Identity crisis brewing in Christian music

Christian music has come far since the early days of Amy Grant. Amy helped to mainstream contemporary Christian music. But, has Christian music gone too far?

Tooth & Nail Records represents hard rock Christian artists. Why should the devil have all the good music? I enjoy some Christian heavy metal, but personally do not subscribe to the screaming.

Nonetheless it is done in the name of Christ.

Or is it?

Psalm 66:1 states: “Make a joyful noise unto God.” But what about the lyrics?

It is extremely important that Christians know the word of God. Hank Hanegraaff, the host of the Bible Answer Man radio program states that “thee” problem with modern day Christians is Bible illiteracy.

So what about young Christian artists and songwriters who may not have in-depth biblical knowledge?

I note Tooth & Nail Records because they have many artists on the Christian Rock Charts. Tooth & Nail currently holds the No. 2 song on

The Top Ten Christian rock songs as of Sunday, May 31st do not contain the words God, Jesus, or Christ in the lyrics. The songs speak about faith and a proper path for the soul. Many of the lyrics are not as blatant as their Christian Adult Contemporary counterparts. Others are religiously ambiguous, deeply disguising the meanings within their lyrics.

I give Tooth & Nail credit for offering provocative lyrics to listeners of hard rock. However, it appears the lines of Christianity are blurring.

I recently had a music director from an Ohio radio station decide against adding one of my songs to their playlist. And it wasn’t because she didn’t like the song. She said the lyrics are too Christian. They focus on Christian songs with not so obvious lyrics, and mainstream music which has Christian or positive lyrics.

It is great to know this format exists. Yet if this is the wave of the future it may indicate a serious identity crisis building for Christian music.

As so long as there are Christians who have Christ truly written in their hearts, I think the core of Christian music will survive.

What identifies a Christian song — one which glorifies Christ and God directly or one which buries the identity of the meaning — is a poignant source of debate and contemplation.


Be First to Comment

  1. William Lemmers said:

    I used to be really puritanical(excuse the cuss word) on the topic of music. But over the past few years I’ve come to adopt the opinion that musicians who are Christians do not need to have a seperate genre of music than other musicians. No two people think exactly the same way all the time. Every person, whether Christian or not, has thier own unique perspective on any given aspect of life. And songwriting is an expression of that perspective. The only “Christian music” that is considered acceptible to church people, it seems, is the stuff that is made entirely of verbatim quotations from the Bible; no creativity, no originality, no personality,just fantastically BORING!!! Not that the Bible is boring, but songwriting is supposed to be creative and original. But the moment that a “Christian artist” tries something original,creative,and from the heart; entire congregations are ready and willing to burn them at the stake or have them evicerated or something! I say three cheers for artists like Derek Webb, who rightfully renounce man-made standards of propriety- the commandments of men that are taught as dogma.

    January 10, 2010
  2. William Lemmers said:

    Tim Downs wrote a really good book that talks on this subject. It’s called “Finding Common Ground: How to Communicate With Those Outside The Christian Community While We Still Can.”

    January 11, 2010

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