We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Hymns vs “Praise and Worship” Songs

I was thinking this week about some differences between the solid hymns the Church used to sing for “praise and worship” and the “radio songs” used today.  

First, most of the old hymns had a “story” in the lyrics which progressed from verse to verse, while modern songs tend to have a repetition of the same few lyrics.

Second, the use of modern songs in the assembly leads to a lot of instrumental bridges where the “band” gets to perform on their own — you won’t find this in the hymns.

Thirdly, for the most part old hymns were fairly easy musically for congregational singing, while modern songs are not usually easy at all, and the only people who really know them and can sing them are those who listen to them on the radio or buy the CDs (or downloads)!

Lastly (for now, anyway), it is difficult to work oneself into an alternate state of frenzy by getting carried away with emotions with hymns the way the new songs enable people to do.

Interestingly, there is one songwriting pair who seem to get it, and their hymns/songs are very much like the old hymns in doctrinal content, progression in the theme with the lyrics, and ability to be easily sung by congregations:  Keith Getty and Stuart Townend.

Compared to the songs I posted yesterday, here’s one by Getty and Towned  which we sang the same day:

Speak, O Lord

“Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us 
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow’r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we’ll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we’ll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.”

Granted, I haven’t heard a whole lot of songs by this team, but of those I’ve heard I can only say again that THEY “get it.”  Now, if only our “worship” leaders would also “get it.”


Anonymous said...

Your points are correct. Well said. But don't forget (for point #3) "you tube"... that is where everyone is told to go in order to "learn" new worship songs. HAHAHA!

Yes! Getty and Townend are wonderful modern day lyricists! I love their songs, which, as you said, are very much like the hymns of old. I hope some of their pieces make it - and remain - in hymnals, to be joined with the other great worship songs of the ages.

Look these up, if you are not familiar with them already. They are written by either Townend, Getty, or both. Getty's wife also writes pieces.
In Christ Alone
How Deep the Father's Love for Us (I JUST LOVE THIS ONE)
The Power of the Cross
Come People of the Risen King
Behold the Lamb

Those are ones I know. I might know more. They have many more wonderful pieces with which I am not familiar, but I certainly appreciate the lyrics of the ones I've read so far.

Oh that churches would incorporate THESE songs into worship and "86" the Hillsong and other repetitive CCM junk.


Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Oh I know all those songs, and we sing them in church. Even better, I put "How Deep the Father's Love For Us" on the bagpipes.

I didn't know Getty's wife wrote. We have one CD and she sings some.

Anonymous said...

Glad you were familiar with all of those pieces. How Deep the Father's Love on the pipes... that must be gorgeous!

I do believe Getty's wife writes also. I read that many of Keith's songs are co-written with his wife. I do know she sings... and you can hear the Irish accent in her voice. :)