The Issues with Christian Music Part Four

By Benjamin Denen, Contributor
January 25, 2018

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Industry Part Two

A brief overview of the series taken from my second post:

In this blog series my goal is to explore some of the issues that many people in American Christendom seem to have with Christian music these days. It is in no way meant to be a fully exhaustive commentary on the recording industry or state of corporate worship in American churches. My goal is simply to use my experiences in both the Nashville recording industry and church world to shed some light on a few of the more common topics. Since this is a series, I strongly encourage you to start with the first post in the series and catch up as each post builds on the arguments of those that precede it. As always, my prayer is that in discussing our differing opinions we can be brought to a deeper place of unity as described in John 17:23.

What about the ministry?

Good question. Here is where it is critical for you to understand the difference between the CCM recording industry and the musicians making the music that you hear. I have tremendous respect for many of the artists that headline the industry. I believe that many, such as TobyMac and Matthew West, have a very genuine and passionate heart for reaching the lost. There are many other Christian recording artists (both in and out of CCM) that I know personally who are using the talents God has given them to further His Kingdom. These artists are not synonymous with the industry that is backing their product (i.e. music/albums). Just as I made an argument for the fact that songs are a vessels that we use for worship, I would make the same case that for these artists, the recording industry is the vessel that they use as a launching pad for their ministries.

Now, I am not naive. On the flip side, there are numerous artists in the "Christian" recording industry that are using their God-given talents to further their own ambitions such as fame, financial riches, and the like. I know some personally. "Look," some of the "ranters" might say, "this is what is wrong with Christian music today!" Sure, and the same can be said of the plumbing industry, the banking industry, politics, and yes, even professional "church industry." As long as sin exists in the world, there will always be Christians who forget that everything we have been given is to be used for the glory of God. I slip into that category quite often. So does every Christian I have ever met. I believe it is part of the human condition. We are all broken, everyone. The Good News is that Jesus Christ has died and risen again for just that kind of person. It is okay. Thank God for grace! We need not fill up the blogosphere every time a Christian makes a mistake, musician or not, nor do we need to burn down the entire music industry because a few of the Christian artists are using their gifts for the wrong reasons.

All Christian Music sounds the same

Does it? Tell me how Matthew West and All Sons and Daughters sound identical. How about Steven Curtis Chapmen and RED? What about Gungor and TobyMac? There is plenty of diversity in Christian music. Perhaps the problem is, whatever radio station you tend to tune into only plays a specific range of artists, or maybe you have very eclectic tastes. Let me draw attention back to the CCM industry. It suffers from the same plight as instrumental music in America. I use this reference because it is in this world that I am endeavoring to forge a career.

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