With reference to your problem presented by the Baptist minister asking you to ‘lead the singing’ in his Church: First, let me ask you a question: Do you think that if the apostle Paul or John was preaching in Atlanta, to either saved or unsaved, he would have any ‘choir’ or any ‘special’ singing or music? I fully believe it was at this point that that which has most widely ‘quenched’ the Spirit was introduced. Thousands of services open with a thirty-minute sing-song instead of prayer! I am well aware of the fact that if the ‘sing-song’ were now abolished and a prayer meeting substituted the people would not attend, for God will not be mocked with impunity.
Again modern hymnology has encouraged thousands of people to sing lies. Imagine 500 people – half of whom were at the baseball game on Saturday afternoon, and the movie in the evening – singing on the Sabbath, ‘Oh, how I love Jesus’. How would the officers of that Church regard the preacher if he said, ‘Only truly born-again souls can sing this hymn truthfully, so will the unconverted please not join in singing it’? I know from sad experience, such a preacher soon empties the Church! Again, it opens the door wide for bobbed-haired, face-painted ‘flappers’ to show off in some solo or anthem where they can trill the high notes. And I am not a music hater, but a trained musician, both vocally and instrumentally!
[To Lowell Green, January 23, 1935]