I have a question for you

Published 2:00 pm Wednesday, July 6, 2022

“Have you ever thought about your soul can it be saved?

Or perhaps you think that when you’re dead you just stay in your grave

Is God just a thought within your head or is he a part of you?

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Is Christ just a name that you read in a book when you were in school?”

(“After Forever,” Black Sabbath)


I used to subscribe to a magazine called “Heaven’s Metal.” It later changed names to “Hard Music” and just “HM,” because at one time it spread its coverage to more than just the Christian-centered heavy music it covered at the beginning in the 1980s.

Publisher Doug Van Pelt was pretty much a one-man show. He wrote almost all the articles, took most of the photos, conducted the interviews, sold the ads, did the layout, published and distributed the mag. It’s no wonder it came out only every 2 to 3 months. It’s impressive it came out that regularly, honestly.

I loved reading articles about and interviews with some of my favorite Christian bands, like Bride, Stryper and Living Sacrifice. They were guys who loved Jesus and wanted to showcase the gospel using heavy metal music. I guarantee they reached a lot of people who may never have listened otherwise.

But my favorite section was toward the back of the mag. I always saved this article for last because I enjoyed it so much more than the rest of the content. It was usually just one page, and sometimes even without any photos. But it was a direct transcript of a short interview — maybe seven or so questions — with a non-Christian musical artist. The only edits would be a bleeped out curse, if necessary.

Van Pelt would talk to these guys after they had just performed, or at a musical event they were part of or attending. He’d compliment their skills and talents, ask them questions about their fans, new projects, families, or whatever. But the best part, the part I eagerly anticipated, was always toward the end. Sometimes it was the final question, because the person interviewed didn’t want to talk anymore after it. Sometimes it just opened the conversation up to so much more.

“Who is Jesus to you?” Van Pelt would ask.

“Huh? Who is … Jesus … to me? What do you mean?” was a common response.

A couple of people told him to take a violent plunge off the nearest bridge, but the majority really seemed to consider the question.

“Wow. No one has ever asked me that before,” I remember one person answering.

The publisher wouldn’t push them. He’d just sit quietly and let them think about the question and their answer.

You could feel the conviction of the Holy Spirit in the ellipses points on the page …

One interviewee in particular just kept saying, “Wow. Wow. I, uh … wow.” He said he’d been raised in a Christian home but left it behind to do what he wanted — the freedom of drug and alcohol abuse, etc. — but had not found peace there. Maybe Jesus was what he needed — who he needed. Maybe, just maybe, he should check into a better answer for that question than the one he had.

I loved those interviews. I love to hear answers to that question today, too. So, who is Jesus to you?


“Perhaps you’ll think before you say that God is dead and gone

Open your eyes, just realize that he’s the one

The only one who can save you now from all this sin and hate.” (Black Sabbath)


Brett Campbell can be reached at brett.campbell@dailyleader.com.