June 1967. The heat radiated off the sand. The breakers curled, crashed, and rolled. The air tasted of salt. School was out, and Redondo Beach was packed. Somehow, someone had obtained a permit, set up a stage, hauled in some equipment, and turned on the juice. Which is how I was introduced to Jesus music--rock, salted with salvation lyrics.
I could not have known then that this Jesus movement sweeping Southern California would, in time, spread across the country and around the world. Nor could I have known that its music would soon spawn a lucrative industry.
Today the lines between ministry and business have become blurred. This ministry-business has become so successful that it has attracted the attention, the dollars, and the ownership of its mainstream counterpart. Christian music is now virtually owned by the secular entertainment industry.
How are we to evaluate such an anomaly? What is the current state of Christian music as art, as entertainment, as a ministry, and as big business? What follows are the perspectives of people who grapple with these issues and tensions daily.1
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