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Theology

A Bit More on Contemporary Christian Music

In my last post, I made the case that Contemporary Christian Music (in general) has grown shallow and must tap into the richness of the history of music in the Christian church in order for it to be a force for the gospel in the future.

In the comments, Grant made a succinct and insightful point that is worthy enough to post here:

Classical music, much of it anyway, was church music when it was written. The church used to be a bastion and financier of fine art. What happened!? I see a couple of reasons: a need to be “relevant” and the rise of top 40 CCM radio.

They kind of go hand in hand. Years ago now, Christians had the idea to make church more comfortable for non church-goers. Great idea, but it led to the need to somehow make Christ relevant to the culture (thereby saying Christ isn’t relevant to the human condition?) and we had to have the Christian version of everything. In my opinion, CCM songwriters were strongly tempted to dumb down lyrics to appeal to a wider audience. Then, it became even cooler to be a Christian band who wasn’t a Christian band (i.e. signed to a secular label). This just turned up the pressure on CCM bands and radio stations to really water down a Christ-centered message to make it easier for bands to get into a secular label.

The cycle continues today. The result is music that is neither interesting nor earth-moving. Jesus becomes analogous to our boyfriend and the concept of the true, broken human condition is moved into the shadows.