You might be forgiven for assuming the practise of Christian apologetics is only for academics in their ivory towers. But in reality, the discipline of "giving a reason for the hope that you have" (1 Peter 3:15) is something that concerns every Christian.
And if Jahaziel’s latest video is anything to go by, today’s discussions about the truth of Christianity aren't only happening inside big theological textbooks, but in the world of rap music.
When Jahaziel announced in late 2015 he was no longer a Christian, he made it clear that one of the reasons for leaving the faith was because the answers he’d been given no longer made sense to him.
The rapper attacked "the many human errors of the bible and its contradictions, the brutal nature of its God". Anyone involved in Christian apologetics knows these are typical objections which often arise in conversations with atheists.
But Jahaziel isn’t content to only raise these issues on his social media pages. He’s also bringing these objections into his music. And in doing so he’s laying down the gauntlet to those who still believe. His latest video ‘Grand Rising’ (see below) begins by attacking Christian rapper S.O. and his fans "they’re the type who like to hide on social media telling me that I’m gunna go to hell". But he goes on to explain: "Religion that I used to give I now fight against" and give reasons for his loss of faith.
There are moments in the track which will make any Christian wince. But the 40 year old has some important points which require answers from Christians.
Fundamentally, Jahaziel is asking questions that many in our society want answers to. Can we really believe the incredible claims of the Bible? This rapper clearly thinks not: "Now my mind is free and I’m thinking for my damn self / You are insulting my intelligence if you expect me to believe them stories without no evidence / Like a woman that came from a man’s rib / Or a man who spent days in a whale’s belly and lived / Please don’t even try it / Two of every animal on a boat? / A child knows that would have been a riot / You need an ark full of food just to keep them quiet / You need lions on a temporary vegan diet / Really? It’s far-fetched brother, very far."
Jahaziel also takes aim at an oft-repeated phrase among evangelical Christians: "Go ahead and say some s*** like 'Christianity’s not a religion but a relationship' / Yeah well that’s some talk I cannot support / Just cause football is your life don’t mean it’s not a sport / Just cause you can’t explain it don’t make it God at all."
This week, another British rapper MC Tempo has released a response to Jahaziel titled 'Ba Ba Black Sheep'. It begins: "When you fell, I fell to my knees gritting my teeth crying / Because I could see you being deceived by spirits that be lying / Denying God when I know he’s been good to ya / You mislead God’s people I bring you beef like a butcher."
MC Tempo goes on to address many of the objections to Christianity that Jahaziel raised, for example on violence in the Old Testament MC Tempo raps: "Chattin about God killing babies that’s vindictive you’ve missed it / Cause that’s descriptive not prescriptive / You twist it”.
Watch the full video here:
Are Jahaziel’s objections to Christianity fair? Does MC Tempo’s response make sense? Which is the better track? Who's the better rapper? Some of these questions are more important than others. But all of them are sure to be debated as both videos spread across the internet. There’s been speculation that Jahaziel walked away from faith because those around him failed to answer his deepest questions. That may or may not be fair. Whatever the case one thing is certain: followers of both rappers - few of whom read let alone write academic textbooks - are being drawn into a discussion on Christian apologetics. Whichever side of the debate you sit on, this much at least is good news.
Have your hard questions answered and discover how Jesus is the answer to life, the universe and everything at this year's Unbelievable? conference at The Brewery, London on 13th May. Click here for more information