Read This Before Condemning Christian Metal

your-rock-music

Oftentimes people are quick to form an opinion on something before taking the time to really get the facts on it. It’s easy to do, and the fact is I have been guilty of it as well. In the case of Christian metal bands, this has been a particularly prominent issue. It’s easy to see why though. Early heavy metal bands were pioneers of songs with sacrilegious lyrics and dark, heavy melodies to accompany them (hard riffs shouldn’t particularly condemn a song, but the lyrics are definitely a red flag). As a result, the people who tended to listen to this music were often doing so while the enjoying of the song’s anti-religious meanings.

Fortunately, through the grace of God, people who had grown to like heavy metal for the wrong reasons were hearing and responding to the Gospel. Some Christians even liked the hard, driving melodies of the music. So what were the new and old Christians that enjoyed the hard rock style to do? Would they have to change their taste in music to become part of the church community?john-copper-skillet-john-cooper-33227383-199-253

The lead singer of the hard rock band Skillet, John Cooper, has a background similar to this. His family was a very traditional Christian family and did not condone his love of rock music.  John desperately wanted to listen to hard rock bands, and go to their concerts, but wasn’t allowed to. He wasn’t trying to go see Metallica or Ozzy; he wanted to listen to bands like Petra who had Christian lyrics. After much persistence, he got his mother to attend a show with him (though she was only going to show him the flaw in his music). Fortunately, during the concert, his mother had a change of heart after seeing the band play and worship God. You can hear his full testimony by listening to an interview he did at Creation Fest 2013 by clicking here. [1]

It’s great for John Cooper that his mom changed her initial opinion on Christian metal (we might not have Skillet today if she didn’t), but not all Christians come around to this thinking. The continued criticism has made it difficult for hard rock bands to find their audience. As a result, this has led youngsters to listen to whatever makes it onto secular radio, instead of Christian music that their parents would more likely approve of. The unfortunate consequence of this is that it negatively effects a young person’s faith.

Opposition to Christian metal have said everything from, “How can the lyrics be uplifting God if you can’t understand them?” to “All rock music is hand-written by Satan.” So why should God-loving Christians accept Christian metal? I have laid out a few points to support the genre.

Please note that this article is to provide a case for Christians to support musicians that share their beliefs, not to provide a case for non-believers to support Christian rock (though it would be a good idea for them, too, if only to support a positive message in their genre).

It Shows Unity in Christianity

Nothing pushes people away faster than to see a group openly oppose someone within their faction. If we want to make our beliefs appealing to everyone, we must not drive them away with disunity. I am not saying, however, that if you see a fellow believer struggling with sin that you should look the other way. Saying that all Christian metal is bad, because secular metal can be bad, creates division between believers (that’s not to say that you won’t have theological differences with these musicians, though).

1 Peter 3:8 says, “Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” If we can’t reflect unity, we will certainly have a hard time leading souls to Christ. Set aside the fact we won’t have time because we are too busy bickering. Bands having to defend their cause to believers is a waste of time that they could be using to write God-uplifting lyrics. How can we all be parts of the same body (the body of Christ Romans 12:5) if we are working against each other?

To Keep Christians Listening to Christian Lyrics

Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that Christians should not listen to secular music. While it is fun to listen to Bullet for My Valentine, it feels much better to listen to Inhale Exhale or Thousand Foot Krutch because you know the message is a positive one that lifts God up instead of bringing Him down or glorifying a sinful life (not to mention you can sing along to all of the lyrics).

The choice should be simple when you are deciding what to allow your kids to listen to as well. Fireflight says,

fireflight2

“Sometimes it’s hard to just keep going
But faith is moving without knowing
Can I trust what I can’t see?
To reach my destiny
I want to take control but I know better”[2]

 

 

The popular secular group Stone Sour says,corey-taylor.jpg-3118

 

“I waited here all night for you to come
But your love just disappeared
I’m waiting in the dark for miracles
But miracles don’t happen here
Miracles don’t happen here”[3]

 

Teenagers are going to listen to the music they like. They may not be allowed to listen to it at home, but you can bet when most of them are in the car by themselves or out with friends, they are listening to whatever they want. I know I did when I was younger. Any song that didn’t have my parent’s approval only got played more when I was alone.

You Support More Godly Role Models

It is no secret that the rock world is littered with poor role models. Their songs often glamorize a promiscuous sex life, drugs, and excessive partying. The most important thing though is that a lot of secular bands glamorize atheism and mock the living God. When we purchase their albums or songs, we are contributing to their cause. Now, not all secular rock bands do this, but supporting Christian metal only puts more resources on the other team’s court.

disciple1

Concurrently, the Christian rock world is filled with godly men and women that can be good role models to followers. Kevin Young has sung for the band Disciple since 1992. The message behind their songs has always been godly and has provided followers with a positive, Christian message. On the band page Kevin says,

“We want people to walk away from our songs directed or pointed in His direction. I don’t mean to be so super-spiritual about it, but I think God saves us so we can shine his light on someone else. At the end of the day, winning an award is awesome and it feels good. Having a number one song is awesome and it feels good. But two years down the line, people forget. You couldn’t tell me who won Super Bowl XIII. That was a long time ago. I want to do things that have an eternal impact, and I believe that not only means pointing people to Christ, but bringing glory to him.” [4]

This message should be much more appealing to Christians than non-believers.

Christian Metal Bands Reach Lost Rock-Lovers

So we have identified that the message coming from these Christian bands is what we want people to hear, but who is hearing it? It is great for believers to get to listen to this message and support these bands, but wouldn’t we also want those that need to hear the Gospel to be listening as well? Great news! Most of these Christian metal bands tour with secular bands and give a Christian influence to lost young people and old people alike!

This year For Today played shows in the Van’s Warped Tour with a slew of secular bands. [5] A lot of people, Christians and non-believers alike, attend these shows. All of these people heard lyrics like,

ForToday-MattieMontgomery-LGBT

“Let my name be feared at the gates of Hell, as I exalt my Savior.

The One that died to buy my victory, and gave me a new name.

Let my name be feared at the gates of Hell, as I exalt my Savior.

In the name of the Holy One of God.”[6]

This band prays before their set and authentically attempts to reach the lost with their gift. What about any other ministry could be better?

 

Many people have credited these bands with leading them to accept salvation. www.metalforjesus.org has an entire page dedicated to testimonies of those that accepted Jesus after listening to metal bands. [7] Should these newly-saved be led to Christianity by music, only to ultimately be condemned for listening to the music that led them to salvation in the first place? This music is important in their lives, and we shouldn’t condemn them for listening to what they like. The Holy Spirit will convict them if the music is leading them from Christ. If we do see them drifting to bad music, we should guide them back. We just need to do our homework on the bands they are listening to.

Ultimately, these Christian bands will go to the edge with their music, because that is where the lost are. They toe that line to meet those that need saving where they are. These people might not be reached with traditional ministry. It’s not for any of us to say that their ministry isn’t blessed by God.

This article can honestly be applied to any Christian music style. Everyone’s taste is different, and everyone is led to Christ differently. Let’s work together to glorify our Creator and reach people for Him together. Hebrews 10:24-25: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.”

Do you think Christians should be able to play heavy metal?

Sources: [1] Interview with John Cooper, main singer from Skillet @ Creation Fest 2013

[2] Fireflight Lyrics “Unbreakable”

[3] Stone Sour Lyrics “Miracles”

[4] Disciple Band Bio

[5] Van’s Warped Tour 2014 Bands

[6] For Today Lyrics “Devastator”

Shawn Bain

Shawn is the Vice President of Geeks Under Grace and director of marketing. He has played video games since he was 2 years old and has immersed himself deep within the geek culture. Writing short stories and releasing them for free to the public began his writing journey, and now he uses what he has learned along the way to help Christians benefit from geek culture. Out of his desire to serve Christ, he also founded DUDEronomy and continues to write short stories that entertain and give perspective into the life of a Christian. Shawn's hope is that his life would exemplify a follower of Christ and lead people to accept salvation through His grace. He wants to be a good father, husband, son, and friend to those around him.

18 Comments

  1. The_Professor on December 7, 2014 at 11:05 pm

    I figured I’d leave a comment here for people that come to read this. I am surprised no one spoke of the band Theocracy. Their music is very faith-based.

  2. Luke on September 28, 2014 at 5:42 pm

    Whaaaaaaat? No August Burns Red. Regardless, I highly recommend that all Christians check out Christian Metal.

  3. Jason Mcneill on September 28, 2014 at 5:23 pm

    Fight the Fade, Switchfoot, Skillet, Reliant K, Kutless, ROCK HARD !!!

  4. Cross on August 31, 2014 at 6:59 am

    I just discovered GUG and im stoked to find this as one of the first posts i see. For years now I have been heavy into Christian music and the last few, metal. I still see it all the time, people condemning Christian metal music. Awesome I find a site where people enjoy the same games, movies, and music as i do. If anyone is interested over the last year i have started my own music project, i have little knowledge of actually playing music, but i am insanely proud of what God has given me the ability to make. Its called Beyond Vision on youtube if anyone is interested!

  5. Sofia Butron on August 17, 2014 at 3:53 am

    Y’all should definitely listen to We as Human, Demon Hunter, and my personal favorite, Thousand Foot Krutch! Absolutely great rock bands!

    • Parker Godfrey on September 28, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      We As Human is amazing! I’ve listened to them very day since I happened to see them live 4 years ago. So underrated.

  6. Michael Morejon on August 16, 2014 at 12:54 am

    Very good article, I liked the sources and the writing style. To be honest I am NOT a fan of metal, Christian or secular. Not my thing at all, though I don’t say that Christian metal is demonic. I agree that heavy metal lyrics are super dark and satanic (secular), so I stay away from it.

    That being said, I AM a big fan of Skillet and Red, seen them both live. They are great! This article helped me appreciate the genre more, even though I am not a fan, I am more of a hip hop/edm guy so maybe I can write a similar article defending those, since they get a similar rep.

  7. Baranocte on August 15, 2014 at 11:21 pm

    Great article! Christian metal definitely had a huge impact on my life. I always loved the genre but the lyrics you find in the secular stuff is often very dark and violent. So I’m super grateful for many of the bands mentioned here that allows me to enjoy the genre and be encouraged and uplifted by the songs as well.

  8. GRWL on August 15, 2014 at 6:15 pm

    Totally entirely agree. I love metal, but I can’t stand the darkness and the anger in it, it’s hard to relate. Christian metal can be awesome, but we do need a few more original bands rather than Christian-alternative-to bands; were made in the image of a creator God and have that divine creativity in us, do we really have to make copy cat bands?

    That said, anyone recommend some good christian alternative progressive stuff (think Tool or Karnivool)?

  9. Josh Kline on August 15, 2014 at 6:09 pm

    I come from a Christian family and a small church. As a listener of metal/hardcore, they were very skeptical of my music because it sounded “demonic”. It wasn’t until I showed them the lyrics to the songs I was listening too that my family and brothers and sisters at Church became accepting of Christian metal.

    Kind of surprising what lyrics without the music can do, and then showing a person the song that has those lyrics. Lol 🙂

  10. Michaelah on August 15, 2014 at 5:46 pm

    Beartooth rocks, saw them at Warped this year! I’ve been a fan of For Today for years! I LOVE Christian metal <3

  11. Josh Mors on August 15, 2014 at 4:52 pm

    You forget to put Stryper on there. They are a heavy metal Christian band. One of my favorites!

    • Rob M. on December 8, 2014 at 1:23 am

      To Hell With The Devil!

  12. Cooper D Barham on August 15, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Thank you so much for this article. Kevin Young and John Cooper are awesome, as well as their respective bands. Definitely a fan here. 🙂 Of those bands and beyond. Keep up the good work.

  13. Robert Butler on August 15, 2014 at 4:29 pm

    I love Christian Metal! I would love to see an interview with Beartooth on this site

    • Dustin Moore on August 15, 2014 at 5:58 pm

      Great article, really like what was said.

      Robert, I actually host the metal show on a Christian radio station called BrokenFM. I had Caleb Shomo on as a guest just before they released Disgusting, you can check it out at http://www.broken.fm/interview if you want!

    • Wesley Wood on August 15, 2014 at 6:59 pm

      Then interview them Rob!

Leave a Reply