Although I am not an absolutist on any type of music in the church, I am struck by something that I've seen more or less whenever I see church music discussed.
Those who claim Christ are generally OK with modern praise choruses, and even defend their use quite vehemently. Those who are sporadic in their attendance tend to actually prefer the old hymns.
Of course, "tend to," not an absolute rule, but it's telling to me. If you want to reach those who are lost, you need to come to them with a message and a medium that they see as eternal and timeless--one conveyed by the grand old music of the church.
And it probably doesn't hurt, either, that history has winnowed out the less important hymns, and that people at most churches simply understand the older genre better than the new. Even so, I'd have to guess that "conveys a sense of permanence and awe" ranks highly as a reason that people may be reached more effectively with a traditional service, than with a contemporary one.
I Heard It On The NARN - More about Madison Rising.
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