Carman

The other side says My response
There are two separate writers that criticize a sketch that appears before the song "You are the One" in the "Radically Saved Video". There is a "nasty" critic and a "nice" critic. I present the "nasty" one first, followed by the "nice". Both allege that that video in question is blasphemy.

Webster's Dictionary defines BLASPHEMY as:

  1. the act of insulting or showing contempt or lack of reverence for God.
  2. irreverence toward something considered sacred.

If Carman's mocking and poking fun at the Lord Jesus Christ is not "lack of reverence for God" --- NOTHING IS!

JOHN: "Hey man, Hey cuz, Whatchoo doin man? I ain't seen you in a long time. HEY, BABY." (John calling Jesus baby!) Jesus turns and says, "Hey, what's up, John?" See, Jesus is always cool; he's always together. He's got his thing together, y' know, then Carman blasphemously imitates the Lord Jesus Christ walking hip-jive doing what Carman calls "THE MESSIAH WALK". UNGODLY! BLASPHEMY! JOHN: "This is wild, brother, now I don't know. Man, I never had anybody in my family MAKE IT BIG . . ." Carman's PERVERTED humor is the lowest BLASPHEMY I've ever heard! And God's people defend this blasphemous trash! I believe in humor and fun as much as anybody BUT NOT AT THE EXPENSE OF THE LORD JESUS CHRIST!

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Webster dictionary defines "blasphemy" as "lack of reverence for God." Blasphemy saturates Christian rock, such as the blasphemous "humor" of Carman Dominic Licciardello, better known as Carman. His blasphemous, street-jive, dialogue between John the Baptist and Jesus Christ as teenagers on his video Live. . . Radically Saved is digusting! Here's a sample of Carman's blasphemy:

In a sketch before the song "Are You the One?" Carman portrays the Lord Jesus Christ and John the Baptist as two dim-witted cousins, scratching their heads and pondering their respective "ministries." Although the Scriptures tell us very little about the childhood days of either Jesus or John, Carman sets out on a make-believe journey to show how they may have acted.

Jesus is portrayed as a proud young man with His "Messiah-type walk" which Carman demonstrates to his delighted, cheering audience. Carman then goes on to describe the beginning of John's ministry;

" ... They grow up and go their separate ways, and one day John comes back on the scene dressed in camel hair, eating bugs. You know, little locusts, grasshoppers, y'know, cockroaches ..." (Carman does a little dance step here, snickering, 'La Cucarocha, La Cucarocha...")

Carman continues this tasteless mockery of a man the Lord had great respect for (Matthew 11:11) by portraying John as a power hungry fool who wanted to build a big church and name it after himself -- Baptist Church!

According to Carman, when John's disciples were seeking confirmation that Jesus is indeed the Christ, they said, " ... You know. your CRAZY COUSIN, John the jailbird, you know that eats bugs and stuff".

What a difference between how Carman describes a nit-wit, crazy, John the Baptist and what the Lord Jesus Christ says of John in Matthew 11:11, "Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist:. . ."

No matter how sincere Carman is in his lyrics and in what he says he wants to do for the Lord, no excuse can be given for the above-mentioned sketch. Laughing at ourselves and enjoying one another's fellowship is one thing, but to poke fun at the very God of Glory and John the Baptist to get your laughs is nothing short of BLASPHEMY!!

OK - enough already - we get the idea of your argument (talk about overstatement)

Let's get one thing straight right now: I DO NOT CARE WHAT A SECULAR DEFINITION OF BLASPHEMY IS! The only definition I care about is in the Word of God :

Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven men, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall not be forgiven. And whoever shall speak a word against the Son of Man, it shall be forgiven him; but whoever shall speak against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, either in this age, or in the age to come.

Red letters because it comes from the mouth of Jesus, Himself!

I have heard many sermons on this subject - the unforgivable sin. Some of them try to redefine blasphemy as rejection of the Holy Spirit, to explain why a loving God could send people to Hell (the truth is they choose to go there). Other try to tie it in with the anti-christ, saying blasphemy is saying that you are the Christ or the "Holy spirit"! Other people try to tie it to profanity. I prefer to interpret the Bible, especially when it comes from the mouth of Jesus: "It says what it means and means what it says". Carman has not spoken against the Holy Spirit, or against the Son of Man for that matter! Carman has not committed blasphemy. Incidentally, what is definition #2 that you conveniently left out???? Could it possibly be the Biblical definition that contradicts you? I feel sorry for you when you can't even open a concordance to get a definition of a Biblical term - you prefer to got to Websters for Biblical definitions? SAD!

No, I am not going to completely let Carman off the hook for this one. This video is an attempt to tell the ressurection story in a contemporary setting, which can be a quite effective tool in presenting the gospel message to unsaved people who might not understand the events in an ancient setting, or might think of them as impossibly removed and irrelevant. There have been several contemporary re-tellings of the crucifiction story, even some by Billy Graham films. I assume from your comments that you regard any contemporary treatment of the crucifiction as blaspehmous, but I think you are mistaking "poor taste" for "blasphemy". From your description, I doubt I would enjoy the video you described, probably agreeing with you that it was in poor taste. I definitely would not use it to minister to youth in a Sunday school environment. But does that make Carman guilty of scriptural blasphemy? NO!!!!

The other side says My response
Carman's Resurrection Rap video is some of the lowest BLASPHEMY I've ever seen! In the video, Carman portrays the Lord Jesus Christ as a confused street hippie, while the pharisees and apostles are black street gang members! The crucifixion takes place, not on Calvary but in a back alley gang fight! The Lord Jesus Christ is buried in a GARBAGE DUMPSTER. And naturally Carman includes the occult (Carman's videos are soaked in occult imagery!) as satanic tarot cards tell the Calvary story!

Carman takes this belittlement of Christ's wonderful plan of Salvation one stage further in the video "Revival in the Land". In the song "Resurrection Rap" Jesus is portrayed as a gang leader who is "crucified" on a pole and then stabbed with a knife. His lifeless body is then thrown into a garbage dumpster which blazes with light as Jesus is resurrected three days later!

My comments above also apply to this example, but I personally have less objection to it than I do the first. I remind the critics that Golgotha WAS a GARBAGE DUMP, and there was a GANG MENTALITY that seized the Jews (gives us Barabbas!). Jesus side was pierced by a sword. Jesus was not crucified on what we think of as a "cross", historically he was more likely to have only carried the crossbar to a stationary POLE, so this contemporary re-telling is not as objectionable to me. The tarot card imagery is disturbing, however. I believe it is a mistake to use satanic imagery to present the gospel. Does that invalidate Carman's ministry and even his salvation? Of course not!
The other side says My response

Carman's video, Witch's Invitation, is drenched in satanic symbols. Pentagrams (a five pointed star, found on the cover of the satanic Bible) and the satanic salute (index and pinky finger displayed, also found on the back of the satanic Bible) are flaunted in the video.

Here is another example of how the Christian rock critics do not even bother to listen to the song! Know your material, guys!!! "Witches Invitation" is the story of a man of God who is invited to a satanist's house. At first in conflict whether to even go, he quickly realizes this is an opportunity to witness. When in the satanist's house, he sees all manner of occult images - hence the imagery in the video. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, he is able to give Biblical answers to a serious question the occultist asks him - "How is your God greater than Satan" Sadly, the occultist is not converted, but the song is a powerful testimony about how the Holy Spirit can recall scripture to memory to combat Satan's lies. It is a very positive song, with a powerful message. I am attempting to find a copy of the lyrics to reproduce here, but until I find one the description above will have to do.
The other side says My response
Shout! magazine (December 1995, p.35) says of Carman," ...just the mention of his name brings excitement to throngs of fans, many of whom are women. " According to Shout!, Carman recently signed with secular record company, Liberty Records, for a mid-seven figure bonus folks that's around 5 million dollars! Oh, of course, Carman's doing it because he loves the Lord... And that ol' PHARISEE HYPOCRITE Carman ridicules other Crock stars for charging at their concerts in Shout! and he signs with a secular company for a mid-seven figure bonus to spew out his BLASPHEMY! Boy! You talk about the pot calling the kettle black! As above - Carman is NOT GUILTY of blaspehemy! Give it a rest - and I think you better beware of false testimony, particularly against a brother in Christ. Don't the ten commandments mean anything to you? You knew good and well what the Biblical definition of blasphemy was, but you persist in spreading this lie about Carman. REPENT NOW - in the name of JESUS! That means altering your material on the web and recalling copies you have in print, friend! And a very public retraction!

Being balanced, here - there is nothing wrong with Carman being paid for his performances. He is tremendously talented and that talent commands the salary. However, he should not criticize other people for making money as well. That was an unfortunate mistake.

Before you accuse Carman of being a greedy money grubbing hypocrite, consider this: The Lord directed Carman to perform a free concert on the beach at Daytona during spring break, when the beach would be crowded with college students. He obeyed the call without hesitation, and performed free of charge, exposing his concert equipment to deterioration by salt spray, and almost having his expensive touring bus caught on the beach at high tide and flooded. I was walking down the beach after the concert as his bus drove by, with water lapping around the wheels! That single performance could very well have cost him close to the 5 million dollars you are accusing him of making - and I am not exaggerating. A few months after that performance, a magnitude 4.3 earthquake off the Florida coast sent a 15 foot tidal wave into Daytona Beach, inundating the very spot where Carman had performed.

The other side says My response
Carman ends the video by reducing the wonderful act of redemption of all the saints of God to the level of a boxing match. With "Rocky" type music playing in the background and God the Father as referee, Jesus and Satan battle it out to see who will be the "Champion". Such a charade only serves to belittle the sufferings of the Lord Jesus on the Cross to save His people from their sins.

It to sad that someone who writes the lyrics to such songs as "Oh The Blood of Jesus" or "No Way, We Are Not Ashamed" would put his Lord and Saviour to an open shame by portraying Him in such an irreverent manner, Though he has been challenged about these matters, Carman has remained unrepentant of his actions and has decided to continue on his perilous way (II Tim 3:1,2 & 9).

"The Champion" is one in a string of contemporary re-tellings of the gospel story by Carman. Other setting have included an old west shootout, and an imaginary telephone exchange between Satan and the "Grave" (one of his demons) after the crucifiction and before the ressurection. I am certain Carman does not intend disrespect by these imaginitive exchanges - I find them quite amusing and they are enormously popular among young people. Far from trivializing the things of the gospel, it gets people to think of the Biblical events in new, creative ways. I wonder if Carman's critics are guilty of trivializing the crucifiction story to their little children by filling the commemoration of the crucifiction and ressurrection by images of bunnies and eggs from Babylonian occultism? Of course you don't tell little children the gruesome truth, you give them something they can relate to - like scriptures in the eggs. If you do that for little kids, why not give teenagers a different version as well, one they can relate to?

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