from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Heretical Hymns

I am often amused by repeated historical complaints in the church, especially those pertaining to music. People will use all kinds of reasoning to support getting what they like.

English: A picture of Fanny Crosby. Rationale:...

English: A picture of Fanny Crosby. Rationale: The subject died in 1915, prior to 1923, making this image public domain in the USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Robert Morgan tells about one such complaint in his book Near to the Heart of God.

When Ira Sankey and Fanny Crosby came along, they introduced a new kind of church music by relaxing the melodies, adding choruses, lightening the messages, and calling them gospel songs. This didn’t go over well with everyone. Robert Anderson, for example, thought Crosby’s song “Safe in the Arms of Jesus” was ‘reeking with mere sentiment.’

How familiar that all sounds. I’ve heard some of these same complaints about the contemporary music being sung in church today. Most people don’t like change, but outside the church it is a mere nuisance. Inside the church, change is heresy.

Fanny Crosby is one of America’s most beloved hymn writers penning songs like “Tell me the Story of Jesus,” “Blessed Assurance,” “Rescue the Perishing,” and “He Hideth my Soul.” Crosby wrote thousands of hymns many of which are the favorites of today’s traditional church.

It would be nice if one day we could learn from history and realize that just because something we love about church changes doesn’t make it heresy.

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2 thoughts on “Heretical Hymns

  1. Pingback: Corrections: “I fall asleep in Jesus’ wounds” « De Profundis Clamavi ad Te, Domine

  2. Good message! As you stated, the previous generation or the leaders thereof generally disdain change, even if it is by the hand of God. We obviously have to be on our guard against non-Biblical stuff and that which is not of the Lord, but must also be open to His leading. Thanks for pointing this out.

    It is simply a spiritual fact that in the same way “a prophet is not without honor…” real change for the better by the leading of the Lord is often fought against, sometimes very powerfully, by the very ones who claim to be following the Lord.

    The answer is do it anyway. Honor God. Thanks.

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