Category Archives: Articles on Hymnody

A Better Way to Sing “Be Thou My Vision”

A Better Way to Sing “Be Thou My Vision”

The old Irish hymn “Be Thou My Vision” is a favorite of many, but the way most Americans sing it weakens the poetic parallelism of the original. The beloved poem was originally written in Old Irish in the 8th century. Notice the repetition of “Rop” in the original verses below: Rop tú mo baile, a… Continue Reading

A new hymn pairing

A new hymn pairing

As we move closer to publishing our print hymnal, Hymns to the Living God, I want to continue to highlight some of the new and unique selections that you will both find in the hymnal and can download for free even now. One of the unique hymns about which I am most pleased is not… Continue Reading

New Hymn by David Oestreich and Josh Bauder

New Hymn by David Oestreich and Josh Bauder

In January I mentioned the sudden passing of our friend, David Oestreich. David had been a supporter and occasional contributor here on the blog, and his tragic death due to complications from pneumonia was a shock to us all. David was quite an accomplished poet. He had several of his poems published in various collections,… Continue Reading

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

Pastors – Become Literate in Christian Culture

When the topic of music and worship comes up, a favorite slap-down argument against thoughtful discrimination of music is that pastors need not study music to be faithful pastors. It is beside the point to say that pastors need not become art critics. If their vocation is that of shepherding the flock, it is manifestly… Continue Reading

A Resurrection Psalm

A Resurrection Psalm

Paul commands us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. We can (and do!) debate the identity of hymns and spiritual songs, but we know what a psalm is. And for this reason, our church has adopted the practice of regularly singing the psalms. In particular, we have a “psalm of the month,” which we… Continue Reading

How many songs can one church sing?

How many songs can one church sing?

Have you ever thought about how many songs your church can sing in a year? If you consult the average transdenominational hymnal published today, you might assume that churches can sing 700 or more hymns in a given year. The truth is that most churches–and I’m being very generous in my estimate here–can only sing… Continue Reading

The profound simplicity of “Away in a Manger”

The profound simplicity of “Away in a Manger”

Christmas: the one time of the year that most churches actually sing good hymns! Some of our traditional Christmas hymns really are quite profound, the queen of them all being “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing.” Yet some Christmas hymns are far from perfect. Others have addressed the problems with some of these hymns. One hymn… Continue Reading

Was Jesus born in the bleak midwinter?

Was Jesus born in the bleak midwinter?

Understood as poet Christina Rosetti meant it, the answer to the question posed in the title of this post is, Yes. English poet Christina Rosetti penned the poem, originally titled “A Christmas Carol,” sometime before 1871 at the request of William James Stillman, editor of Scribner’s Monthly, where the poem was first published in January 1872. The… Continue Reading

Which advent is in view in “Joy to the World”?

Which advent is in view in “Joy to the World”?

We are in the midst of a wonderful time in the year when we can reflect upon the advent of our Lord and the redemption that comes through faith in him. One of the most enjoyable ways to do this is through the singing of classic Advent and Christmas hymns. Songs like “Come, Thou Long Expected… Continue Reading

Implications from Isaac Watts’s Trinitarian Controversy

Implications from Isaac Watts’s Trinitarian Controversy

Yesterday at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, I presented a paper evaluating Isaac Watts’s Trinitarian views. I hope to get the paper published soon, but in the meantime, here are several of the very relevant implications I drew related to the boundary of Christian fellowship, the importance of church tradition and creeds,… Continue Reading

Order your Christmas Family Devotional Now!

Order your Christmas Family Devotional Now!

A few years ago we published a new daily devotional for the Christmas season by Pastor Taigen Joos that has been very well-received. This devotional is perfect for both families and individuals to use as they prepare to worship Christ during the Christmas season. Each daily reading is a rich, yet brief meditation on an event or characteristic… Continue Reading

Psalmody and Hymnody as appropriate unifiers

Psalmody and Hymnody as appropriate unifiers

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series Worship and Doctrinal Distinctives You can read more posts from the series by using the Contents in the right sidebar.

This entry is part 7 of 8 in the series”Worship and Doctrinal Distinctives”You can read more posts from the series by using the Table of Contents in the right sidebar.Over the past couple of weeks, I have been showing how particular issues related to worship theology and practice–namely, baptism, the Lord’s Supper, and the regulative… Continue Reading

Tozer’s Three Concerns

Tozer’s Three Concerns

Although A.W. Tozer’s writings ranged over all kinds of topics, three concerns dominated Tozer’s writings. You’ll find him returning to these often, and giving them different treatments each time. What they amount to is what Tozer saw as the most serious maladies of evangelicalism and fundamentalism. The first was what he called textualism. For Tozer, this… Continue Reading

The Difference Between Grooming and Taxidermy

The Difference Between Grooming and Taxidermy

I ran into a situation recently where I was searching high and low for the original wording to Watts’ “Alas! And Did My Savior Bleed” set to the tune MARTYRDOM. I was looking for the tune MARTYRDOM so I wouldn’t have to deal with Ralph Hudson’s degenerate refrain; but I was also looking for text that… Continue Reading

There should always be new worship music

There should always be new worship music

Article 13 of our recent Conservative Christian Declaration says this: We affirm that twenty­-first-­century churches, like the churches of every age, must worship God in their own words, with their own voice. We add the qualification that these expressions must both embody ordinate affection and build on the tradition that represents it, while also answering to the twenty-­first- century… Continue Reading

There hasn’t always been contemporary worship music

There hasn’t always been contemporary worship music

I’ve heard it said many times, often by people I love and respect: “Christians have always used contemporary music in their worship.” Or, it might go something like this: “Using pop music today is no different than what Luther or Watts did in their day.” What’s the point behind statements like these? Their purpose is… Continue Reading

This is the Truth Sent from Above

This is the Truth Sent from Above

The carol “This is the Truth Sent from Above” is a traditional carol whose text originates from words that first appeared in the 19th century. It is regrettable that many choirs leave many of the verses out (although it is impractical to sing all 16 verses that have been discovered). Still, the carol needs several stanzas… Continue Reading

First 25 Hymns Now Available!

First 25 Hymns Now Available!

I’m pleased to announce that the first 25 hymns of our free hymn resource are now available! Simply click “Hymnal” in the menu bar above. You may also direct others to this resource using the following URL: www.ClassicHymns.org Please Donate We provide these hymns free of charge, but they were not free to produce! It… Continue Reading

Psalms in English

Psalms in English

Because of the hymn project we’re undertaking, some of the RAM authors have been discussing the merits of the English metrical psalms. All of us see the importance of singing the psalms; not all of us are happy with the psalms commonly sung. Psalms are poems. In their original Hebrew, they were easily recognized as… Continue Reading

tobyMac and the state of Evangelical piety

tobyMac and the state of Evangelical piety

Paul’s Words to the Ephesians The beginning of Ephesians 5 is striking. Paul writes to former idolaters and fornicators, reminding them of their new life in Christ. He opens with a call to holiness. Believers must “be imitators of God,” walking “in love.” To walk in love means that believers must live making personal sacrifices to build… Continue Reading