Biblical Rebellion

Two of my favorites, LeCrae & Driscoll, combine their musical and verbal skills to challenge us in the new song, "Rebel":
"I know in our day, rebel means sinner. But everyone is sinning, so it's no longer rebellious to sin. Jesus was a rebel who was countercultural."

"You're just a conformist if you're drunk and naked, driving around on a loud motorcycle, smoking cigarettes, and breaking commandments, and getting pregnant out of wedlock. Everyone's done that; that's so tired! If you really want to be a rebel, read your Bible. Because no one's doing that. That's rebellion-- that's the only rebellion left!"
Yes!!! Get in the Word. It's the only inoculation against this money-idolizing, sex-worshiping, power-seeking, comfort-focused culture of ours.

Scripture internalized into our hearts and minds will change us, from the inside out. Yes!-- I want to be a rebel. Rebellion in our day means obeying God instead of pleasing self... living for the long haul instead of for today... and instead of listening to the words of Katie Couric, Tyra, Oprah, the latest best-selling novel, or Osteen (him OR her), meditating on the timeless, perfect words of God.

Father God, enable us to be rebellious towards our culture. And to live in radical obedience towards You. Don't let us stay comfortable in sin-- shake us up! Do whatever it takes to seize us with your great affection. Draw us to Your Word, so that it can rightly divide the right and wrong in our lives and ultimately draw us to You.


Jacqueline said...

AMEN to that!!!

Laura said...

Go 'head, girl!

I've heard only good things about LeCrae, and I think I'm going to have to violate my personal "no hip-hop" rule and have a listen.

Hollywood617 said...

i will NEVER forget hearing LeCrae blaring from your room in our quad- and being so confused as to why a sweet little family full of people who seemed so calm would listen to such loud music :) ... i'm glad I got to know you guys... oh- and this cd is AWESOME! once again, LeCrae brings truth

Anonymous said...

I don't think this is a biblical idea. God defines rebellion in only one way: rejecting His word. I Sam 15:22-23.

We need to be very careful when re-defining words that God has carefully defined. While rejecting the World is a good ideal, I think we're on shaky ground any time we encourage rebellion as a heart motivator.

Jess said...

Thanks for adding your thoughts. I need to think about that some more. From what I'm seeing right now (as in these scriptures), I see "rebellion against the LORD" as what's out of bounds. Not rebellion against the world in it's ways. In fact, the NT specifically encourages us not to be squeezed into the mold of the world. Which, to me, sounds like rebellion against it.

But I'll give it more thought. Thanks for weighing in anyhow.

*~Tamara~* said...

"Rebellion" historically is a refusal to conform. The Bible even states for us to "not be conformed" to the world (Romans 12:2).

As a side note, the great little book, Rebelution, by the Harris boys, is based entirely on the idea of rebelling against the world's expections of young people and chasing after God's purpose.

Context is everything. :-)

And Jess, did you just put Osteen and Oprah in the same category? Ha ha!!!

Bethny said...

Hi Jess,
I'm weighing in with life-more-abundant, to express some concern about this concept. While I see the point of calling Christians to "rebel" against the world and its ways, I also see a danger here. Rebellion has connotations of casting off any and all restraint and living life unto oneself---connotations that could subtly feed fleshly attitudes in young believers(both chronologically young and spiritually young.) I much prefer exortations along the lines of "Hey, be radically saved!" or something like that. Puts more of the emphasis on *submission to Christ* vs. *rebellion against the world*. In our fallen humanity, we all struggle enough with our willful hearts which strain against(rebel against?) the Lord's ways. I suspect most of us would be more strengthened by wording which encourages us to submit to and pursue Him. Just MHO.

I learn a lot from the blog--Keep up the good work!

Polly said...

Totally. So many days for me feel like a struggle against the weight of the world, and 'rebellion' against it {this idea of actively turning away from materialism, sin, greed, etc} definitely occurs when I refuse to watch certain shows, engage in certain conversations and instead turn to God's word. As I've seen keenly from some things that have happened in the past few weeks for us, opening up the Bible is a rebellion against the winds of the world.

Claire said...

I love LeCrae! "Riding with my top down, bumpin' up the Jesus music!!!" He played at our church a few years ago, and my daughter loved it!

How awesome that God chooses to speak, even through hip hop music (which usually isn't my favorite, but when it has such a cool message, you can't not listen). Thanks, Jess!!

Claire said...

Another thought, after going back and reading comments:

In China, where Christians are still tortured and killed, they must be rebellious against the government to practice their faith. We may not feel like "rebellion" is the proper word here in the cushy U.S., where Christianity is still accepted (but for how long, we don't know), but I believe that our children will have to be rebellious against the forces that will seek to separate them from their God.

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

We have this CD, and a few others of Lecrae. Yes...the old lady listens to Lecrae. I love it on the treadmill!! :) My son laughs at me because every time the song (is rap called a song???) "Go Hard" comes on I start to cry. That song moves me to tears every time! When we're in the car and it comes on, I put my sunglasses on because I know the tears will come! My son laughs at me!!! (respectfully of course!) The words "go hard...use me Lord" just hit me right in the heart and bring tears!!!

I found the comment about the word rebellion very interesting...something to think about. One day we were listening to that particular song and my son, who is 15, said to me, "Mom, if you stop and think about it that song isn't completely right. We aren't supposed to NOT do all of those things because we are rebelling against the world...we are supposed to NOT do those things because we want to honor God and obey Him...the focus isn't exactly right in that song." (Out of the mouths of babes!) I agree with what he said, and have hesitancy about the use of the word rebellion...for the same reasons the other commentor had...on the other hand the message that this young man gives in his rap is overall excellent, and I will continue to listen as will my family...we just need to always sift everything we hear and read. It's a good exercise in discernment!!!

So the next time you hear this CD, think of an old lady, in her car, with tears running down her face, because she is moved by the words of a rap song...(:

Sue said...

Great post. I love the prayer at the end. I'll be praying that along with you!

Anonymous said...

When I lived in London, some religious group put up billboards around the city with a picture of Jesus, done in the style of that famous painting of Che Guevara. The words said something like "Meet the Real Jesus."

I think it is fair to describe him as a rebel, because to be a Jewish reformer at that time was major rebellion.

Laurie B

Jess said...

You know, too, it occurs to me that the three groups I (personally) have seen this word used among (the rebelution guys-- among teens, the LeCrae/116 guys-- among inner-city youth/gangs, and the Driscoll folks-- in liberal Seattle) are areas that are steeped in sin. Where people (in those groups) *think* they are being rebels and doing things that don't conform. And yet, these things are written to show them that actually, they ARE conforming. They aren't rebelling at all.

In those contexts, rebellion (and not looking like everyone else) would look like someone being devout, not being afraid of what people think, but being willing to follow Christ no matter what.

If you're existing in an entirely Christian cloister where the world at large and its pull to conform doesn't at all interfere with your life, then by all means, please, eschew listening to LeCrae. As for me... I'll keep listening and being encouraged.

In looking through biblical examples of the words "rebel" and "rebellion", here's the conclusion I come to:

* I agree that the overwhelming use of the word "rebel" or "rebellion" in Scripture carries a negative connotation... BUT, there are exceptions to this general concept, even in the Word of God.

* It depends on what you're rebelling AGAINST. The times when God condemns rebellion, it is when it is against Him. On the other hand, like in 2 Kings 18:7, when Israel "rebelled" against the King of Assyria, the LORD was with them.

* The times when rebellion is condemned is when people rebel against the LORD and His statutes.

* Rebellion in the biblical sense is rebellion against authority. The word "rebellion" in the modern usage among this new generation of Christian is rebellion against the authority of culture. This is an important distinction. Rebellion against the mold of the world is actually commended in the NT.

Romans 12:2 says "do not be conformed to this world", which is akin to what they are saying-- "rebel against this world".

1 Peter 1:13-15 says, "preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children,do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct. Interestingly, He tells them to be "as obedient children"... but then He says, "do not be conformed". In other words, BE a non-conformist.

Here are Lecrae's lyrics for "Rebel"... (the quote in my actual post was a transcription of what Driscoll says in the song):

Jesus was a rebel, a renegade, outlaw
A sanctified troublemaker but He never sinned, naw
and He lived His life by a different set of Rules
the culture ain't approve
so you know they had they had to bruise em
that's the way they do
man, they swear they so gangsta but everyones the same
everybody do the same stuff
tattoo, piercing
smokin' up and drinking
money and sex plus them extravagant weekends
if that's the high life
I guess I'm passed that
cause I am in rebellion
I'd rather have a dollar in my pocket than a mill-ion
I'm scared to worship money, and my wants over Elyon
I'll remain a rebel while the rest of them just carry on
this is what I live fo
this the hill I'm buried on
if Jesus is the truth
that means one of us is VERY wrong
think about it

Verse 2:
No glory in me
all glory to the King on the throne (Jesus)
you either love Him or leave Him alone but you cant do both
yeah, you probably heard that once in song
I'm a rebel you know the kind that die in the street
Cause you refuse to conform, won't eat the kings meat
look, if Christ rebelled by shunning the cultured
He eatin' with sinners
givin Pharasies ulcers
He never got married, was broke and plus homeless
yeah that's the God I roll wit
forget about the drugs
rebel against pornography
this ain't how it oughta be, homie
this is how it's gotta be

A rebel

To sum up, I think they make it clear that rebellion against the world MEANS obedience and submission to God. I don't think it HAS to be an either/or, although I think that those who talk about rebellion need to be careful to also communicate that that version of "rebellion" MEANS obedience and submission to God. (Because there are human groups-- like the straight edge culture a few years ago-- that want to live a "straight" life with no drugs, no sex, etc... just for ascetic reasons, not to honor God.) So far, where I've seen it done (again, among Lecrae, Driscoll, and the Harris twins), it's been done well, and no one could mistake it for a "hey let's just be crazy rebels, and buck every authority in our lives" sort of rebellion.


Erin said...

I read the post in my reader and I came over to say "lol, that made me laugh - but it has a good point."

But then I read all the comments and I sort of felt depressed - like we have to add so many 'in this instance' or 'from this persepctive' to everything we say. I know we have to be careful that everything we say/write is biblically correct but sometimes I am too scared to say anything because I know heaps of people will jump it. (especially if I'm just wondering about something and still learning about what God wants).

I like how you backed up your view Jess.

Jess said...

:) Thanks, Erin. I think so too... it reminds me of Amy (at "Amy's Humble Musings") and her post about chocolate ice cream a while back...

"Why I Write in Generalizations"

Erin said...

Oh yeah, I read that a while ago - thanks for reminding me about it :)

Gina@Chats With An "Old Lady" said...

Although we do not want to make too big of a deal out of things, or make people feel like they can't say anything or they'll be jumped all over...I think it is a good thing that people are evaluating and being careful.
We need to be Bereans, yet find the balance as well. When people question something, we can be patient and loving and explain where we are coming from. I'd rather be careful and cautious than to be careless. I see your discussions on this blog as a good thing (most of the time) if we are all willing to be learners.

Mrs. Sarah Lindblom said...


These Three Kings said...

WELL SAID JESS!! AMEN! THE LORD has used Lecrae and this album sooo much in our hood and ministry!!

you communicated his thoughts on REbel so well..keep em coming girl!

hey check out this post on my blog about a guy that email the reach records president and shared with him how the LORD used this ALBUM to save his LIFE literally!! wow!!

Anonymous said...

ok, let's see.

Those of you who think that people are trying to "redefine" God's definition of rebel really aren't getting the point. If that was the issue here, then song would be saying "read the Bible, because that's the only rebellion left! that's rebelling against God!" Clearly, reading your Bible is not rebellion against God.

The rather simple meaning of this song is rebelling against THE WORLD and NOT against God, which is possible to do.

I am not trying to be rude, but I really wish people would try to really read into what is being said first before posting some of these comments. Picking things apart when they are clearly not against God's word is just divisive.