Kendrick Lamar: Churches Need to Preach God's Judgment, Not Just Hope
Kendrick Lamar wants to showcase a side of God that he hasn't seen in church, one that focuses less on the blessings of God and more on God's wrath.
Lamar, the 29-year-old rapper whose fourth studio album Damn is sitting atop Billboard charts, believes the churches that only focus on the idea of hope are one-sided.
"I went to a local church some time ago, and it appalled me that the same program was in practice. A program that I seen as a kid the few times I was in service," Lamar wrote in an email to Hip Hop website DJ Booth. "Praise, dance. Worship. (Which is beautiful.) Pastor spewing the idea of someone's season is approaching. The idea of hope."
However, Lamar said he felt a sense of emptiness when he heard these types of sermons as a child. Now that the Grammy award-winning rapper based out of Compton, California, has been studying his faith for himself, he revealed why he was leaving churches feeling "spiritually unsatisfied as a child."
The rapper said he discovered a "simple truth" that while God is loving and merciful, He is also a jealous God of "discipline and obedience."
"... For every conscious choice of sin, will be corrected through his discipline. Whether physical or mental. Direct or indirect," he said. "Through your sufferings, or someone that's close to [kin]. It will be corrected."
Lamar suggested that a lot of churches don't speak enough about this "hard truth" because it might turn people off.
"As a community, we was taught to pray for our mishaps, and he'll forgive you. Yes, this is true. But he will also reprimand us as well. As a child, I can't recall hearing this in service. Maybe leaders of the church knew it will run off churchgoers?" he said.
"We want to hear about hope, salvation, and redemption. Though His son died for our sins, our free will to make whatever choice we want, still allows Him to judge us. So in conclusion, I feel it's my calling to share the joy of God, but with exclamation, more so, the FEAR OF GOD... Knowing the power in what He can build, and also what He can destroy."
While the rapper said he loves when people sing about what makes God happy, the fear of God made Lamar take his relationship with God more seriously.
"Personally, once that idea of real fear registered in my mind, it made me try harder at choosing my battles wisely which will forever be tough, because I'm still of flesh," he wrote. "I wanna spread this truth to my listeners. It's a journey, but it will be my key to the Kingdom and theirs as well."
In a previous interview with Complex, Lamar said he believes God gave him his platform for a greater purpose.
"I got a greater purpose," Lamar said. "God put something in my heart to get across and that's what I'm going to focus on, using my voice as an instrument and doing what needs to be done."