Contemporary Christian Music

May 26, 2000

If you have been listening to my radio commentaries, you know that I rarely talk about Christian music. In fact, I have written over 500 of these commentaries over the last two years and this is the first time I have written about contemporary Christian music.

Candi Cushman writing in the latest issue of World magazine asks an important question of the genre. Is it salt or sugar? Contemporary Christian music is enjoying quite a success, but at what costs?

Let me cite just two stories that I found troubling. Wes King talked about how people in the industry began grooming him after he began to sell lots of records. He finally decided to ditch contemporary Christian music's finishing school when his coach instructed him to use terms like "my faith" instead of "Jesus" and "dysfunction" instead of "sin."

Michael Card's latest project is an album based on the book of Hebrews. One of the marketing people said, "Is there any way we can do this so people don't know it's about Hebrews?" No doubt these are the same marketing people who had problems with his previous album where he talked about his thoughts of suicide while in college.

Equally disturbing was the discussion of the lifestyles of many of the recording artists, as well as the documentation of affairs and divorce. Many radio stations (like KCBI in Dallas) have decided to draw some lines and stand for righteousness and decency. Many others, however, have decided to turn a blind eye to these poor role models and play their songs simply because they are popular.

But ultimately the responsibility lies with us: the listening Christian audience. Are we going to support artists who write songs with good theology and live lives of moral integrity? Are we going to support Christian radio stations that do the same? Or are we going to compromise? Really the answer is in our hands.

I'm Kerby Anderson of Probe Ministries, and that's my opinion.