I’d choose contemporary Christian songs, of course. The reason? Very simply, if we had no new Christian music, Christianity would be dead in our generation.
Ever since Moses wrote a spontaneous hymn celebrating Israel’s deliverance through the Red Sea (Exodus 15), every generation of believers has composed their own praises to God. The history of hymnology tells us that each upcoming group of young people needs to express themselves in fresh songs to the Lord. Had no Christian music been penned from 1990 to 2009, it would indicate there were no Christian young people, no Christian musicians, no Christian hymnists, no one with fresh faith—and Christianity would be DOA.
Of course, we don’t need to choose. The old hymns connect us with 2000 years of Christian heritage, and the newer songs keep us fresh and alive and appealing to newer generations.
That’s why I love blended worship. As Jesus put it, everyone who has been instructed in the things of the Lord “is like the owner of a house who brings out of his storeroom new treasures as well as old” (Matthew 13:52).
PS – Our hymnology is a crucial part of the Christian story. Check out my books on hymn histories.