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Published on Jul 9, 2010
Dr. Robert Gagnon of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary performs "A Romans Rap," a rap version of Paul's Letter to the Romans on May 19, 2010. The rap was written and performed by Dr. Gagnon for an End of the Year Awards show put on by students at PTS just before finals week in order to alleviate tension with comic performances and build community. Dr. Gagnon was approached to do a rap since the previous year he had done a short rap called "Luvination" (a combination of "love" and "predestination") for a spoof entitled "Calvin Does Casablanca" (with Calvin advising the Humphrey Bogart character in the final memorable scene with the Ingrid Bergman character). The mode of the Romans rap was intended to be humorous but Dr. Gagnon did make a serious effort to represent the distinctive message of Romans accurately Note: (1) The rap tune, though slightly long for a rap song (at 6 1/2 minutes, though many rap songs approach 5 min.) is certainly not long enough to do full justice to Romans. (2) The second stanza was supposed to serve as a refrain but the text was already too long for it to serve that purpose. (3) At the 3 1/2 minute mark when Dr. Gagnon comes to the text in Rom 1:24-27 about homosexual practice he says "censored" rather than "no complementarity" because he was asked not to mention the debated subject in a community-building gathering. As you can see, the "censored" remark got a good laugh because the audience suspected what was intended. (4) At the 6 min. 40 sec. mark Dr. Gagnon mentions the Greek term adiaphora which means "matters of indifference" (as the next line clarifies). Dr. Gagnon teaches a course on Romans regularly at PTS, wrote his dissertation and several published articles on Romans, and is currently preparing for publication a short commentary on Romans. Pittsburgh Theological Seminary is a Presbyterian Church U.S.A. seminary (by some reckonings over 200 years old) that offers a masters in divinity and in theological studies for students interested in becoming ministers or going on to Ph.D. work in field of Christian studies.