Reformation Rap QUESTION

It’s Reformation Sunday tomorrow. As a long-time Methodist, I had no idea what that meant, and had barely heard of it. But now, as a Presbyterian, in a church in the “Reform tradition,” it’s a bigger deal. It commemorates the day in 1517 when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to a church door.

Someone sent me this a couple days ago:
We religious instruction teachers are always looking for ways to engage the students. In my class last year, I likened Martin Luther’s dilemma to: how would they (the students) feel, if they came home to find their families imprisoned and tortured, and it won’t stop until they say that Sammy Hagar was Van Halen’s better frontman? We’d all agreed, beforehand, that Van Halen’s a great band, “but you MUST renounce Diamond Dave, and embrace Sammy, or you’ll get your dad’s OTHER EAR in ANOTHER package!” They stood up at their table, and shouted & pointed in my face, and I had soooo much fun getting them all stirred up while humming “Why Can’t This Be Love?” and dissing the tune to “Panama…” It’s why I teach 🙂

There was also a link to something called the 95 Theses, a 2007 rap done to the tune of Jay-Z’s 99 Problems. I’ve provided three links; the third starts with a short commercial.

95 Theses
95 Theses
95 Theses

Found these lyrics several places, including here:

If you havin’ Church problems then don’t blame God, son
I got ninety-five theses but the Pope ain’t one.

Listen up, all my people, it’s a story for the telling
’bout the sin and injustice and corruption I been smelling:
I met that homie Tetzel, then I started rebelling…
One Five One Seven – that’s when it first went down.
Then the real test was when it started spreading around.
Sixty days to recant what I said? Father, please!
You’ve had, what? Goin’ on fifteen centuries?
“Oh snap, he’s messin’ with the holy communion.”
But I ain’t never dissed your precious hypostatic union!…

I was struck most by this section:

But you forgot about me and my demonstration?
Like you can just create your own denomination?
“We don’t like this part, so we’ll just add a little twist.”
Now we Anglican, Amish, and even Calvinist.
I gave you the power, you gone and abused it.
I gave you God’s truth, you just confused it.

I’ve long wondered what God did think of all of the different denominations, some created more by differences of style than of doctrine. Is God pleased with the diversity of worship experiences, or is She really ticked off? What do YOU think?

Shout out to Johann Gutenberg … I see you baby.

0 thoughts on “Reformation Rap QUESTION”

  1. The church and relgion was invented by man. In fact, you could argue that there are as many relgions as there are people on earth since our beliefs all differ to some degree.

    I suppose the real question is why? What is it in our make up that we have to have a faith, whether that is in a relgion, a pop group, a football team or our countless superstitions?

    It is a vital ingredient the success of our species since it gives our lives depth, meaning and continuity. Perhaps more important, it provides a philosophy for living that holds society together.

    I often think of God as a reclusive chairman of the board while the clerics are his/her senior management team with supreme delegated authority!


  2. It seems to me that the analogy this teacher uses lacks the parallelism needed to accurately illuminate the issues of the Reformation. If we are talking about a front man of a band, wouldn’t that be Jesus in relation to the band that is the Church. If so, then this analogy seem off in that the Reformation wasn’t initiated because some authorities decided to remove Jesus from his position as head of the Church. Of course, perhaps the issue regarding the ultimate nature of authority, as in Sola Scriptura, versus the Magisterium, could be seen in this way.

    Using Rock as an illustration of the Reformation, I think it would be better to say that the debate of the Reformation was more akin to a debate about whether Eric Clapton’s talent was best expressed through The Yardbirds, or Cream. The structure being this:

    How is the authority/talent of Jesus/Eric best expressed in the world.

    Having said this, however, I can see problems with this analogy as well. I guess that is the nature of analogies, they can illuminate something on one level, while distorting it on another. So, all of this is just me being a rhetorical geek.

    I will say, however, that my analogy has a real world connection between the analogy and the reality it is trying to illustrate in that Clapton too was proclaimed by many to be God.



    1. Anthony – I think, tho, that your analogy re Clapton is more sound. Then again, I own more Clapton than Van Halen, in several iterations. But where does Blind Faith fit? Or solo Clapton, for that matter, which I feel is somewhat parallel to those folks who decide to worship God one-to-one, without any particular structure.


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