I’ll admit it. I never really liked hymns as a young pup, but as I grow more mature (hopefully that’s it) in my faith, I realize how rich the lyrics are. My favorite Christian praise band used to be Hillsong. Don’t get me wrong, they’re still good, but i realize the biggest reason why i liked them was because how hip they sounded. Now when i look at their lyrics on paper, most of the songs i liked didn’t really hit home about what Christ has already done for me and lacked theological depth. These are the very things that hymns are able to capture.
Now I know what the arguments are: Hymns lack the emotional response that the new contemporary music draw out of our hearts. After all, doesn’t Jesus want us to worship in spirit and in truth? It seems like Hymns are good with the truth, but lack the spirit part.
My response to that is, “how do you know that being moved in the spirit means being emotionally responsive?” If you read into Jesus life, he doesn’t really seem to have a lot of emotion, other than the times he is weeping or angry (i.e. cleansing the temple, the death of lazarus). Yet, can we dare say that Jesus wasn’t moved in spirit when his emotions aren’t captured? I’m not saying that we should all try to mimic Jesus’ behavior, because for one thing we’re not Jesus. Also, I’m pretty sure the New Testament writers had accounts of Jesus’ emotions, but didn’t think it was important to put in. But why is that? It’s because they were most concerned about Christ as the Messiah coming into the world to do the work that we could not do and die the death we should have died. It’s because through Jesus we know God both relationally and rationally.
Everyone has a different emotional responses. Yet, i think the principle foundation that should provoke the emotions should be grounded upon what the New Testament writers were so concerned about: the gospel. I’m not saying we should all do away with contemporary worship songs (Chris Tomlin has some good music) and instruments (makes life colorful), but I am pondering about the state of how people distinguish praising in spirit and in truth.