Thursday, January 14, 2010

Wesley at Warrington

"Friday 6, [1781] I went to Alpringham, and preached the funeral sermon of good old sister Cawley. She has been indeed a mother in Israel; a pattern of all good works. Saturday 7, at noon, I preached at Preston-on-the-Hill, and in the evening at Warrington. Sunday 8, the service was at the usual hours. I came just in time to put a stop to a bad custom, which was creeping in here. A few men who had fine voices sang a psalm which no one knew, in a tune fit for an Opera, wherein three, four, or five persons sung different words at the same time! What an insult upon common sense! What a burlesque upon public worship! No custom can excuse such a mixture of profaneness and absurdity." -- The Works of the Rev. John Wesley, Volume 5, By John Wesley, London: Conference Office, 1810, pp. 330-331

I guess Wesley didn't like fuging tunes!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I can probably see the viewpoint that Wesley had, given the context of the times. These type of tunes were probably seen as somewhat "showy" or outside the boundaries of what was common.

The same sentiments were echoed about Gospel Music when it became established around the 1920's or so. Now many of the songs which came from that era are considered staples of evangelical Christianity.

I always think of the story I read somwhere about the beginnings of The Statesman Quartet, who are considered by many to be the most prominent quartet ever in the history of Gospel Music. They even became friends with Elvis Presley later in their career. The story goes that when they formed in the late 1940's, some of their records were banned from being played because they used horns. This sounds so pale in comparison to the things that are played today which are marketed as "Christian Music." This usually seems to be the case with each generation and a new sort of style. But it makes you wonder just how far the envelope can be pushed. It would appear that the lines have already been crossed. For quite sometime now there have been substyles such as "Heavy Metal Christian," Christian Rap," etc. Is it any wonder that our children have a distorted concept of Christianity?