(RNS) Petra has been named the first Christian rock group to be inducted into the Gospel Music Association's Gospel Music Hall of Fame. "For a rock band whose albums were banned in many Christian bookstores over 20 years ago to be inducted into our Hall of Fame indicates how broad our acceptance of music forms has become," said GMA President Frank Breeden in a statement.

"The doubts about popular music mixing with Christian lyrics have mostly vanished due to their 25-year track record of proven ministry and changed lives. Petra was a true pioneer for our industry."

Petra is among eight inductees who will be honored Oct. 30 in Nashville, Tenn.

The rock group was formed in 1972 by four men attending a Christian junior college in Fort Wayne, Ind. Their first record was released in 1974 and they remain a top-selling band 11 albums later. The other inductees are:

-- Shirley Caesar, who has recorded 35 albums, appeared in three Broadway productions, and received numerous Grammy, Stellar and Dove awards. She began singing gospel at the age of 12 and later founded Shirley Caesar Ministries to help the poor in her hometown of Durham, N.C. -- Bob MacKenzie, who served as creative director of the John T. Benson Publishing Company and produced almost every album the company released in the 1960s and 1970s. He later became president of the Benson Company. -- The Oak Ridge Boys, which dates back to 1945, when it was called the Oak Ridge Quartet. The group entered the country music realm in 1973 and some of their gospel songs have included "King Jesus" and "Jesus Is Coming Soon." -- The Edwin Hawkins Singers, known for "Oh Happy Day," a gospel song that became a huge hit on secular radio in the 1960s. It was recorded on an Edwin Hawkins live album with the Northern California State Youth Choir, which was later renamed the Edwin Hawkins Singers. -- The Fisk Jubilee Singers, an African-American group that represents Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn. It has traveled around the globe since 1871 and is known for preserving "slave songs." -- The Kingsmen, a Southern gospel group that has won nine Dove Awards from the Gospel Music Association. Known for their song "Excuses," the group was the first to film and record a live performance at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville. -- Roger Breland and Truth, the musical company he founded in 1971 that includes 16 young adult musicians and technicians chosen to travel for three or more years presenting concerts across the globe. Truth has recorded almost 50 albums and presented more than 8,000 concerts in 21 countries.

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