Thursday, April 10, 2014

Musty Old Hymns

Not all contemporary Christian music distresses me, and a few hymns bother me greatly. Since coming to the Lord in 1971, I've been part of churches which primarily did contemporary music, and I generally preferred the newer music to "musty old hymns." In fact, just 15 years ago, I adamantly argued in favor of eliminating hymns almost completely from church.

Understand that I enjoyed singing the newer stuff, mostly because it's more fun. Additionally, I took pride in having a progressive taste in music which I believed put me on display as being more "spiritual" than "nominal Christians" who were bogged down in "empty traditionalism." The newer music, as I saw it then, moved beyond "dry doctrine" to emphasize personal relationship with Jesus.

And, as the Lord used a talking donkey to bring Balaam to repentance, so during the mid-90s He used my love of singing contemporary praise songs to keep me from walking into deliberate sin. I remember trying to sing in church, only to be overwhelmed by my hypocrisy to the point of being unable to sing about  being devoted to the Lord.

Yet, as I've grown to appreciate the vital importance of sound doctrine, I now understand that most (most, not all) of contemporary praise songs focus on our feelings about the Lord. In contrast, most (most, not all) hymns extol Him by using music to help us memorize the marvelous doctrines of Who He is and what He's done. Now, the newer songs seem empty to me, as the hymns that I once saw as "musty" cause me to marvel at how wonderful the Lord is!

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