By Joe Bragg
Yesterday (8/13/19) a buddy of mine sent me an article written by George Brahm from Cogent Christianity and I am not going to lie I was super curious. Those who know me well, know that I am not a big Skillet fan. I can appreciate them and I certainly acknowledge all they have done in the Christian rock scene, but I personally don't dig their music much. Skillet was actually my first Christian concert after coming to Christ and I left disappointed. They put on an amazing show as far as rock concerts go but I felt that it lacked Jesus. To be fair, my expectations were high, I had never been to a Christian concert and I expected it to be Spirit filled, the gospel clearly presented and that it would be so evident that these bands were different than what I had come to know in the world. Sadly, that wasn't the case. I looked around and felt that Skillet and TFK had in some way dropped the ball (side note, Decypher Down was the opening act and they were the only band to say the name of Jesus, they made a fan of me that night). I share all of this to say, when I saw an article from John Cooper speaking about the apostasy of young Christian leaders, I knew I had to read it.
As I read what John had to say, I was honestly blown away.
John was transparent and real in his response to the recent falling away of Hillsong's worship leader Marty Sampson and Josh Harris author of "I Kissed Dating Goodbye". John didn't pull any punches and he said what needed to be said. I know it is a Facebook post and we can read whatever tone we want to read into it, however, it is as if you could feel John's sadness and frustration. The post is filled with edifying admonishments to the church and other believers and it is refreshing to hear someone with John's influence draw people back to the Word of God and to take Christ seriously. I felt that George of Cogent Christianity summed it up well at they end of their article when he said... "I am glad to see one of these ‘influencers’ come out in defense of the authority of Scripture and the importance of a robust faith that can outlast even the harshest of challenges."
Below you will find John's Facebook post. It's a little long but it is very much worth the read. I am curious to hear your thoughts so be sure to leave a comment! As always thank you for stopping by and taking the time! God bless!
“Ok I’m saying it. Because it’s too important not to. What is happening in Christianity? More and more of our outspoken leaders or influencers who were once “faces” of the faith are falling away. And at the same time they are being very vocal and bold about it. Shockingly they still want to influence others (for what purpose?)as they announce that they are leaving the faith. I’ll state my conclusion, then I’ll state some rebuttals to statements I’ve read by some of them. Firstly, I never judge people outside of my faith. Even if they hate religion or Christianity. That is not my place and I have many friends who disagree with my religion and that is 100% fine with me. However, when it comes to people within my faith, there must be a measure of loyalty and friendship and accountability to each other and the Word of God.
“My conclusion for the church (all of us Christians): We must STOP making worship leaders and thought leaders or influencers or cool people or “relevant” people the most influential people in Christendom. (And yes that includes people like me!) I’ve been saying for 20 years(and seemed probably quite judgmental to some of my peers) that we are in a dangerous place when the church is looking to 20 year old worship singers as our source of truth. We now have a church culture that learns who God is from singing modern praise songs rather than from the teachings of the Word. I’m not being rude to my worship leader friends (many who would agree with me) in saying that singers and musicians are good at communicating emotion and feeling. We create a moment and a vehicle for God to speak. However, singers are not always the best people to write solid bible truth and doctrine. Sometimes we are too young, too ignorant of scripture, too unaware, or too unconcerned about the purity of scripture and the holiness of the God we are singing to. Have you ever considered the disrespect of singing songs to God that are untrue of His character?
“I have a few specific thoughts and rebuttals to statements made by recently disavowed church influencers…first of all, I am stunned that the seemingly most important thing for these leaders who have lost their faith is to make such a bold new stance. Basically saying, “I’ve been living and preaching boldly something for 20 years and led generations of people with my teachings and now I no longer believe it..therefore I’m going to boldly and loudly tell people it was all wrong while I boldly and loudly lead people in to my next truth.” I’m perplexed why they aren’t embarrassed? Humbled? Ashamed, fearful, confused? Why be so eager to continue leading people when you clearly don’t know where you are headed?
“My second thought is, why do people act like “being real” covers a multitude of sins? As if someone is courageous simply for sharing virally every thought or dark place. That’s not courageous. It’s cavalier. Have they considered the ramifications? As if they are the harbingers of truth, saying “I used to think one way and practice it and preach it, but now I’ve learned all the new truth and will start practicing and preaching it.” So the influencers become the voice for truth in whatever stage of life and whatever evolution takes place in their thinking.
“Thirdly, there is a common thread running through these leaders/influencers that basically says that “no one else is talking about the REAL stuff.” This is just flatly false. I just read today in a renown worship leader’s statement, “How could a God of love send people to hell? No one talks about it.” As if he is the first person to ask this? Brother, you are not that unique. The church has wrestled with this for 1500 years. Literally. Everybody talks about it. Children talk about it in Sunday school. There’s like a billion books written on the topic. Just because you don’t get the answer you want doesn’t mean that we are unwilling to wrestle with it. We wrestle with scripture until we are transformed by the renewing of our minds.
“And lastly, and most shocking imo, as these influencers disavow their faith, they always end their statements with their “new insight/new truth” that is basically a regurgitation of Jesus’s words?! It’s truly bizarre and ironic. They’ll say “I’m disavowing my faith but remember, love people, be generous, forgive others”. Ummm, why? That is actually not human nature. No child is ever born and says “I just want to love others before loving myself. I want to turn the other cheek. I want to give my money away to others in need”. Those are bible principles taught by a prophet/Priest/king of kings who wants us to live by a higher standard which is not an earthly standard, but rather the ‘Kingdom of God’ standard. Therefore if Jesus is not the truth and if the Word of God is not absolute, then by preaching Jesus’s teachings you are endorsing the words of a madman. A lunatic who said “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the father except through me.” He also said that he was alive before Abraham, and to see him was to see God because he was one with God. So why then would a disavowed christian leader promote that “generosity is good”? How would you know “what is good” without Jesus’s teachings? And will your ideas of what is “good” be different from year to year based on your experience, culture trends, poplular opinion etc and furthermore will you continue year by year to lead others into your idea of goodness even though it is not absolute? I’m amazed that so many Christians want the benefits of the kingdom of God, but with the caveat that they themselves will be the King.
“It is time for the church to rediscover the preeminence of the Word. And to value the teaching of the Word. We need to value truth over feeling. Truth over emotion. And what we are seeing now is the result of the church raising up influencers who did not supremely value truth who have led a generation who also do not believe in the supremacy of truth. And now those disavowed leaders are proudly still leading and influencing boldly AWAY from the truth.
“Is it any wonder that some of our disavowed Christian leaders are letting go of the absolute truth of the Bible and subsequently their lives are falling apart? Further and further they are sinking in the sea all the while shouting “now I’ve found the truth! Follow me!!” Brothers and sisters in the faith all around the world, pastors, teachers, worship leaders, influencers…I implore you, please please in your search for relevancy for the gospel, let us NOT find creative ways to shape Gods word into the image of our culture by stifling inconvenient truths. But rather let us hold on even tighter to the anchor of the living Word of God. For He changes NOT. “The grass withers and the flowers fade away, but the word of our God stands forever” (Isaiah 40:8)”
Here is the link to the original post bit.ly/2KPuq5o
Thoughts? Start a conversation and leave us a comment. Thanks again for taking the time! God bless!
We were blessed to have the opportunity to connect with the lead singer and founder of the up and coming Christian rock band Adelaide, Laura [aka Adelaide]. It has been amazing to watch the band grow over the last couple of years and their latest album "Strong + Brave" is nothing short of incredible!
Those of you who have been supporting Tentmaker over the last year or so know, we like to keep the main thing the main thing and so as always... Laura, when did you come to know Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
For as long as I can remember, I have gone to church. God became very real to me at a young age through some hard seasons of my childhood. I was 6 years old when I gave my life to Christ.
Wow, praise God, that's amazing! It is beautiful when a young person comes to know Christ and He starts doing His thing! That's what's up!
How long have you been making music & why did you get started?
I have been writing lyrics since I was twelve. At 14, I joined my worship team at my church at the time under the leadership of my Aunt. I sang backing vocals and played strings on the piano. Believe it or not, I've always been a very shy person. Hanging out in the background was my comfort zone. My upbringing wasn't ideal and with it came a lot of hardships. Music took me to another place and to me it was an empty gift unless there was a receiver. Feeling completely reliant on God, it only made sense to sing to and for Him and make that the depth of the lyrical content. That is when my music began to mold itself and find it's purpose in my life.
Love it! It is our hope and desire that more of us live in what you stated towards the end there; "Feeling completely reliant on God, it only made sense to sing to and for Him and make that the depth of the lyrical content." That is inspirational.
What are some of your short term/long term goals?
I kind of take life as it comes. In the beginning of all of this, I honestly didn't know what to expect. I had written all of these songs and I had no idea what to do with them. I was fine selling the songs and having someone else sing them. Obviously, God had other plans...including pushing me way out of my comfort zone. So long as I am able to successfully balance my life as a wife, a mother and ministry, I'm succeeding. I do push myself in everything I do but, I'll never stop making music.
Nothing wrong with that! Our Father is in the business of stretching us and pushing us out of our comfort zone, praise God for your willingness to be obedient to Him. With what y'all have been creating as of late we are thankful that you have responded to the call!
Who are some of your favorite musicians (artist or band), and who have been rocking to lately?
Wolves at the Gate, Skillet, Fireflight, Evanescence, The Cranberries, Tenth Avenue North, Citizens and Saints
Y'all just released a new album, can you briefly share a bit about the inspiration behind the album as a whole?
It's been amazing to see these songs come together and in a way, compliment each other. Our message to The Church is pretty loud throughout the record. We address unity in Strong + Brave, motives in Masquerade, materialism in Chasing Echoes, forgiveness in Reminiscing, the battle that rages inside of us in Restore Me and the need for a Savior in Pick Up the Pieces. By the end of the album, we hope you have been challenged to see what your heart reflects as a person. Who are you? How are you fitting into the story God is writing for your life? How does God fit into your life? Or are you writing your own? Each one of us are so priceless to our Creator, yet we waste so much precious time on pointless things. We hope it shows a perspective of encouragement to The Church in that we're in this together - each unique with different stories and callings.
Fantastic! Music with purpose that takes you on a journey, love that! Personally, we think the message within each song and the album as a whole is clear and powerful. One of our staff (Fisher), is all about the song Deep Waters, he is currently working on an album and has that song on his "album inspiration playlist". He was real excited about us having the opportunity to chat with y'all.
What is your favorite board game or video game and why? (we like to have some elements of fun sprinkled in, we want people to get to know artists and see they are real people too).
As a band, we like to play Quiplash which is a load of fun. The way the band plays involves a lot of inside jokes - mostly between the guys since they grew up together, and references to The Office. Honestly, most of the games played by the band are in the van and totally made up!
Okay, so having never heard of Quiplash, I looked it up, haha, that sounds like it would be a blast with the right group of people! Sounds like y'all have a lot of fun, that is both awesome and I am sure needed while you are out grinding!
If you were to name a Playlist after your life, what would you call it, and what would be 3 songs you would include on that playlist?
I'd have to call it, "Strong+Brave" and 3 songs would be Fighting My Battles by For King and Country, Unbreakable by Fireflight and The Resistance by Skillet.
Do you have a particular life verse and favorite book of the Bible?
Romans 15:13 (you guessed it, Romans is my favorite book).
"Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."
That is a wonderful verse, such a fantastic truth!
Do you have any practical advice you would like to share with aspiring Christian artists?
It would be to truly question your motives as an artist. What is your true heart's desire? If it is to make a name for yourself, be an artist that is a Christian. If it is to make Christ's name the primary focus and share the gospel, then be a Christian artist. It has been very disheartening to see artists confuse these ambitions because the heart truly reflects backstage. Be a minister wherever you are - to the sound techs, hosts, bands, those serving you lunches or driving you around - we all need to see the love of Christ and enjoy each other's fellowship. Never lose sight of the heart of Christ and servanthood: to love God and love people.
Thank you for this, we have been sharing very similar thoughts with people. Our first podcast was centered around the Christian artist verses artist who is a Christian conversation and I think you hit the nail on the head.
Huge shout out to Laura from Adelaide for taking the time to answer our questions, such a blessing! We want to thank those of you who took the time to read this and we really want to encourage you to check Adelaide out, you will be thankful you did!
Check out Adelaide's new single Strong + Brave off their new album "Strong + Brave" and if you are digging it, be sure to follow the links and give the whole album a go!
Thanks again, God bless!
We had the honor of reviewing Relent's new album "Heart Attack" and I am just going to say this out the gate, it may be a bold statement but it is one I am fully confident and comfortable saying. "Heart Attack" is one of the smartest rock/metal albums I have heard in a long time. I will be honest, when I first came across these guys and read their bio, I noticed that they were being compared to Sevendust and P.O.D., in my mind those are some big shoes to fill. I grew up listening to Sevendust, I may be showing my age here but I remember when Sevendust first came on to the scene and their first two albums were monumental in my life at that time. So, naturally, when I see this comparison, I am immediately skeptical, first, because a lot of bands make the comparison and second, most fail to meet the high bar they have set. Relent is different.
You may be asking yourself "okay, so what makes this one of the smartest rock/metal albums you have heard in a while?" Well, I'm glad you asked! "Heart Attack" is very, very well written. One of my favorite things to see bands or artists do, is have a theme that runs throughout their album. To me, a cohesive theme demonstrates care and creativity. Sadly, this seems to be a lost art in a day and time where singles seem to rule. "Heart Attack" is clear in its message, the struggle is real but in Christ, we have victory. One of the things I love and appreciate about this album is that it's not all doom and gloom. So many Christian bands just talk about the struggle but aren't bold enough to provide the solution or give the listener any real hope. Again, Relent is different. Another reason "Heart Attack" is smart is simply in its song writing as a whole. As I stated, this album is very, very well written. There are so many great dynamics going on within each song, they are fluid in their approach. If you are looking for some punishing breakdowns that accompany some beautifully written melodies than Relent will for sure scratch that itch. Relent plays a bit with the traditional formulas but does so tastefully and in a way that the average listener can appreciate it and the more avid music fan will see its brilliance. A prime example of this is in the song structure we find in "Addicted". They start with a super sweet guitar lick which leads to a large intro, and after the intro we are dropped off into a pre-verse of bass, drums and some tasteful feedback. Now, here is where they demonstrate some song writing brilliance, they give you a super contagious taste of the verse and then immediately sore into a wonderfully catchy chorus. Then it gets better. When you come back to the verse they immediately build on where they left you by adding a more aggressive vocal line over a fantastic melody that was established in the taste, they gave you in verse one and it just continues to build. This sort of brilliance is all over the album, and is why I can say with complete confidence that this one of the smartest rock/metal albums I have listened to in a long time. One of the other things I enjoyed about this album is that they have a rap element vocally that is threaded throughout. This can be risky in my opinion because sometimes it can come of contrived, cheesy, and out of place. Relent is different. The rap parts are tasteful, they are not overdone and they make sense, and as a guy who makes hip-hop, I can totally appreciate that!
Lyrically, these dudes are on point. One of my favorite lyrics comes out of the songs Rise, it's "I don't care what they say, You paid the price for me." I think that this lyric sums up the album as a whole. As I stated earlier "Heart Attack" has a clear theme running throughout and the best part of it is that they are unashamed of the gospel. I can't tell you how many Christian bands I have listened to over the years that don't talk about Jesus. One of the first things I am listening for is the message and does the band or artist share the gospel and the name of Jesus, or, is it watered down, cryptic, or simply non-existent. There are lots of schools of thought concerning approach and many reasons are given for why a band/artist might not be so forth coming about their views but I will be honest, the best approach and view is a view that says "I don't care what they say, You paid the price from me." Lyrically the album is dealing with the "sanctification" (the process by which we are being cleansed, renewed, and being made more like Christ) of a believer, and lyrically stands out in the midst of a Christian music scene that quite frankly, has a lot of noise. Relent is different.
So, if you are in the market for a super solid album that will strengthen you in your walk with Jesus while simultaneously bringing joy to your ears than "Heart Attack" is that album. In my opinion, there is not a bad song on it and it flows extremely well. I love the heavy breakdowns and the beautifully contagious melodies that run throughout the whole album.
We want to strongly encourage you to snag a copy, dive in and enjoy! If you have something you thought I should have mentioned please feel free to leave a comment. Is there a lyric that really hit you? We would love to hear it! Leave a comment and go support these dudes as they rep Jesus to the world through dope music! As always thanks for taking the time, God bless!
I need to start by saying this album has me excited. I am a huge fan of underground Christian music and this album reflects exactly why. Jordan has accomplished something here that I think most set out to do but not all achieve, The Ripple Effect is super creative, dynamic and refreshing. Each song is well written and handled with care, this is evident as you go from song to song as nothing is out of place. The Ripple Effect is a journey that will no doubt have an effect on you from a lyrical perspective as well as what is possible in the realm of underground music. One of the overarching themes the album presents, is to run from apathy. The whole album is a call to action, and one we would be wise to heed. It is so easy for us to get stuck in the same routine, to have the same junk different day mentality, it's time to wake up. Jordan put together an album of catchy melodies that are backed by poignant lyrics, and one of my favorite parts, he deals with himself in and through all of it. Jordan has managed to catch all the great parts of Owl City and merges them with pop punk, rock and even a bit of a nu metal edge at times. The Ripple Effect stands on it's own as a new brand of pop that is sure to please any music fan.
The more I listen the more I enjoy it, and that is the mark of a fantastic album. Each song on The Ripple Effect flows beautifully into the next, there is no need to skip around but if you must, there a few songs I find myself coming back to; "Time is of the Essence", "Louder Voice" and "Starlight Symphony", these 3 songs encompass the albums message and would be a good starting point if you wanted to give Jordan's album a chance, but it's my encouragement you just dive in, and enjoy!
As always I encourage you to support those Christian artists that are not only grinding but are putting out quality music! You can pick up Jordan Sovis' album The Ripple Effect on all major digital outlets including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, and Spotify. If you would like to purchase the album for digital download you can do so here: https://store.cdbaby.com/cd/jordansovis2. God Bless!
I came across Theody the other day and after listening to only one song I purchased their latest release Prelude through the Google Play store. I knew immediately it was an album I needed to dive into. Prelude was released in April of this year, and though it's only 5 songs, it carries the weight of a full length release. They bring a sound that is reminiscent of early Flyleaf, Fireflight, and Evanescence, yet they have their own individual flair which is what I find appealing. The lead singer Lauren brings heartfelt lyrics paired with an emotional delivery, infectious melodies and when you add that to amazing instrumentation you have something that is energetic, punchy and powerful. As I stated earlier, I knew after one song that this was a band worth investing in, their song "Reignite" hit me right in the feels, I connected lyrically and I found the music to contain just the right amount of grit and rhythm, it is such a solid song. After purchasing the album I found it to be consistent with "Reignite", each song is well crafted, well placed and dynamic.
One of my favorite parts about Theody isn't found in their music, rather, it is in how they present themselves on their website. There is a shocking number of bands that have removed the label Christian from how they explain their style or who they are. We often hear the phrase "we're not a Christian band, we are Christians in a band." Unfortunately, this is usually done due to the business side of things. Now, to be clear, I am not knocking any bands that do that, however, Theody is not one of those bands. They describe themselves as a female fronted Christian rock band and as you continue to read their bio it becomes clear that sharing their faith in Jesus is an important part of who they are. Fun fact, their very name makes this proclamation as it means "a hymn praising God", how cool is that? I have a major respect for artists that are upfront with their belief in Jesus and their desire to share their faith not only in their music but in how they live and present themselves.
I really want to encourage you to check out Theody, especially if you're in the market for a new rock band to vibe out too! Their album Prelude is available on all major digital outlets, I picked it up for 5 bucks on Google Play, best $5 I have spent in long a time. If you are more into streaming you can stream the album on Spotify: https://spoti.fi/2rZfkSa. As always, I encourage you to support those Christian artists that are not only grinding but are putting out quality music!!