Floyd’s Cross Church Does the Harlem Shake

At a special weekend apparently and ironically themed “The Glory of God,”, youth at Cross Church do the “Harlem Shake.” The church, then, posted the video on their YouTube channel.

In case pop-culture is not your thing, the Harlem Shake is a dance popularized by a musical artist (I use that word loosely) named “G.Dep” (standing for “Ghetto Dependent”). Mr. Ghetto Dependent, who in 2010 turned himself in for a murder committed in 1993, used the dance in a video/song entitled Let’s Get It. The song lyrics, in case you are curious, are as follows:

Really, Get smacked silly, you get smacked silly
[expletive] with these [ethnic slur] from the, what you gonna do
When you ready, [expletive] I was born ready,
And I was all ready on fish and spaghetti
Creep with the culture, rap I can coach ya, attack like a vulture
If I said I get cha, wearing it I’ll fit ya, y’all thirteen inches
I see the big picture, if it’s to get richer, I’d probably get wit ya
If not burn it, get hot like a furnace
Shoot the video [expletive] city permits
We own the city, on the phone with Diddy (* Phone Sounds*)
Red bone pretty, when she get aroused like to [slew of expletives]
Put it in the video, ya wanna holla got to follow [ethnic slur] here we go
Get you ticket, the train, don’t miss it,
Won’t reach out, and ya bet I won’t visit
Till my whole wardrobe is-it listen

Other musical artists have also helped to popularize Ghetto Dependent’s Harlem Shake dance sensation, including the profanely named CunninLynguists, Mac Dre, and alleged sexual criminal, Nelly. But hey, at least it’s not Chingy, whose profane music Cross Church’s student pastor was recently seen dancing to as a part of their youth ministry program.

A number of Mega-churches (Celebration Church in Jacksonville, Florida, Champions Center in Riverside, California, and Destiny World Outreach Center in Kileen, Texas) have done Harlem Shake renditions as a part of a never-ending display of their love affair with pop-culture (no doubt as an attempt, they would claim, to “engage the world for Christ”). The Christian News Service has even published an article on the bizarre craze, with one evangelical pastor telling the news service, “It would seem that these institutions are in full sync with this culture rather than a witness to the lost.”

Although church organizers of such church-wide or youth group dance videos claim that it’s “just a fun element in our services to help reach people for Christ,” many view it similarly to NCFIC director, Scott Brown. Brown writes…

“It shows the world the kind of bankruptcy that exists in modern youth ministries. The church has long suffered under the weight of the creation of youth culture. This craze is just one expression of how destructive and defiling it is to do so.”

Not too terribly long ago, a video began to surface of U.S. Air Force personnel doing a Harlem Shake rendition at an air traffic control tower at Edwards Air Force Base. The Air Force was not very pleased with the unprofessional and degrading behavior of their Airmen. In a “string of emails” obtained via the Freedom of Information Act by Jason Smathers (yes, that Jason Smathers) and released on his website,  the U.S. government felt that Harlem Shake videos were inappropriate, undignified and discrediting…

Many of these videos contain questionable behavior and dress by people participating in them. As a reminder, regardless of the method of communication used, Air Force standards must be observed at all times, both on and off-duty. Airmen must avoid offensive and/or inappropriate behavior on social networking platforms and through other forms of communication that could bring discredit upon the Air Force or Airmen…

The Air Force clearly felt that there was a modicum of honor and dignity to be upheld by those serving in functions as important as the military. They also felt that behaving in such a juvenile and sophomoric fashion was dishonorable to their service.

If only some of today’s evangelicals could agree that Christians have similar standards… Ladies and Gentlemen, welcome to Ronnie Floyd’s Cross Church.

Keep in mind, in the last few days we’ve seen the student pastor and girlfriend dancing to x-rated lyrics as youth looked on, the pastrix of Girl’s and Women’s Ministries (and others) dance in a less-than-modest hoedown on the church campus, the son of Education Pastor and President of Floyd’s School of Ministry describe all criticism as “sinful” and “legalist garbage” and opine that the Bible has “nothing to say” about what kind of music or dancing we are to enjoy and now, a youth-group wide Harlem Shake rendition.

I think we’re starting to see a theme, here. If only we could invent a confetti cannon that shoots godliness…

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22 Responses

  1. Tyler C says:

    Interesting…in my last youth group I helped with regularly we went through a chapter by chapter exegesis of Romans…But maybe we’re old fashion…

  2. Yea, or a confetti cannon to blast this whole bizarre and ungodly mess into outer space. Wow! This looks exactly like the world and the sad thing is they see nothing wrong with all this stuff… Leaders and all. You know it may not be a lack of discernment as much as the inability to discern because some are unregenerate.

  3. SLIMJIM says:

    What a world we live in…the church has it backwards

  4. Born4Battle says:

    Isn’t bring the overtly profane into the church a ‘natural’ extension of having welcomed other ‘milder’ accoutrements of the world into the church? And isn’t it all connected to having denied the sovereignty of God in the salvation of men? Give them the ‘world’ they love and they will like us. Give them a Jesus they (the world) will love and a lot of them will make a ‘decision’ for the Jesus they now think is cool. It’s either that scenario or give them the ‘world’ they love and then the Jesus of the Bible, in which case they will spot the ‘con’ (bait & switch).

  5. Barry says:

    Doing a silly dance every now and then wouldn’t be such a problem to me if this sort of thing were the exception rather than the norm. This is unfortunately another sad picture of how the contemporary evangelical megachurch movement has dumbed down Christianity and dressed it up in a trendy cultural costume. Megachurches are all about selling a product to the masses, and this junk is what they’ve calculated the masses want. They’ve calculated that they can get a lot more kids in the door if instead of Bible study and serious Christian training, they have dances and confetti cannons and arcades. And as we know it’s not just the kids that they peddle this fluff to. No, there’s plenty of fun for the adults, too – coffee shops, gyms, hobby classes, you name it.

    There’s nothing hip or trendy about the Cross. It doesn’t have to be sold, and those who are truly seeking it will be irresistibly attracted to it. And they will find it somewhere that it is not obscured by all of this nonsense.

  6. JD Hall says:

    Yeah, good comment. I shared that one in the Pulpit Bunker.

  7. j says:

    Aren’t these the young adults who were raised watching Veggie Tales? (I always wondered why evangelicals were excited about having a vegetable for a mascot. “Vegetative state” and all? Never mind.) Bright, cute, catchy, that’s the key!

    That and Focus on the Family’s Adventures in Odyssey. IOW, life, and especially Christianity is meant to be F-U-N!!!!!! If it isn’t fun, and it isn’t over- the- top exciting and dramatic, then it’s boring. And who wants to be boring?

    The thing is, it’s not the sheep, but the leaders who are the real culprits here. Their fathers have lied to them. They have told them in deed, if not word that you can have this world, and Jesus Christ. Just add Him to your already full, FUN! life. Never mind Psalm 1.

    I remember a story from Amy Carmichael’s biography. She grew up in a staunch Presbyterian home. Their church had two families with small children and the rest of the congregation were elderly. At church, Amy and her siblings sat that on hard bench and were not allowed to talk or to squirm or to sleep during the church service. The other family’s children sat and ate peppermints throughout the service, which Amy’s parents did not approve of for their own children. Yet what did it produce in Amy Carmichael? Besides her God given faith, she was a strong, courageous woman who was a missionary to India for nearly 50 years.

  8. sbts anonymous says:

    JD, here’s a sincere, unloaded question about the nature of the P&P Program. I’ve listened to you on and off for about a year now, so you may have addressed this somewhere else.

    First, it seems that most of the initial, more level-headed objections of those caught in Downgrade situations seems to go something along the lines of “Who are you to judge?” or “Why don’t address this person in private?” a la some bad application of Matthew 18. I agree public sin needs to be addressed in a public forum, but it’s certainly a handicap for the first impression of the congregants of Cross Church towards JD Hall to be that one of, “the mean Reformed blogger guy who picks on my pastor/church.” Fair or not, this seems to me to be a typical dynamic that emerges in Downgrade segments and comments.

    Additionally, this issue seems to explain the polarizing effect of P&P. Many people encourage you in your endeavors and you have an extensive and loyal Pulpiteer network precisely because no one else with do this business. On the other hand, many people despise P&P because of the reasons above (it’s unofficial, not JD’s business, etc).

    That fact leads to my second point, acknowledging that there is not an SBC entity that represents a form of direct ecclesiological accountability for churches and institutions. Obviously this is a big problem and a gaping hole. I agree that the “Good Ol’ Boy Network” exists and runs with amazing efficiency – but I would love for it to topple. However, I don’t understand how this could be accomplished without infiltrating the entities themselves and reforming from the inside (a nearly impossible prospect, anyone in power must compromise to maintain it).

    Finally, given your commitment to congregational polity and Calvinistic anthropology, I think the following dilemma appears:

    A. SBC leaders (as humans) are sinful
    B. sin inclines SBC leaders towards Downgrade
    C. accountability is necessary to limit the damage of B
    D. SBC congregationalism attempts to achieve C via parishioners (which is inherently and severely limited)
    E. SBC congregationalism forbids direct accountability from SBC entities (functionally or formally)

    Conclusion: It appears that P&P is functioning D without any formal recognition, which entails the problems mentioned above. So on my estimation, it appears that there is not a viable solution for Downgrade in the SBC (unless perhaps E was overturned, at which point we fail to remain Baptists).

    Is there a world in which the P&P will not have Downgrade segments as regularly? What would that look like? What would have to be in place? Thanks!

    • JD Hall says:

      I was going to respond to this when I sat down at the computer this evening. Now, after reading it, I see that I have some contemplation to do first. Thanks for giving me things to think about. Grace and Peace, brother.

      • rhology says:

        many people despise P&P because of the reasons above (it’s unofficial

        Of all the reasons there may be to dislike P&P, “it’s not officially recognised by SBC” or any variation thereof is probably the very worst.

        I don’t understand how this could be accomplished without infiltrating the entities themselves and reforming from the inside

        Revival would topple it. People calling the churches and the good ol’ boys inside them to repentance and refusing to leave until godliness is brought in/back. Or, at minimum, people leaving those churches and voting with their feet/butts/wallets. I favor the former, however.

        D. SBC congregationalism attempts to achieve C via parishioners (which is inherently and severely limited)

        Such can also be achieved through peers.
        But really, people choose the kinds of churches they’re going to attend. It’s not like Floyd forces people to love confetti cannons and idiocy. People who love confetti cannons and idiocy are attracted to his church. So the answer is, again, revival.

        E. SBC congregationalism forbids direct accountability from SBC entities (functionally or formally)

        But not from peers or the congregations themselves.
        Some of my thoughts.

      • sbts anonymous says:

        No problem JD! Grace and peace to you as well.

        A follow up to rhology (no reply button next to his name yet), who brought up very good points. I think we can all agree that revival is the best-case scenario that we should all strive and pray for. These are just thoughts about our course of action in the meantime. I also agree with peer accountability, but what is the best method of execution? P&P?

        As for this quote….
        “But really, people choose the kinds of churches they’re going to attend. It’s not like Floyd forces people to love confetti cannons and idiocy. People who love confetti cannons and idiocy are attracted to his church.”

        There was a time in my life where I would’ve likely been suckered as a teenager into a church like this and I praise God for his grace by way of granting discernment and maturity since that point. However, if P&P is going to function in a discernment/accountability role, then you hit a snag with the handicap mentioned above – ” JD Hall may be right, but why does he hate my church?” – I can imagine those sentiments being voiced at Cross Church. It is a doozie. In this example, the parishioner’s first impression with substantive critique and good theology is primarily negative and therefore has dampening effect on the whole enterprise.

        I may be an anomaly, but I’m just not very comfortable in resigning Southern Baptists to the fate of their own discretion. Alas, that may be the congregationalist dilemma.

        Thanks for the feedback!

      • rhology says:

        I also agree with peer accountability, but what is the best method of execution? P&P?

        P&P is one way. So is a podcast/Sermon Audio show. So is http://www.churchrepent.com

        ”JD Hall may be right, but why does he hate my church?” – I can imagine those sentiments being voiced at Cross Church.

        That sentiment is 100000000% wrongheaded. We are to point out egregious sin because WE LOVE THEM and we want them to be pure and holy.
        http://108.179.242.230/~t3n6o1m4/2014/03/07/sin-detector-part-1/
        http://108.179.242.230/~t3n6o1m4/2014/03/09/sin-detector-part-2/

        In this example, the parishioner’s first impression with substantive critique and good theology is primarily negative and therefore has dampening effect on the whole enterprise.

        It shows how Downgrade has a self-insulating effect. It is able to fight back against vaccines and sometimes overcome them.

        I’m just not very comfortable in resigning Southern Baptists to the fate of their own discretion.

        That’s what accountability is for. What would another alternative be? A Magisterium?

  9. James Howell says:

    I went to high school with mr. Chad reeves. He is 36 yrs old and definitely should know better!!!

  10. Becky says:

    May 26, 2014 radio broadcast left me grieving for the church. I listen to Chris rosebrough too and I need up w/tears in my eyes. Praise the Lord for your ministry in Jesus Christ. You and Mr. Rosebrough.

  11. j says:

    Becky, me too, but you know what? Let us not grieve for the true church – the church universal – the true Body of Christ. Jesus Christ has promised that the gates of hell will not prevail against His true church. For one thing, they will come out of the false teaching. The true Christian will not follow a stranger, but only Jesus Christ his true Shepherd (see John 10). At some point, the true Christian is going to say ‘this is not the voice of the true Shepherd, Jesus Christ.’ Let us who truly believe and hear His voice (the Word of God) continue to follow Him with sincerity and love.

    These churches that do not teach the truth, or whose lives are not in accordance with the truth are grievous because they make the world think that this is Christianity when it is not. These we do grieve. But is this not also God’s judgment? And God’s way to purify a people for Himself? For He has a way of revealing the truth to those who are believers, but the others are left to go on in their error.

    If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 1 John 1:6

  12. Shauna Bryant says:

    My in laws are Presbyterian and they told us that back in the 60’s (or 70′, I forgot which) their denomination (UPCUSA) was going through much upheaval (it was very liberal by then). As people who had something to do with the regional board (I may be using terms incorrectly-I am not a Presby so I don’t know exactly how it is structured up nationally) they kept fighting for the conservative stance/doctrines to remain intact. As people/churches left & stopped ‘contending’ (as they saw it) they were discouraged that they felt so alone in this battle. After talking to some people who had left they were asking them why not stay and reform from within to overcome? I remember my FIL saying that one man said to him “You know Bob, I believe that God is judging these churches and I just believe it’s time to stand back and let that take place, to stop fighting what I see as Gods work in this.” So they left and became part of the PCA. I know with God anything is possible – but we need to be on alert for when God is judging something – letting them to themselves in other words. Now our Reformed Baptist church is not part of the SBC, so I don’t have a ‘dog in this fight’…but I must say, if our church had been part of the SBC, we’d have left already. I know the structure analogy isn’t the same with what went on on the Presby side to what the SBC is to Baptists…but I think the principle is.

  1. May 27, 2014

    […] Floyd’s Cross Church Does the Harlem Shake – At a special weekend apparently and ironically themed “The Glory of God,”, youth at Cross Church do the “Harlem Shake.” The church, then, posted the video on their YouTube channel.  In case pop-culture is not your thing, the Harlem Shake is a dance popularized by a musical artist (I use that word loosely) named “G.Dep” (standing for “Ghetto Dependent”). Mr. Ghetto Dependent, who in 2010 turned himself in for a murder committed in 1993, used the dance in a video/song entitled Let’s Get It. The song lyrics, in case you are curious, are as follows… […]

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