What’s “Christian Enough”?

Remember when Danny’s music for country radio was not considered “country enough”?  Well, apparently fitting in is an issue for ALL genres of music.

Here is what is happening to Amy Grant, an extremely successful song writer and performer. (Did you remember she penned & recorded the song, “Tennessee Christmas” that Danny released for RCA during his country music days?)

From The Tennesean:

LifeWay Christian Resources will not be selling Amy Grant’s new Christmas album this year, and the manager for the Nashville-based singer says it’s because it’s not Christian enough for the Southern Baptist retailer.

Manager Jennifer Cooke said in an opinion piece for the Washington Post that LifeWay’s decision not to carry “Tennessee Christmas” reignites a debate about how Christian a product needs to be in order for Christian retailers to sell it.

“‘Is it Christian enough for Christian retail to support?’ LifeWay Christian Resources, the large Southern Baptist retailer, decided it was not. It’s their choice, and it’s okay,” said Cooke, in the column posted Tuesday.

LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, confirmed its retail stores are not carrying the album, but would not comment on the reasons for the decision.

To read the full article click HERE

From The Washington Post

Popular Christian artist Amy Grant’s new Christmas album was released Oct. 21. This piece is written by Jennifer Cooke, Amy Grant’s manager.

There is an odd question and reality in the Christian music business: What is a “Christian enough” song or project recorded by someone who is “Christian enough” that deems it worthy of exposure and commercial viability via Christian radio and Christian retail?

There is an odd question and reality in the Christian music business: What is a “Christian enough” song or project recorded by someone who is “Christian enough” that deems it worthy of exposure and commercial viability via Christian radio and Christian retail?

Read Ms. Cooke’s opinion piece HERE.

And to bring this conversation back to Danny Gokey, he signed with BMG, not a Christian record label.  Could that have caused the slow climb for his album and his first single, “Hope in Front of Me”? Or could it been because Danny wants to reach a broader audience than those already proclaimed to follow Jesus?

Check out the criticism of ALL of the lyrics in his songs to Christian radio by the blogger, Jorge.  (Granted, this is just a small blog, but it is representative of those wanting a more biblical approach to Christian radio songs.)

DiM on RISE by Jorge of the Faithful Stewardship Blog.

Thematically today’s song is like a sequel to “Tell Your Heart to Beat Again“. This song is clearly a “positive” and even “emotionally uplifting” song, but it isn’t a clearly Christian song. The lyric in this song is completely bathed in theology of glory, a theology that makes the christian the hero. This is wildly popular in popular evangelicalism, but it isn’t Biblical. The Gospel doesn’t point to our own greatness, it points us to Christ.

So there is no mention of Christ, nothing is presented in light of the Gospel, no repentance and the forgiveness of sins. The focus of the song isn’t on Christ, it’s on (presumably) the christian. The song is a motivational pep-talk, urging the christian to do something. I take issue with what the song is telling the listener to do….

Read the Full review HERE.

And how about these thoughts on Danny’s  single, “More Than You Think I Am”?

We have another song of encouragement, with an extra shot of espresso. Danny Gokey’s voice is amazing, and this song was masterfully produced, but I cannot recommend this song to anyone for any purpose beyond practicing discernment. This song displays a theology along the lines of Sarah Young’s Jesus Calling. The real answers the Bible offers for the hurting, the questions, and the fears we face are far greater than any man-made philosophy, pep-talk, or song.

Read the full review HERE.

Ok, time for me to reward you if you have gotten this far:   I bring you Danny’s version of “Tennessee Christmas”.  He sure sounds great. Even if country or Christian radio wouldn’t play it….

Thanks to Maria Cammarota for recording and sharing it.  I enjoy seeing Jamelle Fraley accompanying Danny on the vocals.

22 thoughts on “What’s “Christian Enough”?

  1. Gosh, don’t know what to say. Maybe all songs should be put in a large pot, and everyone can choose what song they would like to listen to without any genre attached. That way they could all be promoted the same. I know, I didn’t make much sense. :/

    I really enjoy Tennessee Christmas. 🙂

  2. Actually, that is a such a great idea, Cindy, it is already happening. It is called Spotify, Pandora, Google music! (among many other online music offerings….)

    I wasn’t sure if I should post about this issue, because our purpose is to promote Danny’s career — and enjoy the company of other fans enjoying his music with us!! But I thought it was an view in which many of us may not be aware. (The required JPM in Christian music). Although we sure are familiar with “gate keepers” from Danny’s start in country music!

    I PREFER that Danny takes an inspirational/spiritual approach to writing his songs over creating pure Christian worship songs. Although I have also enjoyed when he belts out an old hymn or two occasionally 🙂

    I find it ironic that Jorge finds Danny not to be Christian enough when all we would hear from his AI detractors is that he belonged in Christian music….

  3. I saw the review by the blogger. It seems a long time ago now, but I think it was the same review. I saw it from a twitter link. I checked it and saw that it was just a blog and the reviewer wasn’t getting many comments. I didn’t think he would get enough notice to impact how Danny did.

    Danny’s song went on to do very well. Christian radio and tour audiences did accept Danny (as have award shows, etc.).

  4. People have different opinions. Some are convinced they are right and that their way is the only way. I remember when Danny started dating Leyicet. One Danny fan was avidly against Danny dating her. (I think the fan was basing her thoughts on what she considered proper from her own religious viewpoint.) She bombarded Danny with tweets. It was embarrassing to read on twitter.

    I don’t see any tweets from her anymore, and Danny is married to Leyicet and seems very happy with his choice.

  5. Danny is getting a marvelous reception in Christian music, but the blogger’s perspective is not rare. I have seen lots of comments on social media opposed to Danny appearing with Joel Osteen, “The Shack” and even Danny has said that Christian radio was not enthused about MTYTIA. I wondered why my radio station dropped it and the program director actually told me that it was not liked by some of their listeners. Danny has said the message of the song was being interpreted in a way he had not intended.

    I added the blogger to illustrate the type of opinion that seems to behind Lifeway choosing not to sell Amy Grant’s Christmas album– and especially since it was regarding Danny’s music.

    (I too had seen the blog each time Jorge reviewed one of Danny’s songs. I just didn’t see a “use” for it back then. He is very complimentary of Danny’s voice.)

  6. I have seen some of those comments about Danny and Joel also. Also I’ve seen some other tweets that support what you are saying about people being critical.

  7. Carrie Underwood seems to be a singer that is accepted in Christian radio when she releases a Christian song. As far as I can tell, she doesn’t get banned because of other songs like “Before He Cheats.”

  8. Actually, Christian buyers make Carrie’s songs hits on certain Billboard charts, but I don’t believe her songs have done as well on Christian radio. I could be wrong, but that is what I recall….

  9. That makes sense. Carrie’s fans probably buy enough of her songs to make them hits on the charts. It was probably the charts and itunes that I was noticing.

  10. I read the article from the Washington Post on Amy Grant. Very disappointing o see such judgemental position of so-called Christians criticizing her music as not Christian enough. What. Are you deaf or dumb? Thank God you don’t hold the keys to Heaven. Get iff your high horses and LISTEN.

  11. Never heard of this before. More barriers to be broken down. And to think… I thought there was only “positive” going on with people accepting Danny now. 🙁 Can’t please everyone, and that’s okay. 🙂

  12. Hi Robert, thanks for joining the discussion. I was also surprised that Amy Grant’s CHRISTMAS album wouldn’t be sold at a Christian retailer.

    Now that your first comment has made it past our spam filter there will not be any wait for your comments to be seen as you post them 🙂


  13. Lurker, I went to look at the Billboard Christian Airplay chart and Carrie has had one of her songs chart on the biggest chart. It peaked at #26. However, gets great success on selling: #1 songs on the Christian Digital Songs for Jesus Take the Wheel, Something in the Water….

    Christian Airplay Carrie Underwood Something In The Water 2015-02-07 #26 22 19/Arista

    As a featured artist on a Michael W Smith song, they got to #22 on Billboard Christian Airplay.

    So I think you can see that artists of other genres don’t get a free play on Christian radio for their Christian songs.

    I think Hillary Scott is doing very well crossing over with her new song “Thy Will”, but it is part of Scott Family not as Lady Antebellum.

  14. Random thoughts:

    Your post made me start wondering how some other big stars did with Christian music. Elvis? I’ve read he did a Christian album. He did one (or more?) because he liked Christian music and wanted to.

    Randy Travis also. I think with Randy, it may have been that his country career slowed as he got older and country music changed. (It seems country music changes a lot.) Randy started doing more Christian music (maybe–I’ve read something but do not remember clearly).

    Then, after Randy did a duet with Carrie I think he was accepted back into country music again. Adding question marks because I don’t really know what I’m talking about. (???????)

  15. love the song, missed the discussions. was in Alabama then Tennessee. just got back last night. I have to get the Christmas album. hope everyone has been great! Still love my Danny. saw he has a bed and breakfast. opened the day I came home. what’s up with that!!!! much love you guys

  16. When the album first came out, we were talking about the songs we liked. I wrote that I did not like the first-person lyrics of MTYTIA. I like the tune, the music, and the voice, but the lyrics made me cringe. It’s the idea of a person talking as if they are speaking for God.

    It seemed popular in concerts though.

    I also cringe a little at the lyrics of LTWABP. They seem sort of political. It, too, seems popular at concerts. So, maybe it’s just me with the cringe feeling sometimes and not anyone else.

    I suppose there are some people who cringe at the mention of “The Coach,” but it’s still one of my favorites.

  17. I didn’t know people were being so critical of Danny’s songs. that blows my mind! there will always be people that misinterpret the lyric’s and intention of songs, I consider that their loss for being so narrow minded. Danny’s songs are always healing and encouraging, from the heart, and I believe very God honoring. there will always be negative people all you can do is feel sorry for them. LOVE DANNY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! no one says anything bad about Danny to me, they know better.

  18. Duly noted, Ann, LOL!

    Normally I don’t bring negative comments on Danny to this blog, but I think it has sparked a good discussion. Amy Grant appreciates our support 🙂

  19. you have an awesome blog, I was just surprised with anyone not having the upmost respect for Danny! Amy is amazing also, so many good Christian singers, but Danny is my favorite!!! love him and his family, especially after reading “hope in front of me” I can relate to him and his life.

  20. Sherry, that would be nice, wouldn’t it? But we don’t get to hear a song unless a station decides to play it….

    I would highly recommend all of us joining the Listeners Panel at your local radio station so you can tell them what you do want to hear. As you might guess, when one of Danny’s songs gets on their new music survey, I am right there to rate it!!

    Mentioning, MTYTIA earlier, here is a nice, recent video:


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