Are They a Christian Band? (A loaded question)

By Linda

What Is A Christian Band?

You know when you are excited about a band’s music and you share it with someone and here it comes, the question that they think will simply require a yes/no black and white answer. It may not always be that easy to provide that answer. Let’s step back a minute and reflect on what the real question is. Some of the things that may be at the heart of the question. 

  • Does the band brand itself as a Christian band?
  • Does the band’s lyrics reflect Christian themes?
  • Do they perform strictly at Christian festivals and tour solely with other Christian bands?
  • If they perform with so called, secular bands, do they stand out as Christians?
  • Have some or all of the band members proclaimed to be Christians?
  • Does the band openly discuss their faith, on stage, in interviews?
  • Is their music worshipful?
  • Is cursing used in their music?
  • Does the band’s lyrics display holy living?

The Gift of Music

Music is a gift to us given by God. It can be used for worship, celebration, self-expression, to inspire, bring passion about injustice, to unite people for a cause. It can provide empathy, dispel loneliness and provide a voice for a message or expression. Songs can be written about any of life’s experiences such as love, relationships, politics, Christ, biblical realities, death, disease, loss, sadness, anger, pain, darkness, depression and so much more. On the dark side, music can be used to bring hate, inspire violence, degrade women, describe lewd sexual behavior. So how do Christians that happen to be in bands handle this? This is a very important decision each band or artist has to make. Brent Rambler of August Burns Red once commented on the fact that “It is important to us that people know that we are indeed Christians… without having us stand up there and ram it down people’s throats.” (

This gift called music is precious and humanity holds it in our hands to use for the good or to recklessly express messages that are damaging, hurtful and inspire dark behavior. Bands that contain Christians may express life experiences that some don’t understand or favor. Being a Christian doesn’t mean we don’t go through life with our own unique baggage. This may be expressed by musicians as they journey through this life with Christ or perhaps experience times of wandering. It can get uncomfortable at times but musicians may feel a need to express the dark side of life as well as the bright side.

What Music Will I Listen To?

Understanding that some Christians may want to limit their music listening to bands that brand themselves Christian and that is fine. Others may want to keep to the Christian worship genre of music which helps to keep our focus on God’s glory and how worthy he is of our worship.  Some bands may want to relate to people on the streets, get real about life, bringing their faith in as it applies. Being natural in expressing faith may help to reach the otherwise unreachable. Also, a band may go through a time of doubt, where the journey is strained and disappointment in God or maybe in the church sets in. Many seem to have been hurt by those in the church. There may be a need for it to be expressed. It can help to sort out these realities of life in the public eye.We can look at it as a family chat, beginning with a song, followed by reactions and discussion and inciting prayer.

Understanding people is important. We are all in this together, right? We live in a fallen world, lost Adamic race with an amazing Savior waiting for his prodigals to come home. Sometime those preaching a strong message of purity in Christ fall hard and others that are honest about their sins and struggles become mature and strong in the faith. Those who prefer to live the message of Christ in love and share it as they are led, in a more private, relational setting are being used by God. Those preaching Christ from the stage and being very upfront about their faith are reaching people for Christ. God uses us where we are as believers and in different ways. Look at the apostles after Jesus left this earth, they were each used so differently but all had an impact for Christ.

I’ve seen entirely too much judging going on and not enough self-examination. Sure, there are times when a band disappoints? Their message starts out as hopeful, trusting, with a Christ-centered reality and strays from that to a place to a place of  anger or darkness. This should inspire us to pray, to intercede for them. The journey may have taken a turn into a tunnel of doubt or darkness. Haven’t we all journeyed through those tunnels? Maybe the fog has rolled in and it’s hard to see the light.  This is a time to pray that they would see God’s unwavering love for them shining through the shadows and darkness.

You ask, are they a Christian band? Are they a band that is searching for life’s answers? Are they a band of individuals at different places in their faith walk? Are they having a positive influence on their fans? Is the band’s lyrics bringing about deeper thinking about life and faith? Christians have to draw their lines as far as what music they will listen to. God has us all in different places and gives us different passions, callings, and ministries. So when we ask, “Are they a Christian band?”, let’s keep in mind the complexity of the question. Just realize that this can be a loaded question.