Charlamange tha God is not one to mince words or shy away from asking difficult questions. That’s why “The Breakfast Club,” which he co-hosts with DJ Envy and Angela Yee on Power 105.1, is one of the most listened to morning shows in urban radio. The trio has hosted everyone from Jay-Z to T.D. Jakes and is known for putting guests in the hot seat with tough questions.
The interview with Pastor Carl Lentz was no exception. Lentz, who leads Hillsong Church in New York City, was discussing the chapter “The Lies We Love” in his recent book “Own The Moment” when Charlamange retorted: “The Bible is one of the lies that we love.”
Charlamange went on to suggest that the Bible was written and used as a tool of manipulation and contains irreconcilable stories and dietary laws (i.e. Cain’s wife and the consumption of pork). For fans of Charlamange, these claims were shocking because of his perceived affinity for the scripture: he’s written an article about the impact Jesus would have as a disc jockey, he tweets and discusses biblical doctrine on his twitter feed, frequently quotes bible verses, and he has even read verses of scriptures to guests on his show.
Sadly, however, with millions of people listening, he raises baseless, unsubstantiated claims about the scriptures and displays a lack of understanding of basic biblical doctrine (law and gospel), the African Christians to the Mid-Atlantic slave trade, and easily resolved biblical tensions (Cain’s wife).
It’s disconcerting that a media personality of Charlamange’s influence would wield his influence so recklessly and go so far as to misrepresent the position of theologically conservative Christians. As a host of a widely popular show that discusses poignant issues and challenges the Jason Whitlock and Ray Lewis-es of the world during his Donkey of The Day Segment, Charlamange does a disservice to those who seek to understand the truth.
It’s hard to reconcile that a man of his intellectual prowess could not understand that dietary laws, as well as civil and ceremonial customs in the Pentateuch, find their fulfillment in Christ because he’s achieved the purpose of the Law and the Prophets. In all of his lauding about Jesus, he may not understand that theologically conservative Christians believe that Jesus fulfills the law and brings it to completion through his once-for-all death and sacrifice.
Additionally, while the bible has lamentably been used as a tool of manipulation, not limited just to slaveholders, he displays the colonialism of his thinking. The bible was written by non-Anglo Middle Easterners in a variety of genres and ultimately points to the supremacy of an Aramaic-speaking Palestinian Jew named Jesus. It is not a product of Western Culture and was widely circulated in Africa for centuries before chattel slavery reared its ugly head.
He presupposes like many do, that the first time Africans read the bible was on plantations in the southern states, with slave masters using it as a tool of oppression and manipulation. Charlamagne conveniently overlooks the fact that the bible was preached prevalently in North Africa and East Africa prior to the Arabian conquest, and that news of Jesus’ resurrection had already made inroads into African prior to its expansion into Europe.
So expansive was the Bible’s impact in African countries that Ethiopia became one of the world’s first Christian nations. Frankly, Christianity has been in Africa so long that it could rightfully be considered a traditional African religion. It arrived in Africa prior to Islam and most theologians of the first four centuries were Africans. Pivotal theological achievements occurred in Africa, not Europe. The first time that blacks heard the liberating Gospel of Jesus was not on the plantations of southern states but as free men and women on the vast, expansive continent of Africa.
The question of Cain’s wife is perhaps one of the easiest tensions to resolve in the scriptures. The simple answer is that only three of Adam and Eve’s children were mentioned in the first chapters of Genesis but since Eve is considered “the mother of all living” (Gen. 3:20) she had other children as well (Gen.5:4). Cain presumably married either his sister or niece before intermarrying was outlawed in the book of Leviticus because of biological and ethical issues (Lev. 18:9, 12, 13). Adam and Eve, according to the biblical account, were free from genetic deformities and it only makes sense that after “The Fall” intermarriage would be banned due to the harmful mutations that would have accrued over time.
“The Breakfast Club,” bills itself as the “world most dangerous morning show” and is revered for controversial discussions with high profile guests. Charlamagne should be aware that one of the most dangerous things someone of his stature can do is spread misinformed half-truths out of ignorance or incompetence. While Bible-believing Christians should welcome dialogue about honest, healthy skepticism pertaining to the scriptures, we often end up in unfruitful exchanges when the conversation begins from a standpoint of false, pseudo-intellectualism and hearsay. Ultimately, in a post-truth, Meme-driven era let’s use our platforms to disseminate truth, not misrepresent each other’s worldviews.