Now, I do think there can be legitimately unique music which would seek for a proper descriptor and with reverence land on the adjective "Christian". I also do think there is an industry aimed at producing music for the church which can have some really good stuff in it. But the notion that an industry or a label or an artist can be so bold as to control the giving of this adjective, or even that listeners can look to such a labelling enterprise in a trusting way, is troubling. I think Karl Barth might say it best:
"It is not the Church which makes its special activity holy. It is not itself which by its special activity in the world marks itself off from that of other societies. But this means that it does not lie in its power or under its control to give to its own activity the predicate "Christian." It would do well always to apply this adjective to its own activities only with the greatest reserve and therefore relatively seldom.
In all seriousness there are what we may call "Christian" activities, which are as such different from all others and as such holy, a holy activity of the community within the world. There is in fact a coincidence of its divine separation and its own separations in and with its activity (in its preaching, in its worship, in its constitution, in its ordinances, in its theology, in its attitude in questions and decisions which affect the world). There are human acts and attitudes which are holy as such, i.e., which have the character of real witness to the One whose earthly historical existence the Church is allowed to be.
But that they have this character is always dependent upon the answering witness of the One whom they aim and profess to attest."
Even the first Christians were themselves so named by the Antiochan public. Even Mary does not call herself "blessed" but rejoices in the grace that generations would refer to her as such. Even the Christ himself is happy to mutter a mere "you have said so" and let the declaration of his Kingship echo off the lips of Pilate; the one who would let him be killed.
I think we can appreciate when the industries and arts of church people are unconcerned to self-define---but are genuinely living instead from the reverent and unassuming prayer that on the earth and in the world they might bear God's savour and light.
- Quotation from Karl Barth, Church Dogmatics IV.1, 693-694, cf. IV.2, 188ff.