I've always thought that "Christian" music in general was a step down from "secular" music - I don't necessarily mean lyrics, but more the music itself. Musicians who may not have the artistic or musical merit to make it in the "secular" world - and there are Christians who have made it (Johnny Cash or Bono of U2, to name two - perhaps Amy Grant to a lesser degree but that's debatable) - have sought an audience in the "Christian" realm and found it. I realize that this is not always the case, and there are fine examples of talent and musicianship in the Christian realm (I believe Larnelle Harris can go toe-to-toe with any R&B singer, including the late Luther Vandross; Jars of Clay has received recognition from the "secular" press). Petra is one of those bands whose artistry and talent are deeply impressive, whither they be in the "Christian" or "secular" realm.
Bob Hartman, a founding member of the group, and John Schlitt, leader singer since 1986, recently sat down with Christianity Today to talk about how their good thing has come to an end.
Bob made an interesting observation on Christian music:
Back in the day when we started, it was really about ministry. There were record companies that actually cared if you had a ministry or not—that you were bringing something to people spiritually that was going to last. I'm not saying nobody in Christian music is like that right now, but even if there are, they're overruled by other things. It's much more about fashion than it used to be.