Christian Rock Music; Wolf or Sheep?

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He knew why he wanted people there: he wanted to share the gospel and he was sincere about it. Incidentally, this Canadian kid from Toronto made a stop at Broken Heart Ministries in Altanta on my way home from a family vacation in Florida to see the band. I still find myself listening to it even now some 30 years later. You are commenting using your WordPress. You are commenting using your Google account. You are commenting using your Twitter account. You are commenting using your Facebook account. Notify me of new comments via email. Notify me of new posts via email.

Home About. Share this: Twitter Facebook. Like this: Like Loading Comments 10 Trackbacks 0 Leave a comment Trackback. Agreed Brian. He is Strong still makes me cry every time I hear it. Another brilliant album that I still enjoy today. I am most disturbed at pastoral leadership which permiths the foregoing under the guise ofa tool of evangelism.

Ezekiel gives this charge to Gods priests: "And they shall teach my people the difference between the holy and profane, and cause them to discern between the unclean and the clean" As an evangelist, thast one of my God-given responsibilities - to help people recoginze what is clean and what is unclean, what is holy and unholy. And even though my voice is almost alone in addressing this subject, these things must be said. This book comes after much prayer and months of research and review by myself and co-author, Robert Paul Lamb.

Some may not even want to look at this issure of religious rock because it has simply become an idol to them. Yet I encourage you to read this book very carefully. Hear what the religious rockers are saying New Years Eve. San Jose California about fifty miles south of San Francisco is gray and overcast. The weather is cold, damp, 41 Degrees. A wisp of misty rain is falling. I was told poor ticket sales in Sacramento had caused that concert to be scrubbed, and Ive driven over two hours from California's capital city to see religious rocks most controversial band in concert.

Two hours before the show, a small cluster of youngsters has gathered outside the auditoriums entrance. An hour later, a line is stretching from the main doors down the sidewalk, and around the Market Street side of the building. Beer cans and cigarretts are passed among some standing in line. The scent of marijuana wafts through the air. Several liquor bottles have been dumped among the evergreens and shrubbery around the structure.

Only some ten people or so are admitted into the auditorium where they are physically searched. A card pinned to his shirt says "Stryper Staff" Several long haired young men behind me are cursing over the line's slowness in the misty rain. Ticket scalpers call out "Get your tickets" A long white lomousine pulls up and disgorges people after an extended wait - two men and a woman, all dressed in black. A few cars drop off teens not yet of driving age. Instead of New Years Eve, it somehow seems like a belated Halloween with the dizzying array of offbeat clothes worn by most of the concert-goers.

Many are dressed in punk or new-wave attire -spiked or colored hair, oversized shirts, black leather knuckle gloves, spiked armbands, boots. A number of girls wear short bright colored skirts, and heavy black eye makeup. One thin young man dressed in black jeans, a black T-shirt and vest, black eye shadow, and sporting a cross earring, is forced to remove a set of metal chains and handcuffs wrapped around his waist. Several others are confronted at the door over their arm or wristbands of leather and metal.

Another boy, apparently in his late teens, is wearing thigh-high white leather boots witrh platform soles to match his spiked silver-blond hair. He is refused temporary admission until he romves spiked wristbands. Inside the auditoriums front corridor against a wall called the "Freedom Shrine", a brisk business in Stryper souvenirs - photos, buttons, posters, bumper stickers, and T-shirts - is under way on either side of the twin doors leading to the main floor.

One of the oddest sights of the evening comes when a Catholic priest dons a red Stryper T-shirt announcing "to Hell With the Devil" and pulls the garment over his clerical collar and shirt then rolls up the sleeves revealing a tattooed cross on his left upper arm. When asked about his actions, the priest identifies himself as a pastor of a Bay area Catholic church who has brought two teenage boys from his youth group to the concert.

They put on the shirt immediately Its like a badge of identity. Most of the crowd clearly are still in their teen years, although there seems to be a good number over twenty and beyond. Many are outfitted in skimpy black form fitting spandex or leather clothes, spiked or shoulder-length hair and garish colors.

Yet, they stand alongside a sprinkling of curiosity-seeking kids you'd expect to sit beside in church - short hair, modest dress and smiles. By p. The area around the stage grows with several hundred of the early arrivals - many are smoking, talking and milling around. Recorded heavy metal rock music starts about pm over the auditoriums sound system the sound bounceingg off the stucco walls and echoing throughout the building.

Do you know anything about their message? I smiled "No" Six San Jose policemen, clad in crisp blue uniforms trimmed in white and gold and long black nightsticks, patrol the auditorium's circular corridors. One of the cops - a tall muscular man with a thick mustache - talkes freely with me, identifying himself as a Christian. It greatly restricts the turnout but it also limits the problems.

The groups lead singer , a man with short hair wearing a sport jacket and slacks, stands out in sharp contrast to his band - most of which are wearing shoulder-length hair and surly looks. None of the group's songs ever touch on a gospel theme or message. The songs lyrics seem to characterize what most everybody associated with this concer has in mind. Two men in their mid-twenties who identify themselves as being involved in a street ministry just getting started in San Jose tell me they see Stryper speaking to a part of the culture the church is not reaching.

What'll happen to these kids tonight" I probed? Thats the whole object We'll be witnessing. They indentify themselves as members of a church whose pastor is a prominent evangelical leader. My question was obvious: "Why are you hear? I wanted to see what they are doing now. What about Jesus' words about false individuals coming in His name? What about the Bible's warning on conforming to the worlds standards? Everybody has clearly come to see Stryper. Finally, Alcatrazz has finished its depressing efforts and stagehands move at breakneck speed to clear away the equipment. A large sign proclaiming "To Hell with the Devil" in bright yellow and black letters dominates the backdrop.

The stage is now clothed in jet blackness. The house lights have also dimmed. At pm the eerie strands of Strypers instrumental song "Abyss" begins rising through the sound system imitation a trip into Dantes Inferno evoking visions of the netherworld. Immediately the crowd of several hundred standing in front of the stage erupts, chanting in unison: "Stryper, Stryper Stryper. The ethereal sounds of Abyss - punctuated by the sound effects of moans, groans and yelps - dominates the auditorium for what seems like an endless amount of time. Excitement builds Then gradually at first, then gaining speed, lights begin flashing on stage - first red, then blue, then yellow.

Now - faster and faster and faster they flash. The stage ignites in a crescendo of lights, sights, and sounds. All four members of Stryper - Robert and Michael Sweet, Oz Fox, and Tim Gaines - are in place and roaring into the deafening sounds of their first song, "To Hell With the Devil" The crowd pressing against the stage, is screaming its approval; many are dancing.

Hands clap' bodies boogie to the beat. Lights flash.. Spotlights blaze. The thre up-front musicians - Gaines, Fox, and Michael Sweet - are gesturing at the audience shaking their heads of shoulder-length hair, dancing and strutting across the stage. Drummer Robert Sweet, long blonde hair flying, flails away on drums inside a setting which looks something like a childs swing set which has been painted yellow and black. The stage is dominated by the drum set and two runways leading to platforms on either side fo the drummers setting. Of course everything is painted yellow and black as are the guitars, the drums, and the bands spandex-and-leather outfits.

The sound level is deafening almost beyond belief. The bone-crunching ear shattering, guitar dominated music is exploding throughout the auditorium by the way of twenty speakers - ten each located on either side of the stage. In the balcony, the words of the songs are indestinguishable. One of the street preachers has taken a seat nearby and I ask, "Can you understand any of these lyrics. My policeman friend walks past on patrol.

Occasionally an overzealous fan is pushed back from the stage. After some twenty minutes i the balcony, I decide to get a closer view by going to the first floor. I want to see everything up closer - particularly one long-haired young man who has stripped off his leather vest and is dancing alone to the bands beat in the center of the floor. Standing on the first floor gives an entirely differenc picture of the concert than in the balcony - yet most of the crowd is upstairs - maybe for safetys sake.

Fifty feet away from the stage itself, the floor is vibration to the bands throbbing rhythm as Michael Sweet sings "rocking because you died for me". In fact the beat seems to pulsate almost unbelievably at this range - my chest seems to literally be heaving from the sound.

The sound is numbing. After playing and dancing through three or four songs, lead singer Michael Sweet says to the crowd: "I see this is a rock and roll crowd tonight" The crowd, especially those pressed against the front of the stage, shouts approval and soon the group is blasting its way through another series of songs. These guys cook. We're not talking just simmer or medium warm here, but boiling smoldering power-driven rock" Energetic and any related adjective in the book would describe Strypers on-stage performance: vigorous, active, forceful, strenuous, dynamic, animated, tireless.

Many in the crowd seem to know the Stryper songs - singing the chorus of a number with the group or shouting back a slogan. Arms continue to be raised in unison and the index finger held up. A few dance, but most stay glued to the stage. Between one song, Michael tells the crowd, "We've found you dont need drugs or booze. We've got something better - Jesus" The moment is brief and the band is quickly back into another song. At p. All four musicians throw out yellow and black striped New Testements which land among the several hundred standing around the stage area. Perhaps some 50 New Testements in all are tossed out, and people dive for the tiny books wherever they are thrown.

The effort of throwing New Testements is standard for all Stryper concerts. He tells the crowd: "If it wasnt for you pointing to the people , we wouldnt be here, and if it wasnt for Jesus Christ, none of this would be possible A few applaud. Several cheer. But most of those around the stage mumble in seeming disagreement at his words. Michaels brief statement is as close as the group ever gets in presenting anything resembling the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Throughout the concert guitarist Oz Fox has danced up and down the yellow and black runway to the platform beside the drum set.

Bassist Tim Gaines, a thin young man with a lone mane of blonde hair, has shaken his head continously during the concert. My neck aches from just watching. At one point, Michael Sweet dances over to the left side of the stage and plays an imaginary guitar across the genital area of his body while strutting and swinging his hips to the music beat. THe group briefly leaves the stage after one of its crowd-rousing numbers only to be called back for an expected encore. Robert Sweet is pouring a bottle of liquid over his head as he walks back to his drum set.

In one fluid movement he pulls off his yellow and black shirt with the numbers on the back and hurls it toward the crowd. As they finish, Michal Sweet shouts, "Jesus Christ rocks," and the group leaves the stage. The cross behind the Stryper stage setting blazes. A young woman representing a TV station in San Francisco introduces herself to me. She's spent the afternoon interviewing the group and plans a profile soon for a program.

When she hears this book is being written with Jimmy Swaggart, her lips seem to curl. A spotlight technician is removing earplugs from his ears. I do this for a living," he explains. Its happened before.. It willbe a full twenty-four hours before I feel as if Im not talking inside a barrel.

5 Ways to Recognize "A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing"

People leave the auditorium like hundres of ants fleeing a disrupted antbed. I never see the two street ministers again - nor did I ever see them passing out tracts in the concert. Outside, the misty rain falls. The limo waits for its passengers. Perents pick up their offspring. A homeless man and woman who had been sitting ona park bench behind the auditorium are now gone.

As we drive past the auditorium, a handful of teens - mostly girls - are standing in the alleyway around the bus and transport truck which apparently hauls Stryper, its equipment, and its crew. The faithful are waiting for a glimpse.

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No question about it, I have just seen a sight-and-sound "show" by four talented young men. But far worse, I have also watched as hundreds of young people - maybe even a thousand or more - in desperate need of a Saviour walked out without any opportunity to receive Him, the Source of all life.

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Instead of hearing a clear-cut, straightforward presentation of teh Gospel, these young people have been treated to a shallow substitute - a musical Jesus who rocks and rolls. What a shame. It is an unbiblical, pitiful portrait of the humble Galilean, the sovereign Son of the Living God. My heart aches over such misguided, unfit efforts in the name of the Lord. That is evident from teh words of Revelation " The great choirs of Jerusalem, under Davids direction, would assemble together and sing these great songs. One section would sing a certain part and another would raise their voices in a responsive chord.

It is recorded in history that the children of Israel were the first people to sing, to clap, to play musical instruments, and to worship God in song. There are over indivicual references to music in the Bible, either to singing or to the use of musical instruments. David is commonly referred to as "the sweet singer of Israel" The Jewish people were an emotional people. Their worship was often characterized by great exclamations of joy, shouting, clapping hands, or waving of arms, and at times, with tears. One can easily see these characteristics in the Psalms of David or by simply reading selected passages from the Old Testement.

Music was even used by the prophets when prophesying by the Holy Spirit. Thats confirmed from the wordsof Samuel, the great judge and prophet of Isreal. The word "psalms" in the Greek is psalmos, which means a set piece of music, a sacred song, to be accompanied with the harp or other instruments.

The word also means to celebrate divine worship with music and singing. This is the meaning of the Hebrew word translated as "psalms" in the following verses: "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works" 1 Chron. Again and again the word of God records amazing incidents where Gods people burst forth with music and singing to honor the exploits of the Lord on their behalf. We read in Exodus 15 of Moses and the children of Israel singing a song unto the Lord after their miraculous crossing of the Red Sea. The song reflects the great joy of Gods people who have seen the hand of the Almighty in sparing them from the host of Pharaoh's army: " I will sing unto the Lord, for he hath triumphed gloriously: the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea.

The Lord is my strength and song, and he is become my salvation: he is my God, and I will prepare him an habitation; my father's God, and I will exalt him Then in verses twenty and twenty-one, the Bible records how Miriam took a timbrel in hand to lead the women in a time of great rejoicing. Verse 25 notes the dominate attitude over-shadowing this effort:.

Thus all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with the sound of the corent, and with trumpets, and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps" 1 Chron. Verse 23 in that chapter observes: "Sing unto the Lord, all teh earth; shew forth from the day to day his salvation.

When Jesus Christ came into this world, His appearance was made known by a chorus of angels who serenaded some obscure shepherds watching their flock. God had chosen the medium of music to herald this signal event in human history - the coming Emmanuel - God with us. The Scripture records: "And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the Lord, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the Lord: for his mercy endureth for ever. And when they began to sing and to praise the Lord set ambushments against the children of Ammon, Moab, and mount Seir, which were come against Judah; and they were smitten 2 Chron.

Then, a miracle happened.

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To sing with accompaniment is a command of the Word of God. And it was only when Israle misused them -to commit sin - that any rebuke came as described in Psalm 32 and Amos 6. In Ephesians and Colossians , the saints are commanded to use psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, and to make melody in their heart to the Lord. Without question, the Word of God from beginning to end has given its approval to the use of musical instruments in worship.

To believe and practice otherwise would be contrary to Scripture. Among them he lists the following "Confession: the acknowledgement of sin and guilt to a holy and righteous God" "Thanksgiving: giving thanks to God for what He has done, especially for His works of creation and Salvation" "Adoration: praising God simply for who He is - Lord of the Universe. Dr Tozer wrote "Now I happen to belong to that segment of the church of Christ on earth that is not afraid of the word "feeling.

And so they said, "Now, dont believe in feeling brother; we dont believe in feeling. The only man who went by feeling was led astray: and that was Isaac when he felt Jacobs arm and thought it was Esau. Remember that? A person that merely goes through the form and doesnt feel anything is not worshiping. Worship also means to "express in some appropriate manner" what you feel.

Now, expressing in some appropriate manner doesn mean that we always all express it in the same way all the ime. And it doesnt mean that you will always express your worship in the same manner. But it does mean that it wil be expressed in some manner. And what will be expressed? And the man who has not been humbled in the presence of God will never be a worshipper of God at all. He may be a church member who keeps the rules and obeys the discipline, and who tithes and goes to conference, but he'll never be a worshipper unless he is deeply humbled.

There's an awesomeness about God which is missing in our day altogether; theres litle sense of admiring awe in the church of Christ these days. Now thats my definition of worship - that we are to feel something in our heart that we didnt have before we were converted: that we're going to express it in some way and ist going to be a humbling but a most enjoyable sense of admiring awe and astonished wonder and overpowering love in the Presense of that most ancient Mystery" Dr.

Tozer has focused upon one of the magnificent aspects of worship - that feeling deep in your soul. Surely that was the emotion that must have gripped Jesus' folowers on His triumphal entry into Jerusalam in Luke , In the latter portion of Ezekiel , the Bible says: " In Isaiah , he is called Lucifer, "son of the morning" In ezekiel , he is described as "the anointed cherub" who "wast upon the holy mountain of God: thaouh has walked up and down in the midst of the stones of fire.

When one considers verse seven - "the mourning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for joy" - it is quite possible that Lucifer was the director of the great choirs of heaven, who literally led the angelic host in songs of praise and worship when God made the world. But Lucifers music changed. Like every good gift from God, Satan has often counterfeited and perverted Gods gift of music to serve a demonic purpose. The "anointed cherub" created sounds that induced the worship of those angelic beings who fell from their heavenly estate with him.

The story focuses upon Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who set upa a large monument to himself "in the plain of Dura" Then the command goes forth: " To you it is commanded, O people, nations, and languages, That at what time ye hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, ye fall down and worship the golden image that Nebuchadnezzar the king hath set up: And whoso falleth not down and worshipeth shall the same hour be cast into the midst of a burning fiery furnace" Dan.

It is offered only as worship in a godless, carnal sense. Yet, who can deny it is still music? Though an entire Babylonian nation could be coerced into bowing before this satanic music, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to heed this muisc. They knew it paid homage to a false god. They would not bow. Their ears were tuned to the Lords melody. The Muses were Greek mythical characters considered to be a source of inspiration that would cause a portion to be absorbed in a thought and thereby would create a state of being or mood.

Though we dont believe in Muses, we do know that music deals with the emotions and that music can create a state of being or mood in a person. This is obvious in our use of such terms as happy songs, sad songs, and other such references. The kings servants evidentally knew something about the soothing nature of music in certain instances, for the Scripture says: "And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand" so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him" verse 23 THE CHRIST FACTOR Before Jesus Christ was born into this world to live among men - and later to die and rise again - most music was in the minor chords.

All the great psalms orignated by David for worship were basically in minor chords. It should be noted that the majority of music fromm other parts of th world of that day was demonic in origin and had little or no melodic flow. However, after the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, music gradually changed from the minor chords to the majors, and only then was its full potential realized.

IT was as if Jesus' life, death and resurrection opened up the hearts of men to a higher level of worship - thus the progression from the minor to the major chords. The first popular music in the American colonies came from the church. The Pilgrim settlers particularly enjoyed singing psalms. It contained translations of biblical psalms with directions on how to sing them. If you look at the nations of this world which dont worship the Lord today, or which worship in a distorted or erroneous manner, you will find that their music has a strange and eerie sound disturbing to the western ear.

Not long ago while visiting Cairo, Egypt, I went out to walk and pray just before dark. Music is not for evangelism. There is no biblical case for music to be used for evangelism as some proponents of religious rock would suggest. In fact, there is not one scriptural reference in the Bible tying music and evangelism together. Music in the Bible in every instance is either used in praise and worship to God or to Satan.

There appears to be no biblical ground for the use of music as a viable soul-winning technique. Gospel music has always been meant to prepare people's hearts for the preaching of God's word. Throughout history, individuals with gospel music ministries have always been connected to preaching ministries. The Bible states clearly in I Corinthians " Although mentioned over times in Scripture, music is never used as entertainment or an end within itself. The music medium can speak to us, soothe and challenge us, but it takes the preaching of the gospel to transform a life. Yet the religious rockers are steadfastly maintaining that the reason for their approach - manner of dress, sound systems, strobe lights - is solely for the purpose of soul-winning.

Mylon LeFevre is quoted as saying: A light show, flashy dress, and large sound systems are not used to urge Christians to come to the concerts. Those things are used to attract the unsaved to come so we can give them Jesus, the Word of God. Before you can teach people the gospel, you have to get them to come to the auditorium where you are holding a concert. For that reason, the sound of the band members and the looks are very important. That's the only reason Broken Heart looks and sound the way it does. If I could be a regular preacher and still reach kids, I would.

Ironically, most of these singers and musicians now playing religious rock were not won to Jesus Christ by the same tactics they now claim must be employed to reach young people. They weren't saved on a rock and roll gospel. Yet vitually all these artists - some of which sport mohawk haircuts and wear chains and leather - insist that young people can be reached only through the medium of their culture, rock music.

The basic truth is that these individuals like the trendy clothing of the youth culture and they enjoy rock music. That's why they've adopted such tactics. It has very little to do with soul-winning since most of their efforts are directed at church kids who are already born again. Thousands for Christ Mylon LeFevre indicated in a published interview that some 30, young people had signed a card during a year's time indicating they had given their lives to Christ following a religious rock concert by his group, Broken Heart.

My question is this: Where are these young people today? What has happened since they supposedly signed a card? Have they been discipled? Did someone help them find a Bible-believing local church? Did anybody do any follow-up on all these so-called conversions? Any valid evangelism program to reach people for the Lord Jesus will have a sensible follow-up program to enable the new converts to grow and mature in the faith.

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  • Without it, an indiviual has been done great disservice. He has not been blessed. A Baton Rouge Experience I would ask these religious rockers who feel their music is enabling them to win the lost - how do you reach the unsaved when a Christian promoter books the groups, Christian radio stations advertise the concerts , and Christian bookstores sell the tickets to other Christians? In essence, religious rock artists are banking on young people, some of whom have never shared their faith with anybody, to give them a perfect musical setting to bring their unsaved freinds. It just doesn't happen.

    Glen Berteau, youth pastor at Family Worship Center in Baton Rouge, took a poll this past summer of the young people attending the weekly Crossfire meeting. He asked how many had been saved through a church service or attendance at a Christian camp? About 70 percent raised their hands. He then asked how many had been saved through one-on-one witnessing from another Christian.

    Almost all of the remaining young people in the auditorium raised their hands. He asked finally how many had been saved at a religious rock concert. Only one person out of approximately young people in attendance that night raised his hand. After the service, the young man told Glen he had given his life to Christ five years earlier at a concert. The teenager's cousin had witnessed to him prior to the concert; thus his heart had already been prepared. Yet the trend persists. Religious rockers claim the only reason for their approach - the loud music, the rock outfits styled after the world, the theatrics on stage - is to win converts to Jesus.

    From all information I've received, the religious rockers aren't reaching new converts for Christ. They're making disciples to their rock music style out of church kids because that's 95 percent of their audience. Alter Calls It is obvious that if the religious rockers are presenting the gospel of the Lord Jesus, then there must be an opportunity for the hearers to respond. That's the basic with any evangelistic service. Yet Amy Grant, who has sold more than four million records and been arguably called "the most popular Christian singer on the face of the earth," does not give alter calls in her concerts.

    In discussing her album, Unguarded, she gives a hint at her emphasis: I wanted to make a record that would basically fit between Madonna and Huey Lewis. Perhaps this emphasis is why the Chicago Sun Times, in its March 23, , edition, dubbed her "the Madonna of Christian rock. The words "Jesus," "Lord," and "God" come up less often, and Grant has even included a straightfoward love song. She is quoted in another article from U. How does she think her music will speak to you? She's using the tactics and the music of the world. If a person is really searching for Jesus Christ, there's virtually no way he could find him in anything this young lady does.

    Jesus declared the following about his presentation of "Good News": " I spake openly to the world; I ever taught in the synagogue, and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort; and in secret have I said nothing" John Why wouldn't a Christian want to proclaim Jesus openly? I cant understand the reason for not telling the world about him. That's the approach He took in preaching His message. Of course, I know some people will say Jimmy Swaggart isn't in the modern era. He's somewhere back in the s.

    If that's your thinking, then read the following letter written to Contemporary Christian Magazine from a year-old girl in Charleston S. As a year-old Christian surrounded by "the world," I feel what I have to say is relevant. What message is Amy taking to this "dying world"? I've heard her album and have also heard "Love Will Find a Way" on both Christian and secular radio stations. I don't see any message except, as your review put it, "a positive ethical life-style Yes, her message has gotten through to this lost and dying world.

    Perhaops that is the problem - it's Amy's message and not God's. Amen, young lady, you've put your finger exactly on the root of the problem. Glenn slashes at his guitar like he's fighting off a six stringed attacker, while John throws his sticks at his drums. Stu Heill on guitar and John Denotn on bass add their instruments to the musical mix.

    Then Wendi Kaiser belts out her harsh vocals to the first verse of a song that painst a bleak picture of emptiness of modern life -'Hiding out in my bedroom -I wish that I coud die: - No one seems to love me - But Im not going to cry" In describing the group, Glen Kaiser is quoted as saying: "We look at ourselves as a band that just happens to be Christian. We are Christians first, and we make no bones about the fact that we follow Jesus and that we are speaking from a Biblical perspective.

    But at the same time we are no longer afraid to be known as rock and roll musicians. Its like trying to combine oil and water, light and darkness, sin and salvation. What they are advocating is something in biblical terminology that does not exist. The Word of God looks at these issues with the following instructions: "Wherefore come out from among them, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you" 2 Cor.

    With their latest career move, the band now runs the risk of alienating even their staunchest allies in the world of Christian rock - but its a risk worth taking. It simply sounds like somebody attempting to carve a bigger piece of the pie for themselves. Last fall, their label, Sparrow Records, signed a distribution agreement with Capitol Records - a much-vaunted improvement over Sparrow's previous alliance with MCA.

    Capitol will not only manufacture Sparrow discs, but it will lend its radio promotion staff to help get them played on secular radio stations. Rez has made a number of moves designed to facilitate their transition to the secular market. I wonder if any of the changes will be significant? The article continues: ""The members of Rez band realize their secular move is double jeopardy: they might be rejected by the non-Christian rock establishment for their religious roots and their old fans might take exception to their taking on the world In order to do that, Rez is all too aware, they're going to "play by certain rules," as Herrin puts it.

    They've already stopped the practice of altar calls in the concert, and their toning down overt references to the Lord.

    In general, they want to present themselves, first and foremost, as a rock band"" Do you recognize a trend developing with the religious rockers? Some are quitting the practice of altar calls. Most are dropping clear-cut references to the Lord. The emphasis is on raw rock and roll. Jesus declared about Himself: "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" John The WOrd of God does not say adopt the tactics, methods, and styles of a rock band. Can Jesus be really lifted up at a rock concert? Can anyone be genuinely converted while these rock musicians scream their message and play their blaring instruments?

    The audience wont even know the purpose for any of this so-called "sanctified entertainment. Rez had gotten the distince impression that they were preaching primarily to the converted. Did it honestly take them that long to reach such a conclusion? In truth, an altar call does not fit the setting for what most of these groups create.

    It would be like casting pearls before swine Matthew An altar call should be given when the Spirit of God is present, moving with conviction to touch the hearts and lives of people. The Spirit of God is not in such concerts, so why give an altar call? Smith, a talented keyboard musician who has played on a number of Amy Grants records and also written several popular praise songs, was aided on his new album by producer John Potoker, who produced records for Paul McCartney, Phil Collins, The Thompson Twins, and Mick Jagger.

    They come out and want to have a good time. Some people need to get out there and preach to them. Ask them for a decision at the end, but thats not my calling. The kids I see are just ready to kick it out and have fun. If the music is supposed to be about Christ, why wouldnt there be an opportunity to receive Him? Would somebody's conversion mess up the program? Somehow the music has become more important than either the Messiah or the message. To be frank with you, Jesus Christ was never the purpose.

    He was only the pawn in this money game. Perhaps we need to re-define the word "reach. Webster's Dictionary says reach means "to stretch out" or "to extend" I am totally mystified how anyone can be reached with the Gospel when the music dominates the message Such presentations, programs, and albums have nothing to do with the Gospel.

    No tangible, worthwile result can be achieved because the Lord Jesus Christ has not been lifted up. That scriptural method - by lifting up the Son of God - is the only proven way to ever get any results. Religious rocker Steve Taylor went so far as to criticize another contemporary singer, Carman, for establishing some criteria for a concert.

    Taylor is quoted in the February issue of Contemporary Christian Magazine as saying: " I heard the other day that Carman had come up with four criteria for Christian concerts that he shares. One was that you had to talk about a literal devil, one was that you had to give an altar call, and I cant remember the other two.

    Now Carmans and intelligent guy. Where does he get off laying down these rules? Its a place many of the religious rockers have drifted far from. People said when I came to the Lord, "Now you can use all this talent and what you've learned over the years for the Lord". Listen, it took me six years to unlearn what I learned from the world!

    The words of Ezekiel cry out for recognition. Emerging from clouds of machine made smoke on a darkened stage - at these concerts, there are no drafts of marijuana fumes - Walsh held her arms out to form a shadowy crucifix. But when the beat quickened, bright lights suddenly revealed a strutting Walsh in shiny white spandex pants, an oversize white shirt, white lace gloves, and glittered hair. Her message was arresting too: songs of troubled marriages and fear of nuclear war. What does this kind of sensuality have to do with the Gospel of Jesus Christ?

    What about the Christian virtues of righteousness, purity, and holiness? Are those biblical traits out of style in the 's? I once heard A. It is a disgrace in the eyes of God. Rolling Stone reporter Michael Goldberg wrote: ""Grants also pragmatic about her career. Regarding her album covers and publicity photos, which portray her as a sexy, attractive young woman, the Christian pop star says, "Im trying to look sexy to sell a record.

    But what is sexy? To me its never been taking my shirt off or sticking my tongue out. I feel that a Christian young woman in the eighties is very sexual. The Rolling Stone article also raised eyebrows over a reference to Amy Grant sunbathing in the nude, as well as comments, some sexually explicit, about a Prince concert she attended. The Rolling Stone story gave the following quote: " When he [Prince] started humping the state, I got a little embarrassed," says the twenty-four-year-old Grant, sitting in the bright sunlight near the swimming pool at her Universal City hotel.

    If I want to do this at home, fine. I dont want to watch Prince doing it. I didnt get off watching him create the illusion of masturbating. Shes very frank. Adding "If Gods judgement is going to fall on us for that, let it fall" The article, Harrel clainmed is "inflammatory," but the most distressing part for Amy is to see a lack of love and understanding from Christians. Isnt it ironic, if you ever question someone's published remarks or somehow challenge their point of view, you're always accused of "lacking love" On the contrary, I think it IS an act of love to tell people there will be no mixing the sacred and sexy in heaven.

    It is wrong! It has no basis in Christianity. God is not its author. Knowing how the secular news media can twist and distort stories on Christians, Donnie was sympathetic about Amy Grants treatment at the hands of a magazine know for its articles on counterculture personalities and rock music stars.

    How Larry Norman Became the Elvis Presley of Christian Rock

    Donnei knew his own father had been the victim of bad press. Thus, he decided to ask Gary Chapman about the story. Im sure it must have misquoted and misrepresented AMy. Yet in some ten minutes of conversation, he never once denied any remark made in the Rolling Stone interview, nor did he ever suggest she was misquoted. It seemed like a big joke more than anything else, according to Donnie. Of course, Chapman has a habit of shocking people. Never once was any affirmation about the Lord Jesus ever made. No testimony was ever given; no admonishment to praise the Lord offered.

    The song closed with them back-to-back, bodies touching in movement. A lot of church kids were in attendance at the concert - some of which walked out confused at the sensual presentation they had just witnessed. About a month before the Baton Rouge concert, Bailey had the nations number one song, "Easy Lover," written for him and co-sung with rock star Phil Collins. The song has been accused of promoting promiscuity. It was sung at the Baton Rouge concert promoted as a Christian event and supported by a number of churches.

    For instance, at the Grammy Awards in , she wore a hand-painted, leopard spot dinner jacket and was barefooted. The crowd at the Christian music festival was dressed for a day of music and sun -with most people wearing some version of shorts and summer tops. Somehow the combination of heat, halter tops, and spiritual intimacy aroused the young people, setting a mood that could best be described as "sexually charged. But were making a commitment here. Its a shame when the secular world recognizes what we, as Christians, are doing is wrong.

    Its obvious to them. Why isnt it obvious to us? Why does the world somehow recognize that a church standard has been broken? For centuries the church has set the standard for decency and morality. The world recognizes that standard because the church established it. Now the secular reporters watch that standard being broken by those who claim to be Christian - and even the world knows its against the accepted norm. Maybe her come-hither look on the album cover really suggests that she wants to have you over to talk about Jesus, but who is to know until you put the record on the turntable and actually listen to the lyrics?

    Phillips said in a Contemporary Christian Magazine interview, January , " Sheila E has been an opening act for Prince. To be frank, it is blasphemous. It further raises the question: Is the world leading us or are we leading the world? In fact, why are Christians even borrowing the ways of the world? I ponder that question exctensively when I consider the appearance of a heavy metal, religious rock group like Stryper.

    Or perhaps the Killer Bees, which is what the four young men on stage look like in their tight leather-and-spandex costumes crisscrossed with garish black and yellow stripes. Piles of makeup, spikey hair, and enough dangling chains to tie up half the elephants in Africa complete the picture of teh up-to-date heavy metal rock group. Even the music, the sound of a swarm of angry insects electronically amplified several thousand times, fits the image"" Time observed that these performers are "indistinguishable - except for their lyrics - from their secular counterparts.

    In Gratns pop song called "Open Arms", for example, she croons "Your love has taken hold and I cant fight it" keeping it unclear whether or not the lover is Jesus. Its cerrtainly not the Gospel. Most of the lyrics are nonsensical. A tiny silver cross dangles from one earlobe. In his gray leather jeans, tight white "muscle shirt", and oversize cotton jacket, singer Tim Miner looks every inch the rebellious rocker"" Thats precisely one of the issues in this controversy - born-again, oftimes Spirit-baptized young people who want to look like the rebels of this world.

    The Newsweek article further observes: ""He grabs the microphone with one hand and lifts a clenched fist. Any time the so-called sacred and sexy have been mixed, that performer has been deceived by Satan. Its that simple. But even worse. You shake your fist in the devils face all you want, but unless you've go Jesus reigning in your life, you'll likely come back with no hand if you're dealing with the real enemy. Spiritual warfare isnt waged against the devil by shouting cutesy little slogans and shaking your fist. Its done through prayer, fasting, and acting upon Gods Word alone.

    But thats the biblical approach and few of the religious rockers seem interested in that means. Whatever produces that feeling is a gift, whether its a delicious pizza, a thrilling water slide, a growling and screaming amplifier If the rock sound makes you feel alive, and if you're tuned in to faith, you'll connect that feeling with God - though probably not right away.

    Thats okay. God doesnt expect us to think of Him directly every moment we are enjoying one of his gifts. Christian rock - there is such a thing. I dont mean standard "church music" played just a little faster with more of a beat.