Posted by: rcottrill | November 18, 2009

No Singing in Church!

Most of us have come to take hymn singing in the services of the church as not only expected but necessary.

Our hymns bring us in contact with a rich Christian heritage, and congregational singing is an act of Christian fellowship. The hymns often (though not always, it is granted) expose us to great poetry and great music, giving our worship a due sense of majesty and beauty. In song, we not only worship and praise the Lord, we bear testimony to what He has done and is doing in our lives. Further, well chosen hymns support and enhance the teachings of the Word of God that are shared from the pulpit, causing them to be better remembered.

For all these reasons and more, hymn singing should continue to be a part of our church life. But that has not always been universally accepted.

The Second Baptist Church of Newport, Rhode Island, was constituted in 1656, when it is said they rejected singing as part of religious services, and omitted it for over one hundred years. In 1765, singing was introduced. After very great agitation, numerous church meetings, and much opposition, permission was given to sing one hymn or psalm during the service. Out of regard for tender consciences, those who could not endure the sound were allowed to remain out in the cold until it was concluded!

In England, the church that grew into one that Charles Spurgeon later pastored was originally against singing. When an attempt was made to introduce it, those opposed withdrew and formed themselves into a church in London, electing one of their number, Edward Wallen, as pastor. Things remained the same for nearly 40 years, until Mr. Wallen died. Then the people found it difficult to get another leader to suit their views, and so they asked his son Benjamin Wallen to be their pastor. To their astonishment, he would only accept the call on the condition that they would introduce singing! At length they yielded to this requirement and, in 1741, their meeting house began resounding with songs of praise.

How sad this is! With the Apostle Paul let us say, “I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding” (I Cor. 14:15; cf. Ps. 47:7). To deprive God’s people of the joy of song is to take from them a gift of God almost as essential as breathing! A church without music is a contradiction in terms.

“O come, let us sing to the Lord! Let us shout joyfully to the Rock of our salvation” (Ps. 95:1). “Sing out the honour of His name; make His praise glorious” (Ps. 66:2). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Col. 3:16).


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