Thanks for taking the time out to do a quick interview! So, “Abolitionist” certainly has a different musical approach than much of your previous material. Is this a new direction your heading in?
Thanks for having me! Although it might not be what everyone expected a new song to be, anyone that has listened to The Saving won’t be terribly surprised to hear a track like “Abolitionist”. In both my previous albums I have incorporated songs with this sort of vibe such as “Prelude”, “Maskil”, and “Selah”.
What was behind the decision to release it as a single instead of waiting to put it on a album?
Originally it was meant to be a bonus track for David Star but I decided to take my time with it and release it at a later time. Right now is that time.
Abortion seems to be a topic pretty close to your heart as it is discussed in several of your songs. Is this an issue that has personal relevance or a topic you feel needs addressed?
By the grace of God it is not something that has directly impacted me or my family to date. At least that I know of. However, it is still a sin that needs to be addressed which I feel that the young Christian church has severely dropped the ball on. I believe this is a huge reason why human trafficking awareness has become such a trend within the brethren youth, because it’s illegal and not controversial. No one is going to debate them on it.
Stand up in your classroom and say “abortion is murder” and see how that goes for you.
The point of The Saving addressing abortion so bluntly is to turn around the rhetoric of the Church and, consequently, the culture. If kids start saying “abortion is murder” because they think it’s cool and because they really like the song of “God Of Shepherds” then my job is done.
What can you tell us about the organization Abolish Human Abortion which you collaborated with on this track?
I met the AHA guys at the 2013 Ligonier annual conference, which is also the conference where R.C. Sproul Jr. preached the sound byte you hear on “Abolitionist”.
I remember hearing about their ministry a few weeks before attending the conference and so when I saw their table I was pleasantly surprised and excited to talk to them to see what they were really about. What I found in Toby Harmon and Russell Hunter were two dudes who were unashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ and were not shy to call abortion for what it is. They were thoroughly Biblical in all of their arguments, they always brought them back to the gospel and salvation, and they were all about being active and engaging the youth.
The AHA ministry is also made up of people from all walks of life: soccer moms and metal-heads. They have people across the spectrum for such a radical agenda, and that’s amazing.
As exemplified in this track you certainly aren’t shy about tackling tough and sometimes controversial topics on your songs & social media. Why such a bold approach?
I love the brethren, and I know I’m a piece of work that still needs to be beat into submission every single day. However, what I am sadly seeing in my generation of believers is a bunch of fun-loving dullards who only want to tackle something if it’s easy. They will only speak out if they know everyone will agree with them.
They read about men like Luther, Calvin, and Bonhoeffer and they idolize them. Completely ignoring that Luther lived under a constant threat of death, Calvin was kicked out by his Church and his city, and Bonhoeffer was hanged.
The Church, in my opinion, is becoming a den of pussycats. I don’t want to let that happen if I can do something about it.
Speaking of your social media, it’s quite normal to see you interact quite a bit with your fans in regards to theological discussions. Do you find it as satisfying as the musical aspects?
Indeed I do! There’s really no bands out there that will discuss the hard truths of Scripture with their fans and that’s sad. God has put me in a position where I am not dependent at all on this band and being a solo artist, no one censors me (sometimes to my own damage). If that can be an avenue to teach some kids about what I have learned, then awesome!
Have you been reading or listening to anything lately that has spurred growth in your life?
I just finished my second Kierkegaard book ‘Fear & Trembling’ which was amazing and so was ‘The Sickness Unto Death’. I really dove deep into Kierkegaard after being hit with various trials and being in a dark place in my Christian identity. What I would advise anyone who struggles with depression or sadness to do is to read Kierkegaard. His writings won’t cheer you up at all, but they do help you further understand why you are in darkness and what you can learn from it as a Christian.
Other than that I’ve also been listening to Theremin arrangements. That instrument sounds so calm but yet so painful, that dichotomy really attracts me to it.
You clearly take the message of The Saving quite seriously so out of curiosity what is your take on the whole “Christian band” debate that we see quite often? Does that term make sense to you or would you refrain from that description?
I just don’t get why a Christian graced with musical talent would want to write about anything besides the Savior. Maybe I’m too narrow-minded, and I’ll admit to that, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. The Saving is not a Christian band, it is a ministry.
Our world is way too deep in depravity and to sing songs about anything other than the saving faith is tantamount to playing the fiddle while Rome is burning. That’s my opinion.
So as we wrap up, what can we expect from The Saving over the next year?
The studio is already booked in December for the next record so Lord willing a new album before June of next year. I also plan to record another stand-alone song in the near future which hopefully be released later this year. That one will be fast, brutal, and heavy. Both musically and in content.