Saturday, January 28, 2012

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul (Book 3) by Robert J. Morgan

I did not read Morgan's first two books in this trilogy, but after reading this one I am going to see if I can get my hands on them. The author's love for the "great hymns of the faith" is both obvious and infectious as I too found myself eagerly reading story after story.  Having grown up with a love of music and having been exposed to many traditional hymns, I was surprised to read of so many lesser known hymns with such depth of meaning.  Part 2: Do You Know these Hymns and Part 3: Six Hymn Stories I Love to tell were made up of both hymns I love and hymns I had never heard.  But the numerous stories behind the songs did not even make up the best part of the book as I am supposing his first two volumes could be summarized. 

I considered the most beneficial parts of the book  to be Part 1: the History of Hymnody and Part 4: Hymning in Private and in Public.  Robert Morgan started with the Bible and traced hymnody down through the ages up to our present day.  I was able to put a timetable in my mind which only helped to deepen my appreciation for the hymns we sing.  I had never realized just how old some of our most sacred hymns are and yet they contain such incredible meaning that is relevant to us today.

The last section of his book contains the two biggest takeaway points for me.  First he continually makes the case that Christians of many time periods owned both a Bible and a hymnal.  Many good hymns are jam-packed with theology and it would serve us well to commit these to memory.  Meditating on Scripture throughout our day is the most helpful, but there is also much to be gained from "making melody in our hearts" through the singing of hymns throughout our day.  He encouraged his readers to both learn the hymns and teach them to their children.  And that is what I intend to do.

Secondly, he addresses our place within this timeline of the history of hymnody.   We cannot throw out the hymns of previous generations simply because they are old.  He states "there has never been a generation of Christians that sang only its own music while discarding all the songs of prior epochs."   Considering his love for the old hymns, you would think this would be the point where he would rant against modern Christian music.  He absolutely does not.  He believes we need to find balance in our worship which he refers to as Old New worship, and what that looks like in each church will probably vary widely.  Just as with previous hymns of the past, the bad ones will fade out and the truly good ones will stand the test of time.

I give this book 5 out of 5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book from the Booksneeze program through Thomas Nelson Publishers in exchange for a fair and honest review.                                                                          

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