(Matt Boswell) I love old hymns. I keep a stack of hymnals on my nightstand and have an ever-growing collection in my library. I cut my teeth on Charles Wesley and John Rippon. I hope to write academically on the pastoral theology of hymns. I even have a dog named Watts. While I certainly don’t think that historic hymns are the only thing we should sing in corporate worship, I am concerned that omitting older hymns in our gatherings silences the rich voices of church history. Some churches seem uninterested in any song that is more than two years old, much less two hundred years.
Yes, the church will continue to write and sing new songs (Psalm 96:1), but it is also good and helpful for us to sing old songs. When I mention historic hymns, maybe you cringe as you recall a “worship war” in your local church. Maybe you’re eager to only sing the old hymns. Or maybe you wonder why it is important at all. My aim is not to renew local church disputes or bolster mere sentimentality, but to commend something else altogether—to encourage younger churches to remember their history by joining with the countless men and women who have shared these songs over hundreds of years. READ MORE