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How Christian Rock Fed the Culture Wars

by The Culture Study Podcast

Erin Says

This just shot me back into my youth group! It is a great listen.


"If you grew up in or adjacent to evangelical culture, the sounds of ‘90s and early 2000s Christian Rock are as familiar to you as the beginning bars of Britney Spears “Hit Me Baby One More Time.” The Newsboys, dcTalk, Jars of Clay, Third Day, Jennifer Knapp, Caedmon’s Call — these groups peaked just twenty years ago, but the sound and vibe feels like an archeological find. Same for the crossover “secular” hits from Creed, Lifehouse, Sixpence None the Richer, and Switchfoot. Where did Christian rock go? Did it just get devoured by Nickelback and Noah Kahan? Was it actually good? And what purpose did it actually serve in what we now understand as the evangelical culture war?

Leah Payne, author of a God Gave Rock & Roll To You: A History of Contemporary Christian Music joins us to root the rise of Christian rock in history — and consider the ways it was wielded to control teens. If you grew up in this culture, there will be a lot of nostalgic groaning; if you didn’t, we’ve worked hard to make it as accessible as possible — and help connect some dots about how evangelical ideologies work their way into the mainstream."