Why You Should Keep Using Hymns in Your Worship Services

“Our society is fixated on what’s new and what’s next, but hymns remind us that what’s next is not always what’s best.”

I love old hymns. I keep a stack of hymnals on my nightstand and have an ever-growing collection in my library. I cut my teeth on Charles Wesley and John Rippon. I hope to write academically on the pastoral theology of hymns. I even have a dog named Watts.

While I certainly don’t think that historic hymns are the only thing we should sing in corporate worship, I am concerned that omitting older hymns in our gatherings silences the rich voices of church history. Some churches seem uninterested in any song that is more than two years old, much less two hundred years. Yes, the church will continue to write and sing new songs (Psalm 96:1), but it is also good and helpful for us to sing old songs.

What’s New Is Not Always Best

When I mention historic hymns, maybe you cringe as you recall a “worship war” in your local church. Maybe you’re eager to only sing the old hymns. Or maybe you wonder why it is important at all. My aim is not to renew local church disputes or bolster mere sentimentality, but to commend something else altogether—to encourage younger churches to remember their history by joining with the countless men and women who have shared these songs over hundreds of years.

Our society is fixated on what’s new and what’s next, but hymns remind us that what’s next is not always what’s best. Singing the historic hymns of our faith reminds our congregations that we are not the first generation who have wrestled and prayed, asked and believed. We are not the first to write hymns of praise to God. We walk gladly in the footsteps of our fathers who have written praises to Christ that have stood the test of time.

With a steady diet of merely new choruses, we can develop both modern idolatry and historical amnesia. Perhaps we should adopt this paraphrase of C.S. Lewis? Sing at least one old hymn to every three new ones.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow,
Praise him all creatures here below,
Praise him above ye heavenly hosts,
Praise Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

—Thomas Ken, 1674

Hymns Teach Us

Continue at: http://www.churchleaders.com/worship/worship-articles/254977-vintage-worship.html

 

I just read this in AW Tozer’s book,The Crucified Life. This was decades ago, too.

The Christian hymnal is one of the great depositories of the Christian life and experience. The men and women behind these hymns were writing out of deep spiritual experiences. The poetry of some hymns may not be perfect. In fact, some may be very difficult to sing. Pushing the hymnal aside, however, is to forfeit one of the great spiritual treasures of the Christian Church. The hymnal connects us with our Christian heritage, a legacy that should not be denied to this generation of Christians. If we are going to press on to be hundredfold Christians, on to Christian perfection and the crucified life, we need this vital connection to the historic Church.

Show me the condition of your Bible and your hymnal and I will accurately predict the condition of your soul. Our souls need to be nurtured and cultivated, and nothing does that better than the Christian hymnal. I cannot imagine a Christian not spending quality time in the hymnal. Hardly a morning passes when I don’t kneel down with an open Bible and a hymnal and sing comfortably off-key the great hymns of the Church. I often counsel young Christians, after they have their

A.W Tozer,  The Crucified Life: How To Live Out A Deeper Christian Experience (pp. 20-21). Baker Publishing Group. Kindle Edition.

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