By: Joe Markko
Publisher: Home Before Midnight LLC
Publication Date: December 9, 2023
Reviewed by: Lily Andrews
Review Date: July 31, 2023
Genesis of a Genre: The Birth of Christian Rock by Joe Markko is a profound exposition of the genesis of contemporary Christian rock music in America.
The author is a lifelong musician and co-founder of the 'All Saved Freak Band,' whose desire to weave memories on the subject of the Christian rock genre saw him complete 34 interviews with 22 people in over twelve months. Markko's narration begins by recalling a 1968 event when 'The Jesus Movement' started in Los Angeles, ushering a unique dispensation of God’s grace that he believes held up the unique task of telling the world that Jesus still loves them. Delivering the message of the movement were various Christian bands like Sunrise, Joy, Kentucky Faith, New River, and Crossroads, among others. However, one band's story was prototypical of many groups that would arise in later years all across the country - the Agape.
Rock music had long been perceived as the tune of the ungodly by many Christian circles, and therefore going down that road would require an amazing amount of enthusiasm, fortitude, and trust. A trio of skilled musicians, Mike, Fred, and Lonnie, would dauntlessly begin a music project that remarkably wasn’t about notoriety or record contracts, but about pooling their capabilities and aptitudes to deliver an extraordinary result in what they saw as a “Harvest” of souls. They chose the Greek word 'Agape' which speaks of God's unconditional love for all humanity, as well as the 'Church in the Park' for their fellowship.
A detailed look at the Agape band by a keen reader reveals a group that was unapologetically raw regarding their Rock ‘n Roll choice of music. “They played Jesus rock at its crustiest – music which cut through the thickest defenses of the non-Christian rock fans. For those to whom hard rock music was language, Agape spoke clearly." According to the author, their story is the ultimate tale about “the days of old” and the birth of Christian Rock.
This is a deeply stirring read that inspires a reader to believe in God to a greater extent, for the accomplishment of what may seemingly look like mountainous dreams and aspirations. The narration is sincere and is bound to awaken a reader's inner fire for a praiseworthy intent, such as in winning souls for Christ. Of honorable recognition is the band members' distinguished nature, valor, and solidity which enabled them to forward the Cause of Christ undeterred. “Why would we let a little red tape stop us from saving lives?”
As he recapitulates the genesis and expansion of a genre that has married seeming opposites - Jesus and rock & roll, Author Joe Markko's passion for evangelism is evident. He beautifully likens it to a spontaneous “river of living water” that simply flows, occasionally spilling over the banks. "It doesn’t require a degree, a platform, a building, or recognition. It only requires a willing heart." His new book Genesis of a Genre: The Birth of Christian Rock is conclusively an excellent Christian tool, one that can be adopted as a young person's guidebook, as well as a musician's companion.
Quill says: Genesis of a Genre: The Birth of Christian Rock offers the answer to a widely asked question - "Can we rock the gospel?" It is a relevant and timely read that opens the eyes of a conservative Christian to facts about the genre.
For more information on Genesis of a Genre: The Birth of Christian Rock, please visit the website: homebeforemidnight.com/