“Contemporary Worship at 11!”

When we sing praise to an everlasting God, or sing about a Redeemer who died for us over two millennia ago, but do so employing musical forms that imply that the past is passé, we are communicating a mixed message. If a contemporary-sounding hymn is otherwise excellent, then I think we can survive it, especially in small doses. But again, it would need to excel in the other criteria in order to compensate for its defect [in sounding contemporary].

And surely, surely, no well-thinking church that employed such forms would advertise that it was doing so [by putting “contemporary worship” on the church marquee]. Bad enough to do it on occasion; even worse to call attention to the doing of it. Imagine a sign outside a church that read: “Piano out of tune: Come sing with us!” Well, if we must use an out-of-tune piano, let us do so as best we can; but let us not advertise the liability.

David Gordon, Why Johnny Can’t Sing Hymns

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