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Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs

December 5, 2013

Lead singer Jon Foreman was asked if Switchfoot is a “Christian” band. His response is worth pondering.

Switchfoot is going secular. Sort of.

Switchfoot is going secular. Sort of.

“To be honest, this question grieves me because I feel that it represents a much bigger issue than simply a couple SF tunes. In true Socratic form, let me ask you a few questions: Does Lewis or Tolkien mention Christ in any of their fictional series? Are Bach’s sonata’s Christian? What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset? There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds. The view that a pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach is flawed and heretical. The stance that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is condescending and flawed. These different callings and purposes further demonstrate God’s sovereignty. Many songs are worthy of being written. Switchfoot will write some, Keith Green, Bach, and perhaps yourself have written others. Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular: written for the simple joy of music. None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me. I do have an obligation, however, a debt that cannot be settled by my lyrical decisions. My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that. We all have a different calling; Switchfoot is trying to be obedient to who we are called to be. We’re not trying to be Audio A or U2 or POD or Bach: we’re trying to be Switchfoot. You see, a song that has the words: ‘Jesus Christ’ is no more or less ‘Christian’ than an instrumental piece. (I’ve heard lots of people say Jesus Christ and they weren’t talking about their redeemer.) You see, Jesus didn’t die for any of my tunes. So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. We have a call to take up our cross and follow. We can be sure that these roads will be different for all of us. Just as you have one body and every part has a different function, so in Christ we who are many form one body and each of us belongs to all the others. Please be slow to judge ‘brothers’ who have a different calling.”

Foreman mentions the Christian “box” that many people want to stay in, and put others in. I agree with Foreman that this box is particularly limiting when it comes to art. So go out and create something – something beautiful, something wonderful – and do it to the glory of God.

__________

Originally posted by Dave Browning, @bigdaverino, as the dMail “Band.”

1,176 comments

  1. Reblogged this on Daily Enduring Truth and commented:
    Interesting thoughts here..especially since my fiction writing doesn’t mention Jesus Christ, being on a different planet, but has elements of faith and doubt that are being lived out every day here on this earth. This is not an easy answer, but it is a deep and thoughtful answer.


    • Well said. You are reaching alot of people that you otherwise may not of too.


  2. Yay! Finally a great voice of reason from Christ fearing and Christ loving individuals in a fantastic band!


    • And it’s that belief right there that pushes people away.


      • false


      • The belief that the guy in the article was a “voice of reason” drives people away? The belief that Switchfoot is “a fantastic band” drives people away? Oh, wait! I know. You think (oddly, given that many of Switchfoot’s fans aren’t Christians) that being “Christ-fearing and Christ-loving” individuals drives people away, yes?


  3. Reblogged this on As One Approved and commented:
    As a musician, I LOVE this… as a writer, I LOVE this too! <3


  4. I still remember the days when there was no such thing as a CHRISTIAN band. You just wrote music and were either a good band that received air play or a poor band who did not survive. We loved the “song” not the bands political or religious stance. This article is refreshing to me personally. It is time to jump out of the pews and into this place called life. Make it or break it…God Will be glorified. Kudos to you!


  5. This is basically what Gungor said but Foreman says it way clearer, more concise, and with more tact. This is good stuff!


    • The more I think about Gungor’s article the less I like it. Why does certain music sell well? Because people buy it, If they didn’t like it, they wouldn’t buy it. Isn’t it a bit arrogant to think that they just somehow “don’t know any better” or some such? Which is the feeling I get from his article. Plus, his reason for why things are getting better? People like HIS music. Oh, well, that solves it! I agree with some of Gungor’s points, especially about Christians being fake to each other in order to appear “good” Christians.

      Jon makes a lot more sense though and I pretty much agree 100% with him. The only area I find off-putting is why not say you’re Christian? A Christian band that doesn’t feel the need to put “Jesus Christ” in every song. Otherwise, Jon is spot on the money.


      • cypherhalo…thought the same thing you did…”The only area I find off-putting is why not say you’re Christian? A Christian band that doesn’t feel the need to put “Jesus Christ” in every song.

        I do feel though, that secular music could use a little more positiveness and hope.


      • If you go to a Switchfoot concert, they are not shy about talking about Jesus. Just because they don’t call their band a “Christian band” doesn’t mean they’re saying “we aren’t Christians.” In fact, as I mentioned, they are not shy about saying they are Christian and talking about Christ. Their music may not explicitly mention Jesus in every song, but all of their music is themed around their faith.


    • Josh… or cypherhalo, or stillIda… I am certainly not calling you out, but gungor’s article, imo, was more about the politics of worship music, and the fact that it has become, seemingly without us realizing it, relatively empty of emotion. I feel like his “thing” was to point out that a lot of music with true emotion and conviction isn’t being heard because the sellers are just that; sellers. they don’t necessarily have the music and passion in their hearts, just a passion for success in the money business within the music business.
      This article (again, imo), is more about not putting a label on your music, but your actions and your soul. he’s pointing out that music is just what he does, and he’s been given that talent and passion, so he uses that talent with passion, but being a Christian has much less to do with his music than it does his actions outside of his songs.
      … I don’t know, maybe I’m just ranting now.. but try looking at it in that light.


    • Why should he come out and scream he’s a christian.. It is the point he is making. Your actions define you, not your words. I think he does say that he is a christian, but that his music is not a living, breathing thing. Was Louis Armstrong singing about God when he wrote “What a Wonderful World”? Is it not a beautiful song? Did it have to have 10 “Praise the Lords” in it to be such? I think that is what he is trying to point out. That maybe a lot of us that are loudly proclaimed Christians are not by our actions.


      • “Why should he come out and scream he’s a christian. … Did it have to have 10 “Praise the Lords” in it …?”

        Did Jesus have to be beaten by a jagged whip publicly? Did Jesus have to walk to His death with a crossbeam on His back publicly? Did Jesus have to die publicly? Did Jesus have to die for our sins at all? How many times should we praise the Lord throughout the day, 5, 10, 100? What of 1st Thessalonians 5:16-18? Who’s words carry more weight, Forman’s or Paul’s? You decide. Are you married? If you are, if someone asked you if you’re married, would you rant about marriage, rant about the word marriage, rant about the institution of marriage and the “box” and boundaries of marriage or would you proudly proclaim your wife and your love for your wife? We should walk and talk our marriages. We should wear our wedding rings with pride and loyalty. We should do no less with our faith and Christianity. We should do no less with our Lord and Christ. Jesus deserves as much from us for His public sacrifice on our behalf. He’s publicly earned the right to reap our public acknowledgment.

        I am a Christian.

        … “music is not a living, breathing thing.”

        Paul and Isaiah disagree, as does the writer of Proverbs.

        “But how can they call on Him they have not believed in? And how can they believe without hearing about Him? And how can they hear without a preacher? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: How beautiful are the feet of those who announce the gospel of good things! But all did not obey the gospel. For Isaiah says, Lord, who has believed our message? So faith comes from what is heard, and what is heard comes through the message about Christ.” Romans 10:14-17

        “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” Isaiah 53:1. The rest of this chapter is worth reading as well.

        “The tongue has the power of life and death, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21

        “Come, everyone who is thirsty,
        come to the waters;
        and you without money,
        come, buy, and eat!
        Come, buy wine and milk
        without money and without cost!
        Why do you spend money on what is not food,
        and your wages on what does not satisfy?
        Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good,
        and you will enjoy the choicest of foods.
        Pay attention and come to Me;
        listen, so that you will live.
        I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
        the promises assured to David.
        Since I have made him a witness to the peoples,
        a leader and commander for the peoples,
        so you will summon a nation you do not know,
        and nations who do not know you will run to you.
        For the LORD your God,
        even the Holy One of Israel,
        has glorified you.”

        Seek the LORD while He may be found;
        call to Him while He is near.
        Let the wicked one abandon his way
        and the sinful one his thoughts;
        let him return to the LORD,
        so He may have compassion on him,
        and to our God, for He will freely forgive.

        “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,
        and your ways are not My ways.”
        This is the LORD’s declaration.
        “For as heaven is higher than earth,
        so My ways are higher than your ways,
        and My thoughts than your thoughts.
        For just as rain and snow fall from heaven
        and do not return there
        without saturating the earth
        and making it germinate and sprout,
        and providing seed to sow
        and food to eat,
        so My word that comes from My mouth
        will not return to Me empty,
        but it will accomplish what I please
        and will prosper in what I send it to do.”

        You will indeed go out with joy
        and be peacefully guided;
        the mountains and the hills will break into singing before you,
        and all the trees of the field will clap their hands.
        Instead of the thorn bush, a cypress will come up,
        and instead of the brier, a myrtle will come up;
        it will make a name for •Yahweh
        as an everlasting sign that will not be destroyed.” Isaiah 55


  6. I’m pretty sure he doesn’t know what heretical means…


    • Heretical can mean sacrilegious or contrary to accepted belief. So I would say Jon Foreman knows exactly what it means and maybe ole Rabbi Von is the one who doesn’t. Do you have a comment about the article or are you just here to be a tool?

      Great article and refreshing view. Thanks for sharing Dave!


      • You’re Incorrect. That’s the problem, people throwing around heretical like its nothing. Your comment was unpleasant. Does that make you a heretic?


      • I find it really hard to believe that this is how Christians treat each other


      • I agree.


    • I would say he knew exactly the meaning that he wanted to convey – that saying that one person serving God and Jesus in the way s/he is called is “less” than another’s service IS contrary to the teachings of Jesus in a very big way. It is setting self up in a place of judgment that belongs to God… yup, pretty heretical to me!


      • Hersey has to do with orthodoxy and doctrine. Saying someone’s service is “less than,” while rude, has nothing to do with the soul-saving message if the gospel. You can say someone’s service is “less than” and still be a Christian. A Hersey would be like saying Christ isn’t divine.


      • In Foreman’s interview, it is the “schism between sacred and secular” that is heretical, and it is contrary to orthodox Christian doctrine and to the gospel. The pastor vs. volleyball coach is merely one illustration of this heretical view.


      • Can we all agree that the man conveyed his message without crucifying him over semantics? He conveyed a point and we understood him. So what if he stumbled up with “Heretical” or some other word? Give the guy a break! He’s a songwriter, not a theologian! I understood his meaning just fine. Why are good Christian people so easily divided about such trivial issues?


      • And THIS is why I stepped out of the pulpit and into the lives of real people without the drama of religion. SMH. Waste of time. Long live Switchfoot!


  7. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  8. Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ; -2 Corinthians 10:5


  9. He said it really well.


  10. “This question grieves me…”? It’s actually a good question.
    A pastor is more ‘Christian’ than a girls volleyball coach if she is not saved. The girls’ volleyball coach is more spiritual if the pastor is not saved.
    “Are they saved? Do they faithfully represent Jesus?” is what the ‘grievous’ question is asking. Feeding the poor is great, but if they faithfully represent Jesus, they will share their faith with the lost & encourage the faith of their brethren. Not always, but sometimes. I hope they do.
    Using Lewis’ fiction as a cop-out (if that’s what it is) for SF never saying the J-word is silly. Lewis wrote often of Jesus, & everyone knows that even his fiction was about Jesus.


    • “Please be slow to judge ‘brothers’ who have a different calling.”


      • itsnotaboutme has a good point. I only listen to SF some of the times, but I’m having a hard time remembering one of their songs that really explicitly brings up Christianity. I guess “Afterlife” would fit that bill, I don’t see many ways to interpret that other then through the Christian lens. I don’t know, I agree with Jon that you don’t have to mention “Jesus Christ” or “God” in every song. There’s no need to limit yourself like that. God created everything so I feel like as long you’re not glorifying sin, you can sing about nearly anything and be glorifying God. It just seems like Jesus Christ and God are that important to you, they should come up sometime.

        Oh, I’m sorry “Your Love is a Song” is a song that really strikes a Christian tone as well. So, maybe I missed others as well, I’m more of a Thousand Foot Krutch fan then Switchfoot.

        I also have to agree with itsnotaboutme that using Lewis isn’t the best example. Aslan is clearly a Jesus Christ stand-in and Lewis wrote extensively on Christianity aside from the fiction. C.S. Lewis was one of the brightest lights Christianity has ever known, if not for his writings I might not be saved today. And by writing, I don’t mean the Narnia series, as wonderful as they were. :-)


    • You’ve obviously never listened to any of Switchfoot’s music. You are commenting on assumptions and we all know what assuming does…

      What he says makes a lot of sense. There shouldn’t be this “Christian box” to place artists, or anybody into. Yes, they are Christians, but all of their music isn’t about Christ. Some, yes. Some are about just living life, having a hard day at work, not understanding your friends…or whatever. People seem to have this idea that 1) if you’re a Christian band then every single song is/should be a worship song and have Christ or Jesus or God as every other word, and 2) If you have the mention of any of the aforementioned in just a smattering of songs, or even a song that could be construed as a “Jesus song” then we must beg the question of your band’s affiliation. Gotta make sure we place the proper label on you. Art isn’t like that, and it shouldn’t be.


    • you missed the point


    • Why does everybody assume that Switchfoot is shy about their faith? Every song may not mention the J-word, but their songs are themed around Jesus and their own personal relationship with him. Go to a concert, listen to love recordings, they are not shy about their faith. They talk about God openly. I find it hard to believe that Christians would be this judgemental. I urge everyone to check themselves


  11. Jon’s music is amazing! It’s like a lyrical onion that has layer upon layer, so that even after years of listening the songs speak something new relevant to where I am at the moment. Whether it’s a challenge to get up and face the day with new mercies and grace or to quit being selfish and think and act in order to be a blessing to others.
    You don’t have to dig, the gospel message is right there in your face… it’s definitely not luke warm, it’s on fire


    • You are right on, Russ. It’s mind boggling the comments I see that say not many of their songs have a “Christian message.” I’m moved to deeper spirituality every time I consume Switchfoot’s music!


  12. wow. literally fantastic. I’ve been wishing i could put this into words for a long time, like years, actually.

    “What is more Christ-like, feeding the poor, making furniture, cleaning bathrooms, or painting a sunset?”

    cuts to the bone of the CCM industry right there.


  13. “If they are not against us they are for us” ..right? SF have some really inspirational songs that edify the Christian soul .. Some feel like prayers others admonitions, encouragement..For a fact I know their songs change people’s live and put them in a better place; isn’t God being glorified that way? Even if they don’t expressly mention Jesus or God in their songs?


  14. And this is why I love this band so much! You don’t have to be knocked over the head with words to feel God present in their music. Oh he’s there in such a deeper form. The lyrics are all about the teachings of Christ. Switch foot sings about the very principals Christ came here to teach us. Love these guys!


  15. I think it’s silly that Jon answered in a very real sense, “Yes,” to the question he claims grieves him. Not that the answer is silly, but that the question grieves him. How else would he answer in short, the genre of music he writes, sings, performs? The phrase “Christian songs” is descriptive of a genre, and also a description of the belief that compels to write, sing, perform because of your faith.


    • I think what he was getting at is that “Christian songs/music” shouldn’t be a genre. It shouldn’t have to be kept in it’s own separate corner separated and away from all other music.Music should just BE. Art should just BE. True, he isn’t denying that he and his bandmates are believers, but what he’s saying is they don’t need their imaginations, their songs to be labeled and limited that way. Once you give the short answer, plain and simple, “yes, we’re a Christian band” then that sticks quite a limit on what is expected of you in the business and there isn’t room enough for anything else. I think he answered in a way that could get those same close-minded people who want to label and categorize to think (or meant to). To me his answer seemed very much like a Rabbi answers questions with questions with the goal of making the asker think and come to a conclusion himself.


      • Jaime, That is because so many self professed christians are so very narrow minded


  16. This is worth sharing!


  17. Col 3:16-17 NLT
    16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father.

    I believe whatever platform we have, we should use it to sound (and live) the Good News of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If a pulpit preacher got up and merely spoke of sunsets and never shared the Gospel in a clear mesaage then where is the eternal hope of the redemptive power of the cross? The same goes for the stage singer. Yes, Jesus didn’t die for our tunes but our tunes should herald His death and resurrection, the hope of salvation. No sermon has ever been born again but they declare the need and opportunity for all of mankind to be saved through the message of the cross.

    There is a distinction between sharing the Gospel and serving others, although sharing the Gospel is one way of serving others. Yes, faith without works is dead but works do not save nor do they inherently share the Gospel. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God. And how will they believe in someone they have never heard of.

    I guess it all depends on do we believe we are to pour our lives out as a drink offering. Using service as a platform from which to share the Gospel in a clearly articulated manner.

    Anything absent of God is atheist ( a- without, theist- God). Be it a song sang or a sermon spoken, if it is not about God then it is atheistic.

    Let your yes be yes, and your no be no.


    • Just because it’s “Atheist” doesn’t mean it can’t be uplifting to others. God can act in many different ways even if God is never mentioned. THe reason we christians are viewed in a bad light is because we think just because god or jesus isnt mentioned constantly then it’s bad or evil, thus making us seem as if we think we are better or condemning. You’d be amazed how many people come to jesus or love others just by being shown love and being uplifted themselves without ever being told they had to, or never hearing about jesus in the process.

      I know. that’s how i came to jesus.


    • Eh, I would have to politely disagree. I think your pastor analogy is a little off because a pastor is specifically called to minister to his flock, so obviously it would be ridiculous if he got up to the pulpit and started reciting Maya Angelou or some such.

      However, should the pastor never ever watch a secular TV show? What if the pastor spends some time writing poetry about sunsets instead of reading the Bible? I think those kind of issues are what Jon is getting at. One can glorify God in what they do even if what they’re doing doesn’t explicitly reference Jesus. Like how he mentions the janitor. They’re not any less spiritual then the pastor just because they have a different line of work. So I don’t think that in order to glorify God a Christian artist needs to be compelled to mention Jesus Christ in every single song.

      Ultimately it is a heart issue that only God can judge.


    • Here’s the thing; if you are called to minister through music than minister God and His glory. If you are not called to minister but love God than by all means make whatever music you want, as long as it does not glorify the enemy. Too many Christians don’t know the difference and expect all of their “Christian” musicians to be ministers as well. It’s OK to be only a good musician and do your job to the best of your ability, just as a janitor, salesman, engineer do theirs. This is what they mean I think, just let us be good at our trade and if you enjoy it, great.


      • I agree Bruce. Very well said. Christian music should have a message that uplifts and glorifies Christ. Let’s not call it Christian music if its not Christ-like.


    • Well stated Roger!


      • Pastort – Your just saying that because your a pastor… God used a donkey as a mouthpiece for crying out loud, no human can ever know all the mysteries of God. Love is the most essential and profound dynamic of the true Christian faith. Legalism should have no part of the body, but because it does, look at all the division in the church. You keep it up switch foot! Walk out your faith and God will use you!


  18. I think the problem here is that Jon has a misunderstanding of the nature of proclamation and the ways that God gifts us for that purpose. He uses “action” terms such as feeding the poor, but never mentions our absolute and ultimate calling in Scripture, mentioned over and over and over again, to proclaim. The greatest and most influential platform they were given was music, this is a gift from God, and without express proclamation of the Gospel by way of those gifts, we are using them for ourselves. He’s convinced himself through great rhetoric that our false divisions of sacred and secular are an excuse to use your gifts in your own ways.

    I had a plumber come to my house to fix a pipe once, and while working he started quoting Jeremiah and telling me about the promises of God in Christ. I told him that it was awesome, but gutsy, to come to a customers house and talk about faith. He said “I’m not on earth to fix pipes, I’m on earth to proclaim Jesus, and being a good plumber allows me a great outlet. This guy got it.

    Switchfoot makes great music, but it is a gift given to proclaim. They’re using great sounding language as a way to make excuses to avoid the ultimate purpose of their call.


    • “They’re using great sounding language as a way to make excuses to avoid the ultimate purpose of their call.”

      Really? That’s a rather shallow judgment on the entirety of a band’s life based on one particular portion of their lives. Nevermind the fact that Switchfoot writes lyrics that are deeply rooted in the Christian worldview (no different than how Tolkien or Lewis wrote) – how do you know that, when they are traveling, touring, meeting fans, living everyday life, that they aren’t avoiding their call?

      Being a band requires far, far more than just writing lyrics. You have to meet people. You have to work with people and travel with people. Really, the albums you make are perhaps the most distant, impersonal thing a band does – everything else they do requires living and working with people. How do you know they aren’t fulfilling their call in those everyday moments?


      • For some reason you assume I doubt that they are doing those things? On the contrary, I’m quite sure they do each of the things you mentioned and have never doubted that. But that isn’t really the point is it? My point is that those things are not their greatest platform. The parable of the talents is appropriate. The servant was given resources by his master, and he didn’t leverage those specific resources for the Kingdom. He was rebuked. It’s one then to use them in conversations with dozens, and another to use them in music to hundreds of thousands.

        I had a conversation with a friend in high school who was a fan of this group. I asked him if he knew they were Christians. He said no. In the process of the conversation I found out that he held largely Buddhist beliefs, and didn’t see anything they said in their music as being too contrary to what he believed. You say their music is rooted in Christian worldview because you’re a Christian. But what good is the Christian worldview without specific and explicit reference to Christ?

        And by the way, I never commented on the entirety of their lives, I commented on the specifics of the gifts they were given which, I believe, a great biblical case can be argued that these things are given for more direct proclamation of the Gospel.


      • Here is quote from atheist Penn Jillette, of the magician duo, Penn & Teller that states a disturbing attitude among believers. Do we really care if people go to hell? His quote on evangelism makes my point that Christians who are subtle with their message on a public platform have lost sight of the commission given by Christ and examplifed by Paul.

        “I’ve always said that I don’t respect people who don’t proselytize. I don’t respect that at all. If you believe that there’s a heaven and a hell, and people could be going to hell or not getting eternal life, and you think that it’s not really worth telling them this because it would make it socially awkward—and atheists who think people shouldn’t proselytize and who say just leave me along and keep your religion to yourself—how much do you have to hate somebody to not proselytize? How much do you have to hate somebody to believe everlasting life is possible and not tell them that?

        “I mean, if I believed, beyond the shadow of a doubt, that a truck was coming at you, and you didn’t believe that truck was bearing down on you, there is a certain point where I tackle you. And this is more important than that.”


      • SWITCHFOOT. Derived form the two words “Switch” and “Foot”. Having the ability to switch from the secular foot to the sacred foot. Having the appearance of being christian artist in order to gain profits from sales to christians, BUT also wanting to become famous and rich so they market to the lost secular world as well. Thus explaining the heathen look on their CD covers and internet videos. Real christians are not at all fooled by their fake chameleon lifestyle, but shallow believers will fall for it every time. If they are genuinely saved they will separate themselves from this old world and its allurements and stand for God. Im my opinion,their just in it for the fame, money and popularity….


      • Bob “Derived form the two words “Switch” and “Foot”. Having the ability to switch from the secular foot to the sacred foot. Having the appearance of being christian artist in order to gain profits from sales to christians, BUT also wanting to become famous and rich so they market to the lost secular world as well.”

        This is actually contrary to everything Switchfoot does. The name Switchfoot comes from a surfing term, where surfers do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Their goal was not to be rich at all.

        What surprises me in all these comments and arguments is that everyone says that a “real Christian” does x or y. A “real Christian” doesn’t get blinded by their lies. So am I not a real Christian? Did Christ not die for my sins and do I not believe in Him as being my true savior? I think I made that vow to God a long time ago and still stick to it, thus… it’s rather offensive that you would tell me who I, or anyone else here, really is without even getting to know me.

        What’s wrong with the body of Christ? People here argue that the main goal is the evangelize to the rest of the world, but who would want to join a Body that constantly bickers at who is a real Christian and who isn’t? Why are we acting like John and James, who were asking Jesus who would be at the right-hand side of Him in Heaven?

        This is Jon Foreman’s path. It’s one thing to not understand or even to disagree with him. But to say that the five guys, three who are sons of God-loving pastors, are *not* Christians is disappointing.


    • I loved reading this. Thank you for sharing this testimony!


      • Danny Daley,

        “He uses “action” terms such as feeding the poor, but never mentions our absolute and ultimate calling in Scripture, mentioned over and over and over again, to proclaim.”

        He never mentions it in this article, but you are assuming they aren’t proclaiming the gospel everywhere they go. Do you tour with them? Do you walk along side them as they live their lives? Do you have them over for dinner, or join them to break bread? Who are you to judge what they are doing and not doing? You have no say. When you point the finger at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Perhaps that is to symbolize the Holy Trinity


      • “Is not this the fast that I choose:
        to loose the bonds of wickedness,
        to undo the straps of the yoke,
        to let the oppressed[b] go free,
        and to break every yoke?
        7 Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
        and bring the homeless poor into your house;
        when you see the naked, to cover him,
        and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
        8 Then shall your light break forth like the dawn,
        and your healing shall spring up speedily;
        your righteousness shall go before you;
        the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.
        9 Then you shall call, and the Lord will answer;
        you shall cry, and he will say, ‘Here I am.’
        If you take away the yoke from your midst,
        the pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
        10 if you pour yourself out for the hungry
        and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
        then shall your light rise in the darkness
        and your gloom be as the noonday.
        11 And the Lord will guide you continually
        and satisfy your desire in scorched places
        and make your bones strong;
        and you shall be like a watered garden,
        like a spring of water,
        whose waters do not fail.


      • Isaiah 58:6-11


  19. […] ~ Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  20. Frank Schaeffer, the son of the late Christian thinker Francis Schaeffer, wrote a book back called “Addicted to Mediocrity” in the 80s (before he moved away from orthodoxy and became a rather pissed off 24/7 individual) that echoes what Jon is saying 30 years before Jon said it.

    “Either Christ has redeemed the whole man, including every part of him (except those things that are sinful), or he has redeemed none of them. Either our whole life comes under the Lordship of Christ or no part can effectively come under it” (pg 27)”

    Jon is rebelling against the idea of utilitarianism, which the entire CCM industry is built off of. Our understanding of the arts has been built on utilitarianism – where something’s value is determined by it’s usefulness – and it has destroyed the arts. From Schaeffer:

    “”So the tree which once had had no value, not least of which was its beauty, its shimmering leaves, the dappled shades it cast upon the mossy ground beneath, now only had value because of how many cubit feet of paper could be produced from it. So even man was measured by what he could achieve, produce, earn, contribute, and so on. Not only that, all man’s attributes, talents and endeavors had to be justified in some utilitarian way. No longer was it good enough to say that some human attribute was a God-given gift which should be freely enjoyed and given.” (pg 29)”

    Jon, as an artist, has no obligation to sing about Jesus. He has an obligation, as a Christian, to write about anything he wants provided sin is not glorified. Many of Switchfoot’s songs are openly rooted in the Christian worldview, provided one uses some critical thinking to parse the lyrics. Jon’s life is now owned entirely by Christ and redeemed entirely by Christ, and singing about this everyday, redeemed God has called him to live is no less Christ-like than writing an album full of altar calls.

    Those who would say that Jon needs to sing about Jesus should, in the same sentence, ask Jon to stop making art and start producing propaganda. Any time a medium of art becomes subservient to the goal of getting a message out, it has turned into propaganda. Schaeffer again:

    “”Unfortunately, the church itself was infiltrated by this view. The view translated into religious terms. Now everything anyone did had to measure up somehow in utilitarian terms in the church. It had to be be useful to the onward march of the church. It had to help in its efforts, in its programs…. To make it worse, what everything had to measure up to as being useful toward was this false view of spirituality, this shriveled, truncated, narrow view which selected a few things arbitrarily and called them the Christian life, the walk with the Lord, my Christian growth, witnessing, or whatever.” (pg 31)”

    Once upon a time the Christian worldview had the monopoly on the arts. Either produced directly by Christians or in a Christian sphere of influence, we were producing the greatest works of art ever made – and are still studying today. Only when we adopted this utilitarian view of the arts in the mid 1900s did we begin to become the slaves of secular culture and the artistic trends they weren’t creating. Jon is trying to fight that – and if only others would join him.


    • Oh my goodness, that is the best response I have read! Wonderfully put and well thought out. I would hug your comment if I could. The references to Frank Schaeffer are spot on. I agree with what he says too, utilitarian thinking is killing the arts and it is such a sad thing. Wonderful, wonderful, thoughtful response! :D


    • It’s kind of sad that you think the Gospel is propaganda. I think it’s the freedom of the whole self to become a worshiper wholly dedicated. This isn’t about fighting utilitarianism, it’s about using such a blessed medium to proclaim, in thankfulness, the roots of your freedom.

      He doesn’t have an obligation to sing about Jesus necessarily (although a case could be made), but I think it’s sad he doesn’t want to. What better subject for good music?


    • “Any time a medium of art becomes subservient to the goal of getting a message out, it has turned into propaganda. Schaeffer again”

      So then Wesley’s hymns are also propaganda? Luther’s hymns? What about Bill Gaither’s music? Andre Crouch?

      Generally, Christians accept those forms of blatantly Christian music as something valuable to the Christian community for worship and edification of the Church. It’s only Christian rock/pop that somehow gets called propaganda.

      I’m all for Christians in the mainstream too. But I don’t get the disdain for music written specifically for the Church.


      • “If you silence the people, the rocks & stones themselves shall shout… ” Someone once said…hmm… I wonder who that was… :-D
        Also, Ps 19:1-on… “The heavens are telling of the glory of God… ”
        Just some thoughts


      • Much of the music you refer to is not written primarily to convince, or to convey a message; first and foremost, the hymns of Wesley, for example, are written for the purpose of worship, or to encourage believers to grow in their faith. It is written first for God, and then for the church to use in worshiping God. If others are inspired to follow when they were not followers before hearing, that’s beautiful. But it was not the main intent.

        I do not necessarily agree that music which is written to reach the lost is automatically “propaganda”, or that, if it is, then that such “propaganda” would be a bad thing. But let us be clear–much music that is written by Christians is written for purposes other than evangelism, including worship and speaking to the church in a prophetic way…not even considering music written by Christians which does not express any particular faith message.


  21. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  22. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  23. Um, so why not say “yes”? I mean, yes they are a band inspired by Christ who strive to live their lives and perform their art for the glory of Christ, they just don’t feel the need to say the words “God” or “Jesus Christ” in every single song. I agree with all of what he is saying, I just find the reluctance to assume the mantle of “Christian” a little disturbing.


    • Better to be defined by the life you live than an arbitrary, lifeless label. Many bands who call themselves “Christian” bands have no business doing so – Switchfoot is wise to let their actions speak louder than a label that pointlessly turns people off.


      • Eh?? :-$

        Christian is an “arbitrary, lifeless label”??

        Wow, no, I can’t roll with that. I don’t know Jon’s take on the matter but I can definitely disagree with yours. Christian means to be “Christ-like”, we should wear it as a badge of honor even if the world misunderstands that. I mean, just read verses like John 15:18, the world will hate us because of Christ. The answer isn’t to stop calling ourselves Christians because of that.


      • @cypherhalo
        I don’t think he means “Christian” is an arbitrary label the way WE know “Christian” to mean. I think what he means (and austin, correct me if I’m wrong) is the way “The Biz/Media/secular folk” think of “Christian” as a label; like “Rock”, “Jazz”, “Rap”…that kind of label. Unfortunately in the music industry having the label of “Christian” on your band/music turns a LOT of people off and your fan base is pretty much limited to a smaller demographic (and very often IMHO) those that aren’t in NEED of hearing your music IF sharing Jesus is what you intend to do. Any genre label is limiting, not just “Christian”, but few turn masses away as easily.

        I remember many years ago Creed was asked the same question due to many overtones in their songs (they could easily have been a Christian band then), but for fear of limiting their audience demographic and disappearing into obscurity as a band they answered flat out NO, and even that ended up losing them fans, but they remained popular to the point that you actually know who I’m talking about today (I hope).

        Anyway, tangent over…I don’t believe austin was saying BEING known as a Christian was arbitrary, or being one, or anything like that. I think he meant that ANY genre label (“Christian” being the one of topic) is arbitrary because it limits what you can produce and how it is received.

        Sorry for the wordy response.


  24. quit making excuse’s and to answer you question yes they do if you look closely.


  25. Everyone can feed the hungry, give money to the poor. And many nonChristians do, to feel good about themselves-that they are doing something honorable. Christians, however are called to more. Read Acts. The men could not stop telling what they had seen and heard of the person Jesus. Being vague in songs of “faith” “values” “morals” is the same as any other religion…Jesus is the only difference. Surely you already know that. Personally, I have one short life to live and I want to continually proclaim and testify to what Jesus is doing in my life. I feel the only person who does not want us to speak of Jesus is satan. He feeds us lies that every moment doesn’t matter. You have been blessed with talents and gifts from God…not to use those to proclaim and glorify Him by name is a waste of your life here. A waste. He is the GREAT I AM, there is no other. He died for us, can we not give our life, our talents our song for Him? It sounds like you are trying to keep it for you. That’s ok, He allows you the freedom to do so. But that is not what Scripture tells us to do. We are not here to “tell” of our works for the homeless, fatherless, poor and hungry. We are to do that but more!! What we are first and foremost here to do is testify of Him, proclaim the gospel and use our gifts to glorify and honor Him. Jesus. Alpha and Omega. The Great I AM.


  26. “Hide it under a bushel? NO! I’m gonna let it shine”! Oh remember when things were so simple? When we were excited about our faith and wanted the world to know we love Jesus? Oh to have child-like faith! Wouldn’t that be refreshing?


    • How do you know that Switchfoot isn’t doing that in every other area of their lives – or do you see the entirety of who they are by the albums they make? Do they not get up, get dressed, and have a life like everyone else? How do you know they aren’t hiding it in those moments?


      • Matthew 12 tell us: “For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks.” I think what some are saying here is it should also naturally flow out in their songs. They have an opportunity to proclaim Jesus to millions…that is not something that is given to everyone.


      • anyone who thinks Jesus doesn’t “flow out of their songs” is obviously not listening to the music, at all.


  27. Reblogged this on The Written Lena and commented:
    Thought this was very interesting. Worship comes in all forms.


  28. […] 2. Jon Foreman on “Why Switchfoot Won’t Sing Christian Songs“. […]


  29. […]  If the Christian vs Secular music debate interests you, this article will help point you in the right direction.  Thanks Zach for posting this link to your twitter. […]


  30. I get some of what he is saying about one person not being more Christian than others and he is right to a point but if you are praising Jesus then you should occasionally use His name at the least. There are songs written for people named Peggy Sue, Jessie’s girl, Roxanne…there is power in the name. My personal spirituality is certainly between myself and God but if I am a Christian and I claim to be a Christian and openly praising Him then I certainly should occasionally call on His name instead of using a generic one fits all replacement for the convenience of others.


  31. While I understand that the intention seems innocent enough. My heart breaks and is grieved. At a time when God and Christ is being removed from so many arenas and genres, why would His Body add to the list? CHRISTian songs, CHRISTmas…….people celebrate the act of celebrating Christmas with notable good acts, giving to the poor and needy are among the acts, feeding the hungry as well. Note: the unsaved does this well!!
    The message of many motivational speakers, life coaches and new age promoters operate in the principles that come from the Words of Christ yet give Him no Glory nor are believers. The principles work because they are Gods principles.

    A basketball in my hands is not powerful or worth much, but put it in Michael Jordan’s hands everything changes.
    So is someone who says Jesus Christ in a manner that means nothing to them, but let a Believer who is connected to the Vine say or sing Jesus Christ, or Christ Jesus, it is a game or life changer. It is by that Name and that Name only that people are saved. There is power in the Name Jesus Christ!!

    Call me in the box, old fashioned or even judgmental I am not worried about that.

    Several years ago my daughter went home to be with Jesus. She had turned in a paper ( I only had the rough draft, this was one of the last papers she turned in the week before she moved to heaven) titled; In God We Trust. The message, should Gods name be removed from public places? While I will not go into the whole paper, a part that has came back to me many times over is this;
    She asked the question, What if a young person steps outside to the sound of sirens and destruction (this was shortly after 911) and sees the words” In God We Trust” on the side of a building? Would that not encourage them, remind them and help them? What if that young person never knew about God? Would this not help them to know about Him or at least lead them?


    • Well said.


      • I agree 100%. These men are watering down their stand. If their gong to be christian, then stand up for it. If their going to try to sell CDs to the lost for the sake of financial gain, then at least be honest about it. Real Christians see right through them.


  32. I think SF is just trying to widen their profit margins.


  33. I’m glad I found a post in this conversation that says what I would have said but very much clearer. Thank u. Amen to u brother.


  34. I’m a property manager. I shovel snow and clean toilets. I fix stuff. I keep the building organized. I am a believer who loves God. I am an artist who paints. I am a photographer who takes pictures. I am a Mom. I am a wife. I am a grandmother. I love Jesus. This is who I am. There is no difference between any of it and my relationship with God. My heart belongs to God and everything I do is done with the awareness that He watches me, loves me, and is intimately involved in my life. When I speak, I’m aware that He hears and it influences my speech. When I paint, I’m aware that He has given the talent, so that influences what I paint. When I clean toilets and fix things, I’m aware that He watches to see if I do my best. I think this is what Switchfoot was saying. There SHOULD NOT be a dividing line between who we are, what we do, and the fact that we belong to God. As always, it’s a heart issue. The question we should be asking ourselves is: Does who I am, what I do, and how I do it glorify God?


    • <3 Rosemary , I agree.


  35. This is so sad. How could you not want to proclaim the joy that God has given you?


    • We really are becoming the churches in Revelations 1-3. God forgive us


      • How judgemental and condescending. You ought to be less convinced of your piety and more inclined to trust that He will ultimately judge what is right and who is just. Every generation believes theirs is the one that Revelations speaks of – and every one before has been wrong. You are no more an accurate arbiter of the tea leaves than any before you. Leave the concern of end times up to the only one who knows when it will be and worry about how YOU and yours live.


  36. It seems to me that Jon gave a thought provoking answer, and certainly stated his position and opinion clearly enough. Consider the Samaritan in Luke 10:33. He saw the man on the side of the road, stripped and beaten. The Samaritan saw the need and met it abundantly. Who can deny that Jesus has called us personally to all do likewise?
    Switchfoot have been given a platform and a public voice. My Bible teaches me that to whom much is given, much is also required. Who requires it, us or God? Who then is qualified to determine if Switchfoot is fulfilling their ministry and mission?
    Friends, it’s all I can do to run the race that is set before me. I’m not at all qualified to judge a brother in his race. Let the Spirit guide you as you decide what to allow into your life through music, literature, etc.
    Opinions are wonderful to have, as long as they stop short of denying others the freedom to express theirs as well.


  37. Live 4 Jesus Today – Because it Matters!


  38. Thou protestest too much.


  39. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs | ctkblog. […]


  40. Reblogged this on flutterbydawn and commented:
    Interesting comments regarding if something is “christian”. I couldn’t have said it any better myself! My words and actions are not what is christian but my heart and my soul. Let my life be an example of this love and compassion be it picking up sticks or playing games or writing let my life reflect whatever it needs to reflect in the moment.


  41. While yes, many points are valid, and I have always enjoyed Switchfoot’s music very much – I must offer correction, because as a teacher of God – I must do my calling in love also. (I too also have a creative gifting – artist) When I draw or paint, I do it to the glory of my Father, who gave His only Son to walk this Earth and provide the love lessons and teachings we are all to aspire to and walk in. He died for this and gave His earthly life to make this point and show that a mere man, a carpenter, has the capability to reflect His father’s image. While we are not perfect, we are being perfected by Him, refined as we are pruned throughout our lives. And what a blessing to live by His grace. I am so truly grateful. And with this grace, I must also release others. If I love God, then I must also love His people, yes? Of course. What better love than to try and do my artwork spreading the gospel and depicting Christ’s message? Jesus spoke in parabels…so did Tolkien and Lewis. Two of my favorite authors. My advice is this, when God brings this question of Christ to your door… perhaps it is time it open it and let him come in. Perhaps it is time to not deny his name, but unveil it? You say the music is already about your belief. But to secular ears (baby ears and those who cannot hear or see in the spirit) they will only understand the secular nature and not attribute it to their savior. I have seen muslims love Lewis also… and have no idea that he is speaking of Christ’s love reflecting OUR FATHERS. While not mentioning Christ may get your music played on secular stations and more profit being bought by secular minds… Saving and fishing for souls as disciples to the nations is the goal. My artwork does not speak phonetically, but it can visually. It’s painted story can give a message. I love you and peace be with you my brothers. God gave you a horn – we are all called to exhibit God’s love to each other… your anointed in bringing praise to GOD… to shout His holy name. Praise be to God in the highest!! God is love. ( And yes, I believe all music was created to honor Him) Lucifer was his highest and most glorious worshiper in heaven before being cast out for rebellion and taking a 1/3 of it with him. I do not condemn you. I love you too much and would only harm myself if I were to do this. Just awareness dear brothers. God go with you! PEACE AND LOVE!


    • Also, yes… if I were to call myself a “Christian” which is a true minority and narrow path… and I placed a fish symbol on my car and then cut off a man in noon day traffic…and he saw the symbol of Christ on my car..what kind of message would that send to his mind? What if he was not saved? Would he want to be now? We all have to pray for patience, endurance, kindness, etc… people have died to proclaim the name of Christ…and if it’s not done in love.. then it is pointless. If you cannot speak your piece with salt on your tongue and kindness, it not being necessary or true…then do not speak at all. Do not put the symbol on your car. For your own spirit even because we reap what we sow. God knows your heart and has your hand. Trust Him and take it. If Switchfoot decides to speak the name of Jesus Christ, then yes, more people would watch their daily lives and how they provide light. Maybe they are not ready for this responsibility? It is a great responsibility. Pray. It changes things.


      • Interestingly, there are many Kazakh Christians who won’t call themselves “Christians” because they associate the word with the Russian Orthodox Church and with Russia and the West. They call themselves by other things, like “follower of Christ.”

        The issue, of course, is one of terminology, of jargon. Those criticizing Switchfoot think that if you aren’t using the specific jargon (specialized language) of Christianity then you’re compromising or your message is somehow not Christian. You can’t use language that the world understands to explain gospel concepts (like redemption) because, that would be compromising and says that you’re ashamed of Christ – and that is what those criticizing Switchfoot are essentially accusing them of: being ashamed of Christ.

        When Paul preached in Athens, he did so using language the people of Athens understood, not the specialized jargon of the Judaism he had known before Christ saved him. All too often we presume that the world (at least in the West) is familiar with our Christianese, our specialized church jargon; so, we speak to the world in a language that, in fact, is foreign to it. So, I wonder which is the real problem: not using Christianese in songs directed to an unbelieving audience or using Christianese without taking into account that you’re essentially speaking a foreign language to your audience?


    • Many people see the Chronicles of Narnia by Lewis…but many do not realize that he penned “Mere Christianity” also.


  42. Christian music is more about praise and worship. Songs about the daily struggles of living in a fallen world and searching for answers is something that both Christians and non-Christians can relate to, and God can use music as a gateway for bring hope and salvation to those searching for answers.

    Listen to “The Shadow Proves The Sunshine”, “Let That Be Enough”, or “C’mon, C’mon” to relate to a part of your life when you needed God the most. And then look at it from a non-Christian struggling with the same problems. God is great, and knows that people use different vehicles to get to the same destination, be it to the airport, to the mall, to salvation, or to the end of a tough period of life. Well done Switchfoot in allowing God to use them as a car compared to Chris Tomlin’s motorcycle or Third Day’s truck.


  43. Hey I’m pretty sure you need to cite your source if you’re going to steal a giant block of text.


  44. Great perspective. I only wish that artists/athletes/celebrities that call themselves Christians would live godly, modest lifestyles, and that the lyrics that they write would not be condoning sin/bling.


  45. I agree 100%. But, from what I see, Christians who are making music in the general market are not the ones currently being judged by the Christian community. They are being lauded as more genuine, more authentic, etc. It’s the Christians who are making music whose lyrics are blatantly Christian, and whose message is aimed primarily at other Christians who are currently being judged. They are accused of being fake, only in it for the money, only in Christian music because they couldn’t make it in the mainstream, etc. There is a good purpose, and a need for both. There was music created for the Church long before the CCM scene ever happened. It is a part of who we are. We should “sing to one another psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs”. Why all the disdain for Christians who are earnestly trying to fulfill God’s calling in their own lives by writing and performing music for Christians?

    Let me say one more time, I completely support Christian musicians in the mainstream singing songs about a wide variety of topics. I just think the pendulum has swung, and we are now out of balance the other direction. No support is there for music intended for a Christian audience.


  46. Take a deep breath folks. The guys are Christians, just like you and I. You don’t introduce yourself to people as a “Christian accountant” and Jon shouldn’t, and won’t, ever introduce himself as a “Christian musician.” Are we not called to take the light into the darkness? Is that not our greatest purpose on this earth? And is that not exactly what these guys are going?! To box themselves in as a “Christian band” would make them a band for Christian. Christ was not a savior sent for Christians, but a savior to the lost! Some of you have a very backwards view and rather than questioning the band and Jon you might want to question yourselves a bit more. Everyone knows where these guys stand in their relationship with The Lord and they do not have to shout that from a microphone each night to change lives for the kingdom. We should all be 100% behind the work being done here.


    • I don’t care about titles. I care about actions. Love is an action word. How we behave and what we speak. Words breathe life. And no, I do not believe “everyone” knows where these guys stand in their relationship with the Lord. I cannot presume to know anything about where they stand, like I cannot presume to know where you stand. I can only believe in all good things with a pure heart. What they “have to do” and “not have to do” is a matter of their own convictions. Perhaps what they sing will bring awareness or “curiosity” and with some research, someone will get a “clue” and follow…we don’t know. A direct testimony of God’s faithfulness as a perceptive witness at a microphone would ultimately be quicker. As an accountant, their walk and what they speak would announce their light. We know already that they are an accountant by the work they perform. But we do not know they are Christian until they announce thanks to God for all they have and the only way to Him is through Christ.


      • Correction: we all stand equal before the Lord. No one is closer or farther away. We all toe the same line. We all walk in His grace and mercy. I am thankful for the mercy and love that He pours out as He sits on the throne of righteousness and justice. I would like to honor Him by proclaiming the name of Jesus as my almighty king and savior because IT IS by His stripes i am healed. I desire to be bold in Him and His love and pour my thanks onto all those who hear. Let those who hath an ear, let them hear!


      • Oh no. You really believe that preaching from the microphone on stage is an effective way to change anyone’s beliefs? Good luck Jen. I support Switchfoot and their relational approach to spreading the Gospel. I cannot even pretend to know what direction God has given them. Keep changing the world fellas!


      • As I stated, and it was not to offend… the point is to be “kingdom builders, soldiers of Christ” as stated in Timothy. To build the kingdom and be disciples and speak to the nations. Yes, I ultimately believe by confessing the name of Christ in any forum: stage, street, school, home, anywhere is more effective than not. I enjoy this bands/groups music. I have more mature ears and know what the message means. This is Discernment. Non-believers are lost and require baby food…grown ups want steak… and babies in their walk are given a seed, it gets watered, they grow. This music could very well provide a seed! However; To give the message that the only way is through Christ and to leave it out…seems well, unfortunate. God will devise a plan to use all things to His glory and perfect will regardless. I don’t advise a “burn baby burn” method or condone it; I am simply stating – in love and respect – to my Father, who comes first in all things that spreading gospel usually works best when attributed to the one who created it. I don’t worship the stars… I worship the one who created them. The same as enjoying music… I worship the one who created it. I can sing about stars all I want, I can sing about anything all I want… but is it direct praise? Anything else is a false god. I am not perfect, and far from it. God will lead all of His silver out of the wilderness. As a kingdom builder, I prefer to confess the name of Christ and He as the reason for all grace allotted and blessings on my life. That way, there is no misgivings or misunderstandings. No room or door – Anti-Christ assumptions. Giving Him all the glory honor and praise…. and for directly thanking Him for His son Jesus Christ. (ex. now all who read this understand exactly who I am thanking and why) I don’t want to argue with you brother and only permitted to defend myself (David-Psalms). Whether I stand and speak or sit. while God defends me I know He is for me, not against me. Please go in peace and love.


    • My question is, “Does the message of the song share the gospel of Jesus Christ”? I am not against secular lyracs as long as they don’t promote Satan’s system, but let’s not call a song that don’t promote the message of Jesus a Christian song just because Christians are singing it. I will say, that people who are gifted and talented to bring that message before millions of people, why would they not want to do that?


      • But they ARE bringing this message to millions! I’ve not met a single person that doesn’t know where this band stands with their religion. By going out on stage and singing Jesus loves us, they will lose credibility, then there will no longer be millions of people listening. Live for Christ. Use your talents and glorify Him with your actions. What greater outreach is there than this?


  47. your a retard


    • You should be proud of yourself


  48. A short response from a “Christian” metal band August Burns Red: “Christianity is a religion, not a style of music” and he would “rather just let the music speak for itself.”, and that he would rather let Christianity shine through the band’s lyrics. Brent Rambler commented on the fact that “It is important to us that people know that we are indeed Christians… without having us stand up there and ram it down people’s throats.”


  49. i disagree slightly with the words, “My life will be judged by my obedience”
    Rather, my life will be judged by Christ’s perfection


  50. I agree with the analysis, however, it is speaking at a level that many don’t consider or want to consider. It unnecessarily complicates the issue and the conversation. People will listen to whatever music they enjoy. Music is classified by genre. No one labeled Bach’s music Christian because it falls under the genre of “instrumental”. One could easily argue that this label is limiting.

    The label of “Christian” attached to a genre speaks to content. Take Hip-Hop for example. Most of it on the market is lyrical garbage that props up all kinds negative nonsense. When the label “Christian” is affixed to Hip-Hop it communicates that the content is expressed through a biblical worldview. It doesn’t have to name Jesus in every line of every song but it does attempt to communicate how the artist or band views life. With so much ambiguity and relativism in our world, CHRISTIANS NEED TO CLEARLY COMMUNICATE.

    So why shy away from the label. How is it limiting you to say what you say, write, and sing as coming from a Christian worldview. Wear it like a badge of honor. The disciples did in Acts 11. And by the way, no one thinks that Jesus died for music and that music is “born again”. To imply that this is how people understand and use the label “Christian music” is ridiculous. Jesus died to save sinners (1 Tim. 1:15). When Jesus saves sinners they are instantly justified and they become “. . . a new creation” (2 Cor. 5:17). Our lives and conversations should be increasingly filled with gospel content as we become more like Christ. With regard to the poor, I agree that Jesus is concerned with their needs but our response to the poor should be more than addressing physical needs (Mark 8:36) but should be intentional especially when it comes to their greatest need which is Jesus expressed in the gospel spoken through the Word of God (Rom. 10:17).

    Switchfoot has been granted a platform, and they are to make the most of that platform for sake of the gospel and God’s glory. IT IS NOT ABOUT THEM OR WHAT THEY WANT (Gal. 2:20; Phil. 3). I have witnessed bands starting out who have no problem with the label but when they get bigger and want to expand their audience they start compromising and and moving away from the labels that they feel will limit their market. I’m not saying this is the case for Switchfoot but maybe that ought to consider it. When asked in the future, why not just say, “Yes! We identify ourselves with Christ and yes, the content of the music we sell and perform is expresses through that Christian worldview because we believe that there is no hope in this life or the next apart from Christ,”


    • Amen!


    • This is sad. You pretend to know what is best for this band, but why don’t we leave it up to them and their walk with Christ instead of guessing what YOU think is best for them to do with their platform? I think I’ll leave it for God to communicate that to them.


      • “Beware of the false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Grapes are not gathered from thorn bushes nor figs from thistles, are they? So every good tree bears good fruit, but the bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. So then, you will know them by their fruits.” Matthew 7:15-20
        To title this “Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs” is telling. Won’t sing Christian songs…ever? Never … sing a Christian worship song? I understand they were wanting to grab attention … but the title itself draws attention away from Christ and onto themselves. They are in the public eye … They are to be judged by their fruits. What if this article is all I see of them?


      • Switchfoot performs at Christian festivals, talk about God from stage, talk about God in their movie, write blogs that talk about God, have “God” and “Lord” in their lyrics, are played on Christian radio, and the list goes on and on and on. If you think Jon Foreman would EVER be an attention seeker, then holy cow, you do NOT know that man.

        He is the most humble man I’ve personally ever met and/or followed the career of.


      • >Mark , My comments were not a mandate for what is best for the band but rather a proclamation of God’s Word on what is best for those who name Christ (this includes all of us). Jon Foreman was asked a question and he gave a public response. As a member of the public and a brother in Christ I possess both the freedom and obligation to reply. Foreman gave a philosophical response to the question, and I disagree with the logic. I provided an explanation for why I disagree and biblically supported it. For the record . . . I am a Switchfoot fan. I just do not agree with the push back on the label “Christian” in describing who they are and what they do in the music industry. My intent is not to be overly critical but to bring another honest perspective to the discussion. Feel free to disagree and explain why, but don’t pretend to know my heart or motives.


  51. I’ve said it a thousand times: Switchfoot is the MOST “Christian” band I’ve ever known. They’re not watering down or shying away from the message: They are taking the message and using it in the way they’ve been called to use it… To reach the multitudes. Incredible guys, incredible band.


    • listen to manchester orchestra.


  52. Reblogged this on My Journey; The flight and the fire. and commented:
    Amazing insight!


  53. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  54. […] morning I came across an article from CTKblog that totally saddened me and angered me at the same time. I need to talk about […]


    • Bitch did you not read it…?


      • wow we are talking about christianity and you curse ? wow how horrible of you


      • I pray you receive the overcoming love of Christ into your spirit and heart Chimmichanga in the name of Jesus. Amen. :) Wounded people wound others. I pray for your healing.


      • Ha!


      • Don’t do it, Chimmichanga!


  55. Reblogged this on 薏卉 rachel and commented:
    maturity


  56. I could not agree more with Jon’s statement!

    Derek Webb said, “The word Christian, when it applied to anything other than a human being, is a marketing term.”

    I think, almost always, that calling your art “Christian” is a way to sell your art to “Christian” people. It says, “buy my music because I love Jesus.” It’s one of the reasons Jesus went ballistic on the money-changers.

    The lead singer for Rascal Flatts once tweeted a scripture…in that one small moment he reached more people for Christ than almost all the CCM Industry combined. Most of America has tuned “Christian Music” and “Christians” out. I’m on a plane and someone asks me what I do for a living. I say, “I’m a pastor”. The conversation is over. He picks up his magazine and buries his head. If I say, “I’m a musician”, the conversation continues. A relationship can form and possibly one day he’ll be ready to HEAR my thoughts about Faith. Until he’s ready…it’s nothing more than white noise pushing him further down the path of apathy toward God.


    • true. I live the same thing as a family entertainer traveling the nation/world. Thanks.


      • Please be careful in consideration that now you are engaging in reverse judging of those who feel called to “Christian” worship and outreach type of music


  57. I enjoyed reading this blog and all of the comments. Contrary to a lot of you, I think Switchfoot is doing a great job walking a very difficult line. Many have been burned by the Church. These individuals often feel ostracized or attacked…thinking all Christians do is preach and judge without allowing for relationship or forgiveness. Personally, I am grateful for bands (and other organizations) that make it their mission to make art that can be enjoyed by people of all different walks of life. Switchfoot’s message, while never using blatantly Christian verbiage, sends a good, uplifting message that many can relate to, even by those who have been hurt by the Church. Switchfoot has never denounced their faith, never said “we aren’t Christians and don’t want to be associated with the Christian community.” Instead, they are finding another, perhaps more accessible, way to reach others through their music and their lives. Both types of music are good and needed, but maybe their way will lead to a conversation that would never have been had any other way, reaching people who would have never picked up a “Christian” album…


    • Perfectly said! :)


    • to be Christian is to be Christ like first of all. Since 1987 I have produced and promoted artists that have sold to cross over markets, never limiting or advancing their music by being known as Christians except for the fact it was Great Music! Judge not is correct. The Holy Word, if you ever read it, judges. But I have known many,as many know, you can make stupid or questionable statements that cost you your fame, fortunes, record sales and record contracts as well as the mighty blessings God had planned for you, but you messed it up. Lives are filled with choices. Always remember, be nice to those you meet on your way up for you may have to meet them again on your way back down. I pray for Switchfoot, I pray they realize we are all sinners saved by grace. No one stands higher than another. The ground is level, at the FOOT OF THE CROSS. +


  58. I will not be ashamed to proclaim the name of Jesus so Jesus will not be ashamed of me. The great commission IS an obligation I as a believer will not ignore! No excuses!


    • (“None of these songs has been born again, and to that end there is no such thing as Christian music. No. Christ didn’t come and die for my songs, he came for me. Yes. My songs are a part of my life. But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing. I am a believer. Many of these songs talk about this belief. An obligation to say this or do that does not sound like the glorious freedom that Christ died to afford me.”)

      I was thinking “Christian” music is actually a Kingdom building tool. “The Great Commission” The words are testimony that can reach the lost or encourage a hurting believer. It is also worship of God.

      I don’t have a problem with Switchfoot but think the comment about Jesus dying for music is just silly. “Christian” music is outreach and we are to use our gifts to glorify the Lord. They can do what they want, but should take that reason out of their answer.


  59. Please forgive me that I don’t even know who they are. You have to understand I have a hearing loss and cannot make out lyrics, so I’m usually out of touch with new music. (I usually wait to enjoy them when they’re sung in church and show the lyrics’ subtitles). So perhaps I’m misunderstanding this when I say this; BUT, I can’t see this as anything less than a poor excuse or cop-out if I’m to understand this right. I DO know what music does for the soul… and it’s a beautiful moment for the soul and the Spirit. If these guys love the Lord and the Lord has blessed them with musical talent then I find no acceptance for their excuse.


    • Voice In The Wilderness…. your hearing is perfect in the sight of God. Well said.


      • I like what you did there Jen =)


    • That was an excellent reply, VoiceInTheWilderness. I am not sure if they present the Gospel at their shows or not, so I cannot speak to that certain aspect of their ministry.

      For me, “Christian music” is that which glorifies God, which is what we were placed on Earth to do. It seems almost snarky to say that songs can’t be saved. Of course, they can’t, but to paraphrase Romans 10:14, “How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him whom they have not heard? “


    • And on the final day I die
      I want to hold my head up high
      I want to tell You that I tried
      To live it like a song

      And when I reach the other side
      I want to look You in the eye
      And know that I’ve arrived
      In a world where I belong

      Partial lyrics to a song I have sung over and over and over and have made it my prayer. A “Christian song?” Maybe not by some standards. Written by a Christian man? Clearly. I listen to Switchfoot often and the lyrics to their music has ministered to me time and again. Their songs are full of truth. They motivate me to go deeper, to live with purpose, and to forgo the world’s attempts to satisfy in favor of the eternal. I encourage you to do a web search for their lyrics – they will bless you.


      • Amen @ LakeCountry! If you take the time to read all the lyrics written by Jon over the years, you’ll see the heart of a man (flawed just like all of us) but none the less, a heart of someone passionate about his relationship with Jesus and passionate about living out a lifestyle of practical/spiritual Christianity (Worship) Rom12:1-2. Jon is revealing the idols of our world and culture and helping us to admit our struggles and sins as we listen and agree with his lyrics. I feel like I’m listening to a pastor, preacher, honest and real brother when I listen to his songs. None of us expect a Pastor to talk solely about Jesus, (they should be able to talk about their mother-in-law and their kid’s baseball game, the injustice in the world, etc) but we hope all of their communication is fueled by their relationship with The Lord and their biblical worldview. Let’s allow Jon to do the same. I totally agree with the idea that we need to stop separating sacred and secular. For the Christian, LIFE is ministry! Let’s keep it simple and Love God and Love our wives and kids and serve people’honoring The Lord as we teach, preach, build homes, sell groceries, fix toilets and write songs. Lets build healthy and real relationships, speaking and living out truth in love. That’s what changes the world – not merely another song with the word “Jesus” in it. Don’t get me wrong – I love Christ-Centered lyrics, but I also value songs about life, written from the Christian’s perspective.


    • If something needs to mention God, or Jesus by name to be Christian, then we have much bigger problems. Why are we not wearing Christian clothes to proclaim our belief? Why are we not eating Christian food? Sitting on Christian furniture? Driving Christian cars?

      Furthermore, we should remove several chapters and books out of the Bible, because they don’t directly mention God or Jesus by name–i.e. the book of Esther.

      To add the word “Christian” or mention Jesus does not make anything, I repeat anything, more glorifying of God. This “Christian” industry and segregating ourselves by staying inside the “Christian” box does not glorify God. Jesus said, very clearly, to go out into all the world which is exactly what Switchfoot (and others are doing).

      Philippians 4:8 has a lot to say about this. “Finally, brothers and sisters, WHATEVER is true, WHATEVER is noble, WHATEVER is right, WHATEVER is pure, WHATEVER is lovely, WHATEVER is admirable–if ANYTHING is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.” That’s a lot of “WHATEVER’s.”


    • I believe the point of te article is that you don’t have to be known for Christian music, Christian art, Christian preaching or Christian any other kind of job to be a professed Christian. I am a roofing contractor. I am a Christian but I don’t push that as part of my business. I do let people see the difference in me by not swearing, not lying or cheating people and if the subject comes up, I will profess my faith. There is a very important role in living a Christian life in an everyday job because most non-believers aren’t going to listen to a “Christian” band, sermon or whatever without finding an interest in it on their own first. If they see a difference in us, they will be curious. If we hit them over the head with a Bible, they will be lost.


  60. […] Why Switchfoot Won’t Sing Christian Songs […]


  61. Greatly appreciated Jon’s response. It is so true that we have put a christian or non- christian label on everything. I personally sense the redemption spirit of Christ in their songs when I listen to them. I appreciate that bands like Switchfoot,P.O.D. and Stryper all have a fan base that includes unbelievers. They are reaching who they are meant to reach and making a difference for Kingdom of God.


    • Are they? I am not saying that I completely disagree with the above, but if they have a following for good music, but no one knows or even wonders who they are talking about, then how does that make an impact for the Kingdom? We know who they are talking about so can worship to it, but non-believers would not unless they really take the time to look into it. I understand their point and convictions, but instead of making a point to always leave the name of Jesus out of it, we are supposed to be proclaiming who He really is. Instead of shirking from all the negative associations people have with His name… set it right in your music, proclaim His love, grace, and forgiveness if that’s what you believe no one understands. Every song doesn’t have to have that, and I am not saying they are dead wrong and not amazing Christian men, I just find it a little disconcerting when someone says that they are essentially called to NOT use the name of Jesus in their music.


      • I agree whole heartedly with Christiana. I have great admiration for Switchfoot as a band and for their ability to live in the music world and keep to their Christian principles. We are called, however, to live our lives to proclaim Christ. Leaving it up to the listener to figure out what/whom they are talking about is a lame excuse and a cop out for Christ.


      • Agreed Christina. Bebo Norman sings a song called “Great Light of the World.” I love it. However, unless I picture Bebo as Christian – or know for a fact that he is a believer… when he sings… for God to come down and make his spirit whole… how do I really know he is speaking of Christ’s healing? Mature ears know the difference… the anti-Christ spirit loves self-rulers and people that appoint other kings. Or omission. The message should remain clear and concise. Not specifically Jesus, jesus, jesus, jesus for every lyric…but yes, should glorify the redeemer for the sacrifice he made by leaving his throne in heaven to save us – in the lyrics somewhere. These gentleman’s walks are not in question. We have no right to administer this assumption here or there. But according to the word of God… (also commandment, to love one another as He loves us.) why not clearly say JESUS! Why not say FATHER GOD? Why not profess loud and clear why you are saved and hear to speak HIS NAME and give HIS LOVE? This should make a person’s heart leap for joy and jump out of their seat, etc…. HE IS WORTHY~! to be praised~ We are nothing without him. We decrease so HE can increase in us. (and if I only put “HE” in the rest of my sentences- and never wrote anything here about Jesus… you would wonder who “HE” is)


  62. Unity in Christ is more important and bigger than any of our personal opinions. I was excited and feeling joyful about Christ being lifted up in this article, until I scrolled down to the comments… I’m reminded of a group of teenagers stranded without adult supervision, all of them bickering over who their leader is. Selah. . . Who is our leader?, I mean who leads your life? Follow Jesus people, not every wind of doctrine blowing around. I haven’t heard anyone say it yet so I will… Get a grip! We’re all working out our own salvation, not everyone else’s. It’s a good article, it not against Christ, it actually has great substance and is edifying. These are all positives that qualify as “tested good” and should pass the test. Unless we allow a critical spirit to rise up and control us, which some of us have done, we should rejoice that Christ is lifted up and be encouraged to do the same. Remember we serve an infinite God and the deep things of God are sometimes only revealed to those who go deep. Keep love in your comments, guard your behavior and stay unified in Christ.

    Love and peace from and in our Lord Jesus.


    • Tony, I was beginning to type the same thought until I saw yours. I believe that both “Christian” labeled music and what is not labeled has it’s place and purpose. There is no negative either way. As a Christian, I can listen to KLove for inspiration and to be a wholesome place to focus my thoughts as I drive or work. I can also hear a song played by SF on another channel and still be just as blessed. I find it so refreshing to hear music that gives me the ability to focus on God even in the “secular” arena. Either way it’s good. We should all be ready to support those who see the true message of Christ…”those with ears let them hear” and not ruin it by allowing Satan in on the conversation to pick out the bits and pieces we may disagree with. This only turns us against one another instead of bringing us together to continue the good fight.
      Well said!


    • Well said, Tony! Agreed!


  63. I love Switchfoot’s music but a lot of their songs could be mistaken as love songs and I think they are love songs, to a savior. However it’s a shame that with the outlet they are given they never mention their Savior by name. Non Christians could easily see them as another band such as Lifehouse singing love songs to a female or about life. Perhaps they are trying to reach a larger demographic with their music but let’s hope it’s not about more money but about reaching the lost.

    In conclusion I have no idea if what there doing is right or wrong, it probably depends on their heart and that’s not for me or anyone else to judge.


    • I think Jesus spoke in parables. He didn’t mention the name of the Lord in those parables. He spoke in a way that those in the audience could hear and if they were ready, understand what He was talking about draw closer to the Lord. Some of preach the Gospel with words, some of us with actions. And some of us work to nudge those around us to go listen to the word and see the actions. God uses us all.


      • Jesus said to pray for all things in His name. We do have some idea of what is right or wrong…because God defines this is His word. For instance… murder is wrong… we identify it, we see it… we hear it… we know it’s wrong. But sickness is sickness and we all need healing… so for this, we cannot throw stones, but pray in His name for healing.


      • CJ, according to Christ Himself, He spoke in parables specifically to fulfill prophecy. While your intentions appear to have been good, interpreting and sharing scripture out of context, as I myself have been guilty of, can be counterproductive.

        That having been said, I believe a strong scriptural argument can be made for all able-bodied adults to earn a living. these men appear to be doing just that. if in a passionate and wholesome fashion, they continue to earn a living with the gifts that God has given them, why should they be criticized? if the Holy Spirit is able to use this process to reach the lost, that’s gravy.

        Glory to God.


  64. While Saul was used to fight the wars during his time of disobedience (while he believed to be obedient at one time)… he awakened to be Paul and the leading advocate for Christ later. Surely Surely God is able and will use all things according to His purpose and perfect will. How will you allow Him to use you? This is your free will.


    • You’re absolutely right. It all boils down to this: Jesus is going to fish the way He is going to fish. He told Peter; If I will that this man remains until I come, what is that to you? YOU follow me.


      • true. I do pray God hears the desire of my heart, and uses the giftings of our brothers and sisters in this forum (as the body of Christ) to provide teaching, comfort, bring wisdom – after all, to deny even the least of these (brothers/sisters) is to deny Christ also. All things in His time, not ours.


  65. Christianity is not about good deeds, but first of all be obedient to our Creator (not my will, but Your will). If you take this part away it is not Christianity anymore. I think Bible is very clear on confessing Jesus publicly. As far as comparison to Lewis, it was a different time. People had Bible background, and understood his message.


    • People did understand C.S.Lewis’ message. Aslan was sacrificed on a stone altar to atone for Edmund’s sin. Sounds like Christ to me! I read Lion, Witch and the Wardrobe to my small children. They got it.


  66. Everyone saying that to not be labelled as Christian music is being ashamed of Christ is missing their point. No one said they don’t publicly call themselves Christians, they are simplying not signed with a Christian label producing patently Christian songs. To suggest that thhis misses a calling or is their failure to really be Christian means that I, working for a secular company doing IT work is just as bad. I’m not labeling my work “Christian IT”, nor is the work I do patently Christian. People at work definitely know my faith, and I work to give God glory, but how is that different than what Switchfoot does? Stop assuming that Christians can have secular jobs unless they are into music – Paul made tents, we can do secular work too. I’m not a professional Christian, I’m just a person devoted to following Christ. It’s not just a job I do, it permeates ever aspect of my life, whether secular or not. Everything I do is to God’s glory.


    • I think this was the best and most logical response yet. It definitely settled my opinion of it.


    • I love this response. Thank you.


  67. He provides an important perspective. I also live my life the same way – i.e., I don’t run around with a bible or a sign about Jesus, but I tell people about Him in ways that I think will truly make them think. As well, I’ve also found it a real challenge to write a song or poem directly and succinctly about God (or anyone, really), that conveys the deepest and most important meanings, expressions, and emotions. Simply iterating about how great someone is doesn’t reach very deeply into the listener.


  68. Amen brother! As a singer/songwriter who has written all kinds of songs (and who has been asked this question a gajillion times) I couldn’t agree more! I just became a Switchfoot fan!


  69. […] would like to share a couple of articles I recently read which help to explain why I feel this way: Jon Foreman (Switchfoot) Michael […]


  70. “The Christian shoemaker does his Christian duty not by putting little crosses on the shoes, but by making good shoes, because God is interested in good craftsmanship.”
    -Luther


  71. Reblogged this on Warrior Poet and commented:
    Switchfoot says this far more eloquently than I could, hence the reblog. We can’t continue creating these false categories of sacred and secular–when we do, we make Screwtape happy in his victory over the laity. Create and it will be worship to God.


  72. […] Why Switchfoot won't sing Christian songs. […]


  73. One more reason to love SwitchFoot more! Level headedness.


  74. […] Yesterday, Jon Foreman from Switchfoot went on the record and said what I said above. But stated it way better than I did! Check it out here. […]


  75. Wow!!!!!!-refreshing words of freedom


  76. Hmm… its a bit of a cop out. His analogy is flawed. Yes he is right in saying that Jesus didn’t die for a song, but at the same time we as believers are supposed to show Christ in all that we do. To say that a worship leader is more spiritual than a janitor is potentially wrong. But, if that Janitor is not using his talents to glorify God, then the analogy is false. We were created for worship, and we all worship something. The question still stands, why doesn’t switchfoot use their platform to worship what their Savior has supposedly done in their lives?


    • First, his janitor analogy is not wrong. He is saying that to make a characterization of one’s spirituality based on position alone is wrong, and that is 100% correct. To your point, what if the worship leader is full of pride and does music only to impress the opposite sex, while the janitor prays for orphans and widows as he cleans the toilets? God judges by the heart, not by the externals that man points to, do you not agree? As to your last question, if you have listened to their music at any length and come to the conclusion that they are not worshipping God and what he has done in their lives, I’m at a loss as to how to convince you otherwise. But have you turned the question back on yourself? How have you used your platform to worship what God has supposedly done in your life? Or is it only famous musicians that have to live up to this? Take care, friend, and peace of Christ to you.


    • Here is the problem people who know nothing about God or hate God or just believe he’s a fictional character probably would not listen to their music if they put their music in the Christian catagory . They are trying to show that you can glorify God without being labeled . Switch foot is an awesome band with good morals and Christ on there side . Before you judge someone for not putting Gods name in a song look at your own life and ask yourself do you do everything for God or do you only do it when it’s convenient


  77. Reblogged this on Cloudy with a chance of Catholic. and commented:
    This is good.


  78. Well said. :)


  79. Dang! Preach it Jon! Keep doing the work God has called you to.


  80. Reblogged this on Poetical Gab.


  81. Although I agree with Foreman’s answer, he should answer as to why Switchfoot’s (or his) stage presence isn’t the same as it used to be in the days before they were signed to a major secular label. I remember Jon bringing out the Bible between or during songs, reading a passage, and doing a little sermon…and it was DEEP STUFF! I can understand him not doing that at a secular event or even by request of that particular label, but he still didn’t do that at a specifically-Christian festival, even after the band left that label a few years earlier. I just don’t get it.


  82. Ok I’ve been to their concerts and, at least the one I went to, they never mentioned the name of Jesus or God. If God has given you the ability to reach multitudes of people then there is a right and a wrong way to do it. I’m not saying each and every one of their songs needs to be a “worship song” but preach the gospel in between. Explain how Jesus has saved you and blessed your life. Food for thought.


  83. sounds like the guy was in a bad mood that day!


  84. Bravo! You’re spot-on, my brother


  85. I am going to bet you that many that feel strongly about the songs needing to mention the name of our Savior don’t get bothered much at all when the movie or tv show they are watching and paid money to see desecrates our Savior’s name. Just saying.


  86. Reblogged this on sojourner4jesus and commented:
    I think it’s fantastic that a musician, who happens to be a believer, would not only have this opinion, but be able to articulate it. This is very well said…


  87. Oh come on, you hope they’re not doing this to sell their music? It’s their livelihood! Try going to your job and blasting all your coworkers with Jesus information all day long, I’m sure that won’t irk your superiors. I agree with what sf said, Christians are a lot of talk and not much action, myself included. For instance, we love to pound a “christian” band in a comment section because THEY aren’t as holy as we say they should be, that’s really growing the kingdom. Also, quite a few of you need to spend a bit more time in the word, yes, to be obedient we proclaim christ, but God saves, not music bands.


  88. Here’s Jon singing some worship music for an aftershow. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gASARCS5XHE


  89. An observation. Having seen pretty much the entire spectrum of “Christian music” from the early 70’s on I can say this. The first 10-15 years it was a given that there was going to be a altar call at some point during the show. I saw many people give their lives to Christ during those early days. Bands that started the genre did it to bring people to Christ, plain and simple as that. Several years ago I attended Larry Normans 60th birthday concert in Portland. During the question and answer period I asked what his fondest memories of his career were. His response was rather telling. He responded “none”. He stated he did everything for Christ and to lead others to Christ.
    Someplace in the eighties it was pretty obvious that Christian music had become big business with lots of money being made. At some point the concerts began to become somewhat of a show, not an outreach. I can remember some artists, I.e. Jars, Amy Grant, Switchfoot, etc. stated that they needed to go to the clubs to reach others who wouldn’t go to a “Christian concert”. I have been to many of these shows as well. When the name of Jesus isn’t mentioned at all, I sometimes wonder how people who don’t know Christ are supposed to figure it out from those shows. I believe money has been one of the largest factors in drowning out the message.

    I will honestly say I am a bit conflicted about my own feelings as well. I do enjoy a good concert and can be ministered to without every song having the name of Jesus on it. I do wonder though what the early bands would stay about the state of the industry. I know why they did what they did. I not sure I can judge the motives of some of today’s bands as clearly.


  90. It saddens me that none of the above comments are mention bible verses. Only people’s opinions. So sad. Got gave us the bible for a reason. How about we use The Book of Songs (Psalms) and compare it to our music instead of using J. R. Tolken? I agree with a lot of what Jon said, but I don’t think leaving out the name of Christ can help you sound more like “your calling.” I think we need to study the bible more about this word “calling” before we use it to support our opinions. Christ calls my name before God everyday on my behalf. How can I not mention HIS name? glory to God! :’)


    • *mentionING


  91. Totally agree! My life anthem is ‘Beautiful Letdown’. I believe our hyper-vocationalism, in general, is a self- contained waste of energy fueled by vainglory. This is one reason much of Christian music is so incessantly bland.

    Embrace the anonymous life hidden in Christ. May the Spirit lead us all into the freedom of a radically creative incarnational trinitarian dance.

    Switchfoot is a wonderful example of a few Christians discerning their vocatio.


  92. It is pure deception for “Christian bands” to try to sing secular songs to reach out to the masses. If you are not proud of your message, then don’t preach it.

    There is a case of a Pastor’s wife in Singapore who became a pop star as a “Crossover project”.. she started singing songs about bitches and dressed all slutty!!! And all the money spent on promoting her career (in the millions) were taken from church offerings!!! All this in the name of outreach!!!


  93. Jon Foreman is absolutely correct and unfortunately its going to put a lot of conservative Christians on the defensive because it forces them to face their conservative views and about “living the Christian Box”. I’ve heard it said that “… as long as it doesn’t dishonor God”, art has the freedom to be as expressive as it needs to be. Jon isn’t saying that at all; in fact he leaves the door wide open. Why? Primarily because art and its consumption doesn’t have religion. My or your salvation isn’t tied to artistic expression. The real problem is how you consume someone else’s artistic expression; therefore the burden is on YOU – not the artist. Take an example : Michelangelo’s sculpture “David”. Art or pornography? Most people, even committed Christians would say “Art”. A modern photographic study of nudes is not however taken as art in Christian circles and is even condemned. So who decides? The artist’s religious convictions DO NOT MATTER to the art’s intent or reason for existence. The consumer, however, is faced with a challenge : accept art on its own level, devoid of religious intent, … OR … project one’s own religious views on art and then improperly condemn or praise the art based on one’s projections. The choice is obvious but its amazing how conservative Christians will choose condemnation over compassion in order to stay “inside the box”. As a Christian who is an artist & musician, I personally have stayed connected to music inside the church but I also create art outside the church. Neither venue, in my mind, gives my ability for artistic expression a different reason for being. If I rock out at church or if I rock out in a bar, I’m still just rocking out. Society has told us church is for good things and the world is for bad things … or maybe that’s Christian conservatism that taught us that? I’d rather like to think that we, as human beings, could be open minded enough to enjoy the same art in both venues giving praise to the same God who governs both.


  94. Although there are many who call themselves Christians who truly do not live godly lives, I still believe that the gifts you were given should glorify and honor God. If God has given you a platform, then His name should be heard. “How will they know without a preacher”


  95. Reblogged this on the New Page Chronicles.


  96. Your life will not be judged based on how you treat people (that is works) your life is based on whether or not you have repented & put your faith in trust in Jesus Christ. I do think if SF would put Jesus or Christ in their songs they would not be as popular. I do like the analogy that a Pastor is no more Christian or spiritual than a janitor.


    • Just to play Devil’s advocate (which may be dangerous when responding to “Gabriel” :>), why does Jesus’ story of the sheep and goats make it sound like how we treat people will be the ONLY thing we’re judged on?


  97. Before I post I have to confess that I do not follow or listen to the music being created by Switchfoot. I have friends who are fans, and these friends are believers, so I trust their judgment regarding the music being created by Switchfoot.

    I believe as Mr. Foreman does that all work and service done in the name of the Lord, whether we view it as sacred or secular, glorifies God. There are many people and organizations in the world today who champion the cause of the widow, the fatherless, and the down trodden. The health and welfare of the most vulnerable in our world is improving. The thing of if it is though, this work is being done with great love and conviction by Christian organizations as well as secular organizations that have no interest in the Gospel message.

    As an outside observer, why should I choose to pour myself into the work of the Gates Foundation over the work being done by Samaritan’s Purse? As a person in need of help, from all that I can see with my worldly eyes, there really is no difference between the two, so it doesn’t matter who helps me. Of course as Christians we know there is a profound difference. That is the message of redemption through Christ that is present in this world and continues throughout eternity.

    As a small business owner this Truth has challenged me to reflect on how I describe myself to others. Am I a business owner that is a Christian, or am I a Christian business owner? I am not a bible scholar or expert by any stretch of the imagination, but as I read the Gospel I believe we are commanded to put Christ first in our lives. For me I have to view myself as a Christian business owner so I am reminded to put Christ first in all things. This is a challenge as I am prone to thinking I am a business owner first. This takes my eyes off Christ and leads me to think and act in ways that do not honor God. I begin to make compromises and start rationalizing decisions based on it creating a “good” outcome.

    For Mr. Foreman, identifying himself as a musician that is a Christian or as a Christian musician is a personal decision that he makes in the context of his relationship with God. I would encourage him (and all of us) to continue seeking the Lord’s direction and to accept every opportunity God gives to proclaim the good news; whether it is shouting it from the roof tops, whispering it gently to the needy, glorifying God’s creation in a song, or listening to the cries of the hurting.

    God has called us to be bold when proclaiming the Gospel. Being bold isn’t necessarily only about being loud or visibly courageous. By consistently reflecting Christ in all that we say and do we are putting Him first in all things, which is a bold act in a fallen world.


  98. You really made me think. Thank you for sharing your view. I am really touched!!!!!!


  99. My problem isn’t that they don’t mention Christ or that they don’t want to be boxed i into a specific demographic. My issue with SF is that they always seem to be defensive when asked this question. Just a simple ‘we are a band with Christian members.’ Would suffice.


  100. Every one of you saying a negative word about Jon or Switchfoot clearly doesn’t follow them closely enough. It honestly makes me sick when Jon or the band gets questioned for their faith or lyrics. As I said earlier, this is the most Christian band I think exists. This band has influenced more people than any “Christian” worship artists, because those artists typically only are heard by those who are already Christian.

    Every one of you needs to watch the Switchfoot movie “Fading West” for more perspective. You clearly need it.


  101. fantastic quote. Thanks for posting. I didn’t see the source/reference. I’d love to blog it, too..but with credit..thanks


  102. As a disclaimer, I am a Switchfoot fan, and they’re one of the only bands where I will usually buy their new record without hearing it. Jon’s views (and I’ve heard them before) are spot on, but it’s not an either-or proposition. Some bands have shied away from overtly Christian lyrics because they feel it will hurt them in the broader market (decidedly unChristian). When Christianity becomes a business decision either way (to gain Christian fans or to avoid losing the secular market), it has ceased to be Christian. I think Jon’s statement should stand as his answer to the question, and I would shout a hearty “Amen” at the end of it. But the question is not (as he stated) a grievous one. At worst it’s clumsy, but not grievous. Perhaps a better way of framing the question would be “Why does Switchfoot not produce music that is more direct in it’s presentation of the gospel?”. Then the answer is better contextualized. I accept SF’s music as “Christian”, for the very reasons he stated. I also recognize that as a fellow believer, he’s well aware that there are many who would seek to profit from wearing the Christian label, and those who would see it as a hindrance to profit. As a consumer, member of BMI, and fellow musician and composer, I want to be edified, challenged, touched, etc., by those who believe in the message they’re sharing. So having reporters ask (even if clumsily) “Do you believe in the message you’re sharing, or are you simply trying to build the biggest market for your product?”, is part of their role as members of the media.


    • Well, if the goal of SF were to share the gospel and reach others with it, isn’t being listened to by the secular world part of the goal? And if the secular world most certainly does not listen to music overtly deemed “Christian”, they would fail to reach others by making their lyrics that much more obviously like other “Christian” music.

      As is, they are listened to and heeded by the secular world, and how many people are they reaching because their lyrics were hinting to God in the context of everyday life, ie – relevance and how much others can relate to what they sing about.

      I seems like you’re making the very mistake Foreman talked about: being very overtly, in your face, Christian isn’t the only way to spread the gospel or honor God. Everyone has their own and different ministry calling, many of those won’t be considered the traditional Christian type of ministry but are still what God has called them to.


      • I wouldn’t really disagree with sf’s comment but would say only this: when the best way of reaching others for Christ is to be less openly Christ centered, we are heading in the wrong direction. I’m not accussing SF or any other commenter of saying this outright but it is the great temptation of well meaning people to somehow make the message more palatable for a wider audience.
        Perhaps the answer is not to be less overtly Christian but to examine ourselves and see if what we are living out is real Christianity or just lip service.


    • I’d agree with Jon’s comment about it being a “grievous” question. While you assume the questioner to be asking “Why does Switchfoot not produce music that is more direct…?”, I could equally assume that the questioner is trying to claim/reject the artist for one “side” or the other. What I’ve found most common in discussions about whether music is “Christian” or not is the attempt to claim secularily successful bands (U2, Mumford and Sons) for the glory of ourselves. If these famous people believe what I do, then that supports my position. Then as soon as they do something any one branch of Christianity doesn’t like (divorce, swear, not be overt enough with their message), they are thrown out and condemned as “not representative” by that branch. Labeling music as Christian is primarily grievous for me because more commonly the label is associated with who’s in/out/safe/dangerous, than whether or not the person believes their message. It’s also too commonly associated with mediocrity. If their message isn’t direct enough, even if you take on the christian music label, they will be critisized for not being overt enough. In a culture where songs are commonly rated by “jesus per minutes”, you can’t tell me that it’s just a clumsy question.


  103. All this talk about the songs they sing. but Jon was asked if they are a christian “Band”. That’s a different question than, “are you’re songs christian”


    • That may be but when someone judges whether a band is christian or not they judge the songs. There are a lot of bands that are christian in faith but don’t sing overtly christian songs and therefore are not consider christian by the majority.


    • you’re probably a literalist when it comes to the bible too


    • Hypothetical question… If half the members of a band are Christians… is the band a “50% Christian band”?

      I think you can apply Jon’s reasoning about songs – or objects, vocations, etc. – to bands as well.


      • What actually is the real argument here?Christian music/songs are a response of being thankful from the heart for what God in Christ has done for the person concerned…There is nothing like a christian song/Hindu song /secular song etc…
        That is why we should be careful in what music we produce… To who the song is for???
        other wise what is the difference between heavy rock music and genuine heart worship thankful songs to our Savior..Nowadays the name christian Rock Band is common…??
        On a last note we are not talking about performance here..what should matter is our is true devotion from the heart to our saviour .


  104. Scripture says in Matt 7:16 “you will recognize them by thier fruit”. Jon Forman and the members of Switchfoot fruit have always been that of strong followers of Christ. The only problem I have is that I have seen so many other people say the same thing and in no time at all they have lost thier way as indivuals and they no longer claim to be Christians.

    Let’s follow the scripture and judge not by names and labels but instead on a case by case basis according to the fruit that is borne. It is the only true indicator of what is in the heart.


    • Judge? Really? why not follow your own advice about following the scripture.


      • 1st Cor. 5:12 says to judge believers that may be out of line but don’t judge the non-believer. I have no judgement for Switchfoot though. From everything I’ve seen and heard they love God and serve him fervently. I just believe it takes a strong believer to do what they have done. They’ve been able to go into some if the darkest places in the world and minster because they have a community of believers in thier own band that help keep them accountable. John 17:15-16


  105. We will have to agree to disagree. Either a song points to Christ or it doesn’t. Pointing a general direction and thinking they may see Christ is falling way short of our calling to be hot or cold. Either show the way or don’t; being vague is useless.


    • Then you better stop reading CS Lewis’s Narnia books, or Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings, and don’t listen to any of the classic music by Bach or Mozart. They’re all kind of vague and general in their pointings. Almost like the general revelation the Bible itself talks about…


    • I would venture to say that Jesus was not considered vague, yet he also used parables to point to larger truths – that even his disciples had a hard time understanding at times. Does this mean that Jesus was “neither hot nor cold”? Absolutely not! Sometimes a gentle nudge in the “general direction” is more effective than an “exuberant” shove.


      • God is not the author of confusion. He is clear. Those who seek the kingdom… all these things shall be added unto him. (Matthew) Before I came to Lord, I was rebellious also. I “felt” shoved because I fought against changing what I did not want to give up anything that brought “this world’s pleasure” -then I realized that Jesus is the only love worth pursuing. Then I ran towards him…sometimes I meander right to left on the path…but I do not turn around. His grace brought me to my knees and now it leads me home. Mentioning Jesus was the best SHOVE I ever had.


    • When you go to your job to you only speak about Jesus or the business of your job. Do you only speak scripture or would an accountant speak about finance, but live like a Christian and share what Christ has done for them when the time is appropriate. Why is music so sacred and our job in society not sacred. SF is living like Christ and are musicians as well. Paul was a tent maker and a Christian, he did not make Christian tents as far as I can tell. Just my thoughts.


  106. […] I love these thoughtful words about why Switchfoot won’t write Christian music. […]


  107. How very refreshing. I’ve always believed if you live your life as Jesus did. Love Share & Help the needy. Then realize All may be saved by the Blood of the Lamb. Then our lives are not wasted.
    Peace


    • But Jesus’ actions were always followed by words, difficult words to hear but words calling for response, repentance and discipleship. We are saved by faith.Faith comes be hearing the word of God not getting a new pair of shoes. As helpful as the shoes are and as necessary as the deeds are, people are not saved by our words but trusting the God of the word. Must you quote Scripture in every song. Of course not. But be careful how you define yourself. The gospel is an announcement of what has been done, not what we do or are. Can Christians do “secular music” of course. But can it be called Christian if Christ is not proclaimed? How can I tell if you’re singing about Christ or a girlfriend? Not that that’s bad, but there is a difference between Christian music and music by Christians?


  108. Interesting article, I agree with a lot of what he said, except the part about songs being saved was a little bit of a stretch. I agree with his promise that the word Christian is a marketing term when applied to songs, but interestingly, there is no marketing category for “a Christian man who sings Christian-like songs without any specific references to Christ or religion”. Yet that is his own marketing niche. He specifically avoids references to Christian esque on purpose, to reach a certain market, hoping that’s the positive message will impact people that would normally never listen to something with Christian lyrics. (Ironically, if they were to sing an Overtly Christian song, or 2 or 3, then they would risk being labeled a Christian band, and potentially lose their target audience…..) Then, as people find out that band members are Christian, and (hopefully) are good representatives of Christ with their witness, people will be drawn to Jesus. God uses people in different ways; some are called to have Christian lyrics, others are not. The only difficulty with Switchfoot’s strategy is that many in this position using this strategy, have been sucked into the lies of living a worldly life, with a major factor being proximity with others not trying to live a Godly life. Hopefully Switchfoot will rub off on these “others” , and not vice versa. Interesting topic!


  109. How you can be a Christian and musician and not sing about God. It is not about one song that doesn’t mention Jesus, it is your whole life. But the way, C.S Lewis’s writing doesn’t consist only of fictional writings. He was and still is one of the best Christian apologist.


  110. Hmm, I see that he’s making a good point to the wrong question. If we, as a Christian man or woman, are given a platform to speak to even one or possibly millions of people (in song or not doesn’t matter) we are commanded in the Bible to give the Gospel clearly and boldly. Not every song needs to do this though of course and that’s where I agree with his statements. But to allude to or avoid the Gospel all together is a weak and fearful approach! And that is where the bible disagrees with Jon Foreman. That being said, my views are based off his statements and I have not listened to all of their recent album.


  111. “Some of these songs are about redemption, others about the sunrise, others about nothing in particular” If you know God, how you can sing about the sunrise and don’t mention about the Creator of sunrise? For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. 21 For even though they knew God, they did not [n]honor Him as God or give thanks, but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 22 Professing to be wise, they became fools, Romans 1:20-22


  112. as a Christian and an author, I appreciate what he is saying. I do not write “Christian” fiction, but my gift is writing (one of) and what I do with my gift will either glorify Yahweh, or it will not. As long as my words do not defile my testimony, then my writing is, indeed, “Christian” because it is part of me. [not saved, no piece of literary work is saved any more than a piece of music]
    I was taking a walk around a lake a few years ago, singing the lyrics, “All creation worships You,” when I looked up and noticed the trees. And I wondered, how does a tree “worship” God? And He said, by being what I created it to be. Soooo, as a writer, singer, artist, whatever our give, if we “do it as unto the Lord” then we are, in fact, worshiping, and honoring Him in what we do, and our acts become part of our testimony. Which is our calling.


  113. I see this “quoted” many places. No one gives a source. This seems to me to be a collage of comments made into a fake interview. Do you have a source for this interview? Dave Browning’s blog also lacks a source. It seems you’re replicating a myth. I’m not saying SF doesn’t say or believe these words. I’m questioning the way it is framed.


    • This article is a few years old. I have the original article. It’s definitely not fake.


  114. Hmmm … interesting point but I think he misses the mark. Yes … we should all attempt to live as Christ lived … isn’t that the prevailing theme of today’s “Christian” message? It’s a core that we’ve strayed from before in the past history of the church YET the last commandment Christ gave as He ascended into heaven is to go into all the world and preach the gospel baptizing and making disciples. Certainly one way to do that is by living as Christ lived but generally the world sees you as a good person at that point. Seriously … most of the world believes that Christ was a good person not the Messiah and certainly not the Son of God. What changes people is the spoken message of the gospel. Preaching the gospel allows the Holy Spirit to do His work of conviction which leads to confession and ultimately salvation. You can’t do that by feeding the starving, clothing the naked, etc. In fact, isn’t there a verse in the Bible that states those as the justifications of those that Christ denies and says Depart? I’m not saying Switchfoot is doing this, but what’s the point if you’re taking the stage and playing for thousands of lost people and not taking the opportunity to share the gospel? do any of your songs have to relay the gospel message? certainly not. But the argument that he presents seems defensive and full of self-justification. He spins the guilt trip back on the question itself as if to shield himself and the band and it comes off as “don’t judge me” (which is a valid point to be fair). However, he doesn’t go on to explain just what part he feels that he, his bandmates, and the band (ala their influence) plays in the “body of Christ”. He’s right … we can’t all be pastors or evangelists, but we are all called to the Great Commission. So what part do you play?


  115. […] article titled “Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs” contains a great quote by lead singer Jon Foreman.  I also contains a ton of depressing […]


  116. You don’t need to disguise the Gospel in order to reach the lost. God made it perfect… with the perfect ability that He may save with it. Paul didn’t preach a disguised Gospel. Sure the Preacher and the Janitor are no less saved than each other… however, the point is missed that God calls us all, including the Janitor to speak to the lost about Christ. The janitor doesn’t simply start talking about how he cleaned the bathroom and expect people to understand their sin, the ransom paid, and a living God. Switchfoot can sit back and claim that they don’t play “Christian” music because they have a different calling… and they can compare it to Bach if they like… but that is reaching to say that Bach’s calling led people to Christ simply because Bach was Christian. Go ahead and write your secular music, it will probably be great… but don’t use misdirection to try to justify why you won’t sing overtly about the Christ man who overtly died for your sin, simply because you don’t want the label of “Christian music” and you feel you will lose your secular audience who would benefit from nice music that may or may not point them to Him.


    • Great points. Being a Christian is not only about what we shouldn’t do, but about what we ought to do. We ought to be overt about the gospel when we can. I’m a Pastor and a Police officer. Although I don’t walk the beat holding a bible in my hand, it’s in my heart. And even as a Police officer I’ve had plenty of opportunities to not just show my faith, but to share it too. It’s comes out. It ought to be that we can’t help but for it to come out. I don’t know much about Switchfoot, but I pray that they too have a case of, “I can’t help but to share the hope of Jesus with others.”


  117. […] Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs Original post found @ ctkblog.com by Dave […]


  118. No matter what your place in life or your vocation, as a born-again believer you must continually evaluate your life to see if you are fully using what God has given you to glorify Him. Are His praises on your lips? Does someone look at your life and desire your Savior? In all our endeavors, we are commanded to point people to the cross. If Jon believes that he can best do that by performing secular music in secular venues, who’s to say that he is wrong. Ultimately, that will be evaluated by the one true God in glory.


  119. Even Jesus stated that the poor will always be with us… and that our salvation is the most important thing. Telling others about Him in song, words, and actions is more important than good deeds… not to take away from good deeds. Sing your secular songs, I absolutely love them and will listen… but please don’t shy away from His name in your songs, simply because you are afraid of losing your audience… they will respect a Christian who proclaims His name over a Christian who doesn’t.


    • Please read the Book of James. We are redeemed to share the Gospel and we are equipped to serve others. If we aren’t doing both, then we may as well be doing nothing. They are two parts of a whole calling. Also, when even the lead singer of Bad Religion understands Jon Foreman’s music to be a reflection of his spiritual journey, then I don’t even think we can argue anymore about whether or not Switchfoot plays “Christian” music. IMO.


      • Spiritual is not the same as Christian hence the problem. People do not know what a Biblical definition of Christian or the gospel is


  120. Sounds like what they are most worried about is what type of music will sell. If it looks like the world, and sounds like the world, it must be of the world. I doubt Jesus would try to reach sinners by blending in with them. My Bible says we are to be “set apart”…


    • You are an idiot! Just like all the others that come from your mold!


    • What you say? Jesus in fact hung out with the sinners, ate with the sinners, fished with the sinners, slept with the sinners. His whole life is about sinners! So much so, He died a cruel death in order to redeem sinners. Please review the context of the “set apart” statement. You may be missing out on the whole commission given to all Jesus followers.


      • Yes, he ate and dined with them… but that wasn’t what he said… he said “blended in” with them. Jesus in no way blended in… He did not sin and stood out like a sore thumb. Plus He talked about salvation a lot.


      • We are called “His peculiar people.” He gave his light to sinners to bring them out of their lost ways. His spirit was strong and led many away from the path of darkness and from their evil ways. You must meet the sinner to share the love of Christ and sow a seed…. but to join in their evil is not condoned. 2 Cor, 6:14…. Two must walk in agreement and light cannot entertain the dark.


  121. Brilliantly written and I applaud their bold approach to carry their cross in obedience to God’s will in their lives. The disciples had different occupations, and completely different personalities yet one goal…to follow. Peter even denied Christ 3 times yet he was the one chosen by Christ to start the church. These band members are not denying Christ. They acknowledge Christ as their head, and their position in Christ does not waiver. I think the question should be posed for each of who are Christians…does your business card say or work title include “disciple of Christ”? Mine never has, yet I am a Christian. Do you really need a business card or classification to state who you are in Christ or do you show the world who you through your love and actions? It’s really not about us, our titles, their genre, it’s about something so much bigger! It’s about a love that never ceases and that our heads will never truly be able to comprehend. It’s about a gift that we cannot earn, achieve or market. It’s about reaching people who are hurting and offering them hope. I wish this band nothing but the best and LOVE their music & message!!!!


    • Carry their cross? The cross was a tool of death and execution used to murder the Savior. and I do not see them suffering and dying in that way. When Jesus spoke those words He was telling the disciples to lay down their lives.


  122. Having lived in Leipzig, I have to point out that Bach worked in and for the Church, that is the Christian Church, even his Sonatas was Christian, through and through. I would like to think that he did this of his free will. Bad comparison I think.

    The heading of this article was: “Why Switchfoot WON’T sing Christian songs?” and not: “Why S. DOESN´T HAVE TO sing Christian songs?”.
    The first question is still unanswered I think.


    • Logic? Yes, logic.

      Why wasn’t the question answered?

      And why didn’t Switchfoot respond when questioned?

      Wayne


      • I just want to make clear that I couldn’t care less whether this Band sings “Christian” songs or not, or for that matter whether they sing at all.
        It is interesting though that they WON’T sing Christian songs. This is interesting for me on a much different level, namely: Their Reocord Lable.
        There are socalled Christian Labels, those Labels mostly determine whether or not music gets into socalled Christian Shops.
        If they said: “we WON’T sing Christian songs” then it would be weird for them to be signed to a “Christian Lable”. Such a Label should drop them even before they get to Atlantic or Columbia Records, but I see they are signed with Atlantic at the moment and that’s probably why they won’t sing Christian songs, because their masters won’t allow them.
        This is American Culture.


      • Well written.

        And they signed with a ‘Christian’ label to sing secular music, BECAUSE the ‘Christian’ arts sector are the only market GROWING ….

        The same is true for authors, who magically find they can sell if they call their books ‘Christian’, etc ….

        Thank you!

        Wayne


      • Are you really this stupid? Since when is Atlantic a “Christian” label?


      • I was replying to the previous comment.

        I made a mistake, and I am man enough to admit my mistakes. So, I apologize for misunderstanding secular music.

        Now to your apology, for being in-tollerant, arrogant, do you need a list?

        You could of course write your apology on my blog ….

        wayne


    • I assumed Wayne meant; at the beginning of their Career when they were signed with Rethink, or to get personal; with Charlie Peacock.
      Interesting would be to compare their lyrics of then to now.
      I don’t think they’ve ever overtly sang about Jesus or the Gospel, why is it an issue now…?
      Maybe it is an issue because they said: “we won’t sing Christian songs”, did they even say that? Why would they limit themselves like that, or why have they limited themselves like that?
      I think it is because the aim was always to make a name for themselves and to make money, this is normal isn’t it? Maybe that limitation got them climbing the ladder faster.
      But so what!? What american won’t take, lets say, 1000 Dollors p.m. for keeping his Jesus out of public affairs? I think they all will and they do.
      This is American Culture.


  123. Why are Christians so concerned with whether or not bands are Christian? Who cares, let art be art and worry about your own testimony. God gave artists a gift, lyrics are poetry. God gave us brains, use it to understand the beauty of poetry. Most CCM lyrics are thoughtless and boring. Why do you need to label a band? Switchfoot has some of most thought provoking deep Christian lyrics out there.

    If you have an audience of a million people blah blah blah…

    If YOU have an audience of one use it don’t hold these people to higher standards than you hold yourself.


    • While I tend to agree with you, it matters to Christians because the world’s views are different then the Christian’s views and they want to listen to things that are in-line with what they believe. They want to be uplifted and encouraged. There is a place for both.


  124. I get it. :)


  125. The main thing that bothers me is that when Switchfoot is in an interview and the man interviewing them asks directly, are you Christians? They hedge and give some weird philosophical answer that no one gets. The man was giving them an opportunity to share the gospel and they blew it. It wasn’t about their music, it was about their beliefs.


    • And that is why I reblogged this …. with almost that same question.


  126. Lots of bad theology and misrepresentation of Scripture…. not by Jon Foreman…. but in this comment thread. Yikers. In Matt.5, Jesus tells us to be salt and light. I believe Switchfoot has done this consistently throughout their career. 1,000 believers singing the Doxology is wonderful and spiritual. 1,000 non-believers holding beer bottles in a club singing “Until I die I’ll sing these songs on the shores of Babylon/ Still looking for a home in a world where I belong” – is equally spiritual and maybe even more wonderful. One way we can let the gospel “shine before men” is to be the best doctors, teachers, poets, painters, accountants, homemakers, and songwriters we can be. Does the doctor have to say, “I am doing this surgery in the name of Jesus & you should believe in Him” for it to represent Christ. NO! He just needs to do his job well. Jon is a world-class songwriter who honors God through beautifying the world with art. Or are you someone who believes that Christian painters are only allowed to paint crosses, doves, and the face of Jesus? P.S. When Jon is not writing music, his articles and blog posts show he is one of the greatest apologists of our generation!


    • ——————————————————————————-
      1,000 non-believers holding beer bottles in a club singing “Until I die I’ll sing these songs on the shores of Babylon/ Still looking for a home in a world where I belong” – is equally spiritual and maybe even more wonderful.
      ——————————————————————————-

      I think I can tell where you are going with this but you shouldn’t write something like this and not fully explain it – you are leaving a little too much to the imagination and something like this can be easily interpreted entirely in a way in which you do not intend.


  127. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words but with the demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on men’s wisdom, but on God’s power. As a Christina who was saved in the 70’s during the Jesus movement. The word of God will always be an offense to those who Perish, don’t merchandise as you are the temples of the Living God. A Hippie saved by His Grace


  128. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  129. I love and concur with everything in Jon Foreman’s response, but he could have said all of that, and do all of that, while still answering a yes or no question. I am an old guy who likes SF and was turned on by my kids, but I can’t imagine a Christian passing up a chance to say “yes we are,” diatribe aside, unless there was a reason..


  130. Here is the source of this quote: Jon originally posted this several years ago – back in 2004 – in a response to fan questions on the Switchfoot Sony Message Boards. Once Switchfoot left Sony, the boards were shut down. However, we archived this quote – and other quotes posted by the band on the boards – on our Switchfoot website (landofbrokehearts.org). It seems like that is where the author of this blog post pulled this quote from. A credit back would probably be a good idea. http://landofbrokenhearts.org/archive/2005/01/sony-board-posts-2004-2005/


  131. I don’t see why SF is obligated to sing directly about Christ just because they are musicians. When it comes down to it, playing music is their career. If you use the argument that they need to sing about God if they have the audience and stage, then you are clueless about relational discipleship and effective witnessing. Do we all talk about Christ to our co workers? Are we shouting out praises to Yahweh so all can hear in our cubicals? There are appropriate and effective times when to witness to someone. It might be when we first meet someone, but more than likely it is after we have built a relationship with someone. We shouldn’t judge SF and the decisions they make. I’m sure that they have introduced more people to Christ than I ever will be able to


    • nemos, you miss the point. Of course they can sing about what they want. It is a career. However, the article was about “why” they don’t sing about Christ directly… not that they should. I believe their reasoning was amiss. The comparisons to other artists and the “not wanting to alienate their audience” etc… as if God isn’t in control, but their lyrics are. And yes, I talk about Christ to my coworkers… doesn’t hurt that I live in Texas with a multitude of believers… and why do you think they have introduced more people to Christ than you will ever be able to? You can introduce people to Christ daily. We all can. Hell is horrible and His love is amazing. Time to get desperate in our actions… time is short :)


      • Amen Mark!


  132. […] To view original article, click here […]


  133. I agree to a point But music/lyrics do have a way of altering our moods & personality…so I say, listen to songs that uplift your spirit & words do sink into our minds, so they should also be edifying :)
    Some music out there is just horrible!… so that is why music is & should be labeled as “Christian & non-Christian”


  134. […] Why Switchfoot Won’t Sing Christian Songs […]


  135. Reblogged this on jean speaking.


  136. Everyone needs to abide in their own calling. The Holy Spirit is the equalizer and will use different methods to reach different people.


    • Yes, the Holy Spirit will lead… but He will even use the unsaved, evil, etc… for the Glory of the Father… to bring His children to Himself. This isn’t about whether or not the Spirit can use this… this is about SF saying “why” they don’t sing about Christ.


  137. Socratic method is right. He completely avoided the question. Imagine God gives you the talents, ability, and timing to sing before tens of thousands, dozens of times, and though you claim to love Him, you will never once even mention His name or even sing one song that references Him or His goodness.

    The part about it being not their “calling” is completely absurd. What Christian is not called to acknowledge Christ? Christ even talks about, in Matt 10:32, that if you acknowledge Him before men that He will acknowledge you before God.

    Sure they may live Christian lives hidden away, but talk about hiding your light under a bushel. Sure, they don’t have to have every song be Christian or acknowledging God, but if you loved Christ with all your heart, wouldn’t you want to write and sing at least ONE song about Him? Oh but it’s not their calling…..


  138. From what I’ve heard, Switchfoot’s frontman seems to be quite on the ball with things and pretty down to earth, so I do have respect for him. I’m inclined to agree with him in the sense that creating a genre of music based on the content of the lyrics is fairly moronic and upholds the sacred/secular divide. I’m also intrigued why he’s then such a celebrity within the sub-culture that he’s claiming to be retreating from. It seems inconsistent to be opposed to it and yet so firmly be set within it, without seeming to be stepping into the secular realm. He mentions examples of Bach and Tolkien as influences, yet plays to predominantly Christian audiences; and because of this, I sadly can’t take what he’s saying too seriously.


  139. yo pienso que no solo se debe nombrar a jesucristo pues el mensaje es edificante y bueno ademas viniendo de una banda como switchfoot aveces las personas no se convierten tan facil y el mensaje entra al corazon poco a poco se van enamorando de jesus pienso que tenemos tantas necesidades en nuestra alma que a todos nos llegan una cancion diferentes cuando yo conoci de jesus no queria una iglesia religiosa o que la musica fuera aburrida sino un lugar chevere con musica diferente pero con bateria a mi estilo que se acomodara a mis zapatos creo que si el mensaje de switchfoot llega a los corazones y la gente se vuelve a jesus y van a su iglesia o donde se congregan estan hablando un lenguaje correcto solo Dios conoce sus corazones si permite que ellos crezcan como grupo es su voluntad solo lo sabe DIOS y el nos da disernimiento me gusta su musica porque habla del amor god only kanows only hope this is home cronicas de narnia blinding ligh estoy buscando el sol brillar que me lleve alto pienso que switchfoot es para gente avanzada en jesus y no para nuevos o bebes en cristo que entiendan el mensaje retless this is yuor life ellos cantan la realidad daysy canta a dejar ir a alguien desprenderse no es facil


  140. I absolutely love this article from Switchfoot. Goes right along with what I believe, that Relgion is the worst thing that ever happened to God…think about it.


  141. Reblogged this on luvsiesous and commented:
    Friends another music star is asked about being a Christian.

    His answer sounds sweet to the ears.

    But, and I do mean BUT, what would it sound like to God?

    His answer was not, “Yes, I am a believer in Jesus. I needed forgiveness of my sin and Jesus gave me that.”

    His answer was something like, “God created. His image is in me. I am a creator.”

    It was similar logic that led the Jews to try to stone Jesus for making himself out to be God.

    Did the singer mean to do that? Probably not.

    BUT, he did cross that line. He did state that ‘creativity’ is godly.

    Well. Porn stars and gays create daily. And I doubt their creations are godly.

    About switchfoot? I do not know.

    But, I am wary about sweet sounding political answers. My grandfather used to tell me, and the last 40 years have proven him right, “When you do not understand something, look at the money trail.”

    What do you think?

    Wayne


    • Agreed, I thought it was way too vague and evasive. Jesus nor the apostles were ever evasive about the Gospel.


      • Thank you!

        I have thought through this more, and I will blog on it further tomorrow. But, you summed it up well.

        Wayne
        luvsiesous.com


  142. It honestly scares me when Christians are so accepting of being completely secular in their work, especially when that work has the potential to impact thousands. Sure there have been those blessed because of their music, but just because some are blessed does not mean SF is never to sing specifically about Jesus or to overtly acknowledge Him before so many fans.

    When do we become Luke-warm Christians that are too afraid to offend anyone? The Gospel of Jesus Christ is offensive, because only those who follow Him are going to Heaven. The very fact that Jesus came is an offense to the world because it is saying, “World, you can’t do it on your own and without me, you will sink with the ship and drown.” People don’t like to hear that, but they need to.

    Living our lives by showing our fruit is very important, but we must also live with boldness in preaching that Christ is the only way out of a dying and perishing world. People seem to forget that “fruit” is not only love, but an earnest determination to preach the truth, even if it offends. Fruit is willing to confront sin.

    If we show people Jesus’ love through our lifestyle, but we don’t also show them WHY they need that love, then we have not presented the gospel. We have presented a Luke warm Christianity.


  143. Mans perennial efforts to take himself in hand, however he attempts leads to the greatest bondage in witch man misses what he was meant to be. Mans true freedom dose not consist of the unfretted power to direct his life, either in a political or in a stoic sense, it lies in life with God, lived as it was originally intended by God for men. He only gains this when he denies himself Paradoxically, the free man dose not belong to himself he belongs to him who has set him free .

    -Unknown


  144. My 2 cents:

    I have never been to a SF concert, but I wonder if they mention Jesus in their concerts, like you know, talk about him and stuff. I’m not sure if anyone is familiar with the band Kutless, who I think if an excellent example of an “outreach” band that makes music that is super appealing to the secular culture. I went to a concert once and I was honestly pleasantly surprised to see how they lifted the name of Jesus. It is just something about a band making awesome music and just publicly proclaiming the name of Jesus that is just awe-inspiring.

    Now, I read what Jon said and he has a solid point. The Bible teaches “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made” (John 1:3). Jon makes a great point and it is completely valid when he speaks about being a pastor doesn’t make you more Christian than a volleyball coach, and also that the work of a worship leader writing songs doesn’t make you more Christian than the work of let’s say a plumber, or painter. We are called to worship God not with merely words or tunes, but with our hearts. However, the name of Jesus is not merely a marketing term that defines what category a song falls under. It is actually the ONLY part in a song that matters, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).
    When you choose to leave the name of Jesus out, there is no Gospel. No matter what connotation a song may have to salvation and redemption, (which maybe only a Christian can identify and make the relation between the song and scripture, and as a result learn to appreciate its message) without naming Jesus, there is no Gospel because Jesus, his life, his death and resurrection is the Gospel, take that out and it’s just beautiful music:

    “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you have received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

    At the end of the day, the questions that must be answered are:

    1. Is the purpose of your band to glorify God? If yes, why choose to leave out the ONE name that God has chosen in his eternal wisdom that has brought him more GLORY than anything else before and for all eternity?

    2. How do you suppose a person will come to his knees, in repentance of his sins, “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God” (Hebrews 12:2) if you don’t mention his name and the message of his life, death, and resurrection? “How, then, can they call on one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14)

    3. As Christian men, we understand that faith in Jesus is the ONLY way we can be saved for eternal damnation, right? Good, how then can we obtain this faith? “…faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of God” (Romans 10:17).

    Get where I’m going?
    The point is that the name of Jesus is HATED by all who are perishing, “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God… For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles.” (1 Corinthians 1:18,21-23) and as Christians we must understand that if we are to ever bring glory to God, it is by bringing glory and honor to Jesus.

    Singing about life and it’s struggles, about the earth and it’s beauties, instrumental pieces, showing love and mercy, feeding the poor, and all good honorable deeds, of course are pleasing to the Lord. We can glorify God with everything we do. BUT the ONLY way to reach the lost, is through proclaiming the Gospel and living it through our life as a testimony to our faith.
    To say that you are trying to reach the lost without proclaiming the name of Jesus is basically saying that the message of the Gospel, the name of Jesus is not effective, and that the world must be approached differently not mentioning the name of Jesus in order to better meet their taste and not “scare them off” is not how the lost are saved. Unless maybe, we somehow know something Jesus and all the disciples didn’t know.
    If we live for anything outside of the Great Commission, I believe we are wasting our lives. Who cares if no one wants to hear the name of Jesus? I’ll say it louder so you can hear it better and more clearly.

    The world is sick and tired of the Gospel and the name of Jesus? Well I’m tired of being in this world and I can’t wait to be in Heaven where the only thing that matters is JESUS.

    In conclusion, I don’t believe that SF is doing something sinful in their songs, I actually love their music (at least the songs I have heard), but they are not a Band who is biblically reaching the lost. They are a great band, with great lyrics and music, but let’s not make the mistake of saying that their music is leading people to repentance and surrender to Christ, which will lead to their salvation because for that, you need the Gospel, and the Gospel is not the Gospel without specifically naming Jesus and the message of His life.

    That was more like 10 cents….

    Love you all!


    • “To say that you are trying to reach the lost without proclaiming the name of Jesus is basically saying that the message of the Gospel, the name of Jesus is not effective, and that the world must be approached differently not mentioning the name of Jesus in order to better meet their taste and not “scare them off” is not how the lost are saved. Unless maybe, we somehow know something Jesus and all the disciples didn’t know.”

      Very well said! Amen!


    • All for Christ! :)


    • This is amazingly said and explained, I thought the same thing just not as depth as you.


      • All for the glory of God. I’m glad it was edifying. God bless!


  145. If you’re all worried that this can be interpreted to say that the band chooses not to put out music that is “Christian”, don’t worry. Look up Jon Foreman’s solo stuff, produced with help from members of the band. VERY Christ-centered. Also, it’s simply amazing acoustic music because they’re pretty talented musicians.

    If you think Switchfoot is the only significant aspect of the members’ careers, do some research.


    • That is wonderful that he does amazing solo stuff, but they are most recognized for SF. If the thing you are most recognized for has no bearing to Jesus Christ, then something is amiss. I would say this to anyone whether a CEO or a janitor.

      If one of the most significant aspect of our lives does not reflect Christ, then who is it for? Us or God? God wants all of us, not just most.


  146. Reblogged this on Hugh L Roberts and commented:
    This is amazing.


  147. Reading through his answer…it looks like the title of this post doesn’t match the content. He’s explaining why a Christian doesn’t have to be in a full-time Christian vocation to be fully Christian, and he’s correct about that. Did the blogger incorrectly title this piece? We may be having a lot of debate over something he wasn’t even talking about.


  148. No. Playing songs and doing what you love is for praising JESUS not just singing about flowers and sunsets, everything you do is to praise God and singing songs with no meaning is not giving the glory to God, this statement bothers me so immensely, you don’t even know the bible well enough to know this stuff, if you did then you would be praising God and being the Christian you should be. Singing songs that aren’t worship are pointless if Jesus tells us that Weare supposed to live our lives like him and in his honor.


    • Man…this is just a marketing strategy…yes saying many good things but how can one shy away from mentioning his maker?


  149. It kind of sounds like an excuse to be secular in the workplace, but Christian at home (where less people see).


  150. I think King David is the most influential worship artist. :)


    • A genre label doesn’t sum up one’s identity but it can be helpful for those who aren’t familiar with various groups, to be able to avoid wading through obscene bands to find “safe” ones. Is there a way to identify without it seeming too narrow? Obviously music groups are made up of complicated individuals who have their own walks with the Lord. That’s true of all occupations. But music is so instrumental ( no pun intended) in shaping a culture. On the other side…. it’s great to be able to affect lives that weren’t intentionally searching for the redemptive Christian message . Alas, like so many issues…..no “right ” answer , other than asking the Lord for wisdom.


      • You need music to be “safe?” That’s a tragic loss for you


      • Focusing on genre of music is only useful to sift through style of sound for ones personal enjoyment. It is usually better to weed out offensive lyrics by looking at whether or not the band members are believers.


      • Yes, I do want “safe” when my children can hear, for example:
        Bend over and spread em, girl
        Show-w-w me those p**** pearls
        Rub that a** and play with that c***
        You know I like that freaky s***
        I like the way you lick the champagne glass
        It makes me wanna stick my d*** in your a**
        How hard? Hard like a rock,
        When you make that p**** pop!


      • Are you asking me Bertha …or simply responding – no, a genre label or any “title/label” does not sum up anyone’s identity in the Lord. We as believers are all called to be ministers of the word. (God’s word) I think I understand what you mean by “safe” although all things/sayings (whispers) must be confirmed with the written word to avoid being led astray or into ruin. (Also God’s word) Yes, we are all sons and daughters of Adam that have our own walks in the Lord. (to seek out our own salvation with fear and trembling-also Gods word) Music is used to shape culture and every artist knows that along with other various art forms persuasively. If a life is affected (even unintentionally) there are no coincidences btw… all to the perfect will of God… and NO, the path IS narrow for those who take up the cross with Christ. He stated that in order to take up this cross with Him, you must leave all else behind…and some may have to lose his hand to save the rest of himself…(Gods word) If you are called to serve, than to do your best to the glory of the Lord at all times. Where we are in our spirits vary. Some are sheep, some are disciples, neither is right or wrong. Everyone’s ceiling becomes their floor when they seek the kingdom with all of their heart. God will make every evil and enemy flee at the sight/sound of Jesus. You are already safe if you know this and have faith! If you wear the armor of God, then we know any evil is a principality and not a person, but a spirit of darkness and you will clearly discern it. I don’t believe that SF is evil. I believe the calling on their lives. I do however believe that omission of Christ is not good. If I were someone who turned on my radio and heard a song from them for the first time not knowing anything else about them (which I do, and they are believers) and I was not saved, I would enjoy the music… and relate to it even maybe, but not attribute it to Christ working in the lives of these men. There is too much new age, clashes of other cultures, broadened paths, Hinduism, Buddhism, Confuscism, seeking for other avenues of enlightenment when Christ is the only truth, light and way. I don’t like division, distraction, or derision. God is not the author of confusion. This is not religious rederick… Religion says to avoid, Jesus believes everyone should be saved. Freedom from all suffering comes from the overcoming love of Christ within. The opportunity to awake each morning IS Gods grace and mercy. Too be bold in Christ! Actions of charity is God’s love and Christ’s teachings. I would want the non-believer to know. I would want to give them an opportunity each time I was given a proper forum a chance to come to Christ, to open their heart and let Him in. That is me. That is what God puts in my spirit. At my secular job, I am not some bible thumper. But my walk with Christ and holding true to my convictions has landed me toe to toe with that princiipality from others who saw me as “too christian” I have had to make a decision to either comply with their way of thinking or walk with Jesus. I have lost a lot. But my heart is joyful and I am free. This is priceless.


  151. The Bible says sing song to praise his name. That is all that needs to be said.


    • LOVE THAT! yes yes yes!


    • Psalm 95 (NKJV)

      95 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
      Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
      2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
      Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
      3 For the Lord is the great God,
      And the great King above all gods.


      • Agree, agree, agree!


  152. Christian music does exist, just like music that is blatantly satanic exists. So, there is a distinct difference in music that is for Christ or against Christ. Everything that a person says, does, sings, writes, etc, testifies for Christ or against. A song about a sunrise, if it’s not for Christ, than is it not spreading the gospel. The great commission was to go and tell the world the good news of Jesus Christ. If a band is not concerned about spreading the gospel in a song, then I guess you can write and sing whatever you want. However, if you write songs with a heart that is toward God, your music will be Christian no matter what people say about it. I do agree that Christianity has become a box that people sometimes use to make their own conscious feel better (pastor and volley ball coach example). I think that if Switchfoot is not communicating the gospel in some way during their concerts, interviews, cds, overall influence that they have; this is evidence that they are not a Christian band. The point is that Christ has to be in there some where if you are really a Christian. If not, then we have to ask the question, why is He not being included in what I am doing with my life, whether you are a singer, or a janitor, or a teacher, etc. If you are a true Christian people will know it and it wont take people long to notice on the job, or where ever you go.


    • yes!!!


    • Is a sunrise not part of the Gospel? It’s really sad to me that you don’t see the truth and beauty he’s communicating. I mean, even his songs are certainly true and beautiful! And does God not make himself known in all that is good and right and lovely? Paul says in Colossians to do everything as unto the Lord. Everything. i think Jon is saying that that’s what he want to do, and he doesn’t think the only way to do that is by preaching at people. The way he’s handled his career is inspiring to me because he can deliver something- again i use the same words- true and beautiful to a hurting world in a way that will not make them feel shunned or excluded. i’m a musician and an artist and a Christian. i’m only 16, but i’m trying to commit myself to do everything unto God. I love worship songs, hymns especially, but the time i feel most one with God is when i play Chopin etudes. Weird, right? I don’t even think Chopin was thinking about God when he his etudes, but can’t God take anything and use it for his glory? wow. And maybe even more so when the heart of the artist is focused on the heart of God, like jon’s is! I really hope you will understand this, cause it’s just such a sad thought that other Christians might not recognize God’s beauty. God bless you


      • No, a sunrise is not part of the gospel. Yes, it’s beautiful; yes, it points to God and His wonderful creation, but it’s not the gospel. The gospel is that Jesus gave up His prerogative as God to become a human being, live a perfect life, die a perfect death, and rise from the dead to atone for the sins of the world.
        I’m not saying Switchfoot is wrong about the way they do things. You can definitely glorify God even while singing songs that don’t explicitly mention Him. But as Christians who understand what has been done for us and what will happen to those who do and do not believe, we should strive to tell everyone that we can about the gospel. Because Switchfoot is so popular, they have a lot of power to influence the world for Christ; more so if they’re willing to mention Him explicitly. Jon mentioned freedom. He’s free to sing what he wants, but his love for God should make him want to sing about God. Playing Chopin or singing secular songs can glorify God. Telling someone about who Jesus is and what He did glorifies God more.
        Finally, explicitly preaching the gospel doesn’t mean making people feel shunned or excluded. Yes, it’s tough to hear that you’re full of sin and that sin means death/hell. But you’re telling people that out of love and compassion, because you want them to have salvation through Jesus. Telling someone to get off the tracks because a train will hit them isn’t being exclusive. Neither is telling them they’re sinful. It’s being truthful, and it’s because you want to include them in the family of God.
        There’s beauty in a sunrise, and in music, but the best example of God’s beauty is Jesus Christ on the cross. I really hope you will understand this.


      • “He’s free to sing what he wants, but his love for God should make him want to sing about God.”

        … He does. In nearly every song. And the songs that aren’t about God are about fixing society. So.. what Switchfoot are you listening to?


    • I’m saddened that you don’t understand the concept Jon is portraying. Clearly, Jon uses his music to praise God, and if you listened to their music then you would agree (especially Jon’s solo stuff). But to sit here and say that he is in the wrong for not writing every single one of his songs to blatantly praise God is flawed; just like how a pastor is no better than a teacher. In the gospel, Jesus was known to speak in parables. Is Jon not doing something similar here? Or even Tolkien and Lewis? Just because his words don’t have clear praise and worship language, doesn’t mean that he isn’t bringing praise to the Lord. Jon is a huge role model of mine, and an outstanding Christian, so I truly think he is doing his job as a Christian. If you disagree, then pray for him, and try not to pass judgement; “Those without sin, cast the first stone”. God Bless


      • ^


    • “A song about a sunrise, if it’s not for Christ, than is it not spreading the gospel.”

      According to your sentence right before this one, “Everything that a person says, does, sings, writes, etc, testifies for Christ or against.”, that song about a sunrise, if it’s not for Christ, is testifying against Christ.

      Do you think that there are no statements that can be neutral instead pf testifying for or against Christ?


    • I agree wholeheartedly with Switchfoot. There is a difference between a “Christian Band” that mainly serves and markets the Christian music industry and a band that has Christians in it. Not every believer who is musically gifted is called to music ministry, however, it does not mean that they are not called to doing music. Every believer is who is a skilled business man is not called to run a non-profit Christian ministry, but it does not mean that he is not called to be a businessman in the secular realm. Daniel and Joseph were politicians rather than priests and were still able to make a large impact. I think every Christian has the opportunity to do the same within and outside of the Christian “box.”


    • So… To continue your logical path, a song about a sunrise is against Christ.


      • Doesn’t the Bible say that the heavens declare His glory? So yes a song about a sunrise IS a song about the Gospel.


  153. I have noticed how we Christians like to throw stones…Before you judge Jon and proclaim to know for sure he’s preaching a Christ free gospel in his heart and in all that he does, take a step back. If you can’t for one minute see some of the points of truth he made in his argument, then you prove his point. You know what i’m fed up with as a Christian? I’m fed up the back and forth theological arguments that I see everywhere. I see the body of Christ attacking each other’s perspectives/theology/comments EVERYWHERE. Online, on Ray Comfort’s site, on other Christian blogs. ENOUGH. Contention comes from pride. Don’t judge Jon. If the man is in overt sin, pray for him. I can’t see anything in this article that points to him being in overt sin. He isn’t condoning sins forbidden in the bible..so step back and just pray if you disagree. It’s funny..in prayer today, I told the Lord how weary I am to see all this bashing, arguments, finger pointing, he’s wrong, I’m right nonsense that I see the body engaged in. A lot of it I see online,but even more I had to deal with in church or in bible school. It’s the back and forth mentality of disagreement and trying to be proved right. Enough! Let scripture prove all things and keep your mouth closed. God can speak for himself when it comes to trying to get our perspectives proven right. If you want to judge Jon’s heart and faith, then do it if he doesn’t believe Christ is the only way to heaven. Otherwise, spend that negative energy and go to prayer. I am a born again believer who loves Jesus, but sometimes I fail to see His impartial grace in the ”brothers” and ”sisters” I come across, whether online or in person. Quick to judge, slow to listen. Go to Jesus and become more like HIM.


    • Amen Brother!


    • Great outlook. Its truly sad to too see the judgment reign down from these flawed Christians today. James 4:12, “There is only one lawgiver, and judge, he who is able to save and destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?”


    • wow this really blessed me and helped me to step back and think and, most importantly, be quick to pray rather than to try and pin point what’s right and what’s wrong! thank you brother continue to reflect the likeness of Christ through your lifestyle, attitude, and things that you say like these!
      this is revolutionary you’re absolutely right! we as brothers and sisters should be first and foremost be quick to inquire of the lord, your comment seriously blessed me man, may the Lord truly bless in your walk with him and may he use you to be his voice and mouth piece throughout this nation and throughout the body of believers!


    • Thank you, I needed to hear that. As a new Christian I grieve at the contention and condemnation between believers. Whatever church I attend another says it is wrong. SF’s music helps me be my flawed self before God, in gratitude for Christ’s redemption, and forgive my fellow flawed believers as I am forgiven.


  154. Sooooo loved this!! These guys know what it means to BE love in the world. Jesus wasn’t a Christian, in fact He would probably never have wanted a religion to be started after He left. It’s time we break down the divide between the “secular” and the “spiritual”.

    Here’s an article which I believe resonates with this one ;-)

    http://newcovenantgrace.com/organic-church/full-time-ministry-vs-secular-work/


  155. I crochet. I sell my scarves, sweaters, hats, etc. I am a pastor’s wife. I have been given a gift from God and I like to share it. I don’t crochet little doves and crosses into every thing I make. Does that make my work Christian or non-Christian? God knows our hearts. I like Switchfoot. They are a great band, and they are true to our Lord. I’ve had friends in the “music ministry”. 30 years ago, our church tried to book a well-known band, They wanted $10,000 up front to come in and “minister”. Another well-known Christian singer wanted $30,000. This was in the 80’s! We’ve been soured on Christian music for decades. It’s refreshing to hear about groups like Switchfoot, and Mercy Me who only charge $10 for their concerts. I think Christian music has done a 180 from 20-30 years ago. I hope the Christian music continues to grow in the Lord and realizes that there is nothing wrong with making money to support your family. But it’s another thing to charge exorbitant amounts of money to “serve” the Lord.


  156. I don’t really think he answered the simple question — a lot of what he said is true — but is the question answered? — seems like he evaded the simplicity of the question more than any thing else due to his own perceptions —- yes? no? we don’t choose to identify ourselves either way? it’s not a matter of being a Christian band or not? it’s not a matter even if we are Christians or not? we don’t want to identify ourselves in any way to estrange ourselves from any group of society? —- I know in the context he said he was a “believer” but I sure wouldn’t want to ask him if he were a “Christian!”


    • AGREED!


    • You clearly don’t know much about Jon Foreman then my friend. When asked on Guitar Center’s 1 hour special with Switchfoot what the highest compliment he could ever get would be, Jon replied “That my life was in some way Christ-like.” I don’t know if you ever listen to their music, but he is undoubtedly, unequivocally Christian whether or not he says Jesus, Christ, God, etc. in his songs. Plus, one listen to his solo albums will clear that right up for you as at least half of them are taken straight out of Bible passages.


    • He did answer the question… there is no such thing as a “Christian” band. To say “yes” or “no” would be saying that there is such a thing, when there’s not. He clearly explained that.


    • The word “Christian” was not used by Christ or the apostles first, It was not their word for each other. It was a derogatory term used by Romans and Jews which meant “Little Christ.” Yes we accepted the name and use it now. but the first church would have only called themselves Believers or followers of Christ. I think you are putting too much into a word. The word believer and Christian are interchangeable.

      But can we even call ourselves “Little Christs?” Is that for us to say? No. When people see us THEY should be the ones who say “Wow that guy/girl is definitely a Christian.” What about Messianic Jews? (Or Completed Jews as my Granddad calls them) Jews that believe in Christ. Are they Christian? or Jews? Does it matter? NO! We believe the same thing. If you don’t believe that he is a Christian then that’s for you to decide. But if someone were to ask him if he believes that Christ took the form of a man, lived a perfect life, died on the cross, then rose again on the 3rd day and ascended into heaven and is now waiting to return and take his bride up to heaven with him, and he says yes absolutely. Then that is all that matters.


  157. Reblogged this on Fishing For Truth? and commented:
    This has such a strong element of truth to it….


  158. Okay, so this was a very fascinating read. At first I was drinkin’ the cool-aid. Infact my “old” self would have embraced this with a big “AMEN!”. But something kinda felt “off” while I continued, then I ran into the words-/// ” But judging from scripture I can only conclude that our God is much more interested in how I treat the poor and the broken and the hungry than the personal pronouns I use when I sing.”///.

    Well just from that part of his quotes, it shows a more “salvation through works” approach. He kind of contradicts himself later by saying- ///”My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that.”///, which indicates that he understands it is not by works.

    To me it just seemed he is playing both sides of the fence, honestly. He wants to be a Christian just enough to not be judged but yet worldly enough to not lose out on the fame and fortune. He cant have it both ways. We can not be lukewarm Christians. Therefore he seems to have made up his mind on what is “glorifying God” and what isn’t.

    I love their music, dont get me wrong. I also know that it is not “shaming” the Lord in any way. But he wants to drag “glorifying God” into it, then I can say without a doubt, he is NOT doin that in any way as well. Hence, “lukewarm”. :D


    • Nice of you to judge Jon.


      • I am just going by the Bible. Like I said, I love their music, but he is the one that added the “glorifying God” part.

        Psalm 95 (NKJV)

        95 Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!
        Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation.
        2 Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving;
        Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.
        3 For the Lord is the great God,
        And the great King above all gods.


    • Since when has Switchfoot ever been interested in fame and fortune? Since the Beautiful Letdown, not much of their music has been mainstream at all. Their concerts are relatively cheap. They’re in this for the love of the music and for the message he can share.


    • It is so shocking that you do not get his comments. They are good, true and beautiful. There is wisdom here. Don’t miss it!


      • I def saw where he was goin with this and the picture he was painting. A lot of it I agree with. I am still a fan. But it just erks me that he will not include the name Jesus in the lyrics, when everything we do is to “glorify” Him. He talks about picking up his cross and following, but he refuses to acknowledge that in the lyrical content. To me THAT is sad.


      • He acknowledges it in a much more beautiful and meaningful way. You don’t need to say Jesus in a song for the song to be about Him. It transcends simple worship that is quite frankly musically bland and repetitive, and delves into the poetic beauty of God’s nature that anyone can appreciate, not just Christians out to hear a praise song.

        If you really want him to say Jesus, listen to his solo albums.


    • I’m curious Jackie… (and I mean this honestly, I’m not trying to be snarky) why do musicians have to use their job to proclaim the gospel in order to be “faithful” and not just lukewarm, but other professions don’t? Do you think the mailman has to write “Praise Jesus” on all the outside of all the letters he delivers? Does a doctor or nurse have to hand out copies of the New Testament to all their patients? Does the receptionist at the construction company office have to answer the phone by saying, “Smith Brothers Construction, Jesus is Lord, how can I direct your call’?
      I don’t understand where this idea came from, that Christian musicians have to sing “religious” music in order to be a true Christian, but the same standard isn’t given to other professions. Can you explain it?


      • Ya nailed it :)


    • jackie you said, “it is not by works.”

      James 2:14-26 A man is justified by works and NOT faith alone


    • Exactly. Just answer the question. Either you are a band that writes and sings songs to the glory and praise of God or you’re not. If you’re not doesn’t make you less of a Christian…


    • Jon isn’t lukewarm. Jon is on fire.
      Jon isn’t on the fence. There is no fence.
      Its not a black and white issue. I’d say there is NO black and no white; its all varied shades of gray.


      • Scott your comment is very wrong biblically. You are either for God or against Him. God turns his back on all sins equally. There is only a grey area in human eyes. We also have this assumption that one sin is worse than the other. God views someone killing another person exactly the same as coveting another person. It is all equally evil in His sight. If there was a grey area, then Jesus being born as well as his death and resurrection would have no purpose.


    • Jackie, I don’t believe he contradicts himself at all. As he says later in the article, which you quoted, “My life will be judged by my obedience..” well we were all commanded to treat the poor and the broken and the hungry. That doesn’t mean just saying the word “Jesus” at them. Sometimes it doesn’t mean saying anything. So if he and we are doing that then we are obedient as well. Yes works will not get you to heaven. It is faith alone. But what about AFTER we have been redeemed? Are we supposed to just sit around and wait to die or for the rapture? NO! We are supposed to do works in the name of Jesus and for his glory, to show what Faith has done for us! That we have been changed. If you say you have been saved that may very well be true, but if people didn’t know you would they be able to say you were if you never spoke to them? Paul only speaks about the way TO heaven when he speaks on faith. James talks about what salvation looks like AFTER we believe. “Works without faith means nothing at all, but without works your faith will fall. You cant have one without the other.” -Sanctus Real <– Prob one of my favourite songs by them.


  159. Reblogged this on The Humble Soapbox and commented:
    Talkin’ ’bout breaking down binaries and artistic expression and defying improper labels. Jon Foreman, I applaud your honesty and agree wholeheartedly. This a balm to someone who is fed up with fundamentalism.


  160. I think he answered that question with a ton of smoke. He made comparisons that I’m not sure where he got them from. Maybe the interviewer said that he thinks a janitor is “less christian” than a worship pastor, but I don’t think that. What’s the big deal to be called a Christian band? I’m Psalms David couldn’t stop singing God’s praises, even when in pain. And in Revelation there is a new song sung in heaven. Let it be known to the world that you loves Jesus and he is the Savior!!!! We should’ve be able contain our shouts of joy to The Lord. We should be worries about how anyone but God views us. And God is just as concerned about his lyrics as he is about him feeding the hungry and poor. He’s interested in EVERY part of our lives! It’s not an obligation to sing his praises it’s a freedom that believers view as a PRIVILEGE!


    • [Mat 5:37 NKJV] 37 “But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.


  161. I find it very interesting that this treatise from Jon has been going the rounds as of the last couple days. He wrote this years ago.

    Those that have accused Switchfoot’s songs of lacking spirituality, avoiding God, et al…Do you even listen to Switchfoot? God is very clearly the object of a vast majority of Jon’s personal pronouns. God is the hope that he sings to. Listen to “The Beautiful Letdown”. Or “The Shadow Proves the Sunshine”. Or “Vice Verses”. The songs, not the album. Or, you know, “Where I Belong”. And is everyone completely oblivious to Jon’s solo work? His solo EPs are blatantly and unequivocally Christian.

    The problem that Switchfoot faces is the constant drive to push them into either the secular or Christian market rather than straddling both. Christians fail to realize that the millions that Switchfoot can reach with their music will be LOST if they are caged in the Christian genre. Simply put, the vast majority of non-believers will not even consider listening to overtly Christian bands. How many non-believing fans of Third Day or Casting Crowns exist? Precious little. Switchfoot sings their message of hope and love to the very demographic that needs it most. Christian music is completely saturated with worship bands.

    I have more thoughts on this issue. but precious little time at the moment to flesh them out. Non-believers will reject the name of Jesus, but they do not reject hope or love. Switchfoot offers the latter, and they make much more of a universal impact than Mark Hall does singing for Jesus. And yet they are still singing for Jesus.

    I would encourage most of you to educate yourselves on Switchfoot’s discography before you accuse them of hypocrisy.


    • Voice of love and the Savior.


      • Hope and Love without Jesus is worth nothing to anyone.


    • The condescension of many of the criticisms of SF are exactly why many are repelled by “Christian genre” music. Listening to SF helped bring me to Christ by showing me that even the artist, the eccentric, the non-conformist, all can be blessed and saved through Christ. To the critics, look in the mirror. When all the various denominations settle their differences then maybe you can make suggestions about art and livelihood.


  162. Brilliantly expressed! I have NO issue with Christian people singing songs that aren’t “religious” in nature. So I have no issue with Switchfoot being “secular”. They are singers and performers for their JOB. It’s how they make their living. Somewhere along the line, a lot of Christians have decided that this particular profession is different from all the others, believing that if someone wants to be a famous singer, they have to sing religious songs that praise God or they’re not being faithful to the Lord. So, does a secretary have to type “Holy is the Lord” on every document? Does the girl at the checkout counter have to say “Your total is $17.56, and by the way Jesus is Lord” otherwise she’s not living out her faith? Does the computer tech guy have to install the text of the King James Bible on every customer’s computer when they bring it in to have it fixed, other wise he’s not being a true Christian? The whole idea that musicians have to sing “Christian” music is just ridiculous.
    Now, I WILL say that musicians that are also Christian, DO have an obligation to make their music (as Paul put it) “virtuous, of good report or praiseworthy”. Music filled with sexual content, vulgar language, or lyrics promoting crime or violence is NOT acceptable for someone who claims to be Christian. The world has enough filth in it.


  163. If you want to alienate artists within the church, then by all means judge their art by its usefulness and criticize them for being too subtle with their Christian ideas.

    I’m a violinist, and I’m not capable of including lyrics in the music I make. That doesn’t mean that my music is separate from my Christianity, or that I can’t praise the Lord through music without a singer to quote Bible verses while I’m playing. I consider my music to be “Christian” because I have a Christian worldview, which affects everything I do.

    Also, if you don’t personally know Jon Foreman and observe him on a daily basis, then let’s not evaluate how he’s doing at sharing the Gospel. (Then go listen to all his solo albums, which have more explicitly “Christian” Lyrics.)


  164. Thank you, I’ve just read a great daily devotion1


  165. […] very thoughtful response on what it means to be “Christian” and in the arts. […]


  166. What Jon said is something I’ve been arguing most of my life! Music is not inherently Christian or Secular, it’s how it’s used. I know Andy Hunter has used Coldplay during a “Worship” night.

    I shouldn’t be surprised, but I am at the number of people who have such a narrow view of music (and in most cases don’t when it comes to other things).

    I pray for strength for Jon, to keep what he is doing. After all, look at the sorry history we have when it comes to new Christian musicians (Bob Dylan, BJ Thomas etc)

    Let us not be people that Steve Taylor said would only drink milk from a Christian cow!


  167. Very nicely written. AGREE!!!!!


  168. As a musician and a person who runs a decidedly Christ-based arts center, my experience is that artists produce from an overflow of what is inside them. Before anything else, I am a Christian. If that is my greatest influence, then that is what will most greatly be reflected in my art. The bible says that, “Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks,” but it also sings, paints and makes all types of art. One of my friends says, “The arts steer the culture.” They do. The secular world utilizes artistic tools to tell the truth about what’s in their heart and and on their minds. They boldly promote their passions and agendas. However, they also aggressively keep Christians out. Artists are powerful. Truly to whom much is given, much is required and God is the one placing the demands. We must use the platforms that God has given us responsibly. That doesn’t mean that a painter just paints crosses or a singer must use Jesus’ name in every song. But we cannot shame the Gospel. As His children, we never have a right to do that. We need to understand that standing for what we believe and not compromising the integrity of our art, might possibly cost us everything. The question is are we willing to pay the price, or just stay muzzled?
    -Leigh Piatt
    President/Hope Center Arts Jersey City


  169. Wow this guy is way off from the truth, your actions and life will reflect what you are, as a Christian we need to be a example and show a light, and not conform to this world. God say plenty of times in the bible, to praise him with music just like David did. I dont know what bible this guy is reading


  170. Good words from Foreman, I would suggest that “Christian” be used more as a noun than an adjective. The disciples were called Christians; the “hymns and psalms and spiritual songs” they sang were called…well, hymns and psalms and spiritual songs. I suppose, then, we could call some music “spiritual,” though that word has too little meaning today, I think. Let’s just allow the artists to be Christians and let them sing what their God-honoring hearts want to sing.


  171. When you are in a touring band, there is a lot of time that is spent waiting. Waiting to board a plane, waiting for the bus to arrive at the venue, waiting for sound check…etc One of the many games that people in our band have implemented now and then to fill the waiting time is a little game we might call the “Christian or secular” game. Basically the game is simply playing a very short clip of music and having someone guess whether it is “Christian” or “secular” music. The person who is most accurate with his or her guesses is the winner.

    This is surprisingly easy to do.

    Especially when you talk about radio stations. It is easy for me to spot a Christian music radio station within about 3 seconds. Far before any Christian lingo is uttered to make it clear.

    It’s weird. I’m always trying to figure out what it is that makes something sound like Christian music, because there’s definitely something… I’d love to get some of your thoughts about it. But for me (and I’m actually one of the better players of the game if I must say so myself), I find something very disingenuous about most Christian music. This is something I can simply feel at a gut level. If I hear a song, and I hear any sort of pretending or false emotion, that’s a good first indicator. I’m really not trying to throw mud here, I’m being honest at how I am good at this game. Christian music often has a sheen to it that other music doesn’t have. Some pop and country music has a similar sheen, but the Christian sheen is like a blander sheen somehow.

    The vocals are always really hot in the mix because for Christian music, the words are the most important part. That’s kind of similar to country though as well, so you have to be careful there. Country has some of the same Nashville tones, players, and compression styles that Christian music has most of the time, but the twang is just a little deeper with the country side of things. There’s also a little more “humanness” or “soul” in Country to my ears.

    The false emotion that I’m talking about might be familiar to some of you. There’s just something more believable about the whispery sexy voice that is singing about sex on the mainstream radio station than the voice that copies that style of singing while putting lyrics in about being in the arms of Jesus. And it’s really not even the style or the lyric that is the problem to me, it’s the fact that I don’t believe that the singer is feeling the kind of emotions in singing that lyric that would lead to that style of singing. It’s that same kind of creep out that you feel when somebody gives a really loud fake laugh. It’s just weird and uncomfortable feeling.

    An example of this would be a song that somebody sent us recently of an older song of mine called “Wrap Me In Your Arms.” The lyric is a very intimate and soft sort of lyric. “Take me to that place where I can be with you, you can make me like you…etc” This person did a hardcore/screamo version of this song. Not just like getting a little loud, I mean full out death metal sounding, demon-voiced screaming. It was so freaking weird mostly because it seemed so disingenuous. You would never speak such gentle words to someone you loved by screaming in their face like you were possessed by Beelzebub. That’s an extreme example, but it’s very typical of the basic premise of most Christian music to me, which is–use whatever musical style you wish as a medium to communicate your message. It’s not about the art, it’s about the message. So use whatever tools and mediums you have at your fingertips to do so. If you want to reach emo kids, then sing emo music but with Jesus language. The problem with this is that emo music is not simply reducible to certain sounding tones and chords. There are emotions and attitudes of different genres of music that are the soul of the music. You can’t remove the anger from screamo and have it still be screamo. It’s the soul of that music, whether that soul is good or evil is not the point, simply that it is the soul. So when you remove the soul from music and transplant the body parts (chord changes, instrumentation, dress, lights, and everything but the soul…) and parade it around with some more “positive” lyrics posing as Christian music, then what you have is a musical zombie.

    It looks like a human.. It eats like a human… It still walks and makes noise and resembles a human, but it’s not. It’s a zombie. It has no soul. It just uses it’s human body for its own purposes.

    This is what I initially feel when I play the “Christian or secular” game. I look into its eyes, and I perceive whether the thing has a soul or not. And 9 times out of ten, I can do it very quickly and efficiently.

    Why is this like this? I don’t know, and it makes me very sad. I don’t hate all Christian music. There are a few artists that I know in the Christian industry that are really trying to transcend the inherent limitations and zombying effect of the industry. But the industry as a whole is broken, friends. We call it Christian, but it’s certainly not based in Christianity. It is based on marketing. That’s it. I wish I could tell you otherwise, but it wouldn’t be true.

    Example:

    We just were part of one of the biggest tours of the fall in the Christian music industry. To my knowledge, every night but one night was sold out, and that’s because they added a second show in the same city kind of last minute. The interesting thing about this tour was that it was pretty much in all mainstream venues. Clubs, theatres…etc It was awesome.

    But you know what made me sad? That empty bar every night.

    Even though these shows were all sold out, I would imagine that the bartenders at all those clubs were like “oh man, Christian night… that means no tips for me.”

    Sometimes the promoters would just buy out the bar so there wouldn’t be any liquor sales at all.
    I’m not saying that I wished that everybody was getting hammered at the show… But for crying out loud, buy one beer. Or heck, if you don’t drink beer, buy a Coke.

    But here’s what is super weird about this situation. I bet you if you took all of those Christians that came to the shows and split them up and had them go to “secular” shows, A LOT of them would have bought a drink. It’s the fact that there is this assumption among all of the Christians there that having a drink at a Christian event is sort of a questionable thing to do.

    Why is this?

    It’s certainly not because of the Bible. Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine at a wedding. And not just any wine. The kind of wine that made people think they saved the very best wine until the end. And you preachers who pervert the scriptures with your own extremely biased interpretations, here’s a news flash, people at parties don’t think the best wine is non-alcoholic grape juice. Religious people didn’t call Jesus “a glutton and a drunkard” because he ate communion loafers and grape juice all of the time.

    Sheesh. It’s just so ridiculous to me.

    And here’s the thing. I don’t even drink very much. I’ve never really been drunk, and I’m not advocating that people should just be foolish with their drinking or eating habits. But for crying out loud, this whole spiritualizing of alcohol being an inherently bad thing is so annoying. It’s mostly just an American thing, by the way (as well as places where America has exported these ideas with our missionaries). If you go most other places in the world, or anywhere else in history for that matter, Christians drink alcohol. Ever heard of a little thing called Communion? You know, the bread and the wine? That’s a pretty big deal in Christianity. Jesus didn’t pour out a cup of grape juice.

    Man alive.

    You know what the alcohol thing is based on? You ready for this? You sure?

    Money.

    Old people are the people that give the most money to Christian organizations like religious media outlets. And old people grew up in a time where alcohol was seen as a taboo social reality. Just like dancing or playing cards or “mixed bathing” (swimming). It’s based in an era of prohibition. These are old American values that we’re dealing with, not Christian values. It’s the old American people that have money that the Christian organizations do not want to offend. So they create an environment where drinking is seen as evil. If you want to start a television ministry, you can’t have it known to your donors that your staff likes to go out for drinks after work. So you implement rules for them. Do you know how common this is? I have friends that have lost their jobs over crap like this.

    Do you see the irony of this? If you had been a disciple of Jesus and drank some of the wine of his first recorded miracle with him, you would be fired from a lot of the churches in this country. Shame on us.

    So the point? (I haven’t forgotten) The point is that the industry that labels things as Christian and sells them to you has far more to do with marketing then Christianity. They are marketing to the mixed bag of values that has created the Evangelical Christian subculture. It’s a mix of some historically Christian values, some American values, and a whole lot of cultural boundary markers that set “us” apart from “them.” This sort of system makes us feel safe and right, and it makes some of its gatekeepers very wealthy and powerful.

    The effect is then the filtering down of this subculture to people that don’t necessarily want to think through the viability of every one of these boundary markers, but in their simple desire to belong to what they consider the good guys, they acquiesce to the rules handed to them. At least in public. As the joke goes, why do you take two Baptists with you when you go fishing? Because if you only bring one, he’ll drink all your beer.

    Here are some of the actual effects of this subculture though.

    1. It makes us dishonest

    When the foundation of the market and music you are trying to make is pretense, it’s very hard to be honest and successful. There is an unspoken assumption from most of us that we really want the people on the stage or on the book or album cover or on the radio need to have it together more than we do. Because we are messed up, we need them to be a sort of savior and hope for us. The result of this is that it’s often the people who are really good at pretending that they have it all together that make it to the stage and the book or album cover and the radio stations.

    So Christians that would normally buy a beer don’t because they are in the Christian concert. Christian bands that smoke (which a lot of them if not most of them do, including some of my players) have to duck into back alleys as to not offend anybody. I think smoking is stupid. But I think it’s stupid because it smells bad and it kills you. I don’t use my religion to judge other people about it.

    Rather than just being honest about where we are at and what we all struggle with though, we look to our gatekeepers to believe and live morally vicariously for us. That way we feel better about being part of the system of good, and the moral brokenness in our own lives is repressed like the fear of a child with her security blanket.

    This sort of dishonesty is at the heart of much of what I and so many others find so repulsive about much of modern American Christendom

    2. It kills creativity

    I had a conversation with John Mark McMillan last night about something that I think is very interesting. By the way, I consider John Mark to be one of the ones I consider to be making a valiant effort in transcending some of these imposed limitations in this industry. But he mentioned to me how strange it is that people keep calling his new album “creative.” That word is actually one of the most used words when people describe our music as well. In fact, I bet some of you reading this have described as such. Here’s the weird thing about this…
    Why do you find it necessary to say that?

    Do you notice that nobody really uses that word about other types of music? I just was perusing some Itunes user reviews to see if this holds up. I checked John Mark and mine, and “creativity” is very often found. But it’s not often found in reviews of bands like Sigur Ros, Bon Iver, Radiohead, Sufjan Stevens or other artists who are certainly very “creative.”

    Nobody goes to an art gallery and says, “boy, that painting is so creative.” Why? Because it’s art! Of course it’s creative! Why else would it be there? It’s very nature is creativity. Or like Lisa pointed out to me today, “that would be like saying, I love your house, it’s so architectural.”

    But when someone in the Christian industry actually takes their art seriously, everybody is like “holy crap, listen to how creative it is!”
    It’s like a person that’s been living among zombies for years seeing an actual human being and exclaiming, “wow, look at how clean her face is! She doesn’t even have any blood on it or anything!”

    I’m not slamming the people that describe our music as creative. I appreciate the kindness that’s behind the words, but it does make me sad that the idea of creativity is so foreign to our industry that we have to actually point it out when someone actually sees the art as art and not zombie propaganda. Ok, that might have been a little much. But I like the sentence so I’ll leave it.

    So that’s why I’m good at the Christian or secular game. I’ve seen behind the curtain, and I know the little man that’s pulling the levers, and he’s not impressive. I recognize his voice at this point, and it’s all over religious media.

    Why am I writing this blog?

    Some of you have commented in the past when I’ve been critical of the Christian music industry that I’m being hypocritical by still being a part of it. I don’t see it that way. I actually love a lot of the individual people in the industry. There really are some amazing people in it, many of who share my weariness about the way things have been. And I also love you guys. I love our fans. I love the people that we get to meet and I love being able to get our music to them. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try our best to purify the systems that we are part of. I just want to be honest about what I see and call us to find better ways of doing things.

    Two quick recommendations and I’ll stop this blog that has already gone on WAY too long:

    Consumers: I would suggest that you actively support those artists that you love that the industry hasn’t necessarily bought into. The cards are stacked against people that actually want to do honest creative art in this industry, and the people that try really need your direct help and support to have any chance. For us, we’ve had one guy for instance that has been sending us a check every month for years because he appreciates what we are trying to do. Do you know how much that one family has helped us stay encouraged? Even if it’s not a huge amount of money or anything, just having people behind you in this sort of battle is really helpful.

    Industry people: Stop being so afraid. I know you want things to be different than they are as well. I know you want creativity to be valued as much as “Becky” analysis, but we need some of you to have some balls and make some decisions based on that value system. Yes money matters. But so does beauty. Art actually makes a difference in the world. Have the courage to actually make decisions on values and not simply on past numbers and trends. And for crying out loud, if it really is good, the numbers will follow eventually anyway.

    Artists: Take heart. I think the tides may be turning. The recent attention and success of our band speaks to it I think. People are growing weary of the status quo. The machine and its sheen have seen its strongest days. So I encourage you as well to not be afraid. Your art is worth making even if the industry around you isn’t quite ready for it yet. Make it and let them catch up with you. Your art is sacred. Be honest. Be brave. And don’t let the markets or the industry be the final filter on your art, let your heart do that. Ok that’s all from me tonight.


    • Serving God is not about being led by our emotions. Emotions are fleshly, they can and will betray us at times. We are called to be led by the Spirit, not emotions. I may not be experiencing a specific emotion when singing a worship Song but that doesn’t mean I am not worshipping. In fact if I choose to sing a worship song to God despite myself, that is definitely worship. The Bible commands us to sing to God, it says nothing about how we feel emotionally but rather alludes to worshipping him despite our emotions, or what we may convey emotionally in a song.


    • Wow


      • Michael, thank you for your thoughts, and for taking the time to share. Have you read Lovelace’s book Dynamics of Spiritual Life? I think it’s 100% awesome, but he has a chapter in there titled “The Evangelical Muse” on the arts that I think you’d love. After reading it, I feel free to write for the first time in my life, not looking over my shoulder to see who will judge me. My question for all Christian artists is this: If we don’t deal with real issues in an honest way, how can we ever present a satisfying answer to real life? We can’t; our message will always ring hollow. Reality is messy and broken, and Jesus left glory to come live in the mess. He isn’t surprised by it, so why do we feel like we need to turn a blind eye to the world we actually inhabit and protect ourselves in a holy bubble? No bubble is big enough to hold Jesus, and we will actually miss him if we live that way. Anyway, what you said here reminds me a lot of Lovelace’s perspective, and I think you’d love it. Here’s to creativity. :)


    • Michael, thank you. Print out the words you just wrote and keep them with you. I know I will. I have been inspired and encouraged by them.


    • are you the real Gungor, or just copying his blog from 2011 ??



  172. Well, to be honest, this article doesn’t even make sense to me; I mean, when someone refers to a song being “Christian” they’re only identifying it as a song that’s of Christ, a song that furthers the kingdom and glory of God. I don’t believe that anyone would go so far to say that Jesus died for the song. It’s simply a way that two people can relate in knowing that the song is of a Christian genre. I believe the true intention of this letter is an attempt to justify secular music, which in careful study of God’s word can easily be seen reprimanded by the very inspiration of Christ. The fact is, music was created and intended by God for us to use as one of the many tools to worship him, and to spread the gospel to those of us who aren’t saved, not for glorifying ourselves, or others around us.


  173. ‘zactly! Or if you prefer Amen!


  174. I think the simpler answer would be that he knows that being tagged as a “Christian band” is a kiss of death in the music business and doesn’t want to see his record sales and concert attendance drop.


  175. This question has been asked to Jon for the past 10 years. And i really love the way he addresses it each time. I’m an atheist. Switchfoot is my all time favorite band. I am acutely aware of where their songs come from. But i think Switchfoot realizes that their music isn’t just for Christians. It’s why they’ll share the stage with Social Distortion as easily as they’ll share it with Hillsong United or whatever. It’s why they’ll cover Bad Religion and sing about he glory of God in one concert.

    Switchfoot’s message of hope comes from a Christian orgin and is clearly seen through their lyrics. But it’s for everyone. It’s for you Christians. It’s for Muslims. Even atheists like me. We all can take something from it. Jon knows this. And he isn’t less of a Christian or misguided in his religon for it. He does Gods work. And i dont have to believe in God to understand that.


  176. Judgement, judgement, judgement. That’s mostly what I’ve read in these comments (and in many other “christian” forums on the internet). Everyone knows so much and has such an important opinion to express, such a valid criticism to give. Like you all have a corner on truth. If this is actual Christianity, it is fast becoming sickening to me.
    I’m so thankful for the grace and love of Jesus to hold me close to himself everyday. It’s getting hard to tell sheep from wolves….


  177. It is a weak answer. He could have said, “I am a Christian, therefore my music is Christian, regardless of the lyrics because I use my talent to glorify God.” Rather, he created a straw-man to draw the interviewer into a guilt driven personal reflection for simply asking whether or not they’re primarily a Christian group. What I take from it is “no”. As for his response about working for Christ: Matthew 7:21-23


  178. One problem I see is the fact that Bach’s music is Christian. (My husband and I studied his music in college.) At the beginning of every piece of music he wrote, it was either ‘Jesus help me’ or ‘In the Name of Jesus’. At the end it was always, ‘To the Glory of God Only’.
    As for Lewis not mentioning Christ in his fiction, who was Aslan?
    So this band doesn’t want to ‘label’ themselves. I suppose that’s their choice, but are they Christian musicians or musicians who are Christian? There should be no difference.
    I suppose as an Indie Author, I can label myself and worry about sales later, but I’ve chosen ‘Inspirational Fiction’ or ‘Inspirational Romance’ as tags. It is absolutely obvious in every book I write where I stand, and I’ve gotten flack for it, but I have to honor the God who gave me the gift to write in the first place. He’ll work out the numbers.


    • Amen!


      • And you know what they’re saying when they play concerts, write music, or record? Because that would be the equivalent of what you just said.


  179. And for a Christian comment thread i’m seeing a lot of judgement and bible throwing. Just sayin….


  180. This will be the last of my two cents. But Jon Foreman and the rest of Switchfoot (Tim, Chad, Jerome, Drew) have put more good into this earth and has more positively represented the Christian faith than probably all of you on this comment thread. Especially those of you judging him for wanting to play music that people, not just Christians would hear. And as probably the only atheist here, i must say, y’all look pretty silly arguing over this.


    • As Mother Theresa said, “Each drop in the ocean is a necessity.” ….. so To encourage salvation in one could ultimately save a thousand later through that one person. To seek His face in every man, woman and child, not just seek His hand. To not depend on horses and chariots (songs, man, idols,etc.) but trust in Christ alone. And EVERY knee shall bow and every tongue WILL confess that HE is LORD.


  181. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs […]


  182. Yeah, whatever you do, don’t actually witness that your talents are God-given. That would definitely narrow your market. And there is the truth of it. Sing about hope but don’t mention Jesus. You’ll make more money this way. Never mind the tens of thousands you could otherwise influence. Have fun.


  183. Reblogged this on NicoBlue and commented:
    True true TRUEEE!!


  184. I love it when Christians work to be inclusive instead of exclusive. Too many of these comments are just old school judgement from Christians who don’t even understand Christianity.
    We don’t bash dentists or plumbers for working without preaching. Leave them alone and let them do their job.
    Keep rockin guys. I am proud of you. Good words.


  185. Not that I know or follow this band to care one way or the other concerning how they wish to be identified, but for those pointing fingers I would like to ask how many secular groups do you listen to or have on your Ipods? How many secular songs did you listen to on the way to/from/or at work today?
    People need to relax and get past putting restrictions on what is clearly a good thing.
    Religiosity will always seek to disqualify and I see a lot of that 9however well intentioned) going on here. You can set out criteria as to how SF might live up to your expectations of what a “Christian band” is or does and it will never be enough; someone else will want to take it further. But don’t take my word for it…give it a go and see where it takes you.


    • I do not listen to non-profitable music, nor do I watch secular television or the news. I don’t even own an IPOD. I have a computer for school with internet and I am homeless. That’s okay. All these things are temporary and I cannot take it with me regardless. This is not my home…not my destination. I am just happy to be on the path that will lead me home. THANK YOU JESUS.


  186. Garbage in Garbage out. I’m passionate about king Jesus and I’m gonna make sure people know I love Him with a passion with nothing hidden in cryptic lyrics or speeches.


    • Oh give me a break. I don’t think God cares for your self-righteous attitude.


  187. None of you who are criticizing have any right to judge this man. You are not God. I doubt you would want him to follow you around your job and criticize every breath you didn’t take for he perceives as the glorification of God. You are what is wrong with Christianity today, and why we are losing in this country.

    The Bible might very well say to sing praises to God. It also says to take communion in remembrance of Him. If Jesus must be the subject of every song sung, then why isn’t your every meal a communion? Have you ever played a video game? Watched a movie? Traveled? Gotten a massage? Did you do all those things FOR GOD, or FOR YOURSELF?


  188. “Preach the Gospel constantly, use words when nessesary” St Francis of Asisi.


  189. Wow! He stated that beautifully. Sounds like he lives for the Beautiful One not the religious one.


    • Love this! Simply said yet such a beautiful testimony. And great comment “he lives for the Beautiful One not the religious one.”


  190. Well said


  191. What most people do not understand is that in the music industry, “Christian music” is merely a genre that is designed to cater to a “Christian” market. Record labels have even been known to use the Christian market as a starting ground for their upcoming artists, hoping to build a strong following before they switch them to mainstream markets. This turns off a lot of musicians who are committed Christians, so they would rather not be part of the “Christian Music Industry.”

    Also, when it comes to whether or not songs are inherently Christian, please remember that our cherished hymns “Amazing Grace: and “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God” were set to bar tunes.


  192. Most Christians, myself included, pay very little attention to the lyrics of the songs we sing and like. Many contain blatant heresy, but we love the harmony and music, and that is where the decision to decide what is acceptable or not stops.


  193. I wan’t to know (and this might have been mentioned in a previous comment. I didn’t read it all) how many people have come to know Christ through his music. I get what he’s saying and all, and I think the christian music genre is soooo messed up and needs to change and I intend to do so, but talking/singing about something without the perspective of the revelation of Christ is not glorifying God in any way shape or form. Even if you tag “it’s all for the glory of God” onto it. I’ve heard it too much in speakers, musicians and others when pouring into me and others with gospel-less filth. Or “I thank God and Jesus” for getting an award or something. Sure that’s great you thank Jesus, but what is your music actually doing? What are the spiritual effects? Are people changed toward Christ when they listen to it? Is there not power in the name of Jesus Christ? He says he’s a believer, but what is it that he believes? I believe we should know Christ personally and with great intimacy, and out of that place we should go out and tell others of the good news of God’s love through our deeds and our words and our music! We don’t have time just to sit around and sing about whimsical, trivial things (not saying foreman does that. that’s between him and God). People are going to hell! They need to hear about the love of the Father and the sacrifice of Jesus!


  194. I think Jon hit it on the money with this. :) I totally think that if you love the Father then your going to write songs about Him and to Him. I’ve listened to all Switchfoot’s songs and most of them are about Him or to Him even though it doesn’t explicitly say His name. I actually find the Father in more of Jon’s songs than in all the christian music on the radio. If you really listen to the stuff on the christian radio 1 out 3 actually says His name. It’s kind of sad. I’m really not impressed with the turn that Christian music has been taking. It’s become all about us and not about Yahweh (or YHWH the LORD’s real name look it up) . Popular, not all, but popular christian music has become shallow and empty. Im just being honest. It really sounds like rhetoric. But anyway, if in singing a song about a sunset for example, you love the Father more than isn’t it better for me to sing the song about the sunset than to try to fake somthing? When I hear songs from switchfoot, they actually draw me closer to Elohim then popular christian songs. And I think it’s because Jon isnt trying to perform. He isnt wanting your approval on how he expresses love to Elohim. He’s singing what actually is in his heart about the Father or not about the Father. But also notice it’s not like the songs that arnt about Elohim are evil, They arnt filled with cuss words and lust and all the gross stuff in most other artists songs. I for awhile had the wrong belief that if a song wasn’t about the Father then it was evil ( unless it was like instrumental but then still testing the spirit behind the music, and not listening to buddist yoga instrumental music stuff if you know what I mean haha :) ) But then if what I thought was right is in fact right,then the ABC’s song is evil. Now tell me the alphabet song is evil. Come on haha :) . It’s funny but a lot of christians think this. I did. Honestly I would rather listen to somthing beautiful that leads me closer to the Father and the Torah (Word)than all the religious fakey feel good songs out there. :)


  195. I’m sorry but I couldn’t agree less. I love that I can walk into a public place at this time of year and hear people singing about Jesus. Nobody, but NOBODY thinks that a song itself is ‘a Christian’. That, frankly, is a nonsense excuse. But any half-thinking person knows that some music honors God more- (and some even speaks of wickedness). In Phil. 1:15-18 Paul rejoices that Christ is preached regardless of motive. Me, I’d rather hear a non-regenerate person singing “Hark the Hearald Angels Sing” than a Christian singing about drugs or greed or fornication. Simple answer- their argument is nonsense and they’re missing a wonderful opportunity to sing about the miracle of the Word become flesh, about God with us.


    • I think that you can write a thousand songs and have them all seem to “honor” the Father and have Him not feel honored by one. To me songs should be a love song to the Father not some kinda hype song trying to “get people saved”. What I mean is it’s no longer about Him anymore at all is about us and our ministry. Would a husband feel more loved if his wife spent all her time telling everyone about how much she loved her him not spending anytime with him or would a husband feel more loved having his wife near him telling him how much she loved him.? Which of the scenario’s is more intimate?
      Think about the children of Yisrael. They did all the Torah right, they completed all the sacrifices and everything in accordance with the will of Yah. (shorted version of YHWH the real name of the Father look it up) But, they missed it on this one point, their heart wasn’t in it. They had forgotten to love, and you know what the response was? They fell into sin. Lawlessness. They ended up worshiping false Elohims and Yah divorced Yisrael and and Yahudah ( Judah) and then we have the dispersion etc… you get the point.


      • Oh and another thing, I think Christmas song are most likely a mockery to the Son since Christmas is evil and about a multitude of false gods. If you don’t believe me about Christmas just look up the origins it’s reallyy evil and disgusting. And #1 its not actually the day of His birth. He was most likely born in September in the Feast of Tabernacles. ( One of Yahowah’s (my take on YHWHa again look it up haha) feasts that He said are to be observed and kept forever) But really, do look it up. It’s important enough to spend 10 mins on it. Try to look at mabey 10 different sites. The truth sets you free. :)


  196. And also think about it how many “lost” people really listen to christian songs and get saved? Not many. I wouldn’t it all sounds too religious.


    • People get saved by the hearing of the word and Jesus is the word made flesh. So a song that mentions Jesus or points to him is a lot closer to bringing someone to salvation than a song that is completely secular.


      • Yeah absolutely ! I’m just thinking about it and realizing that the only people that listen to christian music is christian. I don’t know or have ever heard of anyone thats “got saved” through a song on the radio (or other). Most of the popular christian songs are shallow. So even if someone did “get saved” through it they wouldn’t most likely be very deep. Because the messages christians are putting in their songs is fluffy gracey gracey type of messages that go nowhere that focus on us.


  197. Jesus was frequently criticized about the way He lived his life. The religious leaders of the time that saw Him were always concerned about the way He was living His life. “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” Jesus didn’t do the things He did to please them anymore than Switchfoot is making music to please people. They are true to their calling and that is reflected in the passion they have for their craft.
    You can sit back and throw all the stones you want because they aren’t “Christian” enough to satisfy you. Their songs might not say God or Jesus every other verse or be saturated with the clichés found in the Christian community, but the message of Hope is still there and will be used when the Almighty deems fit. Hopefully, you will see that none of us will ever be “Christian” enough, that our redemption rests solely in the sacrifice that was made.


  198. Jon Foreman’s remarks are spot on. I am bewildered by the negative comments that he is reading a different Bible, or ashamed of Christ, etc. This odd division between the sacred and secular has existed for most of my adult life, but I’m often curious about it. Seems like it’s more of a western cultural mindset. I was raised by parents who worshipped Jesus and liked good music – ALL music – rock and roll, country, jazz, blues, big band, pop, classical … and I can remember them saying things like, “That song degrades people,” but never do I remember them saying, “That song’s not very ‘Christian.'”

    I respect Jon for speaking from his heart and being real. I listen to Switchfoot because their music is exceptional. I’m captivated by their cloaked-in-mystery lyrics that inspire me to wonder. Knowing they are believers? Added bonus, but has little affect on whether or not I enjoy their music.


  199. Honestly… Switchfoot is a talented musical group, that just so happens to be Christian. With that said. As Christians, we should use SOME part of our GIFTS/TALENTS to glorify him. Without Christ blessing on their lives they would not be where they are.

    I am a Baker/ chef. If I did not use my talent to feed the hungry, comfort someone who who needs the help etc. I would be doing a disservice to myself despite all that God has done for me. I am not a perfect Christian, but I can’t imagine going my whole career without praising God through my work as well as my life.

    I feel Switchfoot has realized in order to hold onto fame like POD, they need to create a fence, and sing from it. If they dared to choose one side or the other it could mean, loosing their faith or loosing money and they wan’t both even if it means sacrificing their relationship with the Lord


    • I only desagree with the POD part. But I feel the same way…


    • Why didn’t he just reply if I feel God is leading us, then we will. There seems to be some very valid points, but all the logic is coming across as him being defensive. It’s hard to do PR right.


      • I’m sorry, but you don’t know what logic is. Logic IS NOT a feeling. So you can “feel” that he is being defensive, but that’s not a logical conclusion, it’s an intuitive one.


    • Well, at least Jon can spell grade-school level words.

      See, I can take cheap shots, too.


    • I think you missed the whole point of the article.
      Simply doing what we were created to do is worshiping God. I worship God when I sew, whether the quilt is for charity or my friends baby, or myself. I worship because I am using the gift God gave me.
      The quilt doesn’t need a biblical theme, a bible verse, nor to be given to charity with a prayer for me to be in worship as I sew it. The simple act of sewing it with joy is worship.
      Same with their music. You don’t have to be singing, writing or playing songs specifically designed to worship/praise God or give the gospel message to be worshiping God in music. The worship comes from simply using the talent God gives with joy and worship in your heart. I have and still do worship with secular songs not just songs with scripture based lyrics.


    • But when you feed the hungry or comfort someone in need with your cooking, do you always prepare the last supper? Or bake cakes in the shape of a cross? That is the standard you hold SF to.

      Judge not.


      • Actually, when you bless someone (with goods/offering/money…anything) you are called to say that its from the kingdom of God. (it is not from you) no – it doesn’t have to be in the shape of a cross cake..lol,.. but yes, to honor and glorify the one who blessed you with it to give, you say it is from the kingdom of God. This lets the homeless, needy, etc know exactly where it is from. (Gospel of John) I am not judging. Just trying to edify.


      • “Called” to say? What does that even mean?


    • Agreed


    • I do not believe that just because their songs don’t hold all the same words as tradition (or rather labeled) “worship” music, the songs cannot glorify God or minister to His children.

      We must be careful not to declare on behalf of God all of what pleases Him. There are verses in the Bible that indicate what does and what does not–but as far as I’ve studied, I haven’t found scripture that would condemn Switchfoot’s music or say He does not find pleasure in it.

      The truth of the matter is, I’ve received love from people who do not call themselves Christian, heard wisdom out of mouths of individuals that have not sat in pews, and found peacemakers around those that do not claim affiliation with God… And believe it or not, been ministered greatly by God through Switchfoot’s music. The biggest piece of my testimony is directly correlated to a song called “You” off of their first album. If anyone hears it, it is very hard to deny how influenced and inspired they are/their music is by God.

      God asks for obedience–and far be it for us to say that we KNOW, beyond a shadow of a doubt what He has asked the members of Switchfoot to do and not do–and decide what they are doing is disobedient. (Hosea seemed crazy to all the religious in hos day.) I’ve watched Jon Foreman sit on the sidewalk and talk to a drunk homeless man after a long show half way through a tour. He is a loving Christian. It is reflected in his actions; it is reflected in his music.

      They are amazing people. And I know it may be hard to understand–as many things about God and the way He chooses to work are–but these men, this band is ministering in a non-traditional way, to a non traditional generation.


    • Kinda how Esther kept continually talking about Jehovah, oh wait God isn’t even mentioned in Esther yet I don’t think anyone would deny that God didn’t work through her and she wasn’t being obedient to God when she saved the Jewish people.


    • Switchfoot is an amazingly talented band. I love their music. I think it is pure, sometimes raw, but almost always with a message of love and hope attached. That is Christian. Period. You have to reach people where they are at. Most people don’t come to know God through some hell and damnation song or speech. Or even necessarily through Christian music that speaks repeatedly of Jesus. I started out my spiritual journey many years ago, a confused person, and initially began with books by Marianne Williamson ( a very “new agey” author). But now, eventually, I have come to really, truly know Christ as my Lord and Savior. I have no interest in the Marianne Williamson books any more. But, at the time, they reached me where I was. To accept that maybe there was something bigger out there, period. That is a big step for a lot of people. Over time, I came to know, and understand, through Jesus’ workings in my life, when I finally decided I would have faith without seeing, that he was truly real. When you simply choose to have faith, like a innocent child, and just accept, your life changes in so many ways, that I could no longer deny. But I had to start with some open door. Not everyone is a Paul, who got a veritable lightning bolt from God that he exists, and bam, he believed, and life is never the same. Many, if not most, people need to start at a square one, where they are gently coaxed. To me, Switchfoot is that kind of band, where a door may open to an atheist or one who is only convinced of science and not the miracle of hope and faith and love. They gently coax. They offer hope in a world that is damaged and depraved, and sad in many ways. I love their messages, their talent, their rhythm. It meets many people where they are at – pressure free, to simply listen to a message they yearn to hear. To open the heart just one notch. To be willing to maybe hear the next level, or consider a new thing. This is where it all starts. This is where the message is most needed. I believe that as a band and as Christians they have found their nitch, and I believe they have been inspired by God to do what they do. And if God is for you, well………….. who can be against you? With blessings and love to the whole Foreman family and the other members of the band.


  200. Amazing article. The rest of these comments are bull shit. We are creative beings. Support creative artist.


    • Including yours, loser.


      • -brought to you by the Judgmental Christian Society.


  201. […] I think this was the first post I saw, and I decided to read it while waiting for the computer to start up: http://ctkblog.com/2013/12/05/why-switchfoot-wont-sing-christian-songs/ […]


  202. I get what he means by the Christian box is limiting, and that people have different callings, but there is such a thing as Christian music. Not in the sense that Christ died for songs, but in the sense that the words in the song are Christ-centered, and have Biblical references to praise God/to encourage us in our walk with God, therefore being called “Christian music.” I personally try to not listen to secular music because in my opinion, it doesn’t bring me closer to God. Making songs about “nothing in particular” seems like (I wish I could think of a word not so harsh right now) a waste of time. I’m not saying that secular songs are all horrible, or trying to bash them totally, because there are some really moving secular songs about life and love and hope! (I. e. Keep Holding On, I’ll Try, Stronger, etc…) Just trying to present my point of view that Christian songs, as I described, are more beneficial to me because they keep directing my attention to Jesus.


    • I agree Lena.


      • ….really? for not ‘saying’ those things you are doing a great job saying them…


    • “….but there is such a thing as Christian music….”

      Says who? You? God? The Bible?

      Nah…. just you.


      • How would you define the Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual songs mentioned in the scripture?


      • Well, Brian, it’s funny you should mention that, because Jesus hadn’t been born when those books were written and thus they could not possibly be “Christian” music.


      • As ‘spiritual songs’… Brian. Precisely what you just said.


    • Actually, music has been “about nothing” for years. Bach, Beethoven, Mendelssohn, etc… when you listen to their symphonies, it’s not about salvation, or faith, or any of those things, but all of those men were devout, and the music was deeply spiritual… and often secular. Music is worth listening to for music’s sake because God blessed us with its beauty, and we can in turn glorify Him with it – regardless of if our lyrics profess it outright or not.


  203. I know that the focus of Switchfoot is God because I have seen them in concert. I have done Christian radio and if an artist has just one song that is overtly Christian, then they are a Christian group. The call on all of our lives is to do everything for the glory of God. If Switchfoot can draw young people with their talents, and an unsaved person finds God when they run into the one overtly Christian song, I say it is worth it


  204. This is exhausting! The fact that Jon still has to answer this question is infuriating. He’s been giving the same answer for at least 10 years.

    I’ll take it one step further than he does and say that Christian music is just another way that the modern church has you enslaved. It has you believe that everything outside of the churches safe zone is harmful. But it is not harmful. The church can only control your thoughts if it has control over what you observe, so it will have you shun “worldly” things because it will lose control over you otherwise. There are plenty of truths in this world that are not biblical and plenty of ideas that can enrich your life that have nothing to do with Christ. I’m not a Christian, but i know enough about Christ’s message to know that your faith will be richer if you are more connected to the world around you.


    • It’s bad to quantify the church saying things like, “this is harmful, or that is harmful” as being controlling. If I said, “Don’t drink anti-freeze, it’s harmful”, and you claimed I was being controlling for saying it, am I really? Nope. I am simply saying that it is harmful because, that is, in truth, what it is. Now if drinking antifreeze was safe, then I am a liar and indeed saying it merely to control your actions. This translates differently for Christians, because we don’t say that something is harmful physically, we say it is harmful spiritually. But like cigarette smoking destroys you over time and doesn’t necessarily show immediate signs of damage, so too do many (Note: not all!) things in this world do so to your spiritual health.
      However, what is harmful isn’t always easy to identify, per se (For the longest time, people didn’t know that tobacco smoking was harmful).The various denominations haven’t been able to agree on this in, well, ever; and I’m not gonna even try to give a definitive answer, but I’ll say this: Christians are called to be holy, “set-apart” for God’s glory. To that effect, Christians must decide, without rationalizing it to themselves, whether whatever particular activity they’re doing is harmful spiritually or not. I disagree with many church’s notions in trying to use a “one-size-fits-all” approach to that. How does a Christian know whether it is harmful or not? Simply put: does what I’m doing, and even more importantly, how I’m doing it, draw others to God? Are my actions, are my words, allowing others to see the living Spirit within me?

      Final note:
      I agree that Christians should indeed be connected to the world. How are we to perform outreach and missions without it? However, I think Christians have a difficult time (indeed, it isn’t an easy thing to do) in understanding what it means to be IN this world, but not OF this world. We shouldn’t be monks who isolate themselves completely, but at the same time, how we live our lives as we live within this world has to truly make the statement: I am a follower of Jesus Christ.


      • Well said Elijah. Thank you.


      • true Elijah. After transformation, my family teased me and called me a monk..and I did try to shut out the world… I didn’t want to stomach this world when I loved being romanced by Jesus and staying home and fasting, singing and dancing to gospel, and in prayer. But the truth is, Receiving this amazing gift wasn’t meant to stay locked up at home inside. There are blind and crippled hurting people out there. people that should know about this gift. I had wasted so much time before coming to the Lord. Hurting myself even. I am still by no means perfect, always learning, always growing… but he gave me a talent also and I want to bring it back to Him… increased and made useful. and share that comfort I received, the blessings I received, the love I received. I didn’t get it from my earthly parents, not myself (thats for sure) not even my pastor or friends..nope… it was Jesus intercession for my sorry self. God showed me who I was and made me see myself through His eyes…through His word. Now there is the doctrine, which I don’t really believe in disputing… and there is the gospel. Non-believers DO often times show love… but do they realize that it is God? That God is love? Do they know how to reach out to Him? That He is waiting for them? That He’s been there the whole time? That He is a living God? I don’t know what is in the hearts of men, I only know if I approach them, share with them – hear what their spirit has to say. If the spirit is ready to receive the message, they will. And others may be brought to my path in order to do this also… those who are ready will receive all that God has for them when they seek. God only wants one thing… our “desire.” That one step can lead to all paths being cleared. That faith. It can move mountains. And to show appreciation… No. God does NOT NEED our help – He was here before me and will be here after me… but to honor Him with all He’s given, to keep my tongue filled with praise… to be obedient by loving others as He loves us.. there is nothing i can think of more loving than offering a seed that would offer an eternity of freedom… a whisper God put on my tongue to give to another soul that is where I used to be. We are nothing. He is everything.


      • Elijah… Couldn’t of said it better. It saddens me..a lot of these comments ppl are making. It’s obvious Jesus has been misrepresented to them!


  205. I really like this The best I have heard!


  206. Oh and I am a big fan of them and have seen them live many times at Christian festivals. They never do praise and worship songs but due to their content, they still glorify who God is and what He has a heart for and I always always leave blessed.


  207. Lame excuse. Get off the fence.


    • Yes, because writing lyrically and musically repetitious songs is really showing off that brain God gave you, right?


  208. That was profound and true! Thank you for your words. They mean more than any “Christian” song could say. I’m glad to see your heart and mind are on God and not what you do for a living. God bless you.


  209. It’s easier to view people from a market/industry/genre viewpoint. Put them in a box at arms length because the alternative–actually getting to know and care about them–is hard….and sometimes messy.

    Honestly, anyone who thinks the Christian “fill in the blank” Industry is more “Christian” than other industries may have more of a pharisaical perspective than they realize.


  210. But how can one person say that he is a Christian without the message of Christ seen or heard in his life? Doing good doesn’t make any person a Christian, he can be a hindu, buddhist or muslim and still do good. It’s the glorified and magnified Christ in a Christian’s life that motivates him to bear fruits and do good. Christianity is all about Christ.


    • “preach always and when necessary use words” St Francis of Assisi

      Perhaps you can correct St Francis when you see him in heaven.


      • That’s a true statement but not the whole truth. Living the Gospel and sharing the Gospel are two separate but inexorably linked things. One w/o the other is of no effect.

        When do you tell someone who’s lost how to find salvation? If you don’t then how much do you value your salvation? Probably not much.


      • And the songs you sing in church instruct nonbelievers to salvation? No, I think not, so by your standards, those songs are just as “worldly”.


    • You know what’s funny about this attitude? I have seen more Christ in his life than yours. By your logic, doesn’t that make you “less” of a Christian?

      “But… but.. he’s famous!!” No, not really. He may be relatively famous compared to you, but that doesn’t diminish the fact that he’s still reached far more people than you ever will. Let’s also consider the fact that you only see what he does through the lens of his job as a vocalist. You know nothing about what he does in his private life, just like I know nothing of yours. But if you can pass judgement on him, then I can surely pass judgement on you? Correct? If you’re so adamant about this attitude that you’re a better Christian, then prove it. If Christ is really compelling you, go become famous so you can reach all those people, so you can show us how to do it the “right” way.

      If you aren’t willing to do that, then I guess you’re just not very Christian. And until then, your criticism is moot.


    • We (as Christians) will be surprised by who we see in heaven. LOVE is the most important ingredient to whatever it is you do. 1st Corr. 13.2 “you can have/do all these things, but without love, I am nothing”


  211. I tire of reading comments from Christians who think their personal definitions are from God. What is ‘christian music’ if not music penned by the Holy Spirit through His children. Who is to say that lyric free symphonic music composed by people of faith is not ‘christian music?’ Or that godly lyrics built on the truths of scripture are not ‘christian?’ If the God you believe in really is the omnipotent omniscient creator, who are you to determine what He authorizes and what He does not? Reminds me of Paul’s letter to the Galatians, calling them out for being misled. I believe he said ‘o foolish Galatians’……. I believe I could say that to many who have posted here. Thank God for bands like Switchfoot who serve their creator and worship him in obedient use of their God given gifts and talents. My guess is that their worship and influence for the King far outpaces the sniping critics here.


  212. Awesome. :). Not to confuse that getting out of the box means to if the world. Right? Would you agree we are to in the world. But not if the world?


  213. omg.. just chill people. They just happens to be a group who loves music, write and perform music and coincidentally group members are all Christian. Why read so much into it.. a lot of singers out there write and sing songs about how they feel and happen to believe in God, so are they all Christian singers? Common.. thats all he is trying to say.


  214. Basically, we don’t mention Christ because God doesn’t say to, and we want more money. Compromise. Worldly. How is he glorifying God when he covers up his identity? Why is he so ashamed? What is wrong with being labeled a Christian? They are trying to fit in with the world, and they certainly are doing a good job of it. Hooray for Christians who compromise.


    • Hooray for Christians who think they’re as big as God.


    • Ash, have you even listened to any of their music? Have you heard anything from Foreman’s solo projects? Have you listened to the words he says when he’s interviewed, or on stage? It appears not. Do you actually believe that believers who don’t explicitly invoke Christ in every song they write or sing are “Christians who compromise”? And we wonder why the world calls us judgemental hypocrites…


    • The book of Esther has no mention of God in it. Wonder why that book is in the Bible?


    • I guess you think Esther was a compromiser and wordly because she never mentioned God.


      • It is funny, how just because someone points out the truth and then are told they are arrogant and judgmental, the person pointing the finger doesn’t take a look at themselves and see they are doing the same thing they are condemning, judging. Quit throwing the dumb judging card around. The Bible says to judge believers. Enough said.


  215. “We” Christians are always the first to eat our own. To judge, hate and hurt.


  216. Switchfoot’s perspective is interesting & I find it has considerable validity. I’m a writer/bogger, but not a “Christian” writer – I blog about what interests me (mostly non-fiction), and occasionally it contains an overt Christian message/point, but my REAL writing (which is always MUCH longer) is always a form of useful non-fiction, often about plants/gardening, sometimes other things – my book about walnuts doesn’t include references to Jesus. Go ahead, judge me, too.

    I am an unashamed Follower, with the passionate heart of a missionary, but I don’t hand out Gospel tracts to everyone (but I have some great ones!) or always inquire about the state of their soul. I wonder, are ALL of you who think they should just perform overtly Christian full-time evangelists? I would be interested to know how that works, if you do. Somehow I don’t think even Ray Comfort would judge Switchfoot.

    Ephesians 4:1-6 1 Therefore I, the prisoner for the Lord, urge you to walk worthy of the calling YOU have received, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, accepting one another in love, diligently keeping the unity of the Spirit with the peace that binds us. There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to one hope at your calling—one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all, who is above all and through all and in all.


  217. I love the music of Switchfoot. I always have and their music touches my heart. I know they are a Christian band but their music touches everyone not just the Christian congregation. So I understand the article. I don’t have many talents but the one I do posses is not even great but I do try. I try to spread a little bit of Christmas to others in particular children. Especially when they are homeless and don’t have a tree of their own. It breaks my heart. So I do the WalMart float every year to see the wonderment and the smiles on their faces. It is my hope that they get to see something nice and that they know they are loved. I don’t want praise.hearing them talk and their eyes lighting up do it for me. I don’t have money or a lot to give but I can do that much for the children who are homeless, living in their cars or with their families by extension or in a hotel. I hate that many don’t have a tree or get presents. I know it’s not much to give but if I can give them a hope and a good dream then my job is done. I am doing what I was put on this earth for. I am taking the time to help someone no matter who they are or what they do or their personal life. It is not my place to judge them but to spread love to everyone just like Jesus tried to do before and after he was crucified.


  218. You guys in Switchfoot got it right. Its too bad the paid “Professional leaders??” in many church congregations do not understand this!!!


  219. Reblogged this on Fluid Theology and commented:
    Good stuff


  220. “let a man sanctify the Lord his God in his heart, & he can after do no common act” A.W. Tozer


    • true.


  221. Well, alot of people are not to keen on God cuz he is shoved down the throats of our young people. This generation is all about music, hard rock, soft rock ect. If the message is in the music what a better way to reach them and lead them to Christ? I agree we are not saved cuz of music, but kids are hard headed these days and rebellious they need the Lord like no other……….I cant think of a better way than through Christian music if they dont listen otherwise.


  222. I dont know the music of Switchfoot so I’m not commenting on what they produce, but I find this position weak.These things are not all equal if we believe in truth. As God’s followers, what comes out of our mouths must be truth and ought to give grace to those who hear it. It doesn’t have to be Bible words but we will all give account for every idle word spoken. The truth is, as music producers they make themselves teachers and for this they are held accountable.


    • I feel dumber having read this. Having one type of job doesn’t make you any more accountable than anyone else. Quit being a hypocrite and trying to pass the buck on to someone else.


      • Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly. That’s James 3:1, Mike. Perhaps erroneously, I assumed the people in this thread would know the Bible.
        Actually, God says we will. Only he’s not talking about a job … he’s talking about those of us who use our words to influence others. Be careful.


      • Ok, now quote me the scripture that says being a musician is the same as being a teacher. Oh… you made that part up yourself. Derp me.


    • You’re right but if you did listen to Switchfoot’s music you would know that they are speaking truth even though they don’t use Bible words. You call their position weak but basically your position seems to be very similar to theirs.


  223. Everyone on here keeps saying Christian this and Christian that, but have any of you ever noticed. “Christian” is never mentioned in the bible. They were called “believers” and “followers” this man says that he is a believer. Did you ever stop and think some people wont listen to “Christian music” simply because its Christian music? Yet more people are reached because they take no claim to what they sing. More people have probably listened to Switchfoot than say Toby Mac or Barlow Girl, why? because they didn’t label themselves. So many times do “Christians” believe everyone must be separated, but remember even Christ himself associated with sinners, prostitutes, etc. How is the world to be reached when so many “Christians” are to busy trying to separate themselves. You think this man doesn’t want to label himself because of fame, but he is reaching more people than a lot of you would dare to reach. At a concert, imagine how many non believers would be there than at a “Christian” concert. The term “Christian” is secular, I believe it was also a derogatory term from the Romans. What a lot of you are doing is judging this man, whether you want to admit that or not.

    -I am a church leader not someone who just goes up against “Christians” :)


  224. The question is not do you have to, it’s why won’t you? Why would a Christian who is a talented musician not mention the name of Jesus. only one reason that I can think of, they are ashamed of His name. this happens to also be the same reason a janitor or volleyball coach would not mention his name as well. We need to be willing to confess our Lord before men, not be ashamed of Him. It also does little good to feed the poor and leave the soul starving. Feed the spiritually poor the name of Jesus, they desperately need the gospel.


    • Do you speak the name of Jesus whilst having intercourse? The question is not do you have to, it’s why won’t you?


    • Bro, there’s other ways to spread the gospel besides preaching it. We need to love first and why the heck am I commenting on one of these things?? Oh, no…

      God help me. I’ve become a…

      an…

      an…!

      INTERNET COMMENTATOR.

      *DUN DUN DUUUUUNNNNNNNNN*


    • They do mention Christ. Just listen to them sometimes. Just because all of their songs aren’t “Christian” doesn’t mean they don’t mention Christ. When you go to the doctors do you want the doctor to do what you pay him to do or do you want a sermon? Also, look at Esther. Can anyone deny that she was a Godly woman who obeyed God and God used her to save the Jewish people? But she never mentioned God. In fact God isn’t mentioned even once in the entire book but it is in the Bible. So if an entire book of the Bible doesn’t mention God, why do you think every song these musicians write must mention God?


  225. There going secular in your opinion because why? I think you missed the point. I love listening to Switchfoot. My grown children are also fans of theirs. Keep on playing and sharing SF! We will keep buying your music.


  226. I have been to several conferences and songwriting classes about writing music for your own church. The classes were taught by professionals who have written for secular artists as well as church artists. These professional songwriters said that some secular and some church artists write to make money.. he gave examples of songwriting sessions with popular christian artists and said that they would light up when they found a catchy chorus because they knew it would hit high on the charts.. they knew it would strike something within people and that the song would be bought and go platinum-and it did. That was their goal.

    I respect and love Jon Foreman and Switchfoot because he writes what is within his own heart. What the hell is the point of the freedom Christ has given us if we’re going to be condemned by our fellow ‘brothers and sisters’ if we write a song that says
    “I’m learning to breathe
    I’m learning to crawl
    I’m finding that You and You alone can break my fall
    I’m living again, awake and alive
    I’m dying to breathe in these abundant skies”
    rather than:

    “Whatever it is you may be going through
    I know He’s not gonna let it get the best of you” (currently #2 on christian billboards)

    Christ set us free. Switchfoot is set free to write, play, and express whatever God has put in their hearts.
    God has set you free to express, in whatever way you deem worthy, whatever He has put in your heart.

    Lean on God and trust that He is working in your heart and others, because I can guarantee that your words do not affect me, nor do they affect another’s relationship with Christ. Christ does the work, not you. Everything good comes from the Father.

    Praise be to God.


  227. Lot’s of judging going on around here. I write music because it makes me happy and I hope it will make someone else feel the same way. I don’t think that is my ticket to heaven or hell, I just love music.


    • Agreed.


    • Isn’t that what most Christians are best at?


      • As my dad likes to say “my spiritual gift is the ability to point out what I think is wrong with other people.” *sarcasm*
        To many people actually believe this.


  228. I read an article from another man who is similar in thought to Jon.
    He asked,
    If a man who is a christian builds a car, is it now a christian car?
    Is the pig feed by a christian farmer, now a christian pig?
    If a christian paints a picture of an apple, is that painting now a christian painting?


  229. I would venture this message from Switchfoot will stir some to ponder why we do what we do as Christians. I think that’s part of the point here. I wrestle with the “business” of Christianity as a commodity which so often seems uneasily close to secular commercialism. Books, tapes, blogs and yes, music, produced and marketed to audiences all too willing to accept cheap (non-creative) imitations of “non-christian” items. Product promises that border (or go beyond) on heresy luring naive purchasers into believing their item will bring folks closer to God are all too common today. “Miracle Water” and dozens of other “blessed” goods are hawked nightly on many TV channels and, of course, across the web. No wonder so many see the Gospel today as a watered-down, hypocritical mess where the “end game” is to separate them from their money. Good thing Scripture has already warned of such charlatans lest we be fooled. I credit Jon Foreman and his group for putting this out there and stirring the pot. I’m also eternally grateful for a Gospel that assures me no person or thing blocks me from knowing I am saved by God’s immeasurable Grace and Mercy as demonstrated by the sacrifice of His only son Jesus Christ on the cross dying once and for all for my sin thereby reconciling me to Him by faith in Christ, the most wonderful gift of all.


  230. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  231. I would agree with displaying Jesus! Yes whatever you do, do it as unto the Lord. The problem is we have a enough of the world that we don’t need to look like them! So we need men an woman of God to just exemplify Christ not write a weird contradictory statement of why they don’t need to add Jesus into all the lyrics! Man up


    • Yes, Faithful Christian, separate yourself from the people Jesus loved and commanded to love. Don’t even talk to those filthy worldy sinners.


  232. Our relationship with God Is Christ. It was his obedience that brought me to my end. Your life is hidden in Christ with God. It is no longer I that live, but Christ.


  233. I’m huge fan of Switchfoot and respect the thoughtful words that Jon has shared here. However, the arguments I see in these comments are meaningless, and they make me sad. This is one good man’s response to a question. To make judgements about the art or integrity of any artist, especially based on whether they’re ok with being called a “Christian” artist or not, is ridiculous. Also, all artists are “creative” and their art is a valuable expression, whether or not you like the music or the genre it gets shelved under. “Christian,” as a genre, was implemented by marketers looking to help people find music by artists singing about their faith in Christ. Certainly nothing to get bent out of shape over, and I think that’s Jon’s point. He’s not bashing the Christian music industry, just explaining why they don’t fit into that label as a band. I’m quite certain that God is able to get music where he intends for it to go, to lift the hearts of those it was meant to reach, regardless of where it sits on a shelf, or how cool or creative we deem it to be.


  234. Did you know there are two books in the Bible that don’t mention God?

    Also, there IS music that is not appropriate to sing in church. I would assume this band’s music is that type of music.

    But showing the world that all things good and right are of God (whether it is explicitly Christian or not) has its place. And Christians can glorify God by producing and enjoying music that is good and right.


  235. Q: as a Christian, artist or any other vocation, is there no responsibility to present the Gospel to those that do not know Christ? I don’t care if Jesus is mentioned in lyrics but to not even acknowledge Him before crowds of thousands or share personal testimony and give opportunity to accept Christ? Our vocations, gifts, and ability are from God — not to simply make money & fame — but to make Him known to others. Not pointing a finger but simply asking the question.


    • If God needed you to use your fame to do what you’re saying, wouldn’t you be famous? Simply asking the question.


  236. So many Christian singers through the years who get put under the microscope. I appreciate Switchfoot. What’s worse? A Christian artist who doesn’t blatantly say Jesus name in his songs – or – the person who is Christian on the praise team who just sings lyrics when all the while it’s just about them, how they look, and their hidden sins? I just get tired of the judgement. There’s one judge who sits on the right-hand side of the throne. bless you Switchfoot. When you stand before him on judgement day, it will be “did you feed my sheep?” You are whole people who are able to feed His sheep not just from your music alone. Keep up the journey and God bless,


  237. If they’re writing/playing songs and tours that God is leading them to, that’s all that matters. Sonny of POD talked about the struggle of one of their songs on their most recent CD, and praying for over a year about it. Seems a man after God’s own heart, trying to serve His Savior and minister to the masses.
    Remember, the Great Commission? So if a “Christian” band feels they need to go into all the world and sing to those who need Jesus, maybe those of us that already have Jesus can be supportive. Besides, POD, Switchfoot, U2 are great! Same with Steven Curtis Chapman, Natalie Grant, etc.
    If God calls them to go to Nineveh, and they don’t, then they get eaten by a whale. Are we being selfish as Christians in demanding their focus be on music for us?


    • Well said.


  238. Yeah. I understand how the church rationalizes the separatism from “the world” philosophy, but that doesn’t mean it’s consistent with the teachings of Christ. To interpret “set apart” as “withdrawn from culture” is a pretty big jump. Also I do think the tactics and language used to keep Christians (particularly young people) isolated is controlling rather than advising. At least in every experience I ever had it was.


  239. Everyone here should be required to bring a bible AND read it before posting. The Gospel is to be lived and spoken. No one comes to the Father except through Jesus. You HAVE TO TELL PEOPLE THAT…you can’t just mime it…


    • Get off your high horse. You aren’t God and you certainly do NOT speak for Him.


  240. Well, I’ve always thought Switchfoot was lame anyway, half hearted lyrics and mediocre talent that far too many “Christian” bands have and then fall away when their minor success gets to their heads….MXPX comes to mind. They started saying “we’re Christians in a band, not a Christian band” to outright yelling at a youth pastor for sharing the gospel at one of “their” shows. Asking If Switchfoot is a “Christian” band is less about your music, and more about your heart. Does Switchfoot exist for the glory of God or the glory of the band members and their pocket books? This guy speaks in really big, looping circles and I think the end result is no…I don’t want to be labeled and pigeon holed as a “Christian”. I want to be free and compromise my faith and get air time on non Christian radio stations. Lame, man. Just lame. The true believer is one who is unashamed and hurls themselves into the void as it were in obedience to Christ, for his glory alone. Like I said, never thought much of Switchfoot before, and now I know why I thought all their stuff was cheesy and fake, because it was.


    • Wow dude. Been hurt much?


    • Oh, look at your, putting yourself at the level of God, telling us common folk who the “true believers” are. “Christians” like you make me sick. There is nothing but pure vain evil in your heart.


      • Mike, well said and well written. Biblical truth no longer is the standard in music. These men clearly want to hobnob with the lost crowd in order to gain popularity. Christian still are being deceived by these wolves in sheep clothing. Their aim has nothing to do with the gospel, Christianity or scripture. Its all about money. I would be very curious if the group Switchfoot are members of any local church, or and actively tithe and participate there? Or support missions? Ever go soul-winning? Or do concerts for free just to be a blessing to christians? I doubt it…..


  241. Every Christian, no matter what their particular gifting, has a biblical responsibility to preach the gospel. We will “give an account for every idle word”.
    Matt 12:36-37   But I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgement
    For by thy words thou shalt be justified, and by thy words thou shalt be condemned.

    Rom 10:14  How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

    Matt28:18  And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.

     19  Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: note

     20  Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen

    Enough said

     15  And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!


  242. “Christian art? Art is art; painting is painting; music is music; a story is a story. If it’s bad art, it’s bad religion, no matter how pious the subject.”

    “As Emmanuel, Cardinal Suhard says, ‘To be a witness does not consist in engaging in propaganda, nor even in stirring people up, but in being a living mystery. It means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist.’ The widow’s mite and Bach’s St. Matthew Passion are both ‘living mysteries,’ both witness to lives which affirm the loving presence of God”

    “…but neither do I want to tell God (or my friends) where he can and cannot be seen. We know where he is and where he is not, and this arrogance leads to such things as the Spanish Inquisition and the Salem witch burnings and has the result of further fragmenting an already broken Christendom. We live by revelation, as Christians, as artists, which means that we must be careful never to get set into rigid molds. The minute we begin to think we know allt he answers, we forget the questions, and we become smug like the Pharisee who listed all his considerable virtues and thanked God that he was not like other men.”
    —Madeline L’Engle

    Is Christian art just a label? If you look at what Switchfoot has done with the Bro-Am, this isn’t a marketing scheme. They put their soul and effort into helping the poor. Those of you who want to throw Bible verses against Foreman should consider James 1;26-27. Until we sort out these contemptuous discrimination between secular and sacred music, we will have closed the doors on many who are eager to hear Christ.


  243. Remember Esther doesn’t mention God once yet no one would say she wasn’t used by God or obedient to God nor a holy woman. If an entire book of the Bible can exist that doesn’t mention God once I think a musician can still be a Christian without having every song be about Christ. If Switchfoot were to start singing songs about sex, drugs and living immorally, I would worry about their spiritual walk but everything I’ve heard by them is encouraging and uplifting.


  244. I’ll never be ashamed to wear the label “Christian”. The Son of God bought me with His blood. Call me a Christian artist (I’m a musician). A Christian plumber (Plumbing is my trade). I’d rather you drop the “artist” part of my label than the “Christian” part. My glorious Lord, Jesus Christ, gave me that label and I’ll wear it proudly regardless of any negative connotations the world may put on it.


    • I guess King David went to hell for not being as Christian as you.


  245. We are called as Christians to stand apart from the world. I am proud to be in the Christian box he references. This doesn’t mean to walk around with an attitude that you are better than the world or somehow above it. But I definitely think that in every given opportunity we should give glory to God. Some are blessed with a national spotlight, and with that they are held to the same commands. Go and make fishers of men. Him saying this kinda sounds like he’s justifying his choice to write feel good lyrics. Their songs used to be powerful and spirit filled. Laced with theology and challenges to the spirit. Now more and more they slip away from that. Not judging but practicing Galatians 6. When a brother or sister in Christ falls away, gently nudge them in the right direction.


    • Kinda hypocritical to call their “fame” a blessing and then question God’s purpose for his blessing in the same statement, don’t you think?


    • Or do you consider your judgment above God’s?


  246. I never cease to be amazed at the attacks between believers with different viewpoints on one another. This is precisely what Paul was scolding the church in Galatia about!
    Stop bickering amongst yourselves! That action alone is enough to drive away anyone who might be seeking to find what it is we Christians have that sets us apart.
    If you find it acceptable to use music that does not mention the name of Jesus as a means to bear witness to an unbeliever that’s okay, but do not be a stumbling block for your brothers in Christ who are more conservative. Rather ask yourself this: “am I showing the love of Christ in all my actions?”
    If it is important to you that the name of Jesus be mentioned in songs of worship that’s okay, but don’t impose your standard on someone else or condemn a brother in Christ because his music isn’t splashed with “Jesus” in the lyrics. Rather ask yourself this: “does EVERY SENTENCE out of my mouth contain His name?”
    Louie Giglio was spot on in his book, The Air I Breathe when he said we were all created to worship. It is intrinsically impossible for us to NOT worship. Every day when we put our feet on the floor and get out of bed we will each worship SOMETHING. The question then lies in what we choose to worship.
    Wi our actions reflect the love of Christ, even when we think no one else is watching?
    I for one find no fault in Switchfoot’s message, or in Jon’s statement regarding lyrical content. They bear a strikingly strong witness to Christ’s redemption and give hope to the lost. I do not believe Switchfoot is riding the fence between obedience and greed. They have a clear calling that is from God to Switchfoot. It is specific to them. And since none of us are members of the band, we can’t possibly hear THEIR calling.
    They are ministering to the poor in spirit.
    They are ministering to the lost.
    Lets just listen to the music and be thankful that we have a God who sees beyond our weaknesses.


  247. As a Christian artist, my songs are a reflection of me, my struggles my joys, my valleys, and my hope. They don’t have to be chock full of scripture or Christianese language to ultimately point to the Father. My goal is to take people along for a ride that leaves them inspired, moved, or curious to know more about love and life more abundant. You see, non believers don’t speak Christianese. But maybe they can relate to a guy who is overwhelmed by this world and cries out for peace. Or a girl who is at the end of her rope but still has joy. Some of the Psalms are downright depressing but we find strength knowing that even King David endured seasons of turmoil.

    God can use any song, work of art, natural setting, earthly creature, conversation, or sermon on Sunday to reveal His glory. Let me ask this: have you ever been inspired or even spiritually moved by a beautiful painting only to find out that the artist was an aetheist? Yeah. Stick that in your pipe and smoke it for a minute. I think it’s AWESOME that God is bigger than any box we ever try to put him in.


  248. Wow…you know, for all of us claiming to follow someone who calls Himself “The Word”, we might want to pay more attention to them. Look up the origin and connections before waving a flag for certain “Christianese” buzz words… We are all word battling about words, titles, and labels we don’t even understand. And about an action, “worship” as we call it, so far removed from its root it has become unrecognizable. Think on this: Jesus wasn’t a Christian, Jesus didn’t go to church, didn’t read the Bible, didn’t worship on Sunday to songs on a projector or out of a hymnal, Danced and drank and hung out with those who did, refused every title thrown at Him except for the ones He chose Himself. And those titles were powerful because He knew who He was and what He was meant to do regardless of who didn’t. And He didn’t explain himself to the “trolls” of His day either. Each one of us display’s Him in a refracted or even marred way, Like broken glass or a mirror. Or as Paul put it, some as hands, some as feet and so on. Let’s not waste time telling the hands they should market themselves more like feet, or the left arm, or right ankle. Let us all just go! Together, as one unit, rather than tripping ourselves up in all this distraction. And no I am not an idealist, I have been at this long enough to see it in action, unity and focus on what really matters at its finest. A truly amazing event to behold! Even more so to maintain it. And we must. So Mr. Foreman, thank you for being great at what you do and sharing it with the world and encouraging us to do the same,


  249. Mike, have you thought anything you’ve said through? Your comment about how Psalms and the other books were written before Christ was born makes them non-Christian music is completely off the wall. “Christian” started as a derogatory term towards those who strived to live a life after the way Jedus did. The lifestyle example he set along with His Word while he was here on this Earth. “Christian” means “little Christs”. It was used by people who looked down on believers just like people today use the word “faggot” for gays or other racial slurs. The word “Christian” describes who we, Christian, are trying to live like and for. To say something is not Christian just means it doesn’t glorify The Lord. The entire Bible glorifies God. It’s his Word. Yes, Pslams was written before Jesus was born but how does that make the songs and poems inside its chapters non-Christian? If you haven’t read it I would ask you to read Psalm and then tell me it doesn’t praise God and is not Christian. Look at it this way, if you’re right and the Bible is just a dumb book then no harm done; if I’m right though, it could change your life forever, Mike. And if it does I promise you you won’t regret it. Just give it a chance. It can’t hurt.


    • You missed his point, Jeff. He couldn’t have explained it any better!


    • Guy, please. Your feeble attempts at illogical, emotional arguments do not phase me. “Off the wall”? LOL. What does that even mean? It’s not even a valid argument. Give me a logical argument proving what I said wasn’t true. You can’t. Because it is true. Psalms isn’t chock full of “Christian music” because it couldn’t possibly be CHRISTIAN before CHRISTIANITY existed.


      • “Christianity” as a name for a religion did of course not exist then, but Jesus as a part of the Godhead existed from eternity. Thus, we could perfectly well say that the “christian worldview” was also in existence then, at the time the psalms were written.

        The plan of salvation by Jesus, through Him being incarnate as a man was planned from the beginning.

        Not that you didn´t know that…

        By this I don´t want to, or aspire to, imply that your comment as a whole was or is irrelevant, not at all. Just wished to pont out that we must not think Jesus didn´t get to exist until he was born to earth.


      • Well, in that case, you’re just as omnipresent as God or anyone else, right? I mean, you were always going to exist according to him, so you must be? Either Jesus was a man, or he wasn’t. You can take your pick. I’m not trying to debate whether God existed at the time. But Jesus, the man, did not. So, no. I don’t agree. The Psalms are no more a “Christian” songbook than modern pictures of Jesus are accurate portrayals of the man.


      • The Psalms are affirmedly not Christian. However, they are definitely Messianic…


      • Mike,
        If you study what you are talking about, you will see that Jews (from long before the birth of Jesus) spoke of a Messiah who would come, God incarnate. So not only do they have much poetry about this Messiah, but their understanding of him was that he would be the “God-Man.” In modern theological terms, we call this the hypostatic union. Basically, Jesus is fully God and fully Man. Also, as you read the Old Testament you will see fairly frequent references to the Son of God and the Spirit of God. Even though Jesus was not born in human form until the time of Mary and Joesph and the Holy Spirit did not come to permanently indwell believers until Pentecost, that does not mean they did not exist until those points. This is why believers trust that God is trinitarian. He is 3-in-1 having always existed in this manner.

        All that goes to say, much OT poetry is devoted to Jesus, whether by name or by title. Just because some Jews misunderstood what the Messiah/Christ would come to do does not mean that the poetry written to/about him is wrong. So, much OT poetry is directly Christian. Then, if you take a plenary inspiration view of Scripture, all of it is about/for/by Jesus making all of it “Christian.”


      • Psalms probably wouldn’t be considered very christian in these days lol imagine king david on the radio singig about how he want to kill his enemies, etc. :)


  250. I have see a lot of youtube videos of people who do music who are rather famous under youtube standards. I often watched them because they did cool or fun songs, but I was often shocked at how many of them also did Christian themed music and Christian hymns.

    Some of them I don’t even think were saved. Which makes me find is odd that SF, which is a band with Christians who refuses to do Christian based music. The question of “Why not?” Still goes unanswered.


    • Have you ever listened to Switchfoot’s music? Their lyrics are greatly Christ-based. Look up “Where I Belong,” or “Spirit. It’s evident. Not every song is that way, but enough to know where they stand as people. (and the other songs are just as honest as well)

      But just because they don’t perform hymns doesn’t make them less Christ-like. By no means am I attacking those Youtube artists who do renditions of hymns—that’s great that they do that. The Body of Christ needs those people. But certainly you wouldn’t judge those same musicians because they don’t sing oratorios or Christian operas. They’re completely different mediums.

      The body needs more than just hands. They need more than just noses. If people are called to do sing hymns, then they should follow God’s calling. If people are called to be girls volleyball coaches, then they should follow God’s calling. If people are called to write songs that are honest but may not follow any strict form of sacred music, then why should they not do that? What makes them less Christ-like?


    • The fact that you think you need or even deserve an answer to “why”, makes you on par with Lucifer himself, for his own pride that made him think he was on the same level as God.


    • Great point never thought about it like that


      • So I am compared to Satan himself for asking why a group of Christians refuse to acknowledge or mention the name of Jesus in their primary work?

        I clearly will never get a straight forward answer, I will just be attacked, which only reinforces my gut feeling that there is something wrong here. Thank you for confirming what I already feel.

        Hah Heavens, don’t anyone dare question why or you will be compared to lucifer himself based on a mere couple of sentences.


      • Talk about condemnation and in fact, I rebuke such condemnation in the name of Jesus: that sweet and precious name that suddenly becomes an offense to SF and some of it’s followers.

        Matt 10:32 32 “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will also acknowledge before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before others, I will disown before my Father in heaven.”


    • MARKETING IS YOUR ANSWER!Switchfoot was founded in 1996 as Chin Up, consisting of Jon Foreman and his brother Tim, along with Chad Butler on drums. After playing only a few shows, the band was contacted by music industry veteran Charlie Peacock and eventually signed to his indie label Re:think Records under the current moniker, Switchfoot. Re:think went on to distribute the first three Switchfoot albums, The Legend of Chin, New Way to Be Human, and Learning to Breathe. Because Re:think was bought out by Christian giant Sparrow Records before Switchfoot’s first release, however, the band’s and Peacock’s intentions of being marketed outside of the Contemporary Christian music scene and reaching a wider audience were put on hold. Consequently, the band was mostly marketed to Christian radio and retail outlets early in their careers, a time Jon Foreman has described as when “half of who we were was lost.”[10]


  251. OH MY! Why are you people so hard against this group? How in the world can they make lots of money, market their CDs to the lost and be rich and famous unless they SWITCH from the christian FOOT to the secular FOOT with their music??
    Obviously their struggling because they cant even afford a descent haircut and suit to wear because their broke! Christians, buy their CDs so they can leave the deplorable down town mission and head to Walmart and buy themselves some needed razors so they can shave! Have compassion folks!
    Then next year we can see them on MTV singing love songs and we Christians can praise the Lord that we helped finance their success!


    • You’re a major douche-bag. Just thought I’d get that out. But I’m not one of you self-righteous type Christians, so I don’t give a shit if I hurt your feelings. I’m gonna go ahead and bet these guys are anything but rich. But what would you know? You’re too busy judging everyone.


      • I do believe these verses apply in this case…….
        1 John 2:15 (KJV)
        15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
        2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (KJV)
        17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
        18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

        Maybe these “christians” should actually read their Bible sometimes instead of watching too much MTV…


    • OMGOSH could you be any more obnoxious? This is an amazing discussion based on Switchfoot’s lyrical standpoint, and you are here to slate their appearance. Ever heard the expression, “If you don’t have anything nice to say…”?


      • Hey Cary, ever heard of ….THE BIBLE???
        I do believe these verses apply in this case…….
        1 John 2:15 (KJV)
        15 Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
        2 Corinthians 6:17-18 (KJV)
        17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
        18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.


    • They sure don’t mind selling their records to “Christians” do they?


    • Never have I heard such ignorant words before. Actually I have… it’s rather equatable to 40% of the comments here. Have you ever listened to the guys’ works? Or did you just read this blog, look at their “haircuts” and deduce that they are lost heathens? Listen to their lyrics. Look at what they’ve done for the homeless children. Hear their story. THEN, if you feel it right to cast the first stone, by all means, hurl your insults like a good Christian.


  252. From seeing Switchfoot play at Christian music festivals like “Creationfest” West and East and also at non-Christian venues tells me, in some way, they are a Missionary band. Music is not outright Christian, but their songs are built on Christian themes. “Dare You to Move” is a good example.

    I would be more concerned if they claimed they wish to stay away from the subject of Christ during “meet and greet” times with fans after the concert. I also hope the band members do see their music as a way to attract non-Christians to their concerts for the purpose of hearing a Christian message.

    So if threy say, “yes, we are Christians that enjoy to play music, but music isn’t necessarily a missionary tool”, which would be problematic in many ways. You can’t say “our music is Christian free, but we do serve in soup kitchens. Why can’t these actions be combined? You can be both and not lose your fan base.

    Don’t be afraid of saying “yes we are a Christian band” when playing in Christian venues, but also say “our music sends a Christian message even if we don’t say “Christ” or “Lord” in our songs. Saying you are Christians and depending on where you play, “we are a Christian band” is not a career ender nor does it result in a loss of fans.

    That is why I’m a fan of bands like “Skillet” who aren’t shy to say they are Christians and have Christian themes in their music even if words like “Christ” aren’t said in every songs. The Coopers make no bones about how they are a missionary band out there to give Christ’s message through their music. They say, “it’s part of who we are and what many of our fans care about” and they do have great respect for their fans and certainly hope to have a wide fan base of both Christians and non Christians which is why they signed up with a secular music company, but with an understanding that what they and their songs are about would not change just because some may ask “can you tone down the God and religion part of your lyrics?”. No they will not and neither should Switchfoot.


  253. Just my .02 but when you love someone with all your mind, heart, soul, and strength – because that’s the least you can do for all they’ve done for you – I don’t see how you’d want to waste your breath singing for anyone else. In heaven there will only be “Christian” music because we’ll finally get it. How wretched and lost we were, and how mind-blowing the love of Jesus has been all long.


    • So, basically, what you’re saying is.. you’re perfect? I mean, how could you not be perfect? Why would you waste any nanosecond of your life not glorifying God? And if God is the definition of perfect, you must be the most perfect person in existence to never even waste a breath without praising him.

      Or, you’re just an asshole.


      • Your filthy language speaks volumes!


    • Dude has a point.
      However, while it is essential to glorify and praise God, after everything he has done for us, he also created us to enjoy this world. And I don’t think singing songs such as ‘Dark Horses,’ which SF wrote about the homeless kids in San Diego, which includes lyrics such as, ‘You can’t count us out, we’ve been running up against the crowds’ is a waste of breath. Nor is singing about love, from the standpoint of a Christian, which is something that the world needs to hear.


      • They sing a lot of great songs about Christian themed things, but it would be great if the world overtly knew that they are pointing to Christ by having just one song about Jesus and how he is the one who can actually save those “dark horses” or homeless kids.

        It is by the name of Jesus that curses are broken and the captives set free. I just feel it could be SOOO powerful if they culminated and stated clearly that their songs are their to point to Jesus. We can sing of hope love and joy, we can sing of the worlds problems, but if never point it all to Jesus, then are we falling short of the calling?


  254. “Judge not, lest you be judged.” There seem to be an awful lot of planks in a lot of eyes in this comments section. Why not try love instead, for this band and for other people?


  255. CS Lewis pointed it out in Screwtape Letters, that no real pleasure, no real talent or gift comes from any other source but God. The idea that we have secular joys and sacred joys is something our culture and upbringing has given us.


    • Amen.


  256. The advice is amazingly exciting.


  257. I have read what Jon has replied for the question he was asked… i guess he was pretty clear of what he said. It is the people, with may be less knowledge or some fixed view towards things might be judging them. By the words of Jon it is clear that he knows no matter what people might think of his songs or lyrics what ever it might be. When His time somes Jon is ever ready to face Him and answer to what God is going to ask him. And people have their own way of faith, just for their knowledge it was written in the Bible that when His coming is near there would be false prophets, even Jon would know bcoz he says he’s a believer. So i would like to see what Almighty would Judge……..!!!!!!!


  258. I am a born again believer, hard follower of Jesus Christ, filled with the Holy Spirit and child of the Most High God and some of the comments on here make me want to throw up with the pharasitical and self righteous comments of people like Jeff et al. I think your religion has got you lost because if you look at the life of Jesus, all He represents and the way He wants us to live, it certainly isn’t being clanging gongs but those who share the love we have received and nothing at all in your comments smacks of love, just hypocrisy. Mike never said the things you say but you twist and turn them to fit your own theology. The Psalms are songs and poetry of The Lord, to The Lord but they are not ever prescribed as the compulsory foundation or form which any music should take. Seriously freaks me out how warped “Christians” have got. Learn about Jesus. If He was on earth today I bet He would rather hang out with and be listening to Switchfoot than your dribble!


    • So you know what Jesus’s favorite bands are? What a joke!


    • I think Jesus would actually be hanging out with those you speak of who have a warped vision of things. Maybe you could consider dialoguing with them in a loving way too to help them understand the trouble in their ways?


  259. My fear is that Switchfoot is “ashamed” of being labelled as “Christian” which is totally unacceptable.


    • Good thing your “fears” are 100%, absolutely meaningless and irrelevant.


      • Tim is right…by their own admission, SF does not want to labeled as Christian….and this doesn’t strike anyone as odd?


  260. “The kingdom of heaven is like a man who sowed good seed in his field. But while everyone was sleeping, his enemy came and sowed weeds among the wheat, and went away. When the wheat sprouted and formed heads, then the weeds also appeared. “The owner’s servants came to him and said, ‘Sir, didn’t you sow good seed in your field? Where then did the weeds come from?’ “ ‘An enemy did this,’ he replied.
    “The servants asked him, ‘Do you want us to go and pull them up?’ “ ‘No,’ he answered, ‘because while you are pulling the weeds, you may root up the wheat with them. Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.’ ”


    • What’s your point here Lenya?


  261. Reblogged this on The World From Where I'm Standing… and commented:
    So so so true. A worship leader, pastor or evangelist is no more spiritual or ‘Christian’ than a janitor, football coach or teacher – “a song that has the words: ‘Jesus Christ’ is no more or less ‘Christian’ than an instrumental piece.” So well put…


  262. Mike, while I respect your view, you are neither a psalmist, nor do you live before Christ came. The Bible is very very clear on uplifting his name, and also- the psalmist DOES mention Christ, without saying “Christ.” The Old Testament is prophetical in so many scriptures and mentions Jesus quite a bit actually. Truly Christ is the only reason we aren’t all burning in hell today. EVERYTHING we do is supposed to be uplifting The Father. We are not here for us, in any way form or fashion. We are here to spread the Gospel, work, provide for our family, keep our Churches up and do it ALL for the glory of God. Nothing else.
    If you are between God and the world in any way you may as well be the luke warm water God spews out of his mouth.
    And the “Judge not lest ye be judged comment”?? Really? Old cliche to use this. By all means, please read the entire passage instead of a piece to make your point. We can’t judge a person’s salvation, but we are to hold our brothers and sisters in Christ accountable for their actions. (You know when people get their undies in a wad because you stepped on their precious toes for being wrong)…


    • I never said, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I just said it’s despicable how much you “Christians” like to judge people. Even I would not go so far to say that God will judge you for judging others. God will judge you for whatever God will judge you for. I don’t speak for God, nor will I ever pretend to. I am far too insignificant to ever adopt such a position as you have. It is my OPINION that your judgmental attitude is unpleasant and completely counterproductive. Unless, of course, you think Christianity should be some exclusive club whereby only yourself and others “like you” should be allowed in, then your attitude makes perfect sense.

      You’re not holding anyone accountable. Your talking nonsense on a blog that this man will NEVER see. Nice accountability, bro.

      As for the psalms mentioning Christ without saying Christ… lol. You don’t even know what you’re saying anymore. It’s gotten that bad.

      I don’t care if you think “EVERYTHING we do is supposed to be uplifting The Father”. That’s a loaded statement that’s not as simplistic as you make it out to be. But my point is that if you have the gall to say such a thing to someone, you deserve to have a person follow you around all day, every day, making you feel guilty for every single moment and breath you take that is not supposedly “uplifting The Father”. And at that moment, you deserve to be treated just like the hypocritical Pharisees, your kindred spirits.


  263. I like Jon Foreman’s reply.
    Straightforward and sensible.
    “Christianity”, as a word, is not in the Bible.
    Perhaps it is time we took off our religious, Roman state church blinkers and just put the Kingdom of God first.


    • How do we put the Kingdom of God first if no one knows we are Christians and we don’t actually confess the name of Jesus?


      • Great point! Much of Contemporary Christian has long ago fallen into enemy territory!


      • It sure has. I simply don’t understand why there is such a great cry for the name of Jesus NOT to be mentioned in songs. The idea that not mentioning Christ will somehow bring more people to Christ is completely contradictory.


      • I believe the bible says, “And by this all men shall know you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.” Talk is cheap these days. Have you ever asked yourself why we have sooo much :Christian” music but very little transformation in the world? Its cos talk is cheap. You can talk about Jesus all you want but if your life doesnt resonate with your words, its all a waste of time.

        We spend all our time talking. Debating online (while we lay on our beds) about what is “christian” and what isnt. Meanwhile there’s sooo much we need to be doing.

        The bible says God will use the foolish things of the world to confound the wise. It may not seem so, but in our day and age the “wise” people are we christians.

        I believe God is beginning to move in ways that do not align with our religious ideas of how he moves.

        If God could use a prostitute to facilitate the redemption of his people, then he can use those things that we call “unclean” to teach us the things we need to learn.

        You don’t glorify God with you music by merely admitting you’re christian. To be honest the label “christian” is a common synonym for hypocrite. You should confirm that from nearest “unsaved” person.

        Zacchaeus didn’t make a change in his life cos Jesus “said” he was Jesus ot whatever. I would like to believe that it was simply because Jesus showed that he was important to him as opposed to the way the religious leaders did things. That story makes me realize that Its not what we say that matters, its what we DO.

        SF songs are deeply rooted in love. Their concept of love is nothing but Heavenly. So we can go on debating on whether or not they’re comfortable with being called a christian band while God uses them to do the actual work of touching peoples lives as we do what we do best,, TALK.


      • I agree with a lot of what you are saying PRO. You are absolutely correct in saying that it is the quality of our lives and our willingness to love that help people. However there are Muslims, Hindus, And Buddhists who all deeply love people and who care and take care of others. But their love will save no one, unfortunately, because Jesus’ name is not preached.

        I wholeheartedly agree we need to live a life of love, but if it is not evident that our love is for Jesus and we are not willing to say that through him is the only way to heaven, the we are simply “loving” people all the way to hell. Which in the end, isn’t really love at all.

        Jesus IS love. God is love, and if we love without pointing to Him, then it’s not agape love or the love of God that saves souls.

        Many people have been burned by Christians, I know I have. But that still doesn’t excuse of from following the 1st greatest commandment first before we follow the second. To truly follow those great commandments, Christ’s name much be preached, because it is by that name alone that people are saved.


      • Please see my heart in this. I am not arguing or debating some fringe element of Christianity, I am arguing for the very basic fundamental truth of ALL of Christianity and that foundation is Jesus, not just some nameless love. It is a love THROUGH Jesus, not a generic love for people through human compassion alone.

        If we take out Jesus’ name because people have been burned by Christians and choose to “love” without Christ, then we have fallen into universalism, which is more and more what this world is conforming too. THAT is what I am trying to safeguard against. This much bigger than SF, it is about our willingness to be open and plain about the name of Jesus and saying He is the ONLY way to be saved.


      • I believe the kind of love they profess is Jesus love. Unconditional, pure love. There’s no other love that equals this. The love other faiths teach, have conditions most of them lie about it. Without having to say it (not saying you dont have to say it), this love explains itself.

        Do SF deny that they’re saved? No! Do they deny that these songs are a reflection of the love of Christ? So why is everyone making it look like they’re denying Jesus? It seems to me that for the mere fact that they have decided to not write blatant “christian” music, people believe that they have denied Christ.

        Im particularly worried about how church folk are so closed to the possibility of God working in unorthodox ways. He never really had a rule book. Ask Elijah, he’d tell you all about that. Sometimes God isnt in those “christian” songs that we pass while we condemn SF’s music.

        In the end, this is a Holy Spirit thing. If we do not possess that witness in our hearts along with deep knowledge of the unpredictability of God, then we’re just wasting our time here.

        God will use whatever he pleases to use, whether we approve of it or not.

        SF might be making some mistakes in rejecting some of these labels but I know the deep issues God has used their music to resolve in my life and thats all that matters to me. If someday I feel the leading to stop listening to their music, then I trust God for the grace to obey. But until then, God Bless SF for answering their call boldly even with this much resistance from their kinsmen.


  264. I am amazed at how quickly one believer criticizes the other while the world goes to hell because of the wall being put up between the church and the world. Jesus ate with publicans and sinners. How is this music group any different?


    • So you are saying we shouldnt spurn each other to glorify Jesus as much as we can with our lifesongs but just share the gospel to the lost? Thats like loving your neighbor but hating your family. The gospel is for believers and non believers.


  265. My question is this. So is it ungodly to make sex and everything in this world a part of music…without acknowledging how they were designed to point us to worship God? Stars were not made so we could feel like ourselves…but that we might be in awe of the bigness and glory of the God Who made them. To not point to that in songs is to be like the world. You never see David, the best song writer of all time, ever acknowldege the creation without how it points his heart to the creator. Thats a form of idolatry to only think of the beauty of a vase and not ponder the wisdom and creativity of the potter. So i do think we try and separate…God from those things. Even the songs that have no words in them should have some sort of design in our hearts of pointing us to God’s being exalted and glorious, not just the beauty of music.


  266. They certainly are serving and glorifying Christ in other areas of their lives. Is it invalid or judgmental however, to ask them why they won’t perform “Christian” songs? I wouldn’t be justified in demanding that they do or in judging them if they don’t.
    Would it be normal that a talented band of musicians made up of believers would want also to honor and glorify their Creator and their Redeemer with their talent of music and song?
    Maybe one day they’ll feel led to do so and wel’ll all sing His praises together.


    • If they market themselves to the Christian community, play Christian festivals ect, but don’t want to call themselves a Christian band, this is nothing new! Ever hear of Burlap to Cashmere? Amy Grant, so on so on!


  267. I would just like to say a quick word to everyone leaving harsh judgmental comments. YOU are the reason I don’t attend a church anymore. I practice my faith with others like me, outside the church. Before you go and judge me, remember Jesus himself was opposed to the “church” of his day, calling them hypocrites.


    • “I would just like to say a quick word to everyone leaving harsh judgmental comments. YOU are the reason I don’t attend a church anymore. I practice my faith with others like me, outside the church. Before you go and judge me, remember Jesus himself was opposed to the “church” of his day, calling them hypocrites.”

      I empathise with your position, Bryce, and your point is well made. But if you are practicing your (Christian) faith with others, then together you make up the church – or a branch of it at least! The letter to the Hebrews points out that we should not “forsake assembling ourselves together”. Blessings to you and those with you as you conscientiously work through what it means to be followers of Jesus.


  268. I used to write and perform “christian” music. Is was okay. I had some fun and it seemed to really touch a lot of people. But as soon as I shed that “oh crap EVERYTHING I write has to be about Jesus” skin I found myself feeling pure and from the heart. I havem’t turned back since. I am VERY certain that I’ve been through the things ‘ve been through and when I sing and write about those experiences I am being real. But since it’s not a fact that God or Jesus is real…it’s kinda hard to not feel like a phony when singing or writing about the lord. Much more honest just to sing and write about me. I’m the one actually here living this life…not God. Not Jesus. There are PLENTYof folks telling Christ’ story…but who’s gonna tell my story if I don’t? Boom.


    • Simple Justin. Ask the Lord Jesus to be a real part of your everyday life. I guess that is what He is leading you towards.


    • ” But since it’s not a fact that God or Jesus is real…it’s kinda hard to not feel like a phony”

      so you used to sing about God, which helped people, but now you are more free because you can sing about yourself because you don’t have a firm belief anymore?

      So this article encourages you not to use the name of Jesus and just be you?


  269. Light cannot shine its brightest unless it is in the darkest of places. Too many times, we as Christians would rather stay behind the four walls of our churches and within the confines of our small groups, prayer groups, and every other Christian group, because it’s comfortable, it’s easier, and it makes us feel good. While we need to surround ourselves with strong believers to challenge our faith and our walk, we are called to so much more.

    The question isn’t how do we get the unsaved to hear the name of Jesus in every song and lyric. The truth is they don’t want to have anything to do with ‘religion’ or another church, small group, prayer group, and the likes. The question is how do we get them to encounter His presence so that they cannot help but confess His name themselves.

    SF is invading an industry in ways in which we cannot. So rather than find yet another reason to bring division within the body, let us pray that their music will stir up hearts and lead to transformations that will leave the angels singing.


    • Amen


  270. Reblogged this on Nessa's Blog.


  271. The way i see it is the message in the music is important but the spirit behind the music is more important. There are many “Christian” artist singing about Jesus but living for the devil.


  272. Great article! I’ve always loved Switchfoot’s music, now I have reason to appreciate the guy in front writing and singing the lyrics. *Sidenote: It saddens me that so many here (in the comments) claim Christ as their Lord and then from that platform spew hatred and promote disunity within His body. Don’t you guys know that saltwater and freshwater can’t flow continuously from the same stream? As the good old song says, “They’ll know we are Christians by our love,” not by our ability to take Scripture and throw it at people to prove our point. Please, take a step back and really ask yourself your motive behind your words and whether it is to honor God and further His Kingdom. Ok, that’s all! :)


  273. I agree that the job title of minister/preacher is no more christian than a janitor, etc. However, it’s what the person does with the title they have. We are commanded to love God with all of our heart, mind, and soul and to love our neighbor as ourselves. There are many ministers/preachers who don’t do this and many janitors that do. I think that part of loving others is sharing the gospel, and when you have a platform to do that with your talents (whatever that talent is) then you have a responsibility to do so. Offering eternal salvation to others is a great way to love them. Jesus told the disciples to go out and make other disciples, so we’re supposed to share the good news of Jesus. if we don’t share, is that a sin? If we have a platform to influence a great huber of others, should we use it? The message of the songs they sing is important. If the message is to worship anything (money, fame, another person, etc) other than God, than it is sinful and they need to repent. The secular world certainly doesn’t want to hear about their faith, and I’m wondering if they’re selling out on their faith to be more successful in the secular world. Peter denied Christ but he repented and shared the good news. We’re all imperfect. Hopefully they truly feel they’re pleasing God with what they are doing…not pleasing man!


  274. Music is very spiritual to me! I can almost always find a “Christian” or moral application to destroy or build up my belief in God! I get to choose and its personal! Music reaches the soul! So in saying that, I am a believer, and My faith does not waver in God just because someone chooses to change their “tune” of singing! For instance, Jesse, my son, who claims he is not a “Christian” is a song writer and producer! He and his band Airport Soundtrack write beautiful songs about love, disappointment, sunsets, and relationships, (Christ or Jesus not mentioned in their lyrics). But interesting enough, the lyrics about human actions, feelings and life, put to music, make my spirit feel good, alive and believe in God more! Isn’t that ironic! Whether you are Christian or not I think music and lyrics are Spiritual experiences, reaching deep into a persons soul and a direct connection to God, who is spirit! A good question here is are you a believer and spiritually alive using your God-given talents! If you are a singer, writer, janitor, or volunteer, just practice your talents! Who cares if the world wants to box it in as Christian or not! What’s the point! Just breathe, sing, live and enjoy creation and who you are! Christ can use anything, because He created it and you! Music is definitely a way to worship someone or something spiritually. Granted they’re are plenty of musicians I wouldn’t pay a penny to see! Some music has been known to influence mass murderers! I love Switchfoot and all their music! It’s good stuff, it’s been around for awhile and has reached the masses with a spiritual message to see God, reaching the spirit, the human soul! Whatever is grieving him about how their band and lyrics are labeled, I am sure they will figure it out because I believe He’s just trying to reach everyone with his songs. Jon said, he was a believer and that’s enough, let him sing! No labels! Anyway people know if you are a believer by the way you treat and love others, singing or not!
    Just a Mom who loves Switchfoot and her kids! Good blog.


    • I love your comment! It makes me think of the Songs of Solomon. Just as one might write an inspirational book or a poem about life, why can’t a Christian artist sing about life! Some songs are a testimony of what Christ has done. And some songs are contemplative. And some song make you ponder. And some songs make you want to dance before the Lord. And the name Of Jesus may not have been said. Jesus often used parables that were only understood by those who had an ear to listen. Those parables were a picture or story about real life but pointed to salvation! And those who had an ear heard the message.


    • Completely agree with what Cathy said!
      I too have a son named Jesse, and believe that GOD can use anyone’s abilities to move a person. Think outside of your SMALL boxes…


  275. Reblogged this on pensamentosmeus.


  276. […] “There is no such thing as Christian music.” – @jonforeman ctkblog.com/2013/12/05/why…” […]


  277. This kind of thinking, at it’s end is escapist.


  278. Christian Art = anything the world can do, Christians can do 5 years later and a whole lot worse.

    Art is either good or bad, not Christian or non-christian. Art is an expression of the person and the way they see the world based on their life’s circumstances. Some of the most beautiful pieces of art were made by non-believers, and much of the crap that’s out there was made by professing believers.

    Thankfully there are are artists like Switchfoot and others that have a holistic worldview that fully incorporates the calling of the believer in a sacred/pagan context. What they are saying is that as a follower of Christ everything we do is either sacred or pagan. Going to the grocery store, fishing in the river, going to work, creating art is a sacred opportunity that is meant to lived out for others to see God honored, if we fail to love God and love others then we live in the pagan regardless of our “belief”.

    For the religious pharisees on here, go ahead and throw your stones bc you’re perfect, we still love you!

    (disclaimer: I am not a fan of SF music, it’s just not my style, however I fully support their freedom in Christ to make art for those who resonate with them)


  279. If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it’s a duck!! Don’t you have better things to do then to argue about what to call yourself other then a Christian?


  280. Seems to me that anyone who is criticizing this missed the entire point. Who are any of us to judge?


  281. […] “Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian Songs” by Dave […]


  282. This discussion is actually ridiculous.

    I’m not going to spend much time in this, but might I offer up a thought: The Song of Songs is in the Bible… written by Solomon… doesn’t feature *anything* about God. It’s metaphorical, sure. It probably can describe God’s love for His people, but it doesn’t say it overtly.

    Jesus spoke in parables that He didn’t “overtly” explain to his followers (save his disciples)…

    I guess my point is, the message of Jesus is much broader than “Hallelujah, praise Jesus.” It’s a call to help the poor, be carriers of truth, be the light of the world… in that regard, there’s nothing wrong with Switchfoot writing about whatever the heck they want to write about.

    If I was a famous artist, you wouldn’t expect me to paint pictures of the cross 24/7… that’d be ridiculous and I would be largely ignored by the art community. Christian musicians don’t have to just sing about Jesus– they don’t really even need to sing directly about Him at all. Sure, “out of the abundance of the heart…,” but let’s not judge the hearts of any group that proclaims to contain Christ followers– Switchfoot, The Fray, Relient K, Paramore… be discerning… know who you can trust and promote as a Christian, perhaps, but at the end of the day, it’s not your place to dictate their Christian walk. If they are seeking God in their lives, the Holy Spirit will speak to them…

    I think the negative and scathing comments in this thread are neither helpful nor Christ-like. Why don’t we promote and encourage what we’re for rather than rise up in arms against that with which we disagree (that isn’t rooted in indisputable Christian doctrine)…


  283. I do not agree. If your gifts are given by God and you started as band to portray Christ, than Do so.. That is a justification and emergent in beliefs. What this world needs is for the Christian to stop walking in the ways of the world and stand out and allow God to be their Jehovah Jirah.. and Be not conformed to the world. I believe this attitude is why the church is lost and out of order, this is a time that hiding among the wolves is over, it is a time of sheep eating the wolves. We have enough GODLY singer and bands that got lost in Babylon.. BE THE SALT… ITS the name of JESUS CHRIST that sets people free.. I’ve heard lots of people say Jesus Christ and they weren’t talking about their redeemer, however you have the chance to be set apart and choose to hide it. You see, Jesus didn’t die for any of my tunes, YES HE DID! In all you do or say give thanks to Father.. SF talent came from Jesus and He died and commanded us to preach the Gospel not hide it under a bushel…. I will Pray for SF !


    • I don’t think they are hiding under a bushel at all! I had never heard of them before this article. If anything their light is shining in places where most artist which are labeled Christian would not be given access too. Not every single song needs to say the Name of Jesus. Jesus shared the gospel through stories and hanging out with sinners.


      • In addition the Matt says “Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Good works


    • In turn, I respectfully disagree, Chris… Switchfoot isn’t hiding. Jon Foreman is obviously very open regarding his beliefs. It’s his choice as an artist and follower to write about what God has no doubt put on his heart.

      I guess the difference between your position on this and mine is that I don’t need him to reiterate his point of view with every song or point to what he believes (and I believe) as the solution to the social issues he typically writes about. Coming from Foreman, a Christian artist that I respect, it is understood that I, as a fellow member of the body of Christ, am responsible to do my part to carry the Kingdom forward– the songs are simply a call to awareness, and just like Sunday School, “Jesus” is typically the right answer to the question/problem.

      And in regard to your comment regarding the church being “lost and out of order,” I think that’s an issue of poor leadership rather than the church not being harsh enough… if anything, the latter sounds like a call for Pharisaical behaviour rather than discipleship and preaching and teaching of the Word. The Pauline Epistles are great examples of rebuke/correction being sandwiched with encouragement and culture-building speech. I think too many times the church (particularly the peculiarly highly opinionated members) just cuts straight to the rebuke/correction part– and as one poster already stated: they go straight for the speck of saw dust despite the plank-sized issues of their own…

      I think the problem with the modern church is not as simple as a single issue… it’s a long list– yes, there are branches of the church that are too theologically loose, but I think a much bigger issue is that the church doesn’t know how to reach this generation in a relevant way… it either waters down the gospel/Christian doctrine to the point of it becoming unrecognisable, or it pushes them away with extra-Biblical rules that don’t make sense or are forced upon them before they’ve had a revelation for themselves… There’s a balance, and bickering over and criticising a respected Christian artist just fuels the flame of the close-minded, nay-saying, and art-hating image of the church that pushes so many young, intellectual, creative people away from God. Let’s embrace the unbridled creativity and enthusiasm of these people rather than attempt to stifle, over-structure, micromanage, and criticise it.


      • I agree with yvonne, As I write both Christ featured songs and secular songs. Both lased with truth. There is an up coming great county singer named ‘Chris Janson’, with a song called “Best I dont” He is a Christian and drinks only “mountain dew” soft drinks. The song is fun to listen to, but tells of his change from back slid-den to teetotaler! Check it out on Youtube.I hope one day he will get more into proclaiming Christ in his songs, but for now he, at least, gets a message of some morality across in a real world catching fashion. He is different. We should left up Jesus, as He said,. “And I, If I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me” This is a great verse. John 12:32


      • Here is some more about “Chris Janson”,.In his interview they asked; I see a tattoo on your arm. What does that say?

        That says, “He who has the Son has life.” It’s out of the book of John in the Bible. That is one of my favorite Bible verses. I try to live by that, keep it close to my heart, and I figured it was a very fitting tattoo.
        – See more at: http://rickyleepotts.com/2013/02/chris-janson-interview.html#sthash.s9LtXE3E.dpuf


  284. I really enjoyed this article, until I started to read the comments. Geesh…we Christians are a pathetic bunch. No wonder unbelievers look at us, scoff and move on. Pathetic.


    • I’m with you Arnie. It kind of scares me thinking of what might have to take place before we, ( Those whom he has called), will be able to ” humble ourselves, and pray, and seek his countenance…… Have mercy oh God. Forgive us our sins. Humble our hearts.


    • My feelings exactly, Arnold…sheesh. What say we try to counteract our “misguided” brothers and sisters by leading with love? And rocking out to Switchfoot?;-p


  285. Some very valid points. I’ve always said that Christ called out the “religious” among His contemporaries more than the sinners. He was about huimility. He was about love. He was about serving.

    He was also God and I think referring to the difference between a song glorifying God and one about feeling better as a choice between pronouns is disrespectfult to God.

    I’ll still listen to their music though. Just not when I intend to glorify God.


  286. As a musician i can say that it easier to get into the christian side of music and alot of bands started this way and used it as a stepping stool. I will say this, if you are called into ministry and dont do it the Bible says there is no repentance for a calling. So if they are christian rock and have been called thats what they need to do.


  287. Saying Jesus was only a man goes against everything in the Bible. Do you not understand the meaning of three in one? Obviously you don’t or you would understand that Jesus is not only man but God at the same time. Therefore, your logic is absolutely flawed. Jesus has existed from the beginning of time as a part of God. And if you want tone a smart butt, I too have existed as a plan in Gods universe from the beginning also. Either you don’t believe or you have no understanding of the Bible.


  288. Reblogged this on Denessi and commented:
    “So there is no hierarchy of life or songs or occupation only obedience. “


  289. You all have done a disgustingly splendid job on proving Jon Forman’s point.


  290. Wow, really ? Sounds like they are trying to find their way through Jesus Christ. To me this is a discussion. The bible asks us to talk with one another in a loving way. Yes,we all get mad, judge on accident, do more of one thing than we should,or whatever. We as Christians know our sins and try daily to follow and be like Christ Jesus. Let us try to follow the commands to Love your God with all your being. Im sorry for those who wont go to church simply because if your there for our Lord he will unite us as one in the Holy Spirit. Keep searching SF!!


  291. Reblogged this on This Road and commented:
    Very true words by Jon Foreman. The judgement is not place on what my life looked like on the outside but rather if I was obedient to his Voice and calling in my life.


  292. Loved this article. I love that they see music as a vehicle to be outside the Christian sub-culture and out in the world we are supposed to be loving. It’s pretty obvious many of you have never listened to any of SF’s music. They talk about relationship with God through poetry, parable amd metaphor…kinda like Jesus did. Foreman’s call was to stop labeling things “Christian” and go be Jesus to the world. And those who need to experience Jesus are not largely in “Christian” concerts, listening to “Christian” radio. With some of the comments I’ve read here, I’m sure he’s quite ok without your fan endorsement.


  293. […] is a very interesting interview with Jon Foreman posted over at the CTK Blog. Jon is the lead singer/writer of the band Switchfoot, […]


  294. Perhaps what Jon Foreman and Switchfoot are lacking is good, basic theology, which is increasingly missing in the church today. I am guessing you will find a consensus that not every song has to be overtly Messianic to be ‘christian’, but the ‘social gospel’ isn’t going to ‘save’ anyone.
    Should we care about the needy? Absolutely! But the greatest need of the lost – including those who are physically suffering – is the knowledge of who Jesus Christ is and what He has done. All the hot soup in the world is not going to lead to eternal life. That requires the knowledge of, belief in and penitent submission to the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Son of God.
    That is not something that can be alluded to with nice talk, good works or ‘save the earth’ activism – as laudable as all those may be. I cannot know another’s heart and motivations, but I can assert that their lives, words or songs cannot lead to the truth about what the real problem and the only solution is unless they openly confess the name of Jesus.
    That does not mean the christian is limited to singing only and always one tune, but if the message is not presented at some point, it will not be heard.
    There is much that masquerades as ‘salvation’ in our world. What the christian uniquely believes is that the only road to salvation, the only true solution to the problem of sin and suffering, is through the death of Jesus Christ. All who do not acknowledge this, no matter what they claim or how mighty is their reputation, cannot justly claim to be a christian.


  295. I like this. His point “There is a schism between the sacred and the secular in all of our modern minds.” If we think sacred and secular instead of Creator and creation there will always be a schism. If we think Creator and His creation then there is then no argument over sacred and secular, which is Greek thought not biblical teaching.


  296. As said in the rather lengthy blog below, I would rather they sang with intent and feeling, than just parroting “christian” words. They will always be a favorite regardless. http://awakengeneration.wordpress.com/2011/11/16/michael-gungor-on-the-problem-with-the-christian-music-industry/


  297. I dont know this group and usually shy away from these contemporary groups and stick with old fashioned church music that is sung by folk in my local church. Folk who are saved, separated and living for God. Music that is sung by my church members, people I know personally that they love God and are genuine.
    Often times these groups life Swiftfoot water the boundaries between sacred music and the music of the world. Thus confusing the young generation as to what is real christian music. They hop from church to church and are often viewed as spiritual giants but are often times as worldly as the unsaved in their walk. They mimic the latest pop/rap/rock bands in their style and dress (because thats what they listen to all the time) Thus, the end result is that new christians are lured back into the music they were saved out of.
    As far as the argument above about Pastors/teacher/janitors being the same, I strongly disagree. Pastors are God called men to lead the NT church and are the pillars of the truth in their generation. They are also Shepherds of their flock. Their calling is to feed the flock, warn and protect the sheep. They are NOT the same as janitors.
    I believe this new contemporary music is a tool of Satan and it is a wolf in cheeps clothing. It is slowly drawing people that have no Biblical knowledge back into the pit they were plucked from.
    I am appalled that every time a so called Christian rock group pushes the boundaries of morality and decency, this new politically correct generation jumps up in the name of so called “love” to defend them instead of calling these singers to rise up and follow Biblical standards and to stop prostituting christians and marring the name of Christ for the sake of financial gain. Many of them look like heathens on their CD covers and are an embarrassment to the name of Christ.
    These contemporary music defenders have no tolerance for Truth when questioned about Biblical principle, but have endless tolerance or “love” for those who disobey clear Bible standards. No wonder our children today cannot see any difference between the saved and the unsaved.
    May God help our singers sing as a ministry to God, in their local church and without charge. May He give our christian adults the character to stop following the world and to stand up against worldly “christian” music. May worshiping God be their motive not entertainment, self promotion and profit. Amen!


  298. Absolutely BEAUTIFUL. Love the truth in this. Have always been a big fan. Thank you for acknowledging God indeed exists beyond labels and Christ’s presence can be experienced everywhere.


  299. What has happened to listening to music just for the joy of the talent of the musicians? I can think of hundreds of artists that sing songs that are not uplifting and positive in any way, but SF is different. Though they don’t necessarily fall into a Christian genre they are reaching a different group of people who are lost. Lets be honest the people who listen to Christian music are people that consider themselves to be saved. We as saved folks need those uplifting artists for worship and encouragement but what of those people out here who arent saved? For them to hear the upstanding words of Switchfoot is such a positive thing. That is something that artists with the moniker of “Chistian Music” can’t necessarily do. I respect SF and other artists who use their music as a vehicle.


    • While I agree that it’s important to reach those who are lost with music that isn’t necessarily blaming them of sins or pushing them away, what will show those people how to be saved and no longer lost is direction from God. Nothing of this world can take it’s place, and if they only listen to music that encourages them but leaves God out of the picture, unfortunately they will reach the same eternal outcome as they would before.
      It’s awesome that Switchfoot is such a positive band, and it distinguishes them from the other secular bands. However, without glorifying God in their music they are simply a distraction to those who are lost; Switchfoot alone won’t bring anyone to Christ. But, they could be a stepping stone along the path to find Him. What I would like to see in the band, though, is personal growth in Christ, and viewing Him as more than second best to their music.


      • Alex, you simply don’t know them well enough.


      • Thank you Alex. This is exactly how I feel. So many of these crossover bands say that by being so vague, they’re reaching more people. Yes, but what are they reaching them with? If you’re reaching more people with the undisguised truth, that is great. But if you’re just reaching them with some positive, feel-good message, you’re not reaching them at all.


      • I don’t know how you can listen to Switchfoot and not come away thinking about God. It isn’t just feel good music (and in reality a lot of their songs are pretty depressing about the state of the world), it very clearly points to God. You don’t need to say God in a song for it to be about Him.


      • Foreman quotes scripture so much in their songs I’m amazed sometimes. Every now and then I’m reading the bible and I’m like: “Oh my gosh, that’s a Switchfoot song.”

        People seem to have this idea that the only way music is glorifying to God is if it has his name explicitly stamped all over it. That is wrong. God is the creator of all things and “all creation sings his praises,” yet if you go examine all the trees of a forest you won’t find “Made by God” carved in their bark.

        Making the assumption that their music is first before God is a highly uninformed conclusion to reach. Particularly if you’ve really listened to and followed them for any amount of time.

        This idea that people have to fit into a Christian ‘box’ drives people away from Christ far more than it brings them to him.
        The first thing Jesus did when he began teaching was to demolish all the religious ‘box’s’ the Jewish society had formed. He went so far as ransacking a temple. I don’t think that was part of anyone’s ‘box.’


      • I’m sorry, but I have trouble agreeing with your argument, Alex. To be clear, we don’t save people, and we aren’t called to save people. God saves people. We are called to be obedient, which is exactly what Foreman is arguing. Part of being obedient to Christ is speaking the truth, which i think your arguing. However, it sounds like you are saying that some truth is more important than other truth, where in fact all truth supports collective truth, and finds it’s root in Christ. Saying that some truth “shows people how to be saved” and other truth is a “distraction” is essentially the same as saying that some people’s calling in life is more important than another person’s calling in life. This is the exact mentality that Foreman is addressing in this article, and i think you have missed the point. You are essentially making the argument that Switchfoot is sinning, because they don’t conform to your opinion of what is glorifying.


      • Sorry Alex,

        I don’t agree. We will not be judged by how many Christian artists we listened to. Uplift those around you in all that you do and you will be blessed and counted among the saved. Being in the industry I can assure you that unfortunately too many of today’s Christian artists are in it mainly for the money and glorifying God is far down the list of objectives. “I’m a Christian” is best manifested by what we do not what we say.


      • I smell a Phariseeeee…
        I am still in shock of these comments posted by so-called “believers”. Keep driving the lost away. It’s not like they are the ones who need the love of Jesus, right? No, it’s the well that need the medicine. (Do you see my sarcasm?)


  300. I haven’t read all the comments but what I have read just re-enforces why so many people don’t want anything to do with Christianity. I am not saying that people in other religions or non-religious people don’t fight but as Christian’s we are called to a higher standard. Differences of opinion are one thing but outright cruelty and name calling is wrong.


    • It’s unfortunate, yes. It’s also unfortunate the person who posted this made a poor choice of headline to make it look like the article was about him being against Christian music to spark a lot of these angst…which doesn’t appear to be what he’s saying and wasn’t what he was asked – just that there should not be some rule that all music has to have a “Christian” lable to be good, and that someone can be a Christian without being in a profession specifically with a Christian title.

      Indeed, if that was what he’s saying (that there should be no Christian music), he has some more explaining to do – considering they widely distribute their music to Christian radio stations to get airplay, have been nominated for and accepted multiple GMA Dove Awards, and were nominated for and accepted the Grammy Award for Best Gospel Rock Album as recently as 2011.


  301. A lot of us here are just reliving Peters incident with on the day Jesus was arrested. We really think we can defend the gospel by crosschecking every action in our religious handbook rather than the Holy Spirit.

    I earnestly pray that somehow God will get us all to see things the way he sees them, so we attacking ourselves and just do what we were called to.


  302. We don’t expect painters who happen to be Christians to only paint pictures of Christ; we don’t expect authors who happen to be Christians to only write stories about Jesus; We don’t expect actors who happen to be Christian to only perform material about Christ. Whether we are artists or plumbers, we should perform to the best of our ability so that we reflect how great our God is. Give me an artist who happens to be Christian and performs whatever God has called him to do any day over a plumber who claims Christ and does a lousy job as a plumber!


    • Great point! Besides, if Christians only focused on commentary involving Christ, wouldn’t that be on par with idolatry?


  303. Strange that the author does not mention any source. Did you guys read the article about the Foo Fighters becoming a Christian band? It was fake, but was really humorous. This feels fake as well.


    • It’s not. In fact, this sort of dialogue is exactly the kind of thing switchfoot has come to be known for.


    • If you’ve ever read or heard something Jon Foreman said you would not think this feels fake.


  304. Let’s see, compare what the bible says with this post. -_-


    • …aaaand it matches up? You seem to be implying that it doesn’t, you’re going to have to explain your case…


    • …especially as Switchfoot’s music is like the book of Esther and doesn’t mention God once yet has his fingerprints all over it?


  305. Sorry but I feel that the whole post is a bit of a “crock!” Although there are some truthful statements, the majority of what he say is just an excuse for personal silence on the most important message in the world! It makes me wonder where Christianity would be today if the early church had embraced this same weak approach.


    • 👍


    • It would be open and approachable vs. exclusive and judgemental.


    • Exactly, Wes. This reminds me of preachers who just preach positive and encouraging messages because they don’t want to offend anyone. You can find positivity and encouragement in pretty much any religion or philosophy. Being encouraging is great, but if we aren’t pointing them to Christ, what’s the point?


    • You’re missing the whole point of Foreman’s statement. Switchfoot does not have a “weak approach”. If THEY do, then so do you. The fact that they are musicians does not make them any more obligated than you or I to spread the Word. Christian’s often assume that christian musician’s have a responsibility to speak about Christ in their music. This is simply false. Switchfoot’s relationship with Christ is important, but it’s what happens off-stage that really matters. As long as they are being disciples in their everyday life, then they are doing God’s work. No album title or public “I heart Jesus” statement is going to change that.


    • Yeah, sounds like there’s some underlying fear of man and offending them by the message of the Gospel. If one is going to be a Christian in ANY field and their “work” isn’t precisely sharing the message of the Gospel, it doesn’t mean that their lives and words aren’t clearly speaking the Gospel message. If they don’t won’t to be known as a “Christian Group”, then they need to make sure there is no mistake that they are a group of professional singers who are absolutely committed to and totally abandoned to Jesus Christ and His message. If they are afraid of being clearly seen as such (as was not the case for Tolkien, CS Lewis etc.), then they are living with a fear of man on some level — the worst being that they don’t won’t to offend so as not to lose cd sales. Not saying that is the fear they have, but it would be a sell-out just like Peter when he denied Christ.


    • I have been to one of the battle of the band’s that they crisen by hanging back stage then doing a full consert after. It was a 3 days event and I have never met more thuggish rockers so humbled impr be ready with an answer for the joy you possess.
      There deep conection to our fauther and compleet obedence was the very thing that shuttered in my heart, humble and joyus. Biding us to want Christ, rather than pushing a slavery called guilt. His presence was there. He convicted the hearts.
      We are all passionate for our first Love, guessing motive or Gods pleasure with anuther is a right we surendered when we died with him on the cross. “who are we to judge another man’s servant.” “I do not even judge myself”. Yes desern good and evel, examining our hearts, but humbly recognising I died to condemnation Alive only to him who alone is worthy. let us check our heart’s no matter defending Christ or otherwise, when bitterness guides. We shair with Christ in the minestery of reconciliation.


  306. I have always felt spiritually fed when listening to SF music, so I conclude they are serving the Body.


  307. Well said!! So true.


  308. While I do agree with the main premise of this article, I would interject “Test the spirits” for only the foolish would believe that the enemy doesn’t wield influence in the realm of his domain


  309. I agree with everything except his comment,

    “I do have an obligation, however, a debt that cannot be settled by my lyrical decisions. My life will be judged by my obedience, not my ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that.”

    If I may be so bold, and I will, this is an inaccurate statement. Our lives are judged by Christ, through Christ if we accept the Grace that He so freely gave us in His death. All others will be judged by their obedience to the Law of the Old Covenant.

    I know that he probably did not mean the way that it actually came out and I certainly don’t want others to think that it is by their “works” or “good Christian life” that gets them a pass at judgment. For those under the Law of Grace, there is NOTHING that we can do. We are saved by the Grace of Jesus, and His Grace alone.


    • As you suspected, I think you may be misreading this a little bit. In this case, “obedience” can also be thought of as “loyalty” or “dedication.” What Foreman is trying to say is actually what you are saying; that a life will not be judged primarily by “works” (i.e., “ability to confine my lyrics to this box or that), but by faith (in this case, “obedience”).


    • Mindy, I do appreciate your point, but the bible does say our actions will also be judged. They’re not a matter of salvation – as you correctly point out, Christ is judged on our behalf in that matter – but beyond that, our actions will be judged and we will be rewarded accordingly. It’s in 1 Corinthians 3:10 – 15.


    • Whether you are a believer or not “each will be judged according to his works”. What will will not be is condemned for our inability to live perfectly. Too many focus on what their lives look like in the scope of Christianity while entirely missing the mark when it comes to humble servitude. Faith produces works and I believe the original statement is the groups focus on REALLY doing works with a heart of Christ rather than being some cookie cutter “Christan” band. We all know a handful of “Christian” performers who lived very secular lives.


  310. Kansas wasn’t a Christian band when they wrote Carry on Wayward Son or Dust in the Wind, but both of these had spiritual meaning and an impact on me.


  311. That is sad


    • That’s not sad! It shows how ALL avenues are open to God to touch our hearts!


  312. I agree that art in many forms doesn’t have to always have Christ specifically written on it but the approach of Switchfoot is a bit problematic. While we are not required to have every word spoken to be explicitly about Christ, our focus and direction should be to give a “reason for the hope that lies within us.” Also Christ says in Luke 19:39-40 regarding the Pharisees attempts to silence the disciples, that if they keep quiet then the rocks will cry out.
    We can keep our voices silent but in the end we are accountable for what we say or don’t say. I think that while I disagree with the groups response God can still use them in there venue. They will be accountable ultimately like we will be so may we be faithful in what we do or say.


    • 👍


    • Switchfoot, I’m sure, uses their talents to worship God in the church. Why do you get to decide how they should be ministering to the world? Human beings have more than one talent or strength, and however the band members attempt to fulfill their obligations to spread the word is their own personal path. Besides, John 13:35 says, “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” I don’t see anything in there that says the approach the band is taking is contrary to that.


  313. A quote from C.S.Lewis: “What we want is not more little books about Christianity, but more little books by Christians on other subjects–with their Christianity latent.” I think you can easily apply this to music as well. And I think that is what Switchfoot is doing.


  314. […] Why Switchfoot Won’t Sing Christian Songs […]


  315. I think people have to be true to their calling.


  316. Good article, gets to the point of what being Christian is.

    And the comments reaffirm why I haven’t been to church in 2 years. I still consider myself a Christian but it seems as though most of the people I met through church were more concerned with pointing out the flaws in other churchgoers, the media, the news, etc than just showing love and selflessness to people. I don’t miss those people one bit.


    • The Church is a hospital for sinners, not a museum for saints.


      • The Church is not a man-made organization or a building. The Church is the body of Christ, ALL the believers in any location.


    • Wow. Sad experience, brother. Don’t throw out the baby. Much of the New Testament and Paul’s letters were for the edification of the church that Jesus was/is building. Organized and meeting in various localities these Christians were connected and growing together in The Lord. Ephesians 4 is a good take.


  317. First off: John Foreman is 110% correct.
    Second off: any people who think he is wrong and find him any less of a Christian than themselves is a judgemental hypocrite and the reason most people want nothing to do with Christianity.
    You realize that it’s not God that people dislike, it’s the people – the church – the body.
    It’s time for all of you to grow up.


    • I belive the OP has some good points, but doesn’t hit the mark perfectly. But my comment here is mainly to your comment Deven: You are saying that if anyone think the OP is wrong is actually a judgemental hypocrite…Really? So noone can even disagree without being a “judgemental hypocrite”?

      The reason that people don’t like Christ is that they are sinners who love the darkness and hate the light. And they will hate all who shine that light.


      • Tommy, I think your assessment is a little off. According to Christianity, everyone is a sinner. It’s the ‘we’re better than you’ pride of Christian belief that drives decent people away from Christianity. But that’s ok, because Christians are sinners just as much as anyone else. Some just have difficulty accepting that.


      • I’m sorry, but I just can’t take anything that was just said by you seriously.
        I’ve led worship in many churches and have worked in churches, and to be honest most of the interactions with staff members at those churches make me sick! I play in a rock band that is on a similar situation with SF (but on a smaller scale right now.) We are Christians who just write good rock music, but that’s not enough for a lot of people. They’ll ask me, “So are you guys a Christian band?” And I always respond with, “We are a rock band comprised of Christian men. We just choose to minister in a different but completely necessary avenue.” Another good example of this besides Switchfoot is Anberlin. They take flack from Christians and even receive HATE mail from them all because they don’t have “Christian Rock” as their genre.

        The church (The body and the man-made organizations) need to get their crap straight, because they may think that their poo don’t stank, but it is quite pungent.


  318. This is good stuff and thought provoking. I do not know this guy and I am in no position to judge him. I totally agree that each of us has to pursue the calling that God has placed upon our lives. And if he believes he is fulfilling the call God has placed upon his life, who am I to say otherwise. And I admit, I like much of their music. But it seems that his argument is very cautiously and intentionally worded. Some of his arguments are a bit lacking. For instance, he sites Bach, Lewis, and Tolkien as says that some of their works do not reference Christ. True. But those works must be viewed in the context of their other works and more importantly, their lifestyle, values, and public image. Each of them (especially Tolkien and Lewis) clearly and unashamedly professed a Christian lifestyle and professed their faith in all they did. Secondly, he sites volley ball coaches and janitors in his comparison. I think he missed the scriptural principle that regardless of what we do, we should be doing it to the Glory of God and using our God given gifts and skills to do it. I agree with him that a janitor can be far more spiritual than a worship leader. So for me the question is: Is he using his God given gifts to the best of his ability to glorify God? Perhaps he is (this also makes me ask, am I?). Only he can answer that. Lastly, he argues that serving the poor, hungry and broken is an indicator of true faith. It is hard to argue against that. However, there are plenty of non-Christians who also do this. Again, this has to be viewed within the context of his life outside of his music. Does he actually do these things? How does the rest of his life reflect Christian values and obedience? I do not want to come across as judgmental. That is not my intent. Again, I don’t know him at all. I will admit that he has an opportunity to connect with an audience that I could never reach and in fact he may be far more obedient in fulfilling God’s call on his life than I am in fulfilling mine. It is just that when I read this (I read it at least three times), it just seemed a bit disingenuous and carefully crafted. As I read this I was reminded of Colossians 2:4- do not be deceived by fine sounding arguments. But the biggest take away for me is: Am I using my gifts to the best of my ability to glorify God? Am I being obedient to fulfilling the call God has placed on my life?… probably not.


    • So… Because non-Christians do works that all Christians are supposed to be doing, that invalidates the guy’s statement? And he’s not arguing at all. He’s explaining why his group doesn’t write songs specifically about Christ or God. Ridiculous. I stopped going to church years ago, in my early 20s, because most of the people in every church I tried were more concerned with professing their faith rather than living it. Giving to the poor, serving the needy, and uplifting the downtrodden are ultimately the most Christian things we can do as they are acts of unconditional love. Being honest and humble, rather than arrogant and deceitful (especially to one’s self), are part of being able to do those things selflessly. It seems some people are content to walk past a person homeless and freezing but will put $100 in a collection plate. Or work in a soup kitchen during the holidays just to appear holy. Or simply spend most of their time trying to convert people to their faith because they enjoy the recognition of missionary work. If there is vanity, facetiousness, or pride in any of your works in the name of Christianity, I believe God knows. It’s not enough to do something hollow for a label you clearly don’t deserve. And I admire anyone of any faith who demonstrates the ability to give of themselves unselfishly. It can only do the world good to have others with pure love in their hearts. Long story short, I think your reading comprehension needs some work and you should not question someone else’s sincerity of faith when there’s only one being that can decide that.


      • “It seems some people are content to walk past a person homeless and freezing but will put $100 in a collection plate.” I would much rather give my money to a church, charity, or organisation that I know is doing good work with people who need it than a bum in the street who I have no idea what he’s going to do with the money. There have been a few instances my husband and I have offered to buy a meal for someone who was asking for money, one man was enormously appreciative and another one wasn’t interested.

        And we give our money to our church by direct deposit. It’s becoming increasingly popular as fewer and fewer people want to carry cash around. Nobody knows how much we give except probably the treasurer. Also, a lot of churches use collection bags rather than plates so nobody can see what you put in there anyway, unless you make a big show of it, and in my 25.5 years in the church I grew up in, I never saw someone making a big enough show that I could see how much they were putting in the bag. The fact people can see what goes in a collection plate is, I think, an unfortunate side effect in most givers’ eyes. Wanting to give money to the church rather than to someone in the street does not necessarily have anything to do with wanting to look good.

        Also, can I add, nobody deserves the label of ‘Christian’. Nobody. That’s the beauty of it. You are right, some people won’t even try to do anything deserving of it and some people will. But nobody deserves it. Nobody has pure love in their hearts. Nobody does anything purely out of the goodness of their hearts, because we do not have good hearts. At best, we do it because we know it’s what we should do (obedience to God), or because we enjoy it – which has an element of selfishness to it, too. At worst, we do it because – like you mention – we’re looking for attention or think we can win our way into heaven by what we do.


      • Wow, Liz, how you read my post and how I intended it to be read are clearly incongruent. My point is, only we can evaluate our personal faith and calling. And that faith needs to be looked at within a context of our whole lifestyle, not just the career we pursue or the music we write or listen to. It is about consistency. And please do not lump all Christians into one category. Sure, there are hypocrites in every church and clearly some professing Christians are inappropriately seeking recognition for their good works. But I believe most are genuinely motived by what they believe.


      • Reaching out a hand to help a homeless person instead of callously walking by, refusing to make eye contact and assuming he will use any assistance for some untoward purpose is a leap of faith and an act of servitude. It’s not our place to judge someone by appearance or circumstance. How many homeless are disabled veterans? Abuse victims? Runaways? Unemployed for so long they lost everything they ever had? Only God knows their stories, and many of us presume to judge these poor souls while comforting ourselves with a tax deductible tithe. It’s safer to let someone else do the work. And who cares if a person does not appreciate your effort? Charity is not about receiving grateful thanks. It’s about trying to help others who are in need for no reason other than it’s the right thing to do. Maybe the ungrateful person has spent years being berated and kicked while he was down and has withdrawn. Maybe he has social anxiety or trust issues. It’s not your Christian duty to seek out only those who will bestow gracious thanks upon you for your benevolence. No man may be perfectly altruistic, but I am ashamed if I don’t at least offer a disadvantaged person a kind word if I have nothing else. Hunger is not the only starvation most of these people are suffering from. When we refuse to interact with them because we have a preconceived idea about who they are, we rob them of humanity, and I cannot think of a single time when that is a very Christ-like thing to do. I saw a great article about a Mormon pastor dressing up as a homeless man and standing in front of his church before service. You should look it up as it pretty much exemplifies my problem wIth modern Christians so eager to profess and not so eager to commit.


    • Bob, from one brother to another I really appreciate your response to the article.


      • Liz, do you sincerely believe that all Christians are that calloused, fake, and self-serving?


  319. I enjoyed the article and understand where he is coming from. His approach and my approach may be different, but it is not up to me to say he is good or bad. Let’s learn to unite in love and prayer and known that Jesus Christ knows how to use all of our efforts. If he can use a rooster to awaken Peter to his senses, He can use you and me.


  320. That’s always sad to me when a Christian icon seems to take a lower stance, or have a quieter voice concerning Christ. However though his vague lyrics may not discredit his relationship with God, but as with all music we have to ask ourselves the question. Though the lyrics may not be bad per sa, how does the music edify us spirtually. Is sounds like Switchfoot isn’t going to be doing much edifying in my eyes.


    • Goodness, at least they are happy to talk about their God and faith. There are bands and singers out there continually rumoured to be Christian but won’t discuss it at all in the public eye.


      • Yes, the fact they they even acknowledge that they are Christians in an anti-Christian world speaks volumes. How many of us have gotten on TV and said “Hi, I follow Jesus”? But in response to Adam, Switchfoot is not taking a “lower stance”. This whole article is about people like you who think Christian musicians should have a higher stance in the first place. You seem to understand that Switchfoot’s music does not make them any more or less Christian, but you should re-evaluate your idea of music having to “edify us spiritually.”

        Music is a both a hobby, art, and occupation. Like all art forms, it CAN be spiritual, but this is not ALWAYS so. Baseball, a hobby and occupation, does not edify us spiritually. The art on your walls does not HAVE to edify you spiritually. Why does the song on the radio have to “edify” then? Though not specifically addressed in this interview, I think it’s time that Christians learn to view songs as just songs. Some songs do teach sin and hatred. Some songs teach love and compassion. Others are just nice tunes. I think Switchfoot is trying to fit into the latter category, and if their Christian faith seeps in from time to time, then so be it.


    • All music can be spiritually edifying because you are in control of your reaction to it., If it someone how power over you, you have let it become an idol.


  321. […] here to visit the original post at […]


  322. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs. […]


  323. It has to do with the anointing. Glad you are doing well without it though. Carry on. Doubtless, God won’t think you wasted any opportunities or talents He gave you.


  324. There is a difference between “Christian” (the NOUN) and “Christian (The ADJECTIVE). The author uses these interchangeably. Of course a song isn’t born again. But “Christian” isn’t just a noun. Christian faith. Christian church. But you have to be careful not to cheapen it – ‘Christian breath mints’ for example. To be imparted to something it actually has to..well….be capable of being imparted to that thing. Anyway, I think the musican had so many good points, about secular, ‘holy’, and all sorts of deep thinking….nobody said he was a logistician.


  325. The article is his opinion. Fine. I can’t judge him, so be it. I find humor in those “Christians” who take the opportunity to hammer churches. If you are looking for the perfect church guess what you are never going to find it; people actually go there and they are –all sinners,as are you so quit judging and pronuncing you don’t go to church but by golly I am a Christian as if you are the only one who gets it.


  326. Although I can understand why people get upset with people in the church and our lack of acting Christlike many times, I cannot understand their refusing to attend church services. The church is the Bride of Christ. All we Christians should be involved and doing what we can to please God by ministering within His body. It seems to me that refusing to attend church because of the “hypocrites” there is even more hypocritical–thining that that person is so much more spiritual than the ones who attend church.


    • Jesus spoke of the New Covenant form of worship in John 4. The woman at the well, having been confronted with the ethical demands of the Lord Jesus (regarding her adulterous life), attempts a “doctrinal” diversion: she asks Jesus about “worship.” Putting words in Jesus’ mouth, she claims that worship occurs in a certain place (John 4:20). Jesus denies that worship occurs in any place, and says, “true worshippers shall worship the Father in Spirit and in Truth” (John 4:21-24).


  327. I once met a man who began seeking (and found) God after hearing the song “Easy Livin'” by Uriah Heep, off their album “Demons and Wizards.” About as far from “Christian music” as you can get, but there is a line in the song about being forgiven, and he wanted to find forgiveness. It was the start of his journey to Christ. My point is that those who seek the truth, will find the truth; and that seeking spirit can be awakened by anything. Switchfoot’s music will reach those it is meant to reach. Why do we need to force them into some specific “Christian comfort zone?” Is God not capable of using their music as He sees fit? I believe He is.


  328. Things are not Christians. People are. Frankly, before God, each of us, no man has the right to damn another man… it happens, but before God, it’s not what He wants us to do. it’s not the point of the lives He called us to live.

    Human beings, in everything we do are easy to tag things…to classify, to name or define. Did you know that even the name “Christian” is a secular (non-religious) name, given to us by the world?

    Then we classified and tagged music “gospel” and “secular”, and we added it to God’s word and used it to judge people. You see why Atheists will not listen to us? It does not mean we have to water down the message of the gospel, but the real question is… what are the full contents of the gospel?

    Jesus preached about more than just service to God and personal relationship with him. He talked about government, taxes, health, community, etc. But no, we take what we understood and pour the baby out with the bath water.

    since we like to group things, then don’t go to school. it is secular. don’t get a job. it is most definitely secular. don’t use hair care products. it is secular. don’t even attend motivational seminars. they’re all secular. if you are a believer on this post, the word of God moves…you are called to use your God given brain (which some people will relate secular decisions to) to think. And if you are a thinker, it is time to believe. if you have failed to preach the gospel somewhere you were called to preach it, don’t spread your regret into other people’s lives and calling absolutely insisting that there is no other way than yours. You will not stand beside me as I present myself before God. He will ask what you have done with what you had.

    My, my, the kinds of things we would have to stop to fulfill the laws we created ourselves.


  329. […] El texto original aquí […]


  330. Well its obvious that they are born again.(which is the most important thing)they just dont want to be labled. As soon as they mention the nameJesus Christ the lost will no longer listen seemingly failing to get the message out.


  331. I just find it difficult to see how some people can think he’s being “weak” or a “coward” when he even quotes that “We have a call to take up our cross and follow.” Those are heavy words, and if you listen to their lyrics you’ll see that they don’t shy from addressing spiritually heavy things. There’s nothing weak or cowardly about it, and I, personally, find Switchfoot’s music extremely edifying; more so than alot of bands under the guise of “Christian” as a gimic who go out of there way to specifically say “God” every verse and Chorus. That’s not courage (For one thing, it’s so simple it would be a pretty pathetic example of “courage”). That’s just forced, unartistic, generally terrible writing.

    It’s incredibly paranoid and judgmental to think it’s always some kind of “Politically Correct” blatant choice to somehow “avoid” using God’s name in music; it’s really just an artistic choice of rhythm, rhyme, and flow that that doesn’t necessarily always fit (and may not be necessary, as it’s actually pretty obvious based on context Who he’s talking about). Stop over-thinking it.


  332. As a Christian I struggle to understand the glorification of “contemporary christian music” in our American societal version of Christianity. I know so many people who will listen only to “christian music” but who have no problem watching The Voice on TV, going to the movies to see Hunger Games, going to Phantom of the Opera on broadway, etc etc. And I’d bet if most of the commenters here were honest, they’d admit they were guilty of the same.

    And lets not kid ourselves, the Christian music industry is a for-profit, multi-million dollar business, that retains artists who sell x-thousand albums and gets rid of those who don’t. Only in the world of Christian music can it cost you $40 to “experience an evening of live worship” ($80 for artist circle seats of course).

    Full disclosure, I’m a former concert promoter who made thousands of dollars off of the Christian music scene. Believe me people, it ain’t what you’d like to believe it is.


    • Excellent point. And it’s silly to restrict what you consume and think that makes you a better Christian. If anything, it makes you less connected to the pulse of the rest of the world. Didn’t Jesus focus on spending time connecting to the pulse of the rest of the world?


  333. And don’t limit ourselves to the ‘box’ during this glorious Season of Christmas. http://textsincontext.wordpress.com/2013/12/04/improbable-advent-prepare-ye-the-way-2/


  334. But, if God has given me the gift of music, either writing it, singing it, or playing it, should not my gift be used to glorify him? We are either for Him or against Him. There is no neutral position. We cannot be secular and Christian as we are to be in the world and not of the world.


    • What about agnostics or panentheists? Take a look around you, God created spectrums of everything. Why wouldn’t God have allowed for a spectrum of belief?


    • Ok then. So do you think it glorifies God for me to charge you $18 for my Christian CD and $40 to attend my Christian concert? Do you think a for-profit industry using the name of Jesus to make a quick buck glorifies God? If so, how?


    • I think its a bit presumptuous to tell God what edifies/glorifies him. Perhaps we can let Him decide for Himself??


  335. Youth pastors have been telling kids for years that listening to secular music is bad. Even the “harmless” songs with no cussing or those with a positive, although non-Christian, message should not be listened to by Christians. The explanation is that the spirit of the artist is attached to the song. If that person is a person of the world…or of a false god or a satanist…then the songs carry that spirit with them, EVEN if the lyrical content isn’t evil. And that if we listen to songs from these artists, we will be affected by the spirit regardless of the words that are sung.

    So….if the spirit of Christ dwells within the members of Switchfoot, do the lyrics matter? Or are we lying to our kids? Can’t have it both ways…


    • Those same youth pastors have no problems with network television, movies, sporting events, name brand clothing, etc. Y’all crack me up with this stuff.


  336. Foreman puts the “switch” in Switchfoot! ;-)

    Seriously, though, it makes no difference to me what kind of music they sing, but Foreman shouldn’t sugarcoat his decision in an attempt to preserve his Christian listening base.

    Amy Grant did the same thing back in the day. When asked about it, she said, “Just because something isn’t talked about doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.”

    The apostles in the Bible certainly did talk about it, a lot. And when the authorities threatened them in an attempt to get them to stop talking, they replied, “we can’t keep quiet about what we’ve seen and heard.” (Acts 4:20, NIV)

    The prophet Jeremiah tried to stop talking about it and confessed, “But if I say I’ll never mention the Lord or speak in his name, his word burns in my heart like a fire. It’s like a fire in my bones! I am worn out trying to hold it in! I can’t do it!” (Jeremiah 20:9, NLT)

    At this point, you might be thinking, “That’s not fair! Jon Foreman isn’t an apostle or a prophet. He’s a songwriter!” Good point. Here’s what a songwriter in the Bible said: “let me tell you what God did for me.” (Psalm 66:16, MSG)

    Foreman redirects our attention from his lyrics to how we treat the poor and hungry, but some of the biggest charitable donations come from atheists. Being a good citizen doesn’t make one a Christian.

    Jesus himself said, “What you say flows from what is in your heart.” (Luke 6:45, NLT), so song lyrics say a lot about the lyricist.

    What Switchfoot or any other crossover artists want to sing or talk about is none of my business, but they should just be upfront and say, “We’ve decided we want to be secular artists.”

    It’s wrong to deceive your Christian fans into thinking you’re something you’re not just so they’ll keep buying your music.


    • The fact that the phrase “crossover artist” is a phrase completely baffles me. Baffles. “crossover” as is in “Luke, I’m your father.” Really?? To make something (i.e. is music Christian or is it secular) so important and so divisive is celebrating ignorance. I think Foreman mentions more important issues facing us today such as poverty, sex trafficking, freeing those oppressed by systems in power… these things should be the focus of the church. All of this legality is noise distracting from the bigger picture. People are suffering and we are wasting time on the internet, myself included.


      • Melissa, I agree that poverty and human trafficking are very important issues, but I disagree with your statement that they are “more important.” What could be more important than the eternal hope found in Jesus?

        The mission of the church isn’t to make our country better, but rather to give people hope of “a better country—a heavenly one.” (Hebrews 11:16). That should come first.

        You say, “To make something…so important and so divisive is celebrating ignorance.”

        But God (not me) said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” (I Peter 1:16, NLT)

        Do you know what “holy” means, Melissa? It means to be separate, set apart for a special purpose. What could be more divisive than that? Yet, that’s what we are called to be.

        Jesus himself (again, not me) said his message would even cause division within families:

        “Do you think I have come to bring peace to the earth? No, I have come to divide people against each other! From now on families will be split apart, three in favor of me, and two against—or two in favor and three against. Father will be divided against son and son against father; mother against daughter and daughter against mother; and mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.” (Luke 12:51-53, NLT)

        As the saying goes, “It’s far better to be divided by truth than united in error.”

        Selah


  337. […] Why Switchfoot won’t sing Christian songs:  Though I have never heard of Switchfoot (and maybe I should have???)  their response struck a chord with me, and it is something we have talked about a lot in our family.  What makes something Christian?  Christian music, art, writing, story?  etc….  I want to encourage my kids to be creative, do the things they want to do without labelling it ‘Christian’ and yet always giving glory to God.  And I think I’d like to hear their music!! […]


  338. I think St. Francis words come to mind. Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words. I really believe will watch your actions more than they hear what you say. I believe we are ambassadors of God’s Kingdom and all that we do should glorify God but it doesn’t as Francis says be with words. The hurting are out in the world and they are looking for someone that cares for them what does love look like. Can we show love from the comfort of our Church pew, maybe but I think we can reach more people outside our Church building as I think Switchfoot is trying to do. Pray for them and let God judge their work he is better at that then I will ever be and it isn’t my assigned job to judge anyone. We will be known Jesus said by the love we have for our brothers sadly a lot of the time the world doesn’t see that in us and we wonder why they don’t heed what we are saying. This is just mt take on this but I will pray for the success of Switchfoot because I feel that is a more fruitful thing to do.


  339. I’ve heard this many times from them, and it’s always just seemed a bit odd to me. I understand the need to not divide things into categories, but there’s still part of me that just goes, “oh, so you don’t want to be known as Christians, then?” Yes, I get it, this generation (and I’m technically a part of it) doesn’t like to be labelled, but in this case, shouldn’t you/they/one stand up and just state what they are?
    Some of their stuff is very Christian (This Is Home, Restless, Love Alone Is Worth The Fight), but some isn’t. Is there anything inherently wrong with that? I’m inclined to say that there kind of is. We’re supposed to worship God with everything we are, everything we say, and everything we do, and yes, you can do that without your songs being “God! God! Yay! God!” but when you get towards that line of some songs being worship-like and others not, maybe you need to reconsider where you are and how/why you got there and where you’re going.

    I know I’ve had to.


  340. Just an excuse to make money . Plain and simple. The lord commands us to praise him with song, you have been given a gift and you chose not to use it to glorify God plain and simple. No one is shaming you, but don’t think you can twist a few words around and excuse yourself.


  341. Since all things are in him and by him and for him, and, we are all parts of the body our praise is either to Christ (Christian, Christlike) or in some form anti-Christian, or secular depending on who is or what is glorified. If your music is Scripturally correct and has a truly positive message of or for the Cross of Calvary, it would be in this instance Christian. If God has gifted us to sing, compose, or play (or anything else that brings him praise) do all for the glory of God and consider trifling in semantics secondary, in my opinion. On the bright side at least people are reading this and thinking about Christ if only for this moment in time. Just sayin’.


  342. You can’t have the world and Christ too!


  343. Hhmmm…I am pondering…is it possible the Jon Foreman has not read the Psalms? It is the best example of how to honor God with the musical talent He gives someone. A Christian’s life has been bought with one intention, for that person to glorify God. 1 Cor 10:31 A born again musician, should have at least some of their songs uplift and magnify the glory of God. I am not saying that they shouldn’t or can’t write other positive songs. But, in the end, the refusal to even write or sing a song that directly magnifies the One who has purchased them by the blood of Christ, is a faith that is suspect.


    • Psalm 51 as put to music by Jon Foreman – No, not possible he has not read them.

      Jon Foreman has solo music that does this even if Switchfoot does not always quote scripture directly. Just as one can show their Christianity without saying a word about God so a musician can reflect God without praise music. I’m a musician and do not worship with music even if I serve Him with it- I worship in other ways.
      Moral of the story is: Jon isn’t refusing.