“Is Christian Music Christian?” — The US (western) debate

Recently I read an article by Kirk Webb, called “Is Christian Music Christian?” It has interesting points, but still needs to be responded to. However, rather than keep the link to myself, here is the starting quote, and the link for those who are interested.

Christian music. What is it? And why is it? Before Keith Green, Amy Grant, and Michael W. Smith, I suppose “Christian music” in the United States would have been black and white Gospel expressions, campfire songs, hymns, and classical music with distinct Christian purpose such as Handel’s Messiah. Beyond those roots, the Christian music industry has developed over the last several decades into a powerful musical and economic force. Now, music stores and online music venues have significant sections called “Christian music”, or for the inclusive folks it may be labeled “spiritual music”. Among other mandates, the church is to be a community of worshipers of Jesus Christ who present the good news of Christ’s love to the world. Therefore, it is important to ask whether or not “Christian” music is helpful to the work of the church.

source: http://www.theotherjournal.com/article.php?id=11

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1 Response to ““Is Christian Music Christian?” — The US (western) debate”


  1. 1 tikkiro February 19, 2007 at 1:30 am

    Good article indeed. I’ve struggled with this one for some time, as I have to confess I do love a good “beat” with music, so tend to get caught up sometimes in snappy tunes, but have found quite a few of that ilk have little edifying content sadly. However, where I am comfortable with the groups’s overall attitude, behaviour and ethos, I can overlook some bouncy songs, and in particular the likes of Michael W Smith who while certainly has penned some semi-secular type songs, I’ve watched him lead a concert that could only be described as nothing less than the most awesome WORSHIP event I’ve ever witnessed (Calgary 2004 I think), and thus I have little problem with his music.

    However, what I really do have a major problem with are bands that come under categories like Christian Rock, Christian Metal or Christian Contemporary where the music is so loud and dire, with next to nonexistent or shouted lyrics that are beyond listening to. I don’t agree that bands have to sing like that to reach the masses – in the end, if all they are doing is emulating secular rock, punk and metal bands, they cannot make any form of worthwhile impact on anyone. Let’s be clear on this – having lyrics which include the name of “Jesus” or “God” somewhere in the middle in no way constitutes a Christian song!!! Many secular songs sing about Jesus or God too only from a very secular viewpoint, but many of these so-called Christian songs are no different. I vividly remember a song I came across in 1999 by a group (or maybe on an album) called Salvation Singing, who sung a song titled “Yay God”. Now that tune captivated me being extremely fast and catchy, BUT the entire song consisted of a lot of music with the odd “Yay God” thrown in as a chorus. I listened to that for some time, before recognising that if God appeared in person to me, would I ever under any circumstances, be comfortable singing “Yay God” to Him!!! NOT! From there on I started being a bit more selective in my listening, but other than only listening to hymns and even there struggle to find ones that put the focus onto God and not me, I still find it very hard to find solid groups. Among those I would put in this category tho are those like MWS, Third Day, Casting Crowns, Matt Redman, Jars of Clay, and Delirious. While some may find my inclusion of Delirious given some of their earlier material, I’ve met the guys, and also their latest songs (from 2005 onwards) are very solid in honouring God IMHO. Ultimately it is the responsibility of each band before God to honour Him, as they and they alone will have to explain to Him why they haven’t!! Thanks for posting this – it was interesting reading! :))


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Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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