Posted by: johnnyp1978 | December 8, 2010

Preserving Hymns

I was reading this article which sparked some thought on why all churches should continue to sing hymns throughout the history of the church:

No matter where you fall in the spectrum of worship (traditional to contemporary) there is a need to keep old hymns in worship services. In the article I mention we see the history behind the hymn “O Come All Ye Faithful.”  Why did John Francis Wade waste his time preserving this hymn and other older church music? I think he saw the importance of preserving a gift given from the church fathers before him. When you go to the extreme end of the contemporary spectrum and you throw out historical hymns you also throw out gifts of our church fathers and singing songs sung by the saints before us. I personally am a hymn only guy, but I can tolerate blended worship because at least I get some of the old hymns with the new. I know some of these hymns can sound odd and are not necessarily “hip” but Christianity isn’t about being “hip” it’s about being pilgrims, and pilgrim music isn’t always going to sound “hip” but it can be more moving than any contemporary song if one looks at the rich heritage behind old hymns and the saints who sang these songs in the past and even some who were killed for believing in this pilgrim religion.



  1. I’m mostly with you here–but I think it’s also worth reminding ourselves that this is a pretty Western-ized point of view, and Christianity’s not a Western-only religion, you know? I wonder what it looks like in Korea or Kenya to get in touch with historical, musical expressions of faith. Exciting!

    • I do agree that style will change from culture to culture, and that my argument is aimed towards an American church audience because I think most of the modernization of the church is happening in the West. But I do hope we see the hymns of old, even if written in the West, as gifts for the Global Church because their message is universal. I’m happy to see there is actual ethnic hymnody out there:

      Though styles may change from culture to culture, all worship should strive to conform to Scripture and should always be done with reverence and awe.

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