I am all in favor of doctrinal hymns. In fact, I agree that
everything we sing should express right doctrine. In itself,
however, strong doctrinal content does not rule out emotional
I do not believe that music can be too emotional. This is
especially true of doctrinal hymns. The regenerate heart irresistibly
resonates with spiritual truth. The more profound the truth, the
more sensitively it is expressed, and the more clear its relationship
to the believer, the more deeply the pious heart will be moved.
The ability to evoke and express this right response is what
separates hymnody from prose.
What principles, then, should regulate the expression of
emotion in church music? Two are especially relevant.
First, though good hymnody may express deep emotion, it
is not about the emotion. Right emotion must be grounded in
reality. When the focus shifts from the spiritual reality to the
emotion itself, the emotion is no longer rightly grounded. The
purpose of hymnody is to adore God, not to admire ourselves.
By concentrating on our own emotions, we transform hymnody
into a mode of self-assertion.
Second, good hymnody must attach the proper emotions to
the realities that are being considered. We recognize intuitively
that hymnody must not express emotions such as anger with
God or hatred toward Him. We know that good hymns do not
mock God. Simply avoiding these egregious errors, however,
does not ensure that a hymn communicates ordinate affection.
Emotions are powerful things, and a misdirected emotion
can do powerful damage. Perhaps this is why some people
would like Christian music not to be emotional. That is surely
a wrong reaction, however. Our hymns must be emotional, but
they must not be about emotion. They must be emotional, but
they must express the right emotions for the spiritual realities
that move us.
CITEŞTE ÎNTREGUL ESEU AICI (pag. 103-106).