I came across a post yesterday at Apprising Ministries, where a 19-year-old allegedly asked a popular Christian band how to become a Christian. The questioner seems to be a Christian who was testing the band to see what their response would be to the question.
The band’s response said, in part:
Thanks for the cool question! The answer is easy, yet difficult: Here’s the easy (and true) answer: LOVE! The best way to experience the message of Christ is by loving those in need, caring for others, and being selfless!
The email goes on to talk about love and there not being a specific formula for spiritual enlightenment. It’s a nice email about how to love your neighbor, but there wasn’t any mention of redemption, repentence or sin. I assume that’s what prompted criticism from both the questioner and the blog author, who pointed the answer out as proof of “counterfeit Christianity.”
I haven’t been able to confirm that the band actually wrote the email response, so it wouldn’t be fair to single them out by name. It’s enough to say they’re a talented, fun band that you’d be safe letting your kids listen to, speaking purely from an entertainment standpoint.
But the discussion raised some interesting questions about Christian music and I want to know what you think:
In general, we’ve become a culture of Christianity that looks to others to live our faith for us. We go to church and listen to Christian music, but we don’t read the Bible or grow in our faith on our own. Or as Chris Tomlin suggested, we’ve become consumers of God-products instead of being consumed by God. We trust the guy on stage to be our mediator and teacher; we go to a worship concert, and think we’ve fulfilled our spiritual quota for the day. I think sometimes we’re missing out on the essentials of a relationship with Jesus in our quest to be relevent and cool and have the latest music and books.
Does an artist’s theology need to line up with yours in order for you to listen? Are there artists who are wearing a “Christian” label that aren’t really teaching Christianity? Should we even be looking to music artists to teach us about the Bible?
My two cents? The finger shouldn’t be pointed at the band as much as at ourselves.
Sure, there are artists out there who teach the Bible and lead people to Christ. And there are also Christians who use their talents to entertain. I don’t think there’s a problem with either one, as long as they’re being faithful to their calling from God and living a lifestyle that would point people to Jesus. Every concert stage isn’t a pulpit, just like every office cubicle isn’t a pulpit.
But I wonder how much of the music we call “Christian” really doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity. If a band is good and entertaining, but nothing about their songs talk about Christ, does it really need to be called “Christian?” Is there a responsibility that comes with that label, and if so, are we (and should we be) holding artists accountable?
It all goes back to the same question: What is Christian music? What do you think?
Christian Music Lyrics: What Songs Really Inspire You?
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