The Changing Styles of Church Music

I love this new Hymn Project.  It is a wonderful way to make a hybrid form out of distinctly different styles.  

It’s obvious that different age groups in the church prefer different styles of hymns. Naturally.  We are comfortable with what we have known.  So we can ask, how do you define a hymn? Should we spiritualize a certain time period of hymnology?  Should hymns be considered greater than other types of worship songs?

But in reality, there has never been a golden age.  Every generation gains and loses something...... especially with music.  But most of the time people tend to hold their affinity for music more dearly than doctrine.  

  There is no style of music that is inherently good or evil.  If there was a holy style of music, then the book of Psalms would have written transcribed music.  There are no written notes or rhythms from the Dead Sea scrolls.

Some people have compared songs and music to clothing. Some old clothes don’t fit anymore, so we throw them out.  Some we dust off from time to time for special occasions, or other classic clothes we wear often.

   So funnily enough, much of our preferred music and instruments today were frowned on in church history.  Gregorian chant was supplanted by 4 part harmony in France in the 1200‘s. Martin Luther introduced congregational singing with popular German folk tunes in the 1500’s. The piano was controversially introduced to the American church only in 1910 by Charles Alexander.  Guitars were fought over in the 1970’s Jesus movement and are still seen as controversial in some circles today.

  As for hymnals, some churches update them every 10 years, each edition adding some and dropping others. 

    Yes, music is like clothes and lasts for only a season.  God’s word last forever.

Let’s pass on a heritage to the next generation.... not based merely on music of the times which will change..... but on the unchanging Gospel and Scriptures.  

Posted on May 5, 2014 .