hymns are not better than new worship songs

2 12 2009

Have you ever wondered why people argue that hymns are better than modern worship songs?

When people say they have better lyrics it seems to make sense.

Here are lyrics to “How Great Thou Art”:

O Lord my God, When I in awesome wonder,

Consider all the worlds Thy Hands have made;

I see the stars, I hear the rolling thunder,

Thy power throughout the universe displayed.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,

How great Thou art, How great Thou art.

Then sings my soul, My Saviour God, to Thee,

How great Thou art, How great Thou art!

And when I think, that God, His Son not sparing;

Sent Him to die, I scarce can take it in;

That on the Cross, my burden gladly bearing,

He bled and died to take away my sin.

When Christ shall come, with shout of acclamation,

And take me home, what joy shall fill my heart.

Then I shall bow, in humble adoration,

And then proclaim: “My God, how great Thou art!”

No set of lyrics are perfect, but these are good lyrics.

But here is the real challenge: How many hymns do you know?

We go through less hymns than we do modern songs. When I think back to being a kid I still know more modern songs than old hymns.

So, are hymns better? No.

The reason people think they are better is because they have stood the test of time. Good lyrics are what is  key to a song standing the test of time.

The good ones keep being sung, while the old ones fade away. Have you ever looked at a hymnal? Those things are huge and we usually only sing a few dozen at most, and a dozen of those are Christmas songs.

This is the point if someone ever argues that hymns are better: hymns we sing are good because they have stood the test of time. Truth endures.

We are actively going through the sifting process. It takes many years to define a song as a classic.

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old school is not good for church

5 08 2009

The movie has nothing to do with the post. The name fit, that's all.

If the songs you sing in church haven’t changed in a while it might actually indicate a serious problem.

Old songs are a part of the church history and Christianity is an ancient faith. Scripture tells us to remember the past.

Deuteronomy 32:7 – Remember the days of old; consider the years of many generations; ask your father, and he will show you, your elders, and they will tell you.

Psalm 77:11 – I will remember the deeds of the Lord; yes, I will remember your wonders of old.

Psalm 143:5 – I remember the days of old; I meditate on all that you have done; I ponder the work of your hands.

Now, look up “old” and “song” and you will find:

Why doesn’t <br> hold up in the html code in WordPress? I had to play a trick so it looks right.

Why doesn’t <br> hold up in the html code in WordPress? I had to play a trick so it looks right.

Exactly.  You won’t find anything.

But if we look up “new” and “song” and you will find:

Psalm 33:3 – Sing to him a new song; play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

Psalm 40:3 – He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the Lord.

Psalm 96:1 – Oh sing to the Lord a new song; sing to the Lord, all the earth!

Psalm 98:1 – Oh sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things! His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.

Psalm 144:9 – I will sing a new song to you, O God; upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,

Psalm 149:1 – Praise the Lord! Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise in the assembly of the godly!

Isaiah 42:10 – Sing to the Lord a new song, his praise from the end of the earth, you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

Revelation 5:9 – And they sang a new song, saying, “Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation,

Revelation 14:3 – and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

The reason for new songs can come from two sources. One reason can be that God seems so amazing that one song about Him does not satisfy our urge to worship Him. A second reason is that we have learned something new about God, or He has done something new for us that we are compelled to worship Him about this new thing.

If God’s greatness is immeasurable then the amount of songs should likewise never end.

I couldn’t find where Scripture celebrates singing of old songs, but some people latch onto old songs with all their life. There is nothing wrong with singing old songs, but having no new songs shows something: there is no growth. Growth will result in something new.

A growing tree will continue to sprout new branches.

A dying tree looks the same until decay is evident.

Yellowstone - Dead Tree

Refusing to let old songs fade into the distance is placing a creation over the Creator.

We should remember our Creator and His works of old; but old school music is often about our nostalgia and our comfort.

Worse of all reliance on old school music could mean that we have never experienced anything new from or about God that compels us to sing a new song.