Did you ever look back and look your old high school year book photos? Or perhaps peruse the family album? Some of the thoughts that come to my mind when I do this are, “Man, I was young” or “Why did I wear that? No wonder I couldn’t get any dates”.

Years ago I listened to a band called Stryper. They were the first popular Christian heavy metal band. They were known for wearing yellow and black spandex, teased hair, and throwing out bibles to the audience.

People quickly forget just how huge Stryper was (think more popular then Rob Bell). They had two gold albums, one platinum album, and several #1 videos on MTV (back when MTV played music). They played huge arenas and it was ok to tell your non believing friends that you listened to them.

They were also controversial. Many fundamentalists thought they were the biggest threat to Christianity that they had seen in a while. I quickly learned not to bring up Stryper to my fundamentalist relatives because a literal family fight would break out. To fundamentalists, listening to Stryper was almost equivalent of selling your soul to Satan. (For an ODM/KJV-only take on Stryper, full of ad-hominem and gba arguments, go here).

There were even fundamentalist newsletters, books, and tracts, all exposing the evils of Christian rock. Stryper was a lightning rod for this criticism. Some fundamentalists still consider the band a threat to Christianity and have taken their accusation online, full of ODM arguments and tactics, even though Stryper hasn’t released a major record in almost 20 years. (See here, here, and here for only a few examples).

Now I look back at it and I have to admit that I wonder why I listened to them. They weren’t very good musically and they looked goofy. The lyrics were spiritually shallow and just plain dumb (”And we’re fighting,oh wooh wooh – the sin. And the Good Book, it says we’ll win” – Soldiers Under Command) But at the same time, it’s kind of like looking back at that old photo album. Honestly, they were harmless. No one can or has gone back to the annals of church history and proven that Stryper damaged the Church, Jesus, or Christianity. They were stylistically embarrassing but not much more.

There are real threats to the Christian life. Most of the writers here would say that the health and wealth gospel and some extreme forms of charismatic beliefs are great examples.

Then there are overblown, hyped up, “chicken little” threats. Things like the emerging church, PDL, or gospel music (or as Ingrid calls is, “fanny shaking” music) comes to mind. We can and should talk about these things, however, we should do it with humility and love. Over the top, polarizing statements like “McLaren’s Worldview Leads to More Violence, Not Less” only show that one is simply being asinine.

After we got over the 80s, most of us were able to discern that Stryper wasn’t worth the trouble. We can have a discussion about their style, their theology, or their tactics. But, in the end, both Stryper and the volumes of criticism they received was all hype.

I guarantee that the ODM types will completely miss the point of this post. Why are you living for the devil when you should be living for the Lord?

  • Share/Bookmark
This entry was posted on Wednesday, April 23rd, 2008 at 10:16 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.
+/- Collapse/Expand All

39 Comments(+Add)

1   Jeff from Sterling Heights, MI    
April 23rd, 2008 at 10:25 am

“McLaren’s Worldview Leads to More Violence, Not Less”

Riiiiigght, the guy that points out that christians are wrong to blindly follow and support a political party that is prowar is going to cause MORE violence. Utter lunacy.

2   Coop    http://whileromeburns.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 10:59 am

I love how av1611.org dragged Hitler into the discussion, connecting him to DCTalk (I think). The page title was also appropriate.

One of your other links also brought the Eagles “Hotel California” into the discussion, and trotted out the urban legend that the song was about Satanism, which it’s not; check Snopes if you don’t believe me.

3   Evan Hurst    http://breaktheterror.wordpress.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 11:16 am

all who have time should peruse the jesus-is-savior website in its entirety. it’s a hoot!

hint: Dolly Parton also tool of Satan.

:)

4   Kevin I    
April 23rd, 2008 at 11:47 am

It’s so much easier to paint others as sinful potential tools of the devil then to admit we are sinful ourselves and many of our actions are great oppurtunities for the devil.

5   Christian    http://www.churchvoices.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Dude, Stryper is awesome. 80’s rock rocks! I was so depresssed when I couldn’t go see them play a reunion concert at Cornerstone Festival in Illinois a few years ago. Fans of Five Iron Frenzy and the band helped convince them to play.

6   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 12:18 pm

Matt: I wasn’t a Stryper fan…but did have the entire DeGarmo and Key collection…ON VINYL!

Re: “…Then there are overblown, hyped up, “chicken little” threats. Things like the emerging church, PDL,…” Carpet or pew colors, where to locate the women’s restroom, bi-fold or tri-fold bulletins are “chicken little” threats/things. Having been the victim of what PDL can and did do to a congregation, I wouldn’t put that into a “chicken little” category. Thankfully, as predicted, we don’t see much of the PDC/PDL/Rick Warren influence these days–at least not in my neck of the woods.

Thanks for the jaunt down CCM memory lane, though.

7   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
April 23rd, 2008 at 1:21 pm

Keith –

I had a few D&K tapes and cds. They got really goofy towards the end of their career. Like “God good, devil bad.” That was a dumb song.

I’ve seen several churches survive and thrive on PDL. A friend originally recommended the book to me and told me it was the best thing he had read in a while. I really wanted to like it. I didn’t. I got annoyed whenever RW switched translations to “prove” his point. I think there is some valid complaints about the book. I also see some value (I didn’t great value) to some people. Just not me.

PDL isn’t a part of a one world government scam. I file that with the Superhighway the ODMs insist the government is building.

8   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 1:26 pm

The sad thing about Stryper according to Michael Sweet is that originally the band was very against the whole rock and roll lifestyle, and they were pretty consistent in their personal lives. However as time progressed, it seems that they were sort given a little push towards it from over-reactions of Christians.

I don’t want it sound like I’m absolving them of personal responsibility, but certainly if you’re rejected by Christians, it makes acceptance elsewhere look more inviting.

9   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 1:27 pm

Having been the victim of what PDL can and did do to a congregation, I wouldn’t put that into a “chicken little” category. Thankfully, as predicted, we don’t see much of the PDC/PDL/Rick Warren influence these days–at least not in my neck of the woods.

From piecing together what you’ve said its a little odd that you can take a giant theological leap from a RM church to a Reformed Baptist church and do so wholesale, but have such a problem with what is largely a stylistic shift.

10   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
April 23rd, 2008 at 1:40 pm

hint: Dolly Parton also tool of Satan.

“It takes a lot of money to look as cheap as I do.” ~ Dolly Parton

11   Matt B    http://matbathome.blogspot.com/
April 23rd, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Odds and ends about Michael Sweet

Michael Sweet lives about an hour from me. I’ve seen him at Christian events in the area.

He is currently sharing lead vocals for the 70s super group Boston. They are going on tour this summer. Sweet and Tommy Decarlo took over lead vocals after Brad Delp’s suicide last year.

Sweet’s wife, unfortunately, was in remission for ovarian cancer, but they announced recently that it’s returned and it doesn’t look good.

12   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 1:42 pm

Btw, I love, love, love the “Christian Rock: Blessing or Blashemy?” site. It just doesn’t get any better than this:

Let’s get something straight dc Talk! Jesus Christ is not “alright”! Jesus Christ is NOT 1) well enough 2) and satisfactory! Jesus Christ is the Lord of Lords and the King of Kings!

(Umm, I think this guy has some gnats stuck between his teeth)

And this:

One of Taylor’s songs is amazingly titled “Jesus Is For Losers”. What a BLATANT and WICKED contradiction to the words of the Lord Jesus Christ! In John 10:10 the lovely Lord Jesus says, “. . . I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. I don’t know which Jesus Mr. Taylor is talking about, but it’s not the Jesus I met July 30, 1975! And it’s certainly not the Lord Jesus Christ of the Bible whom the Apostle Paul writes of in 1 Cor. 15:57, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the VICTORY through our Lord Jesus Christ.”

This guy has not only missed the point – it’s as if the point and this guy are on speeding trains heading in opposite directions…

Sometimes I see sites like that, and I think they have to be parodies, but then I meet people like this and real life.

13   Evan Hurst    http://breaktheterror.wordpress.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:00 pm

“It takes a lot of money to look as cheap as I do.”

oh, i just adore her.

14   Jeff from Sterling Heights, MI    
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:08 pm

“all who have time should peruse the jesus-is-savior website in its entirety. it’s a hoot!

hint: Dolly Parton also tool of Satan.”

Evan,

I used to go there all the time, I love the scary music. The wolves in sheep clothing section is unreal, EVERYONE is a heretic, except him and maybe a few folks in his congregation.

15   sandy    
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I remember Dolly talking about being a young girl and seeing the town tramp. She asked her mother who that was and she replied “oh, she’s just trash.” Dolly said “That day, I decided that is who I wanted to be. Just trash.”
The jesus-is-savior creator is going to be very lonely all by himself in heaven….

16   kenn    
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:30 pm

Back in the ’80s, we used to play the Allies at the Christian Contemporary station I worked at. Didn’t know alot about them. Came across a couple of the songs we played on an old cassette. Oddly enough, they still hold up pretty well. To be honest, I really liked the tunes, and ended up digitizing them to put them in my itunes.

What ever happened to them. Please don’t tell me they turned out to be child molesting ax murderers, and weren’t really Christians after all.

Though I’m sure if their careers did derail, nothing would please Ingrid more than hearing that.

Evan, gotta give Dolly a thumbs up. She still looked pretty good on American Idol a few weeks ago

17   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:33 pm

“…Superhighway the ODMs insist the government is building.”

It may not be a new, physical highway, but don’t kid yourself. Our government will do whatever it can to sell out the USA if it means a buck in a Congressman’s pocket. “MexAmeriCanada” is in the crosshairs!!!

18   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:34 pm

kenn,
Actually, Bob Carlisle of “Butterfly Kisses” fame, was the lead singer of the Allies. I don’t know what happened to to the rest of the band.

19   chris    http://agendalesslove.wordpress.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:38 pm

Well since we are going for really interesting people.

Michael Jesus Archangel
(Changed his name from Philip Silva in 1996) lives in my town and hands out his own Michael money, has a public access show, and has been listed as a Presidential Candidate in every election since 2000.

20   Evan Hurst    http://breaktheterror.wordpress.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:45 pm

Evan, gotta give Dolly a thumbs up. She still looked pretty good on American Idol a few weeks ago

b/c she rules. simple as that.

“That day, I decided that is who I wanted to be. Just trash.”

hehehehehe, she makes me so happy.

21   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:52 pm

Tim: “…giant theological leap from a RM church to a Reformed Baptist church.” You assume I bought into the RM theology. I only attended there because that’s the denomination my wife was raised in.

I taught Sunday School for over 12 years and flew under the radar because the Elders could barely spell the word “theology,” much less tell you if they had one. I was teaching God’s sovereignty in salvation to a bunch of people that just thought/believed “that’s what the Bible says” because the teacher read/said it.

I didn’t “leap” from anything…and Rick Warren’s PDL/PDC involves way more than just “style.” Of course, if all you know or have been actively involved in is RM…

22   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 2:57 pm

Kenn: Amazon has a couple of the Allies CDs available here.

23   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 3:28 pm

Try that link again: http://www.amazon.com/Allies/dp/B00008FB38/?tag=fishtheabys-20

24   kenn    
April 23rd, 2008 at 3:35 pm

Keith: Thanks for the tip. I only have the two songs we had in rotation. “Take Me Back”, and “It’s Never Easy”. I never could get too excited about most of the CC stuff from the late 80’s, but those two songs really tugged at me, and sounded as good as anything anybody was creating in secular or CC.

25   Tim Reed, Owosso MI    http://churchvoices.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 3:56 pm

Wow Keith, you’re quite a guy.

26   Rick Frueh    http://judahslion.blogspot.com/
April 23rd, 2008 at 4:08 pm

I used to get all painted up when we went to an Isaac Watts concert. One time he played “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” as an encore and brought the house down!

27   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 4:11 pm

Tim: You’re preachin’ to the choir… 8^)>

28   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 4:11 pm

“Wow… you’re quite a guy.” The feeling’s mutual.

29   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 4:15 pm

Maybe someday, I can make a trip to our sister city (Owosso/Owasso) and you and I can sit around telling each other how great we are.
8^)>

30   Chris L    http://www.fishingtheabyss.com/
April 23rd, 2008 at 5:17 pm

Allies was formed primarily by Randy Thomas and Bob Carlisle who played together with Bryan Duncan in the Sweet Comfort Band (which is still have on Vinyl, cassette and CD) – IIRC, Bob filled in for another band member and wasn’t a permanent SCB member. Bob and Randy, as mentioned, wrote ‘Butterfly Kisses’. No idea what they’re doing now, tho… Not heard of them wielding axes, tho…

I really liked Allies, as well, along with Prodigal… Ah, to be back in college ;)

31   Dave Muller    http://blog.thewebsiteguy.com.au
April 23rd, 2008 at 6:12 pm

I was obviously a different youth. Metalica, Maiden, Malmsteen, Mortification (mmmm that makes me think). mind you, those guys were pretty harmless too, so perhaps I wasn’t different. Well count Mortification out since they are Christian.

32   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 23rd, 2008 at 7:43 pm

Philip Silva, Ken Silva…hmmmm

33   Keith    http://fivepts.blogspot.com
April 23rd, 2008 at 7:51 pm

Tim: I have been thinking about our “volley” this afternoon. It has become apparent to me that my participation here is nothing more than antagonism toward you and I sense you are not that fond of me. Our comments are (it seems) intended to be cutting and “smart-aleck” for lack of a better term–certainly not edifying–which puts us both in a bad light. My apologies. I think I will just move on–I’m sure we both have more constructive things to do. Thanks for letting me stay this long.

Chris L and Joe: Nice meeting you both. Oh and Chris…I still love to listen to Bryan Duncan sing “Holy Rollin’”

34   Joe Martino    http://joemartino.name
April 23rd, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Nice meeting you too Keith

35   iggy    http://wordofmouthministries.blogspot.com/
April 23rd, 2008 at 8:25 pm

Prodigal… now that was an obscure one! LOL! The youth group I was in brought a lot of bands into Glasgow MT… the bands would be driving cross country on tour and on their way to bigger towns pass through Glasgow so we had them play.

Randy Mathews
SCB
Prodigal
Joe English Band
Petra
Benny Hester

There were a couple of others that escape me as I am very old now.

The best time though was when a small band of us when to Esteban Canada to see Rez Band.

iggy

36   Dave Muller    http://blog.thewebsiteguy.com.au
April 24th, 2008 at 4:23 am

Hi Keith,

I’m sorry things turned out how they did. It was good meeting you.

Dave

37   Timothy Bell    
April 24th, 2008 at 9:32 am

“It’s the 80s so where’s our rocket packs?”

38   Phil Miller    http://pmwords.blogspot.com
April 24th, 2008 at 9:36 am

“It’s the 80s so where’s our rocket packs?”

Dude, I didn’t know anyone still knew that song!

39   Timothy Bell    
April 24th, 2008 at 12:18 pm

I had every D.A. album from Shotgun Angel to Motorcycle.