Over the weekend, Grammy award-winning artist Chance the Rapper had a heated scuffle with pastors on social media about the church’s response to racial injustice.
According to Relevant Magazine, the exchange began after the singer, whose full name is Chancelor Johnathan Bennett, asked his Christian followers on Twitter why the church has long refused to speak on the topic of racism.
He wrote, “Why don’t we as a church explicitly address White Supremacy and racism on Sundays? Why don’t we engage the truths of America and how it’s values are antithetical to the Gospel?”
Bennett continued, “Is it not directly the responsibility of the Church to dismantle and defeat White Supremacy? Is equality not the basis for forming the body of Christ?”
I’m sure I’m gonna get replies from nonbelievers but I’d like to ask my Christian followers out there: Why don’t we as a church explicitly address White Supremacy and racism on Sundays? Why don’t we engage the truths of America and how it’s values are antithetical to the Gospel?— Chance The Rapper (@chancetherapper) June 13, 2020
Bennett, who has long been outspoken about his Christian faith, responded to his followers with thoughtful responses and questions until someone tagged several pastors to discuss the matter further with the Chicago based rapper.
The first to respond was Pastor Phil Johnson of Grace Community Church, who also serves in Pastor John MacArthur’s media ministry, Grace To You, as its executive director.
Johnson cautioned Bennett of the dangers of “Wokism” calling it “a blatantly racist worldview, condemning entire ethnic groups for sins that were committed generations ago by people long dead,” according to a blog post that Johnson wrote and linked to Bennett.
“Adopting a leftist political agenda would actually undermine gospel truth,” Johnson wrote in the tweet linking the article.
It’s the values of this WORLD (not just America) that are antithetical to the gospel and hostile to God (James 4:4), and I hear preachers point that fact out regularly.— Phil Johnson (@Phil_Johnson_) June 14, 2020
Adopting a leftist political agenda would actually undermine gospel truth.https://t.co/v7Ax8KXISG
In response, Bennett asked Johnson, “is dismantling White Supremacy an exclusively ‘leftist’ agenda?”
He added, “Is hearing a preacher directly pointing to the racist structure of our country today somehow worse than making an overarching conversation about how all sin matters? [White Supremacy] is built on works of the flesh, we can say that,” Bennett asserted.
Pastor Gabriel Hughes of Kansas’ First Southern Baptist Church challenged Bennett by dismissing the notion of “White Supremacy” while asserting that individual sin is the real issue.
“You have the same rights I do”, Hughes wrote. “You’re also a sinner as I am. We were all ‘hated by others and hating one another’ (Titus 3:3).
“All of us are guilty of this. Repent of your sin, believe in Jesus and follow Him, and be saved from the judgment of God,” he continued.
Hughes also noted that Bennett’s financial success as a mainstream artist shows that he has “the same opportunities to ‘make it’ as anyone.”
“Yes, there are still divisions, but not because of a ‘racist structure.’ It’s because people are sinners,” Hughes added.
Racist structure? You have exactly the same rights I do.— Gabriel Hughes (@Pastor_Gabe) June 14, 2020
You're also a sinner as I am. We were all "hated by others and hating one another" (Titus 3:3). All of us are guilty of this. Repent of your sin, believe in Jesus and follow Him, and be saved from the judgment of God.
Bennett disagreed with Hughes by pointing to history first while quoting Ephesians 6:12.
“You’re obfuscating,” Bennett responded. “You’re old enough and grown enough to either study the history of law in the United States or know it already.”
“If you are confused about the placement of judgment, it’s not on people but the system of white supremacy that is in every American institution. I forgive you tho (sic),” the rapper concluded.
Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Tommaso Boddi/Stringer
Milton Quintanilla is a freelance writer and content creator. He is a contributing writer for Christian Headlines and the host of the For Your Soul Podcast, a podcast devoted to sound doctrine and biblical truth. He holds a Masters of Divinity from Alliance Theological Seminary.