Music minister tackles the subject of contemporary vs. traditional worship music for church services:
First, hymns have been sung by the giants of the faith who have gone on before us over the last two millennia. When we sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God, we join with Martin Luther who wrote it, and with Calvin and Spurgeon and Edwards who invariably sang and cherished it. When we sing It Is Well With My Soul we are encouraged by the faith of Horatio Spafford who wrote the hymn in the wake of the tragic death of his four daughters. And while many contemporary songs have certainly been written by wonderful brothers and sisters in Christ who have surely endured trials, the fact that we can join with generations past and be reminded that the Church is vastly larger than our local congregation, farther reaching than our town or state or country, and much, much older than the oldest saint living today is something we should not take lightly. Indeed, this should birth in us a desire to sing the songs that our Family has sung together for two-thousand years (and beyond when we discuss singing the Psalms).
Second, the content of hymns is almost always vastly more theologically rich. When I say rich, I don’t necessarily mean every hymn recounts the Gospel in it’s entirety, or that all hymns clearly teach the Five Points of Calvinism. Rather, the theology in the hymns is typically more sound or healthy than much of contemporary worship music. As I said earlier, contemporary songs engage our emotions more often, where the hymns engage our hearts by way of the mind.
By way of example, one of the top ten contemporary songs being sung in American evangelical churches right now is called One Thing Remains. While there is nothing in the song particularly bad (in fact, much of it is pretty good), it seems to me that the purpose of the song is to work the listeners into an emotional state.