At the Crossroads: An Insider's Look at the Past, Present, and Future of Contemporary Christian Music, Charlie Peacock, Broadman & Holman, 219 pp., $15.99

When I was a college sophomore, I purchased an extremely hip Christian record. The cover pictured a long-haired rock trio; one of the members had his foot on an elephant-foot trash can. I listened to the album once, scanned the lyric sheet for signs of religious life, and returned it promptly. In embarrassment and anger, I told the storeowner, "It doesn't even mention God or Jesus!"

Twenty-five years later, the issue of what constitutes "Christian" music is still hotly debated—especially as more and more Christian bands enter the American musical mainstream. The Newsboys recently had a song featured on Dawson's Creek, a top-rated teen TV drama. And Sixpence None the Richer's tune "Kiss Me" made the sound track of the hit teen movie She's All That (the band also sang the song on Jay Leno's Tonight Show). Videos by MxPx and Jars of Clay have shown up on MTV. Christian bands now pepper Billboard charts, with the category growing (or mutating) into a half-billion-dollar-a-year giant. Artists like Michael W. Smith, Amy Grant, dc Talk, and Jars of Clay now pack out large auditoriums.

But is all this still Christian? That debate rages on in the contemporary Christian music (CCM) scene. For Charlie Peacock, the issue is but one of many on the CCM scene that have serious consequences for theology and discipleship.

Peacock is one of Christian music's most talented and respected artists, with nearly 20 years of experience in the industry as musician, songwriter, and producer. He formed his own label a few years back to nurture the creativity of young, talented Christian artists. ...

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