Lenard McKelvey, or Charlamagne tha God, is not one to mince words or shy away from asking difficult questions. That’s why “The Breakfast Club,” which he co-hosts with DJ Envy and Angela Yee, is one of the most popular morning shows in urban radio. The trio has hosted people from Jay-Z to T.D. Jakes and is known for putting guests in the hot seat.
Their interview with Pastor Carl Lentz was no exception. Lentz, who leads Hillsong Church in New York City, was discussing the chapter “The Lies We Love” in his recent book when Charlamagne retorted, “The Bible is one of the lies that we love.”
Charlamagne went on to suggest that the Bible was written and used as a tool of manipulation and contains irreconcilable stories and dietary laws (i.e. Cain’s wife and the consumption of pork). Some fans of Charlamagne would be shocked because of his perceived affinity for the scripture. He’s written an article about the impact Jesus would have as a disc jockey, he tweets and discusses biblical doctrine, frequently quotes bible verses and has even read scripture to guests on his show.
Sadly, however, with millions of people listening, he raises baseless, unsubstantiated claims about the scriptures and displays a lack of understanding of biblical doctrine (law and gospel) and early African Christianity among other things.
While the Bible has lamentably been used as a tool of manipulation, not limited to slaveholders, Charlamagne displays the colonialism of his thinking. The Bible was written by non-Anglo Middle Easterners and ultimately points to the supremacy of an Aramaic-speaking Jew named Jesus. The Bible is not a product of Western Culture and was widely circulated in Africa for centuries before chattel slavery reared its ugly head.
Many presuppose that the first time Africans read the Bible was on plantations in the south, with slave masters using it as a tool of oppression and manipulation. Charlamagne conveniently overlooks the fact that the gospel was preached prevalently in North Africa and East Africa prior to the Arabian conquest. News of Jesus’ resurrection had already penetrated Africa prior to its expansion into Europe.
The Bible’s impact was so expansive in African countries that Ethiopia became one of the world’s first Christian nations. Frankly, Christianity has been in Africa so long that it could rightfully be considered a traditional African religion. It arrived in Africa prior to Islam and most theologians of the first four centuries were Africans.
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SOURCE: The Witness – Ernest Cleo Grant II (@iamernestgrant) is the Lead Pastor of Epiphany Fellowship Church of Camden, a graduate of Reformed Seminary (D.C.), and is currently completing his Doctorate of Education from Stockton University. He and his wife Sarah have been married for almost a decade and have two children, Amaela and Chancellor. He’s an avid reader, a community advocate, and has bylines in The Witness, Christianity Today, The Star-Ledger, Desiring God, and other publications.