Is there actually a Christian singer out there with a Bible believing attitude?
From: "Timothy Aho" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
To: "Watch Unto Prayer" <email@example.com>
Subject: Steve Camp's 107 Theses: A Call for Reformation in the Contemporary Christian Music Industry
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 21:52:05 -0400
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A couple months ago, Christian singer Steve Camp, called attention to the worldly condition of Christian music and drew strong criticism from the Contemporary Christian Music establishment. He also published a poster that contains 107 theses modeled after Martin Luther's list that started the Protestant Reformation in 1517. This poster was sent out on Oct. 31, Reformation Day. The 107 Theses are posted on the Prodigy Christian Music web site:
Recently, a CCM crossover singer, Michael W. Smith, said that Jesus would not be found in a church today preaching fire and brimstone, but would hang out in the bars. Yet the Lord Jesus purchased the Church with His blood and established it, giving it His authority to preach the Gospel as He did -- wherever lost men are. Whether He spoke in the synagogue, countryside or bars, Jesus had much to say about the reality of heaven and hell.
I am posting reports on both musicians, which I believe speak for themselves.
God bless all,
Watch Unto Prayer
Distributed by CNV News Service; an outreach of Messengers of Christ Ministries. These articles may be used in any manner to the glory of God, and as an aid in the discernment of the times . April 2, 1998 [Andy Neckar, CNV News Service]
Christian singer stirs up industry with campaign for change 02/21/98
(By Christopher Ave / Special Contributor to The Dallas Morning News 02/21/98)
Contemporary Christian music has lost its soul, says one of the genre's veterans. Steve Camp, a singer and songwriter who released his first album 20 years ago, has sounded a clarion call for repentance and reform in the $1 billion-per-year industry.
On a 4-foot poster mailed to nearly 6,000 music industry officials and followers - and soon to be distributed nationwide by the tens of thoBlipnds - Mr. Camp complains that Christian music "yodels of a Christ-less, watered-down, pabulum-based, positive alternative, aura-fluff, cream of wheat, mush-kind-of-syrupy, God-as-my-girlfriend kind of thing."
And Mr. Camp is not stopping there. He said that within a month he'll announce plans for a new record label that promises to produce only songs with lyrics fully supported by Scripture, give away CDs to Christian ministries and sponsor concerts that resemble church revivals.
"We cannot vacillate," he said during a recent interview. "We have to move through the fog of our society with absolute clarity, or we might find ourselves crashing into the iceberg on a spiritual Titanic."
Division in the Christian music industry has been developing for years, observers say, as artists have gained exposure on secular radio and in nonreligious retail stores.
"I think definitely it was inevitable for this perspective to come out," said Lindy piano coversren, managing editor of The CCM Update, an industry publication. "I think there's a lot more visibility of the industry's issues among the public than ever before because of this."
And Mr. Camp is not alone in his views, Ms. piano coversren said. "I think Steve has a ton of supporters," though more in Christian radio and retail outlets than within the Christian recording industry, she said.
Of course, criticism of an industry that by some standards is enjoying unprecedented success has also raised hackles.
"I think Steve needs to concentrate on his own life and not worry so much about everyone else's," said Carman, a singer and songwriter who, like Mr. Camp, has been releasing records for 20 years.
[Editor] Yeah, that is exactly what I expected of Carman. This Carman would tell Christ the same thing if Christ were to criticize his antichrist music.
Led by longtime crossover performers such as Amy Grant and Michael W. Smith as well as newer acts blip Talk, Jars of Clay and Audio Adrenaline, contemporary Christian music is reaching more people than ever, its defenders say.
If Christian music were limited to exclusively Christian outlets, Carman contends, "We would lose a whole generation."
One veteran Christian music publicist suggested that Mr. Camp may be acting, at least partially, out of a frustration with the stagnation of his own career. Mr. Camp last released an album four years ago. He left the piano coversner Alliance label in 1995.
[Editor] Folks, I guess I act out of frustration too. My secular career stagnated some time ago. The last time I brought home a check of "any kind" was a lot longer than four years ago.
"It's a little easier to talk that way when you're not being embraced by the industry," said the publicist, who requested anonymity. "I don't see him doing anything of much consequence apart from his criticisms".
Mr. Camp, who lives in Nashville, Tenn., the center of contemporary Christian music, realizes he has offended many friends in the industry.
"I've received threats saying, 'If you keep on, we'll bury you,' " he said. "I could have committed adultery with somebody and gotten better press. I could have released a bland crossover record with Shaun Cassidy-type lyrics and gotten a better reception than this poster got."
Mr. Camp's poster contains 107 theses modeled after Martin Luther's list that sparked the Protestant Reformation in 1517. Mr. Camp said he released it after six years of study and 47 days of fasting and prayer. He sent out copies on Oct. 31, Reformation Day.
"I just didn't one weekend go to the office and say, 'Let's take on a whole city as a matter of marketing strategy,' as some people have said I've done," he said. Citing the Bible for each of his theses, Mr. Camp argues that music created by Christians amounts to a ministry and should glorify God by proclaiming God's word precisely. Contemporary Christian music "has committed a spiritual adultery in joining itself with the waypiano coversd world," a reference to secular companies' ownership of Christian music labels such as Word, Sparrow and Star Song.
Today, he said, he hears a kind of Christian music very different from what he heard during the industry's formative years in the 1970s. The newer music, he said, doesn't have much Christ.
"I remember the days when people actually sang about the Lord and weren't ashamed of it," he said. "Now it's simply marketing technique. It's simply money." He said other artists have told him privately that record labels have pressured them to leave words such as "Jesus," "God" and "sin" out of their songs.
Mr. Camp believes that if current trends continue, Christian music will become indistinguishable from secular music.
"The lines have become so blurred that [Christian] artists are taking past secular hits and saying these songs represent Christ because they sing them," he said. "That's absolutely ludicrous. It's like singing 'Hey Jude' and saying it's about that little epistle" in the New Testament.
"When an artist takes an old song like the Edgar Winter hit 'Free Ride' - and does a very poor rewrite of it - and it turns out to be the Number 3 song [on a Christian rock chart], that doesn't justify it. That song is not about the Lord; it's about a one-night stand between a man and a woman."
The lead singer of the Christian group that re-recorded the song, Audio Adrenaline, said he believes that God often works through non-Christians, including songwriters and record-company executives.
"I think God can use people, even a person who doesn't even know God, in a way to bring glory to himself," said Mark Stuart. "I think God's in control of what's happening, and I see fruit of Christian music continuing to grow."
At Audio Adrenaline concerts, Mr. Stuart said, band members share their testimony and talk about God. The group even offers an "invitation" to receive Christ, similar to those at evangelical church services. The band's first headline tour appeared Thursday at the Bronco Bowl in Dallas.
"On this tour, we're seeing kids come to Christ every night, we're seeing walls come down between generations," Mr. Stuart said. "You cannot be ashamed at the music, or embarrassed, but at the same time you can be sure they will hear the good news of Jesus Christ at the show."
Mr. Stuart does see much good in Mr. Camp's campaign. "I personally think there does need to be a reformation, not just in music but in Christianity itself," he said. "I think it's cool he's challenging people to become more in tune with what God wants."
Other observers agree with some of Mr. Camp's critique but disagree with his conclusions.
William D. Romanowski, professor of communication arts and sciences at Calvin College, a Christian institution in Grand Rapids, Mich., said he applauds Mr. Camp for raising important issues. In an essay for a forthcoming book, Religion and Popular Culture in America, Dr. Romanowski writes that the Christian music industry tries "to serve both God and mammon."
"The fusion of business and religious values and purposes still plagues the CCM industry. It remains something that people in the industry apparently have yet to understand, or at least publicly acknowledge," he writes.
But during an interview, Dr. Romanowski said he disagrees with Mr. Camp. "The psalmist says the earth and everything in it belongs to God. You don't have to justify doing art or music," he said. "Music can do a lot of different things beyond evangelism."
"It's actually a very demeaning view of God's creation, that music, which God created, is somehow not worthy of our participation."
[Editor] God created reproductive members for man and woman too, but how we use these members can be very demeaning. The homosexual idea of using these members are not worthy of our participation.
Mr. Camp's condemnation of the spiritual-secular dichotomy of Christian music may not be embraced by the industry. But it has certainly caught its attention, says Ms. piano coversren of The CCM Update.
"I can't tell you how many requests I've had for that poster," she said. "I don't know that necessarily means all these people [agree]. I do think he's causing people to think. You know what? That's what Luther did. And that's great."
[Editor} Folks, I don't know "anything" about this Steve Camp but what I read in this article. But if Steve's intentions are what he claims, I say, MAY GOD RICHLY BLESS THIS MAN. I KNOW the perception he has of Christian music matches mine perfectly.
Editor: Balaam's Ass Speaks-- Two things startle me in the above article. First, I am amazed at Steve Camp's zeal and the people who are obviously drawn to him. I only hope and pray that this is not some Reconstructionist ploy.
The second thing is the response from a Calvin College Professor. This is amazing when one considers how utterly dead the Christian Reformed Church is.
So, I wish them well, and perhaps we can one day turn on the Christian
radio station and listen to a song twice a day.