Tuesday, December 05, 2006

What is Christian Music?

My last post, which included a brief mention of Christianity Today's look at Evanescence seems to have provoked some instresting and provocative comments and questions. I want to reply in a series of posts about what exactly Christian music is, if there is such a thing, what it implies, who the artists are, and how different Christian artists are from secular artists.

First off, in defense of Christianity Today, the website did not refer to the group as a Christian group and pointed out that the group does not like to be associated with Christianity. What the article was trying to do was point out their spiritual searching, which is obvious in their lyrics. This does not make them any more Christian than Creed, which does the same thing in many of their songs. I commend Christianity Today for their efforts in looking at secular songs with an unbiased viewpoint and actually seeing what is in them. They caught on to Five for Five's spiritual wanderings from their latest CD and in their section Glimpses of God had an excellent interview with their lead singer and his questions about Christianity. If you totally reject secular music as being completely of the devil and have nothing to do with it, I believe you are creating a separate world for yourself....a bubble.

Now, I am not advocating that all secular music is acceptable (far from it) or that you are required to listen to it. But you can benefit from some songs. Now, publications and industries that claim every group which says 'God' in a song lyric as Christian deserve a reprimand. But, if you carefully look at Christianity Today, they recognize that these artists aren't Christian, but bring out the positive in their music. They also are instrumental in telling readers of mainstream group's faith, such as Lifehouse and the Fray that others ignore just because they are mainstream.

If you do a search for the defintion of 'Christian music' you will not return any results. There are definitions for sub genres such as Contemporary Chrisitian Music, etc., but none for just Christian Music. Why is this? Well, if you think about it, there is no such thing as Christian music. There are Christian lyrics, but music itself isn't Christian or secular. Now, I do believe that some music can be used demonically, but for the most part, music is unaffiliated with any faith or worldview. It is the lyrics that make the music Christian or not.

In the same way, there really isn't any such thing as a Christian band. There are Christians in a band, but a band isn't saved. Jon Foreman, from Switchfoot summed it up best in his statement "we're Christian by faith, not genre." So, what does this mean? Well, for the sake of argument, there is nothing wrong with calling a band a Christian band or saying they sing Christian music. But makes up Christian music? I do not believe it is the music, it can't be the way a group looks (Jesus never said you can't be a Christian if you have dyed hair and tattoos), and a record label doesn't make you Christian or not. What in fact makes music Christian and bands Christian is their lyrics. But what are Christian lyrics?


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