Amy Grant has responded to LifeWay Christian Resources' decision not to sell her new Christmas album this year because it's not "Christian enough," but encouraged her followers to continue discussing what it truly means to be a follower of Christ.
"We respectfully accept Lifeway's decision that my new Christmas album didn't meet their criteria. Let's all move on from that decision without arguing about it. But let's not stop asking the questions about what it means to live in faith and reflect love to the world around us," said Grant, in a Wednesday post on her official Facebook account.
"Asking questions opens all of us up to the possibility of being willing to consider how we might live differently," the Nashville-based singer continued. "We are all loved by God...all of us...How we communicate that experience is unique to each of us...Unity is not about everybody being the same...it's about all of us coming together...with our differences."
"Tennessee Christmas" was released Oct. 21 and its 13 tracks are a mix of Christmas hymns, Christmas mainstays and original songs. According to The Tennesseean, LifeWay, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, announced earlier this week its retail stores are not carrying the album, "Tennessee Christmas", but would not comment on the reasons for the decision.
However, Grant's manager, Jennifer Cooke, criticized the move in an opinion piece for the Washington Post and pointed to the song "Melancholy Christmas," written by Grant and Marshall Altman in arguing that a song doesn't need to include the name "Jesus" to share the message of the Gospel with listeners.
"I can't help but think of the heart behind a lot of the songs that would be considered 'not Christian' on this album, specifically one called 'Melancholy Christmas,'" she wrote. "It is a song about isolation and loneliness during the holidays and the need for connection."
Cooke continued: "Over this past weekend, one of Grant's longtime fans started a thread on her Facebook fan page saying how listening to 'Melancholy Christmas' makes her cry because for the last few Christmases she has sat alone in her wheelchair all day on Christmas Day...Several other fans...shared each others' pain and offered hope and encouragement to each other, all because of a song that never mentions Jesus."
She asked, "And really, isn't that what it's all about? Aren't we supposed to be the hands and feet of Jesus? Does the name Jesus need to be said in order for his love to be shown or his message to be lived and shared?"
As earlier reported, LifeWay recently made headlines after pulling Jen Hatmaker's books after the Christian speaker and author expressed her approval for LGBT lifestyle and gay marriage.
Marty King, spokesman for LifeWay, said the company could no longer sell Hatmaker's books because her "theology of human sexuality" goes against the doctrines the company stands for.
"In a recent interview, [Hatmaker] voiced significant changes in her theology of human sexuality and the meaning and definition of marriage -- changes which contradict LifeWay's doctrinal guidelines," King told Baptist Press. "As a result, LifeWay has discontinued selling her resources."
LifeWay's competitor, Family Christian Stores, is selling "Tennessee Christmas," according to the retailer's website.