Music has been important to people of faith at least since biblical times. It has been one of Christianity's richest blessings. Music has inspired the Church, instructed her, allowed her to worship in most meaningful ways, and provided one of her most effective means of reaching the lost. Now, strangely and perversely, music has also become the most divisive subject among many Christians since the early debates over biblical inerrancy.

Amazingly and sadly, more churches split in the 90s over concerns about musical styles in their worship services than over any other consideration. Profound theological questions, preaching effectiveness, outreach and Christian education concerns all took a back seat to disputes about music!

Suddenly, music surged to the forefront to become topic number one in many churches. Terry Mattingly, religion columnist for Scripps Howard, wrote that many Christians are holding contemporary Christian musicians to a higher standard of conduct than they are expecting of their own pastors. This is astonishing. In many churches, pastors divorce and re-marry, and remain in the ministry, sometimes even at the same church, and hardly an eyebrow is raised. Musicians Amy Grant and Gary Chapman separate, and multitudes are up in arms. What is going on? In the Nashville contemporary Christian music community, significant creative, marketing and business talent is spending time trying to define what makes a "Christian song," while millions need the best music Christians can create and deliver to them. We now have the unseemly spectacle of Michael W. Smith opening the last Dove Awards telecast with a song, which the powers that be now tell him, is not eligible to be considered for a Dove Award. Give me a break. The storm rages on.

Into this maelstrom sails rocker, {{Charlie Peacock}}, the much awarded and highly respected producer, composer and performing artist. He does not come in with an empty boat. He comes in with a boatload of truth in the form of his eagerly anticipated book, ==At The Crossroads== -- An Insider's Look at the Past, Present and Future of Contemporary Christian Music. (Broadman and Holman) His "look" is an unblinking one, an unflinching one. It is a look through the lens of Holy Scripture. It is must reading for everyone who has even the slightest interest in music and its role in the Church now and in the new millenium.

A good book is one which does an adequate job of covering its announced subject. A great book is one which covers its announced subject and, while doing it, conveys universal truths beyond the subject. At the Crossroads is a great book. While the book delineates the hard fact that contemporary Christian music burst into existence without having a scripturally sound theology to guide it, he doesn't stop there. Peacock calls us all back to the Bible and to a Holy Spirit directed study to be sure that we have a sound theological rationale for our lives of service to the Lord Jesus. While admonishing those he loves (in a ministry he loves) to realize that their view of God's Kingdom is too small, too constricting, he prods us all toward a greater and truer understanding of the fullness and richness of the Kingdom.

With a foreword by {{Steven Curtis Chapman}}, an afterward by {{Jars of Clay}} and interviews with almost everyone who is anyone in Christian music, ==At the Crossroads== has plenty for the avid fan. But it also has so much more. Do not miss this wonderful book, which certainly sets the standard for books in this genre, and is destined to become a classic.

While bringing a boatload of truth, Peacock's book does it with great charm and graceful writing. Here is a small representative sample. "Music is the soundtrack to the story we are telling through our lives and our communities.
Through emotion and word it documents our journey. It looks back at grace and gives God worshipful praise. It looks forward in faith to future grace and gives God praise as well. Music is present when we're born and when we're buried, when we learn our ABC's and when we graduate from high school, when we celebrate birthdays, baptisms, Christmas and Easter, when we first hear the gospel, when we share our first dance, our first kiss, and when we marry. Music is both a quiet song in our hearts and a thundering symphony that takes our breath away. Our enjoyment and use of it seems to know no end. It is literally the sonic backdrop to life and culture. All in all, it's possible to say that music is everywhere and not risk exaggeration." Wow! I wish I could write like that.

==At the Crossroads== by Charlie Peacock, a book of beauty and truth. Do not miss it.