Christians are Called to be “Culture Creators”

14 November 2023

2.2 MINS

In a recent interview with CBN News, well-known Christian artist Lecrae Devaughn Moore (aka Lecrae) — who plays Gabriel in the upcoming live-action Christmas musical Journey to Bethlehem — said Christians have a theological impetus to create God-glorifying art.

Christians as Culture Creators

Speaking with reporter Tré Goins-Phillips in late October, Lecrae, a successful hip-hop artist and business executive, pointed out that Christians often approach artistic pursuits with a “little brother syndrome” — where we measure all Christian art by secular standards.

As a result, he says: “We tend to just follow suit [because] there may be some insecurity there. So we’ll copy culture, we’ll condemn it, or we’ll critique it, but we won’t create it.”

However, this hasn’t always been the case. Many of the greatest artists — composers, painters and authors — throughout time have been deeply motivated by their Christian faith. Think, for example, of J.R.R. Tolkien, G.K. Chesterton, Fyodor Dostoyovskiy or C.S. Lewis, who each produced some of the greatest written works of all time.

Lecrae notes, “Historically, we’ve been known for creating culture — we’ve been known to be culture creators, and we serve the greatest Creator of all time, and so that should be inspiration for us to go out and do amazing things.”

For example, Johann Sebastian Bach, the seventeenth-century German Baroque composer and organist, is widely considered the greatest composer of all time.

In 2019, 174 living composers for BBC Music Magazine ranked who they thought were the best composers — measured on the fourfold criteria of originality, impact, craftsmanship and enjoyability. Bach came first on the list, ahead of names like Igor Stravinsky, Ludwig van Beethoven and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

A committed Lutheran, J.S. Bach began every composition with the Latin prayer “Jesu Juva” — translated as “Jesus help me” — and ended each composition with the declaration “S D G (Soli Deo Gloria)”, meaning “Glory to God alone”.

According to Lecrae, the historical precedent is there.

“That should inspire us,” he says. “We’ve been commissioned by God to create amazing things to reflect Him and His glory. Let’s work on it. Let’s do it well, and let’s reflect how amazing He is to the world outside.”

Leading By Example

In his artistic work, Lecrae has led by example, winning two Grammy® Awards (along with six nominations), numerous GMA Dove Awards and a Billboard Music Award (from four nominations).

In 2014, he was called “the most impactful Christian rapper ever” in the secular HipHopDX review.

However, Lecrae has also used his platform to raise awareness on a range of social issues, including fatherlessness, race relations in America, and toxic hip-hop culture, from a Christian perspective.

In 2011, he launched a media campaign called Man Up, which aimed at equipping and mentoring young men on biblical fatherhood and manhood. In 2013, he collaborated on a similar initiative—This is Fatherhood—“devoted to restoring America’s commitment to healthy fatherhood.”

Journey to Bethlehem

Lecrae’s latest artistic project has been the live-action nativity musical Journey to Bethlehem, where he plays the role of the angel Gabriel, starring alongside Christian artist Joel Smallbone (from For King & Country) and renowned Spanish actor Antonio Banderas.

The film was released in the United States on 7 November and is the first-ever live-action artistic rendition of the story of Messiah’s birth.

Journey to Bethlehem will be shown in Australian theatres from 30 November.

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  1. Ian Moncrieff. 15 November 2023 at 12:59 pm - Reply

    We ARE made in the image of a creative God – God of creation! Thanks for the challenge Cody.

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