Rev. Lance Lewis laments that there is not much Gospel in Gospel music. Most of it is about “breakthroughs” and prosperity fluff. This has led me to think seriously about one of the most popular of modern Gospel artists, Israel Houghton.
Israel and his group, New Breed, have been a good example of the mix of good theology with absolutely harmful teaching. For instance, they have absolutely incredible songs on the holiness of God:
Lord, we declare
Who can compare
Who would even dare
There is no one like You (“Who Is Like the Lord?”)
Consider these lines on missions:
Oh that men would praise His name
Praise His name to the ends of the earth (“Rejoice in the Lord”)
We are a generation
That will give you praise and adoration
Let Your kingdom come, Let your will be done
Establish now your throne, O my Lord (“Come in from the outside”)
Unfortunately, there are also songs that wreak of prosperity theology (“New Season”, “The Latter Will Be Greater”). With “latter rain” theology (“It’s Raining”) throughout many of his songs, he exemplifies what is great and not-so-great about much Gospel music.
I am concerned that much of what is affirmed about God in Gospel music is translated into the context of prosperity/liberation theology. For instance, God is holy, but His holiness is only affirmed inasmuch as He is the only One who can make me healthy and prosperous. It is as if God is everything that He is so that He can give me everything that I want in this life.
I do not know what came first, the chicken (Gospel music) or the egg (prosperity theology), but I do know that each is perpetuating the other. It’s a one-two punch: a steady dose of bad theology on Sundays with a daily refill through our Gospel music radios have created a community of unhealthy thinking and, consequently, unhealthy living. That is why I pray that God will do more than just fill our churches with sound, expository preaching. I pray that He will also raise up theologically sound, God-centered songwriters as well. Until there is a return to truly “Gospel” music, let’s just settle with the moniker “prosperity gospel” music.