Guarding Against Racing Hearts

Are you aware that right now a rap song  has prominent pastors and theologians discussing it?  Only in the age of the Internet!

The song is Precious Puritans, in which African-American artist Propaganda, a self-described new Calvinistic Christian, describes what it feels like when pastors quote the Puritans to him.  In this haunting and hard-hitting song, in part he says this about the Puritans:

Pastor, you know it’s hard for me when you quote puritans.
Oh the precious puritans.
Have you not noticed our facial expressions?
One of bewilderment and heart break.
Like, not you too pastor.

You know they were the chaplains on slaves ships, right?
Would you quote Columbus to Cherokees?
Would you quote Cortez to Aztecs?
Even If they theology was good?
It just sings of your blind privilege wouldn’t you agree?
Your precious puritans.

You can hear the full song in the video below.

My point in posting about this and providing the links below is not to discuss it myself or just join the chorus in the blogosphere.  Rather, I wanted to make others aware of the discussion.  I found reading these articles quite illuminating.  However, I will offer one caution.  As the godly men demonstrate below with their varying views, we still have a long way to go in our land in understanding the psyche of those from other people groups and living out the broken down barriers Christ has provided to us.  So in seeking to understand one another, let’s keep working hard to exercise love and patience by not letting our hearts “race” in any form.  For as Propaganda says of himself, the Puritans, and all of us at the end of his song, “God really does use crooked sticks to make straight lines.”


Thabiti Anyabwile – “The Puritans Are Not That Precious”

Anthony Bradley – “Puritans and Propaganda”

Joel Beeke – “Propaganda: Giving the Puritans a Bad Rap” (Be sure to read Bradley’s response in the comment section)

Owen Strachan – “Reflecting on Propaganda’s Fiery ‘Precious Puritans’ Rap Song”

Joe Thorn – “Precious Puritans (Pt. 1)” (contains an informative interview with Richard Bailey who wrote Race and Redemption in Puritan New England) and “Precious Puritans (Pt. 2)” (contains an interview with Propaganda himself)


  1. Ponch October 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm #

    So, we can’t quote anyone from the era during which slavery was practiced in America then? Is that it? Everyone who ever lived during that time is guilty by association I suppose.

    • Barry York October 26, 2012 at 2:42 pm #

      That’s why I gave my caution and gave links to different viewpoints, so people can sort through the issues raised. In fairness, though it can sound like the singer is drawing that conclusion, he seems to be more cautioning against idolizing fallen men by using the technique of hyperbole that rap often is.

  2. Jake Terpstra October 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

    Thanks for the caution Pastor York! I know Will Pinson and I were both a little disconcerted by the song itself. But your point is really helpful that we need to seek love in Christ and not blindly defend.

    • Barry York October 29, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

      Glad it was helpful, Jake. Both the song and other blogs are thought-provoking.

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