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We sometimes call this or that group/singer a 'Christian' while we do not call others as such. I've once asked here if a certain group could be considered Christian and received vastly different responses. On the other hand there are openly 'Christian' groups whose performances are so stupid one would not wish them be associated with Christianity. So, what are the defining qualities and how one can check if a certain group/singer/songwriter is Christian in their/his/her work

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closed as not constructive by DJClayworth, wax eagle Aug 23 '12 at 17:27

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To be honest, it's more of a cultural question than a religious one. Then again, it's hard to draw the lines. General rule of thumb: drawing on a rich cultural heritage and centuries of Christian thought to create challenging and thoughtful art: bad. Sickly sweet junk that makes Jesus sound like your boyfriend: good. So it goes. –  TRiG Jul 6 '12 at 20:03
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You just capitalise the pronouns ;) –  TRiG Jul 6 '12 at 20:10
    
This is rather funny, because today's Breakpoint (Chuck Colson's ministry) was exactly on this. When I'm not on a phone, I'll try to link. –  Affable Geek Jul 7 '12 at 4:23
    
I think the defining qualities are too subjective to be useful in most cases. I know many people who think Creed is a "Christian band," despite their very new-age-ish lyrics. And I know many people who think Evanescence is a "Christian band," despite the band's insistence to the contrary. And yet others wouldn't consider the Mormon Tabernacle Chior a Christian group. I think the label is pretty well arbitrary, and dependant entirely on the person using the label. –  Flimzy Jul 7 '12 at 5:58
    
I'd say there are some underlying worldview beliefs that would first have to be addressed. Is there even a true distinction between sacred and secular? What makes Christian music Christian? I'd bet that even if we could agree on a definition, most of what is called Christian music these days wouldn't pass. There are Christians who are musicians, and there are Christian musicians. And what about instrumental music? Many churches don't play the "Treulich geführt" (Bridal Chorus) because of the pagan elements of the Lohengrin opera for which it was written, for instance. –  maj nem ɪz dæn Jul 7 '12 at 6:14

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Much like the definition on this site, the definition of a "Christian" artist tends to be "any group that claims itself as such."

Much of the rise of Western Music can be attributed to the harmonization of the mass and other sacred music - Bach would sign his work "S.D.G," sola Dei gloria - for God's glory alone - but he is rarely considered a "Christian musician." Robert Greenburg in How to Listen to and Understand Great Music delves much more deeply into the historical connection of the church and western music.

In contemporary times, "Christian Contemporary Music," including the likes of Michael W. Smith, Petra, Degarmo & Key, Amy Grant, Steven Curtis Chapman, and similar people, is itself a branding term that tends to encompass a certain style of music that often gets picked up by "praise and worship bands" at contemporary churches. Indeed Jon Acuff (Stuff Christians Like) mentions that these P&W bands often release their own CDs, and clearly fall in this category. Many of the luminaries of the band (e.g. Michael W. Smith) serve as Worship Ministers in their own churches.

Amy Grant, however, helped to define the term when she transitioned from being a "Christian" musician to a more mainstream one. (Russ Taff did the same move but didn't get nearly the same amount of press.) When she released "Baby, Baby," she did so explicitly under the guise that she wanted to do more mainstream stuff. In reaction, many Christians still wanted to claim she was a "Christian artist," despite Grant's desire to "move on."

From the NY Times, 5/11/02:

A writer in the evangelical magazine Christianity Today criticized Ms. Grant's 1997 release, ''Behind the Eyes,'' for its ''complete absence of explicitly Christian lyrical content.'' The ensuing controversy prompted the Gospel Music Association to adopt content requirements for its annual Dove Award entries.

In 2009, Bob Carlisle's secular "Butterfly Kisses" won the coveted "Song of the Year" from the Gospel Music Association's "Dove Awards" - the premier CCM award. According to industry insiders, the GMA was embarrassed that a song without any "Christian" content was voted the coveted "song-of-the-year". To that end ...

Gospel Music Association (GMA) Awards and Criteria Committee has created criteria for eligibility of Dove Awards based on lyric contents. The definition states:

"Gospel music is music in any style whose lyric is: substantially based upon historically orthodox Christian truth contained in or derived from the Holy Bible; and/or an expression of worship of God or praise for His works; and/or testimony of relationship with God through Christ; and/or obviously prompted and informed by a Christian world view."

The only previous requirement for Dove Awards was simply — Christian retail store distribution. In other words, if it was sold in so-called Christian stores it was eligible.

(Reference, but be warned, it gets weird...)

In the end, "Christian" is as much a brand as an actual adjective. The wide spectrum of CCM has no branding authority, so it kind of is was it is.

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Very good, thanks! –  Alex Jul 9 '12 at 19:52

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