Are the “Praise & Worship” Songs Replacing “Traditional” Hymns?

A Shift Toward Praise & Worship

Within recent years, I have witnessed at some church services and crusade meetings the use of non-traditional hymnal songs for song service and divine worship. These are commonly referred to as “Praise and Worship” songs. You will recognize these, for example, “Lord Prepare Me to Be a Sanctuary,” “As the Deer Panteth,” “Lord, I lift Your Name on High,” and the like. Today, there are some new ones that some of you know all too well. And as if there was a shortage, these would be sung each evening in a crusade, or weekly at church. Additionally, the one leading out or directing may say to members and visitors who are invited to participate in the singing, “O come on –you must not have the Spirit,” or “Everybody Praise the Lord!” If there is no favorable response, or if there is reluctance, then one may assume it is because persons do not have “the Spirit.” What’s wrong?” you may ask. To me, it is limiting the church to one type of songs. I feel that those desirous of what they term “Praise and Worship” could be inclusive by using both hymns from the Hymnal and contemporary gospel songs.

Employing Hymns from the Seventh-day Adventist Hymnal

I believe there are many hymns in the current Seventh-day Adventist Church Hymnal that could be used as Praise and Worship songs. These include #100, “Great is Thy Faithfulness;” #109, “Marvelous Grace;” #8, “We Gather Together;” #10, “Come, Christians, Join to Sing;” #15, “My Maker and My King;” #34, “Wake The Song;” #86, “How Great Thou Art;” #108, “Amazing Grace;” #371, “Lift Him Up;” #341, “To God Be the Glory;” #338, “Redeemed!;” #294, “Power in the Blood;” #286, “Wonderful Words of Life;” #189, “All That Thrills My Soul;” These are but a few that could be sung in different ways, using a stanza or two and just moving into another song, once preparation is made. It may be of interest to know that there is a companion book to the hymnal. The chorister, by looking up the history or story behind the hymn and sharing a little before the song, would enable worshipers to truly engage in praise and worship. Then the song is bound to take on meaning. For me, one is #530, “It Is Well with My Soul.” Employing the use of a large screen and projector may prove useful as well. The point is that we do not always have to throw away all that we have to embrace the new. Even songs from the Hymnal can appeal to the young. It all depends on what we put into them and the level of spiritual preparation on the part of the song leader/s.

Purpose of Praise & Worship

The term, “praise and worship,” is “praise” and “worship.” It is for the purpose of our coming together at church, and that is to praise and worship God. We can employ the use of traditional hymns for Praise and Worship. It is important that our members, especially our new members, know these things. Each hymn carries meaning and a theology; and some hymns speak to significant and unique theology that could be lost if church pastors and choristers choose to bypass them. Further more, if we are not careful, some members will view the Seventh-day Adventist church as just another church as opposed to God’s remnant church with a specific mission. As we move forward, it is alright “every now and then to look in our rear view mirror to appreciate where we are coming from.”

Instruments have their places, too, but it is important that they compliment and enhance instead of drowning out the lyrics creating unbearable noise and thus distorting. Equally important is that the musicians be sanctified and understand that they play to the honor and glory of God, whether at a church building or at a crusade. We need to find a way to avoid extremes seen at some of our meetings; for it is hard for visitors or newly baptized ones to transition into some of our churches. Also, it is important not to use music per se as a means to draw people, for there is the temptation to compromise “to get them.” On the other hand, services can be exciting and dynamic with planning and much spiritual preparation. Let us not underestimate the power of the Holy Spirit, for Jesus says, “If I be lifted up I will draw all men unto me.” Let’s lift up Christ in our Praise and Worship.

For further guidance and counsel refer to “A Seventh-day Adventist Philosophy of Music – Guidelines” at