Appearing in a video on the desiringGod website, Trip Lee – rapper, author and preacher – shares how he started believing in the doctrines of grace or the Reformed theology before he had even heard about Calvinism, the knowledge of which merely helped him "fine-tune" his beliefs.
"My journey to believing in the doctrines of grace is kind of interesting," Lee, a pastor-in-training in Washington, D.C., says in the two-minute video, and explains that he cannot pinpoint when exactly he began to believe in the Reformed theology.
"It wasn't like, as I began to study the Bible, I saw such different things in it, and then there was one day when I read this book where everything changed," he says. "When I trusted Jesus when I was 14 years old, the Lord gave me this crazy desire to know Him and His word, so I'd go to His word and I'd be reading and I'd be trying to understand, I'd be bothering my youth pastor" and others.
"One of the things that I just kind of became very enthusiastic about, and wanted to learn more about it, is how God saves," the 27-year-old pastor adds.
"It was always very clear to me that God was sovereign in salvation," Lee goes on to say, referring to Ephesians 1, which talks about God choosing us way even before Creation, and Romans 8, which talks about God justifying and glorifying and sanctifying as a sovereign God.
Lee then shares that when he started to hear about what the Reformed theology and the doctrines of grace and Calvinism was all about, it only helped him "fine-tune" some of the things that he had already seen in the Scriptures.
He gave an example, saying he initially didn't see a connection between total depravity and unconditional election, but began to see it after reading stuff and hearing preaching.
"My journey was very organic journey," he concludes.
Born William Lee Barefield III and rapping since his early teens, Lee startled fans in 2012 when he shared that he would be taking a break from the music scene after dropping The Good Life album and book, to focus on pastoral ministry. As Lee had to later explain, taking a break did not equal retirement and his pursuits would remain ministry, music, and writing books. His passion for hip-hop and burden for Christian ministry, both strong, are not necessarily at odds, though Lee earlier told The Christian Post that it can be difficult managing both vocations.
"I haven't thought about it that much actually, partly because I've seen how hard it is to try to be a pastor and a rapper," he told CP in an earlier interview. "I think it's really hard to try to make that work. I'm still trying to figure out how to make that work. When I meet pastors, I'm not like, 'Hey, you should go out there and be a rapper.' Because for so many of us, I think it would just pull us away from our congregations too much to be able to serve them like we should."