This is in reference to the letter titled “Writer prefers old hymns to new music (Baptist Message, July 24). I can appreciate much of what Mr. Chester Peyronnin wrote concerning his preference for hymns. We have enjoyed a rich heritage of great hymns. I appreciate them greatly. However, our personal preferences should not give rise to a spirit of division. Hopefully this letter won’t cause more division.
The letter suggested that new music makes use of “repeated phrases.” But it should be noted that many of our favorite hymns also have choruses that repeat. It appears, then, that our choice of music really comes down to personal preference.
Our church is able to offer multiple services, and we have found advantages in this approach. For one, it gives attendees choices in music styles. We include hymns in our contemporary service and newer songs in our traditional service because we find great value in both. In a congregation where it’s not practical to have more than one service, it is possible to utilize a variety of music styles in a blended format.
I have worshiped in many churches. There have been times when a full orchestra accompanied a large choir. I have also been blessed to sing along as a contemporary band led worship. I have worshiped with our Hispanic congregation as they used guitars and tambourines and with a church in Nigeria as they used drums and gourds and sang words in languages I didn’t understand. But no matter the language or the style, I could worship the Lord.
I would urge us not to permit a spirit of division arise among us on this central issue. Yes, worship is to God, but it is also for people. Let’s not allow personal preferences to cause divisions in our churches.
Hymns are not the only way to worship the Lord
A recent letter to the editor in the Baptist Message disturbed me greatly for several reasons. The letter writer implied that the only way to worship the Lord is with hymns, and hymns alone.
I grew up in a church whose routine was three hymns, offering, special music, sermon, and invitation- then go home & eat chicken. We didn’t see hymns as worship, we saw it as “what you do on Sunday”.
In today’s society there are other things you can do on Sunday. There are churches across this nation with only grandparents in attendance. There are a few children, but only because the grandparents bring them. Where are the young adults? They are doing something else. No wonder our nation is in the state it is in.
It has nothing to do with the music and everything to do with meaningless traditions & religion. External motions without heartfelt worship was the very thing that Jesus stood against in this world.
So no matter the music, there needs to be real worship. I love hymns, I love praise music and I love assembling anywhere with Christians. As a matter of fact, I even love assembling with non-Christians who are searching. And if they came for the music, great. Our motto as Christians should be: Whatever it takes.
Worship isn’t about us; it’s about loving our Holy God, serving others and showing His love to those around us. This nation needs to return to our Founding Father and it will only happen when we reach people – no matter what.
Church on Saturday, Children’s Ministry on Sunday night, radical music, preachers who walk around the congregation, anything & everything to reach young people who will one day run this nation.