If you are new to Christian rock, please read this
post about the definition of Christian rock and some of the biggest questions about Christian music.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Christian Testimonies

For this entry, I want to concentrate on three testimonies of Christian musicians. I want to talk about Lacey Mosley, lead singer of Flyleaf, and Joseph Rojas, lead vocalist for Seventh Day Slumber. I also want to talk about Brian Head Welch, former guitarist of Korn.

I have included a summary about each musician and their testimony. I also have videos of each artist sharing their personal testimony. I really hope you will take time to watch these moving and powerful videos of these three amazing Christians.

Lacey Mosley is the lead vocalist for the Christian rock band Flyleaf. Flyleaf’s debut album sold over 1 million copies and was certified platinum. Their second album, released in 2009, sold over 56,000 copies in the first week.
(Lacey Mosley)
Lacey had a very tough childhood. She grew up as an atheist, and believed it was her mission to tell others there was no God. At the age of 16, Lacey decided to commit suicide. The day before she planned to end her life, Lacey got into a huge fight with her grandmother. After the argument, Lacey’s grandmother forced her to go to church. While at church, Lacey had a supernatural encounter with God. Through the help of a sermon and a deacon, Lacey accepted Jesus Christ into her heart.

Joseph Rojas is the lead singer for the Christian rock band Seventh Day Slumber. Seventh Day Slumber is known for playing driving, rock anthems with lyrics about issues facing youth today. But, like so many other Christian bands, Seventh Day Slumber puts Christ at the center of all the lyrics.

"There are things going on with Christian kids that no one wants to talk about because we¹re supposed to be happy," said Joseph Rojas, lead singer and guitarist for Seventh Day Slumber. "When talking about those issues, we always paint Christ as the answer to hurting people and tough situations."

(Joseph Rojas)

Like Lacey Mosley, Rojas also had a very troubling childhood. When he was young, Rojas vividly remembers his father physically and verbally abusing his mother. While growing up, Rojas was constantly being teased for being Hispanic, overweight, and poor. When Rojas was in his teens, he began experimenting with cocaine, in order to escape the pain of life. By the age of 21, Joseph Rojas was a convicted felon, thief, atheist, and had a $400 a day cocaine addiction.

One day, Rojas decided to commit suicide by taking a lethal amount of cocaine. While overdosing on cocaine, his mother walked in on him. His mother quickly called the paramedics. In the back of an ambulance, Joseph Rojas found the love of God. Later on in life, Rojas also had the opportunity to lead his father to Christ.

Brian Head Welch is the former guitarist for the highly publicized heavy metal group Korn. Since the band’s formation in 1993, Korn has sold over 16.5 million records, earned 6 grammy nominations, and released 33 singles.

After being with the band for almost 12 years, Welch left the band in 2005 after he accepted Jesus Christ. While being a member of Korn, Welch had a debilitating addiction to methamphetamine. Welch’s miraculous transformation started when he became a father. Brian was especially affected when his daughter began singing explicit lyrics from Korn songs.

(Brian Welch and his daughter)

Brian Welch was first witnessed to by his real estate broker. Over the phone, his real estate broker quoted Matthew 11:28 to him. The verse reads, “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” This Bible verse turned out to have a profound impact on Welch’s life. Soon after his conversation with the broker, Welch became a Christian, became completely sober from drugs, and quit the band Korn. Welch firmly believes that God used his daughter to save him.

Since his conversion, Welch has now joined the world of Christian rock. He released his debut Christian metal album, Save Me From Myself, on September 9, 2008.

This video of Brian Welch is featured on the website I Am Second. This website features testimonies from people around America. It includes testimonies of famous athletes and coaches such as Jason Witten, Josh Hamilton, Darrell Waltrip, Joe Gibbs, Tony Dungy, Sam Bradford, and Colt McCoy. Stephen Baldwin, Mike Huckabee, and Jason Castro are also on the website presenting their testimonies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Top Ten Music Videos

With this blog, I want to do a variety of posts about Christian rock. Not all of them will be serious, in depth looks at Christian music. For a few of my posts, I want to incorporate some top ten lists. This is my first top ten list featuring my top ten favorite Christian music videos. Some videos are serious, passionate worship songs unto God, while others are simply all about having a good time. One video shares about how we have a monster inside of us, while another video is a concept song about World War II. Overall, this list features a vast variety of different themes and messages. I hope you enjoy my first top ten list.

10. Switchfoot - Dare You to Move
This song was featured on the Beautiful Letdown album in 2003. Most people don’t know that this song was first featured on their album Learning to Breathe, 3 years earlier in 2000. First off, I love this song. This song is an anthem for us as Christians, to live our lives to the fullest. Great song, great video.

9. Relient K - Must Have Done Something Right
This song was released in 2007 on their Five Score and Seven Years Ago album. In my opinion, this is one of Relient K’s all time catchiest songs. Must Have Done Something Right is a light-hearted and fun look at a relationship between an extraordinary girl and an ordinary guy. The music video features a really cool concept about a boy, a girl, and a soccer ball. Plus, the video is directed by none other than Marc Webb. Sadly, it was the famous Marc Webb, not me.

8. Flyleaf - All Around Me
All Around Me was released in 2005 on Flyleaf’s self titled debut album on Octone Records. Lacey Mosley has one of the strongest female voices in Christian music today. This is one of my all time favorite worship songs. This is a stripped down song that features heavy and heartfelt lyrics to God. Just like the song, this video is very simple as well. No flashy lights, big productions, paid actors, or lots of special effects. This is a simple video of Flyleaf worshiping God through the song All Around Me.

7. Hawk Nelson - Zero
This song appeared on Hawk Nelson’s sophomore album in 2006 called Smile It’s the End of the World. Zero is about a person who has committed suicide. The song is told from the perspective of friends and family left behind after their death. It talks about the shock, sadness, anger, and grief over having their friend leave this world at a young age. The music video is a visual interpretation of the song. The video features many people and their testimonies on how they were changed after someone they knew committed suicide. This is a very powerful video and song.

6. Philmont - The Difference
The Difference was featured on Philmont’s debut album released in 2009. This is one of my all time favorite punk/pop rock songs. This song is an anthem to Christians about how Jesus Christ should be very evident in our lives. The Difference was filmed on a budget of less than $300. This video is proof that you don’t have to have huge budgets to make a great video.

5. House of Heroes - In the Valley of the Dying Sun
This song was featured on the 2009 album The End Is Not The End. This album was a loose concept album about World War II. This is definitely one of the most unique and interesting records in Christian music today. In the Valley of the Dying Sun specifically deals with a man wrestling with God, after he has killed a man in war. The video is a very moving and amazing rendition of the song.

4. Family Force 5 - Dance Or Die
Dance or Die is the title track on their sophomore album, which was released in 2008. This song is definitely the least serious song on my top ten list. This song is all about dancing and having a good time. The members of the band love to dance, and believe there is going to be a party in heaven. This music video is simply a fun video featuring the members of Family Force 5 dancing.

3. Anberlin - Paperthin Hymn
Paperthin Hymn is the second track on Anberlin’s sophomore album, Never Take Friendship Personal. This song has many different interpretations, so I will let you decide your own personal interpretation of the song. The concept of the video is a boyfriend visiting his girlfriend in the hospital. The video features a very surprising ending, but I won’t tell you what it is. Watch it, and find out for yourself!


2. DC Talk - Consume Me
This song was released in 1998 on their album Supernatural. This album is arguably one of their most underrated albums, and this song proved to be one of the highlights on the record. This song serves as anthem/worship song unto God. It is about how Jesus Christ consumes us and invades our space after we have invited him into our heart. The concept of the video is about how freeing it is to break away from social conformity.

1. Skillet - Monster
This song was featured on Skillet’s latest album entitled Awake. The song is about how we, as humans, are sinners. Skillet calls sin: a monster. Whether we are Christians or non-Christians, we are all sinners, we have a monster inside of us, and we are in need of a Savior. The video features a concept that is a little different than the song. John and Korey Cooper, of Skillet, are trying to escape a hospital where they are running tests on them. This video is very well done, and it even features a SWAT team.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Definition of Christian Rock Music

In beginning this blog about Christian rock music, I first wanted to talk about the definition of Christian music, and Christian rock in particular. I also wanted to answer some questions like:

“Is Christian rock an oxymoron?”
“What makes a musician a Christian artist?”
“Does Christian rock music really bring praise and glory to our Lord?”

I want to answer all of these questions and more about the truth behind Christian rock music, and how it relates to the Bible.

The first question is, “Is Christian rock an oxymoron?” Before we can answer this question, we must first take a look at the definitions of oxymoron and rock and roll. An oxymoron happens when two contradicting terms are combined into one. According to yourdictionary.com, rock and roll means, “a form of popular music that evolved in the 1950s from rhythm and blues, characterized by the use of electric guitars, a strong rhythm with an accent on the offbeat, and youth-oriented lyrics.”

This definition simply states the meaning of rock music. There are no religious, Christian, or non-Christian implications in this basic definition. Some people and musicians have taken this definition a step further and made rock and roll into a lifestyle, not just a type of music. Some people associate rock music with tattoos, drugs, alcohol, sex, parties, etc. This type of lifestyle has nothing to do with the style of music a musician plays. Yes, there are rock musicians that engage in this lifestyle, but there are also rap, country, and pop artists who engage in this lifestyle as well. This lifestyle is simply an occurrence in secular rock music, it is not the definition of rock music. Rock and roll is simply a style of music, just the same as saying gospel, country, hip-hop, or jazz is a style of music. Music by itself has no religious implications. Music is simply an avenue. Therefore, Christian rock is not an oxymoron because rock and roll is a style of music, not a lifestyle. You can play rock music without engaging in an immoral lifestyle.

The second question is, “What makes you a Christian rock artist?” I believe there are three criteria that you must pass before you become a Christian artist. The first one is very simple: are you a Christian? I know this point seems obvious, but to be a Christian musician, you need to have Jesus Christ in your heart. Yes, I know the Christian music industry is not perfect and there are people in the industry that are not Christians. But, for the truly honest musicians, you first need to be a born again Christian before you can be called a Christian musician.

According to titletrakk.com, this is what Nadaddy of Family Force 5 had to say about what makes a Christian artist, a Christian artist. “What makes a Christian artist a Christian artist is whether or not they’re walking with Jesus. If they’ve given their heart to God, then they’ve given their heart to God.”

Second, I believe the musician’s lifestyle also defines you as a Christian artist. The type of music you play is not what defines you as a Christian, but the life you lead before Jesus Christ and others is what defines you as a Christian. Now I am not saying go out and judge every single musician you see and say, “They’re a Christian, this band isn’t Christian, this musician is a Christian,” and so on. I am not saying judge Christian musicians. In the Bible it specifically states in Matthew 7:1-5, that you should not judge others or you will be judged by God accordingly. God tells us to judge what is right and wrong, not the validity of someone’s faith and how they present their faith to others. That is for God and ONLY God to judge. What I am saying is the musician’s lifestyle should be a major factor in deciding if this band is Christian or not. It should be very evident in the musician’s life whether or not they are a follower of Jesus Christ.

Here is what KJ-52 had to say at titletrakk.com about what he believes makes a Christian artist. “What makes a Christian artist, at least in my definition, is that obviously it starts with a faith in Christ. But I would take it a step further and say that your music should reflect your faith, not that every song needs to be a seven-part eschatology teaching, but I think it should reflect who Christ is in your life.”

The final reason is lyric based. There are really two major types of lyrics in the Christian rock scene. I will go into this subject much deeper later on, but for now I will give you a brief overview. The first type of lyric is worship lyrics. These lyrics are pure worship songs unto God. The main focus of these songs is bringing praise and glory to God. The second type of lyric is issue based. Most Christian rock bands, since they are geared towards teenagers and young adults, talk about issues that are occuring in teenager’s lives today. When it comes to subject matter, most bands have a wide variety that they choose from. The subjects can be everything from prayer and witnessing, to alcoholism and cutting.

You may ask, “how can singing about alcoholism and cutting be Christian?” There is a very fine line that Christian bands walk on when singing about these subject matters. Most bands choose to sing about these subjects because kids are dealing with these subjects everyday. Most bands believe that they can reach out to kids and witness to them by meeting them wherever they are. They want to show teenagers that even though they are alcoholics, or they are cutting themselves, or they are doing drugs, that God still loves and cares for them. With this subject matter, there is one major difference between Christian rock bands and secular rock bands. Secular rock bands glorify these subjects. Secular bands glorify alcohol, drugs, and suicide. On the other hand, Christian bands are showing kids that these are wrong, but God still loves and cares for them. That is one major difference between secular and Christian rock music.

In an interview with jesusfreakhideout.com, John Cooper of Skillet talked about how some of Skillet's lyrics are about darker subjects. “Despite all the things you go through, there is a hope. Coming back to the record [Collide], there are a lot of dark songs and dark issues on the record. I do think that this record is less of a youth group album than Alien Youth. I mean, it is and it was supposed to be. And we really believe this record was supposed to be written for a different audience as well. And I don't mean unbelievers, but I mean people who are going through some of those issues. And I think the only real difference between this and a Korn record or Tool or something like that is we do talk about some of those issues but there is an underlying hope.”

The third question is, “Does Christian rock music really bring praise and glory to our Lord?” My answer to this question is yes. In the Bible, there are many scriptures about singing and praising God through music. In Psalm 101:1 it says, “I will sing of your love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will sing praise.” Many critics of Christian rock music stand firm on two subjects: they believe Christian music should only be used to praise God; it should not be used to evangelize to the lost. Second, they believe Christian rock music does not make a joyful noise to the Lord.

First, I disagree with the statement that Christian music should only be used to praise God, and not evangelize to the lost. Why can’t Christian music be used to evangelize? Yes, music should be used to bring praise and worship to God, but it can also be used to evangelize. Evangelizing to the lost, IS bringing praise and worship to God! God rejoices when we bring people to know God. Thus, music evangelism is a form of praise to God. In Acts 16:25-34, Paul and Silas were singing praise hymns to God in prison. Later on in the story, a jailer and his family were saved and baptized through the ministry and overt praise of God. Their singing, along with God’s miracle of the earthquake, helped lead a family to Christ. Once again, music can and should be used to not only praise God, but also evangelize to the lost!

The other statement was Christian music should make a joyful noise unto the Lord. I actually thought about this statement for a long time. I kept thinking to myself, what is a joyful noise? What does God consider a joyful noise? I kept coming back to one answer: sincerity of the heart. It doesn’t matter what you are singing, whether it is Christian rock, Contemporary Christian music, Hymns, or Gospel music. But what does matter is whether you are singing with a sincere heart. It doesn’t matter if you sing bad, good, loud, soft, scream, or whisper. What matters is if you are sincerely offering this song up to God, giving praise to him. I think that is what makes a joyful noise to the Lord.