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Welcome to the Tomas Howie Gospel Page!

When most people hear the word Gospel, they think of a silken-throated quartet gently crooning "Blessed Assurance" while standing in a posh, well-appointed cathedral.

But, that's less than half the story. Now Gospel singers belt out raucus anthems of salvation and forgiveness in hockey rinks. They wear jeans, t-shirts, and earings. Their music is loud, brash, and unapologetic.

But, they have one thing in common with their silken-throated cousins: they love Jesus and want to see people come to Him.

Every contemporary Christian music entity owes his, hers, or its existence to Larry Norman, whether they know anything about the man or not. Larry single-handedly started Jesus Rock in the late 60s, and was one of the first personalities in the then-burgeoning Jesus Movement. Because of him and the path he paved, all contemporary Christian artists can work freely within their respective field.

Larry was initially signed to MGM. However, it soon became apparent that MGM was uncomfortable with his unabashedly Christian focus. Meanwhile, over at the church, Christians were uncomfortable with his unabashed Rock and Roll style. Rejected by the secular media and by his own fellow believers, Larry formed his own label - Solid Rock - through which he produced his own records and those of some up-and-coming young Christian stars, like Randy Stonehill.

But, Larry was never to find true acceptance in the modern church: his message was too truthful - he often shined the bright light of God's Word onto the lives of his fellow believers, and they didn't particularly like that. So, he was - and is - continually shunned by his brothers and sisters in Christ, even while they share in the fruits of his labors.

Larry's music is challenging and quite profound in its understanding of God's Word. Yet, he remains obscure. It's unfortunate that Christendom can shun its one true musical prophet, yet most Chrtsitains are content with rather complacent musical wallpaper that doesn't challenge their faith to grow.

I'm glad God has allowed Larry to continue with his ministry. He has touched me deeply.

Larry Norman

Phil Keaggy

This story is no doubt apocryphal, but it points up Phil's place in the music world:

A music reporter once said to Jimmy Hendrix, "People say you're the best guitarist in the world."

Jimmy replies, "I wouldn't let Phil Keaggy hear you say that!"

Whether or not this is true, the underlying theme - Phil's place of high esteem among the ranks of professional guitarists - is right on the money. Ted Nugent once said, "Whatever happened to that Phil Keaggy? He could have saved the world with his guitar." The ironic thing is that Phil is saving the world with his guitar! Ted doesn't see this because his eyes are spiritually blind.

Phil was something of a sensation with his band Glass Harp before he came to know Jesus. After his conversion, he began to write Christian-oriented songs for Glass Harp. He soon tired of the secular scene and split for Freevile, NY, where he was discipled by Scott Ross' Love-In, a rather dynamic Christian community in the early days of the Jesus Movement.

Phil emerged a spiritually mature man and began writing excellent worship music. His guitar work was - and is - quite stunning. While he has slipped out of view of his secular admirers, his guitar work is still among the very best.

Phil is respected as much for his music as for his integrity. While other Christian artists have succumbed to fame, Phil has never lost sight of his reason for doing what he does: Jesus.

Randy is a musical disciple of Larry Norman, although he probably wouldn't like to admit it. Larry is responsible for Randy's conversion and he produced Randy's first album, which is considered a classic. While most of Randy's albums have never acheived the noteriety of "Welcome To Paradise", he continues to be considered a top Christian artist and holds the disctinction of being there "at the beginning".

Although he may not be aware of it, Randy's music and his continued career are a testament to God's power in our lives, and His willingness to work around our weaknesses and faults, while at the same time guiding us in our efforts to correct those faults.

Randy Stonehill

Ron Kenoly

Ron Kenoly isn't in the same class as the previous three gentlemen. Not because he isn't as good: where Larry, Phil, and Randy are rockers, Ron is a worship leader. His job is to shepherd the flock, and to bring them closer to God.

He does this through music that is designed to be participatory. When you go to a Ron Kenoly concert, you don't sit and watch. You stand and sing! You dance, you shout, and you direct all this joyous noise towards God - not towards Ron. When you applaud, you're applauding God, because He's moving in your life.

Ron's ministry is a powerful one. If you would like to know the power of God through music in your life, then listen to Ron. Better yet, catch him "in concert"!


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