Hyperbole or Theology? The Danger of Kirk Franklin’s lyrical Lion and the Lamb

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Kirk Franklin has been recently trending in the International Christian music scene. Franklin was performing at a B.E.T rap show for the 2022 Hip-hop Awards. In his performance, he rapped a song that left many confused and upset. The specific part of the song that rattled the Internet was the lyrics that stated, “The Lion and the Lamb will bow down to the goat.” You can watch the entire performance here: https://youtube.com/shorts/jh7DIJ-csnQ?feature=share. If you would like to listen to a short commentary of that performance, you can catch it here: https://youtu.be/atamvkV0V_w

In the Christian faith, the Lion and the Lamb is a title that is attributed to Jesus. He is the Lion of Judah. He is also the Lamb of God that was slain for the sins of the world (John 1:29). The Lion and the Lamb reference has been used for over 2000 years as a reference to Christ. The goat on the other hand is often attributed to unbelievers.

Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭31‬-‭33‬  But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” (NASB)

In the Christian faith, goats have also been attributed to demons:

Leviticus‬ ‭17‬:‭7‬ ‭ “They shall no longer sacrifice their sacrifices to the goat demons with which they play the harlot. This shall be a permanent statute to them throughout their generations.” ‭‭(NASB)

The most famous demonic emblem of Satanism is the goat demon popularly known as Baphomet.

In light of all this, Kirk Franklin’s lyrics evidently caused a stir. Many believers in the B.E.T video corrected him and said the lyrics were blasphemous in nature. He also got this feedback from several Christian YouTube channels and many Twitter followers. Franklin however defended his lyrics in a tweet on 6th October 2022. He said: In hip hop who is the greatest (G.O.A.T.) has always been a discussion. Metaphorically I positioned those considered great as lions and lambs and how they will someday bow down to Jesus, who is the greatest of all times. It’s hyperbole, not theology.

It did not go well as many people were still unconvinced. I for one am among those people. Here are a few dangers I discern in Kirk Franklin’s Lion and the Lamb hyperbole/ theology debacle.

The danger of ignorance.

When Kirk wrote those lyrics, I assume he did go through them. And if he did, surely he must have known that Christians all over the world know the Lion and the Lamb to be Jesus alone. How then did he, in good honest faith, give those premier titles that have belonged to the Messiah for over 2000 years to sinful rappers? The answer can only be three-fold.

Answer 1: Either Kirk Franklin in all his years as a Christian has never known that Jesus is the Lion of Judah and the Lamb that was slain for the sins of the world. For this answer, we also would have to assume that Kirk has never read the Bible, and never listened to a sermon on Christ. This answer is highly improbable.

Answer 2: That Kirk Franklin assumes Christians are ignorant of basic truth- that Jesus Christ is the Lion and the Lamb and that demons and the world of Satan have lots of symbolism with goats. This answer is also highly improbable.

Answer 3: That Kirk Franklin knows very well that Jesus is the Lion and the Lamb. That Kirk Franklin knows very well that the G.O.A.T (Greatest Of All Time) title is a lovechild of the world. That Kirk Franklin knew that his lyrics of the Lion and the Lamb bowing down to the goat clearly paints a picture of two animals bowing down to a third. That Kirk Franklin (who is not a daft man but is actually very intelligent) clearly saw that these lyrics screamed blasphemy but opted to try to twist them to fit his agenda. That Kirk Franklin knew very well that he was performing on a stage that worships man’s talent over God’s glory. And that Kirk chose the latter- he chose to please the world and glorify his talent at the expense of abusing our saviour.

What do you think?

The danger of a warped identity

Is Kirk Franklin an artist first then a Christian second? What is his primary identity? The lyrics of this song betrayed the allegiance of his identity. When he says “It is hyperbole, not theology”, it becomes evidently clear what is core to his expression of music. He wants to be artistic before he wants to be faithful. Or rather, his desire to be artistic trumps his faith. This presents a common problem in modern Christendom. Many believers often worship the gift over the Giver. This danger gives birth to the most common problem with many Christians who get the attention of the world- compromise. Many so-called Gospel artists have sacrificed the cause of Christ for the applause of men. They have concluded that is better to make catchy songs with hyperbole than produce faithful music with theology.

The danger of excusing public Christian accountability.

In a world that bows down to human feelings over God’s sovereignty, it wasn’t surprising to see a few loyal followers of Franklin defend him. One said that if many of the Christians calling Kirk Franklin to accountability would be scrutinised, their lives would reveal more shame. That in itself is a big problem. We have professing followers of Christ who hate the accountability of public Christians and mask it as love. We must see that this false love that hates the truth is very far from what God calls love in the Bible. When the disciples of Jesus, Peter and John, were faced with the option of pleasing the world as opposed to obeying the LORD, they boldly spoke truth to the power of their culture in Acts 5:29 by saying, “We must obey God rather than men.” When professing believers are more devoted to their famous celebrities than to the truth of the word of God, then you can begin to discern that the end is truly near. John 3:19 says “This is the judgment, that the Light has come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the Light, for their deeds were evil.” (NASB). We defend men and spit in the face of God because our hearts are evil.

The danger of stumbling the children of God

This is also a wake-up call for any believer who is in public ministry. The Bible calls us in 1 Timothy 4:16 to watch our life and doctrine closely so that we do not cause those who are watching us to stumble. I like the NLT version of 1 Timothy 4:16 “Keep a close watch on how you live and on your teaching. Stay true to what is right for the sake of your own salvation and the salvation of those who hear you.” The Bible is also clear that any Christian who takes the role of teaching will be judged more harshly (James 3:1). A public platform for a believer that informs or influences is not theirs. Paul the Apostle said he was a bondservant of Christ as he mirrored the life of Christ. We should be too. Bondservants are devoted to their masters first and to other things second. Jesus is my master. I cannot post anything that stumbles others and defend it by saying it is my platform. Firstly, it is not. It is God’s platform; I am just a steward who has been allocated responsibility. Therefore, when the tension between hyperbole and theology forms, it is a no-brainer- choose theology and reject the culture’s hyperbole. Some people argue and say that people will stumble anyway so we should stop being too uptight about these things concerning hyperbole and theology. Jesus disagreed. He said in Matthew 18:7 that if we can avoid being the stumblers, we should because we incur unnecessary judgement on ourselves. “Woe to the world because of its stumbling blocks! For it is inevitable that stumbling blocks come; but woe to that man through whom the stumbling block comes!” (NASB). Far be it that we are the ones through whom the stumbling comes. Jesus said that person deserves to be cast into the bottom of the sea.

May this blog help us become faithful sheep:.

Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭31‬-‭33‬  “But when the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the angels with Him, then He will sit on His glorious throne. All the nations will be gathered before Him; and He will separate them from one another, as the shepherd separates the sheep from the goats; and He will put the sheep on His right, and the goats on the left.” (NASB)

 

Comments

Ernest is a follower of Jesus Christ, a husband, and a father. He has been married to Waturi since September 2012. They have three children- Thandiwe, Ivanna, and Theo. He is also the author of four books. The Wamboyes are passionate to see the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly taught and understood in our post-modern world. They are champions of biblical discipleship and furthering the Kingdom of God by transforming one person at a time. They are the founders of The Relationship Centre Ltd (TRC), an organisation that aims to promote biblical family values in contemporary urban communities.

Discussion12 Comments

  1. “I cannot post anything that stumbles others and defend it by saying it is my platform. Firstly, it is not. It is God’s platform; I am just a steward who has been allocated responsibility.”
    The realization that God owns everything and we are just stewards is always a humble reminder that we will be called to settle account one day.

  2. Great insight and teaching on clarity of Truth. May almighty God grant you in excess to this Wisdom in this day and age of our generation.

  3. Very well Put and Educative Indeed, May almighty God grant you in excess of this wisdom to empower our generation at this time.

  4. Thank you very much Ernest for this insightfull read. May we remain alert to discern the truth from deception. Blessings brother.

  5. Hey Ernest, hope you’re well. Let me just be upfront and state that I’m one of the ones who likes Kirk Franklin both as a musician and a man. I’ve listened to a few interviews here and there that he’s done and as far as people go, I think he’s one of the good ones.
    My question regarding your article is whether you have a personal relationship with him. Like, do you know him well enough that you can definitively say that those choices he made were in keeping with his heart?
    If you say you do, I’ll believe where you’re coming from because I imagine your heart is not to wound or to be careless with what you write.
    But if you don’t then I don’t think it’s fair to your brother – whether he’s a public figure or not – to say things like that without proof. I don’t think it’s fair to you or your readers either.

    I guess my question ultimately here is, are we in love with Jesus enough that we think through what we’re saying about others in the family of God? And this applies to me as well. I’m not trying to appear perfect or anything, I just wanted to bring that to our collective attention as people in the same family.

    Thanks and be blessed.
    With much love,

    Your sister in Christ,

    Mwihaki.

    • Hello Mwihaki. I think it is very insincere to say “without proof.” There is absolutely nothing that has been asserted about Kirk that has been hearsay, rumours or uncontextual truths. That’s a very gross overstatement. It is for the very reason that Kirk asserts to be a brother in yje faith that I boldly write this without rescinding anything. Paul the Apostle called out Peter who was inconsistent with the truth and was leading many astray. The kind of love many professing believers in the 21st century church espouse is emotional without embracing truth. The truth is that we dislike truth and accountability. We would rather have one of us blaspheme God and pretend it’s okay because he has been our darling for years. The church has no special sons and daughters who have persmission to do the wrong thing and go unchallenged because they are famous, talented or loved. Kirk isnt above God’s word. The Body of Christ is a family and loving families have tough conversations, beloved.

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