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Apostles of Rock is the first objective, comprehensive examination of the contemporary Christian music phenomenon. Some see CCM performers as ministers or musical missionaries, while others define them as entertainers or artists. This popular musical movement clearly evokes a variety of responses concerning the relationship between Christ and culture. The resulting tensions have splintered the genre and given rise to misunderstanding, conflict, and an obsessive focus on self-examination. As Christian stars Amy Grant, Michael W. Smith, DC Talk, and Sixpence None the Richer climb the mainstream charts, Jay Howard and John Streck talk about CCM as an important movement and show how this musical genre relates to a larger popular culture. They map the world of CCM by bringing together the perspectives of the people who perform, study, market, and listen to this music. By examining CCM lyrics, interviews, performances, web sites, and chat rooms, Howard and Streck uncover the religious and aesthetic tensions within the CCM community. Ultimately, the conflict centered around Christian music reflects the modern religious community's understanding of evangelicalism and the community's complex relationship with American popular culture.

A groundbreaking, inclusive, carefully reasoned, and thoroughly objective study of Contemporary Christian music. -- Choice

Argues that debates over 'authenticity,' and which musicians truly define the genre, are more intense in Christian music because of the artists' deeply held beliefs. -- Chronicle of Higher Education

Comprehensive and well-researched. -- Church History

Presents a picture of C-Pop splintered into factions yet fundamentally united by its roots in American evangelicalism and commercial popular music. -- First Things

The authors’ expertise is self-evident and their references to scholarly, popular, and industry literature is impressive. I do not know of another work that so carefully, completely, and thoughtfully analyzes this genre of music. -- John B. Boles

The thoughtful analyses and conclusions are invaluable to historians and other scholars. -- Journal of Southern History

Provides a well-researched look at the philosophies of contemporary Christian musicians and the effect of their music. -- Lexington Herald Leader

Offers the finest analysis to date of the CCM art world and its several subcultures. The authors’ use of sociological, musical, and theological sources is impressive. -- Religious Studies Review

A thorough description of the art world of contemporary Christian music. -- Sociology of Religion

Has much to offer in the way of articulating a thorough cultural analysis of the fragmented reality of CCM. -- Sojouners

This study opens new areas of inquiry seldom considered by scholars of popular culture and music. -- True Tunes

Named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book for 2000.

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Christian rock music, Contemporary Christian music, Christian music history


Cultural History

Apostles of Rock: The Splintered World of Contemporary Christian Music
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