Kirk Franklin: The gospel megastar

Tuesday 1st December 1998

It's a busy time for gospel megastar KIRK FRANKLIN. Here we publish an extract from his book Church Boy.

Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin

Raised by a maiden aunt, Kirk Franklin is candid in his autobiography about his struggles, mistakes and sexual sin and the cleansing he received when he wholeheartedly followed Christ. At times it isn't a pretty story but Kirk's life speaks of a grace, which has the power to take a broken, ineffective life and turn it around. His story places him in a unique position to address certain issues and minister to others. In the following extract from his book, Kirk writes about how he wants his music and ministry to make an impact on this generation.

I don't want people to read this and think that I'm just a carnal Christian, but at the same time I want to be honest and real. I'm not proud of where I've been, what I've done or who I was at one time. My past still troubles me today and I wish it had never happened. There were times when my sexual identity dictated all those things - who I was, what I did and where I went. But no more. God is putting it all behind me day by day.

The hardest part of this for me, however, is not so much that I failed, but that at this moment there are people in churches all across this nation, in every city and town, who are still caught up in that lifestyle of promiscuity, that compromise with sin, and they're pretending it doesn't matter at all. Well, I'm here to tell you, my friend, it does matter. I know from my own experience that it matters. It matters a lot. And Jesus Christ is saying to you today, whoever you are, wherever you are, no matter how successful you've been, that you had better give it up right now and get right with God right now, while you still can.

I want to shake the Church with my book. I want to shake every pastor who's compromising with sin. I want to shake every deacon and elder who's looking the other way while sin crawls through the doors of that church every Sunday morning. I want to shake the world and those in it to say, "Truly listen to the message."

I want to shake the mothers and fathers who pretend they don't know what their boys and girls are doing out there every night, sleeping around, using drugs, messing with stuff that will kill them and rob them of their joy. And I want to shake up every one of those young people with my book and with every lyric I write.

I'll shake the rafter if I have to and say, "Look, brother! You gotta get right with God right now! Please, for Christ's sake and for your own sake, get your eyes back where they belong, while there's still time!" I'll say, "Satan has laid his hooks into you, young person, and you're not free. You talk about slavery and you talk about your rights and you talk about how somebody's holding you down. But look here, boo: it's YOU! You're holding yourself down with your addiction to sin. Unless you give it up right now and get right with God right now, you've let the enemy put his handcuffs back on your wrists. Actually, you put them on yourself, so the Devil did it with your help. And you've made yourself a slave to sin. Young man, you better get right, right now. Young woman, young person, do it now while you can."

I want every young person, every mother and father, every grandparent and pastor and friend to understand that I was like that myself at one time, and I'm still dying daily. But I wasn't doing those things because I wanted to; I was doing them because I just thought that's the way it was. Then, when I found out that it doesn't have to be that way, I was already in so deep it took me years to break free and get out of that prison of sin. It breaks my heart to realise it took me nearly 10 years to break out.

I also want to get into this book how important my wife is to me. I call Tammy my sanity. Every now and then you have to get back on track when you have a lot of things shoved in your face. When you love God, you have no choice but to be accountable. Tammy and The Family, all 15 of them, help do that. They know they stand with me, but they remind me of my word and my witness whenever I need a little push. I love them for that and for many other things.

I want to get very vocal about the way I was raised because I know I'm not the only one. Sometimes on stage, without any rehearsal or any deliberate plan to do it, I feel the impulse to just share my heart about those things. I was born out of wedlock to a mother who would have aborted me if a godly aunt hadn't intervened. I grew up on the poor side of town and was taunted and teased and beat on as long as I can remember. But God was there for me. He didn't let me go. And that's where I am. I know that's what I have to say because that auditorium or theatre is filled with people who know just what I'm talking about. Either they've been there or they know somebody who has, and they need to know that they can beat it. They don't have to live like that because Jesus can set them free. That's where I am. Too often we put on these suits and ties and preach to people about the grace of God - and "Oh, isn't it wonderful!" - before the people have had a chance to get transparent and honest about who they are. They listen to all those sermons and sing all the uplifting hymns and they never come to grips with the deadly claws wrapped around their hearts.

They go home and battle with pornography, drugs, alcohol, adultery and all these other things because they don't have anywhere to go and unload that stuff. They're crying out, "Can't anybody hear me? Can't anybody help me without judging me? Is anybody else going through this junk I'm going through?"

The answer is, "Yes, Jesus knows. He hears your cry and he loves you more than you'll ever know."

Kirk Franklin
Kirk Franklin

I want to help get that message out there and one of the newest things we're doing now is making plans for a convention called Nu Nation. We're going to try to put on a major event every summer, from the year 2000 on, and it's going to be a conference for young people from all over the country. It's going to be an incredible build-up. I can't wait!

But let me tell you, I've got the answer! Jesus is the answer, and He's the only answer that really works. He is the only answer that will save your life. I'm saying, Call on Him! He is the way, the truth and the life, and His name is not Mohammed or Buddha or Hare Krishna. It's Jesus, and He loves you. I want to give people - young and old - a format, a place where they can say, "Hey, I got some junk! Can we talk about it?" And when they leave that place they can honestly say they've been helped, they've been loved and they'll know that somebody cares for them. We're talking about organising this thing so that people can get serious help and support from other people who've been there. I'm thinking about doing a Nu Nation website on the Internet where people can log on and chat with others who've found some answers. I think there will be many, many ways we can touch people and give them some hope.

You know, there's another guy out there trying to raise up a nation, and he'll do it if we turn our eyes and look away from God. But God is saying we've got to give the young people better choices. We need to get them involved with the right nation, and that's how God gave me the name Nu Nation. So in the coming year you'll be hearing a lot more about that.

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