First, let me say that I don't have a problem with a rock beat in music. "Why Should The Devil Have All The Good Music" right? It seems to be a big rage in most progressive churches to tweak classic hymns to have a rock beat. My family has visited many non denominational churches. The top 40 praise and worship songs dominate and are all played to sound exactly the same. When a worship leader wants to do a classic hymn they must feel like they have to update the beat. Let me give you an example that I heard at a church. Think of the old rock song (female singer, cant remember her name) "I want candy, sweet sweet candy" with the beat that goes something like "bop-a-bop-a-bop-a-bop-bop" Now mix that beat with the hymn "It Is Well With My Soul". To me that totally ruins the spirit of the hymn. If you lost some of your dearest family members, as the hymn writer did, and the Lord inspired you to put your feelings in a song, would you chose "bop-a-bop-a-bop-a-bop-bop" for the rhythm?
I'm not much of a Beatles fan. Once during a phone call when I was stuck on hold, I was treated to the tune "Let It Be". It had been reduced to a series of electronic beeps in two part harmony. Whoever did that arrangement was probably a computer programmer that used a mathmatical formula of tones and timing to come up with their version of the song. It had about as much character and feeling as a bucket of toxic waste. I cant stand it when I hear a classic rock song that has been turned into Muzak. I feel it is even worse when somebody tries to turn a hymn into a rock-n-roll song.
Led Zeppelin's "Stairway To Heaven" is the most demon inspired song I can think of. What would happen if someone like Hanna Montana recorded it? "There"s a lady who knows..... Boom Boom Clap, Boom De Clap, De Clap". Satan would spend the next thousand years puking his guts out all over the halls of hell. Why do this same thing to a song inspired by God?
Hey, If you only love modern praise and worship that's cool. If you don't like hymns that's OK too. If you like songs with a "bop-a-bop-a-bop-a-bop-bop" rhythm, find some that were written that way. I'm not saying hymns should only be played on an organ. Be respectful to hymn writers. Play their music the way they wrote it and tell their story's. In doing so you can treat your congregations to some of the best music ever written.