No. 1102



Over the past several years in churches all across America, we have seen a steady rise in the use of “Seven-Eleven” songs. In case you don’t know, a Seven-Eleven song is one that contains seven words that are repeated 11 times. This trend has resulted in many churches today singing what has come to be known as praise songs, with the aid of a band and with no members in a choir. While church members singing the old hymns in a choir has been a staple in American churches for over a hundred years, things do change, and sometimes we must change with them.
While I am not gifted in music, or singing, I just know what blesses and sounds good to me, and I look at this trend perhaps a little differently than most people who regularly attend church. As best I can tell, this is an issue based mostly along generational lines, with young people preferring the praise songs while older adults like me preferring the old hymns. Sadly this issue has caused more division than any other in a long time, but it should not be this way, and to offer some positive suggestions is the reason why I am writing this column.
Former President John F. Kennedy is on record as saying, “The great danger is not that the present generation will destroy our system. The great danger is that we won’t transmit it.” There is a reason why the old hymns were, and are, so important and that is the powerful message the words contain, and not just singing or “chanting” words over and over again to emotional, stirring music. For the uninitiated, I felt it might be good to share some verses from the hymns “Amazing Grace” and “Victory in Jesus” and also words from the popular praise song, “Our God” and just contrast the difference.
Here are a couple of verses from the hymn, “Amazing Grace” – Amazing grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me. I once was lost but now am found, was blind but now I see. T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear, and Grace my fears relieved. How precious did that Grace appear, the hour I first believed.”
And now the verses from “Victory in Jesus” – I heard an old, old story, how a Savior came from glory, how He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me; I heard about His groaning of his precious blood’s atoning, then I repented of my sins and won the victory.”
And now words from the popular praise song, “Our God” – Our God is greater, our God is stronger, God you are higher than any other. Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God! our God! Into the darkness you shine, out of the ashes we rise, there’s no one like you, none like you! Our God is healer, awesome in power, our God! our God! Our God is greater, our God is stronger. God you are higher than any other.” Well, I will just leave it there as the words from the hymns and this praise song will speak for themselves.
Now, I am pleased to tell you that in our church we have a music and song service that truly honors God, and His Son, Jesus Christ. We have a large, wonderful choir, two pianos, an orchestra and drums located in an enclosed booth, and we sing both the old hymns and praise songs in a blend that blesses and pleases almost everyone. When you combine this with a stirring message from a fantastic pastor, we leave our worship services having been fed and truly blessed. Please give this some thought. The choice of music should honor God and never divide us.
(Editor’s Note: THE DEAL OF THE CENTURY – Begin your day on a positive note – 365 days for $12. This will benefit the Bookcase for Every Child project. Go to to subscribe.)