God Gave Rock and Roll to You: A History of Contemporary Christian Music

Oxford Univ. Feb. 2024. 240p. ISBN 9780197555248. $29.95. MUSIC
Payne (American religious history, Portland Seminary, George Fox Univ.; Gender and Pentecostal Revivalism) uses interviews with journalists, publishers, and artists and written sources in archives and periodicals to limn white evangelical Protestant U.S.-centric Christian music from the late 19th century through the present day. The book shows that contemporary Christian music (CCM) figures big in revivals and conversions, especially among adolescents who otherwise are the primary consumers of mainstream pop and rock music. Enthusiasts embrace their corporate identity of CCM through radio and TV programs, recordings, books, and often expensive venue tickets. Readers are reminded of the pervasiveness of Christian cultural stories, including those on Billy Graham, Dolly Parton, Hank Williams, Bob Dylan’s 1979 gospel concerts, the Promise Keepers, Amy Grant, Britney Spears, and Jessica Simpson. Temperance and pro-life causes reverberate in this way of life, while Payne asserts that other conservative political concerns only occasionally appear. Ironically, the end of the Cold War removed an energizing counterforce for CCM, perhaps accounting for a diminishment of its energy.
VERDICT This breezy yet fact-filled romp through the Christian side of American popular culture from 1897 to the present will be eye-opening for many secular readers.
Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing