By: David Rowlandson | October 24, 2019
Most Christians have an internal register for what they consider to be OK Christian music. Some draw the line at rap, others don’t draw a line at all. For this article, we focus on musicians who openly profess a Christian faith, bringing Zach Chester, Blessing Oluloto, and Adrianna Gardiner together to champion a favourite band and open the discussion on what makes for “Christian” music.
To get into the heart of the discussion, listen to these sample tracks!
“Legendary” by Skillet (Zach Chester)
“Lord, I Need You” by Matt Maher (Blessing Oluloto)
“Dirty Water” by Lecrae (Adrianna Gardiner)
How far can the limits of Christian music be pushed?
“In terms of genre of music,” says Zach Chester, “I don’t think there’s a limit to being a Christian band. I think a death-metal screamo band can be a Christian band. I think that a rapper can be a Christian rapper. Pop music. I think that there’s an avenue for ministry in all those [genres]”.
Blessing holds a more specific understanding of “Christian” music.
“If the song does not invoke sanctification, and doesn’t draw you closer to God, then it is not Christian. There is music for worship, for God’s glory, and then there’s music created by people who are Christian, and that’s for entertainment. And songs in this category may have elements from God, because it was made by people of God, but the song itself I [would not define as Christian]”.
Blessing’s friend Adrianna, advocating for Lecrae, adds her voice.
“I think there are limits, but I don’t think [they’re] the type of limits that most people would assume” Gardiner adds. “The limit isn’t, ‘Oh, they’re using a trap beat or they have a six-eight rhythm instead of another type of rhythm’. The limit is the impact that the song has on the mind and the spirit, and whether or not the song is actually glorifying God”.
For Adrianna, sound is personal preference, but the lyrics are key: “You reach the limit when your lyrics start to rejoice or glorify the world more than it does God”.
Key Excerpts from the Discussion
Feel free to use these excerpts to spark thought with others, and begin to answer for yourself, “Where is the line for Christian music?”
photo from the official Skillet website