Great video and I’m glad that you and I share the same perspective on hymns. They are wonderful songs
with lots of powerful theological and doctrinal practicality, but I feel that better songs have been written
since and that better songs will continue to be written in the future.
Tradition is a beautiful thing, but I believe that most of the hymn writers would have been sorely let down
and very disappointed if the progress that has been enjoyed since they were alive and offering their songs to the church and to the Lord had not taken place. Some hold onto tradition for the sake of nothing but itself,
but they are missing out on loads of powerful and life affecting songs that are being written today.
God has always been relevant to the people and the cultures and the societies that He’s dealt with over the centuries and I believe that He hasn’t changed in that respect. When Jesus ministered to fishermen and to communities surrounding the fishing industry, He used fishing terms and jargon. When He ministered to communities surrounding the care and raising of livestock, He used terminology familiar to and practical for shepherds and their families. When He talked to Jews, He used terms and illustrations that would be easily understood and related to by them and the same was true of the gentiles or Judea, Samaria, Rome and so on.
The English language has evolved in many ways since the writing of most of the most recognized and treasured old hymns and the language that they were written in is no longer used, is often misunderstood and is applicably irrelevant to today’s church and to the lost who may hear them in a evangelistic outreach
venue. It’s important that we use language that is time and culture appropriate and practical so that the maximum impact may be felt by those singing the songs.
If we’re to worship in spirit and in truth, I think it only makes sense that we actually use language that is honest and understood by those singing the songs as they’re offered in a worship situation to the Lord as we reach out to touch His heart with our words and actions. Words and grammar that are familiar and are
regularly used will provide a more fluent and real environment for communication than those that may require interpretation or too much thought to decipher the intention and direction of the writer’s heart as he penned the songs of old.
Just some thoughts,
My husband and i were sent here simply because this particular post was tweeted by a person I was following and feel really I made it here.
Hi there - interesting video, I think you make some good points to show both sides of the “hymns vs modern songs” argument.
Its an interesting take on it that you set yourself the challenge of “doing better” than well known traditional hymns - in terms of writing and find new songs. It’s good to be ambitious! One way of knowing that you’re doing a really good job of this is by writing and seeking out songs that will still speak to people and that congregations still want to sing several years from now. How many worship songs are being written today that will still be with us in ten years time, never mind one hundred?
Of course, it’s not fair to compare your average modern worship song with hymns like Amazing Grace - it’s not that Amazing Grace is really good because it’s 230 years old, it’s lasted for 230 years old because it was much better than most of the rest of the stuff written at the same time! (Songs that ended up with a much shorter shelf life).
It’s not wrong to write songs that speak to the moment, and then you move on from them - but if you’re going to compare with the classics, then you need to look for songs with longer-lasting depth.
One place to start with this is in the lyrical quality of the worship songs we write. Amazing Grace was written as a poem before it was set to music. Today, most worship songs are written by musicians, who have more experience with musical structure than we do with poetry. (I speak as a guitar player who has had a go at writing worship songs myself). So shouldn’t we be encouraging our writers to hone their crafts in poetry (as much as it applies to worship songs), just as much as their crafts in playing and arranging?….
Just hoping to inspire some further thought on this subject!
Blessings - TP