About Jesus Steve Sweetman
Why Should We Throw Out Our Old Songs?
There is a trend afloat these days in many churches to throw out any song that is over five years old. The idea behind this is to keep relevant. The Lord should be inspiring people to write new songs all of the time and since the Lord is always "doing a new thing" as prophesied so often in charismatic circles in the last sixty years, we should not be bothered with the old songs, including hymns that are centuries old. Being relevant and up to date, well I can understand that.
Do you remember what our Lord told the children of Israel so many times in the Old Testament? Concerning Israel's escape from Egypt, He wanted parents to teach their children about this great escape. He wanted parents to remind the next generation over and over again, so they would not forget this historical event. As a matter of fact, the Passover Feast that was celebrated yearly was to remind and retell the story of Israel's deliverance from Egypt over again. God did not want this piece of history to be forgotten.
The fact that God wanted to have this story retold over and over again tells me that He is very interested in the events of the past. He does not want us to forget certain things. He is not afraid of retelling past history over and over again. He does not want the old thrown out and replaced with the new.
What I believe the Lord really wants is for us to build on the past and move forward into the future. For this reason we should not forsake our Christian and Biblical heritage. We should be always retelling the stories of old as we move into the future.
Yes, we need to be relevant. Yes, we should express our faith in the context of the generation in which we live. Yet at the same time we should not forsake the past. Therefore, when it comes to songs and hymns, let us not throw them all away and sing only songs that have been written in the last three to five years.
We have a great heritage as Christians. The hymns for example are great theological statements. If we throw them out, are we throwing out what they say and stand for as well? Sometimes I think we are. If that were the case, then we might as well throw out the Bible along with the hymns. The Bible, full of great theological truths is older than the hymns we used to sing. Should we stop reading the Bible because of its great age? Well, not really. I am sure you would agree that we should keep the Bible around. By the same reasoning, we should keep the old hymns and songs around as well. Mind you, not all hymns and song that have been written are lyrically great in the first place. Many of the newer songs lack in theological content. This leads me to say that the real standard in judging a song or a hymns is its lyrical content, not its age. Is it Scripturally sound? Does it have something important to say, or is it just a little ditty, something to hum along to.
The way of our modern commercialized world is to throw things away when they are a few years old so we can spend more money and consume more of what we don't need, in order to become richer. I am afraid this mentality has crept into the church when we throw away our old songs and hymns. Why do we want to import a throw away society into our Lord's church?
The songs we sing each Sunday morning should be an expression of our gratefulness to Jesus. The content of each song should reflect this point. The content of each song we sing should be something meaningful. Let us all pay attention to what we sing. Let us remind our children, the next generation, that we have a great heritage, a past that is important. One small way in which we can help them appreciate where we have come from is to keep those old songs and hymns. Or maybe we ourselves don't appreciate the past as we should. Maybe we ourselves don't have a real understanding of our heritage as a church. If this is the case, we should re-examine our thinking in this matter.
Tell me, if you wrote a song six years ago, would you feel like throwing it away? Probably not. So lets not throw out other peoples creative and inspired works as well.