by Kristen Farley
This week’s Thursday Night Live opened the stage for Grammy and Dove award nominated rap artist Flame.
With a total of nine albums released, and notable collaborations from artists such as LeCrae, Thi’sl, Mike REAL and NF, this powerhouse theologian came for a time of Q&A in the cornfields of Ohio.
Over the course of the evening, Flame explained how his ministry in hip hop has led him from writing verses as devotionals, to befriending, converting, and touring with the most intimidating of criminals, to incorporating the theological language and concepts of the Trinity into his songs.
Flame’s life, ministry, and his experiences with Christianity in culture were the main points of the Q&A session hosted by Cedarville’s Dr. Dan DeWitt, Flame’s former professor, longtime friend and co-evangelist.
Immersed in the hip-hop culture at a young age, Flame grappled with reconciling the secular culture with Christianity after his conversion.
“When I became a Christian, I was like, ‘Man, can I still listen to the same kind of music?’ You know, that was sort of a thing in youth group,” Flame said. “I was pretty much convinced that I could utilize my talents and my skills to write music to communicate my faith, and kinda create my own soundtrack.”
Flame had no plans to make his music public; he originally wrote verses as a part of his personal devotional. His music only became public when he realized that it could be a tool to reach others with the Gospel.
Flame addressed the need for having intentional discussions about God and religion in the secular music industry. Mainstream artists, such as Drake and Snoop Dogg, have recently released albums with personal religious themes in response to consumer demands for faith-related content.
Flame said the motivation for such faith-based songs is unfortunately, often profit driven, and that is where his ministry comes onto the scene.
“I feel like my role is to come in and piggy-back off of that momentum in a mainstream market and say, ‘Hey, do you wanna have a discussion? Let’s really have it, and really think through what the Bible has to say and how do we apply that to our regular experience,’” Flame said.
Flame incorporated theological themes into his lyricsas an answer to secular music. For example, one artist wrote a song that stated “If God was one of us, He would fail just like us.” Flame answered that with his song, “Godhead” to tackle the topic of Jesus being both fully divine and fully human.
In the pursuit of a better understanding of his own faith and the human condition, Flame has recently completed a master’s of divinity. Flame completed 96 credits in the spare moments between his concerts and global travels.
Supported by his wife, Crystal, who has a doctorate in psychology, Flame said he hopes to complete a doctorate in biblical studies sometime in the near future.
DeWitt asked if Flame would be interested in teaching college courses, specifically in Cedarville, and Flame said yes.
Perhaps Cedarville will experience more of Flame’s rejuvenating energy in the near future.
Kristen Farley is a junior early education major and an Arts and Entertainment writer for Cedars. She enjoys accents, books, coffee, and life in general.