An influential Christian rapper in the U.K. has sparked controversy after announcing that he has "turned away" from Christianity, claiming his eyes were opened to the "controlling dictatorship" and "historic blood trail" of the faith.
"I need not explain myself to anyone but I feel the need to make a quick statement," rapper Jahaziel, 39, wrote in a Dec. 22 Facebook post, Charisma News first reported. "A short while ago I turned away from 20 years as a professing Christian."
He continued, "I had a good job with a church organization, a house provided by the church, a large social circle of likeminded people, a career in gospel music, a worldwide fan base, a respected reputation [and] status within Christian and non-Christian circles."
Despite losing many or all of these things, Jahaziel said that he still has his integrity and explained that while he has learned some "great principles" from Christianity and the Bible, such sentiments aren't "exclusive to any religion."
"I have met many sincere Christians, both church goers and church leaders, and although I have not seen every one of the 40,000 Christian denominations currently in existence I think I have seen enough to personally make a general conclusion regarding Christianity in the broadest sense," Jahaziel said.
The rapper then highlighted the "negatives" that he claims can be found within the faith, including: "its controlling dictatorship, its historic blood trail, it's plagiarized bible stories characters and concepts, the many human errors of the bible and its contradictions, the brutal nature of its God, its involvement in the slave trade, the Crusades, the Inquisition, the witch hunts, it's second class view of women, it's masculinization of God, it's emasculation of men, its financial corruption."
In a separate post on Christmas Eve, the rapper emphasized that his decision to reject Christianity will not be reversed: "You can believe the Bible and its God all you want but to me he just demands my fear because he cannot earn my respect."
Jahaziel's condemnation of the faith starkly contrasts the lyrics found in his hit song, simply titled "Jesus": "See God's grace is the most gracious great gift/God so loved this world that he gave His/ Only son - JESUS! The holy one/Through him we can overcome/Holding on to the faith and erasing fear/I clutch to God's word like I'm changing gear/Earth isn't my home, I'm a stranger here."
In an earlier interview with Cross Rhythms, the rapper expressed his desire to use his talent for the glory of God.
"I was given this gift for a purpose," he said. "God took me from nothing to something and he wanted to do something with this. I would be a sell out to now just take it like it's mine and try and use it for my gain."
Following Jahaziel's announcement, hundreds of fans have taken to his social media pages to encourage the rapper to rethink his decision.
Wrote one fan: "I'm thankful for you.. I have been truly blessed from your music and testimony. I'm praying for you... remember there are a whole lot of versions of love in this world but only one true love and that love is found in Jesus Christ alone my friend. Don't believe all you see because things aren't always what they seem... I do love you and I know my redeemer lives and He loves me and He loves you and He forgives!! I pray He renews right spirit in you and you write many more lyrics for Him from forty feet in the air... God Bless!!"
Added another, "Wow this...reminds me of Satan when he fell from heaven. Who would believe someone like Jahieziel would turn his back on the true gospel. The Bible warns us even in the end times the elite shall be deceived by deceptive spirits. Jahaziel as I brother I still love u (sic) and I pray god will show mercy on you. I pray you will be like the prodigal son and find ur (sic) way home."