A reader sent me the article “Spiritual Singing” by A. W. Pink,* in which he writes,
The majority of the hymns (if such they are entitled to be called) of the past fifty years are full of maudlin sentimentality instead of divine adoration. They announce our love to God, instead of His to us. They recount our experiences instead of His excellencies. They describe human attainments far more than they do Christ’s atonement. Sad index to the lack of spirituality in the churches. While the jingling tunes to which they are set and the irreverent speed at which they are sung witness only too plainly unto the low state of present-day religion. Christian singing has been carnalized both in its conception and its execution. Singing, like anything else which is acceptable unto the Father, must be “in spirit and in truth,” and not a musical performance of the flesh.
The singing which the Scriptures inculcate is not a thing of the senses but of faith. It is not an outburst of emotional exuberance but an expression of the heart’s adoration. God is the Object of faith, and when that grace be in exercise the soul is absorbed with His perfections and melodious praise fills it. “I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the understanding also. I will sing with the spirit [not merely the throat] and I will sing with the understanding [not the emotions] also” (1 Cor. 14:15). How that lifts those holy exercises above the plane of our natural feelings! Unless the Christian’s singing proceeds from the “spirit” or new nature, it is but lip service. Faith rises above nature and triumphs over all circumstances. No matter how distressing our situation, how low we may be in our feelings, if faith be engaged with its Beloved and ravished with His perfections, it will evoke song unto Him, about Himself, as it did from the bleeding and manacled apostles in the Philippian dungeon (Acts 16)!
*Studies in the Scriptures, April, 1947. Reprinted by Free Grace Broadcaster, Issue 85, Sept.-Oct. 1981.