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Can We Rock the Gospel? Rock music’s impact of worship and evangelism

By John Blanchard
August 2007 | Review by Stephen Emmott
  • Publisher: Evangelical Press
  • ISBN: 978-0852346280
  • Pages: 272
  • Price: £4.99
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Book Review

The authors who have collaborated in writing this book have both previously written on the same subject – John Blanchard in Pop goes the gospel (1983) and Dan Lucarini in Why I left the contemporary Christian music movement (2002). The research done for those two books forms the background to the present work.
The case against ‘rocking the gospel’ is well made and thoroughly supported with evidence gathered from the early days of rock music right through to quite recent times, along with material covering the ‘rock gospel scene’.
Facts and quotes are presented to show that it is not possible to worship God and preach the Word of God effectively through a ‘ministry of rock’, where such words as are used are often inaudible, drowned out by the volume of sound. The medium is designed to affect the body rather than engage the mind.
The book reveals that many who claim to have a rock music ‘ministry’ confess to being inspired by secular musicians with anything but a wholesome reputation. The authors highlight the difficulty of conveying the challenge of the gospel through rock music – ‘The message must tell the “bad news” [of sin] as well as the “good news” and it must be communicated seriously, earnestly, urgently’ (p.236). They also point out the danger of stimulating impure thoughts, promoting pride, and commercialising the gospel.
This is undoubtedly a helpful book. However, it identifies yet another symptom of the church’s present condition rather than offering a cure. Rock music is not the cause of our ineffectiveness and low spiritual state – it is just another of those things we make room for when we lose our confidence in the gospel, and feel the need to wrap it up or camouflage it in some way.
My fear for the book is that it will be read mainly by those who are already convinced of its arguments, and might even serve as ammunition for those who object to any change or development in their churches.

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