A Christian rapper recently released a song that calls out prosperity gospel teachers by name, including Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyer, T.D. Jakes, Benny Hinn, Creflo Dollar 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. (They're wolves),” Shai Linne raps in the song “Fal$e Teacher$” before referencing Matthew 7:16.
The song—from Linne's album Lyrical Theology Part 1: Theology, which released April 9—has caused buzz among Christian bloggers, especially with the song's naming of 12 pastors, each name followed by “is a false teacher!”
The rapper explains in a video posted by his record company, Lamp Mode Recordings, that he wrote the song to address an issue in the American church that is now spreading overseas—not to cause controversy. He said he addressed the issue in “Faulty Doctrine,” a 2003 song with fellow rapper Timothy Brindle, and he wanted to write another song as the movement has grown—especially in African countries 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.'”
The rapper realizes that many true believers follow these preachers, so he took care in his approach, while also aiming to speak the truth about men and women he believes are preaching a false gospel. He knew his lyrics would make some people upset but said, “God forbid that for the love of some fans, I keep quiet and watch them die with their blood on my hands.”
In the video interview, Linne said he listened to recent teachings from the pastors he mentioned in the song while he prepared to write it and found a pattern: The preachers would reference a Bible passage and speak about the good things God wants for His people, which “always centered on self as though God existed for us, not the other way around,” he noticed. They would then get the crowd worked up and ask them to donate money, claiming that God would multiply their giving by “sowing this seed.”
He raps: “Do you wanna know what all false teachers have in common? It's called selfism, the fastest growing religion; they just dress it up and call it 'Christian.'”
His full list of false teachers calls out Osteen, Meyer, Jakes, Dollar, Hinn, Paula White, Fred Price, Kenneth Copland, Robert Tilton, Eddie Long, Juanita Bynum and Paul Crouch.
“Jesus is not a means to an end,” he says in the song. “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.”