Karen Pansler-Lam, J.D.
Christians decry the downfall of Christian culture,
but we are the enemy.
Surely secular humanists rejoice because we are destroying
our own Christian culture.
We have been hoodwinked into throwing out
Christian traditions such as sacred hymns
and replacing them with secularized religious songs.
And the more Christian traditions you destroy,
the more you destroy the entire Christian culture.
Last year, during the Christmas season, my home church rarely sang Christmas hymns. Many church members complained that the beloved hymns, including Christmas hymns, were being thrown out of the church in a misguided attempt to be contemporary, relevant, and progressive. Why are so many churches across America throwing away traditional sacred hymns and replacing them with contemporary Christian songs? Is this destroying our Christian culture?
Christian culture defines who we are as Christians. Christian culture is an expression of our peculiar or characteristic Christian faith through music, art, and literature in society. As you know, the secular humanists are hard at work to erase all traces of Christian culture and influence in American society. So far, they have been unsuccessful, but they are making slow and steady progress. Christians decry the power of secular humanists in the demise of Christian influence and culture.
However, many of these Christians have unclean hands because they are lending a hand in destroying our Christian culture. In a current cultural rebellion to overthrow all tradition, churches are throwing out hymnals and replacing them with projected contemporary Christian choruses. Popular religious leaders advocate that in order to reach the youth of today, we must erase yesterday’s Christian worship. Christian traditions are seen as old-fashioned, backward, intolerant, and narrow-minded.
Religious leaders preach that in order to draw people to church today, we must offer a fun-filled, relevant, entertaining program. In other words, churches must adopt and adapt business methods and secular entertainment. And because the sanctuary must now be an auditorium for fun worship, we must sweep the past out of the Church. All the old traditions - including hymns - must be trashed. So, countless churches are literally throwing out the hymnals to show their disdain for traditional sacred music. The old hymns are treated with contempt as worthless garbage lacking literary or spiritual merit.
But traditional sacred music is a part of the Christian culture. And when you eradicate traditional sacred music, you eradicate another aspect of Christian culture. And the more Christian traditions you destroy, the more you destroy the entire Christian culture.
Christian tradition or custom, including sacred hymns, is an important part of Christian culture. For generations during the Christmas season, Christians across America and around the world united in heart and spirit by singing “O Little Town of Bethlehem” and “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” and "O Come, All Ye Faithful.” These old familiar Christmas hymns have lifted the hearts and spirits of countless Christians throughout the ages. And when we sing these hymns today, we lift up our voices in kindred spirit with those who have sung these in years past, and those who will sing them in the years ahead.
Yes, old familiar hymns bind our hearts together in Christian love. Their words are not just imprinted on our mind; they are implanted in our heart. In times of sorrow, we find comfort in the words of such hymns as the following:
He Leadeth Me
He leadeth me! O blessed tho’t! O words with heav’nly comfort fraught!
What-e’er I do , where-e’er I be, Still ‘tis God’s hand that leadeth me.
Sometimes ‘mid scenes of deepest gloom,
Sometimes where Eden’s bowers bloom,
By waters still, o’er troubled sea, - Still ‘tis His hand that leadeth me.
He leadeth me, He leadeth me, By His own hand He leadeth me:
His faithful follower I would be, For by His hand He leadeth me.
Hymns are not just songs with shallow thoughts and no spiritual depth. Hymns are songs that bring comfort to the hearts of people in sickness and sorrow, doubt, danger and anxiety. And hymns are songs that bring joy to the hearts of people in times of victory, praise, and celebration. Yes, hymns are worthy of honor and worthy to be sung. Sacred hymns are a vital part of our Christian culture that separate us from the secular culture.
Yes, Christians decry the downfall of Christian culture, but we are the enemy. Surely secular humanists rejoice because we are destroying our own Christian culture. We have been hoodwinked into throwing out Christian traditions such as sacred hymns and replacing them with secularized religious songs.
We are witnessing the downfall of Christian culture; and we are our own enemy.