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Hymn, n. The sacred song of the Reformations, where the teachings of
the priesthood of the believer and the holiness of everyday living are
applied to the realm of music.

The music of the Catholic Church was and is beautiful, ancient,
powerful, stately, and majestic; nobody had accused Rome of disgracing
God by poor taste in music. The reason that the Reformers used
different music was as an application of another part of their
theology.

The Reformers held to the priesthood of the believer; they believed
that a farmer as well as a missionary can and should draw close to
God. To this end they translated the Scriptures into the common
tongue, to reach people where they were. They also held belief in the
sanctity of everyday living; prayer and study of the Scriptures are
the sacred privelege and duty of the believer, but the believer also
gives glory to God by eating and drinking, working and playing.
Pulling these thoughts together, they used popular tunes as the medium
to carry teaching in verse. Although the songs lacked any complexity

-- the musical equivalent of flat soda -- and cannot honestly be
described as embodying good musical taste, even those songs were taken
and transformed. The Roman Church had slowly fallen into the error of
making Christianity something far off, boring and unintelligible
sermons and odd songs with prayers and incantations in a dead
language, elite and aloof from the way that common people live; the
Reformers wished to cleanse the Church of this error. The Holy
Scriptures, formerly available only in the Latin of the Vulgate
Versio, were now rendered in the vulgar tongue, and people began to
sing of Christ's love to the tune of popular drinking songs -- all to
reach out, and place the Gospel message before people, meeting them
where they are.

This beautiful thought has not been forgotten; cherished hymns sung by
the Reformers have been passed down from generation to generation, and
used to keep Christian youth from becoming entangled in the Devil's
music.

-- Hayward's Unabridged Dictionary



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