Contemporary Christian music: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Contemporary Christian music (or CCM or "inspirational music") is a genre of popular music which is lyrically focused on matters concerned with the Christian faith. The term is typically used to refer to the Nashville, Tennessee–based pop, rock, and worship Christian music industry, currently represented by artists such as

Avalon, BarlowGirl, Jeremy Camp, Casting Crowns, Steven Curtis Chapman, David Crowder Band, Amy Grant, Natalie Grant, Jars of Clay, MercyMe, Newsboys, Chris Tomlin, Hillsong, Michael W. Smith, Rebecca St. James, Third Day, tobyMac, and a host of others. The industry is represented in Billboard Magazine's "Top Christian Albums" and "Hot Christian Songs" charts,[1] and by Radio & Records magazine's Christian AC (Adult Contemporary), Christian CHR (Contemporary Hit Radio), Christian Rock, and Inspirational (INSPO) airplay charts,[2] as well as the iTunes Store's "Christian & Gospel" genre. Not all popular music which lyrically identifies with Christianity is normally considered Contemporary Christian Music.[3] For example, many punk, hardcore, and holy hip-hop groups deal explicitly with issues of faith but are not a part of the Nashville industry. Also, several mainstream artists such as Bob Dylan, The Byrds, Lifehouse, U2, and rapper DMX have dealt with Christian themes in their work but are not considered CCM artists.[3]



Contemporary Christian music first came onto the scene of popular music during the Jesus movement revival of the late 1960s and early 1970s. "About that time, many young people from the sixties' counterculture professed to believe in Jesus. Convinced of the bareness of a lifestyle based on drugs, free sex, and radical politics, 'hippies' became 'Jesus people'" [4]. Of course there were people who felt like Jesus was another "trip", [5] It can be assumed that many people took it seriously and revivals sprang fourth. When such awakenings happened new music became popular. "The 'Jesus Movement' of the 1970s was when things really started changing and Christian music began to become an industry within itself."[6] The hippies created the "Jesus Movement", by playing their instruments about love and peace, which then translated into love of God. Paul Wohlegemuth, who wrote the book Rethinking the Church said, "[the] 1970s will see a marked acceptance of rock-influenced music in all levels of church music. The rock style will become more familiar to all people, its rhythmic excesses will become refined, and its earlier secular associations will be less remembered."[7] He was basically saying that hippies became more cultured with their music and less rebellious. When they became more cultured, they started focusing on God.

One of the first, popular "Jesus music" albums was Upon This Rock (1969) by Larry Norman initially released on Capitol Records. Unlike traditional or southern gospel music, this new Jesus music was birthed out of rock and roll and folk rock[8] music. The pioneers of this movement also included 2nd Chapter of Acts, Andraé Crouch and the Disciples, Love Song, Petra, and Barry McGuire. The small Jesus music culture had expanded into a multimillion-dollar industry by the 1980s. During that period many CCM artists such as Amy Grant, dc Talk, Michael W. Smith, Stryper, and Jars of Clay had found crossover success with Top 40 mainstream radio play. Currently, Christian music sales exceed those for classical, jazz, Latin, New Age, and soundtrack music [9]. Evie Tornquist Karlsson [10]was possibly one of the most well-known.


Contemporary Christian music has been a topic of controversy in various ways since its beginnings in the 1960s.[3] The Christian college Bob Jones University prohibits its dormitory students from listening to CCM.[11] Others simply find the concept of Christian pop/rock music to be an unusual phenomenon, since rock music has historically been associated with themes such as sexual promiscuity, rebellion, drug and alcohol use, and other topics normally considered antithetical to the teachings of Christianity.[3]

In her article, Kim Jones explores this change in the face of Christian music saying, "Up until the late 1960s, Christian music invoked images of church, hymnals and organs. The face of Christian music has spent the last 30+ years evolving and growing. Pipe organs have been set aside for electric guitars and drums…People who enjoy Contemporary Christian Music, want to feel like God is here and now, not some dusty relic from the dark ages that can't possibly understand the issues of today" [12]

Contemporary Christian Music caused a huge change in society. Christian music is no longer stuck in the church, but is now everywhere. "Christian music has extended from the church to the radio, television, concert halls and huge rallies and festivals." [13]

Paul Baker, author of Contemporary Christian Music, addressed the question, "Is the music a ministry, or is it entertainment? Opinions were as varied as the people expressing them. One fact must be brought out, however. The motives, on both sides, were nearly always sincere and well intentioned, rarely malicious." [14]

"The responsibility of the church is not to provide escape from reality," according to Ellsworth, the author of Christian Music in Contemporary Witness, "but to give answers to contemporary problems through legitimate, biblical means. The lighter, softer rock styles still allow for the communication of the text." [15] The biblical lyrics in CCM relate to more recent problems we might be facing in today's society.

See also

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  1. ^ "Best Selling Christian Singles and Albums". Billboard Magazine. Retrieved 2007-02-28. 
  2. ^ R&R - Radio & Records, Inc
  3. ^ a b c d Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music (First printing ed.). Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. pp. 10–13. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  4. ^ Frame, John M. Contemporary Worship Music. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1997.
  5. ^ John M. Contemporary Worship Music. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1997.
  6. ^ Jones, Kim. "The Changing Face of Christian Music." Christian Music/Gospel., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2010.
  7. ^ Baker, Paul. Page 140. Contemporary Christian Music: Where it came from What it is Where It's Going. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1985. Print.
  8. ^ Di Sabatino, David (1999). The Jesus People Movement: an annotated bibliography and general resource. Lake Forest, CA: Jester Media. p. 136. 
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^ "BJU ~ Residence Hall Life". Bob Jones University. Retrieved 2009-03-21. 
  12. ^ Jones, Kim. "The Changing Face of Christian Music." Christian Music/Gospel., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2010.
  13. ^ Jones, Kim. "The Changing Face of Christian Music." Christian Music/Gospel., n.d. Web. 4 Feb. 2010.
  14. ^ Baker, Paul. Page 133. Contemporary Christian Music: Where it came from What it is Where It's Going. Westchester, Illinois: Crossway Books, 1985. Print.
  15. ^ Ellsworth, Donald. Christian Music in Contemporary Witness: Historical Antecedents and Contemporary Practices. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Baker Book House, 1979. Print.

Further reading

  • Alfonso, Barry. The Billboard Guide to Contemporary Christian Music. Billboard Books, 2002.
  • Beaujon, Andrew (2006). Body Piercing Saved My Life: Inside the Phenomenon of Christian Rock. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Da Capo Press. ISBN 0-306-81457-9. 
  • Di Sabatino, David (1999). The Jesus People Movement: An Annotated Bibliography and General Resource. Bibliographies and Indexes in Religious Studies, Number 49. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0313302685. 
  • Du Noyer, Paul (2003). "Contemporary Christian Music". The Billboard Illustrated Encyclopedia of Music. New York City: Billboard Books. pp. 422–423. ISBN 0-8230-7869-8. 
  • Granger, Thom (2001). CCM Presents: The 100 Greatest Albums in Christian Music. Nashville: CCM Books. 
  • Hendershot, Heather (2004). "Why Should the Devil Have all the Good Music? Christian Music and the Secular Marketplace". Shaking the World for Jesus: Media and Conservative Evangelical Culture. Chicago, Illinois: University of Chicago Press. ISBN 0-226-32679-9. 
  • Howard, Jay R; Streck, John M. (1999). Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music. Lexington, Kentucky: The University of Kentucky Press. ISBN 081319086X. 
  • Joseph, Mark (1999). The Rock and Roll Rebellion: Why People of Faith Abandoned Rock Music-- And Why They're Coming Back. Nashville: Broadman & Holman. 
  • Joseph, Mark (2003). Faith, God & Rock 'n' Roll. London: Sanctuary. 
  • Kyle, Richard (2006). "If You Can't Beat 'em Join 'em". Evangelicalism : an Americanized Christianity. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Transaction Publishers. pp. 281–286. ISBN 0-7658-0324-0. 
  • Lucarini, Dan. Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Movement. Evangelical Press. 
  • Miller, Steve (1993). The Contemporary Christian Music Debate. Tyndale House. 
  • Mount, Daniel J. (2005). A City on a Hilltop? The History of Contemporary Christian Music. Lulu. 
  • Powell, Mark Allan (2002). Encyclopedia of Contemporary Christian Music. Peabody, Massachusetts: Hendrickson Publishers. ISBN 1-56563-679-1. 
  • Pruitt, Jim (2003). Contemporary Christian Musician's Survival Manual. Lulu. ISBN 1-4116-0117-3. 
  • Romanowski, William D. Eyes Wide Open: Looking for God in Popular Culture. Brazos Press, 2001.
  • Young, Shawn David, Hippies, Jesus Freaks, and Music (Ann Arbor: Xanedu/Copley Original Works, 2005. ISBN 1-59399-201-7.

External links

[1]Frame, John M. Contemporary Worship Music. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R Publishing, 1997.

[2]Miller, Steve. The Contemporary Christian Music Debate. Wheaton, Il: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. 1993.



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