On 7th March the largest event in the United Kingdom for young Roman Catholics will be held at Wembley Arena in London. 'Flame 2' is organised by the Catholic Youth Ministry Federation and is anticipated to attract up to 10, 000 young Roman Catholics. Throughout the day Roman Catholics speakers will bring messages to the young people gathered there, and at the conclusion of the day Cardinal Vincent Nichols will lead everyone in a time of Adoration i.e. the Mass. None of this is unusual, or worthy of special comment for it what we would expect at a Roman Catholic event. This issue which attracts our attention on this occasion is the presence of a leading Contemporary Christian Music artist, Matt Redman.
Redman is currently one of the most popular and influential artists among Christian young people therefore his attendance at this event is concerning. The Catholic Youth Ministry Federation have described it as a 'wonderful blessing for Flame II that Matt is able to lead the music' and that they 'are certain that this encounter will enrich school and parish Masses and liturgies in the months after Flame II.' Such a recommendation is hardly one which we would desire! As well as being the lead musical act, Redman is also listed as one of the speakers for this event, and has personally promoted it on his own Twitter account (see here).
Sadly this is not a first for Redman as in 2014 he held a joint concert in Belfast with Matt Maher; someone who would be described as a Contemporary Christian musician, yet who in truth is a devout Roman Catholic. A quick glance at Matt Redman's previous and upcoming events a similar lack of discernment in relation to biblical separation, with Hillsong, Passion Conference and Joyce Meyer's conference being three of the most glaring examples.
So what does this mean? It means that young (and older) Christians should take great care in which artists they listen to, and how devoted they become to these people. Many Christian artists today have a following among young Christians which is on a par with secular pop artists, and there is nothing more certain to cause a row than to criticise someones favourite Christian singer. Yet there are occasions where concerns arise which need to be highlighted, and we believe that this is one such occasion. The important question to ask might well be whether we are more annoyed at the actions of our favourite Christian singers, or more annoyed that their actions have been highlighted?