members of the Christian metal brotherhood: In 1987 after
rededicating my life to Christ and giving up all of my secular rock
music, there was a problem. As a guitar player, I had no music to listen
to. I loved heavy music, and this left me with a huge void (musically,
not spiritually). Nothing to practice, and nothing to listen to that
interested me. One day I decided to walk into a Christian bookstore. It
was then I discovered Christian metal, and all the bands we speak so
highly of on this site (Barren Cross, Whitecross, Saint, Bloodgood,
Stryper, etc...). I remember from my first visit to that Christian
bookstore and all through the late 80's/early 90's that it was difficult
to try and find a Christian metal album without Pastor Bob's picture on
the inside cover. That big frizzy head of hair and huge smile was sort
of reassuring that a band had passed the litmus test of being
spiritually OK. His regular column in Heaven's Metal magazine was always
there to remind you that Christian metal heads had at least one person
heading up the "ministry" aspect of things. The bands that
were spawned out of Sanctuary had at least some form of accountability.
The rest for me is history. I was one of the thousands who had been
reached and ministered to by the efforts of Sanctuary and the bands it
birthed. Bob has always been someone I admired, and someone who I had
always wanted to meet.
years later, I am happy to say that one of my lifetime goals have been
achieved. In 1997 I moved to Nashville, shortly after Pastor Bob and
Sanctuary had moved to Nashville to re-establish their International
headquarters. Through various situations, our paths finally
crossed and I was able to meet Bob. Through the CMR web site, I have had
an even greater pleasure of getting to know him a little better. For the
past 2 years, we've been in touch and have been working together in some
form or fashion to bring you more Christian metal band information
(here) and the ministry that holds it together (on the Sanctuary INTL
interview is something that I have felt was a "must
have" to make this web site complete. Sanctuary has begun focusing
on the Internet and the the use of it to maintain an International scale
ministry. There are many of you who come to this site often to see what
new and marvelous things we have to present. Many of you have told me
you would love to site down with Pastor Bob and talk about the
"good ole days". You've wanted to ask him questions about what
Christian metal was at its embryonic stages and get the
"inside" viewpoint of the bands that caused this revolution of
sorts. You also have unanswered questions about issues, such as Roger
Martinez. My friend, consider this YOUR interview. Your day has come.
entire Contemporary Christian music industry was spawned partly from
Bob's work in the early 70's. Yet the only other source for information
about this man was published in a book by Beth Whitaker titled,
"The calling of a rock star". Those of you who are familiar
with Barren Cross (and our web page dedicated to them) already know this
was Steve Whitaker's (drummer for BC) mother, and is the story of how
the band came to be. There is an entire chapter concerning Bob. We won't
rehash this information (guess you'll have to find the book). I just
find it amazing that someone so involved in the Christian music scene to
be only a footnote in one book. That is all about to change though.
10/14/1999, I met up with Bob for lunch at a local restaurant. We sat
down and shared a little about some of things we had planned for the
next few months and where each of our web site's are going. We talked
about how each of our web sites are compliments of the other. I really
appreciated the fact the Bob thinks we're doing a good job here. For
those of you who can't appreciate the visual aspect, Bob is a big guy
(about a head taller than me) with long hair (now starting to gray). He
still has the California look and likes to wear sandals and jeans
wherever he goes. You can definitely spot him in a crowd. However, once
you talk to him for a little while, he seems more like the local pastor
of the Baptist church in any given town. He is very low key, relaxed,
Once can't help but wonder if this the same Bob Beeman
that was the glue that held Christian metal together. You might expect a
more extreme personality, but Bob is very balanced in both his manner
and doctrine. Then as we started to leave in different cars to go to his
house for our interview, I noticed a sticker on the back of his
automobile that said "Body Piercing Saved My Life!" and that's
when I knew it was really him...:^)
me about yourself and how you got into ministry:
me start way back... I became a Christian 42 years ago at the
age of five, and felt the calling to be a Pastor when I was six.
I prepared for it ever since then. I was raised in a wonderful
family, and never went through the kind of confusion that a lot
of kids go through...falling away and coming back and all of
that. Praise the Lord that He has sustained me all of that time.
I always enjoyed rock and roll music, and music on the edge. I
guess I always fancied myself as a person on the edge. Even in
high school and college, I felt like I didn't quite fit in - a
lot of the same ways other people felt. When I started hearing
music that was contemporary (and in those days it was early
Maranatha music, pre-Larry Norman, The Armageddon Experience), I
started getting real excited about Christian music and what I
could do with it. So really, I guess I've been involved with
Christian music for a very long time, even way back then.
worked with Cavalry Chapel promoting Daniel Amos, Bethlehem, Aslyn. I
set up a few tours for Benny Hester and lot of the early stuff. I was an
evangelist for many years and talked about music. At one point, I was
known as "the king of backward masking", which I never wanted
to do. I tried to go other directions and no one would ever let me. I
did a presentation on music, because in those days, Bob Larson was doing
a talk where he said all music with a beat was satanic. I felt that
wasn't right, and that there needed to be a balance. So I promoted
Contemporary Christian music and talked about problems with some of the
secular stuff having content that wasn't real good for us. In those
days, we never really thought much about that. I did a variety of
seminars, but that was one of them. I found two bands that were
practicing at Daniel Amos' practice room, which were Lifesavers and
Undercover. I think I paid for their first promotional pictures. Joey
Taylor and Undercover used to travel with me when I would do my talk on
music and Jay would share his testimony. It was at that time I was
working at a church in Whittier California that I started hearing about
some of the things going on in music. One day Steve Valdez walked in. He
was a roadie for Stryper. He walked into the church as I had left the
podium during the service to do something. I felt like it was a divine
meeting. We spent all afternoon talking, and came up with the concept of
Sanctuary that very afternoon, because there was such a need for some
discipleship for those people becoming Christians through some of this
"new" music that was going on. So the following week, we had
our first service. Michael Sweet (vocalist for Stryper) did the worship,
and Steve did the talking. I never really thought I would get involved
that much. I was just going to help them. I kept thinking, "I'm too
old for this", even back then. But one thing led to another, and
Sanctuary was born.
the band members of Stryper really know what they were getting into?
not sure. They really paved the way. One of the first things we did the
first week was start a mid-week Bible study and called it "Metal
Missionaries". There were 19 bands at the first meeting in 1985.
the first one?
Christian metal bands - everyone from Guardian to Deliverance to Prophet
(Roger Martinez and George Ochoa at the time). There were so many with
names you would recognize. It was very exciting and no one had done
anything like that at the time. Sanctuary has really been an opportunity
to meet some people and disciple some people where a huge need was being
met. I think we just happened on the scene when somebody needed to, and
it grew quickly from there.
are some of the milestones of Sanctuary?
was involved with the "Jesus People" movement a number of
years before and one thing that really bothered me what that there
wasn't a lot of discipleship. Almost every Bible study I went to was
about the book of Revelation and end times. It was kind of a fad thing.
I watched a lot of people come into that and then just drop out of
Christianity, almost like it was a fad for them and now they're into
something else. So I always felt like that if I was ever involved in any
kind of a movement again, that discipleship was something that I really
wanted to bring to the table. I feel like that has been Sanctuary's
desire from the beginning.
milestones would be:
1-800-548-5222. Still going and a lot of people calling, and it has been
almost 15 years. At one time we were at 15,000 calls a month!
records. I am very
proud of that and working with Caesar Kalinowski. That came out of a lot
of frustration because none of the other record companies would sign the
bands, so we got things going with that.
have literally discipled thousands of people. I won't say that out of
the whole movement that no one has dropped out, but a lot of them are
hanging on and are still in the faith, and I am real happy about that
part of things.
we were to get into a time machine and drop in on you sometime between
1987 and 1989, what would we see?
were the "glam" days. I remember people coming to the
church..."dressed up". We'd have up to 800 people in church,
and it was quite colorful because there was probably every color of
hair, every hair style, and a lot of different styles of music. There
were people into thrash, and others with Mohawks, and the people with
the poofy hair (which was me at the time, too)...(laughs)
was a very exciting time. This was a new musical style that was very
unique. Nothing like this had been done in Christian music in a very
long time - not to this degree. I think there was a newness and a
freshness to it. As with any movement's beginning, there was a lot of
excitement. I remember sitting around and planning with Larry Farkas,
Doug Theime, and Glenn Mancaruso. Most of those people in Vengeance
lived with me at the time. We talked about putting Vengeance together.
We hand picked everybody. There was the excitement of learning a new
musical style. We watched Venom and Slayer videos to find out what the
style was all about. None of the guys were even into that style of music
(they were mostly blues players). There was the excitement of putting
bands together. From the time that we started Sanctuary to the time we
were an international phenomenon was a very short time.
Assembly of God Church in Whittier California, we had about 150 people,
mostly people in bands. I actually lived in Redondo Beach, and so,
after a year, we started another congregation over there. After a
few years at the Redondo Beach church, we had up to 800 people.
Steve Valdez kept the other congregation in Whittier going, and we just
branched out from there.
know, we talk about learning from our mistakes. It's hard today to
understand what things were like then. Things were happening so
fast...so much of a need, so many people...they were flooding in. We
were trying to expand as quickly as we could to take care of needs, but
I had a six week waiting list in my own counseling time for people to
wait to talk to me. I hated that. It was real tough. I felt we lost
contact with a lot of people, but we were just trying to keep up with a
Bob's gallery. Do you recognize anyone?
all of this news about Sanctuary spread by word-of-mouth?
lot of it was. Every once in a while we would hand out flyers on the
sunset strip at Hollywood and talk to kids out there. It was almost a
novelty. Of course, Steve Valdez and I were novelties because of our
hair. Everywhere Steve went, he was mistaken for Oz Fox because they
looked so much alike. People would drop into our services, even secular
bands because it was like the metal head place to go to church. We
started the 800 lines right away, and advertised it on the California
metal 1 album. We did not want to just put out an album or series of
albums. We wanted to disciple people. We said, "Let's do this
correctly". So , we put out the 800 lines on them and gave people
an opportunity for follow up and make sure they were plugged into
churches. I don't think we did a wonderful job of it, but we tried to.
the majority of people going to Sanctuary just bands or those
people saved by the ministry of the bands?
We pretty much got the whole movement. If you were into heavy metal and
had any inkling to go to church, that's probably where you went.
Sanctuary ever evolve into its own denomination, or were you just a
came close to that. In fact, there was a time where we had several
churches, not with their own buildings (we felt there were enough church
buildings available on Sunday afternoons), but we had church services in
Florida, Georgia, California, even in Puerto Rico... I remember there
was one pastor's meeting where we realized we were very quickly becoming
a denomination. Heaven's metal magazine did a poll asking people what
denomination they were and the second denomination on there was
That was a choice on the list?
They wrote it in.
that raise your eyebrow a little?
yeah, it totally did. We all kind of felt like that wasn't what we
wanted to do. Denominations haven't worked real well for the most part.
Then we realized a lot of us were going into different directions, as
far as musical styles (some thrash or glam depending on the location),
and even doctrinal differences. I'm not a five point Calvinist, but we
had several pastor's that were and it was becoming like, "Well
where do stand doctrinally on this?" Finally we thought, "why
do we have to stand in one place in particular? We don't want to be a
denomination." Very soon after we decided to become
autonomous, and let each church do what God is calling them to do. We
wanted to re-identify what we were doing and label ourselves a ministry,
which is what we really are, and still are to this day.
you say you had churches in Florida, Georgia, and other places, do you
mean you found someone locally that was in tune to what Sanctuary was
doing and became affiliated that way? They used their own church to have
a "Sanctuary" services?
exactly. Most of the people who were heading up those churches were
people that came out of our fellowship, or they moved to California to
take our classes and then moved back to start a fellowship.
is interesting to me to note that you had this separation point
with five point Calvinist, yet your background is one that rises up from
the Assemblies of God, which are more on the Armenian side of things.
Isn't that where you originally had your ordination?
Actually I was officially ordained in 1980. I was working under a
ministry as a pastor well before that, but it never meant anything to me
(ordination) until that time. I was ordained by a non-denominational
organization in Montana at that time. Then, when we set up Sanctuary, I
was ordained through Sanctuary. Even though I was working in the
Assemblies of God at the time, I am not necessarily Assemblies of God
doctrinally. I am probably closer to Southern Baptist doctrinally.
me about the last days of Sanctuary at California. I know usually when a
ministry begins to expand rapidly, the element of chaos also develops
learn a lot from retrospect. There were a lot of things that we set up
to fail. One thing was that we had a lot of people that had a lot of
needs that we weren't able to get to. I had some wonderful people on
staff. None of them were spiritual giants. None of them were the kind of
mature staff you might find in the average church, but they were the
cream of the crop of what we had. None of them, including myself, were
mature enough to do what this organization needed to have done. We made
tons of mistakes. We never did anything maliciously, but in just trying
to learn, survive and do the best we could, we made mistakes. Probably
one of those mistakes was not involving ourselves with other
denominations. I think if I had it to do over again, I think I would
want to have some kind of covering with another church
organization, or some older people who could really help. There were
some people that I went to personally that helped me in making
decisions, Chuck Swindoll and others that I still have huge respect for.
We were real green. Things were so big. I was teaching classes almost
every day. No one could say were not a teaching church. We had the
equivalent of Bible school classes going on all of the time, so there
was a lot of discipleship. But there were a lot of people coming out of
huge problems and we were not able to meet their needs. I remember one
day walking into the foyer and finding a guy trying to sell drugs to
somebody else. There were those kinds of problems. As you can imagine,
when you get a lot of people together...
Lord had been moving on my heart to move. That's a hard thing,
especially when you don't quite understand what He is doing. He told me
to move to Nashville a year before I did. This was in 1993. We knew that
we were going to relocate. We realized we had a choice. We could either
become a "superchurch" in California, or we could become an
International ministry and restructure to become just that. What
Sanctuary does, reaching out to the people on the edge and bring them
into the fold, was more our mission than being a
"superchurch". That was a tough transition. We began to notice
that the church had a lot of problems. A lot of the people that were
there needed to move on. We decided to become more of a ministry and
less of a church. I waited too long to move. After we made the
announcement that we were going to move, Jim Laverde and I flew out to
Colorado Springs because we thought that might be a good place. James
Dobson and others had moved there. We thought we might associate with
those guys and maybe they would take us under our wings a little. But we
did not feel like that was the right place. Then I flew to Nashville
with Paul Falzone and instantly knew we were supposed to be here. We
knew this is where the music industry was coming to and that this was
the place to be. In the course of that, we merged Sanctuary with a
Presbyterian church in California. That didn't go real well. Even though
they were real excited about it, the people who went to Sanctuary were
like, "We want a long hair pastor and rock music, etc.." By
the time I got to Nashville, I had a little bit of a breakdown. I was so
exhausted from everything. Things had been so much of a strain and so
difficult that I needed to rest badly. The first 2 or 3 years I just
rested to get back to the place I needed to be. I had pneumonia for six
months, and a lot of stuff. It was a time that didn't need to happen.
Had I done what God told me to do at the very beginning and moved when
He told me to, I think we could have saved everybody a lot of problems.
But I didn't do it quick enough. I didn't say, "OK, Lord I'll do
it" as quickly as I think I was supposed to.
a lot of people come with you to Nashville from California and what has
happened since you have come here?
never stopped being Sanctuary ministries. We never skipped a beat on the
800 lines. We've continued
to keep everything up. I've never missed a week of teaching a Bible
study of some kind. I think there were 10-15 people that moved here with
me. About half of them would have moved here anyway. It was not a matter
of relocating a church, but an international ministry. It was so
difficult to keep it going in California. The cost of living was getting
so extreme that we did not feel we could afford to live there any
longer. Then we realized that as an international ministry we didn't
need to be in one location. Plus with bands and travel, California is
just not a good place to travel from. Nashville is a lot more centrally
located. Since that time, there have been a few more that have moved
here as well, just trying to get out of California. The toughest thing
from looking from the outside (I realized this would happen), is that it
looks like a cult moving across the country. Although I have tried
everything I could to make sure that was not the case. I immediately
wrote an article in HM magazine as to why we were moving and dispel all
those cult rumors. I'm sure there is still a few that fly around. The
whole music industry moved here, and we feel like that is still a big
part of what we do. I personally love living in Nashville. It was a good
rest for me. Very honestly, that period was the toughest one in my life.
I was not only drained physically, but emotionally. I went into some
depression and all of that. But it was also during that time that I got
closer to the Lord than I have ever been and it has really changed my
always used to think I was handling things in my life really well, but
there was a lot of pride in my life that I feel God needed to purge. I
feel He spent some good time doing that, and I'm thankful for that.
those who are not familiar with Sanctuary, can you explain a
little about the organizational structure? Who runs things, who
does the administrative task, and how do you run an
that's a big question. Sanctuary was started to meet the need of
a heavy metal society trying to find the Lord. Although we've
gone though a lot of different styles, it's all been in that
same genre. Even though we have done some other things (Mark
Morh with Christafari
Every Pastor needs a library.
reggae for example), the crux of what we do is hard rock. I think we
will always be this heavy metal ministry. The name of our ministry is
"the rock and roll refuge". With that in mind, we have tried
to reach out to this generation internationally. To reach people on the
edge with the tireless Gospel message that Jesus died for them too, and
using heavy metal music to do that. Today, some of the same people that
were involved in the beginning are still involved today. I mentioned
earlier that Michael Sweet (Stryper) led worship our first Sunday. It
wasn't long after that Jim Laverde (Barren Cross) became our worship
leader, who still is. We've been together all of these years and are
still the closest of friends. Todd Boe is still one of our pastors who
was with us in California. They live about 2 minutes from here. I've
known them for twenty years. Chis Howell (Red Sea, Fear Not) is still
involved. Roger Dale Martin (Vengeance, Die Happy) was one of my
original elders and moved here when I did. One by one there are still
people joining us. I feel blessed to have people around me that I have
known for a long time and we have a lot of history.
What would be your title? How does one become an elder?
has changed a lot. There was a time when we had elders and deacons and
everything. These days, and I'm not being flippant here, none of that
really matters. I think that sometimes we worry so much about structure
that we forget about ministry. With that many people (like we had years
ago) you had to have some structure, but I think we just handed out
titles a lot of times without thinking about it a whole lot. If we err
on any side, we err on the side of not giving titles these days. I will
always be Pastor Bob. I think my first name is Pastor and my last name
is Bob. I do some teaching at a local church and a lot of the counseling
as well. My position would be director if anything. Jim is worship
leader and we work hand in hand all the time. These days, we worry less
about titles and more about working as a team.
are your prerequisites that you might require when one wants to be
involved in Sanctuary?
most important thing that we do is discipleship. For 25 years now I've
taught Intense studies, which are Bible college classes. We're just
getting ready to put them all on the Internet. Some will be done live.
This is a great opportunity. As far as people becoming Sanctuary
pastors, we're not doing a lot of that anymore. Mark Morh is one of our
pastors because it really became necessary in his ministry for him to be
a pastor. He not only attended our classes, but Biola University in
California and has a degree in Christian education. Because of his work
in Jamaica, that was something he needed to do.
if someone were to come to me and ask to get involved, the first thing I
would ask is, "What do you do?" and then plug them right in.
We're always needing people to help out in different areas. But I am
simply not as concerned with building a Sanctuary empire as I am about
ministering for the Lord and I really don't care if it has the Sanctuary
name on it or not. The Lord has broken me of so much of that. I'll even
recommend other ministries if a person might be better placed somewhere
else. Out there are still thousands of people who look to us for some
kind of guidance, so there is always something to do around here.
the classes free?
We used to charge for the books, but now with the Internet, they'll be
move on to when alternative music came on the scene and dropped a bomb
on metal music. Were there a lot of disappointed people in Sanctuary, or
people falling out of the ranks?
I don't think so. There has always been a metal scene. During the time
when Christian metal was popular, there were always other forms of
music. Metal has always been a fringe thing. It's never really been
mainstream. There was reason why MTV did not play metal all the time and
they had a special show (Headbanger's Ball). Metal has never outsold
anything else. It's always been an edge type of music, and that was true
in the Christian market as well. There's never been a time when metal
sold as well as an Amy Grant or a Michael W. Smith or CCM. Even during
the biggest days of Sanctuary, there were other styles going on. I think
the one thing that people during the "hey day" of Sanctuary
and even people that enjoy it now have in common was that it's always
been a fringe. We've always felt like it was on a fringe. You
don't walk down the street and see metal looking people that often. Even
in the late 80's when it seemed to be so big, you were still a minority
everywhere you went.
guess the difference was that when metal lost its popularity, people did
not even want to be associated with it. I just finished an interview
with Rex Carroll where he explains his entire identity was ripped from
him and he was not liked as a person anymore because he was affiliated
with metal. Have you seen that?
think you're talking about record companies, mostly. If Rex told you
that, I understand what he is saying and know the story behind that. Rex
is a great guy and I know that his compassion and dedication to ministry
was way up there. But, I think of the process. Record companies are just
that, companies. They want to make money and sell albums and promote
things that are going to make them money. If you are not one of them,
they're nice to you one day and the next they don't care if you exist.
We'd like to think that is not the Christian industry, but that is
probably as much or more in the Christian industry. But the Christian
industry is not a "Christian" industry....
last couple of years, you've opened up to the Gothic scene. What
prompted this change and what results have you seen?
think we have attempted to open up to the Gothic scene. I don't think
we've done it very well, and I don't think it's really our ministry.
Wedding Party, for instance. We were involved with some of the people in
the band, not all of them. Jamie McCavanagh was with that ministry and
with Sanctuary (even in California). I'm not real happy with where the
band is at right now, and I took my hand off of it in November because I
saw some things that I wasn't too excited about. We've done a few
concerts that we've sponsored. It's been a little scary, and I totally
don't understand it as much as I'd like to. Dave Hart who pastors
Sanctuary, San Diego does Gothic exclusively. The whole congregation is
Gothic. I spoke there a few weeks ago and was real impressed with them,
and love what Dave is doing. So I know that it's a great ministry, I
just don't feel like it is mine...
you say you don't understand it, do you mean the music, or the scene in
whole scene is real difficult to understand. I like the people that I've
met in it. My tendency is to think it's too dark. That's a tough one. I
feel like in ministry I've drawn the line many times and God redraws it.
It's always drawn according to my own taste. So I know that as I get
older (and I'm pushing 50 now) I have to make sure that I don't draw the
line where God is not drawing it. I honestly don't feel like I am
capable of drawing the line with Gothic music correctly, so I'm leaving
that to people who do.
kind of response have you gotten from your web site?
response has been good. We have just registered the site, so
everything has been word of mouth. I wanted it to be a little
bit of a "mega site" especially devoted to
discipleship. Not a lot of band information, although there is a
lot of band URL's on there. That's not our thing, that's YOUR
thing, and we're excited about what you're doing. But we really
want to disciple people.
Pastor Bob at his laptop.
our site, you can take Bible classes, get on a live chat with Bible
studies. We are getting ready to broadcast live on the web from Cafe
Express on Friday and Saturday nights. We just have a lot of cool
things coming and a lot of information. We're hoping that the Internet
will take over where the 800 lines have been, where they can find us
understand the winds of change are blowing at Sanctuary concerning the
second wave of Christian metal. Can you expound upon this?
don't think we've ever gotten out of Christian metal, but I don't think
we've pushed it real hard. I think I have spent the first 3 years here
in Nashville getting well, and spending some quality time with the Lord
and the people who live here with me developing our relationships. This
is the most important thing to me. They're my family. The last
couple of years we've spent trying to decide where we are going. As you
know we got involved with some Gothic stuff, and some Reggae stuff, and
a little of everything. But I feel we've reached thousands of people in
the past via rock and metal, and we still have a responsibility there
for discipleship help. One of the things on our web site is a column for
families. We continue to try and provide those kinds of needs because
those people we reached back then now have families. In this process,
we're getting ourselves geared up and ready to go. We're seeing things
on a more international scale. With the Internet, it makes things easier
than it was before. Now at the push of a button you can talk to someone
internationally. We are going to be putting bulletin boards up for every
country and every state. We are also doing festivals in a lot of
different places. We're doing Bobfest 2000 in March 2000 in Stockholm.
We have other festivals planned Mexico City, Sweden, Germany, Israel,
Australia, and a possibility of Japan. There are still a lot of pieces
that have to come together, but we are excited about the possibilities.
When we did the festival in Sweden, there were 10 bands and I did some
speaking. At the last night of the concert there must have been about
500 kids there, and Sweden is a place where only 2% of the population is
Christian, so that was great. So we are moving to a more
is your vision for the year 2000?
the web site, we'll start having live Bible classes that are interactive
where people can ask questions. Possibly a live call in show once a
week. There are a lot of those kinds of things that we want to do in the
name of discipleship. Personally, my energy is going to 2 places:
festivals and the Internet.
will there be more emphasis on metal in 2000?
so. I don't want to limit what God would want to do though...
you believe there is going to be a second wave of metal around the
corner? I believe that because of our ability to use the Internet to
market things without a large record label. I'm seeing signs all over
exciting thing about the Internet is that it has given us a whole new
genre that we didn't have before. No longer are we at the mercy of
record executives trying to tell us what style of music everyone is
going to listen to. I don't think it is just going to be metal. I think
that we're going to see a lot of styles come back, and metal is
definitely one of them.
you want to see metal come back?
I'd love to see that happen. Some of the albums we were involved in that
came out back in the day were excellent albums. I'm excited about
hearing some new stuff, but I'm excited for this generation to hear some
good music that came out then. You don't get any better than Barren
Cross and Ken Tamplin and those guys. I see the caliber of the people
and the musicianship and I am excited for these kids to hear some stuff
that came out. Disciple is one of my favorite bands, for 2 reasons:
Musically they are way on the edge and very good. But I know the guys
and spiritually they are above and beyond where most metal
bands have been that I have ever worked with.
you still aware of the scene and in the middle of it?
never stopped being part of it. I get about 50-75 emails everyday. I'm
still in contact with a lot of bands and people in the industry. We
still have a good sense of what is going on. And I agree with you that
there is a resurgence to go back to some of the "good ole"
you think that bands like Disciple are more spiritually mature because
they have stood on the shoulders of the metal bands of the past and have
possibly learned from their mistakes?
think so. In fact, Kevin in Disciple told me that. We sat down and
talked. He said it was always his dream as a kid to have a Christian
metal band endorsed by Pastor Bob (laughs). His favorites are all the
old bands. Their sound is a little like 80's with an edge. But they are
fully dedicated. To be honest with you, I have had a unique place to see
all the bands and get a lot of feedback on what is going on. There was a
lot of sin in the camp, and there still is. If I had to do it over
again, I would have demanded a lot more from bands I personally
endorsed. There are some bands I wish I hadn't endorsed, because of
spiritually where they were and where they are now. If it weren't for
bands like Disciple and a few others, I don't know if I would even be
involved. I think there is a certain standard that the Lord asks us to
have to minister and be an example.
seems like every band that labels themselves a "Christian"
band wants to call themselves a ministry, yet they are not able to
handle it spiritually. Bands throw around that word "ministry"
way too much. Here is a guy who has been saved for 6 months and he is
trying to minister to serious issues like suicide and drugs, and I
wonder about this.
do too, and it shouldn't be happening. I remember when Alice Cooper
became a Christian. The piece of advice that R. C. Sproul gave to him
was "Don't do anything spiritual. Just learn." Of course, he's
been discipled by R. C. Sproul, and some of the best. For that reason
(because they were never discipled) we've had too many Christian super
stars that have come and gone.
all the good things there is to say about Sanctuary and Christian metal
as a genre, there are negative things. What about the stories of bands
being taken advantage of by supposedly "Christian" record
labels, band members leading double lives, accusations from the secular
world, etc? What hurt the genre the most? What can we do to change
of all, there is no substitute for discipleship. The purpose of
discipleship is to get to a point where you fall in love with the Lord,
and sin isn't a desire of your heart. Where following the Lord is your
desire. Unless you are there, the temptations of this world and this
industry in particular are huge. The mortality rate is huge. I think
that is #1. There have been many mistakes we've made. Even though I
thought I had all the training I needed and took all the classes, there
was so much I had to learn. I was so green, and I think all the bands
were too. I think it was my immaturity leading their immaturity. I was
just in my early thirties at the command post of this whole thing. I
think now that I am pushing 50 I have been humbled by the things that I
have learned. I have definitely learned a lot more.
bands: I think you have that in Christian metal. You always want to
sound like who you like. You listen to Barren Cross and hear a lot of
similarities between them and Iron Maiden. You could also look at it as
a rip off. But it is also a compliment to Iron Maiden. This allowed the
Christian bands to cross over. People would be able to listen to the
Christian bands and not feel like they were giving up the style of music
they loved. Then after you listen to the Christian bands more closely,
you realize they are not just alike. But I think it is ultimately a good
rip offs: I am personally really tired of watching record companies
become wealthy and bands struggling. If we are truly Christian then we
do things differently than the world does. Why do I need to do the music
business the same way the world does? Why does that have to validate
what I am doing? A band doesn't feel like they've accomplished anything
unless they're signed. Then they don't feel like they've done anything
unless they've went platinum. There is always something next in line. I
tell bands that you know you have accomplished something when your heart
goes out to those 5 people that showed up for your concert tonight as
the 500 that will show up at the next one tomorrow. Your heart should
really be for people receiving the message of Jesus Christ and seeing
their lives transformed. If anything else gets in the way, then the
ministry is blurred. I don't feel that has been explained very much and
I feel partially responsible for it not happening.
was a meeting a few of us had a few years ago. Glenn Kaiser (REZ) called
the meeting. It was at Charlie Peacock's house. Doug Van Pelt, and
a lot of other people were there. Our goals were to fast and pray and
discuss what we could do (as people who helped create this mess) to turn
some things around. We had a good day discussing and praying. But our
final analysis was sadly that there wasn't much we could do. I'll tell
you why. The Christian music industry has become a cult unto itself.
There are some things that the Christian music industry allows that the
average church does not: Excessive use of alcohol, some drugs, sexual
promiscuity which is more rampant than we would like to think, and a
life that is not necessarily Godly behind the scenes. What's portrayed
on the stage isn't what is happening in personal lives. At one point
when the Christian music industry was owned by Christian people, there
was a moral standard and foundation and if you did not have that
standard, there were repercussions. Not that the moral standard always
dictated the best of bands. The stories still fly about all the Gospel
quartets and what they were all doing on the bus on the way back from a
concert. But at least there was a moral standard and at least you knew
when you were doing those sort of things, that it wasn't cool. Today,
there are very few record companies that are owned by Christians. They
are owned by secular conglomerations. Many times, the very people
working on the albums are not Christians. There is not that same call
for purity that there was back then. These days it's been
"Clinton zed". Don't ask, don't tell. A few years ago, we saw
some albums being pulled because a man who had won the Dove award had
been caught in some sexual sin. It happened not long after that to
one of the ladies who was at the top of the CCM charts. Nothing was
done. It's happened many times since then and it's old news now and no
one cares. I think that's a big problem. Here's the solution: It has to
come back to the church. The church needs to be responsible for the
bands that come out of them. To a degree, in Sanctuary, the bands that I
endorsed came out of my church. I had band meetings with them. I don't
think there was enough done. I don't think I was able to disciple them
the way that I really wanted to. There was so many bands and so many
things going on. We were involved in every one of them.
you knew where they stood spiritually, right?
I didn't. Sometimes I was as surprised as anyone to find out what was
actually going on. I had concert promoters calling me and saying,
"You won't believe what your band is doing.." and I'm like,
"Are you serious?". So sometimes I didn't know. But
sometimes I did. And when I did, sometimes it meant calling people on
the carpet. Sometimes it meant band members leaving the band and being
replaced, or whatever. But I think the churches have to get involved
with bands again and have accountability. There needs to be a body of
believers that are responsible for accountability, praying for a band,
and sending them out and encouraging them. If a band doesn't have that
structure, they're headed for some problems.
are one of the first to actually offer some real world solutions to
these problems, and I have asked that question many times. You hold a
very unique title because you are considered to be a veteran in a
ministry that surrounds "rock-n-roll". I'm sure you've been
called everything in the book, from a radical to a cult leader. How have
you dealt with that?
been real hard. I always tell God I'm a little too sensitive to be in
this position, and I mean that. I've spent more than one time on my
knees crying, asking the Lord to keep me going because it has been very
painful. I remember the time watching Jimmy Swaggart on television when
he called me "the heavy metal pastor from hell". And I loved
Jimmy Swaggart. Members of Stryper became a Christian through his
ministry. I never had anything bad to say about his ministry. That
really hurt. Others have taken that stand because it was the
"proper" stand to take, not necessarily that they believed it.
We've been called a lot of things. There were times when Christian book
and record stores refused to carry our stuff because they labeled us
"satanic". We've been called a cult way too many times. We
have the longest doctrinal statement of any church or ministry you will
ever find because of that. I want people to know where we stand. Others
people expect us to be a cult or think that we have some cultic
teachings, when we're probably more conservative than most churches out
there. I think that has surprised a lot of people. Even though we have
gone to great lengths to make sure that we're doctrinally where we need
to be, and I think our teaching program is...I don't think any churches
have had the commitment to teaching and discipleship as we have... but
even so, we've been labeled a lot of things. There was a point where I
started to say no to all the talk shows and interviews because it was
becoming to painful and I don't think we were accomplishing anything.
What we did was sort of shut ourselves off from listening to a lot of
it, which may not be the right thing to do. Chuck Swindoll gave me some
of the best advice I ever got. He said, "Don't read your negative
mail." And he was right. It always bummed me out. I'd get 50
letters that said, "Thank You, I became a Christian through you
ministry..." and I love those letters. We still get those kind. But
there would be one letter saying, "I think you guys are satanic and
I'm going to pray that God will shut you down..." and it would
bother me all day. That's the one I would remember. Chuck Swindoll said
he never reads his negative mail. His secretary opens his mail and he
asks her not to let him see the negative mail, because it would affect
him too much. I don't think that we live in an island where we aren't
aware of what is going on. But to a degree, we did do that and more, and
cut ourselves off from the mainstream churches because we found
ourselves hurt by them a lot. A lot of people were hurt by them as well
and that is why they came to Sanctuary. But we became too much of an
you affiliated or do you have ties to any other ministries like the ones
you have mentioned, or TBN, or anyone. I know that Jim Laverde (music
leader) has been playing music for the TBN revival last year...
aren't affiliated with Paul and Jan Crouch, but Jim and some of the
other guys are affiliated with Bill and Renee Morris. They travel with
them some. They are great people. Doctrinally we're at a whole different
place than TBN. As Sanctuary, we helped TBN open their teen club and it
was broadcasted internationally. We considered doing a weekly program.
We didn't feel like doctrinally that it was the place for us to go. I
spent a lot of time thinking through that. I talked to Charles Stanley.
He is a man I respect greatly. His program is carried on TBN as well and
I asked him about any conflicts and how he felt about his program being
on there. After weighing a lot of things, I just decided that was not
the way God was calling us to go. As far as our affiliation...my heroes
(if we can have some) are James Dobson, D. James Kennedy, Chuck
Swindoll, Charles Stanley, and some of these guys I consider to be my
mentors. They have blessed me greatly. I am involved in a church here in
Nashville called Abundant Life fellowship where my accountability has
been. It has been great to find that. As far as a national organization,
no we haven't been.
have told me you are in full-time ministry. You are not employed, or
work full time. How do you survive?
really never know. It never happens the same way two months in a row.
God always provides. That is all I can say. I have some income from a
few things I do on the side. Not enough to sustain everything. But
it just comes in. We've never asked for money. We never have. We still
don't. That's always been kind of a sore point with the people we work
with, so we just haven't. When we first started Sanctuary we passed
around the plate, and it came back almost empty. I remember being a
little frustrated and I asked the Lord, "How are we going to
continue this ministry if people don't give?" and He said,
"You see those people out there? They're not your source. I am, and
as long as your eyes are on people, you're never going to have financial
success..." So that is a hard question to really answer, because I
never know how the money will come in.
|Bob and Jim Laverde ( from
Barren Cross). Just two old country fellas (yeah, right)
enjoying the Tennessee sunshine.
you still in contact with those first bands that were there from the
would say I am in contact with at least a member or two of a majority of
them. I would love to be in touch with them all.
do you think is your area of strength in the ministry?
I love teaching. I hate being a pastor, because I don't play politics
very well. And you have to do a lot of that as a pastor. But I love
teaching the Word. I think I could probably do that 10 hours a day, 7
days a week if the Lord would let me. That's my passion. It always has
been and always will be.
is the most important piece of advice you would give to the new metal
somebody that you respect that is spiritually mature and allow them to
mentor you and listen to them. I think most mistakes are made because of
their maturity spiritually.
is important, because if you are going to be associated with Christian
metal, you are basically saying that you have an evangelists heart. If
you are not willing to take that title on, I don't think you should
bother. I hear it so many times in the alternative scene about,
"Why can't we just be artists and musicians on record labels? Why
do we have to minister?"
the answer is, "You can't" and still call yourself a minister.
that about answers all of my questions....
didn't ask a Roger Martinez question.
have a separate section on that, but I wanted to make sure you wanted to
don't mind at all. I expect that one.
knew that you had written that column for HM magazine and you had
written recently on your web site that the article was pretty much all
you had to say on the subject. But there are some critical things that
have not been answered. You may not even be able to answer some of
of them, we may never have answers to...
I don't want to re-hash everything that has been said. But from your
perspective, what really happened that caused the break up of Vengeance
me try and recall it the best I remember. We're talking a few years ago.
I always feel like people are going to think I am dodging an issue
because I say I can't remember everything, but if you really
understood the chaos during that time.. It was hard to keep up.
Vengeance was kind of a project. I remember putting the band together.
We called it quite a few things in the beginning. We were going to call
it a "thrash opera". We were going to invent a style. I
remember Roger riding in my car one day. We were talking about music and
he said, "I'd like to do the singing for Vengeance...I've been
listening to the thrash stuff and I like it and I think it is something
I can do." I don't think it was my decision. I think it was the
band and everyone was involved in that decision, and he was as well. I
always had a lot of respect for Roger. Roger's dedication to the Word
was wonderful. He knew the Word very well. I watched him minister to
people and I thought, "I've never seen anyone minister to this
generation that way he has". If you ever saw a Vengeance concert,
he was phenomenal. He was very good. But there are some tough things.
One of them was that not everyone that looks that part is the
part. There were a lot of problems that we didn't see until probably a
little too late. There was a point where I remember Roger and I having a
meeting in my back yard, sitting and talking. I said, "Roger, you
know you're traveling a lot with Vengeance and trying to pastor a church
as well. I don't think you can do both. One of them has to go." I
remember how adamant he was that he could keep up, that he could do it,
and that he was okay. It was during a time when I didn't have the time
to put into the relationship what it really needed. All of the things
were things that I should have spotted had I spent enough time with him,
but we were all just trying to keep up. There were so many people. I
remember at one point suggesting to him that we merge the two
fellowships. That the people from Hollywood would come to the South Bay
church. Then I started getting phone calls and people started having
concerns. His staff even approached me and said they were concerned
about the things they saw happening. So we set up a meeting with his
staff and with him and everybody, and he didn't show up. Instead, he
resigned the next morning in the church service...just refused any kind
of accountability. Then there was a time when the band found out some
things that he was doing that weren't too cool. So we had a band
meeting. He knew what the whole thing was going to be about so he didn't
show up there either. That's when they decided to leave the band and
that they were going to close the band down. They would start a new band
called DIE HAPPY and go a whole new direction. At that time, Roger went
to the record company, secured the name Vengeance Rising...everything
behind everybody's back, and then gave everybody a contract to
everyone where he said that he would take over the responsibilities, the
indebtedness, whatever. Everybody signed it and away they went.
it was something that Roger initiated?
I know that one of things he says that they left him with a lot of debt
and stuff. I don't remember everything that happened, but I remember
that there WAS a contract where everybody signed away their rights to
the band and gave them to him. I probably have that here somewhere...
the formation of DIE HAPPY was simply a matter of the contractual
obligations for the rest of the band or necessity?
necessity. I think a desire to go on with music. They felt like they
were going a different direction than Roger was.
to your knowledge, there was never any illegal activity by the band
members or anyone affiliated with Sanctuary concerning falsified tax
documents as Roger claims?
that I know of...NO. In fact, I think he did all of those documents. I
really don't know but I don't know who else would have done them.
page 2 of Rogers ten page document dated 1993, Roger states, "Over
the past 2 years since the original members of Vengeance abandoned ship,
I looked to sources that provided a false sense of hope. Ah, but there
was my depression causing mistake. I looked to and relied on man instead
What is he talking about there? I have heard lots of stories..
heard all of the rumors too, but I really don't know what happened then.
During the time that he got real bad and all the stuff really hit hard
was the same time that I went through my very difficult time and moved
to Nashville. I pretty much turned everything off for a few years. I had
too. But, I really don't know what happened there...
gap I am trying to bridge is the fact that I received this letter in
1993, and supposedly Roger is still hanging on for dear life. Then, in
1995 a story breaks out about Roger from a magazine based in Atlanta
that says Roger is trying to land a record deal for a
"different" kind of Vengeance album and it described Roger as
an atheist at that point. So something happened between 1993 and 1995. I
am wondering what it was that "clicked". I refer to it as the
point of insanity for lack of a better term. I mean, you don't just wake
up one day and decide to be a raving blasphemer...
that's the way a lot of people have described it. But this has been my
experience with Roger: After he left the church and Vengeance and
everything, I really hadn't talked to him in awhile. I wish I would
have. Again, I think I was going through a difficult time and I kind of
lost track of a few people during that time. I did have a conversation
with Roger right before I moved from California. Probably a month or two
before, which would have been the end of 1993. A powerful conversation
where Roger did most of the talking. I had never heard Roger that way
before. I had never heard him cuss and swear and all the things that he
was doing on the phone with me at the time. That surprised me a lot and
hurt a lot. It was the lowest time of my life, so I wasn't able to offer
a lot to him. And very honestly, I've read a lot of things that Roger
has to say about Christianity and about the things that bug him, and the
things that he feels so strongly about. Some of the issues are the same
ones I have. I'm a Christian though, so I've gone a different direction.
But there are a lot of things about the church that bother me
too...about traditional Christianity that are not Scriptural. I think
there are a lot of Pharisees out there as well. So I can't say that
Roger is totally wrong. I think his foundation is wrong. I would want
him to follow the Lord and wish that he was, but I can't say that he is
wrong on everything that he feels. But that conversation...I didn't
sleep for days. His tone was screaming at me, it was loud. It wasn't the
Roger I knew. That's the last correspondence I ever had with him.
Harris (old pastor for Mortification) once asked the question, "how
could such an unstable man attain the ministry in the Sanctuary?"
would love to know the answer to that. I agonized over that for a long
time because that was part of my failure too. Then my dad reminded me
that Jesus had Judas. It is so hard to know somebody's heart.
Personally, I still consider Roger to be my friend. I feel real badly
about where he's at. I love him and I cherish the friendship that we've
had in the past. I don't really know if I could carry a conversation
with him right now. I think it would hurt too much. But he's in my
prayers all the time, and I dare to love him.
step back from the issue from Roger, and look at the much broader issue
of eternal security. One of the things I am trying to do with CMR's
documentary on Roger was to bring out this point and have people take a
deeper look at this and make up their decision based upon Scripture.
Roger's situation definitely brings up some hard questions. What are
your thoughts on eternal security?
believe very strongly in eternal security and I believe all of my
teaching is based around eternal security. That's the thing that keeps
us going in grace. Ruby, Roger's ex-wife was here visiting recently and
I asked her the question, "Do you think Roger was ever a
Christian?" because I don't know at this point. She said, "I
feel like he was..." and I said, "Well then if he was, he
still is." and both us looked confused and I'm not sure we ever
answered the question.
he must be the most tormented person on the face of the earth.
would be my answer, yeah.
our documentary, we try not to take either position for Calvinism or the
Armenian position. Of course, Dante
added his bit of information and gave every reference to R.C. Sproul
that exists on Amazom.com (laughs). We try to ask the readers the
questions and have them pursue it on their own.
where we go doctrinally too (with R.C. Sproul). That is such a tough one
to answer, and I don't think I could answer it without a lot of emotion
being there as well. See, I remember some great times with Roger in
prayer. Some times emotionally where I felt like we were connecting with
the Lord together. I can probably look at the some things in his life in
retrospect and say, "Well maybe there's this and this and this and
maybe he wasn't a Christian.." but I think if I were to go that
same route that Roger's gone today I'm sure people would look back on my
life and say the same thing. My life has not by any means been perfect
and Roger's wasn't either, so I think that's an easy cop-out, to say
"Well, there was these things..." There are those things in
all of our lives, but we're saved by grace. I believe that if you become
a Christian, God never lets you go. And if Roger is a Christian today,
it's my belief that Heb. 12 says those that the Lord loves, He
disciplines. He's gonna be going after him and keep calling him home,
and I pray that one of these days he comes back.
has not been a day since I found out about this that I have not thought
about Roger Martinez. I don't personally know him and have only been to
a few Vengeance Rising concerts. I am by no means a huge fan of VR. But
because of the difference the band, Sanctuary, and the Intense records
had such an impact on my life that I have been burdened about this.
for this opportunity.
Scott Moore and Pastor Bob. The metal
take-over has begun.
so, dear reader, we wrapped up this 3 hour interview and I drove away
with a feeling of closure. There were a lot of things answered for me
personally in this interview, but I think many of you have found out
some of the mysteries surrounding all of this as well. Sanctuary's web
site is growing by leaps and bounds in popularity, and things are once
again focusing on the metal genre. We're very happy to hear about that.
My hope is to continue working with Bob and helping out any way I can to
see this generation gets discipled.
you would like to find out more information about Pastor Bob and
Sanctuary, check out these web sites:
San Diego - focuses more on the Goth movement
documentary on Roger Martinez and Vengeance Rising - the most
information you will find in one place about this band and the whole,
sad saga of Roger Martinez.