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American Idol Follow-Up April 24, 2008

Posted by Jeremy in Music, Thoughts and Theology, Videos.

Here are some things that I found out about the American Idol stuff I blogged about last post.  It helped me answer some of my questions so I thought I would share them with you as well.


A Christian woman named Beverly posted on someone else’s blog what I thought was a helpful inside perspective from Fox. 

I work on one of the “sister shows” of American Idol…so picture an office, with all of the producers, crew, etc. gathered in watching the live feed at our CBS offices, then this song comes on…an office filled with a few Christians….atheists and agnostic Jews. You could hear a pin drop….it was awesome…..the power that came through….nothing had to be said…no debates….just people being touched more than they realized…producers, writers…crew that had never darkened a church door in their lives, or their only experience with Christians was a negative one. You don’t always see the workings of us Christians that are behind the scenes…you don’t know how much prayer went into getting a song with that message on a, let us not forget, a SECULAR show. So, from someone behind the scenes, the best thing you can do is write to the producer of Am. Idol and simply state how much you appreciate the diversity they showed in having an very inspirational song in their program. Period. 

No criticizing. This will go farther than you realize. Also, pray, pray, pray for us Christians that have chosen Hollywood as our vocation, career and our mission field.

The Folks at Hillsong
I expressed curiosity about how the process for rights to use the song worked. This person has some knowledge of it and about Christians in the Idol band.

I know the people from Hillsong who negotiated this deal thru Integrity Music, and the word change wasn’t approved, but while they deal with that, they are quite happy the song was song used.

There are also very strong Christians in the American idol band, who are witnesses in places most of us don’t have influence—let’s rejoice that He is praised, even if by ‘indifferent’ vessels—let the fruit of our ministry be heard in our churches and in the churches of pop culture.

Let’s reserve our ‘outrage’ for the real tragedies in this world…Let his praises rise… Even from hearts as cold as stones… God can command praise from stones—not just the redeemed.

Joshua Harris
Below is from Joshua Harris about the whole American Idol thing and what he says really resonated with how I am feeling about it all.  So, I thought I would share his thoughts with you.

So far, my two posts about the song have been more humorous than serious. I wasn’t outraged when they edited the lyrics. I was surprised when they did the song again and included Jesus’ name, but I didn’t think it was a major triumph of God’s kingdom.

As I’ve read various comments people seem to fall into two different camps. Some Christians are upset—because they left out Jesus, because non-Christians were singing a song of “praise”, because it was all about money, because it’s another example of Christianity being “censored.” Other Christians are elated—because they put Jesus back in, because a praise song was heard by millions of people, because they see this as incredible evangelistic platform.

I guess I’m not really at home with either group. With all due respect, I don’t think that having a song like Shout to the Lord sung (even though I like it) is going to usher in revival. This reminds me of the fervor before the movie The Passion of the Christ was released. People spoke about this movie as if it was the ultimate opportunity for the gospel to advance. I don’t think it was. Was I glad that it was released? Sure. But I think that it’s too easy for Christians to think that any moment in the media spotlight on TV or in film is a bigger deal than it really is. We should welcome any opportunity for media to help spread the good news about Jesus, but I don’t think we should put too much stock in that vehicle. The gospel is going to advance as it always has—steadily as it is clearly proclaimed by believers in their words and modeled by their lives and actions. The gospel advances as local congregations receive and live God’s word for their neighbors to see.

So I’m more excited about Christians inviting their unbelieving friends over to watch American Idol together so they can build friendships and establish a platform for sharing the gospel in that relationship than I’m excited about an occasional worship song being sung on the show. If both happen, that’s cool, too.

Oh, and let me gently disagree with people who are upset about the song being sung, edited or not. Don’t get so worked up about unsaved people singing songs of praise to Jesus. It happens every Sunday in churches around the world. It happens in my church every Sunday. Thankfully, a large portion of people at our church are Christians. But there are many people who claim to know Christ that don’t. And there are many unbelieving people who come who need to repent and believe.



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