Christian Music Industry

I was thinking today…should the Christian Music Industry even exist? Should praise and worship music be profited from at all? Are there problems with this model (other than the subjective possibility that someone might “sell out” and become money-driven)? So many questions…

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16 Responses to Christian Music Industry

  1. Derek Lidbom says:

    I’m sure I’m in the conservative minority of you guys on this topic, but worship is such a serious thing I would rather be safe than sorry.Here are some unorganized but hopefully coherent thoughts I have:I wish there weren’t Christian record labels. I wish there weren’t touring artists and Christian concerts. I wish all worship songs were scripture alone.I know this “stifles the creativity” of the artists out there and admit that I am not one. But, I would find it sufficient in worship to sing the inspired Word. I’ve been exposed to too much bad theology from well meaning artists.The theology coming from the songs we sing should be just as scrutinized as the theology coming from the pastor’s mouth. It’s a shame that’s not the case at most churches.I know these thoughts don’t really answer my questions, but if we weren’t making up worship songs, I doubt we’d have many issues with the “Christian Music Industry.”

  2. Mark says:

    You’re such a stifler of creativity.:)

  3. Jon says:

    Where would you stand if you knew the songs being sung were just as scrutinized as the theology coming from the Pastor’s mouth?

  4. Mark says:

    I just hate those songs that repeat the same words over and over and over and over and over…”Lord we praise You, Lord we praise You, Lord we praise You, Lord we praise You, Lord we praise You, Lord we praise You…”get it?

  5. Derek Lidbom says:

    I would be more OK with singing them.

  6. Jon says:

    But not completely OK with it?

  7. Bryan says:

    An even bigger question…should there be a need to define any sort of artist as “Christian” at all?I think a lot of Christian artists use their smaller audience as an excuse for creating crappy art, knowing that it will sell as long as it has the right label on it. If God and his creation is true, good, and beautiful, should art really need to be labeled as “Christian” in order to appeal to Christians or show the truth, goodness, and beauty of God? By labeling art as Christian, it seems many Christians have decided that only Christian art can contain truth, goodness, and beauty…when in reality, I see more truth, goodness, and beauty in art that would never appear in your local “Christian” book store alongside the WWJD bracelets.

  8. grk says:

    Nice question. I guess we as humans must have boxes to put things in, and labels for the boxes. So, ‘christian music’ is there, boxed and marketed and sold. I think there is a line between ‘worship’ music and ‘inspirational’ music. Where is the line and what is the difference? I reckon it’s subjective. I think not much is expected from the current christian music scene as a whole. It’s on par with musicality and flavor of the monthness with lite rock and the pop industry of the SECULAR music industry. I guess I am echoing what Bryan has said. As for worship tunes, yes it would be great to sing and play from the inspired word of God. Instead we play a little bit of the telephone game.Thank God, God is in control and not too worried about this. I think the problem lies in our misunderstanding or light hearted-ness with corporate or casual worship. I think if we really had a grasp on the seriousness of it, we wouldn’t treat it like entertainment. Most certainly if we had more of a grasp of Who our Lord was and is and is to be, we would not need bumper stickers or labels or t shirts. I know I need more clarity. So, until clarity arrives boxed and labeled, I will wait for Sara Groves’ new album to come out.

  9. Jon says:

    I think the problem is not with the symptoms, but with the paradigm itself:

  10. Scott says:

    Similarly, should there be famous Christian authors, paid speakers, etc? It’s a gray area. There will continue to be a market, people will be ministered to, and some will fall into the temptation of chasing money. I’d like to see more Christian celebrities go the way of John Piper and Derek Webb and offer their product free of charge.

  11. Chris Dowd says:

    Hello guys. I thought that I might try and add a little something to this discussion. I great verse to look at whenever you are dealing with Christian music is Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” Interesting that Paul brings into play three different types, or styles, of songs with one not being any more important or sacred than the other. Whether it be a Old Testament Psalm put to music, or a hymn of praise about or to God, or even songs that are about spiritual things. If the message is not compromised and it is played or sung out of thanksgiving to God then it has the ability to teach and admonish believers in whom the word of Christ dwells.

  12. Jon says:

    The question does read like some of these artists are exploiting God to turn a profit, and to state it otherwise is naive. I cannot be persuaded that everyone who hopped on the praise and worship bandwagon did so with pure motives. Yet, I have no problem with these individuals making music for a living. Just call it what it is. Don’t sell me sensationalistic and shallow lyrics with repetitive tunes as if they were soli deo gloria unless you’re prepared to level a similar thought process to the fact that Mozart did so in a time when there was no emphatic categorization of the sacred and the secular.Here’s where I find the primary rub: every aspect of life needs to be brought under the functional authority of the lordship of Jesus Christ. This is an amiable goal, but the true exemplification of this is not to go out into the world and do pretty much what everybody else is doing, only with a Jesus label attached. This is not the lordship of Christ — rather it is Christians getting into the manufacturing of knock-offs. If something gets popular in the world, the Christians are right there with a competing model made with cheap labor in a Third World factory and using a lot more plastic. “Wouldn’t it be nice to be here to reach the lost” isn’t the same thing as actually engaging the “world” at every point, rather, it is a subtle outworking of the seperatistic mindset.I agree that Jesus’ work was largely corrective towards the teaching of the Pharisees who had not only minimized the purpose of God’s law to mere external adherence but also had added to His law with lengthy imposed additions and clarifications of his law. However, I do not think that is what is happening here. If we believe, and I think rightly so, that all truth is God’s truth, then at some point we do need to objectively assess the nature of our practice with the first realization that we are most likely not in accordance with God’s precepts at some point or another. This is not to preach legalistic justification (and if you accuse me of it I’ll put you in the fishtank) but rather to emphasize the fact that while in our neat systematic theology there are obvious distinctions between justification and sanctification, they cannot be separated, for faith without works is dead. The perspective that shapes all my thoughts on this does boil down to a 100 proof belief that God’s people have been commissioned to spread the declaration of Christ’s lordship (i.e. – the gospel), and often times the place that declaration is needed the most is in the midst of the people of God.

  13. Jon says:

    Thanks for your reminder that blanket generalities are often not very helpful. It’s extremely convenient to use them, but in doing so too many of the faultless are often involved. I am not willing to say that ALL Christian musicians have fouled intentions. I hoped to convey that in a previous post. I’d still complain about the legalistic references. Insisting on adherence to Biblical standards is not legalism, otherwise the adherence to the great commission would itself be legalism. Which raises the observation, that, much of the current temper within Modern Evangelicalism seems to pit Jesus against the Old Testament, as if He were not the same God who gave the mandate under the older administration. Consistently throughout scripture we see the fact that God’s dealings with humanity have the sharpest distinction pre-fall and post-fall rather than Old and New Covenants. The essence of the old and new covenants is basically the same – reliance on God’s promise for redemption, while anticipatory under the older administration and reflective in the current. Granted, this required a much fuller development of the proper role of [moral] law in the life of the believer under the present administration, but should suffice it to say that when Paul insisted “We are not under Law, but under Grace” the law he referred to was civil and ceremonial, NOT moral.

  14. evan says:

    I agree, there are a lot of people out there that make prayer-of-Jabez-coin-bookmark-chicken-soup-for-your-neighbors-dentist Christian music. However, I’m sure that there are some Christian musicians with pure intentions, and I’m afraid we haven’t given them an out. If they use their talents in a modern fashion (like Mozart did in his day), they get labeled as “imitators of the world.” Of course the music resembles the world they live in — what do you expect? Maybe God just happens to be a part of that world? If they don’t make music, then they’re wasting a God-given talent. Seems like a lose-lose. We are talking about all Christian musicians, not just the sell-outs, right?Yes, Pharisee is an extreme, but it seems like doing away with the entire Christian music industry is something right out of their playbook. But then again, Im in the camp that believes that modern Christian music can actually further the kingdom  perhaps even be all things to all people. Im not implying that thinking one way or the other is subscribing to legalistic justification, but red flags go up when it seems like the choice is between either following the law, or following the great commission.

  15. evan says:

    I think the question reads like these artists are exploiting God to turn a profit, which is a bit unfair if you ask me. Everyone has to make money to survive, so if you’re able to do that while potentially influencing unbelievers, how is that less honorable or “Christ-like” than someone making a living doing taxes, or teaching fifth grade? We are here to reach the lost, right??When I read questions like these, I’m reminded that we can only be justified through faith in Christ. Seeking righteousness with a legalistic world-view only leads to death. The Pharisees got this wrong. Pharisees, FTL!!You know, if Jesus were on earth right now, He might very well be found in a bar or sticking up for a prostitute. That doesn’t have very much to do with the Christian music industry, but, for me, thinking about it always puts these questions in perspective.

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