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article imageNew church music displacing the old hymns

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Mar 31, 2008 in World
Many of the mega-churches along with many other churches are not singing the hymns that have been sung for years. They have gone to mostly choruses that are displayed on a wall or a software-based overhead projection system or on a movie screen.
Many of the hymns that were written long ago have so much more meaning.
Take for instance "It is well with my soul" written by Horatio G Spafford in 1873.
He had planned a trip with his family to Europe from Chicago. His wife and four daughters, ranging from ages 11 to the youngest daughter two years old. At the last minute Spafford was unable to leave with them as some urgent business came up that he had to attend to.
As he did not want to dissapoint his family he sent them ahead on the SS Ville du Harve, with the promise to join them just as soon as he was done with his business.
But about half way on their voyage crossing the Atlantic Ocean tragedy struck.
Loch Earn, an English ship struck the ship and it capsized. There were 226 killed which included Spafford's four daughters.
After receiving a telegram from his wife, who was one of the few survivors, which said "Saved alone", Spafford left immediately to be with her.
The story is that as his ship passed over the place where his daughters had drowned, Spafford, who was a devout Christian, was inspired to compose the hymn "It is well with my soul".
Isaac Watts [1674-1748] wrote more than 697 hymns including "When I survey the wondrous Cross", was criticised by some of his contemporaries. They said that his hymns were too worldly.
Many of the hymns have been replaced by many churches with contemporary worship songs and choruses. They are seen by some as shallow, uninspired and repetitive. Many of the tunes are catchy but have a lack of theological content.
According to,
Mrs Florence Wanyoike, who is a school director and a Christian, says: "Choruses are fun, but it is sad that they have phased out hymns, which have deep doctrine and are the basis of our faith. We must try too keep hymns because they teach and help us to reflect."
Pastor Paul Wegulo from Thika Community Church says: "Church music has turned from the 'Rock of Ages' into an age of rock."
Another worship leader Marcy Muhia, said that the hymns should not be phased out, but they should integrated with modern worship.
She said "There is a time and place for choruses, which should be added to the hymns,"
Hymns express the worshippers attitude towards God and are written in the style of a lyrical poem.
The poet Alfred Lord Tennyson said,
They are simple, metrical, literary in style and direct, yet they carry a message that unifies a congregation. A good hymn is the most difficult thing to write and must express a religious truth. Choruses are musically and lyrically designed so that they can be repeated."
Choirs in many churches have been replaced with praise bands, worship bands or worship teams. Organ and piano music are being replaced with electric guitars, modern drum sets, electric keyboards and stage effects.
Many conservative believers are seeking a church with more traditional worship services as they are uncomfortable with the changes.
Many of the younger generations prefer the Christian Rock, Jazz, gospel afro fusion, hip hop, rap or reggae, lingala and other music forms over the traditional hymns.
More about Hymns, New music, Replacing hymns
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