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.

22 Comments

  1. Joseph Brent Shumway on June 16, 2024 at 8:56 am

    I really liked this article. I have been unsure of metal. I am 26 years old and I have been unsure of whether or not I liked christian metal. I love rock bands like Casting Crowns and Mercy Me. I’ve listened to Skillet, Kutless, and Sanctus Real has one metal song on their first album. I love the song What Faith Can Do by Kutless. First heard it from another guy who was covering it on a youth camp album by my church.

  2. Be kind, and rewind on March 27, 2023 at 10:09 pm

    It’s not a compromise Vernon. You can’t judge people based on stereotypes. It’s okay to have different musical tastes. Please give these Christian bands a chance.

    Remember: Music is neutral/amoral.
    I pray that God will open your heart. 🙂🧡

    • Shawn on May 2, 2024 at 1:55 pm

      //Remember: Music is neutral/amoral.//

      Remember? Who (of any importance and authority) said that — God?
      Nope.

      Just as there is dress that is appropriate for one thing and not for another, and dress that is appropriate for no public place (thongs, short shorts that reveal your butt cheeks (or more) and under no conditions in the life of a Christian (such as BDSM clothing), there is music that is appropriate and music that is not appropriate, depending on the context, and there is music that has no place in the life of a Christian. And there are folks whose minds have been so seared by their constant exposure to this crap that they Think it’s appropriate for public worship. Most of the churches today have “worship” times of people playing amplified contemporary rock music with Christianesque lyrics, which are questionable most of the time, and downright wrong and even blasphemous at others.

      Music in and of itself can sound seductive (like a huge proportion of today’s pop music), and is purposefully engineered for the purpose of making people feel sexually jacked up; and likewise metal for the purposes of destruction — destruction and desensitizing of the mind, in similar fashion to the way that ultra-violent video games desensitize young men to brutal behavior towards each other.

      Either of these are, therefore not appropriate for Christians. If a husband wants to sing a seductive song to his wife or the other way around, in the privacy of their home that’s one thing, but you don’t go and publish it. And don’t even try and bring in the Song of Songs, because that’s the Word of God, and nothing that you and I create is the inspired, infallible, and inerrant Word of God.

      And so-called Christian metal songs, with the lead vocalists screaming or growling the lyrics, particularly if they were indecipherable unless one has the lyrics sheet, cannot in any way, shape, nor form be said to be legitimate for anything but bringing about confusion, and presenting and supporting feelings of angst, etc.

      When you can’t tell what’s being said, you can’t sing along with any certainty. And why would you want to, especially if there is no distinguishing difference between how it sounds and how the music that was designed to bring about a sense of doom, and gloom, and more specifically to blaspheme God?

      What’s next, Christian porn? Oh, that’s right Kanye West is now in that business. So much for his moronic “Christian rap”. Sheesh.

      To suggest that someone who is growling the words of a song containing words of praise is legitimate in the same way that a non-cacophanouos song would convey the same lyrics without confusion is to display one’s disconnect from reality.

      Some people want to say “there’s no righteous or unrighteous KINDS of music, only the lyrics make the difference.” Hogwash. I like good ol’ classic rock … or some of it. Anything in them that is either inappropriate, confusing, or especially blasphemous is that which makes the “skip” category on the radio app or CD for me, and for anyone with a reasonable conscience — one that hasn’t been seared by constant exposure of bad, twisted, and evil music. But there is music that is appropriate for congregational singing, and those that are only good for singing to yourself while pulling the weeds in the garden. But don’t hand me any nonsense about all music being neutral.

      The following is specifically about so-called speaking in tongues that was being done in the Corinthian church. The things being said are directly applicable, as the sounds coming from the people in these “Christian metal” bands are basically equal to people blabbing in a bunch of nonsense syllables, which in this case, again, are not discernible without an official lyrics sheet.

      “And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a DISTINCTION in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an UNCERTAIN SOUND, who shall prepare himself to the battle? So likewise ye, except ye utter by the tongue words EASY TO BE UNDERSTOOD, how shall it be known what is spoken? for ye shall speak into the air. There are, it may be, so many kinds of voices in the world, and none of them is without signification. Therefore if I know not the MEANING of the voice, I shall be unto him that speaketh a BARBARIAN, and he that speaketh shall be a BARBARIAN UNTO ME.” (1Cor 14:7-11)

  3. Vernon Kennedy on August 4, 2022 at 5:53 pm

    Compromise in the name of unity. Nothing new. Head banging, mosh pits, screaming, and so forth had its foundation in worldly metal. No changing that. This is mixture. Hot and cold.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

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

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

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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)?

  12. 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 🙂

  13. 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

  14. 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!

  15. 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.

  16. 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 Comment