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Joined: 2006/7/5
Posts: 640

 The Wesley's and Luther did not use saloon music for hymns

I noticed when reading through the threads that brother BenWilliams repeated a popular misconception in the Church today regarding the hymns of Charles Wesley and Martin Luther.

This is in NO WAY an attack on Ben whom I regard with high esteem as my brother in Christ. And as a brother he is very precious to me as all of you are on SI. The misconception is significant enough though that I thought it worthy to shed some light on the subject.

The following is the introduction to an article on this subject:

There is a popular misconception that continues to survive among United Methodists that John and Charles Wesley made use of tavern, drinking, or bar songs, as melodies for their hymns. The same is often heard of the great reformer and musician, Martin Luther. This claim is sometimes made to show the extent of their evangelistic zeal; namely, that they would go out into the secular culture, even into the taverns, saloons, and parlors frequented by the sinners they sought to redeem and make use of the musical language, the familiar drinking song tunes, for their own sacred hymns. The claim continues to be made today by some musicians, pastors, worship leaders, composers, and hymn writers. Unfortunately, this is a misapplication of a historical inaccuracy.

Here is the link to the whole article:

[url=,387]Did the Wesleys Really Use Drinking Song Tunes for Their Hymns?[/url]

In Christ,
Jeremy Hulsey

SI Moderator - Jeremy Hulsey

 2007/2/28 18:16Profile

Joined: 2006/12/11
Posts: 351
El Paso, Texas

 Re: The Wesley's and Luther did not use saloon music for hymns

Hey husley, someone on that post asked me for evidence, and in researching it, I was surprised to find that it was a myth that they used drinking songs.

But they still did use secular music.

I posted an article by some guy in that thread correcting my mistake. It is a very informative article if you are interested.

I did find out though that William Booth did take the saloon songs, and bar tunes, because of how popular they were, and put Christian lyrics to them.

Benjamin Williams

 2007/3/1 13:13Profile


I had heard these myths (otherwise known as lies) before as well. It's a common argument used by defenders of Christian rock music. Personally, even if they did use barroom songs, I think it's a stretch to justify Christian rock because Wesley and Luther used bar songs. Most people who argue against rock music argue that the music (even without lyrics) is devilish in itself, because of the chord structures and the beat. No one argues that about midevil folks music or "bar" music. Apples to oranges.

Now... there are those who use this issue against Christian Rock, saying that Wesley and Luther indeed did NOT use bar songs, therefore Christian Rock is evil. Now thats a bit of a stretch too.

Personally I see no connection between what the Wesley's and Luther did... and Christian rock.

How should we judge music? By the fruit it produces. Some of the people on here who have declared Christian Rock of the devil have stated in other threads that they love this or that worship & praise song. Guess what, folks... todays worship & praise music is soft rock! It's got the same beat structure, and same rythyms, etc.

I havent met one person on here who has ever said "I cant listen to Keith Green... his music was of the devil." Not one. But guess what! His music was rock... shhhh... [size=xxx-small]dont tell anyone!![/size]

I can look at certain Christian bands (no names mentioned) and weigh their fruit... I've seen bands in concert before that did nothing but promote themselves and their music. Sure, the lyrics mentioned God and Christ and heaven... etc. But no preaching. No alter call. Nothing more than a band playing music and do all they can to get the crowd excited about the music. You couldnt understand anything they sang because the mix was so bad making the instruments louder than the singer.

Thats was their fruit, and God was not a part of that. It was nothing more than man entertaining man.

Then I go see a band like Petra... wow, what ministry. When I saw them a few years ago they did songs like Creed, Get On Your Knees And Fight Like A Man, Beyond Belief, Power Of A Praying Man... etc. They spent time talking about the Lord, and ended the evening with a lengthy alter call. They had local volunteers there to do follow up with anyone who may have accepted the Lord. The band spent time praying with people in the entrance way when it was over, and you could see that they were there for ministry.

All this fighting over music is really quite stupid in my estimation. I dont think anyone can make a blanket statement about every band or artist and label them "not of God". That's not only irresponsible, but it puts one in the position of fighting against God if perhaps He does in fact use [b]some[/b] Christian rock to do a work in people's hearts.

As I have said in the past... I believe the majority of Christian music today is driven by money, and not the Holy Spirit. I know that some have claimed that many of the bands live in poverty. Well, I've been misunderstood on this point... the [b]record companies[/b] are driven by money because they are secular companies owned and run by people who are not believers, and in fact are feeding our society with trash and smut on the TV, radio and theaters. If there was no money in Christian music they would not own it all.

Sure, some artists are sincere. But they are in direct disobedience of scripture by being unequally yoked together with people like Rupert Murdock.

As soon as an artist signs a contract with Sony, Time-Warner, Fox, etc... they surrender control over their "career" (or, as they call it... ministry) to unbelievers.

And that is what I believe has caused the great decline of Christian music that we have witnessed in the last 10-12 years.

But again, we can not sit here and condemn all artists. As with anything else, we need to look at each one individually.


 2007/3/1 14:39

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