Monday 20 December 2010

Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns

Subtitled 'How Pop Culture Rewrote the Hymnal.'  A lover of music will enjoy the level at which this book is pitched.  Anyone concerned really to approach worship biblically will benefit from it.  The author asks a question of those who want to be 'relevant.'  Have they produced something which is better than what has been acceptable in the church up until recently?  This enquiry is pursued relentlessly.  I think he is more successful in his arguments from scriptural principles than when going down the line of musical analysis.  Although I found that fascinating and informative, it is also probably not going to convince the sceptical.  Nevertheless it is a fact that not only popular music but multimedia has invaded worship in many churches.  It may make it easier for first-timers to attend, but is that not because the 'offence of the gospel' has already been suppressed in such places?  The world has already converted the church - the tail wags the dog.  Thus Mr Average can't sing hymns because they are unfamiliar and he is uncomfortable with them.  He expects any part of the worship service to be laced liberally with entertainment.  That is how teaching is carried out in other subjects, so why not when it comes to God?
Gordon is sound on the fundamentals with this book, and I recommend it to anyone forced onto the back foot on worship issues. 
'Why Johnny Can't Sing Hymns' by T. David Gordon is published by P&R and costs £7.99.
PS. The timing of this review doesn't relate to just happens to be when I finally completed the book. Apologies to anyone wanting a suggestion for a present. I'm sure Lorna can supply that.

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