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March 9th, 2013
10:00 PM ET

Chris Tomlin, king of the sing-along

By Eric Marrapodi and Tom Foreman, CNN
[twitter-follow screen_name='EricCNNBelief'] [twitter-follow screen_name='tomforemancnn']

Baltimore (CNN) - The capacity crowd at the 1st Mariner Arena in Baltimore is bouncing in unison to the most widely sung music on the planet today. The catwalk above the arena is shaking.

Chris Tomlin grabs the microphone and asks the crowd if they’re ready.

"I feel alive, on God's great dance floor!" He leads the packed venue in singing and jumping.

Tomlin is out touring the country with his latest studio album, “Burning Lights.” In January, it topped the Billboard 200 charts. But unlike those who've enjoyed performances by Beyonce, Johnny Cash and a host of others who've played this Baltimore hall, after these fans stream out the doors they will have ample opportunity to sing Tomlin's songs again, as one.

That is the secret to Tomlin’s success – the stage, the lights, the band - aren’t about him. As lively as his shows are, the point is not to get you inside the doors. The point is to get you singing in church.

“I strive for trying to write something that people can sing, that people want to sing, and that people need to sing,” Tomlin explained before the show.

Tomlin is the undisputed king of worship music, a genre of Christian music sung on Sunday mornings all across the world and increasingly played on Christian radio stations. The music is simple, devotional and easy on the ears.

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“We would say that Chris is the most prolific songwriter in the United States now, in this past decade,” said Howard Rachinski, CEO of Christian Copyright Licensing International, the company that tracks what music is used in churches around the world.

In 2012, CCLI paid out $40 million to artists and musicians, and Tomlin got a healthy slice of that pie. Churches around the world used 128 songs he wrote or co-wrote last year, Rachinski said.

CCLI estimates that every Sunday in the United States, between 60,000 and 120,000 churches are singing Tomlin’s songs. By extrapolating that data, Rachinski says, “our best guess would be in the United States on any given Sunday, 20 to 30 million people would be singing Chris Tomlin's songs.”

In their last two reporting periods, Tomlin had the No. 1 most-sung song and five of the top 25.

Search YouTube for "How Great is Our God" or "Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)." Black, white, Asian, big churches, small ones are all belting out Tomlin songs. A lot.

For perspective, consider Tomlin’s musical success against one secular counterpart. In 2012, Katy Perry's record sales dwarfed Tomlin’s, but Billboard reported her songs were played 1.4 million times on the radio. Using CCLI’s low-end calculation, Tomlin’s songs were played 3.12 million times in churches.

Growing up Tomlin

Chris Tomlin was reared in Grand Saline, Texas, heavily influenced by country music. His dad taught him to play the guitar.

“I learned all country music - Willie Nelson, and Johnny Cash, all those kind of guys. Those are what my dad played and I played. And I played at my church as well,” Tomlin said.

Tomlin went to college to study sports medicine. “I just didn't know the music would take me here. I loved it and I was getting opportunities to go play, and when I say go play I was starting to write songs of worship even (as) a young kid. I didn't know really what worship music was, what a worship leader was, any of that. I didn't know any of those terms,” he said.

Today, at 40 years old, he is the artist most associated with worship music.

While in college he began singing and writing in earnest. As a senior, he said, he was getting invitations to lead the music for Christian conferences with 10,000 students.

He knew his music was resonating with crowds when he got a call from EMI Publishing after his song “We Fall Down,” which was released in 1998, starting being  played in churches.

“I was just writing songs for the church and from there they just started taking off.”

The compositions are considerably different from pop music. They are simpler, and he takes pains to write them that way.

“I'm thinking as that comes out of my heart as a song of response, I'm trying to think, how can I form this so that everybody, people who are tone deaf, who can't clap on two and four, how can I form this song so they can sing it, so that it is singable?”

Part of that process comes from his love of country music, the simplicity of that music and the stories those songs tell. His goal is to write songs that communicate what people would like to say to God.

“Now, that doesn't happen all the time. I mean, I write so many songs that you never hear because they are not any good.”

Tomlin is the worship pastor at Passion City Church in Atlanta. He leads worship there twice a month and beta tests all his new songs on the congregation. Tomlin is also a major draw as the worship leader of the Passion Conferences, a series of Christian conferences around the world. In January, the conference packed out the Georgia Dome in Atlanta with 60,000 college-age students. Billboard magazine noted the conference helped push up pre-sales of Tomlin’s latest CD.

His songs are so sought-after that, even before they're released on CD, they start showing up in CCLI’s online database.

“His songs have probably had the most immediate impact on churches that we have seen in history,” Rachinski said. “Even before you get to street release [of a CD], churches are already networked and engaged with his songs.”

Don’t look for a crossover

Other contemporary Christian musicians, as the music industry designates them, have crossed over to mainstream pop with some success. Tomlin said he has no designs on making that leap.

He also doesn’t need the money. Over the course of his career he’s sold 4.2 million albums, had 6 million digital downloads, a number of sold-out tours, and of course, the copyright royalties.

Tomlin said money isn't what motivates him to write and perform.

“I feel like I have a responsibility,  that God has given me a gift to write songs for his church that people listen to and that people are coming to expect now,” he said. “When I make a record I feel that responsibility that worship leaders, churches are going to say, 'Hey, are these some new songs we can sing in our church?' And I don't take that lightly, and I don't go, ‘Oh let's go do something else fun.’”

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“I haven't invented any new instruments, I haven't created new chords that no one has ever played. I play the same chord that every band plays, we play the same instruments up there, the melodies are melodies. The difference to me in the music is that I ask that God's presence be on it and that people, when they sing these songs, sense that God does something.”

The spotlight is on Tomlin even more than ever after starting the year a top the Billboard charts. As he tours the country at bigger and bigger venues, he would prefer to step out of the spotlight, away from the microphone, and let everyone else sing.

“People would be mad that they paid for a ticket for that. So I do that just occasionally, but that is what I love.”

He said the night before, at the Theater at Madison Square Garden, he took as much time as he could to step back and let everyone else sing.

“It was just so beautiful, because I feel like it says something. It's not just like, ‘Hey, listen to me sing.’ This is all of us together. I think when you step back from the mic and it is not about you - and yeah, the light may be on you, but this is about all of us singing. This is about a bigger story, it's about a greater story. It's about a greater name than my name. My name is on the ticket, but this is about a greater name.”

CNN's Oliver Janney, Chris Turner, and Dan Merica contributed to this post.

- CNN Belief Blog Co-Editor

Filed under: Christianity • Music

soundoff (1,754 Responses)
  1. End Religion

    This guy will never sing as sweetly as Austin's cat, I assure you.

    March 16, 2013 at 10:39 am |
    • Damocles

      Is that an insult to him, the cat or both?

      March 16, 2013 at 10:44 am |
    • End Religion

      I don't know. I haven't had my Wheaties yet.

      March 16, 2013 at 10:55 am |
    • Science

      Green eggs and ham is good maybe

      It would be NICE......... but
      Maybe they should not have created the wedge !!!
      The wedge strategy is a political and social action plan authored by the Discovery Insti-tute, the hub of the intelligent design movement. The strategy was put forth in a Discovery Insti-tute manifesto known as the Wedge Docu-ment,[1] which describes a broad social, political, and academic agenda whose ultimate goal is to defeat materialism, naturalism, evolution, and "reverse the stifling materialist world view and replace it with a science consonant with Christian and theistic
      convictions.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

      Peace

      Please watch what the Discovery Inst-itute is trying to prevent.......................... evolution

      Thanks

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=okWkmgkS00w

      Dover Trial Transcripts............................................. FACTS.

      Below are the complete transcripts from the Dover Trial. Thanks to our friends at the National Center for Science Education for helping us fill in the missing transcripts.

      http://www.aclupa.org/legal/legaldocket/intelligentdesigncase/dovertrialtranscripts.htm

      March 23, 2013 at 6:59 am |
  2. CNNReader

    Religion is all about love and judgement - an oxymoron.

    You better believe the so-called judgement day is made-up, or other religions' judgement days are waiting for you to get there too!

    March 16, 2013 at 12:19 am |
  3. JesusFreak!!

    Wow. "Joe" and "Larry" are some angry elves aren't they? I guess Tomlin's music isn't as appealing to them as say Nicki Minaj or Justin Beiber. But, it's a free country so they have the right to slam people in the safety of their parent's basements. Meanwhile, Christians have freedom to WORSHIP a living GOD openly, outwardly, and without fear, hesitation, or persecution. Being an atheist is your choice. One day we will all know the truth. If I'm wrong, so be it. If your wrong, well eternity is a long time my friends. God doesn't need you love Him, but He wants you to.
    Proving that heaven exists is as simple as looking out your front door or watching the news. Evolution is just as "proven" as Heaven. In fact, it has actually been dis-proven more times than Heaven. (http://www.vedicsciences.net/articles/darwin-debunked.html) But you believe however you want.
    The 1st Law of Thermodynamics disproves the big bang "theory". (http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/biobookener1.html) But again, you choose what to believe.
    "Religion" is a choice. That choice is called FAITH. Faith (Chutzpah) is what God calls us to have. He wants us to choose. Otherwise we are no more than pets in a fish bowl. I cannot convince you that God is real any more than you can convince me that He isn't. We have each made our choice. My suggestion is to take your slander and negativity to another thread where someone may care or even value your opinions because you are not accomplishing anything here.
    IN GOD WE TRUST
    JESUS LOVES YOU
    "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father but through Me." Jesus in John 14:6
    "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the greatest commandment. The second is like it: love your neighbor as yourself." Matthew 22:37-39

    March 15, 2013 at 12:13 pm |
    • Yeah Right

      You sure got a lot of fallacies jammed into that one post.

      Hope the anger management program helps you some.

      March 15, 2013 at 12:19 pm |
    • Billy

      Yeah – sounds like a tail-gate party for jeebus all in one post.

      March 15, 2013 at 12:21 pm |
    • strohlon

      I'm willing to properly debate atheists on this blog, getting kind of old reading posts where neirther side has any concept of how to argue a point effectively. 4 rules – 1. There will be one primary subject being debted at a time, this subject must be agreed on by each person participating in the debate (any thing goes) 2. Each of debaters posts must stay on sunject, or debate why they believe it applies to the subjet. 3. A post using foul language can be ignored by the opponents until it rephrased 4 If an Atheists is declared the winner they can post whhatever hoopla they want to about the "AtheistDebater" or another Christian debater who joined in, but if the AtheistDebater, or Christian debater wins or loses they must silently pray for the Atheist. Larry of Nazareth Jimbo, Austin, End Religion here's your chance

      March 15, 2013 at 9:21 pm |
    • End Religion

      @JeebusFreak: "...WORSHIP a living GOD..."

      If he's a living god then he didn't die for your sins. If he's "risen" then he's undead. You may want to back off on the "living" claim – it renders the entire religion moot. Don't be shy, go ahead and claim your impotent zombie godling. Sounds fun!

      ***
      "One day we will all know the truth."

      No, we likely won't. We die and it goes just as blank as it was before you were born. So, enjoy your friends and family now. You'll never see them again once they're gone.

      ***
      If I'm wrong, so be it. If your wrong, well eternity is a long time my friends."

      The tired immoral and illegitimate Pascal's Wager. Don't you people ever learn?

      ***
      "God doesn't need you love Him, but He wants you to."

      This has to one of your more ridiculous statements. If he didn't need us to love him he wouldn't threaten us with punishment for withholding our worship. Petty, whiny god you got there.

      ***
      "Proving that heaven exists is as simple as looking out your front door or watching the news."

      That's not proof, it's fervent belief. Stop redefining terms. We all have access toa dictionary 24/7 now. You'll need to start being honest.

      ***
      "Evolution is just as "proven" as Heaven. In fact, it has actually been dis-proven more times than Heaven."

      100% false. You've moved from gentle prodding, to fervent belief, into outright falsehood. It didn't take you long. It never does.

      Science is how we describe our shared reality. If you don't want to participate in that, fine, stop using your phone, computer and automobile. Don't go to a doctor and stop watching TV.

      Otherwise, the Theory of Evolution is as much a fact as anything we have in our reality. It has many supporting lines of supporting evidence.

      Heaven has ZERO evidence.

      ***
      "http://www.vedicsciences.net/articles/darwin-debunked.html"

      This gets so old... I'm not going to go through all this but there are innumerable untruths in the first paragraphs alone.

      LIE: "where are there fossils of half-evolved dinosaurs or other creatures?"
      TRUTH: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/section1.html
      "we have found a quite complete set of dinosaur-to-bird transitional fossils with no morphological "gaps" (Sereno 1999), represented by Eoraptor, Herrerasaurus, Ceratosaurus, Allosaurus, Compsognathus, Sinosauropteryx, Protarchaeopteryx, Caudipteryx, Velociraptor, Sinovenator, Beipiaosaurus, Sinornithosaurus, Microraptor, Archaeopteryx, Rahonavis, Confuciusornis, Sinornis, Patagopteryx, Hesperornis, Apsaravis, Ichthyornis, and Columba, among many others"

      A fish with wrist bones? All hail Tiktaalik!
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tiktaalik

      NEXT LIE: "The fossil record contains fossils of only complete and fully-formed species."
      TRUTH: Look at last lie. Actually this is a half-truth I guess. Depending on how one looks at it, maybe whether you're a "cup half empty" or "half full" kind of person, every fossil is transitional AND every fossil is fully-formed. It is transitional because every life form is in the process of evolution, so if you find a fossil it was in transition. On the other hand it was "fully-formed" for the time it existed – at the time it died it was pretty much at the height of its species, generally speaking. But to the point, what creationists are trying to say here is "no fossil is of a species in transition" which simply isn't true.

      ***
      "The 1st Law of Thermodynamics disproves the big bang "theory". (http://www.emc.maricopa.edu/faculty/farabee/biobk/biobookener1.html) But again, you choose what to believe."

      No belief needed. Your link is simply to a quick explanation of the Law, with no supporting evidence for your assertions. Here's a link citing sources showing one way it can be possible – note this site was written 10 years ago and still debunks every one of your looney creationist lies:
      http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF101.html

      Since then, of course, Lawrence Krauss has shown Something From Nothing...
      Nothingness isn't empty. It weighs something. It is the dominant "stuff" of the universe. It is a roiling mass of virtual particles popping in and out of existence. It is unstable. If given enough time it will, and did, burp out a universe so amazing that one no longer need be awed by imaginary gods. Stand in awe of the universe that birthed you.

      http://www.colbertnation.com/the-colbert-report-videos/415708/june-21-2012/sign-off–a-universe-from-nothing-

      Lawrence Krauss explains Something From Nothing
      http://youtu.be/EjaGktVQdNg

      And further on this, if our Universe can't "come from nothing" then why would you believe your god could create the universe from nothing? You're dimwitted stance just refuted itself!

      ***
      "My suggestion is to take your slander and negativity to another thread where someone may care or even value your opinions because you are not accomplishing anything here."

      If you have read this far I accomplished something.

      March 15, 2013 at 10:23 pm |
    • CNNReader

      Religion is all about Love and Judgement - an oxymoron.

      You better believe the so-called judgement day is made-up, or other religions' judgement days are waiting for you to get there too!

      March 16, 2013 at 12:20 am |
    • JeseuFreak!!

      @EndReligion: Your statement/article looked like it had a lot of neat points. However, after the first insult I lost interest and quit reading the. Sorry you wasted your time. But hey, Jesus loves you!!

      March 16, 2013 at 2:27 pm |
  4. Donna

    People don't just slip into Christianity. Faith in Jesus must be also chosen. And I CHOOSE too be with Jesus. And yes, heaven does exist too.

    March 14, 2013 at 10:25 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Prove heaven exists.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:28 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Still waiting Donna. You must have evidence to be able to make an assertion like that. What is it?

      March 14, 2013 at 10:32 pm |
    • Donna

      There's so much evil in this world because God gave us all free will. And God didn't destroy satan yet to show us all that he wants us to follow Him out of LOVE and not out of fear. God LOVES us! SATAN on the other hand hates us simply because we are all made from the image of God. And it is Satan who wants to confuse us so he can bring us all down to hell with him. Okey, You can make your choice now!!!! Who would you rather follow now? Satan,.............OR God???????

      March 14, 2013 at 10:40 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      You were asked to prove heaven exists. Instead you went off into cloud-cuckoo land.

      There is no evidence anywhere of anything you have said. You have worked yourself up into a hysterical lather over totally imaginary delusions.

      Evidence. Provide evidence. Don't just flip out and go froth-mouthed.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:48 pm |
    • Donna

      Larry, why don't you prove it doesn't? I'm not God. So why don't you ask God to prove to you heaven exists. It's up to you to follow God's loving guidance. It's all YOUR choice. If you choose to follow satan, That's all your choice too. NO ONE can FORCE you to believe in God. Not any more than God would want to force any one to follow him. He gave us all free will to CHOOSE him or not to choose him. I, myself CANNOT even force you into believing in God. Don't shoot the messenger!!!!! You can lead a horse to water, but you can't MAKE him drink!!!!

      March 14, 2013 at 10:56 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Donna, in a debate, the one who makes an assertion is responsible for providing support. It is not the duty of the other to prove your point for you. ASnd furthermore, it is logically impossible to disprove a negative, and it is dishonest to try to make someone do it.

      The burden of proof is with you. You made assertions, now prove them.

      There is no satan, you dingbat.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:00 pm |
    • End Religion

      Donna? No evidence? Shocking!

      March 15, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • mark

      Heaven is indeed a real place. The Bible tells us that heaven is God’s throne (Isaiah 66:1; Acts 7:48-49; Matthew 5:34-35). After Jesus’ resurrection and appearance on earth to His disciples, “He was taken up into heaven and sat at the right hand of God” (Mark 16:19; Acts 7:55-56). “Christ did not enter a man-made sanctuary that was only a copy of the true one; He entered heaven itself, now to appear for us in God’s presence” (Hebrews 9:24). Jesus not only went before us, entering on our behalf, but He is alive and has a present ministry in heaven, serving as our high priest in the true tabernacle made by God (Hebrews 6:19-20; 8:1-2).

      We are also told by Jesus Himself that there are many rooms in God’s house and that He has gone before us to prepare a place for us. We have the assurance of His word that He will one day come back to earth and take us to where He is in heaven (John 14:1-4). Our belief in an eternal home in heaven is based on an explicit promise of Jesus. Heaven is most definitely a real place. Heaven truly does exist.

      When people deny the existence of heaven, they deny not only the written Word of God, but they also deny the innermost longings of their own hearts. Paul addressed this issue in his letter to the Corinthians, encouraging them to cling to the hope of heaven so that they would not lose heart. Although we “groan and sigh” in our earthly state, we have the hope of heaven always before us and are eager to get there (2 Corinthians 5:1-4). Paul urged the Corinthians to look forward to their eternal home in heaven, a perspective that would enable them to endure hardships and disappointments in this life. “For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:17-18).

      Just as God has put in men’s hearts the knowledge that He exists (Romans 1:19-20), so are we “programmed” to desire heaven. It is the theme of countless books, songs, and works of art. Unfortunately, our sin has barred the way to heaven. Since heaven is the abode of a holy and perfect God, sin has no place there, nor can it be tolerated. Fortunately, God has provided for us the key to open the doors of heaven—Jesus Christ (John 14:6). All who believe in Him and seek forgiveness for sin will find the doors of heaven swung wide open for them. May the future glory of our eternal home motivate us all to serve God faithfully and wholeheartedly. “Since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is his body, and since we have a great high priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart full of assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water” (Hebrews 10:19-22).

      Read more: http://www.gotquestions.org/is-Heaven-real.html#ixzz2QJxMlrRa

      April 13, 2013 at 2:07 am |
    • tallulah13

      So you say that heaven is real because it says so in the bible? Wow. I bet you believe Hogwarts is a real place, too.

      April 13, 2013 at 2:16 am |
  5. Nicole

    Jimbo, why does a post about a Christian artist automatically make people who dislike Christians want to start attacking them online? I'm sorry if you loathe Christians but I just read this article because I happen to enjoy this artist's music. I didn't read it so I could get into arguments with people who happen to dislike him or my beliefs. I respect your opinions but I just don't get why people search for articles like these just to post negative comments.

    March 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Calm down, take a deep breath, and recognize that your post bears almost no relationship at all to anything I said. That is a straw man, where you are inventing my position and arguing against your own invention instead of what I actually said. Seriously, read what I actually said, and you will see that your comment is a gross misrepresentation of what I wrote.

      Now, shall I list the artists who Christians tried to oppress, and who they tried to force others not to listen too? I can start with the Beatles, for example. Why are you so worked up about something Christians have done for centuries. Seriously, for centuries it was actually a crime to play music (or create art) that did not worship god.

      Do you not know your own religion's history of atrocities?

      March 14, 2013 at 9:42 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      And it's not only music, books and art have been subject to attack and boycott; a recent(ish) example would be Harry Potter

      March 14, 2013 at 10:09 pm |
    • Jimbo

      I liked it when they freaked out about Monty Python's Life of Brian, which actually said nothing bad about Christianity at all. And wherever the protesters were asked, it turned out none had ever seen it.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:17 pm |
    • Austin

      a dog returning to eat vomit. a festering wound. I hope I can obey the Lords will and not just talk.

      March 14, 2013 at 10:20 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Dog vomit? Are you sane?

      March 14, 2013 at 10:27 pm |
    • Nicole

      Jimbo, I'm not worked up. And again, I don't understand why you are reading a thread on Chris Tomlin since obviously you don't care for Christian music anyway. Seeing as how you are trying to get me to argue with you about what religion has done in the past and is doing now, I'm guessing the reason you look for these threads is to get out all your aggression against Christians online. As I already said, I didn't read this article so I could get into arguments about who did what to who. I just like the guy! Why are you making this your platform to speak out against christianity? Aren't there chat rooms and other avenues that allow you to speak your mind and voice your opinions? Or do you just look for articles like these because you know Christians will most likely read them which allows you to attack them at freewill? I just don't get why you read this article to begin with is all. And instead of answering my question you start blaming my beliefs for all the issues you obviously care so deeply about and then tell me that I'm "worked up". Odd. Anyway, it's the weekend! Have a good one!

      March 16, 2013 at 9:29 am |
  6. Eric

    I love singing worship music in a small scale environment , especially around a campfire. Such a wonderfully intimately spiritual experiance! But everyone has their own preferences in music as they do in food, colour and clothes so it is not right to hate someone because they like or dislike something. Do not hate your brother because that is an indication that you belong to the evil one, rather love your brothers just as he did.

    March 14, 2013 at 9:29 pm |
    • The Evil One. Really.

      Small scale minds for small scale environments

      March 14, 2013 at 9:34 pm |
  7. Nicole

    Some of you spend way too much time looking for articles you can post your ridiculous negativity on. If you don't believe in God or even like Christian music then that's your prerogative but why hassle someone for believing in God and liking Christian music? Then some of you try to make the argument that Christians are close minded bigots but yet you ridicule them for having the right to believe in a higher power. It's nonsensical and makes you seem petty. Just enjoy the music you love and let people who love worship music enjoy the music they love. Pretty easy concept.

    March 14, 2013 at 9:17 pm |
    • Moby Schtick

      I think most of the atheists here reply 'in kind.' And if a christian here is respectful, so is the atheist engaged in the discussion. There are azzholes on both sides, though.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:19 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Hysterical much?

      Ignoring the small army of straw men in your post, I will say that maybe people like you should take your own advice and not do things like censor music, which Christians have done repeatedly over the last few decades.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:20 pm |
    • Nicole

      Moby, I totally agree that there are jerks on both sides. It's just ridiculous and really annoying. If someone doesn't like Chris...okay. I'm not here to convince them to love his music but why the hateful comments towards people who enjoy his music? Is it really affecting these people to know what I'm listening to on the radio? Hay caramba.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:27 pm |
    • Nicole

      Jimbo, why does a post about a Christian artist automatically make people who dislike Christians want to start attacking them online? I'm sorry if you loathe Christians but I just read this article because I happen to enjoy this artist's music. I didn't read it so I could get into arguments with people who happen to dislike him or my beliefs. I respect your opinions but I just don't get why people search for articles like these just to post negative comments.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:35 pm |
    • Jimbo

      Answwered above.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:44 pm |
    • Donna

      Nicole, I'm with you all the way!

      March 14, 2013 at 11:12 pm |
    • Donna

      Guess what?????? God doesn't believe in atheists. In fact why don't you prove you exist? And why are you even here in this conversation? This is a CHRISTIAN thread. Ahh hahahahahahahahaha!!!!!!!

      March 14, 2013 at 11:29 pm |
    • Jimbo

      I see hysteria is common in Christians. Though I rather suspect Donna and Nicloe are the same person.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Austin

      Donna, So you feel that only christians can have opinions about christian music. Does that mean you have no opinion about events outside of your state?

      March 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm |
  8. Larry Schnebly

    When I read the story about Tomlin's music, I expected to be involved in some sort of Christian effort.

    Reading these vitriolic, unforgiving, hiding-behind-anonymity statements, I detect NOTHING of a Christian, compassionate,
    nature whatsoever. Much like a dialogue in any OTHER aspect of today's American culture. "I am smarter than YOU
    ARE and I can yell loud enough to prove it"! What sort of church do you GO to, anyway?

    March 14, 2013 at 9:01 pm |
    • End Religion

      Larry, how is your brother, Ned? Is he still running the School of Rock?

      March 14, 2013 at 9:09 pm |
    • Donna

      I'm not religious. I just LOVE the Lord. And I have a real relationship with Him. That is what He wants. And you can never know what that's like until YOU get to know Him too. Can you prove Santa Clause ever existed, since you believe in him?

      March 14, 2013 at 11:08 pm |
    • In Santa we trust

      Donna, How did you determine what your god wants if not from some religious doctrine (even if you no longer go to church).

      March 14, 2013 at 11:51 pm |
    • Johnny Guitar

      Donna is doing the now-popular scam of pretending she isn't religious. However, religion is the service and worship of a god or the supernatural, so of course she is religious. She is trying to say she does not follow organized religion, but of course she is obeying the teachings, writings , and opinions of an organized religion, which is about 95% of the organization she pretends she doesn't follow. Personally, I bet she goes to church too, thinking all the while she is not participating in organized religion.

      But I always appreciate the implicit admission of people like Donna that religion has many ugly aspects to it, so much so that even the religious people want to pretend they are not part of it.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:57 pm |
  9. wendell

    Joe, you are the name of the dumb rock "dumb as a rock"

    March 14, 2013 at 8:24 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      You know, your post actually got dumber each time you posted it. Which is impressive considering how dumb a post it started as.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:27 pm |
    • End Religion

      Lemme guess, wendell, you're evangelical?

      March 14, 2013 at 9:10 pm |
  10. wendell

    Joe, you are the name of the rock " dumb as a rock "

    March 14, 2013 at 8:21 pm |
  11. wendell

    Joe, you are the name of the dumb rock " dumb s a rock "

    March 14, 2013 at 8:19 pm |
  12. Leah

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=_rR_Rdb1CTE

    March 14, 2013 at 8:18 pm |
  13. Becky

    Christian music is generally cheesy but this Tomlins music is ewww stinky icky, even worse than usual and with no taste. Music for the hard of smelling.

    March 14, 2013 at 8:07 pm |
    • Tom

      That pretty much sums it up. Cover your nose and your ears if you have to be near where Chris Tomlins' musack is playing.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Christian music is to music what road apples are to apples.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:09 pm |
    • Donna

      Becky, you retard! music is something you hear-not smell. Are you on crack?

      March 14, 2013 at 11:33 pm |
    • Giggling Merlin

      If you didn't get that joke Donna, then you are not the sharpest taco in the chandelier that doesn't go to the top of the combination plate.

      March 14, 2013 at 11:38 pm |
  14. Aspie4Jesus

    True worship music is what has changed me when i'm listening. A lot of Chris Tomlin's songs have brought me through a lot of problems. His lyrics know where to hit the heart. Don't knock this performer until you've actually heard him in person. He has a lot of stories to tell behind the songs as well. Chris Tomlin doesn't do this for the ambition and fame, he does it for Jesus Christ who has the power to heal and save all people. It doesn't matter what you've done in your past, Jesus can forgive you for EVERYTHING. God bless Chris Tomlin for his music. We use a lot of his songs in our weekly worship too.

    March 14, 2013 at 7:39 pm |
    • Amazing God

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=7PTvr755V8s

      March 14, 2013 at 7:54 pm |
    • Yup

      That's why they have jingles in advertising: because way too many people are easily swayed by a wee songy.

      March 14, 2013 at 7:58 pm |
    • Worship and spirituality ...

      are ingrained in human beings.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:04 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      If worship and spirituality are ingrained into humans, they they don't have free will, do they?

      And of course, if what you said was true, there would be no atheists or seculars. But there are, and they are growing far faster than any other choice regarding religion.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:08 pm |
    • It is true...

      If you are not worshipping God , you are worshipping something else...

      March 14, 2013 at 8:10 pm |
    • Larry of Nazareth

      Atheists and seculars do not worship anything in a theological sense. Are you trying to commit the fallacy of equivocation? Or are you just stupid?

      March 14, 2013 at 8:15 pm |
    • It is true...

      That earlier post of mine was a statement not an argument.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:37 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Statements of opinion are open to argument. Yours was not a statement of fact.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:42 pm |
    • It is true...

      It is a fact not an opinion. If you are not worshipping God you are worshipping something else... Only you know who you are worshipping. Sorry to say, I can't apply the Pareto principle either in your case.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm |
    • midwest rail

      Nonsense. Merely because you wish it to be factual does not make it so.

      March 14, 2013 at 8:55 pm |
  15. carpinteyrohhi

    Free Bets and betting offers from the best bookmakers and sportsbooks,

    March 14, 2013 at 2:29 pm |
  16. Becky

    It's true. I've been to many concerts including country, pop, hip hop and I have never seen a more alive and engaged crowd than a Chris Tomlinson concert. Good stuff.

    March 14, 2013 at 9:35 am |

    • . . . if you need a sleep aid

      March 14, 2013 at 9:40 am |
    • Joe

      Becky, since you can't even get the loser musician's name right, you are a ripe candidate for being a member of his puny fan group. You are prime groupie material, being so unintelligent. Fits your religious state too.

      And his music is really dull and cheesy.

      March 14, 2013 at 9:46 am |
  17. TruthBeTold

    Imagine, by John Lennon.

    March 14, 2013 at 2:32 am |
  18. How great is our God

    Indeed!

    March 12, 2013 at 2:05 pm |
    • CNNReader

      Which one?

      March 12, 2013 at 9:54 pm |
    • THE TRUTH

      WHICH ONE.... THE GREAT I AM..... THE ONLY ONE....

      March 13, 2013 at 12:37 pm |
    • End Religion

      Oh, you mean the One True God, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, whose gospel has never been disproved and therefore means no other gods can exist?

      March 13, 2013 at 12:41 pm |
    • THE TRUTH

      end of religion.... WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN.... LET ME GUESS, IN YOUR ROOM ALONE LIVING OFF SSI AND UNEMPLOYMENT.... DO REALLY HAVE NOTHING BETTER TO DO ??? YOU ATHEIST PAGANS WRITE ABOUT HOW SMART AND INTELLIGENT YOU ALL ARE BUT LETS TAKE A CLOSE LOOK AT THIS..MMMMMM. I AM NOT THE ONE WASTING MY LIFE BLOGGING AGAINST CHRISTIANS ON A CHRISTIAN ARTICLE. I AM NOT THE ONE WASTING MY LIFE CARING ABOUT PEOPLE WHO I HAVE NOTHING TO DO WITH.... MUST I GO ONE... YOU MORONIC PATHETIC SINGLE MINDED EXCUSE OF A WASTED LIFE GET IT THROUGH YOUR HEAD YOU ARE A LOSER FOR A REASON... YOU PUT YOUR SELF THERE!!!! GOOD LUCK IN YOUR OTHER IN DEVOURS.... LIKE PICKING YOUR NOSE....

      March 13, 2013 at 1:09 pm |
    • TruthBeTold

      Imagine, by John Lennon.

      March 14, 2013 at 2:31 am |
  19. Reality

    Lyrics the resonate for all-time:

    "The Two Universal Sects

    They all err—Moslems, Jews,
    Christians, and Zoroastrians:

    Humanity follows two world-wide sects:
    One, man intelligent without religion,
    The second, religious without intellect. "

    Al-Ma'arri
    , born AD 973 /, died AD 1058 / .

    Al-Ma’arri was a blind Arab philosopher, poet and writer.[1][2] He was a controversial rationalist of his time, attacking the dogmas of religion and rejecting the claim that Islam possessed any monopoly on truth."

    Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/resalat-al-ghufran#ixzz1lI6DuZmZ and http://www.humanistictexts.org/al_ma'arri.htm

    Death's Debt is Paid in
    Full

    Death's debt is then and there

    Paid down by dying men;

    But it is a promise bare

    That they shall rise again. "

    Al-Ma'arri

    March 12, 2013 at 8:19 am |
    • THE TRUTH

      SORRY ONLY ONE AROSE FROM DEATH AND IT WASN'T A MUSLIM.... JESUS CHRIST THE LORD AND SAVIOR...

      March 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm |
    • Richard Cranium

      Amazing how many liars go with names like truth or answerman, and then capitalize it as if that lends some credibility.

      Lies from trolls.

      March 12, 2013 at 12:34 pm |
    • THE TRUTH

      @Richard Cranium ....AMAZING HOW SOME PEONS NAME THEM SELVES AFTER THE BODY PART THAT HOUSES ONES BRAIN...

      March 13, 2013 at 11:42 am |
  20. TruthBeTold

    I believe all men and women are born equal, regardless of race or religion.
    No one race is above another.
    No one religion is above another.

    March 12, 2013 at 12:08 am |
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About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.