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Bad Hymns?

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Posted

I was just wondering if anyone would share what hymns they feel are unBiblical or otherwise bad because of who wrote it. In other words, are there any mainstream hymns that anyone here doesn't approve of and why?

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There are mainstream hymns that I "don't approve of," but it is not only because of who wrote them. Some of these hymns include the following: "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" (written by a Deist, I believe, and have you ever really thought about the lyrics?); "In the Garden" (sentimental, "lover-like" view of Jesus Christ--does Christ really "meet with" us this way?); "We're Marching To Zion" (amillennial theology); "Count Your Many Blessings" (faulty, shallow lyrics); "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"; "O Holy Night."

Some of these hymns were written by liberals (nonbelievers) in the late 1800's. This worldview comes out in the lyrics. The focus is not on Christ, but on liberal themes (brotherhood of men, everyone is a child of God, etc.). I do think that the philosophy of a composer/lyricist will be revealed in his music at some point.

Some other hymns I dislike are ones in which the text doesn't "agree with" the music...For example, take the words, "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore." Shouldn't the music which expresses that text be somber? But the music to "Love Lifted Me" sounds like a carnival. Same with "Years I spent in van-i-TEE and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified." The music is just plain distracting; it fights against the text.

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Posted

There are mainstream hymns that I "don't approve of," but it is not only because of who wrote them. Some of these hymns include the following: "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" (written by a Deist, I believe, and have you ever really thought about the lyrics?); "In the Garden" (sentimental, "lover-like" view of Jesus Christ--does Christ really "meet with" us this way?); "We're Marching To Zion" (amillennial theology); "Count Your Many Blessings" (faulty, shallow lyrics); "It Came Upon the Midnight Clear"; "O Holy Night."

Some of these hymns were written by liberals (nonbelievers) in the late 1800's. This worldview comes out in the lyrics. The focus is not on Christ, but on liberal themes (brotherhood of men, everyone is a child of God, etc.). I do think that the philosophy of a composer/lyricist will be revealed in his music at some point.

Some other hymns I dislike are ones in which the text doesn't "agree with" the music...For example, take the words, "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore." Shouldn't the music which expresses that text be somber? But the music to "Love Lifted Me" sounds like a carnival. Same with "Years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified." The music is just plain distracting; it fights against the text.



Annie...you are so funny. :lol:


Actually, Kaite...I have opinions on many of them, but off hand, I really can't think of them. Actually, I don't know where to begin. LOL. I don't have enough time today to state ALL of them. teehee.


IMHO, anything that doesn't lift up and glorify the Lord Jesus Christ. :frog

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Posted

We have a family in our church who disagrees with anything John W Peterson which in our hymnal there are several written by him, can't remember the names offhand but very familiar songs.

I'm all for strict music but when we pick apart even hymns by author and whatever else, I think its kind of crazy myself. To say our music must be perfect is to say our prayers also must be perfect, and that is not so. As long as my music is seperated STRONGLY from the world, that is where I draw the line.

I know a guy who acts like hymns are nearly inspired...he thinks even changing a bit of the original wording or even the KEY it was written in, is wrong. He's nuts. LOL.

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Mr. Peterson has composed well over 1000 individual songs, including titles such as: "It Took a Miracle," "Over the Sunset Mountains," "So Send I You," "Springs of Living Water," "Heaven Came Down," "Jesus Is Coming Again" and "Surely Goodness and Mercy." In addition, he has written 35 cantatas and musicals. Among these are "Night of Miracles," "Born a King," "No Greater Love," "Carol of Christmas," "Jesus Is Coming," "King of Kings," "Down from His Glory" and "The Last Week."

Thats a lot of songs!! I'm sure not all of them are good but hey who am I to say, but i gotta think at least one of them is good, right. I think we forget that God can use anyone he chooses to do things he needs done, look at samson, he had a sin in hislife that ultimately killed him yet God still used him to do his bidding.

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Posted

I don't see anything wrong with those hymns.

Joyful joyful we adore Thee is my favorite hymn. Very rich and deep.

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Posted

joyful joyful we adore thee was one of the song we sang in choir when I was in public school (of course I was a TERRIBLE singer, but I signed up for choir because my friends were in it and it was fun)


It's a really nice song, especially when a choir sing it - if they separate the people to sing low, medium, and high and know where sing.

I've always felt it was more of a catholic song though because i never sang it in my church. I think I got the idea from the movie sister Act

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Posted

I don't believe I have ever heard the song.

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Posted

Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
Henry J. van Dyke, 1907
Copyright: Public Domain
Main subject: Praise
Scripture: Psalm 71:23

1. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow?rs before Thee,
Op?ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
2. All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav?n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow?ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
3. Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
4. Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o?er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.

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Posted

word seem fine to me, last verse could say sonward instead of sunward. but thats nitpicking.

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Posted

I don't want to ruin "Joyful, Joyful We Adore Thee" for anyone...so don't check these links out unless you really want to know who Henry VanDyke (the hymn's composer) was. For the record, I LOVE the tune (Beethoven's Ninth).

http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,717443,00.html The article below documents that HVD was indeed a theological liberal. As such, the lyrics of his famous hymn mean nothing like what we think they mean. The terminology may seem the same, but the actual content and meaning is miles away from what we might think the words mean. Someone noted the word "sunward." That's not nitpicking; it's an important observation that reveals Van Dyke's liberal philosophy that the world is evolving, progressing toward "the sun," or the limitless horizon. The focus of the hymn is optimism in the human condition, and the social gospel. All men are brothers of Christ and sons of God. "Sin" is just like a cloud...not really something to be concerned about--just something that casts a shadow, like sadness. Both sin and sadness, as well as doubt, can be "melted away" by God's smile. All men--together--are progressing, led by music, toward triumph...the triumph of arrival in heaven? No, the triumph of life on earth. Talk about feel-good theology.

The first link is to an article from a paper from the 1920's, when Henry Van Dyke was a professor at Princeton seminary. It was during the time of the great battles between those who had espoused liberalism (with its denial of sin, the virgin birth, etc.) and a group of people who separated from the liberal church, calling themselves "fundamentalists." As you probably know, G. Gresham Machen was one of the voices on the conservative, fundamentalist side. Here's what H. Van Dyke thought of him.







By 1924, these debates had also invaded the hallowed halls of Princeton Seminary and the surrounding community. In October 1923 Machen accepted an offer to serve as stated supply preacher at First Presbyterian Church, Princeton. Machen used this platform to attack modernism repeatedly. In response, Dr. Henry van Dyke, a professor at Princeton University and noted liberal Presbyterian, surrendered his pew in protest.57 When Charles Erdman replaced Machen as stated supply in December of 1924, van Dyke returned to his pew, leading some militant conservatives to conclude that van Dyke, at least, anticipated more congenial liberal preaching from this Princeton Seminary professor. A public feud erupted between Erdman and Machen, bringing to light tensions that would color the 1925 Assembly and ultimately erupt in full-scale hostilities in 1926.

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Posted

Someone mentioned O Holy Night. The last verse of O Holy Night is highly political for the middle of the 19th century:

Truly He taught us to love one another,
His law is love and His gospel is peace.
Chains he shall break, for the slave is our brother.
And in his name all oppression shall cease.


I think its a great hymn and shows how music takes on the character and form of the issues of the day. Scripture is the only truly "timeless" literature. Music reflects culture, and Christian music will undoubtedly show the Christian's response to culture. I love O Holy Night and am grieved every time we sing it without singing the last verse.

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Posted

The hymn: "The Lily of the Valley" is a little off doctrinally. The song says that Jesus is the lily of the valley when actually the bible verse that it is taken from is not speaking of Jesus at all. The rest of the song is right though and it is a beautiful song indeed...

Some other hymns I dislike are ones in which the text doesn't "agree with" the music...For example, take the words, "I was sinking deep in sin, far from the peaceful shore." Shouldn't the music which expresses that text be somber? But the music to "Love Lifted Me" sounds like a carnival. Same with "Years I spent in vanity and pride, caring not my Lord was crucified." The music is just plain distracting; it fights against the text.


I suppose that all depends on your point of view. :wink When I hear that song it doesn't seem like the music is fighting against the text, but that is because I hear the music as coming from a joyful heart which cannot help but rejoice because it has been lifted from it's fallen state. Carnival? Yes, in a way, the writer is rejoicing. :thumb

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I suppose that all depends on your point of view. :wink When I hear that song it doesn't seem like the music is fighting against the text' date=' but that is because I hear the music as coming from a joyful heart which cannot help but rejoice because it has been lifted from it's fallen state. Carnival? Yes, in a way, the writer is rejoicing. :thumb[/quote'] Yes, I think that by the time the song gets to the refrain, it matches the text...but on the verses (at least verse 1), it's way off. A cousin of mine used to sing, "I was sinking deep in sin, having a wonderful time..." 'cause that's what it sounds like. Another one that's like this is "At the Cross." ("Alas, and did my Savor bleed, and did my Sovereign die?") The text is weighty and reflective, but the tune is anything but those things.

Good point about the Lily of the Valley.

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Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee
Henry J. van Dyke, 1907
Copyright: Public Domain
Main subject: Praise
Scripture: Psalm 71:23

1. Joyful, joyful, we adore Thee,
God of glory, Lord of love;
Hearts unfold like flow?rs before Thee,
Op?ning to the sun above.
Melt the clouds of sin and sadness;
Drive the dark of doubt away;
Giver of immortal gladness,
Fill us with the light of day!
2. All Thy works with joy surround Thee,
Earth and heav?n reflect Thy rays,
Stars and angels sing around Thee,
Center of unbroken praise.
Field and forest, vale and mountain,
Flow?ry meadow, flashing sea,
Singing bird and flowing fountain
Call us to rejoice in Thee.
3. Thou art giving and forgiving,
Ever blessing, ever blest,
Wellspring of the joy of living,
Ocean depth of happy rest!
Thou our Father, Christ our Brother,
All who live in love are Thine;
Teach us how to love each other,
Lift us to the joy divine.
4. Mortals, join the happy chorus,
Which the morning stars began;
Father love is reigning o?er us,
Brother love binds man to man.
Ever singing, march we onward,
Victors in the midst of strife,
Joyful music leads us Sunward
In the triumph song of life.



Yes...hubby and I sang Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee growing up in the RCC. It is interesting that it was written by a Presbyterian. Also, we sang...Holy, Holy, Holy growing up RCC. And, Silent Night was written by a Catholic priest in the Swiss Alps (St. Nicklaus Parish). The organ broke the night of Christmas Eve Mass. He had a school teacher put the words to a simple guitar melody. That is where it gets it's simplicity from. It is serene. :smile

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Awhile back I posed a question to learn about Hymns written by IFB. (that are sung steadily in the church today) Does anybody know a IFB hymn writer and the name of the song or songs? I am curious and cannot find any and it is a poor argument with others that some IFB condemn any modern music unless written and performed by IFB when we sing hymns written by other denominations as part of our regular worship service. Tank

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Posted

Hymns took on A new meaning for me when I began signing. I began to realize how many of our hymns are just fluff. Songs like Amazing Love are awesome to sign, whereas I Want That Mountain aways leave us rolling in laughter.

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Awhile back I posed a question to learn about Hymns written by IFB. (that are sung steadily in the church today) Does anybody know a IFB hymn writer and the name of the song or songs? I am curious and cannot find any and it is a poor argument with others that some IFB condemn any modern music unless written and performed by IFB when we sing hymns written by other denominations as part of our regular worship service. Tank

you should ask if we know any hymns written by writers who has the same belief as we do. I'm not sure people labeled themselves as IFB back then.

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Posted

Philippians 2:3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.
James 3:16 For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.

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Hymns took on A new meaning for me when I began signing. I began to realize how many of our hymns are just fluff. Songs like Amazing Love are awesome to sign' date=' whereas I Want That Mountain aways leave us rolling in laughter.[/quote']
Trish, I agree. Of course, I wouldn't call "I Want That Mountain" a hymn, exactly. If we're talking about gospel songs, I'd say many, many of them are, as you said, just fluff. I'm sure that signing these songs lends a whole new perspective on them. I think that sometimes in order for us to realize the ridiculousness of things like this, we have to "see" them as if for the first time. When you grow up singing them, it is hard to see what is so strange about them. I look back on a Sunday school song I sang when I was little:

Let the sun shine in; face it with a grin.
Smilers never lose, and frowners never win,
So, let the sun shine in; face it with a grin.
Open up your heart and let the sun shine in.

I think that this song (which I understand originated with the hippie/Jesus movement of the sixties and seventies) had some "Christian" verses about the devil making us frown tacked on to it. But what a piece of nonsense, really!

Also, this song that we sang in church when I was little:

Climb, climb up Sunshine Mountain; heav'nly breezes blow.
Climb, climb up Sunshine Mountain; faces all aglow.
Turn, turn from sin and doubting; look up to the sky.
Climb, climb up Sunshine Mountain, you and I.

Wow, those are some deep...really deep...so deep they're hidden...spiritual truths there, huh?

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Awhile back I posed a question to learn about Hymns written by IFB. (that are sung steadily in the church today) Does anybody know a IFB hymn writer and the name of the song or songs? I am curious and cannot find any and it is a poor argument with others that some IFB condemn any modern music unless written and performed by IFB when we sing hymns written by other denominations as part of our regular worship service. Tank



Hi, Tank. :smile I don't know the answer to your question having NOT grown up IFB...however, my feeling is that the music should be Godly and uplift the Lord Jesus Christ (I think we all agree on this one). Also, I believe that many people from many faiths have made wonderful contributions to music throughout the years. I love most of the songs that we sing in our hymnbooks. I just think that there are pros and cons to breaking apart and deciphering why the person wrote the song and what their motive was, KWIM? We know that man (woman) is sinful...and, it is much easier to love God with all of our hearts, souls, and minds...than it is to do this with man. At least this is true for the majority of believers. Well, a person's testimony is written in that song...therefore, much is said. Music gets very interesting...and, I know that it is something that NOT everyone is going to agree upon. It gets very touchy. It is an involved subject, and my point is that we should stay with good Godly music...and, not worry about the who, why, where, when, and how of it. The Bible is central in salvation, anyways. :Bible:

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Awhile back I posed a question to learn about Hymns written by IFB. (that are sung steadily in the church today) Does anybody know a IFB hymn writer and the name of the song or songs? I am curious and cannot find any and it is a poor argument with others that some IFB condemn any modern music unless written and performed by IFB when we sing hymns written by other denominations as part of our regular worship service. Tank



Maybe I missed something, but who claims that only music written by IFB is acceptable?

Another song that I really don't care for, is "Battle Hymn of the Republic."

Last verse:
"In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea,
With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me:
As He died to make men holy, let us die to make men free,
While God is marching on."


I love Beethoven's ninth!!!

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Posted

a person's testimony is written in that song


and that's what it is, and if the musics seem to line up with the bible.

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Posted

Loving the hymns and other fine gospel songs which I do sing as a soloist in our church and having been with a gospel quartet there are many hymns as well as other songs that have words or subject lines that aren't biblical. Much of this comes from what people have been told over the years from the belief system they have been brought up in.
We could just go on and look at only the mistaken theology or we could go ahead and see the blessings that can come from these songs. Admittedly, there are some I would never sing for some are just way too off scripture to sing or for a choir to do. So I personally pick and choose the songs that stick closest to the Word of God.
Remember, we can be too harsh at times over some things that just aren't worth getting into an uproar over. However, when it comes to my KJV better back way off for it is THE WORD OF GOD. wellglory!

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A church I know avoids the "Battle Hymn of the Republic" because the lady who wrote it was not a Christian, and was promoting some sort of social gospel.

Pastor pointed out a while back that "Spirit of God, descend upon my heart" has faulty doctrine.

Sometimes it's really hard finding out stuff like this about favorite hymns! I want to just stick my head in the sand and not think about it. (I know... I know... that is not a correct response.) :frog

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