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Clarke on Contemporary Christian Music

Contrasting the “singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God” of Colossians 3:16 with contemporary christian music, Adam Clark laments,

The singing which is here recommended is widely different from what is commonly used in most Christian congregations; a congeries of unmeaning sounds, associated to bundles of nonsensical, and often ridiculous, repetitions, which at once both deprave and disgrace the Church of Christ.

Melody, which is allowed to be the most proper for devotional music, is now sacrificed to an exuberant harmony, which requires, not only many different kinds of voices, but different musical instruments to support it. And by these preposterous means the simplicity of the Christian worship is destroyed, and all edification totally prevented. And this kind of singing is amply proved to be very injurious to the personal piety of those employed in it; even of those who enter with a considerable share of humility and Christian meekness, how few continue to sing with Grace in their hearts unto the Lord? (paragraphs added)

I probably should have mentioned that he was writing around 1836. I guess there’s nothing new under the sun after all.

Clarke, Adam. The Holy Bible with a commentary and critical notes. Thomas Tegg and Son: London. 1836. P.1525