SHHH…THEY CAN’T SAY “JESUS”. Within the past decade, I’ve noticed something very unsettling about the lyrics in modern-day Christian music: many artists have been withholding the name of Jesus from their songs. Those who know me personally know that it irks the ever-living-daylight out of me. This subtle, deceptive transition has gone unnoticed by many, but I think I’ve figured out why.
Not too long ago, my family and I went to an amazing Christian concert! For as long as I’ve known the band we went to see, there hasn’t been a song that I didn’t like, as they were very thought-provoking, compassionate and often fun. But there was one thing that never sat right with me: none of their songs ever mentioned Jesus’ name. You would hear, “God”, “Him” or “Father”, but never “Jesus”. Yet, on the contrary, they had to have been the most Christ-like Christians my family and I had ever had the privilege of meeting. Yes, the band would mention Jesus in between songs during their live performance, but never within their songs. It was then that I realized that it was in some fashion…intentional! What could have been the reason?
As time went on, I would ask Jesus to give this particular band the courage to openly give Him the rightful credit that He deserved in their music, as Jesus is the One Who blessed them with such amazing talents. Still pursuing reason, I came to the soft assumption that it was done in order to gain a broader audience, receive more recognition, and possibly a qualification to attain awards. But again, that was all my speculation.
It wasn’t until my good friend, Diana, contacted me last week imparting that it was reported that newly Christian, producer Kanye West exposed the music industry at one of his Sunday Services in Miami, Florida. He brought to light that it’s written in many music contracts (Christian and non-Christian) that they cannot say “Jesus”.
Everything was starting to make sense now! Then, I remembered what our family friend who’s an entertainment attorney once told me. He mentioned that more times than not, music artists don’t read their contracts. The way he said it was as if it was something so common, yet still unacceptable and problematic. Many times, artists get so excited that they’ve received some sort of record deal that they impulsively sign on the dotted line, momentarily not really caring about what’s written in fine print…until the ink has dried.
I’m sure many of these artists’ hearts are pure when they start and are then taken aback when they learn the truth.
Christian and Gospel music is based on the Christian faith, and the Christian faith is rooted in…you’ve guessed it: Jesus Christ. One would assume that since such melodies are bedded on these two particular genres, it would automatically be expected to hear the name of Jesus, right?
I believe that the reason why this has somewhat gone under the radar is that it’s done in a way that’s “slick” enough where you’d never know unless you’d pay close attention. For example, when the Christian/Gospel radio station comes on, you already know that what’s going to be played will be Christian songs. Then, many modern-day songs come on and its lyrics are sung with, “God”, “Him” or “Father”, completely avoiding the name of Jesus. It’s as if the brain automatically pairs those two concepts together in a way that makes sense.
Take the song “Peggy Sue” for instance, and compare it with Frank Sinatra’s “Come Fly With Me”. In “Peggy Sue”, we all know for certain who the song is about, a woman named Peggy Sue, no question about it. Then you have “Come Fly With Me”, which is sung to a woman but this woman could be anybody! The same is with “Jesus” vs “Him” or “God”. There is only one Jesus, but there are many “him’s”, and “God” could be a very broad term, as even Hindus have over 33,000,000 gods (and counting).
I’m reminded of when disciples James and John were ordered numerous times by the authorities not to preach using the name of Jesus. (Obviously, satan has no new tricks, as we can see). But the impressive thing was that they refused to stop, saying,
“We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 4:18 5:28-29,40).
Peter and Paul were once timid until they decided to preach the truth.
The truth of the matter is that the enemy abhors the name of Jesus because he knows the incomparable, matchless power that it holds. Angels rejoice at the name of Jesus—demons tremble at the sound of His name. His name causes the dead to rise, the addict to be freed, lost souls to be found, the diseased to be healed, the cripple to walk, the oppressed are set free and the list endlessly goes on. No other name in the universe holds such power. And as long as satan can withhold Jesus’ name from being used for glory purposes, he can keep doing what he has been doing—killing, stealing and destroying (John 10:10).
I’m not saying every Christian song needs to say Jesus’s name, but when an entire Christian album is made without it, then there’s a big chance it’s done intentionally, some way or another.
Where there is much prayer, there is much power, right? Especially prayer within a multitude. As believers, followers, and children of God, we ought to pray for Christian artists and producers to lay ahold of the wisdom to thoroughly read their contracts, keep their focus on Jesus Christ, and to obtain the spiritual boldest, giving Jesus Christ the rightful honor that He deserves.