Compare Old with New

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by J.D., Jul 6, 2006.

  1. J.D.

    J.D.
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    I would like to post some words from a hymnbook that I have that contains both older and newer songs. I attempt to show the superiority of the traditional hymns by comparing them.

    First, the words to “Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken” by Isaac Newton:

    Glorious things of thee are spoken,
    Zion, city of our God!
    He, Whose Word cannot be broken,
    Formed thee for His own abode.
    On the Rock of Ages founded,
    What can shake thy sure repose?
    With salvation’s walls surrounded,
    Thou may’st smile at all thy foes.

    See! the streams of living waters,
    Springing from eternal love;
    Well supply thy sons and daughters,
    And all fear of want remove:
    Who can faint while such a river
    Ever flows their thirst t’assuage?
    Grace, which like the Lord, the Giver,
    Never fails from age to age.

    Round each habitation hovering,
    See the cloud and fire appear!
    For a glory and a cov’ring
    Showing that the Lord is near.
    Thus deriving from our banner
    Light by night and shade by day;
    Safe they feed upon the manna
    Which He gives them when they pray.

    Blest inhabitants of Zion,
    Washed in the Redeemer’s blood!
    Jesus, Whom their souls rely on,
    Makes them kings and priests to God.
    ’Tis His love His people raises,
    Over self to reign as kings,
    And as priests, His solemn praises
    Each for a thank offering brings.

    Savior, if of Zion’s city,
    I through grace a member am,
    Let the world deride or pity,
    I will glory in Thy Name.
    Fading is the worldling’s pleasure,
    All his boasted pomp and show;
    Solid joys and lasting treasure
    None but Zion’s children know.

    Now compare that to “Sweet, Sweet Spirit” by Doris Akers


    There's a sweet sweet spirit in this place
    And I know that it's the spirit of the Lord


    There are sweet expressions on each face
    And I know that it's the presence of the Lord


    Chorus:
    Sweet Holy Spirit
    Sweet heavenly dove
    Stay right here with us
    Filling us with your love
    And for these blessings
    We lift our hearts in praise (hearts in praise)
    Without a doubt we'll know that we have been revived
    When we shall leave this place


    Which one is rich, full, and adequately expresses the glory and grace of God?
     
    #1 J.D., Jul 6, 2006
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 6, 2006
  2. Rippon

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    The first one is by John Newton . But Mr. Watts had some beautiful hymns as well .
     
  3. rbell

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    So JD, if older is better than newer, why stop at 200-300 years old? Let's get back to plainsong...or chants, even.

    Don't get me wrong...The richness of language is something I worry about recent generations losing. Even beyond music...just look at letters written by common, not-so-highly educated soldiers to their families during Revolutionary or Civil war eras...I doubt many of us could communicate with the written word that beautifully today.

    And one of the reasons that I introduce our gang to the great hymns of the faith is because of their richness, beauty, and (in many cases) strong theology.

    Having said that, I think the conclusion many draw of "older is better" is a faulty one. It's too general, and it attributes the greatness of some hymns to their age. Old is not great. Great is great. THere are some outstanding new songs with great richness of word and thought...and some shallow drivel too. Likewise, there's some hymns and gospel songs that have been around a while that miss the boat...and the dock...and the whole island.

    Rippon, ya never know...Isaac Newton might have written some great hymns after that apple hit him on the head!

    Having said all that, JD, "Glorious Things" is a hymn I like very much. There's an alternate tune to the song that I've always enjoyed more than Haydn's. I'll link it if I can find it (and if the BUSY SERVER will allow it).
     
  4. J.D.

    J.D.
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    I get confused. Let's try a test:

    Match.

    1. Isaac Newton

    2. Isaac Watts

    3. Isaac Hays

    4. John Newton

    5. Fig Newton

    6. Olivia Newton-John

    Possible matches:

    a. Famous hymn writer

    b. Hymn writer, slightly less famous than the other one

    c. The gravity guy

    d. British singer

    e. Singer, definitely not British

    f. A wonderful little treat enjoyed by millions each day

    You have 30 minutes to complete the exam and no looking on your neigbor's paper.

    Scoring legend:

    1 right: Get some help brother.
    2-3 right: Not bad
    3-4 right: Give me some help brother.
    5-6 right: How can you know all that?
     
  5. USMC71

    USMC71
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    Rbell, I agree but I also agree with JD. The older songs we sing, (most of them) are rich in doctrine and theology. Most of the newer stuff today (the 7-11 chorus) seven words eleven times, really has no deep, spiritual meaning that touches the heart. We are introducing "Holy, Holy, Holy" to our church here in Sri Lanka, as a matter of fact, they just sang it today for the first time, you should have heard it in the Sinhala language, Wow!! After words I asked them if they could tell the difference in what many of the churches today are singing, they all said yes, there is a big difference. Some were in tears as it was being sung.
    Even here in Sri Lanka, those good ole hymns touch the heart where the new stuff won't.
     
  6. standingfirminChrist

    standingfirminChrist
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    Jeremiah 6:16 Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein.
     
  7. J.D.

    J.D.
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    I wish I had been there! Me and Rippon were sharing some experiences by PM along these lines. His was singing "Glorious Things" at 10th Presbyterian Church in Philadelphia and mine was at a prayer meeting in Virginia with "And Can It Be". The old hymns can really be moving. Unfortunately in America we've become so accustomed to them that they have become just words we say like robots. Pity.
     
  8. J.D.

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    That's a good point, I don't think I can refute it - I've heard some of those chants, and, well...YUK!

    So let me clarify my meaning - I'm not saying OLDEST is better, but let me narrow it down to the age of the reformation up to around 1800 or so. That period will probably never be surpassed in hymn writing.

    So true, so true. My experience exactly. Some years ago as I was studying some history, I was shocked by the beauty and clarity of the writing, and as you say, even by common people. Seems at that time you were either educated properly or not at all.

    I wonder if the problem today is that because our culture is so obsessed with egalitarianism that aspirations that someone might have to refine the language is not promoted because the great "majority" in our land are put off by it, seeing it as snobbery. In fact what we see is just the opposite - the more street-based the language is, the more it is promoted, and anyone that objects is immediately labed a racist, bigot, pharisee, legalist, narrowminded, etc. I mean which does God want us to do - grow in knowledge, or magnify our ignorance? Our education system has taught us that the only knowledge that is useful is that which lands a job. Anything beyond that is "intellectualism", something for odd people that have nothing to do but sit around and speculate about the meaning of life - and a danger to our concept of "democracy". That's where we are and it is reflected in our institutions including our churches. Praxis is the rule of the day. Only that which has practical use is desired. The validation for today's average church is in the popularity of the program. The egalitarian, democratic church of today does not have the Bible as its final authority (the first Baptist distinctive) - it has attendance records as its final authority. Well enough of that for now.
     
  9. Bro Tony

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    Can someone tell me where I can find songs that were sung in Jeremiah's time. These new hymns written in the 19th and 20th centuries are too modern:rolleyes: :eek: :rolleyes:

    Bro Tony
     
  10. LeBuick

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    Chants? What is a chant? Do you mean on old hymn where a person will line it out then the congregations musically repeats the line?
     
  11. J.D.

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    I don't know what you mean by "line out". Can you expand?
     
  12. rbell

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    "Chants" are ancient music forms...appearing around the 4th or 5th century. Many have attributed Pope Gregory as the inventor; most now believe that this was a form that was evolving during that time--and Gregory (hence "Gregorian Chants") made the most of them.

    Chants are "plainsong"--no discernable time signature.

    As to JD's question: hymns from Pilgrim times (through the Sacred Harp era of 19th and 20th century life) were often "lined out:" the leader would sing a line, and the congregation would repeat it. This was done for two reasons, primarily:
    -many were illiterate (musically and written word);
    -not enough books available.
     
  13. J.D.

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    Rbell Thanks for that explanation. I've witnessed that very thing. In south Alabama near my homeplace, sacred harp singers used to come on t.v. every Sunday morning (Channel 4 Dothan AL). They usually got off to a rough start but by the time they all got in sync it was a wonderful sound.
     
  14. Gib

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    I lived in Dothan for a number of years and probably saw those very same singers on Sunday mornings and occasionally on Friday afternoons.
     
  15. rbell

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    small world...I grew up in Dothan.

    Channel 4 also used to have something on TV called "Southern Gospel Jubilee." Some of those groups were OK...others sounded like they had shoved raisins up their noses before killing a family of cats. Some of the worst sounds I ever heard came off of that show.
     
  16. Gib

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    Did you watch the Gene Reagan Farm report and/or the Fishing with Red show?
     
  17. Ransom

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    rbell said:

    As to JD's question: hymns from Pilgrim times (through the Sacred Harp era of 19th and 20th century life) were often "lined out:" the leader would sing a line, and the congregation would repeat it. This was done for two reasons, primarily:
    -many were illiterate (musically and written word);
    -not enough books available.


    Some people may not be aware that in the early 18th century, the Puritans who sought to introduce "regular singing" (i.e. singing by note out of a hymnal) to replace the aforementioned practice of lining out became embroiled in a major controversy that makes the CCM/traditional controversy look tame: The Regular Singing Controversy. (Today people get upset when you replace the hymnals with PowerPoint. There is nothing new under the sun . . .)
     
  18. LeBuick

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    Thanks rbell, I've been trying to think how to explain it but keep drawing blanks...

    Ransom, this dispute when change comes is indeed old as the church. I remember my OT teacher commenting David probably had this same problem. If he wasn't king, they would have thrown him and his cymbals out the temple.
     
  19. TaterTot

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    I have a Sacred Harp and used to be president of the NOBTS chapter of the Sacred Harp Society (only by default). So I have been to many a sing, lol. (by default). Ever since the beginnings of church music, the debate has been ongoing. And it will continue. No one can prove, not even by quoting scripture out of context, that older is better or that newer is better. I say both are great!! :thumbs: (.....softly solfegging "Murillo's Lesson".........)
     
  20. J.D.

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    Oh man, don't even get me started on the things I've missed since moving to New Jersey! I grew up on Gene Reagan Farm Show and Wrestling on Saturday p.m.'s And did you ever see that early morning show with Red with the chicken-clucking theme song? I used to get up early just to hear the song!
     

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