Oliver Anthony has caught the nation’s attention with his bluegrass country song “Rich Men North Of Richmond” which proclaims the plight of working class America and the indifference of the Washington DC political class. The song’s resonation has led to millions of views.
Much of his newfound success in this overnight rags to riches story is credited with God saving Oliver Anthony from alcoholism.
He had his first live performance this weekend where he began by reading a passage of Psalm 37:12-20
12The wicked plots against the righteous
And gnashes at him with his teeth.
13 The Lord laughs at him,
For He sees his day is coming.
14 The wicked have drawn the sword and bent their bow
To cast down the afflicted and the needy,
To slay those who are upright in conduct.
15 Their sword will enter their own heart,
And their bows will be broken.
16 Better is the little of the righteous
Than the abundance of many wicked.
17 For the arms of the wicked will be broken,
But the Lord sustains the righteous.
18 The Lord knows the days of the blameless,
And their inheritance will be forever.
19 They will not be ashamed in the time of evil,
And in the days of famine they will have abundance.
20 But the wicked will perish;
And the enemies of the Lord will be like the glory of the pastures,
They vanish—like smoke they vanish away.
This was received to thunderous applause front he crowd who might not have expected it. But the viral song “Rich Men North Of Richmond” is somewhat of a prayer and lament (more on that below).
Yet many Evangelical influencers have come out against Anthony for the language used in the song.
I’m probably gonna get roasted for this…— Stephen Angliss 📖 (@Stephen_Angliss) August 13, 2023
I don’t appreciate a guy famous for a song that says “$hit,” “bull$hit, “d@mn” and takes the Lord’s name in vain using God’s Word for his concert.
There are some glaring flaws from this TMS graduate’s logic. First, the song doesn’t take the Lord’s name in vain.
These rich men north of Richmond
Lord knows they all just wanna have total control
First of all, taking the Lord’s name in vain actually has more to do with breaking an oath in which you invoked God. While it is wrong to treat the Lord blasphemously, this song is conversational.
More controversially, he’s also wrong on his more agreed upon point, and this is the result of man’s sensibilities being superimposed on Scripture. The Ancient Hebrew equivalent of “shit” appears four times in the Old Testament.
Additionally, Paul’s use of σκύβαλα in Philippians 3:8 is also a linguistic equivalent.
We have to remember that English has more words than other languages giving way to a multitude on many words with synonymous meanings. Stronger connotations in language does not amount to sin.
29 Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear. 30 Do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. 32 Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.
The context of unwholesome should be understood in the context of the sexual immorality that Paul discusses in the preceding verses. However, the concluding instruction is for general speech. The Christian detractors of Oliver Anthony are not edifying the body or speaking a word that needs to be said in the given moment whereas the song “Rich Men North of Richmond” clearly does.
It is far more unwholesome to tear down a new brother in Christ who zealously reads imprecatory Psalms that many churches pretend do not exist or apply today than the lyrics in his song. This effeminate behavior is muzzling an ox while he’s threshing.