Some argue that the King James Version is the only bible translation that is worth reading. Some argue that it has its benefits and is superior but others are still valid. And others wonder why anyone would read a bible written in 400 year old archaic English. I think the same arguments probably exist for the singing of hymns in church, as opposed to more contemporary types of worship music.
I would have to say that I do think hymns are superior to contemporary worship, though not wholly. The hymns of olde seem to have a power about them that are somehow absent from modern music. Maybe it is tied to the testimonies of the saints of yore that wrote them. I think this is at least part of the reason. When I sing Amazing Grace I can’t help but think of John Newton and how God saved a wretch like him, and like me. Or, of Horatio Spafford and how after losing so much could still praise God and shout out a resounding “It is well with my soul” with his pen.
Though, I think there is something more to the hymns. For the most part, at least, hymns seem to have much better theological depth and teaching to them. Rather than repetitive repetitions of “Oh how he loves us,” or even worse “I am a friend of God, He calls me friend,” we get a sound theological lecture in a song.
I’ve read, and witnessed in my own experience in youth ministry, that many of our teens get their theology more from worship music than they do from their bibles and sermons. If that is the case, then the theological acumen in the hymns would be a great help to the contemporary church.
Or, we could actually get them to read their bibles… Thankfully, most of the youth I have any responsibility for do read their bibles on a regular basis. And, for that I am very grateful.
For my next post, I hope to write about why hymns are not better than the contemporary music.
I feel I should disclaim this whole thing by mentioning while writing this I was listening to “Jesus Paid It All” performed by Kristian Stanfill. And, yes, I might add, Jesus did pay it all, and we owe him everything. I’ll include a video below.