Durable Hymns

Donald T. Williams on Five Marks of Excellence That Could End the Worship Wars

The “worship wars” that rage in the church today are nothing new. St. Ambrose was considered an innovator for writing hymns and teaching his people to sing them. The controversy over melismatic textual elaboration in the Middle Ages was (according to legend) settled by Palestrina’s Pope Marcellus Mass. The Reformation started debates over exclusive psalmody and the use of instruments, debates that continue among Protestants to this day, although they are now overshadowed by heated arguments over contemporary praise and worship music versus traditional hymnody.