Is listening to Christian music regardless of denomination okay?

Malcolm Mclean please repond. This was supoosed to be the 2nd part of my post that you responded to. I really liked your response and posted in on another site as well as links to your books!

Peace & Blessings


I listen to Sufjan Stevens all the time and he’s an Anglo-Catholic. I listen to Pedro the Lion and David Bazan is a Protestant.

While Pedro the Lion is more entertainment oriented, Sufjan Stevens is definitely more musically oriented. I don’t see either, although they aren’t Catholic, as being a sin to listen to.


Protestant hymns used to be forbidden, but are now allowed. A lot of them, like Wesley’s “Hark the Herald Angels Sing”, contain nothing unorthodox and are musically worthy. There are some more difficult ones, such as “The Battle Hymn of the Republic”, which is again technically very good, but was written to celebrate the Union armies.

Christian rock is a slightly different matter. The problem is that rock music, bluntly, has the beat of sexual intercourse. So it is very difficult to produce uncontroversially orthodox Christian rock music. Hence most of it is a failure. However I would hesitate to say that it is inherently impossible to produce artistically worthy Christian rock music.

Truth is beauty and beauty is truth, so ultimately it is not possible to produce a good hymn that is a lie, nor an orthodox one that is ugly. However the relationship isn’t perfectly simple. Julia Ward Howe’s belief that God was on the side of the Union armies was hopelessly naive, but the Church Militant is a very real organisation, and slavery was a social evil. If she was completely wrong, the hymn would have no power or interest.

Glad you like the books.


I don’t know if this helps or not.

But I see just about 99 percent of Christian artists’ songs have to do with Gods Love, rather than Gods rule.

Rarely do I hear a song that says “Ooooo yeahhhh! Faith By Works is Wrong!!! OOOOOO"
"Dun dun dun… the body and blood are symbolic.”

How ever, that ijust as it is. I see protestant songs as leaving out the church and trying to fill the rest with God. Even though God gave the Church to us as well as his son.

I could be sounding really uneducated now, but that is how i learn. I say this all the time.

But I understand the Non-Catholic bands to sing an unfinished chorus. Leaving out some of the most important things.

Matt Maher is a great artist -
He sings about the Eucharist, Confession, and even the Pope!

However, i do not see listening to regular christian songs as a sin. Definitely Not. I would not be where i am without David Crowder, and yes i have thought of it as being a sin before, just never researched it. Good luck in finding a, hopefully, more well placed out answer.

God Bless you.



I think Jesus rocked out to AC/DC at Cana.

No worries my friend, it doesn’t sound like your faith is being threatened.



Had a Presbyterian guitarist friend remark to me about what someone describing contemporary Christian music to him as 7-11 music. 7 words repeated 11 times. Appreciated his sense of humor.


Rock music has a beat? :shrug:

I just think it sounds angry. Which made it the perfect choice for something to listen to when I had to drive my hubby’s car back home (five hour drive) after he committed suicide in the mountains.
Now, soft rock, isn’t that what Critical Mass would be?


:eek: Excuse me, but I would never had known that rock music has the beat of sexual intercourse–why do we need to connect the two?? I wouldn’t have known any better had you not printed that. And being unmarried, I don’t know what the ‘beat of sexual intercourse’ is.

Every generation of people have it’s own ‘popular’ music that they listen to at parties and other social gatherings where people dance, sing, and socialize–long before rock and roll.

Rock and Roll is among the popular music that ‘everyone’ listens to. Christian artists produce music in this genre to reach out to these individuals to Christ.

Would you rather go to a Led Zepplin or Black Sabbath concert or would you rather go to a Michael W. Smith concert or Rebecca St. James concert?

I think there is nothing wrong with Christian music. Many Catholic musicians have great ‘pop’ music as well–I love Chris Muglia–I think of him as the “Catholic version of Michael W. Smith”.

I’ve seen another thread about regarding the appropriateness of Christian music being used in Mass–that’s a whole different issue. But if someone wants to pop in an Amy Grant or Phillips, Craig, and Dean cd in their car on the way to work or to listen to a radio station like K-LOVE, that should NOT be discouraged.



Say what!? :eek: :rolleyes: I don’t think so, and I have yet to see anything but unsubstantiated opinions on this. Mostly…by n-C preachers who just don’t like the music to begin with.:shrug:


If it’s not inherently impossible, it must be awful cotton pickin’ hard. I’ve tried to listen to Christian contemporary and Christian rock music, and I can’t take it for more than 30 seconds at a time. The lyrics are lame, and the melody is weak. Why is that? Bob Dylan’s “Gotta Serve Somebody” is about as good as it gets and that song is way below Dylan’s usual standards.

If Rastafari can get musical and lyrical geniuses like Bob Marley, Jimmy Cliff and Burning Spear why can’t we?


It’s hard to say, isn’t it? It’s obviously not impossible to write and perform wonderful overtly religious music - polyphonic music like Palestrina and Taverner, Bach and Handel cantatas and oratorios, Mozart and Haydn masses, Elgar’s and Britten’s choral music, and , in the 20th C, Tavener and Part and vastly more. When it comes to more popular music, there’s bluesmen like the Rev Gary Davis and there are some country artists at the head of whom is Johnny Cash. Muslims have fantastic Sufi music with Qawwali greats like Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and the Sabri brothers. You mentioned the reggae greats. But, I agree that overtly Christian rock music is universally dire. It’s absolutely dreadful and it’s hard to know why that is. No music, no art can stand to be too polite and too sweet - perhaps that’s it.



7-11 music?! That must be it. I have tried and tried to listen to contemporary Christian music, and I can only sum up my lack of appreciation by saying, most of us need something a little deeper than “Yeah, God. You’re so Awesome.” Can’t find any fault with the sentiment, but, um, can someone please just once come up with a metaphor that makes us think a little or a melody that isn’t exactly like every other contemporary praise and worship song? It is a matter of taste, I suppose.


This article came out a few days ago and the blogs are abuzz about it, e.g.


Michael Card and the late Rich Mullins have wonderful Christian music, much more than 7-11 imho Don’t know how much they are played anymore, though.



To me this sounds like more of an objection of style versus content. Okay, so you don’t like rock music, it’s not pleasing to you. So don’t listen to it. That doesn’t mean that it isn’t worthy.
I personally think that Bob Dylan’s music is some of the worst stuff I’ve ever heard. Does this mean nobody should listen to it? No, because it’s my opinion. I prefer to listen to Christian rock over any other music because that’s what speaks to me. That’s what helps keep me on track and focused on God in my life. Especially in the car beause it’s alot harder to loose your temper with some of the crazy drivers out there when Stephan Curtis is singing “The Peace and Love of God”.

As far as non-Catholic artists, as long as they are not singing something that directly opposes Catholic doctine, and it is okay. I aksed my adult Chatachism instructor this and this is what she said too. We use Chris Tomlin’s music at our Life Teen mass all the time.
Answer these questions: Does it make you doubt you Catholic faith? Does it strengthen you relationship with God?
Hope this helps.



We’re seeing some very emotional and somewhat extreme statements being made here about rock music, particularly about it’s beat!

Less emotion, and more facts, please…

There’s a good article on rock music which mentions liturgical music and pulls together LOTS of Catholic authorities on this subject-- the Vatican website, Cardinal Ratzinger (Pope Benedict), Pope John Paul II, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Morlino, Catholic Culture (formerly Peter’s Net). You should read it. It’s at

Even the **details of the beat **are discussed (in the Catholic Culture link by Dr. Mirus which is mentioned in the article), and BTW the beat of rock music is not evil and is not sexual. No more than other forms of country and ethnic music from many nations.

Take a look.




Ive often thought that the arguement of “the beat” is actually racist. But its covered up with the sexual arguement.

As for good lyrics you get good and bad, deep and shalow, just like secular music.


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