Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Book Review: Then Sings My Soul, Book 3

I’ve purchased copies of Robert J. Morgan’s books as gifts in the past, but I’ve never sat down and read one. Until now.  Morgan’s third volume in the series focuses on the history of Christian music and the development of western hymns.  He still includes the familiar stories behind the hymns, but this time he places them more directly into their historical context.

It’s fascinating to read about the historical struggle the church has had with music.  The early church sang “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs” until music was taken from congregation and given to the clergy.  But Christians kept on singing outside of church and a thousand years later hymns began to find their way back into worship services.  There were the early “worship wars” between Psalm-only hymns and inspired poetry and a strained relationship between popular tunes and traditional forms.  Many of today’s beloved “traditional hymns” were not intended for Sunday morning services, but for camp meetings and revivals.  Morgan celebrates tradition, but reminds us that Christian music is always evolving.

One section worth reading are the “Six Hymn Stories I Love to Tell” where Morgan provides the longer version of the story behind “It is Well with My Soul” and the story of the sisters who wrote the most famous childrens’ hymn: “Jesus Loves Me.”  Morgan makes a good case for reviving the hymnal as a devotional book and for embracing interwoven worship where old and new songs meet.  I heartily agree.

I thoroughly enjoyed Morgan’s book and highly recommend it.

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book through Thomas Nelson’s BookSneeze program. 


Joanne Sher said...

This is one of those books I've heard of, and been interested in, but never picked up. You may have just convinced me.

KM Logan said...

I found your blog through booksneeze.com (I’m also a booksneeze blogger) I’m releasing an e-book at the beginning of next month. It’s for Christians who have thought about teaching music lessons. If this is something you might be willing to review for me, please e-mail me at lessonsfromivy at gmail dot com. I'm a relatively new author so I will take all the reviews I can get : )