*Update* Joanne Brokaw notified me via email yesterday that her post had gone online while still only in draft form so she had removed it, which is why there was no way for people to comment yesterday. Today her post has been republished and the link below is to her new piece.

The Apprising Ministries post Christian Band Family Force 5 On How To Become A Christian has spawned a piece over at the interspiritual website BeliefNet called Does (Or Should) Christian music help you become a Christian? It appears in their “Gospel Soundcheck,” by “Award-winning freelance writer and columnist Joanne Brokaw” who:

covers entertainment for The Christian Examiner newspapers, The Minnesota Christian Chronicle, and The Ozarks Christian News. Her other writing credits include Breakaway and Brio Magazines, OnCourse Magazine, ChristianMusicPlanet.com, BuddyHollywood.com and AGreaterFreedom.com. Her humor column, A Big Slice of Life, appears monthly in the Christian Voice Magazine and she pens a regular humor column on The Writing Life for ByLine Magazine. (Online source)

Under the category “Christian music poll” Brokaw points out:

I came across this post today at Apprising Ministries, where a 19-year-old allegedly asked the band Family Force 5 how to become a Christian. The response (and I’m waiting for a confirmation from the band that they in fact did write this) was:

Thanks for the cool question! The answer is easy, yet difficult: Here’s the easy (and true) answer: LOVE! The best way to experience the message of Christ is by loving those in need, caring for others, and being selfless!

The email goes on to talk about love and there not being a specific formula for spiritual enlightenment. There wasn’t any mention of redemption, repentence or sin, which is what I assume prompted criticism from the blog author about counterfeit Christianity. (Online source)

Brokaw is right, as a former professional muscian with 2 CDs of my own material and now a pastor, I am very concerned when someone purports to be Christian but does not give a clear Gospel message when asked the central question the Christian is here to answer: “How can I be saved?” The other issue I’m concerned with is with the music itself.

When an act is considered as Christian then those of us who listen to them also have a duty to test their message by Scripture. Brokaw recently wrote about the debut of the “new video ‘Radiator'”, which is featured in the earlier AM Post Brokaw is discussing above. She tells us:

Check out the latest video from “Dance-derived alternative rockers” (that’s what their press release says …) Family Force 5. The band is currently on the Winter Wonder Slam tour with TobyMac, Relient K and special guest B. Reith…  I’m still trying to figure out how some of this music “points to Christ”, as tobyMac says. It’s hot, it’s completely relevent and totally cool. Great production, the band is funfunfun.

I’m sure all of these bands on the tour are devout in their faith. I’m not questioning that at all (so save the “stop judging” comments for another day, OK?) But is “doing it the way they do” what we’re commanded? Or are we trying to fit Jesus into our own image of cool? When we’re attaching “Christian” to a genre of music, shouldn’t we be glorifying Christ? (Online source

But when examined the music of FF5 does not give evidence of Christianity. In fact one of their fans informed me that, although FF5 is perhaps their favorite band, as they read my original article, “now that I think about it, none of their lyrics is ‘Christian’. ” Against this background in her post Brokaw asks: “How much ‘Christian music’ really doesn’t have anything to do with Christianity?” This is a large part of what I was driving at posting on FF5.

For example, as a Christian and author of the song below, I would not consider it as “Christian” even though it fits within the Christian world-view as expressing the heart of God to help mankind even though we’re often so ungrateful. And despite whatever differences we might have theologically I am in agreement with Brokaw as she continues:

My two cents? We’ve become a culture of Christianity that looks to others to live our faith for us. We go to church and listen to Christian music, but we don’t read the Bible or grow in our faith on our own. Or as Chris Tomlin suggested, we’ve become consumers instead of being consumed by God.

We trust the guy on stage to be our mediator; we go to a worship concert, and we’ve fulfilled our spiritual quota for the day. I think sometimes we’re missing out on the essentials of a relationship with Jesus in our quest to be relevent and cool and have the latest music and books. (Online source

“Broken Wings”

See also: