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...More than twenty years after CCM was begun, the Evangelical world still does not entirely trust rock music - Christian or otherwise - and in the context of this controversy CCM was born, has taken shape, and continues to evolve (Cusic 1990, p. 197). Consequently, out of the necessity to respond to the suspicions of the church (as well as the pressures of the rock music industry), the CCM art world has been forced to develop rationales for the acceptance of the rock idiom as a means for communicating a Christian message. While young fans have had to find rationales to justify their musical preferences to parents, pastors, and friends, it is the artist who has been most often expected to articulate these ration- ales. In addition to defending themselves from the attacks of their 'Rock music is inherently evil' opponents, artists also must justify their product to their record buying audience. John Styll (1993), editor of Contemporary Christian Music magazine, argues that it has been the audience which, from the beginning, has resisted the artists' attempts to expand their range of subject matter beyond the gospel itself (p. 42). Hence, the artist must play the role of critic, as well as artist, in the CCM art world. Therefore, in our examination of the splintered art world of Contemporary Christian Music we pay particular attention to the rationales developed by artists, as well as those of the 'pure' critic...


This is a post-print version of an article originally published in Popular Music,1996, Volume 15, Issue 1.. The version of record is available through: Cambridge University Press.