In my teens, I become very interested in Christian Music. I began buying cassette tapes and albums of music by Amy Grant, Michael W Smith, Newsboys, Petra, and Whiteheart which were popular artists/bands in the 80s. The music reflected events occurring in my faith life. I was also rebelling in my way against the music my classmates were listening to which didn’t reflect my values.
As I have grown older, I have started listening to some music I was against in my teens. And, yes, there are songs that don’t reflect Christian values. While I don’t listen to those songs on regular bases, I listen to them from time to time enjoying their construction. The way the hooks bring you into the song. The harmonies. The guitar playing.
I also discovered there were songs not as “evil” as I had thought them to be. In fact, the opposite was true. There were songs out there that had very Christian values yet not labeled as Christian. Around the same time, I also discovered a few artists who made Christian music did not live those values.
This has led me to question what exactly is Christian Music? Without going into a lengthy explanation of my inner discussions, I have come to this conclusion. I use these litmus tests. Does the music hold true to Christian values? Does the song assist me in my faith? Does the song build me up as a person? If the answer is yes to all three questions, then I considered the music to be Christian whether or not the artist intended it to be.
Case in point. Black Sabbath has a song entitled “After Forever.” While Black Sabbath is not known for its Christian values, the song, in my opinion, has a lot of Christian values and builds me up as a Christian. So I consider it Christan Music. However, I prefer Stryper’s cover version, as the band comprises Christian musicians who try to live Christian values.