Christian music has changed a lot since it first entered the scene. When I was younger, there were only a few bands to pick from unless you were into old timey gospel music.
I remember my parents having only a few records of Christian Music, and if you didn’t like Amy Grant then your music choices were cut in half. In spite of this limited selection I was told that I should only listen to Christian Music. That was a problem for me because I didn’t really like anything I heard.
It wasn’t that I didn’t love Jesus; I just didn’t like the songs or the style of music that was available. As I grew older, Christian music went through an incredible transformation and began to explode on the radio and in the stores.
Suddenly you didn’t just have a few popular bands; now you could find Christian music in almost any style. Christian pop has become increasingly popular and influential with their songs, even being adapted into Sunday Morning services
When I was a teenager, some older Christians suggested that I get rid of all my secular music. They convinced me that any song that didn’t sing about Jesus must be of the devil. There was no scriptural argument for that position, but they pushed the issue so much that I finally gave in and threw it all away. That lasted about a month, and then I went back out and bought all my old tapes again.
Silly as it might seem, this became a place where I struggled for sometime. I felt like less of a Christian because I wasn’t up-to-date on the latest musical trends. All I wanted to do was listen to Bob Dylan whose music moved me in a way most Christian music had not. I felt like I had to keep my musical preferences hidden in fear that people might think I am immature in my faith.
It wasn’t until later that I realized why I always had conflict in this area. The truth is, I don’t believe there is such a thing as Christian Music.
That may sound strange so allow me to clarify. I’m in a church while writing this, but the chair I’m sitting on is not a “Christian” chair. The word Christian is a noun not an adjective. Jesus didn’t die on the cross to save pop music; He died to save people who sometimes make pop music. There can be a danger when we make the word Christian an adjective.
There are many books that are labeled Christian that teach things that are contrary to the truth of Scripture. There can be music labeled Christian that teaches false truths as well.
We often slap that word onto things to let people know that whatever is inside is safe and palatable. We’ve turned it into a label that gets applied to things so you don’t have to question it. But Christianity was never meant to be a simple label; it is a role that all of us are called to live out by our words and actions.
Sometimes I listen to Christians who make music. It took a long time, but there are now bands that fit my musical tastes.
I like French Canadian folk music, so I have never had a wide range of options when it comes to finding music. The singers are Christian and sometimes their songs are about Christ.
But I want to be careful how I label things, so that I don’t allow junk food into my heart and mind simply because someone else has slapped the label Christian onto it.