Grammy-winning rap artist Kendrick Lamar thinks Christians would benefit if churches focused more on God’s righteous judgment and less on the palatable message of hope found in the Gospel.
In a recent email to hip-hop website DJ Booth, the 29-year-old Compton native described what it was like growing up in his local church.
“It appalled me that the same program was in practice. A program that I seen as a kid the few times I was in service,” he wrote. “Praise, dance. Worship. (Which is beautiful.) Pastor spewing the idea of someone’s season is approaching. The idea of hope.”
Even as a child, Lamar knew that something was being overlooked in the sermons he was hearing. As an adult, the artist shared that he has recently begun reflecting on the Christian teachings that left him “spiritually unsatisfied as a child.”
In his studies, Lamar realized the “simple truth” that while God is merciful, He is also a just and jealous God who demands “discipline and obedience.”
“Every conscious choice of sin, will be corrected through his discipline. Whether physical or mental. Direct or indirect,” he wrote. “Through your sufferings, or someone that’s close to [kin]. It will be corrected.”
In Lamar’s opinion, too many churches fail to address this “hard truth” about the Christian calling. Rather than risk offending parishioners, Christian pastors often preach watered-down messages of God’s endless love and the redemption sinners find in Christ.
“As a community, we was taught to pray for our mishaps, and he’ll forgive you,” he continued. “Yes, this is true. But he will also reprimand us as well. As a child, I can’t recall hearing this in service. Maybe leaders of the church knew it will run off churchgoers?”
Lamar concluded his message by sharing that in light of his recent discovery, he feels called “to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD… Knowing the power in what He can build, and also what He can destroy.”
“I wanna spread this truth to my listeners,” he wrote. “It’s a journey, but it will be my key to the Kingdom and theirs as well.