Monday, January 17, 2022

Where did all the old hymns go?


Where did all the old hymns go?

I originally published this article in the old back in 2018. I wrote for them as a Christianity Reporter. I hope you enjoy.

As a baby boomer, old sixties rocker and bona fide member of the Jesus Freak movement, this Christian pastor/writer has always admired and enjoyed the contemporary Christian music movement and utilization of “praise music” within Christian worship services.

Recently however, while with other Christian friends (one being a fellow pastor and counselor) we all began singing the “old hymns” and what fun, memories and inspiration it brought.

These great hymns of faith by Martin Luther, Fanny J. Crosby, Charles Wesley, St. Francis of Assisi, Stuart Hamblin, Stuart K. Hine, B.B. McKinney, Joseph Scriven, Isaac Watts and of course, John Newton cross not only decades, denominations but centuries, cultures and countries. There is simply nothing like them or which can be compared to them.

You might not be familiar with the authors but you probably know the hymns they wrote by their titles: “A Mighty Fortress is our God”, ”Holy Spirit, Breathe on Me”, “Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine”, “How Great Thou Art”, “It is No Secret What God Can Do”, “Glory to His Name”, “Blessed Redeemer, Jesus is Mine” “Just as I Am”, “All Creatures Great and Small” and most everyone’s favorite, “Amazing Grace”.

Recently while visiting a local church which this writer has attended often and enjoys the worship, preaching and music, it suddenly struck me that not only does this church but most churches no longer sing the old hymns and even if they do, it is some weird, far out, almost unintelligible version which just doesn’t seem quiet as worshipful.

Now don’t get me wrong, the Bible says to sing a “new song” which is wonderful and brings allot of joy and the contemporary praise worship brings inspiration to many but there just doesn’t seem to be that spiritual impact of humility and holiness which the old hymns bring.

Even a sampling of Christian television brings nearly the same results of no old or traditional hymns.

So the question for this writer is, “Where have all the old hymns gone?” It almost seems as though the proverbial “baby has been thrown out with the bath water”.

The answer could be as simple as there is a new generation seeking a new form of worship and praise to God but the reason could be more extensive.

The Bible has far more to say about the worship of God than the praise to God. Some people with the best of intentions get the two confused and even use the terms interchangeably.

Worship is “reverent honor and homage paid to God” while Praise is “the act of expressing approval or admiration”

It seems the reverence aspect has almost been forgotten and left out.

Yes, it is true that there are at least two Old Testament books dedicated to “praising God”: the book of Psalms and to a limited extent Proverbs but that is only two out of sixty-six Biblical books and both of these books also have a lot to say about the emphasis of worship and not just praise.

Not long ago, this writer even visited a main line denomination church and to my surprise, even they were singing only praise songs; they didn’t even have hymnals in the pew hymn racks any longer. It amazes me that the term “hymn” or “hymnal” isn’t even used any longer.

Today, the term used with regard to music in the worship service seems to always be “praise songs”.

It seems that sometimes these “praise songs” sound like anything but praise.

Ten years ago as “Praise Worship” was sweeping the globe in our churches, the songs were milder, mellower and sweeter with the likes of Michael W. Smith, Sandi Patti, Andre Crouch and Dino but as time moved forward it seems the music has taken a twist to simple noise and repetition with little actual music. It is as if you have heard one praise song, you have almost heard them all.

A recent visit to a local contemporary church had me wondering what I had just witnessed as praise music. The congregation didn’t even seem to participate and at times appeared almost stunned by the praise band’s performance and the praise leader’s direction.

This is not a promotion to end praise worship or praise singing, in fact to the contrary. Praise worship on occasion can be a wonderful experience.

For the sake of our children and generations to come however, it might be a good idea to reinvigorate the worship experience with some of the old hymns which teach many of the great truths of God’s word while at the same time demonstrating through music love, honor and respect as well as some basic theological and doctrinal principles which simply aren’t found in today’s praise songs.

After hundreds of years, there have yet to be any Christian music written which can even come close to the words of John Newton:

“Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound that saved a wretch like me, I once was lost but now am found; was blind but now I see”.

As for the praise songs of today, only time will tell if any of these songs will last the test of time.

As yet (even though this pastor/writer loves many of the praise songs), none of the praise songs of today contain any doctrinal or theological truth, short changing our young and possibly preventing a positive future for the church.

Jesus said, “Worship God by serving Him”, in fact Jesus never even talked about praising God. This is not to say Jesus would have opposed praise but rather he was more concerned with those of us as believers sharing the gospel with others.

 As you attend church this Sunday remember to not only praise the Lord but worship Him also.

One more thing, as a musician myself, praise bands might need to remember that loud doesn’t mean you’re good; in fact, good musicians sound just as good with reduced volume.

© 2018 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III


Thursday, August 6, 2015

Trump, immigration and the Southern border

Dr. Lee Outlaw

Donald Trump Press Conference in Laredo, Texas

Everyone keeps saying Donald Trump is just a momentary obstacle in the way of the other legitimate Republican presidential contenders.

Yet, almost daily, the Donald is either headlining the news or rising in the polls.

In essence, Donald Trump continues onward and upwards.

Mr. Trump is certainly not afraid to take on the very political incorrectness of which he has been accused.

Unlike his fellow candidates, Trump never seems to back down from addressing the media. He speaks to everyone, liberal, conservative, traditional and alternative news outlets; they all get their chance to talk to the Donald.

When a media representative gets the opportunity to interview Mr. Trump, they’d better know what they’re talking about and have their facts straight because the Donald is not afraid of confrontation; he will challenge a reporter.

Nearly every reporter in America has misquoted or deliberately indicted Trump making him out to be both anti-Mexican and even racist from remarks he made on illegal immigration during his presidential announcement; most who know him will tell you he is definitely neither.

The truth is however, the Donald might have been a bit direct and somewhat zealous in his remarks about immigration but he certainly wasn’t factually incorrect.

Living on the American side of the Mexican border and the Rio Grande River, this writer knows all too well that the Mexican government encourages illegal immigration into the United States.

It's a matter of economics; Mexico simply has more poor people than it can provide jobs or give them what few entitlements it has available.

A little known fact, nobody talks about (much less the media reports) is that Mexico frequently opens the doors of it prisons via staged escapes, riots, fires, explosions, etc. allowing sometimes hundreds of hardened criminals convicted of capital crimes to be released. These prisoners are then conveniently helped to cross the border illegally.

Anyone who has worked with ACLU attorneys knows full well this truth and much more. I have worked with these attorneys as a Texas licensed adjuster and had them tell me this as fact and their concern about the problem.

Local Mexican television which can be viewed on the American side of the border often has public service announcements by the Mexican government telling their people how to cross the border safely illegally.

Ironically, there are also American paid Public Service announcements produced by the United States Border Patrol and Homeland Security which discourage attempting to enter the United States illegally while at the same time informing the Mexican public what to do should they attempt to cross illegally and get lost or caught and where call boxes and safe emergency water can be located.

With all due respect to the Mexican people and the Mexican government, the bottom line is that Donald Trump is correct.

We should remember that anyone who enters a country without the proper passports and visas is illegal and has actually committed a crime.

There is no problem with people who wish to enter the United States legally; as the old saying goes, “The more, the merrier” and Mr. Trump has even stated as much while also alluding to the thousands of Mexican workers he legally employees.

The Donald was obviously crude in his remarks by saying that Mexico is not sending their best because America benefits greatly from many fine people who have relocated legally from Mexico.

Because Mexico doesn’t spend much money on their prisons or prisoners and has no death penalty, they’re more than eager to get rid of their hardened capital criminals to make room for the lesser criminals with shorter sentences they can better afford.  As such and stated previously, Mexico allows these capital criminals to miraculously escape and cross the border; free to commit rape, murder and mayhem in the United States just as the Donald said.

In essence what the Donald said was true, just not the way he said it; of course in our contemporary, instant information society, it doesn’t matter how correct someone is concerning a topic, if they don’t word something exactly in the Politically Correct way the media thinks they should, then they’ve committed an unpardonable sin against the media and will be condemned to everlasting accusative and slanderous reporting.

Such was the case for The Donald on Thursday, July 23, 2015 when after the United States Border Patrol invited Trump for a tour of the border near Laredo, Texas, the National Border Patrol Council Local 2455 abruptly canceled just hours before his scheduled arrival.

The media couldn't have been happier.

Trump again however, turned the table on the media and claimed that Washington was trying to silence the Border Patrol and at least implied they were trying to silence him as well.

Hector Garza, president of Local 2455, stated, “As a local of the NBPC, our purpose is to support and protect the men and women who protect our borders. Make no mistake, our border with Mexico is not secure and there’s no doubt that we need to have an honest discussion about that with the American people. Local 2455 will continue to represent our members to the best of our abilities and will make sure that our members concerns are heard by the American people.”

Garza went on to emphasize the danger involved such a short distance from the volatile Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo. You can literally look down into Nuevo Laredo from the Laredo side of the border.

Having visited Laredo many times as an insurance adjuster, this writer can personally agree with Agent Garza about the danger of Nuevo Laredo.

You can look across the International Trade bridge at uniformed Mexican Federallies and local police armed with AK-47 Rifles, Kevlar vest and helmets; it's not a pretty sight and certainly not a Mexican Welcoming Committee.

As usual however, try as they might, the press did not succeed in bringing Trump down. He went to the border, he saw and listened and came away more convinced than ever that something is definitely wrong at our Southern border.

© 2015 Dr. Lee W. Outlaw III

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Donald Trump’s surge excites grass roots GOP - Brownsville Political Buzz |

Dr. Lee Outlaw

Dr. Lee Outlaw discusses all the reasons Trump is surging in the polls
and speaking to sell out crowds amid the politically correct negative

Monday, October 13, 2014

Pot full of goodness

Pot full of goodness - by Dr. Lee Outlaw

My original article on the many benefits of cannabis and why conservative and Christian support for the legalization of Cannabis is essential from the 

Friday, September 12, 2014

Obama's true self ?

Obama's true self ?

Highlighted anomaly               Actual pic

A surprise in President Obama's 9/11/2014 speech on ISIS

Did you notice how strange and mechanical the President seemed?

This is not to say the president is the devil (although many do), but a friend of mine pointed out an interesting anomaly apparently caused by the drapes in the background  which  clearly makes it appear there are two horns protruding diagonally  from the right and left sides of his head (highlighted in red for emphasis). 
An even closer look  to the right and left and just above the President's ears appears to be the almost curved "ram like" horns often associated with the devil. 
Added to this is a fact noted by almost all liberal and conservative political pundits that the president's eyes were almost entirely fixed and hardly blinked the entire speech.
It has also been noted that the president seemed extremely mechanical and even less sincere than his usual insincere self.

What do you think?

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