The Art of Social Media Escape: Jefferson Bethke Endorses God-Hating Macklemore

Landon ChapmanChristianity59 Comments

Titus 2:11–14 [ESV]  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.

Leaders and celebrity Christians in American Evangelicalism have found themselves in quite a quandary.  While they realize the need to actively participate in the social media world to reach their followers, in doing so they open themselves up to widespread commentary from those that may not agree with them.  So what is an overseer to do?

Enter the “block” button (aka the “banhammer“).

Yesterday, a faithful sister in Christ responded to the following tweet posted by celebrity Christian Jefferson Bethke:

by asking a simple question:

She went on later that afternoon to respond to another Tweet from Mr. Bethke that mentioned he and his wife’s upcoming podcast:

If you were thinking Mrs. Lam would receive an answer to this very simple question for a Christian leader, you would be wrong.  Instead, she experienced first-hand how many celebrity pastors and Christians respond to sincere, Bible-based questions regarding things they have posted on social media:

That’s right, Mrs. Lam was immediately blocked by Jefferson Bethke upon her asking him if he shared the Gospel with someone who openly mocks Christians and is hostile to the Word of God.  So much for being above reproach.

Some of you might be saying, “But Landon, it’s not like Mr. Bethke is a pastor or something.  The qualifications for an overseer (1 Timothy 3) don’t apply to him!”  My dear friends, if this is what you’re thinking, you are dead wrong.  Ever since rising to Christian fame through his spoken word YouTube video, Why I Hate Religion, But Love Jesus, and subsequent book, Jesus > Religion, Mr. Bethke has been an influential teacher in modern-day Christianity; specifically influential amongst Millennials.  The simple truth is that Mr. Bethke has positioned himself as a teacher of Christianity, someone who has authority and ability to teach the Word of God.  As someone in that position, one would do well to be conscious of the Biblical requirements thereby added to their account.

Further, as Paul made clear to Titus (Titus 2:11-12), the Grace of God has appeared, in part, to train “us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions”.  As someone who on his “About” page claims he is “…quite the avid grace lover,” should he not then make it a point to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions?  And with that truth firmly established, should not Mr. Bethke then make it a point to renounce and warn about Macklemore and his promotion of ungodliness, worldly passions, and hostility toward the Word of God?

The obvious answer to those questions are yes, Jefferson Bethke should not only end his endorsement of Macklemore, he should make it a point to publicly renounce those previous endorsements and warn Christians to stay away from his music.

If you are unfamiliar with Macklemore, I will briefly explain why this man is not someone with whom Christians should associate.  Macklemore is an American rapper whose real name is Ben Haggerty.  Without diving into his complete discography, suffice to say that Mr. Haggerty has been a popular and influential musician in America since roughly the year 2012.

On his October 2012 album, The Heist, Macklemore voiced his support of LGBT rights and same-sex marriage in the song “Same Love”, which also condemns homophobia in mainstream hip-hop, society, and mass media.1  On January 26, 2014, Macklemore performed Same Love at the 56th Annual Grammy Awards, where Queen Latifah read marriage vows for 33 couples (both gay and straight) who lined the aisles. “This is a love song, not for some of us but for all of us,” she said, followed by an appearance from Madonna singing “Open Your Heart”.2  Further, Macklemore was criticized for a performance he gave at Seattle’s Experience Music Project in May 2014 where he was dressed as a stereotypical Jew.3

Despite claims to the contrary, even from the man himself, Macklemore is a religious person and, as illustrated in the previous paragraph, does seek to convey his version of religion through his music.  Have a look at some of his lyrics:

Playing God, aw nah here we go:
America the brave still fears what we don’t know.
And “God loves all his children” is somehow forgotten,
But we paraphrase a book written thirty-five-hundred years ago.

Further, in this track released in 2009, Macklemore trades verses with fellow rapper Geological about the church and its lack of spiritual connection:

The word of our God is manipulated and twisted by the same system
That has infiltrated and falsely interpreted Jesus.
One life, one love, one God, it’s us, treated your neighbor how you would want to be treated.
The universal laws of God, don’t look too far, it’s right here, us human beings.
The spirit’s right here and I don’t have to see it.
Now every time I want to connect with God I put my headphones on. . . .
All right see, I be going to Sunday school every week
In the back trying to read, but see that something was off.
Maybe it was cause I was trying to huddle in the yard.
Preacher didn’t connect when he would mumble the Psalms.

Tyler Day of ChristianCentury.org summed this up well when he asked how we could categorize Macklemore’s theology.  Ethical humanism with a tinge of anthropomorphic universalism?

Maybe it’s best we don’t. At one point he calls rap “an accurate representation of who people are as individuals and the environment that they grew up in.” The same may be true of Macklemore’s theology: it’s an accurate representation of a culture of seekers, the spiritual but not religious, the label repellent. They use traditional language to speak of new forms and subjective reality. They prefer a bar to a church. Because as Macklemore says in “Neon Cathedral,” “Round here they sing broken hymns. /Their prayers flow better when they’re soaked in gin.”4  In other words, this man is a postmodern to the core.

Should any Christian be endorsing this guy?  Absolutely not!  Why, then, is Jefferson Bethke not only endorsing Macklemore and his assault on the Christ Mr. Bethke claims to profess, but subsequently blocking anyone who dare ask that very question?  The problem lies within the theology of what made Mr. Bethke a Christian celebrity in the first place and what Andy Stanley has recently decided to adopt; this idea that church is bad and Jesus is good.  It’s the theology that the church is preventing people from “making decisions for Jesus” and thus inherently denies the sovereignty of God.

In a Twitter post back in February of 2013, Mr. Bethke was asked what he thought of Macklemore:

He looks up to a man who hates God and mocks Christians all in the name of “tolerance”?  Really?  When then confronted about how Macklemore’s music in any way glorifies God he responded:

As Mr. Huntrods correctly went on to point out, Paul is addressing non-believers, not Christians.  He’s also presenting the Gospel, not making general statements – context is important.  Why should Christians buy the next Macklemore album to hear about their hypocrisy and failure when God gave us His inerrant, infallible, and thoroughly sufficient Word?

Please understand I am in no way making a judgment regarding Mr. Bethke’s eternal salvation and whether or not he is a brother in Christ, that is not my place.  But as a high-profile professing believer, it distresses me greatly that he would not answer a simple Biblical question and instead opt to run away from the concern.

Unfortunately, this is the new norm when it comes to high-profile Christian leaders; they publicly post and/or present something anti-Biblical, ecumenical, or theologically incorrect and when their public teaching is challenged publicly, they either run away (block the person) or turn and launch an aggressive reputation-smearing campaign and incorrectly label the challenger a hypocrite and a Pharisee.  Sure doesn’t seem very “loving”, does it?

Thus, it is reasonable to ask why, as a Christian leader, Mr. Bethke continues to endorse an unregenerate man and his anti-biblical, God-hating music to Christians.

With the evidence presented, Christians would do well to personally ask Jefferson Bethke why he gets his inspiration from someone who hates God and beg of him to repent and turn from such filth.

Just don’t be surprised when you you are ignored and bear the brunt of the banhammer.

BanHammer

Author
Landon Chapman

Landon Chapman

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Founder of Entreating Favor, writer, and host of the Fire Away! podcast. He is an architect by vocation and professes the Bible to be the infallible, inerrant, Word of God. He and his wife Holly have two children.


Show 4 footnotes

  1.  “Macklemore’s Gay Anthem – Interview”. Studio360.org. November 30, 2012. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  2. Dan Avery. “Macklemore, Madonna, Queen Latifah Host Gay Weddings”. newnownext.com. Retrieved March 2, 2015.
  3.  Shire, Emily; Marlow Stern (20 May 2014). “Macklemore, the Grammy Winning Rapper, Is a 9/11 Truther Who Likes to Play Anti-Semitic Dress-Up”. The Daily Beast. Retrieved 25 November 2014.
  4.  Day, Tyler. “Macklemore’s Theology | The Christian Century.” The Christian Century. 28 May 2013. Web. 2 Mar. 2015.

59 Comments on “The Art of Social Media Escape: Jefferson Bethke Endorses God-Hating Macklemore”

      1. I meant it as a serious question. Why? Why exactly are you giving him the benefit of the doubt? Why add that to your article at all?

        I’m not arguing. I’m genuinely asking the question. What’re the criteria where you suppose someone is “to be evangelized,” “called a false teacher,”or treated as “just a non discerning brother?”

        Do you question Joel Osteen’s faith or Benny Hinn? If so what’s the difference between them and Jeff Bethke?

        Thanks for interacting and helping.

        1. Landon

          To be completely honest, because I’ve not done enough research into his ministry to know where his practicing beliefs fall. I do not have a problem calling people out as not exhibiting fruits of a saving faith, like the guys you mentioned. But it would be poor writing and unfair of me to assume that before knowing more about his ministry. This particular article is in regards to a specific situation that arose.

          If it seems that this is or has been a pattern over a long period of time, which it may be I simply don’t know, then it would be time to ask more serious salvation questions.

          Good questions, Michael, and I sincerely thank you for taking the time to visit and read.

        2. Question his salvation? Really? You think it’s necessary to question a guy’s salvation because he listen’s to Macklemore’s music? This is why people outside the Church hate it, and people inside of it struggle with crippling guilt, shame, and anxiety–because some people tell them that their salvation is tied to their choice in music.

          1. Nolen, why don’t you show me where I wrote:
            “question a guy’s salvation because he listen’s to [anyone’s] music”

            Ok, to be fair, you won’t find that, because I never said, nor implied it, nor believe it.

            But for the sake of discussion among loving brethren who are not quick to judge 😉 will you please tell me what criteria you would use to start to wonder if a person is really a Christian or not? Maybe once I understand your POV in the matter I can interact.

            So what would a person have to do, Nolen?

          2. I appreciate your politeness in your response. Thank you. But your words were “Why not question his salvation? Seems he’s provided reason enough”–and based on the context, it seems like the “reason” your using is his admiration of Macklemore. Am I wrong? What else has he done that is worthy of calling into question his salvation? And further, why do you or anyone else even feel a need at ANY point to question his salvation? How does that concern you? This is among my biggest problem with fellow Christians today–too many feel the need to go around examining whether or not another is actually saved. I cannot understand this incessant need to analyze a brother’s salvation. Can you please explain the motive?

          3. Nolen – My deep love for lost people to be found and go to Heaven is the reason. It is vitally important to me that lost sinners hear of their sin, the gospel and repent and believe.

            So if someone is deceived into thinking they are a Christian but really on their way to hell, I’d say that is a terrifying thing, wouldn’t you?

            So we use the indicators the Bible has provided which denote for us the type of outward behavior we will see in a man whose heart has been converted by God. In public figures, we watch because other people are being deceived by them if they are false teachers.
            {I see you answered my question}

          4. This, on the surface, seems well-intentioned. But it’s a cold, robotic means of evangelism, which isn’t evangelism at all. It’s impersonal. As I said in a previous response, it reduces every person to either “Christian” or “non-Christian” and refuses to acknowledge or appreciate other things about them. And if you’re only focus on whether or not a person is saved, and then move immediately to “Well let me save you,” they won’t find grace in your interaction.

            If a person likes Macklemore’s music, that IN NO WAY means they aren’t saved. And if that’s the lens by which you judge salvation, you will help no one–Christian or otherwise. Love people. Don’t look for clues into their salvation in every word they say and then think that it’s your job to save them the minute you hear sin. Get to know them. Interact with them. EMPATHIZE WITH THEM. Show them how Christ loved–and continues to love–you. But please, stop looking to turn everyone into a statistic.

          5. Nolen, do you see what you did? You took a single quote on a comment about Bethke and you turned it into-> This is how Michael Coughlin evangelizes – by not interacting with people, not empathizing with people and not appreciating other things about them.

            But interestingly enough, it is you who is committing that error. You are making assumptions about me and “correcting me” and “judging me” based on what you think of me. Why haven’t you loved me or shown me more empathy? Why haven’t you gotten to know me before hauling off and telling me I evangelize incorrectly?

            Secondly, my perception of Bethke isn’t based solely on this Macklemore thing. It is from years of observing his poor teaching, the trend he is on toward worldliness and his unteachability (a quality you share it seems).

            Thankfully, I trust God’s Word to convert sinners. So I will leave you with this: You are a horrible wretched man in the eyes of God (whether I know you or not I know this because the Bible says) and God will judge you for your sin. But in his love and mercy He sent Jesus Christ to die on the cross and take the punishment which sinners deserve. God took our His holy anger on His son on the cross, and was pleased to crush Jesus. Jesus became sin and died and was buried but 3 days later rose again according to the Scriptures.

            Repent of your sin and trust Jesus alone and He will forgive you. One of the many benefits of this is that He will send you His Holy Spirit to indwell you and guarantee your salvation, future glorification AND your sanctification. This means you will have changed desires and, frankly, listening to Macklemore’s lyrics will disgust you as if you were watching someone rape your mother. I truly hope you will turn to the Savior or if you are simply an immature Christian that you will repent and become more acquainted with God’s Word -> Because YOU matter to me.

          6. Oh my gosh. Please never ever try to evangelize to anyone else the way you just did for me. I’m begging you. That was abhorrent. If I wasn’t already a Believer I’d walk away from you with a very low opinion of Christians.

            You called me out for pretending to know you, then did exactly the same to me. You then told me to repent of my sin in our first interaction with one another and ONLINE. And then you used the phrase “watching someone rape your mother.” Regardless of context, that is a terrible, terrible way to talk to someone about God. Feel free to respond however you like to this, but I’m walking away. This was a great reminder of why I should never comment on article online. Ever. I don’t know why I gave in today.

          7. Why are you so offended by people who care about the Biblical truth of regeneration and the necessity of bearing fruit as evidence that a person has indeed been born again of the Holy Spirit? Why is this so offensive to you? Are you sure you are saved?

          8. And to answer your question, there really isn’t much anyone can do for me to feel the need to judge whether or not he is a believer. Beyond knowing whether or not I ought to share the gospel with him, why does it matter? And shouldn’t my interactions with him point to Christ whether he’s a believer or not? I see no good coming from a life of constant analysis of every person I meet. It’s reducing their identity to either Christian or non-Christian, and, as someone who is not God dishing out judgement for sin, I see no way that is my place to know. There is a lot more to a person than whether or not they share in your beliefs. This mindset reduces them to someone who is either “on your team” or “on the other team.”

          9. Actually, that level of “us-them” polarization is quite Biblical. We can eat meat sacrificed to demons with unbelievers, however, they are still unbelievers to us and not brothers.

    1. I totally agree with you. It is totally appropriate to question his salvation. An important distinction needs to be made between messy Christians and those messy Christians who portray themselves as teachers. Also, more genuinely speaking, we do not sin at all by questioning anyone’s salvation. They should not be bearing that kind of fruit and need to be called to examine themselves, their bad fruit is their fault and they are the ones who created the doubt as to whether or not they are saved. Also, Paul expressed his doubts about the salvation of certain people in Galatians.

  1. From the article, “I will briefly explain why this man is not someone with whom Christians should associate”. Pretty sure Jesus associated with some “unsavory” folks. Knowing your own heart and mind and reaching out to others with kindness, love and respect seems good to me.

  2. That’s correct, Jennifer and Jesus spoke Gospel to them. The issue is not being friends with the unsaved, the issue is that blocking Mrs. Lam makes it clear that he’s not interested in presenting the Gospel to this artist.

    The fact is that Macklemore is hostile to the Gospel, to God’s Word, and to Christians.

    (P.S. Thanks for reading!)

  3. I think it must be hard to witness to someone if you don’t associate with them on some level. Your statement made me think you would suggest that Christians shun him (Macklemore) outright.

  4. I will admit, the sentence you pulled was a sloppy use of language on my part. I will attempt to correct that in future articles.

    To the point of witnessing, I actually disagree on some level because I do a lot of street-level evangelism to strangers and, while scary, is incredibly fruitful. Am I saying everyone should be witnessing to strangers on the street? No. Do I think that one must be friends with someone before they present them the Gospel (friendship evangelism)? Absolutely not.

    My biggest concern with Mr. Bethke is that, given the huge platform God has graciously provided, he should take care to be mindful of those with whom he appears to endorse.

    But, like I said in the article, I’m not trying to say he isn’t a brother. The dear Lord knows I slip up every single day. 🙂

    But, a public statement deserves a public response.

  5. Pingback: The Art of Social Media Escape: Jefferson Bethke Endorses God-Hating Macklemore | Psalm 12 Outreach

  6. I’m sorry, this seems unfair, ungracious, and legalistic at best. If you’re only criticizing Bethke for blocking the twitter commenter, that’s fair enough. He shouldn’t block someone after two simple questions–although for someone in his position, I almost don’t blame him because it would grow tiresome interacting with people who think it’s their job to call you out. But your criticism goes far beyond that, to the point that you essentially tell him not only that he can’t enjoy Macklemore’s music, but that he must “repent and turn away from such filth.” This is ridiculous. I’m not a fan of Bethke. But I have absolutely no issue with him admiring Macklemore for his creativity and dedication to his craft. I share in Bethke’s admiration. Neither he nor I are basing our theology on Macklemore’s lyrics. And frankly, having someone tell me that listening to him, or even just admiring his creativity, is something of which I need to repent is horrifying. I don’t want to see the church grow cold and condemning of anything outside of it. That is in no way Christlike.

    1. Which of his songs do you find most Christlike and edifying, Nolen?

      “Penis Song” or maybe it is the profanity laced “Bush Song”?

      Or maybe it is “Church” with these flattering lyrics about the Savior:

      I was in my head and I was bustin’ with Pac
      Takin’ off my wifebeater and getting drunk in the park
      After that part, I found God, it wasn’t Jesus
      Some psilocybin and the ink released him

    2. Actually, The Lord Jesus Christ had absolutely zero tolerance for anyone who disagreed with Biblical truth. It is totally Christ-like to hate error and false doctrine and any opposition to the truth. We are to be kind and polite about it, yes, because we are being kind and polite towards PEOPLE. But as Christians we are to have zero tolerance for anything that is opposed to the Bible. And interestingly, I don’t think you can honestly read the four gospels and say The Lord Jesus Christ was very polite towards those who disagreed with scripture or nullified scripture. He was often very direct and confrontational. And you will not find one verse in the Bible where The Lord Jesus Christ “agreed to disagree” with anyone.

  7. Interesting how some of these so called Christian teachers listen to rap music that mocks God and his word. No wonder we have a generation about to be lost forever. Jesus said take up my cross and follow me. Not take up the world and follow them!

    1. Witty. I will be copying you and repeating those last two sentences many many many times over.

    2. Funny, because I think the macklemore’s music mocks the hypocrisy in the people who claim to be christians for they do a fine job of mocking God words themselves.

      1. Macklemore has no clue what the Bible even says. His words are vulgar and like much of music meant to brainwash. I am so glad I stopped following secular music and media. Now as an outsider I can see the social Marxism all through it. Its not hidden. But that is what Macklemore’s gospel really is the cultural Marxism that is prevalent in the media industry.

          1. There is no differentiation of opinion in much of media, music, TV and movies. Why is that? They all have the same pro Choice, Pro gay marriage, Anti Israel stance in most cases. Why? Also we see in many books in University and professors espousing these opinions. Why? Why are the cards stacked in such a way for one political opinion? I see diversity of opinion on the moderate and conservative and Libertarian side. But not the P.C. socialist liberal side. Again Why?

      2. As a Jew who believes in Jesus I have found some of his words offensive. He is anti Israel. This is typical of political correct types. They hate Jews and make excuses for their hate. Then, lecture Christian and Torah Obedient Jews for keeping and upholding the Faith. True Christians abide in Christ Jesus and His words. Its easy for worldly people who dont even know God to judge us. For they do the same judging they accuse most Christians of. Yet, they dont like to be called out for their hypocritical behavior. Is not this also true?

  8. Pingback: Christian Blogger Jefferson Bethke Endorses God-Hating Macklemore – Christ Fever

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  11. Have you considered Philippians 1:18 in that matter? “The important thing is that in every way, whether from false motives or true, Christ is preached. And because of this I rejoice. Yes, and I will continue to rejoice.” How about we simply rejoice and are glad that somebody IS preaching the gospel and not just hiding in their Christian bubble?
    I think we should be glad that he is clear about the gospel and stop worrying about everything else.

    1. I disagree with how you cut up that scripture. Clearly Paul is not instructing people to rejoice, instead he is saying that he is rejoicing because they were personally doing it against him. You didn’t even put the real verse there. Not cool.

    2. And everything else you said is not what Christians are instructed to do. Being apart of the body of Christ isn’t just you worrying about yourself, that is the opposite of what you are supposed to do.

  12. Macklemore is a christian, he believes Jesus is his savior is that not a christian? Just because he says or does things you don’t agree with doesn’t mean he isn’t. In fact he makes a point in his music to point out all the bigotry in those who clam to be followers of christ. I can’t point out many things in this article that I find to be very unchristian, but that doesn’t mean you are not one because I say so. As far and Jeff goes do you know how many comments he get from hypocrites on twitter and how extremely annoying it is. He is a great teacher and has actually studied the bible and the history behind it unlike some people who pick and choose passages to live by not knowing the meaning or reason behind it. boo hoo he blocked you I would to.

    1. Young lady, you need to listen to the real gospel of Jesus Christ. Endorsing filth such as Macklemore is about as un-Christian as you can get. Filling your mind with garbage that insults the holiness of God will lead you on the path to hell. Bethke is an instrument of the devil, one of many false teachers out there misleading multitudes.

      1. Tani, are saying Macklemore is not a Christian because he has a song defending gays, and calling out the bigotry of the church? Are you saying mr. Bethke is a instrument of the devil because he delivers the true message of God which not to judge but show love and grace? Is it because he helps you understand the beauty of Jesus, and how Christianity is a faith not a religion, and we need to start acting like it? Our only job God has given us is to love and we still fail at it. If you reflect back to the book of Romans it clearly explains what the Gospels all about who Jesus Christ is and what our role as Christians are. Self righteous is the greatest sin, and easy to wrapped in.

          1. I never once claimed to be perfect, and I already know me judging those that judge others doesn’t make me any better.

            But I know with all my hip hop listening, tattoos, crazy colored hair, sex before marriage Jesus still loves me and I love him and nothing anyone can say will change that. You don’t get to judge who’s a Christian and who’s not. Not our job!

  13. I’m just bummed out that he stopped making what made him famous: Spoken Word Poetry. Now that he’s more of online preacher/teacher I stopped following him because I followed him for his poetry. But I understand that you can’t make a living as a poet, so you have to let that avenue open other avenues of authorship and public speaking.

  14. What endorsement? Jeff said the guy & his wife were ‘nice folks’ and that he’s drawn inspiration from him artistically. Not sure what this woman is hunting for and not sure what she’s trying to prove by making a spectacle of herself. Witch hunt.

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