New Derek Webb Interview

Tim Brister —  August 14, 2007 — 4 Comments

Earlier this summer, contributors to Said at Southern blogged through Derek Webb‘s new album, The Ringing Bell.  As the series concluded, Tony was invited to do an interview with Webb later this summer.  This past Wednesday, Tony traveled down for the interview, and part one is already up.  Part two should be coming sometime next week.  In this podcast, Webb answers such questions as:

  • How did you come to Christ?
  • What is the Gospel?
  • Why do you make music?
  • What was the story behind you leaving Caedmon’s Call?
  • What’s the future for you and Caedmon’s Call?
  • To download the podcast, click here

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    • I know this interview has certainly gotten attention….I am relatively new to Derek’s ministry. One of our Associate Pastors put me onto him when I got down here to AL. On the surface, he seems to appeal to theologians because of his “corrective” angles, but upon further inspection, he seems to be more anti-establishment than pro-truth. He seems to be more concerned with artistic provocation (forgive my use of the word) than with truth proclamation. He seems to be more about standing against things rather than for things. Because of that, I wonder as to his biblical effectiveness.

      Because of these observations, I’m not terribly surprised by his answers to the big question in the interview.

    • Thomas,

      I recognize that this interview has received quite a bit of response, especially from the IX Marks guys. I understand the critique and certainly have my own questions and concerns, but I do have a little soft spot with Derek Webb partly because his songs have in the past been instrumental in my life. I am not so quick to write him off or say that he has abandoned the gospel when he doesn’t give all six points or an elaborate articulation of the gospel when he was asked to provide a simple, brief summary of the gospel. I am may be naive in saying that, but that’s just where I am.

      As far as artistic provocation and standing against things, the same could be said of folks like Ingrid and Ken Silva (who are friends and promoters of Jeff’s preaching ministry). I am as much (if not more) concerned about Ingrid and Silva than Webb. Having said that, I talked with Tony (who interviewed Webb), and here are some of the concerns I had/have about Webb.

      1. A somewhat post-modern hermeneutic to his songwriting (interpreter assigns meaning with author remains ambiguous or unclear)

      2. His understanding of the relationship of the Kingdom of God and the Church

      3. How he relates the gospel and social action/responsibility as distinguished from liberalism (Rauschenbush’s Social Gospel and modern Emergent expressions)

      4. Where he stands on Reformed theology (still Reformed, post-reformed, etc.)

      5. The Church–of late he seems more negative and cynical

      So I do have many concerns and questions about Webb. I would like to know if believes in the penal, substitutionary atonement, repentance and faith, and how he lives counter-culturally in our world. But I am trying to be optimistic and cautious at the same time, knowing that if I were under the same scrutiny as Webb currently is, I would want the same charity and grace.

    • I don’t know that I would put Ingrid and Ken in the same category because while they both are certainly fighting against falsehood, they very clearly express for what they are standing, whereas in most of Derek’s material, the primary focus seems to be more about cleverness than substance. Being a musician myself, I am very aware of trying to find that balance between singing truth in an artistic, edifying way and creating music that gets in the way of the truth.

      Forgive me if I come off as not wanting to have mercy on Derek. He has a very public forum–a forum that can have you shaked, baked, and eaten before you even get a chance to raise a defense. Let’s pray that Derek will respond in humility and correct any damage he may have done to his own influence.

      Luv ya, bro!

    • Thomas,

      My reason for mentioning Ingrid and Ken is that I believe they are do as much (if not more) damage to the gospel as Derek, though they are doing it in an altogether different manner. While Derek may be off on the mater of “truth,” Ken and Ingrid are off the mater of “grace.” But that’s another story.

      Derek’s style of writing in recent years has been puzzling to me, and I don’t know the reason behind it. He has gone left politically and possibly theologically. In both arenas, he has been able to amass friends and enemies (perhaps more of the latter than the former). There have been times in the past where I have been both to him, and right now, I am simply going to withhold my opinion/speculation until I know where Derek stands on the issues aforementioned.

      Over the course of the past five years, Derek has said more truthful things (courageously I might add) in CCM than anyone I have listened to. That does not mean that he has said some things I completely disagree with. But at least he is challenging me and others to think. That in and of itself is way more profitable than what sells for “Christian” music these days. So my point here would be simply to say that I believe that there are things we can (and should) learn from Derek’s writing and musicianship. There are also things we should discard and reject. Charity demands that we be graceful while clarity demands that we be truthful. In assessing his stuff (and anyone else for that matter), it is my aim to accomplish both with discernment, wisdom, and precision.

      I hope that makes sense. I love you too brother, and I think it is vitally important that Christians have healthy discussion (and disagreements when they arise) without burning bridges or assigning motives. I hope that P&P is a place where people from various viewpoints can discuss freely their thoughts in an intelligent and yes provocative way that does is constructive both in content conforming to the character of Christ.