We’ve heard the jokes before. Some people say that Christian music is poorly written and the artists are poor musicians. This is even true for some. But, it wasn’t always that way. There was a time when the very best musicians composed music for the Lord, and I’m getting a new appreciation for old and modern hymns.
Pulpit Magazine, a weblog of John MacArthur and friends which seeks to post print-quality articles at blog speeds, has a very insightful article on contemporary church music. I’ve heard quite a few arguments mainly about instruments and style; this article doesn’t focuses on lyrics. And until this article I could never succinctly explain the trend over the years, nor explain the danger of the shift away from solid theological foundations to the modern church love songs.
Click here to check it out.
Around the start of the twentieth century, however, church music took a different direction. Musicians and singers without formal pastoral or theological training (such as Ira Sankey and Philip Bliss) became the dominant songwriters in the church. Choruses with lighter, simpler subject matter proliferated. Popular Christian music became more subjective. Songs focused on personal experience and the feelings of the worshiper. The newer compositions were often called “gospel songs” to distinguish them from “hymns.”