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Contemporary Christian Music's Sinking Witness: Lack of depth and reverence to the Almighty
Christian Post ^ | 08/04/2014 | BY CHELSEN VICARI

Posted on 08/04/2014 8:38:22 AM PDT by SeekAndFind

Admitting the problem is the first step towards recovery. So let's admit it: if we swop the lyrics of a Taylor Swift ballad with some of today's contemporary Christian worship songs, no one would know the difference.

Others have noted the "Jesus-is-your-boyfriend" style worship songs clogging the airwaves of contemporary Christian radio and Sunday morning worship sets lack depth and reverence to the Almighty. They're right. But there's an even bigger problem when contemporary Christian songs downplay, even scold Christian's public witness for the sake of couch-potato Christianity.

Last week a fellow pro-life, pro-family activist turned on his local "family-friendly" contemporary Christian radio station while driving his kids to camp. As his kids were belting the words to a new hit, my friend was shocked by the lyrics.

The song was Family Force 5's "Let It Be Love," number #14 on Billboard's Hot Christian Songs list. Of course this means it is one of 20 songs that local contemporary Christian radio programs play over and over ad nauseam. The song's lyrics go:

I've never seen a soul set free Through an argument I've never seen a hurt get healed In a protest… It's not about the stand we take But the grace we give

For my friend, the first line "I've never seen a soul set free through an argument" couldn't be further from reality with the conservative Christian movement. In addition remembering that the Apostle Peter urged Believers, "[A]lways being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect." (1 Peter 3:15)

My friend witnessed a life changed from a same-sex lifestyle to a redeemed follower of Christ thanks to a bold, counter-cultural argument presented at a Parents and Family of Ex-Gays and Gays (PFOX) event. A young gay man made the decision to offer over his life to Christ after listening to Robert Knight, Senior Fellow for the American Civil Rights Union, described God's love for humanity and purpose for sexuality and marriage.

Most devastating is the lyric's second line, which reads, "I've never seen a hurt get healed in a protest." I'm not sure what kind of protests these band members have attended, but they must not have been pro-life oriented.

A beautiful example of lives transformed at a protest is told by Wendy Wright, former President of Concerned Women for America and Vice President for Government Relations and Communications. Wendy spent many days peacefully protesting outside of abortion clinics. She and her fellow protestors not only offered hurt women prayer and side-walk counseling, but worked to save the lives of their unborn babies.

Wendy was blessed to come face to face with a young woman whose mother protected her from abortion because of Wendy's abortion protest. "After speaking to Generation Joshua home school students, telling stories of rescuing babies from abortion," explained Wendy. "A young woman asked, "Have you ever met one of those babies that you rescued?"

Shaking her head no, Wendy explained that while she hadn't she would love the opportunity. "I was rescued from abortion and adopted because of you," the young woman told Wendy.

Lives are changed, in part, through vessels willing to "contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God's holy people" (Jude 3) Sadly you wouldn't know that based on the premise of this "Christian worship" song.

To be fair, Family Force 5 is correct that grace is a necessary component to lead others to salvation in Christ. But it alone it is not enough. Grace without substance is pity and nothing more. Behind our compassion must be a willingness to share the totality of Christ's character and His command to turn from sin.

Contemporary Christian music has a tremendous ministry opportunity that expands beyond the borders of the local church. Christians cannot present half-truths for the sake easy listening and broader audiences. As followers of Christ, we can do better. Or at least turn off the radio.

-- Chelsen Vicari serves as the Evangelical Program Director for the Institute on Religion and Democracy. She earned her Masters of Arts in Government from Regent University and frequently contributes to conservative outlets


TOPICS: Current Events; Evangelical Christian; Religion & Culture; Worship
KEYWORDS: ccm; christianmusic; hymnology; hymns; music; witness
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1 posted on 08/04/2014 8:38:22 AM PDT by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

It is just ridiculous.

We must encourage modern hymn writers, like the Gettys.


2 posted on 08/04/2014 8:46:13 AM PDT by Gamecock (There is room for all of God's animals. Right next to the mashed potatoes and gravy.)
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To: SeekAndFind

:: grace is a necessary component to lead others to salvation in Christ. But it alone it is not enough. Grace without substance is pity and nothing more. ::

And, Chrysostom spins in his grave!
Ephesians 2: 8-10


3 posted on 08/04/2014 8:46:53 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alteration: The acronym explains the science.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Taylor swift also said same sex marriage is ok, so I would not look to her as a role model for Christian singers. Amy Grant also has also joined the world we are to come out of. I’m sure there’s others who’s fame and money means more than following Gods word.


4 posted on 08/04/2014 8:47:35 AM PDT by Linda Frances (Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Agree!


5 posted on 08/04/2014 8:47:43 AM PDT by Artcore
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To: SeekAndFind

Good for children under 7, like “Jesus Loves Me.” IMHO. I personally would like an indepth hymn about the Return and the annihilation of all those who are against Him. Peace on Earth promise fulfilled.


6 posted on 08/04/2014 8:48:09 AM PDT by huldah1776
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To: Gamecock

**hymn**

Thanks for using the correct word. Contemporary “song” just turns me off.


7 posted on 08/04/2014 8:50:19 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Cletus.D.Yokel
:: the "Jesus-is-your-boyfriend" style worship ::


8 posted on 08/04/2014 8:51:00 AM PDT by Cletus.D.Yokel (Catastrophic Anthropogenic Climate Alteration: The acronym explains the science.)
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To: SeekAndFind

Any way that does not bring discredit upon God seems fine to me. Although I take my own sacred music usually in a more classical vein.


9 posted on 08/04/2014 8:51:12 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: SeekAndFind

The first example is something that goes way beyond just contemporary music, which I have no problem with in general - but that is this phony notion that “love” and “grace” means never disagreeing or expressing an opposing opinion.

My wife is on some “Christian women” forums, and a lot of them have bought into the liberal talking points of “love” and even “social Justice” and so on.

So many Christians are so deceived.


10 posted on 08/04/2014 8:51:48 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: Linda Frances

You know.... here’s a thought. Most of us here have jobs that are secular. We work for all sorts of people and we go about our jobs trying to live a life that “shows Jesus” to a lost world. We try to live lives of of obedience. But we do things that are secular. So we have a singer, songwritter, musician or whatever. If they use their skill set for anything except Christian songs we decide that fame means more to them then following God’s word. Some of us need to read the part about the plank in our own eye.


12 posted on 08/04/2014 8:52:33 AM PDT by kjam22 (my music video "If My People" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74b20RjILy4)
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To: SeekAndFind

I find that when Christian Pop comes on, there is way too much “Hallelujah don’t we all love Jesus so much” and too little “Life sucks for me this way, and my evil gets me punished” like Johnny Cash.

Johnny was far more effective for Christ than all the pablum dished out on Christian Pop.


13 posted on 08/04/2014 8:53:22 AM PDT by Uncle Miltie (The GOP-e scum enlisted Democrats to steal the Republican primary. The GOP-e can go to Hell.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I’ll take the classical hymns any day. Forget the contemporary!


14 posted on 08/04/2014 8:53:32 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: Salvation

there is no reason to think that King David, nor the church of Acts, used anything other than contemporary music (at that time)…….

There are some great hymns, and Amazing Grace is anointed beyond a doubt….but I gotta tell you, the tired old organ and the bored rote hymnal singing of mainline churches leaves me cold as a fish.


15 posted on 08/04/2014 8:53:37 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: kjam22

Oh dear Lord…you just left a mark on half of FR…….


16 posted on 08/04/2014 8:54:29 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: SeekAndFind

Somebody is straining to find problems. What I like about modern Christian music is it addresses real life issues and turns them over to God - like the Psalms. Much of old hymndom is one dimensional lyrically and cumbersome musically.


17 posted on 08/04/2014 8:54:44 AM PDT by greatvikingone
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To: C. Edmund Wright

I consider Amazing Grace contemporary. I will not sing it.


18 posted on 08/04/2014 8:56:10 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

I know.... people need to get a clue. We praise Johnny Cash for his christian stands. And that’s good. But he made his fame with secular songs. And we accept that he does both because we like Johnny Cash music. But we don’t like “POP” style music... so we hold those artists to a different standard. Its hypocricy... and if it leaves a mark... then so be it. It drives me crazy.


19 posted on 08/04/2014 8:56:52 AM PDT by kjam22 (my music video "If My People" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74b20RjILy4)
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To: Salvation

has anyone called you the Pharisee’s pharisee before? You do know Salvation is thru grace, and not laws?

How old does a hymn have to be to fit your rather narrow criteria?


20 posted on 08/04/2014 8:57:39 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: kjam22

dang, you nailed it again…….2 for 2!!!


21 posted on 08/04/2014 8:58:12 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: SeekAndFind

Hymns were new in their day. Every generation thinks modern music is somehow bad.


22 posted on 08/04/2014 8:59:03 AM PDT by HereInTheHeartland (Obama lied; our healthcare died.)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Thanks :)


23 posted on 08/04/2014 8:59:06 AM PDT by kjam22 (my music video "If My People" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74b20RjILy4)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

Listen to the words. Very self-centered song in my opinion.


24 posted on 08/04/2014 8:59:17 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: SeekAndFind

Christian Contemporary is just fine and it is very effective in bringing people to Christ. I am one of them and we know of many others.


25 posted on 08/04/2014 8:59:57 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: Uncle Miltie

I love me some Johnny Cash - but you need to check out Matthew West, Steven Curtis Chapman, Collin Raye and Jeremy Camp... Real issues brought before the Lord that others can relate to: rape, failure, death, failure, imperfect children, failure...


26 posted on 08/04/2014 9:00:05 AM PDT by greatvikingone
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To: greatvikingone

You make a good point. I will say this….there is too much touchy feely “can’t we all get along” type songs which are not really scripturally correct - and then there’s the scam of some Christian groups.

There is a very prominent group that runs an absolute scam with World Vision. It’s sad really.


27 posted on 08/04/2014 9:00:24 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: greatvikingone

The problem with far too much of Christian contemporary music is that it puts the seeker ahead of the Savior.

The theology in most of the great hymns of the Christian era is simply better than what is being done today. When church becomes more of a marketing exercise than a real worship experience which honors God, it fails.


28 posted on 08/04/2014 9:00:49 AM PDT by Colonel_Flagg ("Compromise" means you've already decided you lost.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I do not listen to many current songs. They just do not do anything for me. Give me the old quartet style singing. Back in the 80’s and early 90’s, I listened to a Christian station here but there are none here that play real songs anymore. Have you listened to Dave’s Highway from MS? If not look them up. A brother and 2 sisters who have been singing for years.


29 posted on 08/04/2014 9:01:34 AM PDT by MamaB
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To: Salvation
Listen to the words. Very self-centered song in my opinion.

Amazing Grace…self centered lyrics? Wow, you are really reaching for something to be upset about. That statement is beyond defense and beneath response.

30 posted on 08/04/2014 9:01:59 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: Linda Frances

I’ve never met a musician that was playing in the band who did not wish they were playing in a blues, rock, or country band


31 posted on 08/04/2014 9:03:00 AM PDT by reefdiver (Be the Best you can be Whatever you Dream to be)
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To: Salvation

Amazing Grace was written the 1770s and was tied to the current melody in 1853. It predates much of what you think of as older, traditional music.


32 posted on 08/04/2014 9:03:03 AM PDT by buffaloguy
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To: MamaB

RE: Have you listened to Dave’s Highway from MS? If not look them up. A brother and 2 sisters who have been singing for years.

______________________

Yes. They have a whole catalog uploaded to YOUTUBE:

https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=daves+highway


33 posted on 08/04/2014 9:03:55 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: Salvation

you won’t consider Amazing Grace? Are you serious?


34 posted on 08/04/2014 9:06:46 AM PDT by MNDude
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To: reefdiver
I’ve never met a musician that was playing in the band who did not wish they were playing in a blues, rock, or country band

I have. I've met a few. But most of them played piano. And most of them played mostly funerals, or maybe a wedding when they wanted to really step out :)

35 posted on 08/04/2014 9:07:08 AM PDT by kjam22 (my music video "If My People" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74b20RjILy4)
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To: Colonel_Flagg
The problem with far too much of Christian contemporary music is that it puts the seeker ahead of the Savior.

Perhaps true to a point, but then again, if they are seekers, they do not yet know to put the Savior ahead of themselves.

The theology in most of the great hymns of the Christian era is simply better than what is being done today. When church becomes more of a marketing exercise than a real worship experience which honors God, it fails.

Again true to a point, but after having been raised in a dead mainline denominational church for years with demonstrably dead music and dead singing of hymns the norm 2X per service - I welcomed some real worship for a change. Is there too much flesh in much of it? YES. Is some of it overly marketed? YES. Are some of the artists phonies? YES. Absolutely. I got into an email spat a few years ago with the leader of a prominent Christian band on that point.

But I gotta tell you, on balance, it speaks to me more than the old hymns, with a few exceptions of some of the great old hymns. Many are not great, just old.

36 posted on 08/04/2014 9:07:22 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: huldah1776

Close....Days of Elijah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PUIa674GGCo

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant, Moses
Righteousness being restored

These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!


37 posted on 08/04/2014 9:07:32 AM PDT by JoeDetweiler
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To: SeekAndFind

The problem with any modern music is that if you listen real close you might be able to understand the words they are saying. No rhythm, just a bunch of banging and plucking.

And they sound like a bunch of stuck pigs.

I don`t listen to much music of any kind for that reason, if I do listen to music I will pick Autry or hank sr. or one who does not sound like a cut hog.


38 posted on 08/04/2014 9:08:33 AM PDT by ravenwolf (s)
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To: reefdiver

I’ve met a lot who play in secular bands and in worship at church. I have no problem with that. I trust God to handle whether their witness and faith is real or not. I’m busy with my own, and if music speaks to me, then who am I to worry about the singer, band, writer, etc?


39 posted on 08/04/2014 9:08:55 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: C. Edmund Wright

I used to call that “the nice doctine”. Loosely translated as: if you are always nice, that is the only way to be fully Christian; especially be nice to Pharisees and money changers, because it’s important we follow good examples.........


40 posted on 08/04/2014 9:09:16 AM PDT by Lakeshark
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To: SeekAndFind

God’s Own Child, I Gladly Say It
lyrics by Edmann Neumeister, published 1718
tune by Johann Caspar Bachofen, published 1727

Stanza 1

God’s own child, I gladly say it: I am baptized into Christ!
He, because I could not pay it, gave my full redemption price.
Do I need earth’s treasures many? I have one worth more than any
That brought me salvation free, Lasting to eternity!

Stanza 2

Sin, disturb my soul no longer: I am baptized into Christ!
I have comfort even stronger: Jesus’ cleansing sacrifice.
Should a guilty conscience seize me, since my baptism did release me
In a dear forgiving flood, sprinkling me with Jesus’ blood?

Stanza 3

Satan, hear this proclamation: I am baptized into Christ!
Drop your ugly accusation; I am not so soon enticed.
Now that to the font I’ve traveled, all your might has come unraveled,
And, against your tyranny, God, my Lord, unites with me!

Stanza 4

Death, you cannot end my gladness: I am baptized into Christ!
When I die, I leave all sadness to inherit paradise!
Though I lie in dust and ashes faith’s assurance brightly flashes:
Baptism has the strength divine to make life immortal mine.

Stanza 5

There is nothing worth comparing to this lifelong comfort sure!
Open-eyed my grave is staring: Even there I’ll sleep secure.
Though my flesh awaits its raising, still my soul continues praising:
I am baptized into Christ; I’m a child of paradise!

MORE INFO and LINK TO A NICE PIANO RECORDING:
http://wmltblog.org/2011/05/gods-own-child-i-gladly-say-it/


41 posted on 08/04/2014 9:09:17 AM PDT by Sally ("This is the only Administration I've ever been in where it's 100% politics 100% of the time.")
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Comment #42 Removed by Moderator

To: ravenwolf

Your “GET OFF MY LAWN” sign blew over. You better to put it back up.


43 posted on 08/04/2014 9:09:25 AM PDT by C. Edmund Wright (www.FireKarlRove.com NOW)
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To: Linda Frances

Taylor Swift is considered a Christian artist. Ridiculous. Bob


44 posted on 08/04/2014 9:10:12 AM PDT by alstewartfan ("Movie queues diffuse into the Cinerama haze While libertines read pornizines in street cafes." Al S)
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To: SeekAndFind

My favorite Contemporary Christian Artist (Been around for a while and definitely different from everybody else) is Michael Card. Great Musician, and powerful lyrics!


45 posted on 08/04/2014 9:10:24 AM PDT by Artcore
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To: JoeDetweiler

That song is done by a band... and in big churches by an orchestra. You know...It can’t be a hymn???? :) Aren’t hymns done by just piano and organ... or maybe just the congregation singing...???..... Oh my goodness... a hymn that uses other instruments? IN church no less!


46 posted on 08/04/2014 9:11:16 AM PDT by kjam22 (my music video "If My People" at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=74b20RjILy4)
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To: All

I am sure there were plenty of Southern planters and slave traders,people who owned slaved who enthusiastically sang what the author of this article would think are “correct” hymns in their Baptist, Presbyterian and methods pews. very reverential I am sure, right before they went home and beat, starved and abused their “property”. The BTK killer was a deacon who sung like songbird on Sundays those old timey hymns. The article and the author are utterly clueless about G*d, his nature, what’s important to him as he has said plain as day in his word. NOT WHAT YOU CAN DO, WHAT HAS BEEN DONE FOR YOU. No proper amount of music, behavior, devotions, rituals, church attendance makes you any more Holy. You are imbued holiness by the Lord Jesus Christ, he finished it on the cross. There is lots of great contemporary Christian music out there, with awesome, heartfelt, God revering lyrics..MercyMe, Chris Tomlin, Laura Story, etc. This kind of Pharisetical crappola in this article needs to be ignored, does not edify Christ or bring people closer to the Father..THAT IS WHAT IS IMPORTANT. Even Paul and the Apostles used the culture of the time to bring people to Christ.


47 posted on 08/04/2014 9:11:34 AM PDT by pburgh01
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To: Colonel_Flagg

**The problem with far too much of Christian contemporary music is that it puts the seeker ahead of the Savior. **

You said it better than I did.

Exactly what Amazing Grace is about — the seeker.


48 posted on 08/04/2014 9:12:43 AM PDT by Salvation ("With God all things are possible." Matthew 19:26)
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To: MNDude; Salvation

RE: you won’t consider Amazing Grace? Are you serious?

There are whole threads on the internet on Catholic doctrine and debates going on as to why the song Amazing Grace is unsuitable for Catholic liturgy.

See here for one:

http://forums.catholic.com/showthread.php?t=388286


49 posted on 08/04/2014 9:13:56 AM PDT by SeekAndFind (If at first you don't succeed, put it out for beta test.)
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To: SeekAndFind

I saw a an evaluation of the top 100 modern Christian songs vs the top 100 Hymns. Not surprising but words that were very common of the hymns included: “sin, transgressions, forgive, blood, we, church” The old hymn songs on average contained more than 2 and a half words than modern songs (not counting the repeats).

The more common words for the modern songs included “I, me, love, praise”
The word “sin” was very uncommon”


50 posted on 08/04/2014 9:14:59 AM PDT by MNDude
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