Do you think traditional hymns are making or will make a comeback?

We are talking about Bible-believing fundamental and evangelical churches in this question.

Some churches have never stopped singing hymns (and we can sloppily include Gospel songs within in the word "hymns" in this broad discussion).  Some have continued to sing hymns exclusively, others (like ours) have taken a blended approach. Some churches have Totally forsaken the congregational singing of hymns or have almost totally forsaken them.

But is or will the pendulum swing in the other direction?  Certainly some hymns/Gospel songs will drop off, that is a given, but will there be a return to a significant number of traditional hymns?

We are thinking about DIRECTION in general; any direction is usually uneven and not across the board.

What do you think?



Yes, the return to hymns has already begun.
46% (11 votes)
Yes, it has not begun yet -- but will, perhaps soon.
8% (2 votes)
No, hymns are not making a comeback and probably won't in the foreseeable future.
25% (6 votes)
21% (5 votes)
Total votes: 24
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There are 6 Comments

Ron Bean's picture

I voted other. We're currently looking for a church in an area where there are a lot of good churches. What we've seen is a blend of the best of the new hymns with the best of the old. i.e. The Power of the Cross and How Sweet and Awful is the Place. We did go to a Calvary Chapel as a favor to a friend. The sermon was great but the music was a well rehearsed and performed concert with minimal congregation participation. I don't think many of us on SI are going to Calvary Chapels.

My feeling is that this balanced approach will be the new normal. Personally if I was in a church that quit using Getty music and replaced it with Homer Rodehever and John Peterson I would question their actions.


"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Ed Vasicek's picture

Ron, I am with you 100% as to what I think is the best route.

But for churches that had gone completely to contemporary choruses, my question is, "Is there a movement toward restoring the hymns?"  The question is not, "Is there a movement toward hymns EXCLUSIVELY?" or "Are there churches that have and continue to have a mixture of hymns and contemporary choruses?"

So I think you may need to reconsider your vote on this one!

Our church has had a mixture of contemporary choruses and hymns for a good 25 years, maybe 30.  As a matter of fact, I introduced contemporary Christian music to our church here in 1983, and, in my previous pastorate in Chicago, a few years before that. I was an old Larry Norman, Keith Green, Michael Omartian, Imperials fan.  I advocated "blended worship" before the term was coined.  I even had a few Christian rap specials and encourage some vintage jazz sounding specials. I was hoping to bring in some Christian disco songs in 1979 or 80, but that never materialized.  This was one of my favorites:

What has changed at our church, however, is the mixture.  We now sing a good 50%  hymns, whereas 20 years ago, it was probably more like one a service or so (maybe 25% hymns).  So, in our case, we have moved in the direction of more hymns and try to avoid the 7-11 choruses (seven words sung eleven times).

I have asked myself, "Vasicek, is this just because you have gotten old?"  I think it could be, but it might also be the result of observation.  Deep Christians can have all sorts of tastes, but the kind of Christians I am most cozy with are biblically/doctrinally oriented, and they more often than not gravitate toward songs (of all styles) with substance, not songs to bring us into a trance-like or emotional state and are all about us.

I hope I haven't made things as clear as mud.

"The Midrash Detective"

Ron Bean's picture

I changed my vote to the first choice. What I'm seeing is a rediscovery of great old hymns that are being given new arrangements. Matt Merker's "He Will Hold Me Fast" is one example. (I never cared for the old tune I sang as a child.) This Sunday I heard a new arrangement of"His Be the Victor's Name" that was very singable. I was so blessed when I got to the chorus, "What though the vile accuser roar of sins that I have done, I know them well and thousands more, My God He findeth none!" that I almost raised my hands.

"Some things are of that nature as to make one's fancy chuckle, while his heart doth ache." John Bunyan

Ed Vasicek's picture

I think it is sad how people actually mock the hymns.  I am not talking about shallow hymns/gospel songs (like In the Garden).  But sometimes they mock the vocabulary.  The hymns are meant to be sung by Biblically literate people who know what Ebenezer means, for example.  Many of today's Christians are not Biblically literate.

But much of it is poetry, and poetry is not as popular as it once was.  Still, people can generally understand the hymns, but it takes a little mental effort.  That is a good thing, for it helps engage the mind.

The newer songs have the advantage of being straightforward, but often (not always) ridiculously repetitious.  The old hymns often married two art forms: poetry and music.  To many, traditional hymn music is not their preferred style, and the poetry is a bit taxing. So it takes the willingness of our folks to engage their mind and appreciate musical styles that differ from their norm. This is asking them to stretch, but it is worth it.  Contemporary songs blended with the traditional convey the idea that God is still working in His church today. And creating new music for solid vintage lyrics cannot be bad  That's my viewpoint, anyhow.

But there is something to be said for gatherings of Christians of all ages to be able to sing hymns they all know, or pray the Lord's prayer. That common, long-term heritage is a good thing.


"The Midrash Detective"

Joeb's picture

The church I attend now has mostly CCM with a hymn thrown in here and there. I miss the Hymms along with the organ and piano.  My best memories of Christian music were at 10th Pres church in Philly with the pipe organ and brass and strings accompanying the organ.  Wow! Wow! Wow!   That's how great it was singing in that situation to our Lord. 10th Pres also had a beautiful sanctuary to boot.  Plus most of the musicians were from the Curtis School of Music.