The truth will out!!
(Thank you Jennifer Rincon for this.)
Good day; I would like to call attention to an entry posted on your husband’s blog on March 17th: “What’s Wrong with Modern Church Music?” With great respect to Mr. Brown, the anecdote is false.
The words are from a fictional pamphlet, written by Pastor Thomas Symmes of Manhattan in 1723. (Dr. Watts’ verses would not even be published in America until 1729). Symmes is actually portraying a church-goer who does not want try a “new trend” in worship: that is, learning to read music.
The pamphlet, titled Utile Dulce, is a made-up conversation between a puritan pastor and his “neighbor.” They discuss the current state of worship, which were songs that were repetitive and easy to memorize, since most of the church was illiterate. Now that a new generation was learning how to read, the pastor wants to introduce written music into the service. The music would help the church learn new songs, and, for the first time, they could actually read what they were singing about. He hoped it would edify and revitalize worship.
The neighbor, on the other hand, is unwilling to go along with this idea. He gives a list of reasons:
(1) That it is a New Way, an Unknown Tongue.
(2) That it is not so Melodious as the Usual Way.
(3) That there are so many Tunes, we shall never have done learning.
(4) That the Practice of it give Disturbance; Roils & Exasperates men’s Spirits; grieves sundry good People, and causes them to behave themselves indecently & disorderly.
(5) That is Quakerish & Popish, and introductive of Instrumental Musick.
(6) That the Names given to the Notes are Bawdy, yea Blasphemous.
(7) That it is a Needless way, since their good Fathers that were Strangers to it, are got to Heaven without it.
(Source: Utile Dulce, pages 11-12)
The reasons are ridiculous because Symmes meant for them to sound that way.
His point was: there really is no excuse for us to not be pursuing excellence and skill in our worship, always for the glory of God.
Thank you for taking the time to read my email.
Calvary Chapel of Visalia