By Mike Coles - 8/99
I really haven't heard anything from Extol in a really long time, but I do recall the last thing I heard from them (a song on the satellite metal station) it really wasn't un-black metal music anymore, with excellent metal vocals. I remember thinking to myself". "hmmmm". another good ol' metal band trying to be nu-metal, how sad."
The Outcast: When did you become a Christian and how do you know that this is the path to walk in life?
Christer: I grew up in a Christian home and decided myself that I wanted to live as a Christian around the age of 14-15. I felt the Holy Spirit start to move in my heart, so I really didn't have much choice. : Everybody wants to know the truth. Jesus is the truth (SKRIFSTED) and therefore I want to follow him. It's really simple. For those of you who are not Christians, I want to say this: I would not have been a Christian if it was all just theory and religion. The reason that I'm a Christian is that when I pray in the name of Jesus and praise and worship God, I can feel his presence and because I have received Jesus in my heart, He has given me a peace that is not of this world.
The Outcast: How do you know that this is the only path in life to walk to have a peaceful after life? What is your proof?
Peter: As Christians we believe that the Bible is the word of God, and the Bible says that the only way to reach God and live an eternal life is through Jesus Christ. It's really something that has to be experienced. Our guarantee is Jesus. Without Him we would have been lost forever.
The Outcast: If you haven't been a Christian your whole life, what was your life like before you became a Christian? If you've accepted this faith since childhood and never questioned it, how are you so certain that this is the right choice to live by?
Christer: Like I said, I grew up in a Christian home, but that doesn't mean I never questioned the Christian belief. Around the age of 14-15 I started to live my own life as a Christian, instead of just being a Christian because my parents were Christians. I think a lot of Christians base their belief on their parents, friends, or girlfriend/boyfriend, and that is totally wrong, because then you don't have your own life. I am in no doubt at all that following Jesus is the right choice to live by simply because of all the things he has done in my life.
The Outcast: Why do you think people go from one extreme to another? (From a Christian to a Satanist and vise versa.)
Peter: When a person goes from being a true Satanist to being a Christian that can only be seen as a work of God (as it also is when other people get saved). I think that when people who have been involved with Satanism or occultism etc., and want to get out of it, they often find it very difficult because the powers that they have been involved with are so strong. These bonds that are tying them are impossible to break by human power, and the only solution is the blood of Jesus Christ, who defeated ALL evil powers. When Christ set people free, they are free indeed! When people go the other way (from Christianity to Satanism or any other way of denying their life with God), I believe that this is a result of an impersonal "relationship" with God, or a wrong image of Him, and a weak foundation, not based on Jesus Christ, the word of God and a daily relationship with Him. When people base their lives on other things they are bound to fall some day, because people will always fail, but God will never fail. So when people base their lives with God, on their friends', or parents' beliefs, they will end up blaming God when these friends fail. This happens a lot when people have their eyes focused on themselves or on other people instead of focusing on Jesus.
The Outcast: Have you ever felt like giving up on your faith and living a different life?
Peter: Actually I have. The thought has been there, but it has been rejected quite fast. This is because I know that the only one who knows what's best for me is God and when I stay in His plan for my life, my life will be filled with EVERYTHING I need. The word of God says clearly that if you give God the highest priority in your life He will give you everything you need. The word of God says clearly that if you give God the highest priority in your life He will give you everything you need. Everything means EVERYTHING!!! This is not only something that the Bible says, but I have also experienced it in my own life. Therefore I have no reason to go anywhere else to find pleasure or happiness or whatever a different life may give me.
The Outcast: What is your opinion on religion?
Christer: Religion is a man-made lifestyle created to satisfy the longing for eternity that God has created in every human being. He created us as eternal beings. Christianity is not religion. Some people make Christianity religious, but if you take a look at the first Christians, they didn't live religious lives. The religious ones at that time were the Pharisees who constantly went against Jesus and his teaching.
The Outcast: Do you ever feel like a hypocrite?
Peter: As humans we will always fail and do things we regret, and because of that, it might be easy to feel like hypocrites when we do things that we know as Christians, we shouldn't do. But then again, the word of God says that there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ. But yes, I do feel like a hypocrite sometimes.
The Outcast: Do you think that by "forcing" a child to go to church or by following "rules," that when they reach a certain age (16-whatever), they will rebel against it/God?
Peter: I think a lot of kids that have been going to church a long time because their parents go to church, drop out. The main reason to this problem is that most churches around the world are dead or doesn't work the way the Bible teaches a church should work. If every church was a "burning" church for Christ, this would not be a problem. Another key word here is youth discipleship.
The Outcast: Do you think that people have a right to voice their opinion about a religion, or a religious belief without actually experiencing it first?
Christer: People have a right to voice their opinion about anything they want, but if they haven't experienced what they are talking about, their opinion won't be of any significance.
The Outcast: Do you believe that evil can be used for good and good for evil?
The Outcast: What are your concerts like? Do you preach your beliefs at shows? What factors are involved whether or not you preach at a show?
Peter: We don't preach very much at our shows. We might talk a bit about some of the songs, but not for a long time. Though, we try to be open for what the Holy Spirit says, and if He clearly tells us to preach, we'll do that, and if He tells us something else we'll do that. We also pray a lot, that the presence of the Lord will be mighty upon the places we play, and that people will feel that we bring peace from the Almighty God. Several times we have experienced people telling us after our shows, that there was a strong presence of peace and a very different atmosphere than other metal bands bring. Otherwise our shows are full of energy and a lot of hair and head banging!!
The Outcast: Have you ever played with any secular bands? How do you feel they looked at you for what you were singing about? Do you think they accepted you well?
Peter: We've played with quite a few secular bands, (mostly on festivals etc.), but we haven't had any problems being accepted. There are of course those Satanist wannabe's who have been a bit angry with us because we have screamed things like "burn Satan burn!" from the stage in our early days, but no one has ever come up to us and confronted us with it, or anything like that.
The Outcast: What does your bands name mean to you? The definition?
Christer: Honor, praise, pretty much the same as exalt.
The Outcast: Have you ever had any bad experiences with Christians? If so, does that ever make you want to give up your faith?
Peter: We have had very few bad experiences from other Christians. There were some people in the beginning who were skeptical to what we did, but after a while they saw that we were serious and that we glorified God with our music. Most of the critics we've had from Christian people are on the vocals, but we see it more as a matter of liking or not liking.
The Outcast: What makes an individual a Christian? Define Christianity in your own words.
Christer: Romans 10:9 says: "If you confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him up from the dead, you shall be saved." The word Christian means Christ-like, so Christianity is a lifestyle (maybe not the correct word) where the main goal is to be like Jesus. No human being will ever reach that goal, since sin is in our nature, but we will have to try to get as close to him as possible. Christianity is also all about loving your neighbor more than yourself, and to be humble in order to be used by God in the ministry he has for you.
The Outcast: Would you say that a lot of Christians and Satanist alike are very judgmental, critical, and closed minded towards each others beliefs? Do you think that is normal/human for a lot of people?
Peter: Yes, I do think both Christians and Satanists are critical of each others beliefs, and naturally that's quite normal. I mean, it is two beliefs that are totally opposite of each other!
The Outcast: Why do you think people deny God?
Christer: I guess because a lot of people are brought up to believe that there is no God, and of course, Satan is the ruler of this planet, so he will do anything to make man believe that there is no God. There are probably a thousand reasons why people deny God I guess.
The Outcast: Do you think that by listening to band lyrics about death, destruction, hate, etc", can influence someone's state of mind? Maybe making their lives/moods/state of mind a bit negative because they're exposed to it everyday if they're heavily into a style of music that tends to talk about negative subjects?
Christer: Yes. I believe that listening to music with those kinds of lyrics can have a bad influence. But I also believe that it's an individual thing. A friend of mine told me about a girl that was a Satanist before she received Jesus. She wasn't one of those hobby-black-metal-Satanists; but was really into communicating with demons and stuff like that. One day, after she had been a Christian a few months, she sat down and listened to a song by Metallica, and that was enough to totally bring her back to her old life in mind and soul. Everything she had been experiencing the last months just fell down around her as she was reminded of her old life because of one Metallica song. Now this is an extreme example. This girl was actually talking to demons in her very own bedroom. One day she came running into her mothers bedroom (her mother was a Christian) and was furious because she had been chasing away demons she was talking to. The mother had been praying in her bedroom which was on the other side of the house, far away from her daughters' bedroom, whispering the name of Jesus. That was enough to chase away the demons. If I was to listen to a Metallica song, it wouldn't have any negative effect on my life at all, because I have a solid foundation in my Christian life. Paul talks about not doing things that can lead my friend to fall, even if it's not harmful to me. So in the case above, if this girl was to visit me, I better not own a single non-Christian cd, so that she wouldn't get in trouble because of that.
The Outcast: Heavy metal music is an aggressive style of music. To me, music is a mood. Why did you decide to play such an aggressive style of music? Do you ever feel uneasy or "stressed" out so to speak, by listening to such a musical style?
Peter: Metal rules, I guess that's why.
The Outcast: I've heard some secular artists claim that Christians only play metal for propaganda purposes, not because they like it, your opinion?
Christer: Well"I can only speak for myself and my band. We play metal simply because we love it, and to serve God with our favorite music is just awesome.
The Outcast: Who are some of your favorite bands?
Peter: These are some of our favorite bands and influences: Stryper, Believer, Rush, Vengeance Rising, The Cardigans, Bjoork, U2, Antestor, Old Tourniquet, Old Mortification, King's X, Galactic Cowboys, Death, Foo Fighters +++.
The Outcast: Do you think it's wrong, immoral, or against Christ to listen to secular music?
Christer: Like I said earlier, I believe this is an individual thing. But if anyone isn't sure what's right, the best thing to do is not listening to secular music. You should always ask yourself this question. What would Jesus do? If you truly believe that Jesus would have listened to secular music, then go ahead. If you don't know what Jesus would have done, play safe, don't listen to secular music, of course, if you believe he wouldn't have listened to it, then don't.
The Outcast: What's one thing you struggle with in your faith, if anything?
Christer: To get my priorities right and to spend enough time with God.
The Outcast: Would you agree or disagree, that there are a lot of people that use Christianity for their own evil intentions? Do you think that is one of the many reasons why people can't accept faith?
Christer: Some Christians probably do, and yes, that's one of the reasons why people deny God. They look at those who call themselves Christians and expect them to act like Christians (followers of Christ). Sad to say, a lot of Christians try to get as close to the world as possible and still call themselves Christians, instead of trying to get as close to God as possible.
The Outcast: Are all the members in your band Christian? Would you ever consider having non-Christians in your band? Why or why not?
Christer: All the members of Extol are Christians. We would never consider having non-Christians in Extol, because Extol is our ministry, a special task only to be done by those God has called to this particular ministry. A non-Christian would have had completely different motives than us, and he wouldn't have been able to join the spiritual fellowship that we have.
The Outcast: Has Extol ever had any problems with any black metal bands? Physical threats or other?
The Outcast: If a black metal "warrior" was approaching you to kill you, what would you do? Attack him back or turn the other cheek?
Peter: It's hard to say how we would react in certain situations, but I believe that I probably would cry out to the Lord and trust Him to do whatever He wanted to do in that situation. He watches over me at all times so I think that He would be there to save me, and to protect me.
The Outcast: Do you really think that he would save you? Why would He save you, and not the many that died during the holocaust? The man attacking you has the choice to kill you, would you truly just wait there and pray and not defend yourself? Do you think it is a sin to kill someone in self-defense?
Peter: It's very hard to tell how I would react because I have never been in a situation like that, but God is an almighty God, and I truly believe that God would save me. The holocaust was a war, and that's kind of different from being beaten down on the street, but I believe that if the Jews had been right with God and stood together in prayer, God would have saved them from Hitler.
The Outcast: Well, I still disagree with you on that one.
Peter: No matter what, killing is not a good thing. The Bible clearly says: "You shall not kill." But of course there is a difference between killing someone cold-bloodily and killing someone in self-defense. One wants to kill, the other one is forced to kill because he doesn't want to die. It's not an easy question.
The Outcast: Any closing words?
Peter: Thanks for all support and encouragement. Focus on Jesus and keep metal alive.