I know people sometimes make fun of contemporary Christian music. However, I have no doubt that God is using much of it to reach, encourage, and challenge His people. What we sometimes fail to grasp is that many of the Psalms were actually hymns that God’s people would sing or chant (in voice only). In the early church it was primarily the clergy that would sing. In the sixteenth century, the protestant reformation began involving the congregation in song. Around 1700 Isaac Watts began writing hymns – songs that were sung in worship, resulting in church splits and pastor firings because traditionalists thought only the Psalms should be sung in worship. Watts said of people singing the Psalms,
“To see the dull indifference, the negligent and thoughtless air that sits upon the faces of a whole assembly, while the psalm is upon their lips, might even tempt a charitable observer to suspect the fervency of their inward religion.”
Today, there’s a dying generation that believes we should stick to songs like Watts’ “When I survey the wondrous cross”, looking upon songs like that as traditional. They don’t realize or they forget that at one time those “traditional” songs they love were once the new songs that caused church splits. So in spite of what we like or prefer, the church must do what it’s always done. The church must praise God with songs that are relevant to this next generation. And while I don’t propose we throw away the Charles Wesley or Isaac Watts hymns, I must say I do find the newer music touches my soul.
I have a new favorite in Laura Daigle.
Rejoice oh child of God
Lift your eyes to see
With every morning light
Again we are redeemed.
~ from the song “Power to Redeem”
Here’s a new popular song from her: