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The Religious Affiliation of Gospel Music Star
Kirk Franklin

Kirk Franklin is one of the leading figures in contemporary Christian Gospel music. He is well known as a proponent and spokesman of both Gospel Music and Protestant Christianity. Many people are unaware of his background as a Seventh-day Adventist, the denomination he was a part of early in his musical career, but is no longer active in.

From: Interview with Kirk Franklin, 30 May 2002, on GospelCity.com (http://www.gospelcity.com/dynamic/artist-articles/interviews/60; viewed 25 July 2005):

Though it is true that I was still meeting the man directly responsible for single-handedly popularizing gospel music in the 21st Century, I felt comfortable in his presence. And although, at the time of this interview, this incredible artist had just broken all the record books by attaining certified Gold status in just a few weeks and capturing the #1 position on Billboards Gospel and R&B Charts, he spoke to me as a long-time friend or favorite cousin... warm, open and very genuine.

Still, as a journalist and fellow Christian, I was determined to wash away his celebrity aura and see him as any other man - frail, prone to error and puffed up by his earthly achievements. But to be honest, I have to offer Mr. Kirk Franklin enormous credit because I was dead wrong.

It is true. Kirk Franklin is a man but, quite honestly, a very special man by anyone's standard. Yes, we know he can preach, write and dance like any sinner. But more importantly, his eye is on Jesus.

Despite his unprecedented impact on gospel music in recent years, Kirk is a remarkably meek and humble soul who takes pleasure each and every day in just serving the Lord. For Kirk, it's really not about the glory, the praise or the adoration. It comes right down to whether or not God is pleased with him.

You see, regardless of the accolades and awards he's garnered in his comparatively short musical career, Kirk understands the fundamental principle of being judged by God and not man. His heart is focused and zeroed in on pleasing the One above and not living to the expectations and desires of mortal men below. It's a lesson few of us really learn before entering the grave...

CH [interviewer]: And your favorite evangelist?

KF [Kirk Franklin]: Well, I got a couple, so I gotta name Billy Graham.

CH: Really?

KF: Yes, because it's amazing how a message so simplistic can cause thousands to come to Jesus. It's crazy. And Tony Evans. Have you ever heard of him?

CH: He sounds familiar. Who is he?

KF: Tony Evans is a guy down in Dallas who is an incredible theologian, incredible. He's the first African-American to graduate with his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary, which is a well-respected seminary. And, I'd have to name Charles Stanley. Charles Stanley is incredible. And, I'd have to throw in - he's not so much an evangelist as he is an author - Max Lucado...

CH: The Rebirth of Kirk Franklin is a very interesting title in and of itself. Tell me what the title signifies to you?

KF: It's all about a spiritual renewal. It's all about feeling born again, not necessarily believing in a logical term. Not that there is a second rebirth as much as it is like when Moses came down from the mountain in the presence of God with the glory still on his face. It's almost kind of like that glory. Just being in the presence of God at a very dark time in my life, whether it was lawsuits, fights, down times or certain records not doing like I thought they were gonna do. Just feeling crushed, embarrassed, humiliated and down from that process that makes you cry more, pray more and read more. What you don't realize is that the whole time, it was making you stronger...

CH: With that said, Kirk, explain to me, as you see it, why you encountered at least one incident, a problem back in Huntsville, Alabama?

KF: Well a couple of months ago in Huntsville, Alabama I was at a school called Oakwood College. A lot of people don't know this but from ages 18-24, I played for the Adventist church. I was very familiar with the Adventist faith and it just so happened that the church I played for was more contemporary in its worship and service. I always kind of felt I was kind of out there, which was cool because I also played for a Baptist church. Anyways, something happened at Oakwood College where I guess the presentation I was doing was a little too contemporary. So it made the presentation a little uncomfortable for administration, so they wanted to stop the event, which was fine. I've been prepared for that because I have gone through enough adversity in my life. I had sermons preached on me by well known ministers so I was cool.

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Webpage created 25 July 2005. Last modified 25 July 2005.
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