• Welcome to the PopMalt Forums! Whether you're new to forums or a veteran, welcome to our humble home on the web! We're a 20-year old forum community with thousands of discussions on entertainment, lifestyle, leisure, and more.

    Our rules are simple. Be nice and don't spam. Registration is free, so what are you waiting for? Join today!.

The difference between Hymns and Praise Choruses

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
In the church I go to, and after reading some stuff on google as well, I've noticed that there is a constant debate, usually between older generations and younger generations about the difference between hymns and praise choruses.

Praise choruses are also called Praise and Worship music. It's basically singing songs of worship using electric guitars and drums and etc. Also, the songs have a chorus.

Hymns are way older. Designed to be sung as a four part harmony, no choruses for the most part (some exceptions) and in lots of cases, the same melody can be used for many different hymns. (not the case with praise choruses)

Some of the older people in my church argue that praise choruses aren't true worship of God because some of them just talk about God, they aren't a prayer TO God. However, I know for a fact that lots of hymns aren't like that either.

In my opinion, I just think the older people are being stuffy and religious about it. Personally, I think, if their goal is to lead people to God and stuff, they should be playing the music that will attract the current generation. Don't get me wrong, I don't think that one or the other is wrong. Its just that not everyone can read a hymn and understand what it's saying, whereas a more modern 'praise chorus' is written using today's diction and slang etc.

So what's your opinion on this? Do you think electric guitars and drums etc have a place in a church for worshipping God? Or do you think we should all stay with the classic hymns. No change etc.?

Discuss.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
There are two things. First, the issue with what are hymns and what are praise choruses. I don't think it's the accompaniment that separates one from the other. If it's just having a chorus, some of our songs in our "hymnals" would be considered praise choruses. :hah: Take for example Psalm 23. There are several versions of it and it's a hymn I suppose, but in one of the versions I've sang, we used the first four lines as chorus, and the rest of the psalm as verses. Anyway, I personally don't care what they're called. They're all spiritual songs to me.

Next issue, and this is what I think you're more concerned with, is modern music's place during services. I used to be very active in my church's music ministry. The main reason is I love music and I'm a singer and I conducted choirs before too. Next thing I like about it is that I know the music inspires people who attend the service. I've met people who only attend the time of our service because they particularly appreciate the music we provide. We could sing a cappella pieces or backed up by strings/piano during Offertory and Communion but the rest of the service, we sing traditional hymns with the organ. During concerts we would test other types of instrumentation and found out there's a base that do enjoy more modern versions (usually, the youth and the young at heart). What we did is have different services with specific music: no music, choral/classical music, modern music. It works.

Music reaches out to people. The service itself, while a time for reflection is also a celebration. The message is in the words too. Whether you recite it or sing it classically or modernly, with or without accompaniment, it shouldn't change the message of the song. I don't get why Hallelujah Chorus would be fine but Hallelujah Rock with drums wouldn't be praising. :lol:
 

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
Yes, the issue of 'Piano and four part accompaniment' versus 'guitar, drums, bass, vocals """BAND"""' comes up a lot. People figure that having people up front playing the songs isn't worshipping, it's just performing.

I read something in an article once that I read in some inter church flyer that floats around at my church. It talked about how hymns were more conducive to congregational singing whereas praise choruses were harder for the congregation to sing along with. Personally, I have no trouble with it. I don't know how other people feel about it though.

The article also had a comment made by some elderly person. It said something about how newer praise and worship songs condense the theology alot more than hymns did. He said that means people aren't getting the full message. That seems nothing more than an older man stuck in his ways. Culture changes and so does the way we talk. Lately I've been starting a series of articles on my youth group's blog, where I dissemble a hymn's lyrics and a 'praise choruses' lyrics and compare if they are delivering the same message. In most cases this has been true. They just tell the same thing in different ways according to the culture and slang at the time they were written. Honestly, what young adult/youth knows what 'thou, thy, thee and doest' mean? Not alot. So how are they supposed to grasp any of that so called 'deeper meaning' in the hymns?

Admittedly so, there are still some praise and worship songs that really shouldn't be sung either. Some of the ones that get sung in my church aren't really praise songs, they're more evangelical in nature, and are better suited to being listened to, not sung. Mind you, some hymns are like that too.
 

ysabel

/ˈɪzəˌbɛl/ pink 5
I read something in an article once that I read in some inter church flyer that floats around at my church. It talked about how hymns were more conducive to congregational singing whereas praise choruses were harder for the congregation to sing along with. Personally, I have no trouble with it. I don't know how other people feel about it though.
In a way that's true. Do you have hymnals for the congregation? We pick up songs from there during the regular part of the service and only pick our own music for offertory/communion when the congregation can just listen.

I remember when we guested in another church before. They were used in singing a particular version of the Lord's Prayer. We went there, sang our own version, so while they congregation know the lyrics they couldn't sing with us. At the end of the service the priest got mad at us. :lol: He said "It's not a performance, you're supposed to lead them in singing". Oooops.

I've attended a service though, last December that is probably what those traditional people would find scandalous. :hah: It's at my friend's church and they had a kickass sound system. Eight lovely microphones for song leaders, a very nice drumset and two guitarists. I didn't know the songs either. It was my first time there. They had the lyrics projected on screen and since the melody is repetitive, I got into it after a few seconds. While some may think it's just a performance, I tell you those song leaders were so inspiring, you can tell they're not just singing but they're feeling the message and they want you to feel that.

Anyway we just go back to difference in preferences, generation gap, and openness to change. We recognised this issue in the church so instead of just dismissing one choice to favor another, we provided both with the venue to hear and sing the service as they want. I still think they do it, but the modern service happens only once a month (the time for them to rehearse and complete a repertoire).

Admittedly so, there are still some praise and worship songs that really shouldn't be sung either. Some of the ones that get sung in my church aren't really praise songs, they're more evangelical in nature, and are better suited to being listened to, not sung. Mind you, some hymns are like that too.
I don't know. I think singing is just like reciting it, just a different manner, haha. I don't think any message is lost in singing something. That's why I don't think it matters either whether you sing it with your choice of instrument.
 

Smelnick

Creeping On You
V.I.P.
In my church, we do the offering as part of the worship. So before the sermon, half an hour is singing and offering and announcements etcetera. Then the sermon and close the service with a song. Several different teams lead worship. One team for each sunday of a month etc. Usually it's a mix of hymns and more modern music. I find it rather amusing that sometimes families will leave the church because either 'oh they play too many hymns' or 'oh they don't play enough hymns' I'm with you ysabel. It's all worship music.

It comes down to religion in my opinion. Some people focus way too much on little nitpicky aspects of their faith and actions rather than focusing on the whole reason they have that 'religion' in the first place.
------
I don't know. I think singing is just like reciting it, just a different manner, haha. I don't think any message is lost in singing something. That's why I don't think it matters either whether you sing it with your choice of instrument.
What I meant wasn't that a message was lost. What I mean is that some songs that get sung in church, hymn or whatever, shouldn't really be sung as congregational songs. For example, a famous christian rock band is called 'Kutless' and they play a song called 'Word of God Speak'. The lyrics of the song aren't really a prayer, or praise or worship. It's just a touching song about the writer listening for God and wanting him to speak. So for me to sing those words, it doesn't mean anything. I'm only singing the words cause it sounds cool at that point. In my opinion, in order for a song to be suitable to sing as a congregation, you need to be able to sing it as if it's your own prayer, words, praise etc. Not just reciting someone elses words.
 
Last edited:

FutureTrackStar

Registered Member
I think the main difference between them, if there is one, is that hymns are more similar to prayers and more directly connected to scripture than modern worship music. I personally enjoy them both; some hymns are too slow for me, some I really like, some worship music I don't enjoy too much and others I like a lot. But I think the lyrics to hymns are usually explicitly derived from scripture, and are more prayerful, and by prayerful I mean the music is focused on people's voices rather than the music. In worship music there are drums and guitars and stuff, but hymns just has a piano because laymen often aren't excellent singers. But, hymns are more explicitly scriptural i think...
 
Top