Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Need for Doctrinally Rich Hymns

This comes from Allen P. Ross in his book on biblical worship from Genesis to Revelation, Recalling the Hope of Glory.  Ross is dealing with the reasons Israelites had for coming to the temple.  The first reason he lists is individual praise or thanks in answer to prayer.  The second reason to pay a vow.  Here is the third reason he lists:

"A third reason people went up to the sanctuary was to praise God.  This was not the inidvidual thanksgiving (todah) given for an answer to prayer but a hymn of praise (halal) to God.  The hymn, whether said or sung, is a more general desciption of who God is and what he has done; hence, it is called the descriptive praise psalm.  Even though it differed in form and content from the todah, the nature of biblical praise applies here as well.

"The hymn begins with the worshipper calling others to join in praising God (this could be as brief as 'praise the Lord' [halleluia]; then it focuses on the reason for the praise, which is almost always some demonstation of the greatness and the grace of God; and it concludes with a prayer, a lesson, or a renewed call to praise.  The devout Israelites never tired of singing hymns to God's majesty as Creator (Pss. 8; 33), Redeemer (Pss. 105-107; 111), Lawgiver (Ps. 19), Provider (Ps. 113), and the like; and they loved to extol his gracious dealings with them in faithfulness, righteousness, and unfailing love (Ps. 22).  The value of hymns is that they preserve crucial doctrinal ideas of the faith in a way that nothing else in the life of the believing community could.  The thanksgivings often included similar descriptions of God, but thse hymns focus on those descriptions.

"This kind of praise is also being lost in the modern worshipping communities because people do not know doctrine.  Even in the music, doctrinally rich hymns are being replaced with shorter experiential songs and choruses."
Ross is making a great point and it shows why we need to continue to sing "doctrinally rich" hymns when we gather together.  May it happen more and more by the grace of God.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Share This