Responses and Apologies from NCFIC Panelists
During the panel discussion on rap I should have engaged such a controversial subject as this with greater discernment, explicit scriptural grounding, clarity, definition of terms (like “rap” ) and precision that comes from a full grasp of the subject. These were lacking in the rap discussion. The very question itself lacked clarity and nuance which opened the door to the misrepresentations common to the broad brush. In framing the question, I failed to distinguish between the use of music in worship compared to simply listening to music. We failed to distinguish between the various expressions of the artists. I failed to correct a panelist who made an unsavory comment. Panel discussions, off the cuff are useful for certain things, but to use a surprise question to a panel to engage a broader audience on such a complex controversial topic as musical genres they may not have been knowledgeable of was unwise. I did not engage this topic with the required care. There were moments where it lacked the brotherly tone that is essential for our critiques within the body of Christ. In at least these senses, it was unworthy of our Lord. Please forgive me.I also understand that a further failure was that I did not provide adequate context for the Q&A Session which existed in the midst of over 40 messages on the subject of the worship of God. Below is my opening message at the conference which explains that context.
Speaker #2, Scot Aniol, posted an "explanation" of his comments. (HT: Denny Burk) He says he is not responsible for the offensive comments of the other panelists and offers no apology. He expands on the points he made during the panel, which do shed light on his views but fail to make them any more convincing. Scot plans an extended dialogue with rapper Shai Linne (one of my favorite Christian hip hop artists, see especially his latest album, Lyrical Theology, Pt. 1) at his blog, Religious Affections.
Speaker #3, Geoff Botkin, the panelist with the most troubling comments, issued a statement via the NCFIC blog. His apology, which I feel was insufficient and troubling, was the subject of one of my post on Sunday night, "NCFIC Panelist Gives 'I'm Sorry Your Were Offended' Apology." (***Update, please see below, Botkin has issued another statement, longer and better than the first.***)
Those are the only responses I'm aware of as I write. I will update this post as others become available. I have a hard time thinking the other panelists will be able to avoid commenting on the issue. Hopefully we'll see more in the vein of Scott Brown and nothing else like Geoff Botkin, who I hope will rethink his statements and try again.
Update (12/4 10:05pm)
Speaker #4, Joel Beeke allowed Tim Challies to post his apology. I am impressed with Beeke's apology - it hits all the right notes. The text is below.
Update (12/5 2:15pm)
Recently I was asked to participate in a panel discussion at a Reformed Worship conference. In that discussion the panelists were asked to address the subject of Christian rap music (which I took to mean rap music primarily in the context of a local church worship service). To my regret, I spoke unadvisedly on an area of music that I know little about. It would have been far wiser for me to say nothing than to speak unwisely. Please forgive me. I also wish to publicly disassociate myself from comments that judged the musicians’ character and motives. —Joel Beeke
Speaker #3, Geoff Botkin has issued a longer statement and full apology. This time his statement does a much better job of demonstrating an attitude of repentance.