Why Hymns Are Better

As a result of a Facebook status that got a lot of attention, I’ve decided to write this post. It’s often the case that a status or Tweet is not worthy of the attention and thoughtfulness that certain subjects require. It became evident to me that this particular subject deserved more than 140 characters, as many people “liked” it and some others disagreed, respectfully. After talking it over with some friends and thinking about it more, I discovered there’s more I want to say.

I want to give three reasons that I think hymns are better than contemporary praise songs. I think they are better:

  1. Musically
  2. Lyrically
  3. Theologically

The third one is the one that really matters, and why I chose to write this post. You can chalk the first two up to aesthetics and preferences, but the third one is something I think deeply matters for the church, and perhaps the other two do as well.

A few side notes.

I want to say that I’m only speaking of the songs I know. That means the hymns that have survived this long, not ALL hymns, and it also means only the contemporary songs I’ve heard. That being said, I’ve worshipped in many, many congregations, and have found myself in a “worship leader” position in several churches, youth groups, retreats, camps, etc. So I am quite familiar with the common songs of today.

I’m not talking about YOUR church, and I’m not talking about YOUR songs. I’m speaking of the church generally, and what I recognize to be the popular and oft-heard songs across the evangelical world. I truly believe there are churches doing more than this.

Secondly, I want to emphasize that I don’t fault any churches, worshippers, or worship leaders, and I especially don’t want to take away from anyone’s religious experience in musical worship. If you’ve found God in modern worship songs, then Praise God for that. I wouldn’t dare limit God’s ability to function and bless even if we gathered every week and sang the ABC’s. That being said, I do think there is more to consider.

Let’s jump in, shall we?


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