It's post-modern. It's hip. It's new. It's "contemporary." It's a revolution! Over the last 30 years, we have seen a total revolution of the music in the Church, representing a radical cultural change more significant than anything seen in at least 500 years! Is this a good thing or bad thing? Now, there is an important question â€“ a one billion dollar question. Does this radical change in culture and music indicate a wonderful reformation and revival in the church, among our teens, or is it just more of the breakdown of the institution of the family, generational continuity, and culture. Is it a breakdown of the faith? Dr. T. David Gordon, professor of Religion and Greek at Grove City College addresses these questions with a thoughtful new book, â€śWhy Johnny Can't Sing Hymns,â€ť and he interacts with host Kevin Swanson on this edition of Generations.
The beauty of holy worship I preached a message by this title earlier this year and taken from the text: "Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness."Â Â 1 Chronicles 16:29
I strongly contend that holy worship is only fulfilled by the singing of hymns and not the modern contemporary worship sung in churches today. There are many reasons for this; the most notable is the command to put difference between the holy and the profane [holiness and worldliness].
David Forest (10/24/2019)
Great Sermon! I do understand where Mr. Swanson is coming from. I also enjoy hymns. But one must not be blind in the age we live in and face reality. Churches are switching more and more to contemporary/rock. In 20 years hymn singing churches we be a minority. Mostly among the Protestants churches. Evangelicals churches will all switch from hymns to other forms of music.
from San Diego
Much-needed message This message is 7 years old but is still vitally important. We lose so much when we neglect the heritage of Christian worship through the centuries. I am so glad that my church uses the Trinity Hymnal from Great Commission Publications. It includes hymns from earlier centuries through recent times. I have my own copy and I use it in my personal devotions. It is a real treasure.
Hannah Tutor (12/23/2012)
Great Sermon! What a great reminder to dig into the past for the strengths of the past generations of Christians! Our church sings "O Sacred Head Now Wounded", and I never realized it was written in the medieval period. Thanks and God bless!
Matt Shirley (12/1/2011)
from New Zealand
Great Sermon! A very important topic to be taken very seriously.
When modes of music change the fundamental laws of society change with them.-Aristotle
for many decades we have been witnessing a massive breakdown in society as the devil is doing his best to blur the line between the Church & the world. The most powerful influence in the world is music and worldly sounding music is loved by so many in the Church today. 1 John says that if you love the world or anything that belongs to the world the love of the Father is not in you.
Worldly music is being used to separate the youth from there parents & at the heart of most modern styles is rebellion. A lot of Churches now need a youth service were the worldly music is bought in to entertain the youth and keep them separated from parents.
Why separate sons from there fathers in worship. Malachi 4:5Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and dreadful day of the LORD: 6And he shall turn the heart of the fathers to the children, and the heart of the children to their fathers, lest I come and smite the earth with a curse.
Sean P. (1/11/2011)
Hey I like older hymns, especially Amazing Grace on Bagpipes :). I also like Gospel Country (done by Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, etc.). When I'm not listening to music about God, Christ, and such, I will listen to some "rock" music (nothing obscene,etc.). But I don't see where it fits in Church, I can/could understand it when your outside of the church, but in Church classic hymns are so much better.
Great Sermon! My daughter likes hymns better than the rock music of ccm. I don't like Christian rock either. I wonder if the 10 string lyre had two 'octaves' (actually two pentatonic scales) many hymns, not all have that in them which are the 3 chords: Tonic, Subdominant, and Dominant in any key AMAZING GRACE is such a song; also spirituals.
J.Martin Ward (10/11/2010)
Music And Standards When music standards in a church become contemporary, the standard of dress follows suit. When the standard of dress falls, the morals follow quickly. Then it's debatable if the assembly is a church or an alcohol free social club. (some 'churches' even add the alcohol)
Pastor Gary Moritz (9/27/2010)
from Washington DC
Great Sermon! Wow! What a great balanced interview. What a great point of singing hymns from different eras. I thinnk the biggest thing here is not style but substance and balance. Thanks Guys Excellent job!
Jason Coghill (9/24/2010)
from Geelong, Australia
Very, very interesting, and timely! As a musician who composes contemporary musical arrangements to the Old Testament Psalms, (see Ministry Of Psalms), this message was most interesting!
Westminster Confession (8/8/2010)
Great Sermon! Directory For the Public Worship Of God
It is the duty of Christians to praise God publickly, by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family....
WCF ch. 21 Religious Worship
The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart;....
Interesting Follow the money.
Hymns are wonderfull, they can be filled with good doctrine, that both glorifys God and teaches us to be more Christ like. It can also be very comforting in times of trial. You can buy them, but its made for edification foremost.
CCM is sold for profit, to entertain, to stir up passion, that quickly dies away or leads astray. It changes often and theres no solid position or clear doctrine in much of it. There is always a new CD out. Are we singing from the same hymn sheet? No Not anymore. We're not on the same page, infact we have done away with pages aswell.
brother Michael (8/5/2010)
What about Psalms? In terms of hymns, we need to define them not as tradition has taught us, but what the word meant at the time the Scriptures were written. This is proper Biblical exegesis.
With this, I think the more fitting question is to ask why Johnny doesn't sing the Psalms. Something that is explicitly commanded in the NT Scriptures and that which the NT apostolic church did.
Yet how many sing the Psalms? Why is this so? Why do most cringe at the thought of singing the Psalms, God's word, but will gladly sing a man-made composition by an ecumenical CCM artist, or a 17th century musician?
Finally, if a command in the NT is really a command and not a multiple-choice test for the elders to do what they want, than it IS unlawful to bring in human compositions. A study of the Regulative Principle will reveal this is not novel but what Protestants have held to for centuries (until recently).
Gary R. Peterson (8/4/2010)
from Omaha, Nebraska
Signs of the Times This was one of Kevin's most substantive shows in a long time. So much great information coming so fast, Kevin was uncharacteristically quiet. I think he was as intriqued by Gordon's information as I was. Gordon is a Christian media ecologist and is exposing the agenda of our consumerist, media-driven and media-shaped society in the tradition of Marshall McLuhan ans Neil Postman. What he exposes here is how Christians are as duped by the world's infantilizing agenda as are non-Christians, buying the latest CCM CD and wanting their churches to entertain them with the latest ear-tickling sounds. Even bigger than the music issue and sad loss of hymns is Gordon's discussion of adults who refuse to put childish things away and grow up.
Manny Diaz (7/31/2010)
from Isles of Langerhans, England
Great Sermon! Johnny (nor Janey) cannot sing because...they don't want to. Maybe we need a vocal version of the popular computer game, "Guitar Hero" to encourage singing. I know they've got "American Idol" but it doesn't seem to encourage much singing.
Kevin seems to pine for a day when grandparents, parents, children, and grandchildren worship at the same service. First we should ask if that is true in our own case, or was it ever true? It might be true in Roman Catholic churches in some rural Latin American hamlet, or it may be true in the Amish or Mennonite groups in the US, but not in many groups that I see represented here at S.A.
Kevin Swanson has served as elder and pastor of Reformation Church, OPC since its inception. Kevin was raised on the mission field in Japan in the 1960's and 1970's. Together with his wife Brenda, they are bringing up five children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord....