understanding of the Bible and finds great joy in telling others about Jesus' death and resurrection for sinners. Yet his exuberance to teach the Scriptures and correct errors provokes friends and family to accuse him of theological imperialism. They charge him with abandoning the church of his people and adopting the theology of slaveholders.
Lecrae, Trip Lee, and Eric Mason have all felt the sting of this critique. "I'm in search of truth," Lecrae responds, "and I'm going to get it wherever I can find it." Fellow hip-hop artist Trip Lee doesn't wave the Reformed banner. He directs critics to the Scriptures and invites them to see the truth for themselves. Pastor Eric Mason of Epiphany Fellowship in Philadelphia cautions young men not to discount everything they learned growing up but to recognize that even when black preachers used different terminology they sometimes taught the same gospel truths.
Watch to see more of how these three men address the disconnect between historically black churches and gospel-centered theology.
Collin Hansen serves as editorial director for The Gospel Coalition. Formerly an associate editor for Christianity Today magazine, he is the author of Young, Restless, Reformed: A Journalist’s Journey With the New Calvinists and co-author with John Woodbridge of A God-Sized Vision: Revival Stories That Stretch and Stir. He earned an MDiv at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School and an undergraduate degree in journalism and history from Northwestern University. He and his wife belong to Redeemer Community Church in Birmingham, Alabama, and he serves on the advisory board of Beeson Divinity School. You can follow him on Twitter.