Isaac Watts, a Nonconformist, is the father of English hymnody. “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” – “Joy to the World” – “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” – English speakers have sung him all our lives. His prolific output was both immensely popular and controversial to church authorities, because he didn’t adhere to the Calvinist dictum that the only acceptable music in church was metrical psalms. He defended himself by quoting St. Paul, who recommended singing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.” His hymns largely focus on individual, often emotional experience, rather than a shared response of the Christian community.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.