Who Are the Best Young Theologians?

Augustine, Jonathan Edwards, John Calvin, Martin Luther, Thomas Aquinas, and Karl Barth. Just a few names of great theologians of the past. But who are the greats today? We know good preachers and teachers like John Piper and John MacArthur. However, who is really saying the most important things, and in the most effective way?

I really dig guys like Francis Chan, Voddie Baucham, and David Platt. However, I want to share with you some guys who are saying a lot, in a unique way, and could be making a very big impact for the Kingdom.

These guys are Christian rappers, known to some as the 116 clique. Based out of Dallas, Texas, these guys are not only rockin' the mic, they're teaching and preaching some hardcore theology.
I'm normally not much of a rap fan. I find that rap is only worth listening to when the lyrics are actually saying something worthwhile. The rhymes being spit by the 116 Clique are worth listening to.

They're worth listening to because instead of fly beats mixed in with empty lyrics, their words are meaty, stretching, authoritative, clever, and best of all, the truth of the Word. Now, please read this closely. This is not me discovering Christian rap for the first time, and having a little overexcited party in my head. I've listened to Christian rap for years, but never have I heard guys that deliver such deliberate truths, exposition of scripture in their lyrics, and that make you feel like you've heard a powerful sermon after every song.

The 116 Clique includes 12 rappers that work with Reach Records. The name comes from Romans 1:16 which says, "I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek." They do sometimes tour together, but they are perhaps more widely known for their individual efforts. Guys like Lecrae, Trip, Tedashii, Flame, and Sho Baraka are just a few of the names you may possibly recognize. If not, google them. Check out their myspaces and webpages. Listen to their music. Now!

The reason I'm calling these guys the best young theologians is for one, I am convinced that I haven't heard theology taught this well outside of seminary. Also, they are some of the best young preachers that I've ever heard.

I've been listening to Lecrae's newest album Rebel which includes an entire song on the Church as the Bride of Christ. It includes a catchy, yet powerful expositional song on the passage Romans 10:14-15 called Beautiful Feet. The opening song, Rebel Intro includes a sample of a preacher who says, "if everyone is sinning, then it is no longer rebellious to sin", "you wanna be a rebel, read your bible!". Some sources say its Mark Driscoll, but I haven't found any concrete truth in that. However, the album is inspired by guys like Mark Driscoll and John Piper. Lecrae has a song called, Don't Waste Your Life inspired by Piper's book.

Not only that, Lecrae lives the gospel just as much as he preaches it. He believes Dallas is his local mission field. There he is frequently found street witnessing, hosting hip-hop related youth events, and serving at local juvenile detention centers.

Trip Lee also has a powerful new album out called 20/20. His mission is for you to see God clearly through the lens of scripture. This album is chalked full of theology as well. I believe it, along with Lecrae's Rebel, might be 2 of the most powerful music albums I have ever heard, period.

I can't even begin to share quotes with you from their songs. There is so much goodness, that all I can tell you is to drop what you are doing and pick up their music. Download it on iTunes. Go buy it at Lifeway, Wal-mart, wherever you can get your hands on it. Even if you don't like hip hop or rap, get it! Look past your stereotypes of rap. Look past your preferences on music. Listen to the words being said. It will bless you, convict you, teach you, and challenge you.

I praise God for these young theologians. They're not only preaching the word. They're living the word. And what is so cool is that they're doing it in a unique way, ministering to an entire cross section of individuals who may never pick up a bible, a book by John Piper or Mark Driscoll, or listen to a sermon of great preaching.