Christian rapper Shai Linne of Lamp Mode Recordings released a song Friday that calls out prosperity gospel preachers by name, including Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, and the entire Trinity Broadcasting Network.
“I ain’t really trying to start beef, but some who claim to be part of his sheep got some sharp teeth,” he raps in “Fal$e Teacher$” (play below) before pointing to Matthew 7:16.
The song is on Linne’s upcoming album Lyrical Theology Part 1, and has riled up the Christian blogosphere, especially as the song names 12 pastors followed by “is a false teacher!” to a catchy beat.
In a video on Lamp Mode’s YouTube channel (see below), Linne explained he didn’t write the song to cause controversy, but to address an issue in the American church now spreading overseas. He said he addressed the issue with fellow rapper Timothy Brindle in a 2003 song called “Faulty Doctrine” and wanted to write another song as the movement has grown, especially in African countries like Malawi, Ghana, Nigeria, Kenya, and Zimbabwe.
“You have these rallies where literally over 100,000 people will come to hear these guys talk about prosperity,” Linne told Wade-O Radio. “The people who are coming are impoverished like crazy and they’re buying into it thinking that this false theology is going to be their way out of poverty. They figure, ‘Hey, it must work because it’s working for these guys in America.’”
Linne said he tried to be careful in his approach, as he realized many true believers follow these preachers, but at the same time, he wanted to speak the truth about men and women who are preaching a false gospel. He recognized that people would be upset with his lyrics of the song, but “God forbid that for the love of some fans, I keep quiet and watch them die with their blood on my hands.”
He calls out preachers who claim faith is an avenue to wealth, “treating Jesus like a lottery ticket,” and speak only of the blessings, rather than the need to suffer. He also raps that even if some of the things they preach are true “they’re only proof that Satan comes as an angel of light.”
Linne said in the video interview that while preparing to write the song, he listened to recent teachings from the pastors mentioned and found a pattern: The preachers would reference a bible passage, speak about the good things God wants for His people, which he noticed “always centered on self as though God existed for us, not the other way around.” Then they would work up the crowd to an emotional frenzy and ask them to donate money, claiming that by “sowing this seed” God would multiply their giving.
“Do you wanna know what all false teachers have in common? It’s called self-ism, the fastest growing religion / They just dress it up and call it Christian,” he raps in the song.
John Piper, who the Houston Chronicle calls “every reformed rapper’s favorite pastor,” tweeted a link to Linne’s video and wrote “My, my, Shai, this is good.”
Linne’s full false teacher list includes Osteen, Meyer, Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Benny Hinn, Paula White, Fred Price, Kenneth Copland, Robert Tilton, Eddie Long, Juanita Bynum, and Paul Crouch.
The song is summed up in this line: “Jesus is not a means to an end, the Gospel is He came to redeem us from sin / And that is the message forever I’ll yell / If you’re living your best life now, you’re heading for hell.”