“Something About the Name Jesus”
The Rance Allen Group featuring Kirk Franklin.
From the Tyscot LP The Live Experience
Tyscot Records 2004
First of all, don’t get me wrong: I admire and respect the ministries of the Rance Allen Group and Kirk Franklin, and particularly these artists’ musical innovations that took gospel to new heights in the 1970s and 1990s respectively. Both artists have made, and continue to make, compelling gospel music.
What I’m not pleased about is Kirk Franklin’s heartfelt but seemingly inappropriate spoken introduction to the live recorded performance of “Something about the Name Jesus” on the Rance Allen Group’s The Live Experience.
“We’re living in a day and time when being politically correct is popular,” remarks Franklin at the outset of the song. “We’re living in a day and time when everybody says the name God, but nobody wants to say the name Jesus. We don’t want to offend the Muslims, we don’t want to offend the Jews, we don’t want to offend the Arabs, and so therefore we crucify Him of flesh. But I want you to know that there will come a time when every Muslim, when every Buddhist, when every Jew will have to get down on their knees and have to confess that at the name of Jesus, every knee shall bow.”
And right there, Franklin offended. Muslims, Buddhists and Jews have their own deities who are as sacred to them as Jesus is to Christians. Everyone is entitled to believe that he or she will kneel at the feet of his or her own deity on the last day. To suggest that Christians will have the last word smacks of religious haughtiness, and could easily be misinterpreted by some as a “My religion is right and yours is wrong” comment.
I sincerely doubt that this is what Rance Allen and Kirk Franklin had in mind when they produced the recording, because they are both fine men of God and good people, but that is how it can be interpreted. These comments were not necessary for an otherwise fine gospel song.
My point is we have enough misunderstanding and miscommunication between religions at this time in world history. Gospel music, a music based on love and compassion, should not contribute to the confusion. Rather, gospel music should be part of the solution, bringing people of all nations and creeds together instead of polarizing everyone further.