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  • Writer's pictureJack Hager

>Needed: Hymns/Choruses that are Solidly Biblical


J. C. Ryle lived from 1816 to 1900…I do not know precisely when he wrote the following, but it remains pertinent in 2010…more so with the abundance of cotton-candy-at-best “praise and worship” and “contemporary” music and a huge lack of solidly Biblical songs – whether “hymns” or other.

This is not a plea for a return to “let’s stand together and sing the first, second, and last choruses of hymn number 283”; but Ryle’s words resonate when I hear in far too many churches songs that are all about us, lacking in depth, and of all-too-little lasting help.

Here are Ryle’s words (I am still chewing particularly on the last paragraph):

“Good hymns are an immense blessing to the Church of Christ. I believe the last day alone will show the world the real amount of good they have done. They suit all, both rich and poor. There is an elevating, stirring, soothing, spiritualizing, effect about a thoroughly good hymn, which nothing else can produce. It sticks in men’s memories when texts are forgotten. It trains men for heaven, where praise is one of the principal occupations.

Preaching and praying shall one day cease for ever; but praise shall never die. The makers of good ballads are said to sway national opinion. The writers of good hymns, in like manner, are those who leave the deepest marks on the face of the Church.

But really good hymns are exceedingly rare. There are only a few men in any age who can write them. You may name hundreds of first-rate preachers for one first-rate writer of hymns.

Hundreds of so-called hymns fill up our collections of congregational psalmody, which are really not hymns at all. They are very sound, very scriptural, very proper, very correct, very tolerably rhymed; but they are not real, live, genuine hymns. There is no life about them. At best they are tame, pointless, weak, and milk-and-watery.” ~ J.C. Ryle

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