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Steve Camp
By John Wehrle 

After a career spanning 25 years and sales of over one million albums, Steve Camp is back with his latest release, Desiring God. The album, released in late 2002, describes a journey Camp has been on for the past five years. 

In the past eight years, Camp said goodbye to his record label and produced two of his own independent CDs. While his music career tanked, Camp became a voice for the conservative side of Christian music with his letter of the "107 Theses" and his latest "Corporate Worship for the Church? Chevrolet and the Word of God--An Open Letter to the CCM Community from Steve Camp."  His distributed literature has become more popular than his music, as Camp has turned heads amongst the Christian industry and music enthusiasts. Recently, I had the opportunity to speak with Camp about his personal views on the music industry and his latest release Desiring God.

The conversation began with a chat about the Chevy sponsored tour featuring Michael W. Smith and Third Day. Camp began, "They called it 'Come Together and Worship.' I don't know how much worship actually occurred."  "The excuse is that you have to charge to cover cost for the evening. If it's a worship event, you think why the need for the production. I think what people get confused with are worship songs being sung in performance. That's what happens a lot today. It's a worship performance, but not true biblical worship.

"(Worship) is more than just people raising their hands, closing their eyes and singing along. That's not worship, come on, you can do that at a Springsteen show and get moved and get goose bumps. True biblical worship must instruct people to the Lord, and it's something we are instructed to give to Him, in response to His character and His truth. That doesn't happen with Chevrolet footing the bill."

"The world cannot participate in the worship of God. It's foreign. I'm still waiting for someone on the more liberal end of things theologically to show those of us that are more orthodox in our faith, a biblical reason for the support of that."

"When we believe by the word alone, that has to have some meaning. The reformers gave their lives for the purity and clarity and doctrinal effectiveness and urgency of the scriptures and when we simply say in a post-modern culture, 'Well we're not really sure what that means and who's to say what's true and what's not true'...that's just sloppy agape at that point."

"I think today it's hard. When it comes to money and the pragmatics of a large audience, let's face it we are sinful people. We have wicked deceived hearts and we will try to justify anything on the basis to satisfy money."

Camp continued to question the validity of a corporation supporting a worship tour. He added, "When is planned parenthood sponsoring the next worship concert. When is Budweiser getting on board? If it doesn't matter where the money is coming from then take it from all these people."

"People in our industry have created a sub-culture. This is really at the heart of the issue. The world has Rolling Stones, we have CCM. The world has the Grammys; we now parent that and have the Dove Awards. GMA has created a Christian ghetto. They have Chevy sponsored tours...ah, let's get corporate sponsors. There is no Biblical modeling and very little if any Biblical leadership. They have created a Christian ghetto and a Christian sub-culture that they want to function within. Rather than partnering with the church and going into the marketplace as real Roaring Lambs, we have to be distinctive."

Prompted by his faith, Camp has removed himself from the machine of the Christian music industry. With the formation of Audience One, a Christian-based record label, Camp is trying to show the industry that Christian music can be distributed, sold, commercially viable, played on the radio, and effective without being put out by a secular record label. Camp said Audience One is the only Christian label that exists.

"The album is taken off the book from John Piper. God is most glorified in us when we are satisfied," said Camp.

"We live in such an introverted time where faith has been used for personal happiness instead of holiness. Where the goal of faith is no longer Christ likeness but self-esteem, and the basis of faith is no longer the object of truth of scripture but about personal experience. It's not about my happiness but His glory.

"Let that begin in time what we will do for eternity. So Desiring God is finding your personal satisfaction, rest, and joy solely in the Lordship of Christ.

"The album wasn't meant as a worship album, but there are strong worship undertones to every story told. The whole point is...will we desire God through those times, and just not in the absence of these times?"


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