Archives For Stryper

It’s always good to find small connections between one interest and another. It may not have wowed the Karl Barth Discussion Group on FB, but, hey, unless you’re poking sticks at the local wolf pack, not much rocks that sometimes stuffy Colosseum anyway.

I’m a casual Stryper fan and an avid student of anti-Nazi theologian, Karl Barth, so this particular connection made my day.

Barth, 1942:

‘The grace of God, is the answer to the ethical problem. For it sanctifies man. It claims him for God. It puts him under God’s command.’ [i]

Stryper, 1985:


[i] Barth, K. 1942 Ethics as a Task of the Doctrine of God, CD, 2:2, Henderickson Publishers, (p.516)

OzMikeThe latter part of 2015 is shaping up  to make it a big year for new music. October 16th, saw Stryper release their new album, ‘Fallen.’

Alongside Guardian, listening to any new content of theirs is like sitting down in earnest to hear new stories from old friends.

Both bands top the list of hard-rock musicians who aren’t concerned about the potential negative impacts that sharing their Christian faith and thought, through their music, might have on their popularity. While numbers are important to the business, these guys rock for the love of it, they also just happen to infuse their art with the Christian faith and thought that empowers it.

Stryper hold a special place in my twenty-year old, CD & Vinyl music collection. In the late 1990’s, just trying to get a Stryper CD, let alone an LP, was difficult because they were rare and expensive. Due perhaps to Stryper’s decade long hiatus.

The band has it’s flaws and they know it. These only serve to show that Stryper is no studio produced C.C.M,  American evangelical “boy-band.” They are in the wilderness, doing what they can with the grace afforded to them. What every new Stryper album in the past decade has proven time and time again is that Robert, Michael, Oz, and Tim  know how to communicate their talent with humility.

The guitars and vocals are edgier, but it would be a mistake to consider this Stryper v.2.0. Dropping some of the hyper-staged theatrics from the 80’s glam-rock era, as a brand Stryper has matured, not aged.  Though, the yellow and black “spandex” is gone, the yellow and black guitars are not.  Risky move, but the decision appears to have paid off. Their fan base is still loyal and long. Showing that the band has earnt the respect that serious musicians who don’t take themselves too seriously, deserve.

In this new album, Stryper lift the bar on most of their previous albums,  ‘To Hell With The Devil’ is even outshone by the lyrical depth and harmonies of ‘Yahweh’. Highlights include ‘Big Screen Lies’, ‘Yahweh’, ‘Let There Be Light’, and the brilliant riff that coincides with Sweet’s vocals on, ‘Pride‘.

Like their success and the flawed journey through it, Stryper still stand as examples of how Christians can be ‘in the world, but not of it.’ They walk the fine line between fitting in and standing out. As Christians they remain ambassadors for contextual mission to the younger generation; a balanced movement that reaches out in a real way, with the zeal of a sinner-saved-by-grace, over-against the self-righteous and self-important fanaticism of the Pharisee.

In the end, what ‘Fallen’ does as an album is prove that Stryper can still rock.


Image: featuring guitarists and lead vocalist Oz Fox & Michael Sweet


Stryper, 2015 ‘Yahweh’ from the album, ‘Fallen’

Browsing my YouTube news feed, taking a break from writing a book review. Low and behold, I discover this melodic beauty. A veritable gem, highlighting the potential promise of Stryper’s forthcoming new release.

For me, the saturation of the smoke like colouring which washes over the video, sets the tone. The guitars – solid, the drums sound great, but yeh not sure what to think of the hat. The album cover artwork rocks, the desolate setting in the video fits in with the lyrics, and the sunset/sunrise in the background adds to the dynamics*.

* I received no money or payment of any kind to write/post this.

Facile Friday

May 10, 2013 — 4 Comments

A big thanks to those who stopped by the blog this week. The idea behind Facile Friday is to give a voice to others. So here goes…a recap of things that I stopped to wonder at this week.


1. What I consider to be ONE of the most significant reflections I have read this week, is found on orthosphere, under the title ‘Where we are, and where we’re goin’. This  warning, which is rightly identified by the author, is reflected by Gene Roddenberry in his sci-fi series ‘Andromeda’. Basically he deals with the dangers associated with Nietzsche’s ‘Übermensch’ (superhumans), the overall existence of Nietzscheans in the series illustrates exactly what the orthosphere points out here. Eugene Peterson also points to this when he asserts that “Gnosticism is a virus that threatens the life of the offers a spirituality without God, at least any god other than the spark of divinity I sense within me” (‘Christ plays in ten thousand places’ 2005, p.62)

2.  Author of the Book “God’s mind in that music” , Jamie Howison gets a sound out. He posted a thought-provoking piece on our collective attitude towards Ascension day. Howison wonders why we don’t make a bigger deal of Ascension Day saying: “I suspect it also has something to do with our modest embarrassment around the story we tell that day”.  Is he right? He just might be.

3. In a similar thread of thought, I was pointed to this 2011 article on art and theology written by David Clayton. Interesting reading. I found the discussion on individualism insightful.

4.  John Millbank, research Professor of Politics, Religion and Ethics at the University of Nottingham, wrote an article on The impossibility of gay marriage and the threat of biopolitical control.This particular article is informative and long. So be prepared to skim through if you are squeezed for time. For brevity Millbank points to state interference in the church via eugenics, ideology and how those two issues underly part of the momentum of the LGBT movement. For balance here is Jason Micheli suggesting that rejecting Gay marriage ‘may even be resisting the Spirit, to attempt to deprive same-sex couples of the discipline of marriage and not to celebrate same-sex weddings…the danger of refusing to celebrate love is real’.

My own developing, confessional-theological view on this : it is sad that the theological debate goes on being informed by left and right isms, that the emotional manipulation continues and that good theologians are seemingly pressured into merging their theology with the ideology  of the groupthink, in order to keep the ”love never rebukes” lie flowing. I am skeptical of any sociopolitical group that seems to preach an interpretation of  agape as ”love devoid of rebuke”. I am also suspicious of any sociopolitical group who seems to equate rights and social justice with  the ‘giddy euphoria associated with breaking taboos’ (Gene Veith). I am cautious of any sociopolitical group who measures love and acceptance with the warmth felt from always being in the spotlight. I am cautious of any sociopolitical group who equates disagreement with disrespect and treachery. I will openly question any sociopolitical group who uses ridicule to silence discussion and debate. (Disclaimer: this is not a beat-up of Jason, his article is insightful and his blog provides a service to many, even this accidental prodigal).

5. Scot McKnight hits the mark with his post about theologian David Wilkinson. I have had the honor of sitting under some lectures by David Wilkinson on creation. McKnight points to a ChristianityToday article by Wilkinson who provides a five point discussion on Creation and how we limit our thinking about it. A good read!!

6. I stumbled across John Stackhouse this week. I wanted to brush up on some writing styles and the conventions that are associated with them.  Personally, I found this helpful and extremely valuable for someone new to blogging.

7. I am going to plug Melinda Vanry’s blog again this week, because there is a real need for more discussion like this in the Church today especially with regards to how we treat/understand anxiety and depression.  Melinda discusses issues about mental health in a theologically reflective way.If you are in Australia and you are struggling in this area please contact Beyond Blue or talk to a trusted church, Pastor or friend.

8. Theological masters of rock,  STRYPER have a new album in the pipeline. Michael Sweet, Tim Gaines, Oz Fox and Robert Sweet have been pushing on through the secular/sacred line. True, there are limits too how much Stryper one can listen to, however…that said…

That’s all folks…