I'm never convinced when Protestants claim to be people of the Bible
alone. They are people of the Bible and the hymnbook, and the two
volumes complement each other splendidly. As you sing, so you believe
and so you pray—and so you learn much of your theology.
Christian churches grow around the world, it is not surprising to find
an astonishing efflorescence of hymn composition. We must avoid the
loose term hymn writing, as so many of the creators are primarily
oral artists, and only gradually do their works find their way into
written form. But however they are made, the sheer abundance and quality
of those hymns is overwhelming, whether in Yoruba or Swahili, Tamil or
Zulu. Arguably, we live today in the golden age of Christian
Philip Jenkins is professor of history at Baylor University's Institute for Studies of Religion and author of The Great and Holy War: How World War I Became a Religious Crusade and The Many Faces of Christ: The Thousand-Year Story of the Survival and Influence of the Lost Gospels.