In this episode, we interview Leah Payne about her new book, God Gave Rock and Roll to You. First question: “Is this true? God is responsible for rock music?” Enter historian Leah Payne, PhD, to provide the church history lesson. With host Charlie Peacock, Dr. Payne guides us through a fascinating labyrinth of spiritual and sonic convergence.

Our odyssey commences at the dawn of the 20th century amidst the fervor of Pentecostal Revivalism. The story and soundtrack show how predominantly white evangelical Christians, fueled by the holiness movement, patriotism, and sobriety, inadvertently set the stage for rock music and the church to find mutually beneficial common ground. This unlikely fusion has a name in history: contemporary Christian music.

God Gave Rock and Roll to You is a well-researched history lesson but also a cautionary word. The story forecasts the church's continued pragmatic use of music, appropriation of fame and fashion, our present societal angst and division, and the binary, strongman politics that divide us even now. We are reminded that every movement has its architects, advocates, and dissenters. Love, empathy, wisdom, and learning from history help us decide which one we will be.

“Music and Meaning” is a production of Christianity Today
Executive Produced by Erik Petrik and Matt Stevens
Produced and Written by Charlie Peacock and Mike Cosper
Associate Produced by Raed Gilliam
Original Music and Editing by Charlie Peacock and David LaChance
Mixed by Mark Owens
Show theme, “Sound of the Room,” composed by Charlie Peacock, featuring bassist John Patitucci
Special guest: Leah Payne