I just finished listening to a fascinating interview with Derek Webb in which he gives some of the reasons for the break-up of Caedmon’s Call. Believe it or not, Derek says that Bruce Wilkinson and The Prayer of Jabez were in part to blame for the band’s demise!
Derek explains that his first solo album was inspired by an encounter that Caedmon’s Call had with Bruce Wilkinson at a trade event. At this event, Wilkinson was supposed to speak for about 20-30 minutes, and then Caedmon’s was to perform a few songs when he finished. Wilkinson held forth for about an hour and a half telling the crowd that if they would pray the prayer of Jabez, then God would bless them. According to Derek, Wilkinson never once mentioned Christ or the gospel. Derek was so outraged, that he wanted to speak out against the gospel-free message of Bruce Wilkinson. When the rest of the band demurred, Derek struck out on his own.
Maybe this story is common knowledge, but I had never heard it before. But don’t take my word for it. Go listen to Derek tell the story himself in this interview with the RUF director at Belmont University: Derek Webb episode 12 (from the Derek Webb podcast).
Update/Clarifications (6/4/07): In light of some reader’s comments, I thought I’d try to clarify some things that may not have been clear in the original post.
First, the band did not literally break-up. I guess I assumed people would understand what I wrote in light of the immediately preceding post, in which I wrote the following: “I think Caedmon’s Call lost big time when Derek Webb left the band in 2003. Even though the band went on without him, for many fans, it was as if the band had broken up. Caedmon’s Call 1.0 gave way to Caedmon’s call 2.0, and it marked the end of an era of great music.” So they didn’t literally break up, but the band was nevertheless very different post-Derek. Sorry for the confusion on that point.
Second, my understanding is that the entire band was fairly outraged by Wilkinson’s gospel-free presentation. They all agreed in their estimation of Wilkinson’s teaching. If I understand Derek correctly, the disagreement had more to do with his desire to go on a crusade about it. I did not mean to give the impression that the band was pro-Jabez and that Derek was the only one who was anti-Jabez. That’s not what Derek said, and that’s not what I intended to convey. They were all anti-Jabez. I’m sorry if I wasn’t clear on that point as well.
Third, I said that The Prayer of Jabez was “in part to blame for the band’s demise.” I’m assuming that there is more to the story of why Derek left the band and that we would learn a lot if the rest of the band were to share their perspectives (Proverbs 18:17). Nevertheless, Derek presents this event as a watershed moment in coming to his decision to go out on his own. So take it for what it’s worth: his perspective.