In a brand new interview with Australia's Sticks For Stones, Michael Sweet, singer, guitarist and primary songwriter of the openly Christian hard rock band STRYPER, was asked how he first discovered Christ. He responded (hear audio below): "The way I came to know God was the family accepted Christ through [well-known Pentecostal evangelist] Jimmy Swaggart, believe it or not, on television. We were watching him on television, and then watched him again and then again and again, week after week. And we accepted Christ, and we wound up finding a church and we started going to church. And this was when I was 11 and 12 years old. And I really committed my life when I was 12. And then, eventually, I kind of fell out of that and became less interested in church and got more involved in music and the scene that goes along with that, typically. And as I got a little older — 15, 16, 17 years old — I started drinking and smoking and doing that whole thing. And I walked that path for a while. And when I turned 20 years old, that's when I re-dedicated my life, and my brother did as well. And we devoted the band to God. That was in 1983. And right before we became STRYPER, we all decided to do that together as a band. And it was very cool. It was obviously a life-changing experience and moment in time, and the rest is history. There's been no regrets, no looking back. We made a bold stand for God, and I think the world knows that. And hopefully we've encouraged and inspired some people."
Even though STRYPER's third album, 1986's "To Hell With The Devil", made Sweet and his bandmates the first contemporary Christian act to score a platinum album, the group has often felt unwelcome in Christian circles, with some members of the church feeling that Christianity and heavy metal are incompatible.
"[The members of the church] weren't a hundred percent supportive," Sweet acknowledged. "We had some people in the church support us, but most people, no. I think they didn't know what to think of us. They were shocked. They were maybe even a little frightened by what we were doing. Because it was something that really had never been done before; there was no band like STRYPER. When we came on the scene in '84, released our first album and started performing, people from both sides didn't know what to think of us — from the mainstream side to the Christian side. So it was difficult for us to find our place. But we eventually found it. We stayed true to ourselves and stuck to our calling, and everything worked out."
Formed 36 years ago, STRYPER's name comes from Isaiah 53:5, which states: "But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed."
STRYPER's albums include "To Hell With The Devil", "Second Coming", "No More Hell To Pay", "Fallen" and the band's latest effort, "God Damn Evil".
Sweet's tenth solo album, "Ten", was released on October 11 via Rat Pak Records in North America and Frontiers Music Srl in Europe.
Truth. When I was very young. Sadly Jimmy held up @stryper albums years later and told people we were “wolves in sheep’s clothing”. We’re all sinners who fall from grace. Funny thing is @BLABBERMOUTHNET - this is old news. It’s in my book which you obviously haven’t read? https://t.co/FWt1yTq8NJ
— MichaelSweet Stryper (@michaelhsweet) November 2, 2019
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