Christian Rock Accused of Being ‘Devil Music’
The documentary explores how some churches were hesitant about, if not outright hateful toward, CCM artists and rock bands, specifically throughout the early 1980’s into the late 1990’s.
When The Yellow and Black Attack singer was 12 years old, Sweet put his trust in Jesus along with his family after hearing televangelist Jimmy Swaggart preach on television. Shortly after, he found a local church to attend.
Originally calling band Roxx Regime, Sweet and his brother became disconnected from the Church until a friend encouraged them to reconnect with their faith.
It was then that the band changed their name to Stryper to reflect the words of Isaiah 53:5, “But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed.”
The band’s Christian lyrics encouraged fans to praise Jesus. “The hair is long and the screams are loud and clear. The clothes are tight, earrings dangling from the ears. No matter how we look, we’ll always praise His name. And, if you believe, you’ve got to do the same,” they sang in their song Loud ‘n’ Clear.
Critics claimed the band wasn’t actually Christian, because they opened for “secular” acts like Bon Jovi and Ratt. Nevertheless, they went on to become the first Christian band to achieve platinum status with their third record To Hell With The Devil.
Sweet recalled that after Stryper had become successful, he was watching Swaggart on television only to find the preacher talking about him. Swaggart said that Christian rock music was “of the devil. It’s of the powers of darkness. It’s not of God…It’s the voice of the dragon under the guise of Christianity. It produces no better results within the church than it does within the world.”
Swaggart singled out Stryper by holding up one of their albums during his sermon.
Amy Grant Relates
Stryper wasn’t the only Christian artist who felt shunned by the Church. Amy Grant recounted how she also experienced pushback from other Christians. Grant described her motivation to write Christian music, saying, “A lot of hymns are, close your eyes singing to God. I wanted to sing songs with my eyes wide open, singing to each other.”