There are many more and better ways to make money than by playing Christian metal music. And with the talent that is out there, both in the classic bands that are still recording and touring and in the up-and-coming artists who are keeping the genre alive, the question really does need to be asked. Why do this?
First of all, there is evangelism. When we interviewed Michael Bloodgood earlier this year, he talked about the evangelistic focus of the band Bloodgood from its inception. He had been working in a music store, saw all these young headbangers coming in, and wanted to find a way to reach them with the good news of Jesus. After some prayer and guidance from the Lord, one of the great metal bands of the '80s was born. In fact, their original EP release was titled Metal Missionaries.
As we have discussed with many artists on our show, metal not only fits the Gospel because of its power, but also because there are people less likely to hear God's message of life and salvation through traditional means of communication. Jesus Himself was challenged for eating with tax collectors and sinners, and to this He replied in Mark 2:17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.” This why Johannes Jonsson has published The Metal Bible. He talked about it with us last year, and you can get a copy of it here. As he told us, he always runs out of copies when he gives them away at metal festivals and concerts, and he never finds them on the ground or in the trash. It is also why Michael Feighan came out from behind his drum kit at the recent Whitecross concert in Versailles, Ohio, to speak the message of salvation to the crowd and why Rex Carroll set down his six-string axe to pick up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, as he shared Bible verses with the audience.
Empowering The Faithful
If you read that verse above from Mark, you may think that Jesus doesn't care about those who already follow Him. If that thought has crossed your mind, pause for a moment. Remember how He let Thomas touch His wounds after His resurrection? Remember how He gently restored Peter into fellowship with Him during the breakfast on the beach? Yes, Jesus's purpose while on earth was to seek and save the lost, but it is clear that He very much loves all His sheep. In fact, it was while He was healing His relationship with Peter that Jesus told him, "Feed my sheep."
Notice the two people at the front of the stage in the center of this picture. The man on the left has a shirt with patches advertising Stryper, Barren Cross, Guardian, and many other Christian metal bands. The woman on his right is wearing a Whitecross hoodie. Something happens even to committed followers of Christ when they hear bands proclaiming the gospel in front of a Marshall stack. They get pumped up! They get energized! In Psalm 51, King David asks God to restore to him the joy of salvation, and we all need that from time to time. When that happens, when we remember the joy of our salvation and the passion we have for serving Jesus, we leave concerts like this ready to be salt and light in our workplaces, our schools, our neighborhoods, and our families.
Rock and metal can be used for any purpose. They can be the background to a fun party, they can can be the soundtrack for lives of violence, and they can be a vehicle for sharing the saving work of Jesus and inspiring His followers to take that message to the world. The Christian metal artists that we know would all say that last purpose is worth more than all the money and fame in the world.