Press Release: A must-read for every Lutheran and every Christian!
GRAMMY®-nominated Christian rapper FLAME shares his spiritual journey in Extra Nos: Discovering Grace outside Myself.
From fear to freedom. From guilt to grace. In his new book, GRAMMY®-nominated artist FLAME shares the gripping account of how he discovered that saving grace comes extra nos: outside of us. God works through all of His people to bring His truth to the world from outside of us. In Extra Nos: Discovering Grace outside Myself, readers will journey with FLAME from the streets of St. Louis as he encounters Charismatic, Calvinist, and Lutheran Christian influences and digs deeply into God’s Word. FLAME is confident his faith story is one many can relate to as they read Extra Nos, which was released by Concordia Publishing House on July 11, 2023.
FLAME’s faith journey took a freeing turn while he was in class at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis.
“[It was] during one of my classes when I heard the phrase extra nos used,” FLAME writes. “The professor explained that it was a Latin phrase that means “outside of us.” As he continued to expand on its meaning and use, it was as if more oxygen was entering my brain, leading to my heart. God-breathed, faith-sustaining oxygen. From then onward, I was hooked. Similar to Luther’s paradigm-shifting experience while reading Romans, I, too, was gripped by the notion that what God is doing for us is outside of us.”
In Extra Nos, FLAME dives into his unique story of finding Christ when confronted with many trials and in the face of adversity. Readers will learn about FLAME’s transformation through storytelling and music and his travels across the country as a GRAMMY®-nominated artist. FLAME will bring readers into his recording studio and give a fresh perspective into the truth of extra nos.
“It is a delight to read the account of God’s work in the life of one of His servants,” says Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann, professor of systematic theology at Concordia Seminary, St. Louis. “And it is powerfully encouraging to read a brother in Christ declare with confidence and clarity the truth of God with fitting conviction. All those who have ever wondered about the practical relevance of doctrine for ‘real life’ need only to read and learn from FLAME.”
Visit books.cph.org/extra-nos for more information. Contact Erica Sontag to schedule an interview with FLAME.
Praise for Extra Nos
For evidence that Lutheranism is the kind of Christianity that has the most relevance today, read FLAME’s Extra Nos. With a rapper’s mastery of language, he offers vivid and rapturous explanations of the Word and the Sacraments and the Gospel of Christ that they convey. And he offers the best refutation of Reformed theology I have ever come across—not just by argument but by experience.
— Gene Edward Veith, author of Spirituality of the Cross
In the front row, seriously tuned-in, and furiously taking notes but saying very little. Such are my classroom memories of Marcus. And then he opened his mouth, and Extra Nos came out. It is a delight to read the account of God’s work in the life of one of His servants. And it is powerfully encouraging to read a brother in Christ declare with confidence and clarity the truth of God with fitting conviction. All those who have ever wondered about the practical relevance of doctrine for “real life” need only to read and learn from FLAME.
— Rev. Dr. Joel Biermann, professor of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Extra Nos is FLAME’s story about how Jesus’ promise that “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free” has been fulfilled in his own life and art. It is a story of being freed from uncertainty, confusion, and doubts as he discovered God’s grace in Christ outside himself. Extra Nos is at once personal and accessible, honest and generous, fresh and faithful, unorthodox and confessional.
— Dr. Joel P. Okamoto, Waldemar and Mary Griesbach Professor of Systematic Theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
Christian singer-songwriter FLAME tells the honest story of his humbling journey from the crushing burden of seeking God’s grace in his heart and holiness to the liberating joy of receiving God’s grace through Christ’s gifts of absolution, Baptism, and the Lord’s Supper. Through his own story, FLAME calls us all to die to our attempts at searching “inside of us” for the justification of our lives in order to be made alive in Christ through God’s gracious work of justification and forgiveness “outside of us” (EXTRA NOS!) and “for us.” A must-read for every Lutheran, and every Christian!
— Rev. Dr. Leopoldo A. Sánchez, professor of systematic theology, director of the Center for Hispanic Studies, Werner R. H. Krause Professor of Hispanic Ministries, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
FLAME shows his theological prowess as he honestly and authentically shares his journey into Lutheranism and how that influences the Lutheran doctrine he writes into rap music. Through his story, FLAME recounts the beautifully persistent work of the Holy Spirit to open his eyes to God’s truth, while also sharing how he defends Lutheran thought against other denominations. Whether you’re familiar with FLAME’s creative work or not, his story is a marvelous example of how we can similarly crave God’s Word and a deeper knowledge and understanding of Lutheran doctrine in order to love God and serve our neighbor.
— Sarah Gulseth, digital media specialist, KFUO Radio
This book helps Lutherans understand the treasure that we have in our theology. FLAME combines his moving personal journey with a clear exposition of the Lutheran faith. And then he takes it one step further as he follows in the footsteps of Martin Luther by using music to teach the faith. Luther didn’t think about using rap music, but he would have if he had known about it!
— Dr. David R. Maxwell, professor of systematic theology, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
This book describes a theological journey throughout the life of Marcus “FLAME” Gray. His music has always been dedicated to Jesus, who is the one who opens the way into God’s presence (John 14:6). As a serious student of Scripture, he ponders the truth of God’s Word and discovers the magnitude of God’s grace in Jesus in ways he never expected. Grace is given in spite of our own failures, in tangible ways that speak to souls again and again. Life is now lived as one who has been washed, fed, and enlightened with the gifts of Jesus every day. I encourage you to walk with Marcus through his spiritual pilgrimage of discovery.
— Pastor Dave Haara, Family of Christ Lutheran Church, Tampa, Florida
FLAME is a consummate student of theology. He embodies the virtue of “in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; and in all things, charity.” This book is a winsome and insightful description of not only what he believes but also how he ended up where he is in his faith journey. You’ll find encouragement in these pages. I know I did.
— Dr. Daniel DeWitt, senior fellow, Southwest Baptist University, Bolivar, Missouri; executive director of the Center for Worldview and Culture
FLAME grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his parents didn’t reject the Lutheran Confessions; they had never heard of them. He explored Pentecostalism and Calvinism, but they left him still thirsty. A two-year immersion at Concordia Seminary introduced him to the pure Gospel. His songs now encourage others to believe that “Christ is for YOU.” His confessional themes and cutting-edge production contribute to the “mutual conversation and consolation of brothers and sisters.” Whether you’ve heard him or only heard about him, get to know your brother who takes the Lutheran symbols to the streets with lyrical flair and solid confessional content. If you don’t know, now you know!
— Rev. Delwyn X. Campbell, LCMS national missionary deployed to Gary, Indiana
Marcus (FLAME) invites us into his struggle of living the Christian life by trying to balance and understand it through one of the many wonderful Lutheran distinctions, the two kinds of righteousness—in other words, learning the distinction between passive and active righteousness. I, too, found this joy, coming late to the Lutheran table, by discovering the beauty of Baptism, forgiveness, and reconciliation in a similar fashion. At one point, Marcus speaks of his complex, diverse, curious, and confusing self, which seeks to find the pure mercy, grace, peace, and love of Christ. He discovers these have always been there and found freely outside himself—extra nos—in Christ.
— Dr. Beth Hoeltke, director of the Graduate School, Concordia Seminary, St. Louis
About the Author
FLAME is a GRAMMY®-nominated and Stellar Award–winning hip hop artist. He is a well-versed leader in the Christian hip hop scene with a growing list of accolades, including a GRAMMY nomination, multiple Billboard chart-toppers, and several Dove and Stellar Award nominations. He was born and raised in the inner city of St. Louis, Missouri. He has released nine albums to date under his own imprint. FLAME’s latest releases include four EPs, including Extra Nos (2020), which was his first project as a Lutheran.
For over a decade, FLAME has traveled throughout five continents performing music that has impacted the masses. In addition to touring, writing, recording, and coproducing his own projects, FLAME founded and helms Clear Sight Music and Extra Nos Academy, boutique imprints raising the bar in Christian hip hop and beyond. He has a master’s degree in theology with a minor in counseling from Concordia Seminary in St. Louis.
Concordia Publishing House (CPH) is the publishing arm of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. For 150 years, CPH has been providing individuals, churches, and schools with products that are faithful to the Scriptures and the Lutheran Confessions. From books and Bibles to church supplies, curriculum, and software, CPH offers over 10,000 products to support the proclamation of the Gospel worldwide. Visit CPH online at cph.org.