My Personal Experience
Back when I was an undergraduate, I went through a phase of listening to only gospel [music]. I wanted nothing to do with the negative melodies that rode the air waves but as I grew, I began to challenge everything I believed in which eventually included music and in essence gospel (the genre).
During this period I got into arguments like, ‘should a Christian listen to secular music’, ‘is rap meant for Christians?’ and more heated and controversial topics that describe certain genres of music as ‘devil-spawned’. In the end, I realised these arguments were a complete waste of time and an utter display of folly.
Whether or not Christians should bump to only Gospel (music) is not for me to say. I’ll advice listening to the overly underrated still small voice. There is one thing I would like to talk about, which is the prefix ‘Christian/gospel’. I’ll start with a simple question?
What exactly is gospel? The phrase gospel is easily used as an umbrella term for works of art that talks about God, the Christian faith, life perspectives from a Christian. But how do you define gospel? Is it a music genre? Is it an umbrella term? Or is it the good news of salvation, grace and the undying love of our saviour?
To be accepted by the all-powerful congregation of “We Only Listen To Christian Music”, you must never, ever, remove the Prefix Christian/gospel. The prefix Christian is a tag attached to artists who profess faith in Jesus Christ. For example, Christian writer, Christian rapper, Christian singer. Lecrae said:
“I think I want people to appreciate my music just as art. Genres a lot of times, genres are almost passé in some sense. Music is so, it’s blending and it’s hard. What’s Rock? Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire, Alabama Shakes, what is Rock? So it’s like the genre blending…”
Songs of worship and praise are easily classified under the gospel genre but various songs of worship and praise tend to have distinct elements. For example. Hillsong is boxed in the gospel genre but a lot of their songs carry elements of Soft Rock, Indie and New Age and could easily fall under the Alternative genre, whereas what RCCG’s Mass Choir puts out is a classy mix of Highlife, Fuji, and Gbedu (Local Nigerian genres) but rarely has any elements of Rock [but it’s all Praise and Worship or better put Gospel]. The genre gospel is actually hard to describe because what determines if a song is gospel is the content not the musical style. So can we really say Gospel is a genre?
Then there is the constant criticism of artists who claim to be Christians but their art isn’t. It’s like there is a switch that turns “Non-artistic Christians” into savage beasts when an artist removes the tag of Christianity from his art. A lot of the artists that have been brandished as Christian/Gospel artists never called themselves that to begin with (Jesus never called his followers Christians).
However, as a Christian, your life should be godly even if your music is secular. According to Bizzle:
“Hey! And, let em’ know if you a Christian. A real one, be about it don’t speak about it. He gave His life, so you wouldn’t have to pay that price”
It hurts to criticize anyone who refuses the prefix ‘Christian’ but does his art with a Christian perspective. As long as there is no prefix ‘Christian’ in front of your profession, they we should let them be.
Lacey Mosley of Flyleaf says:
“If you’re a Christian, it affects everything in your life. So if you’re a plumber, does that make you a Christian plumber?”