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Christians need to understand that relying on screens and other technology is not leading to better worship, it’s ruining it.

A couple of decades ago, churches split in a grand debate over worship. Contentious arguments raged over every aspect of worship style, components, decorum, and practically everything else. Every church seemed to be choosing between opposites—organ or praise band, historic liturgy or rock liturgies, contemporary songs or historic hymns. The fallout was ugly. Assemblies erupted in dissonance and members on the losing side transferred out.

Years later, the voices have calmed and the dust has settled. Some pastors declared a sort of “separate peace” by establishing rival worship services—one traditional, one modern. Others went the “blended worship” route.

Hymnals Are Disappearing

Hymnals are a wonderful legacy of Western Christianity. They’ve been housed in pew racks in church sanctuaries for centuries. Since they first appeared in the United States during the 1830s, hymnals have been indispensable for worship—objects of treasure both in the sanctuary and in households. In my denomination, many received engraved hymnals as confirmation presents.

Churchgoers used to proudly carry their own hymnals to church. Nobody’s doing that anymore. In fact, more and more worshipers aren’t even looking at hymnals in church. Instead, their gaze is fixed to the front wall and a screen attached to it.

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