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ReVision

What We Sing

  • November 29, -0001
I have a bit of an animus against contemporary worship songs, not all, but most, at least, most I've ever heard. My complaint takes three forms. First, I don't like the melodies, which you can't really sing without all manner of electronic accompaniment and drums. Second, I don't like the way contemporary worship songs kudzuize all of worship, even taking over traditional hymns and forcing them into a mode their composers never intended, but which the worship band just loves. Finally, I find the lyrics disappointing - mostly variations on "Jesus and me" sung over and over.

Now not all contemporary worship songs fall under my critical eye. There's always room for new songs unto the Lord, and we should encourage the use of contemporary modes, as long as they don't cause us to compromise the purpose and character of worship. Commenting on Isaiah 5, John Chrysostom mused about why this passage of rebuke was cast in the form of a song. He said that we remember what we sing, and since frequently remembering our sins and our need of grace is a good thing for believers to do, the Lord had this chapter of Isaiah set in the form of a song.

We don't hear much about sin in contemporary worship songs. But then, we don't hear much about sin in contemporary worship. But Chrysostom was right: it is good for us to remember how vile we can be, how rebellious we often are, and how great is the grace of our Lord Who always waits to receive us back through confession and repentance. So give me "Amazing Grace," "Just As I Am," "There is a Fountain," or any of dozens of other great old hymns to remind me of these important aspects of faith. Let me sing them with tears - of sorrow for my sins, and of joy for the grace of our Lord.

T. M. Moore

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