State of Play #014 "The Battle of the Music"
by Andrew Funderburk on 2015-07-24 12:02:07


Recently, a topic that was brought up by a former college professor surfaced in a conversation I was having with someone who has many years on me. The topic was of how modern worship songs tend to gravitate more towards focus of self rather than attention on God, as opposed to hymns which focus more on God. This is also a matter that is being discussed in other groups outside of my own circles.

While I accepted what was said about hymns and modern worship a few years back, more so because my professor was my authority, this recent conversation made me start questioning those thoughts. I started running through modern worship songs and hymns. What struck me was that while I do sometimes hear talk of self in modern worship, the hymns also put focus on self as well.

A few of the more self-focused hymns would be:

It is Well with My Soul: “When peace, like a river, attendeth my way/When sorrows like sea billows roll/Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say/It is well, it is well with my soul”

Am I a Soldier of a Cross?: “Sure, I must fight if I would reign/Increase my courage, Lord/I’ll bear the toil endure the pain/Supported by Thy Word”

Just as I Am Without One Plea: “Just as I am, Thou wilt receive/Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve/Because Thy promise I believe/O Lamb of God I come, I come”

Stand Up, Stand Up for Jesus: “Stand up, stand up for Jesus/Ye soldiers of the cross/Life high His royal banner/It must not suffer loss/From victory unto victory/His army He shall lead/Til every foe is vanquished and Christ is Lord indeed”

Some modern examples that place focus more on God would be:

Revelation Song – Kari Jobe: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty/Who was, and is, and is to come/With all creation I sing praise to the King of Kings/You are my everything/And I will adore You”

Forever – Bethel Collective: “Forever, He is glorified/Forever, He is lifted high/Forever, He is risen/He is alive/He is alive/(Bridge) We sing hallelujah/We sing hallelujah/We sing hallelujah/The Lamb has overcome”

Mercy Tree – Lacey Sturm (or Anthony Evans): “Death has died/And love has won/Hallelujah/Hallelujah/Jesus Christ has overcome/He has risen from the dead”

None Like You – Vertical Church Band: “Who wore the heavens as royal robes?/Fashioned the morning and the heavenly hosts/Who gave the word when all things were new?/Oh God it’s You/It’s You...(Chorus) Holy, Holy, Lord Almighty/God of glory, there is none like You”

So, what is it exactly that causes these thought processes? Is it because it’s from an older generation that has a stylistic preference? Or is it that there is a more self-centered theme in “modern” worship? Are the hymns just more poetic? Could it be that this thought process is carried because the hymns carry a rich history and legacy?


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