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A recent Banner article titled Why Youth Don't Like New Worship Songs generated robust discussion (over 60 comments) when shared on the CRCNA Facebook page. Due to the strong interest, I thought it might be worth continuing the conversation here. 

I'm curious: 

What is your personal preference between old hymns and new songs? 

Has your church asked congregants for their thoughts on music?

What would you like to see change? 


I think the focus on "old" versus "new" is the wrong focus.  There is nothing inherently God-honoring (which is the purpose of our worship) about songs that are old or wrong with songs that are new, nor vice-versa.  It seems to me that songs that we use in corporate worship should be (among other things):

1. Truthful

2. Focused on God 

3. Conducive to public worship (this includes being singable, understandable, teaching, not ear-splitting, able to be followed, etc.)

4. Inclusive (not tailored solely toward one demographic nor designed for performance/solo singing)

5. Modeled after Biblical praise and worship (inclusive of depth of theological truth)

6. Beautiful/our best (certainly much and varied judgment involved here)

7. Not simply what I prefer

Certainly other worthy attributes can be listed.  There are a host of older and newer songs that can and do possess those qualities.  I think we do well to avoid a modern or anti-modern bias and focus on stimulating deep, heartfelt, meaningful worship.  There will no doubt be differing opinions on the proper balance to achieve that end, but if we avoid focusing on trivialities we will achieve greater like-mindedness. 

I have some congregation members who basically discredited the entire article (not sure if they went beyond the title of the article) and confirmed their opinion with me.  So, it has caused a vocal rising with a handful.  I agree with Eric on the concepts of music selection.  My opposition is that they those who are solid in one camp or the other refuse to look beyond themselves and to look at the larger picture theologically, morally, and practically.  In the end, these personal preferences are considered idolatry, because it ends with what our personal edification is vs. what is best for corporate worship.

YHWH wrote a whole song book and many more canonical hymns, but His covenant people abandoned them for their own inventions.

I was speaking in a general way like Jeremiah did in chapter 2:13, but am indeed very grateful for a remnant whose worship is regulated by Scripture.  We sang the 24th, 118th, 8th and 29th in the morning (Third Commandment sermon), and the 98th, 110th, 72nd & Phil. 2:11 (Mk 12:35-37 sermon) in the evening this past Lord's Day.  We are actively planting ordinary means of grace, Psalm singing churches because once you show it to people in the Word and in practice they willingly throw off the inventions of broad evangelicalism.  I am sincerely convinced that in a generation the Church may be able to undo the damage of the last generation who made everything youth group.

I love the old and the new - there is beauty and truth in both. Our desire to worship God with our whole being sometimes puts us into camps where we feel most comfortable. But as we are being made new in Christ, our worship must connect to the 'ancient' truths and also be new and fresh. Don't get me wrong, the old songs can impact us in a fresh way as much as the new. Maybe those who feel strongly for one or the other could benefit from reading a new book called, "Flow", by Lester Ruth. Here is a description: “Flow (the book) seeks to provide guidance to mainline congregations who sense that their contemporary services are clunky and lack full vitality,” said Ruth. “The book meets that goal by bringing insights about achieving good flow in worship from the originators of contemporary worship into conversation with early patristic sources. 

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