“What’s Wrong With Christian Rock?” Movie Review

My answer is “not as much as some people might think.”  …At least these days in 2012….But it all depends on who you talk to and when you talked to them about it.

If you were to talk to Jeff Godwin about the topic back in 1992 when he created his video “What’s Wrong With Christian Rock?” he would say that it is a tool of Satan to get people to take their minds off Jesus Christ, instead of glorifying Him.  Throughout the entire film Godwin finds ways to humiliate all sorts of efforts to praise God, calling it sin.  His main message throughout the film is that if you listen to or are involved in contemporary Christian Rock in any way then you are a sinner and you need to repent right away.  He then goes on to explain all sorts of ways that Satan allegidly has complete power over the Contemporary Christian Music scene, citing that artists such as Michael W. Smith and Amy Grant were promoting witch craft because of the font styles that were chosen on their album covers.  After making this bold statement, Godwin would go on to say that he did not know their hearts so he could not tell if they were genuinely promoting witch craft or not.  Therefore Godwin could not condemn or judge Michael W. Smith or Amy Grant (even though one could tell that he really really wanted to).  Godwin claims that Christian artists of that time were getting their musical influences from secular bands of the time and there wasn’t much of a gospel message proclaimed in their music (and to be fair, the Christian Music scene at the time was not all that great…as things were just getting started).

Godwin quotes all sorts of blasphemy in early contemporary Christian Rock lyrics which would apparently attempt to “lower God from being our Saviour to being our friend or buddy.”  Godwin seems to forget…or have trouble grasping the fact that God sent his only son to earth meaning that Jesus would have to “lower” himself so that he might be able to meet us on our level and die on a cross and be ressurected as payment for our sins.  All this was so that all of human kind could choose to have a relationship with God once again.  Because Christ did this for us, God now can become BOTH our mighty Saviour AND our most intimate friend and or buddy, at the same time.
Godwin would then go on to talk about all the things he didn’t like about certain music styles.  Rap and Thrash Metal were at the top of his list of grievances (I actually do agree with him on mosh pits…they are stupid.)
Godwin ends off the movie by restating his original “thesis” that all Contemporary Christian Music is bad and that we should resort to one of three things instead of listening to it. (Let me remind you that this is his opinion).

1.  Silence
2. The Bible on audio tape (at the time) …nothing wrong with that by the way.
3.  Godly music (which according to Godwin is ONLY the slow Southern Gospel stuff as you can tell when the credits start to roll).

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I wonder if Godwin might have changed his mind and not been so harsh had he waited 10 or 15 years later to record that video.  While it is true that the Christian music scene was not so great in the late 80s and early 90s, in my opinion, it did get better.  Sure the lights are still up and the concerts are loud but the lyrical quality and messages in some Contemporary Christian Rock Bands has improved.  Godwin made a complaint that during live shows the bands in his day would never explain the need for people to ask Jesus Christ into their lives and be forgiven for their sins.  In many Christian concerts I have been to there is a talk given around the middle of the show for that reason.  Hillsong, Paul Baloche, and TobyMac (who Godwin hates for some reason) have all tried to do this in their shows…because it’s not about them, it’s about Jesus.
It is surprising that Godwin completely overlooked this scripture in his rant against Contemporary Christian Music.

Psalm 150

 1 Praise the LORD.[a]    Praise God in his sanctuary;
   praise him in his mighty heavens.
2 Praise him for his acts of power;
   praise him for his surpassing greatness.
3 Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet,
   praise him with the harp and lyre,
4 praise him with timbrel and dancing,
   praise him with the strings and pipe,
5 praise him with the clash of cymbals,
   praise him with resounding cymbals.
 6 Let everything that has breath praise the LORD.
   Praise the LORD.

A Christian Rock concert centred on the worship of Christ is a completely biblical concept.  Arenas and stadiums can become His sanctuary (God owns everything).  Harps and lyres could become electric guitars and bass guitars over time, and cymbals…well you know they are still around!

It is not a sin to listen to contemporary Christian rock music.  Don’t get me wrong, I like hymns as much as anyone, but it is good to have a mix of both if the message is there.

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