DDV Music - Music Information and Education

Michael Card

Michael Card (born April 11, 1957 in Madison, Tennessee) is a Contemporary Christian music (CCM) artist who couples folk-style melodies and instrumentation with lyrics that stem from intensive study of the Bible. This perhaps is most brought out and seen, in his very popular thought provoking song 'Scandalon' - while on a softer level of feelings from the heart came the song 'Abba Father'. Since his debut in 1981, he has sold more than 4 million albums and has written 19 number one singles. He lives with his wife, Susan, and their four children in Franklin, Tennessee.

Card received Bachelor's and Master's degrees in Religious Studies from Western Kentucky University. His studies in physics and astronomy allowed him to support himself while a student by working for six years at a planetarium. As of 2005, he is working on a Ph.D. in Classical Literature.


Michael Card never intended to be a professional musician. He got his start when his mentor, Dr. William Lane, asked him to write some music to accompany weekly sermons at their church. His friend, musician Randy Scruggs, then asked him to record a demo tape so Scruggs could get a job as a producer. The record label agreed to hire Scruggs as long as his first project was to produce an album featuring Card. Since then Card has released nineteen original albums and at least six compilation albums. Another album, Starkindler, is comprised of Card's interpretations of traditional Celtic hymns. The compilations often include one or two new songs along with previously released material. With the exception of Starkindler, Card writes the vast majority of the music he records (although sometimes with collaborators).

Each of Card's albums is structured around a unifying theme. For example, the songs from The Beginning are all based on the Pentateuch. The individual songs have subjects such as Genesis, Leviticus, Abraham, Isaac and Moses. Card is particularly adept at relating difficult or obscure concepts from the Old Testament to more understandable themes from the New Testament. For example, the song "Jubilee" talks about the period of rest and the release from debts and slavery commanded in the Jubilee year as described in Leviticus 25:9ff, but also reveals how the idea culminated in the rest and freedom from condemnation offered through Jesus.

Card's most famous song is "El Shaddai", which was recorded by Amy Grant as well as by Card himself. Grant's recording was named #326 on the RIAA's list of 365 Songs of the Century in 2001. Other popular Card songs include "Emmanuel," "Joy in the Journey," and "Heal Our Land." "Heal Our Land" was commissioned as the 1993 National Day of Prayer theme song.

Despite his tremendous success in music, Card has always maintained that his music career is secondary to his calling as a Bible teacher. He has at times distanced himself from the CCM industry by criticizing the promotion of personalities over musical content and the shifting emphasis away from God in order to sell more albums.


Michael Card is the author or co-author of sixteen books. He originally started writing as a way to share the knowledge he accumulated while researching his songs. His studies were so in-depth that he couldn't condense everything he had learned into one short song. The books that resulted from album research bear the same titles as the albums. He then branched out to other subjects not specifically based on his music, such as the Gospel of John, homeschooling, and Christian discipleship and mentoring. As of 2005, he has joined with NavPress to pursue his interest in writing Christian fiction.

Radio Host

In addition to touring and writing, Card also hosts a weekly radio program. In the Studio with Michael Card is carried by stations in 48 states, Canada, and the Caribbean. It is also available via internet streaming audio and as a podcast. The show is an amalgam of talk, musical performances and Bible study.


  • In 1996, Michael Card caused some concern within his primarily evangelical fan base by releasing an album (Brother to Brother) and touring with musician John Michael Talbot. Some fans and critics felt betrayed by their collaboration since Card is lauded for lyrics that scrupulously adhere to Protestant theology and Talbot is a Catholic.
  • On November 14, 2004, Michael Card provided the music for a sermon by Ravi Zacharias at the Mormon Tabernacle in Salt Lake City, Utah. In coverage of the event, a Deseret Morning News reporter attributed the following statement to Card:

Still, Card said, he doesn't see Mormonism and evangelical Christianity as opposed to each other. They are more like the two ends of a long thread - part of the same thing.

Since the statement was not a direct quote, some have surmised that Card was misunderstood. The impact of this statement can be understood in the context that many Protestants deny that Mormons are Christians and consider the LDS church a cult. Card's response to his critics has not helped to clarify the matter.


  • First Light (1981)
  • Legacy (1983)
  • Known By The Scars (1983)
  • Scandalon (1985)
  • The Final Word (1987)
  • Present Reality (1988)
  • Sleep Sound in Jesus: Gentle Lullabies (1989)
  • The Beginning (1989)
  • The Way of Wisdom (1990)
  • The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth (1991)
  • The Word: Recapturing the Imagination (1992)
  • Come to the Cradle (1993)
  • Poiema (1996)
  • Brother to Brother (with John Michael Talbot) (1996)
  • Close Your Eyes So You Can See (1996)
  • Unveiled Hope (1997)
  • Starkindler: A Celtic Conversation Across Time (1998)
  • Soul Anchor (2000)
  • Scribbling in the Sand (2002)
  • A Fragile Stone (2003)
  • The Hidden Face of God (2006)
  • The Ultimate Collection (2006)


  • The Life (1988) - Contains The Final Word, Scandalon and Known by the Scars in a boxed set
  • The Early Works (1991)
  • The Ancient Faith (1993) - Contains The Beginning, The Way of Wisdom and The Word in a boxed set
  • Joy in the Journey (1994)
  • The Early Years (1996) - Popular songs from The Life trilogy
  • Signature Songs (1999) - Popular songs from Legacy and First Light


  • Sleep Sound in Jesus (1989) (ISBN 0736912193)
  • Immanuel: Reflections on the Life of Christ (1990) (ISBN 0840774966)
  • The Promise: A Celebration of Christ's Birth (1991) (ISBN 0917143078)
  • Come to the Cradle (1993) (ISBN 0917143248)
  • The Parable of Joy: Reflections on the Wisdom of the Book of John (1995) (ISBN 0785282297)
  • Close Your Eyes So You Can See: Stories of Children in the Life of Jesus (1996) (ISBN 1565074254)
  • Joy in the Journey (1996) (ISBN 0793576652)
  • The Homeschool Journey (with Susan Card) (1997) (ISBN 1565075684)
  • Unveiled Hope: Eternal Encouragement from the Book of Revelation (with Scotty Smith) (1997) (ISBN 0785272097)
  • Tell Me Why: Eternal Answers to Life's Timeless Questions (1999) (ISBN 1581340311) - Answers to children's questions such as "Why did God make me?" and "Why do we have to die?"
  • A Violent Grace (2000) (ISBN 1576736881) - Focuses on the frequently ignored brutality of Jesus's crucifixion.
  • The Walk: A Moment in Time When Two Lives Intersect (2001) (ISBN 0785277501) - Chronicles the 20-year relationship between Card and his mentor, Dr. William Lane, until Lane's death.
  • Scribbling in the Sand: Christ and Creativity (2002) (ISBN 0830823174)
  • A Fragile Stone: the Emotional Life of Simon Peter (2003) (ISBN 0830823727)
  • A Sacred Sorrow: Reaching Out to God in The Lost Language of Lament (2005) (ISBN 1576836673) - Reclaiming the ability to cry out to God when we suffer.
  • A Sacred Sorrow Experience Guide (2005) (ISBN 1576836681) - A 10-week study that helps the reader relate his own painful experiences to those of Biblical personages.


1983 GMA Dove Awards

Songwriter of the Year
Song of the Year: "El Shaddai"

1988 GMA Dove Award

Praise & Worship Album of the Year: The Final Word

1994 GMA Dove Award

Children's Music Album of the Year: Come to the Cradle

1994 RIAA Certified Gold Recording

Sleep Sound in Jesus

1997 Western Kentucky University Distinguished Alumnus

1998 National Religious Broadcasters Chairman's Award

2001 RIAA 365 Songs of the Century

#326 "El Shaddai," as recorded by Amy Grant

2002 Publishers Weekly Award

Best Religion Book: Scribbling in the Sand

2002 Chicago Book Clinic Award Of Excellence

Best General Trade Book in the Self-Help Category: Scribbling in the Sand

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Document License
It uses material from the Wikipedia article - Michael Card