Why I Love Christian Rock!

Christian Rock has always been quite controversial in Christian circles. I have always struggled to understand why. I guess some would say that it is too worldly, that the focus in wrong, but I would whole -heartily disagree. I think Christian rock is amazing, inspirational and powerful, something that I will explain further in this post.
I will discuss music from a few bands that I listen too, covering a variety of genres, from rock, to power metal. These include, Skillet, TFK, FireFlight, Theocracy, HB and Decyfer Down. I will use some of their songs to show their message and purpose, and hopefully show that they actually have an important role to play, especially for younger Christians such as myself.

Before I go into individual songs, let me explain why I think Christian rock is beneficial.  I love rock music, I love the beat, the guitars, the drums, they all make an awesome sound.  There is nothing evil in it, and with Christian rock, its all about acknowledging God in our lives, about how great he is and how we can rely on him.  God has given us all individual gifts, and thus musicians are also given a gift to play music.  The bible tells us to praise God with a variety of instruments, cymbals, strings, etc, and this can be found many times in the OT, most notably psalm 150.  God also wants us to be creative, wants us to use our gifts to glorify him, and Christian rock is one way we can do this.

Christian rock can have its problems, some bands you may have to be careful about, are they really Christian?  Rock shouldn’t really be used as an evangelism tool either, but from what I see it hardly ever is.  Its more of a ‘hey guys we’re different’ type of message, whilst giving Christians an encouraging message.  So with that being said, let me go into a few songs and what they talk about! Enjoy!


When we examine this song, the meaning is clear. It describes about the love of God, the saving power of grace and that God gives us meaning and hope. It talks about us being failures, about being far from God. It talks about the brokenness of the world, but that love is the answer. How wonderful is this song! It has so much meaning, so much power, and is a great encouragement for Christians. TFK (Thousand Foot Krutch) lyrical genius in this song and like all their other songs is evident. For young people especially, songs like this are powerful, at many times, more powerful than hymns because they are relatable. These songs are praise, but at the same time they help us understand more of God.
Skillet-Back from the dead

This time we move onto Skillet, probably my favourite band at the moment. The song back from the dead, is a positive feeling rock song. Feelings are important in the Christian faith, and this song to me talks about the Christian coming back to Christ. That the journey is not easy, in fact it’s tough…but nothing can keep us down if we have God. It’s a song that lifts us, and helps us understand that this world cannot keep us down, and that we fight, and struggle for the kingdom. The thing with Skillet is, that their message resonates with both Christians and non-Christians. Their songs aim to help people in difficult situations, being that positive light in the world. They are never ashamed of their faith and speak openly at all their concerts. The witness is strong, they are not going to change to sell for CD’s and the fact they are so popular shows how God is using them!

Skillet-Feel Invincible

Another song from Skillet, and this one again is a positive rock song. God is always with us, and makes us strong. We cannot be stopped, the word cannot be stopped, and with the strength given from God, we can feel invincible. God is our reason to fight, and we may win or lose, but it is what we are called to, fight for his word, and proclaim the gospel. The song itself is just so catchy, and is great to listen to just for some upbeat Christian music. Regarding the video, you may have noticed, but they have tattoos, they are wearing black, they cannot be Christians. Well if that is your opinion on what makes a Christian, I would be very concerned as to what you are reading. I personally wouldn’t want a tattoo, but he decided to get a few and so be it. Judging someone by their appearance is one of the worst things a Christian can do in my opinion!

Skillet- Stars

The final Skillet song could be considered a worship song. Its light rock, its not heavy, and uses mainly electronic sounds. The words are amazing and really hit home for me. What do we have to fear, God has called us through Love, and we are with him. He can calm storms, so he can give us peace. He is never far away and never is late to anything. He holds the stars in place, and he holds our hearts all the same. It is a beautifully poetic song. This song has to be one of my favourites at the moment!
Hopefully, you would have seen that Christian Rock can cover a wide range of messages, that show the power, the love of God, but also give encouragement to Christians going through tough times. Sharp, simple messages that reveal the light.

FireFlight-We are Alive

Here we have more obvious Christian rock. The song states we are alive in Christ. That we shine in the dark, and that we shouldn’t contain this light. We should go out into the world and spread the news. Fireflight have moved away from traditional rock, into more electronic sounding rock in recent years and it suits them. They have a lot of powerful songs, that range from trials and problems in the Christian life, to songs like this, upbeat and happy, which again give encouragement to Christians.
Decyfer Down- Best I can

This song is wonderful, I love listening to it, and taking the words in very time. God sees our mistakes, he sees our hearts. We are messed up, even when we try the best we can to do things right. The song talks about this and about that God loves us even though we fail and mess up, that we are his. The song is a dialogue between the singer and God, about how we realises how bad he is, and that he does his best, but knows he ultimately falls short of what God requires of us, yet God responds with love. This song again shows how encouraging rock songs can be for the Christian.

Theocracy-I AM

Theocracy is an interesting name for a band, you should look up the word! The band however focuses on the genre of power metal and wow do they deliver. Their songs focus on many aspects of God. This song, for example goes through many attributes of God. It is amazing, and well written. Theocracy also cover many aspects of Jesus’s message of how we should be a light in the world, or certain parts of the bible, where Paul finds the altar to the unknown god. In some ways, these are songs you couldn’t write in any other form. The structure of power metal makes it a perfect genre to write about these themes and topics. Again we can see encouragement for Christians, as well a proclamation of what Jesus is all about. Now I don’t advocate entertainment evangelism by any means, but the message in these songs are so powerful, that I think it would be hard to not listen and think about the gospel.
HB-Jesus Metal Explosion

Weird title for a song don’t you think? The band is Finish and again are amazing in how they deliver their songs. The singer has a beautiful voice, and this song is actually good. It talks about the truth that Jesus is the only way. No one can get to God without Jesus, and this song covers that point. It declares that we cannot be ashamed of his name and that we belong to him. It’s a call to proclaim his word, and songs like these are what Christians need to hear today. To get out there and make a impact. It reminds of us the simple message of the gospel. Yes they don’t go into the deepness of the doctrines, but I think our focus should go back to the simple points, lest we forget Jesus.

So Christian rock, it is quite clear that I am a fan of it. I love rock and metal music. Some of us, *cough* Josh *cough* don’t like the sound of rock music, and that is fair enough, it is not for everyone. However we should not be judging this genre of music. It can be extremely beneficial and useful for Christians and non-Christians alike. As my mother told me recently, Christian Rock artists are musicians who write about their passion, their desires. How great it is to see Christians openly singing about Christ and his love and the cross, how great to see them being so passionate about it. How great it is to see a light in the darkness. Do not judge my dear brothers and sisters, be open minded about this and do not discourage musicians. Now let me go and put some Skillet on, after all they are my favourite band.

Life of a Christian at University

In this post, I aim to discuss the life of a Christian at university; the difficulties, the witness, but also the joys and experiences that one will find. I have been at university for four years, doing a BA and then a MA at Winchester and it has been an experience! I have met many people, from all backgrounds, and I have become richer culturally speaking because of it. I have met people from different Christian backgrounds, agnostics, atheists and those of other religions. I have certainly learnt a lot from them all, and I thank God for such an experience. However, it has not been all plain sailing, and in this post I aim to address what it is like to be a Christian on campus and the difficulties we can face.

There are certainly a lot of pressures at university, to drink, to partake in sex before marriage and so forth. I was blessed by the fact that in my first year, my flatmates were completely understanding, and a few of them were Christians too. It was great going to the CU along with them, talking about God and encouraging each other, my non-Christian flatmates were also awesome, they never pressured me into doing anything and we had a lot of fun together. However, this isn’t always the case, and pressure can be tough to take, however, to take a stand for God is worth it, you realise you don’t need drink, sex or these things to make you happy or complete. In later blog posts I will discuss in more detail about the struggle with these individual items, particularly relationships. If you struggle with the pressure, then take it to the Lord in prayer, discuss it with him and talk to other Christians. Go to the CU for example and get involved, it is great to be around other Christians regardless of what background they have. In my first year, I had a great CU, great friends, and was greatly blessed, however, my case won’t be the same for all first year Christians. All I can say is that do not be discouraged, God is never far, he won’t let you go, his love never fails us! Once you have found yourself a great church that you feel at home at, whatever denomination (can even differ from the one you go to at home!), you will feel as though you have a home away from home!

Being a Christian on campus, means we have a great responsibility! We have a call to witness! Now this does not mean we go around forcing the gospel down people’s throats, dread to think what that would achieve! Our actions can speak louder than words, whether it is not swearing, or not going out to nightclubs, forgiving friends who have failed us, or to simply show love even in the darkest times, people notice these things and wonder why are they different? I have had many a good conversation with people about the Gospel, and I have hardly ever started any conversations myself! People are curious, and that is great, you don’t have to be going round saying “Jesus loves you” every five minutes, just show them by how you act. My biggest failing was that I never got involved in the CU properly, I attended events in my first year, but started to decline my attendances from 2nd year onwards, and it is shameful that I did. CU’s are called to evangelise, and have a great impact at University, whether its talking about the gospel or giving people tea and coffee on a Wednesday night to people who had been clubbing. The love shown at CU’s has been a great encouragement to me, and the desire for God never ceases to amaze. I have even had some amazing personal experiences, and I can only recommend them to people of all different denominations.

Being a Christian means that we are different from other students, but that doesn’t mean we keep ourselves in our little bubble and never talk to others! Many of my friends over the four years have been non-Christians and they have helped me as I have helped them. Do not feel as though you can only be friends with Christians, firstly it’s a bad witness, secondly you can learn so much from them, and learn more about human beings in general. University certainly moulded me as a person, I became more confident, I became crazier! Being at University moulded my faith; I began to trust God more and more. At uni, you will go through pain and hardship, I won’t make it sound like a fairy-tale, it isn’t. Do not however, be scared of it, God may call you to uni, he may not have, but if he has, take the challenge and be that light. Trust in the Lord, and if you wander, the Lord will bring you back, remember through the trials and temptations that he is standing next to you. Lean on him, let him carry you! I wish I had more and more when I look back. I messed up big time, and made some huge errors. We aren’t perfect, but God always brings us back, and that is just wonderful news.

Do not go to university expecting to find your one true love. In some ways, I thought I would, I was naïve in that. I will discuss relationships in more detail in the future as it needs an entire post dedicated to it, but I made mistakes, and it wasn’t good for my spiritual walk with Christ. Now you may find the perfect partner, that Christian girl or guy who is fantastic, many of my friends have, and I am really happy for them, but it isn’t guaranteed. Even though I tried, I have never had a Christian relationship, but God will put someone into our lives when we and that person are both ready. There is no rush, focus on the kingdom, and the people around you, and see what happens.

Another bit of advice would be about politics. Be careful! University is all about politics, it seems you have to either be really left wing or right wing, maybe that’s just me being sceptical, but don’t get drawn into needless political debates. It won’t solve anything, and will end up with people getting really angry and annoyed. I’m not saying do not get involved with politics, I truly believe that Christians should get involved as much as they can. What I suggest is to avoid all the petty arguments and hate. Learn to understand other points of view and respect others. Basically follow the example set by Jesus, as in all things!

I recommend that you should find a place to meditate.  A place where you feel at ease, where you feel inspired, or just a place that is quiet.  For me Winchester Cathedral was a fantastic place to go to, whether during the day or night.  I always found it easier to talk to God there, I could focus my mind better on him.  Of course God meets with us everywhere, and there is nothing special with the Cathedral, but places such as these can just help us focus, and allow us to clear our minds and can be a real blessing.

So in conclusion, university is a big step and change in one’s life, and it isn’t necessary easy. There will certainly be ups and downs, but is it worth it? For me personally, it was. It helped me build up my confidence, meet other people and learn so many lessons that I don’t think I would have learned anywhere else. University however, is not the be all and end all, you should not feel forced to go or feel it’s what everyone does so you should to. The life at university is not for everyone and no one should ever be ashamed for not going. However if you do go, then pray, and walk with the Lord, and who knows what might happen!

Nebuchadnezzar: The king of kings

There are a great many valuable lessons we can learn from Nebuchadnezzar’s life; and in the following series of articles I intend to draw some out and apply them to our day and age. So join me as we explore the life of a great man, raised up by God!

I’m nobody special; I don’t have a doctorate or professorship, or even a degree yet. I haven’t studied academically into this area. What will be written here is based on my own personal study of the Bible and simple research and pointers from available commentaries, books, encyclopaedias and the great deal of information available through the internet.

It can be easy to read the Bible (particularly the book of Daniel more so perhaps) as just a story sometimes, but it all happened, it is as true and real as the hair on your head (unless you’re Ben Kingsley, of course) – archaeological finds and Babylonian records back it up too. These people lived, worked and played, just as we do today.

Many people today forget Nebuchadnezzar, or ignore him, yet in his day he was the most powerful man on earth, and a major Biblical character. I’m not going to launch here into how humble, unworthy or poor my attempt is on writing about the life and times of Nebuchadnezzar; you can judge that for yourself.

I’m thrilled to have an opportunity to write about a subject I love! I have attempted to present a balanced and honest picture as far as possible. I am human like everyone, so there are bound to be various mistakes and/or discrepancies. Hopefully, however, others will benefit from these articles, as I trust I will in writing them.

There are many grey areas, which is only to be expected, these events took place 2,600 years ago! Where there are conflicting opinions, I have tried to present all viewpoints equally.

Through Nebuchadnezzar’s life we can see God’s ever-present hand at work, sometimes ‘behind-the-scenes’, but other times more openly.

So without further ado: ahem, ladies and gentlemen, I present the first part…


Nebuchadnezzar: The king of kings

This will be the first article of many, I trust; setting the scene for the events that follow, and introducing you to this fascinating man.

Daniel addressed Nebuchadnezzar in the following manner:

“Your Majesty, you are the king of kings.
The God of heaven has given you dominion and power and might and glory in your hands he has placed all mankind and the beasts of the field and the birds in the sky. Wherever they live, he has made you ruler over them all.
You are that head of gold.” Dan. 2:37-38

In 570 BC the Babylonian Empire was at its fullest extent. It stretched from modern-day Turkey down to Egypt, and from modern-day Iran down into the heartlands of Arabia.

Neo-Babylonian Empire
Neo-Babylonian Empire (Wikimedia Commons)

The Babylonians were the most powerful civilisation of their time, and subdued all challengers to that title in a series of successful military campaigns.

The city of Babylon, from where the Babylonians derived their name, was the central metropolis of the empire with around 200,000 inhabitants – a massive figure at the time. To put it into perspective, London wouldn’t reach this size until the 1600s.

The Babylonians, much like their counterparts throughout the pages of history (Sumer, Egypt, Persia, Greece, Rome, etc.), lead the way in art, architecture, lifestyle, mathematics and learning as well.

At the head of this civilization was the king, worshipped by his subjects like a god, surrounded and supported by ‘great’ and ‘powerful’ gods of gold and stone.

He commanded unparalleled power. Woe to them that caused the slightest displeasure to his person; he would inflict the most severe tortures and punishments upon his enemies, skinning them alive. Those, on whom his favour rested, on the other hand, would be showered with riches untold.

Who made this kingdom what it was? Who was ‘the king of kings’? Who commanded such power and fear?

King Nabû-kudurri-uṣur II; more commonly known as: Nebuchadnezzar II.

Nebuchadnezzar raised Babylon from a backward puppet city-state ruled by Assyria, into the nation that it was. Babylon had been dominated by Assyria for centuries, despite being in a state of near-constant rebellion against them.

At first by his father’s side, but later on his own, Nebuchadnezzar elevated his nation into a major world power. Under his reign, Babylon experienced its golden era.

No other ruler was called ‘king of kings’ in the Bible by God Himself (Ezk. 26:7f), see note 1.

Daniel addressed him with this title too; he did well to do so, Nebuchadnezzar was certainly a man to be feared; he had just previously ordered the death of Daniel and all the wise men of Babylon because of their inability to tell him his dream (Dan. 2:9ff). In verses 5 and 6 of chapter two he says:

“’This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble. But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honour. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.’” Dan. 2:5-6.

Piles of rubble can also be translated as ‘dunghill’ or ‘ash-heap.’

In this quote, we get an idea of the character of this man. It also reveals how much he was troubled by this dream.

If Nebuchadnezzar did not get his way, we can clearly see the drastic lengths that he was prepared to go to. Who could stand up to him?

One can imagine his advisers skulking around the palace, not daring to offend or disappoint him; offering up flattery and praise rather than opinion or advice.

Thankfully for Babylon, God did not allow Nebuchadnezzar to carry out his plan which he had ‘firmly decided’. Such a rash action would have deprived Babylon of the vast majority of its rulers and teachers (as well as the resident Jewish contingent); although admittedly, the court ‘magicians’ and astrologers might not have been that useful anyhow!

Here, God clearly intervenes by speaking through Daniel to Nebuchadnezzar, relating his dream (which he apparently had forgotten), and interpreting it for him – a great mercy for all involved; and a classic example of God overruling a man’s plans (Prv. 19:21).


Prophecies concerning Nebuchadnezzar

The Bible speaks a lot about Nebuchadnezzar; he was God’s tool – raised up by the Lord to punish those ripe for judgement. Jeremiah and Ezekiel prophesy extensively concerning him.

The Burning of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar's Army by Juan de la Corte
The Burning of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar’s Army by Juan de la Corte (Wikimedia Commons)

Jeremiah’s prophecies (and the historical interludes in Jeremiah) relate his eventual conquest of Jerusalem, after destroying much of it twice, and instilling first Zedekiah as puppet-king and then Gedaliah as governor. Both of whom rebelled against him (or in Gedaliah’s case the people whom he was supposed to be governing), despite the Lord’s repeated warnings through Jeremiah (Jer. 22:25, 25:9f, 27:6f, 28:14, 29:21f, 32:28f, 43:9ff, 46:13ff, 46:26).

Nebuchadnezzar also fulfilled prophecies given by the Lord predicting campaigns against Tyre (Isa. 26, Ezk. 26:7f) and Egypt (Ezk. 29:19f, 30:10f) by name; and Assyria also (Nah. 2).

Unfortunately for Nebuchadnezzar, he did not recognise or acknowledge the fact that he was raised up by God and not by himself, resulting in the Lord humbling him severely; but more on that later.


Rise and fall of an empire

This period of Mesopotamian and Israelite history is fascinating with hindsight. The rise (under Nebuchadnezzar) and fall of the Babylonians in the 6th century BC is certainly one of the most dramatic in history. In actual fact the Babylonian Empire rose and fell in a little over half a century.

It should be noted before we continue, that the Babylon in Nebuchadnezzar’s time is the ‘Neo-Babylonian Empire’ or second empire of Babylon. Babylon had a fairly substantial independent empire eleven hundred years before. They also had a Nebuchadnezzar before, hence why our subject is labelled the second.

Babylon, in the land of Shinar, has a long history; it being the location of the Tower of Babel in Genesis 11 as well.


Rich archaeological heritage

I hope you will permit me a slight diversion (getting side-tracked already!): one note I would like to make on the first Babylonian empire is of special historic archaeological interest, as an example of the richness of Middle-Eastern archaeology. The site of Aqar Quf, a 14th century BC Babylonian city (near modern-day Baghdad, Iraq) is the location of “an unusually well preserved ziggurat.” Rising to a height of 180 feet, the mud-brick core of the ziggurat still stands today, weathering almost 3,500 years of history and conflict. It is remarkable that such a relic from a by-gone age has survived. Think of all that it has witnessed, from Alexander the Great to the Mongol invasions and the Iraq war …

The ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu in 2010. © U.S. Army - Spc. David Robbins.
The ziggurat of Dur-Kurigalzu in 2010. © U.S. Army – Spc. David Robbins.

Egypt and the pyramids get all the attention (and rightly so, to an extent), but we do miss out on the (arguably even more spectacular) remains of the Mesopotamian civilisations. Such a building makes archaeology and history in the Near East so amazing. So much still survives from its rich history; but equally so much has been lost, and so much is yet to be found.




1 – The only other human being called ‘king of kings’ in the Bible is Artaxerxes, king of Persia. However that was a title he gave himself, in a letter sent to Ezra the priest (Ezra 7:11-13); this was common practice for such rulers in those days.