There is one band in particular that I really liked- Skillet. Matt and I went to one of their concerts before we got married, and then it was a worship flavored sound, and it was awesome. Years went by and I happened on a song of theirs and wow, they had switched to some hardcore techno and rock sounds. My personal preference are these types of genres of music, and it really resonates in me.
So, we went to a concert of theirs in 2008, and it was really good. A new album came out in 2011, and I was so pumped, thinking it would be even better. What a disappointment. There were maybe two songs on their that were good, but, everything else seemed to be about nothing in particular.
So I finally looked it up yesterday to see if anyone else noticed the same things and if there was any insight on it. I found an article about various artists like TobyMac and another one called Lecrae. These two artists acknowledged that they were musicians that loved their career, but their faith is in the forefront of their lives, and while they may sing about something not overtly Christian once in awhile, they are not ashamed to proclaim Jesus' name in their music. I know this personally because I have some TobyMac cds and one of the songs is called 'Funky Jesus Music', which, every time I hear I get to laughing at the visual image I get of Jesus dancing hip hop.
The interesting thing is that these bands are wildly successful, not just in the Christian music arena, but also have been played on some secular radio stations. Lecrae, I believe, was asked to sing at some prominent event that was secular, and I think it was TobyMac that was played in a commercial or something.I would have to go back and reread the article to know for sure.
Skillet, however, has said that they prefer not to use the name of Jesus in their songs because they want to make their music appeal to a broader audience and don't want to alientate people; by singing about things in a more vague way, people are free to draw their own conclusions and find meaning that's relevant to them.
Um, exsqeeze me? Did I read that right? I would have liked to see the expression on my face when I did read it. Something to notice too is that this band is still not welcome on several secular radio stations even though they aren't blatantly Christian(i.e. saying Jesus) The favor of the Lord is on those other guys, and though they're speaking the name of Jesus boldly, they aren't being penalized for it because all in all, they are good musicians. And why are they so good? They have God given talent and are using it for His glory and purpose.
The people in Skillet have amazing talent, of course, the lead guitar player left the band a year or so ago. I'm wondering now if he didn't like the path the group was on.Who knows? While what Skillet says could be true in a sense, I have found that people aren't ready to receive Jesus until they are ready. Usually the Spirit of God has been drawing and drawing them for awhile, and when the time is right and the harvest is ripe, God sends someone their way that reaps the harvest and lead them to Jesus.
My best friend listened to Christian music before she got saved, and she said it didn't mean jack to her. She read my books that were Christian, my Bible, went to church with me sometimes, listened to my songs and she still went her own way. (those were seeds that were sown in her heart and eventually she found Jesus) So, if that's the case, why NOT speak the truth? How is not using Jesus' name going to set them apart as anyone different from the secular music world? They actually said they didn't want to be labeled as a Christian band. Wow. They were SOLD OUT for Jesus the first time I saw them. It's one thing if the Lord is leading them in this path, but it doesn't seem that way to me. God isn't going to instruct us not to use His name.
Some may wonder why this is a big deal, so I'll go to the Word of God to find out.
John 20:30-31 " Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name."
Acts 2:38 "And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
Acts 3:16 "And his name--by faith in his name--has made this man strong whom you see and know, and the faith that is through Jesus has given the man this perfect health in the presence of you all."
Acts 16:18 "And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, "I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her." And it came out that very hour."
Mark 16:17-18 And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."
John 14:13-14 "Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it."
And lastly, " Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of [things] in heaven, and [things] in earth, and [things] under the earth; And [that] every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ [is] Lord, to the glory of God the Father." Philippians 2:9-11
Obviously, Jesus' name is awesome and important. The above verse says that at the name of Jesus every knee shall bow- in heaven, in earth, and hell (under the earth)- and every tongue confess that HE is Lord. His name is power. Through His name, we have power to lay hands on the sick and they shall be healed, cast out evil spirits, baptize others in His name, receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and then, when we pray according to His Word and ask in Jesus name, He says He will do it. Repeatedly.
The name of Jesus might make unbelievers uncomfortable, as it should, because they are not saved.There is sin in their lives that hasn't been washed out by the blood of Jesus. And it sure makes the demons hanging around uncomfortable. We know that by several instances when they would speak in fear at what Jesus would do, and He would make them be quiet and come out of people. When I pray, especially if being attacked by ungodly thoughts, or symptoms of sickness, or if interceding on another's behalf, I use the name of Jesus first, for example, "In the name of Jesus, I command these evil thoughts/symptoms etc. to get off of me, for the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death..." or whatever comes up in my spirit to say, and then as led will pray in the Spirit or tongues.
The name of Jesus is vital. I can't imagine that much power will be in songs by a band who doesn't want to speak it. I will continue to play and listen to their old ones because they are good, but I will be praying for their spirit eyes and ears to be opened on the matter. It could be that God is leading them into the mainstream music industry,it doesn't appear that way in my view. If your goal is to obey the Lord out of love for Him and fulfill His purposes, fame and glory and money won't be a concern. However, you will be blessed and can have just as big a following of people and fans in the Christian world while still speaking the truth, the Word, and His name. Take a look at this example: