All Articles For Vol 90 Issue 13 4/1/2014

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Singing in worship to God is a highly emotional activity for the believer. Singing involves the whole being—mind and will, body and soul. Words put to music can convey joys or sorrow, praises and petitions, with feeling that far surpasses merely speaking the same words. Any believer who has lost a loved one has experienced that sudden flood of emotion unexpectedly overwhelming him or her while singing a psalm in church. When trouble strikes, do not the songs of lament and cries for help come to our hearts, and our lips? The union of poetry and music powerfully expresses our...

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Thy Church rejoices to behold Thy judgments in the earth, O Lord; Thy glory to the world unfold, Supreme o’er all be Thou adored. Psalter #260, 4 (Psalm 97:8, 9) That, in a few words, is why we sing the imprecatory psalms. God’s judgments, the main subject of the imprecatory psalms, are God-glorifying and therefore also a matter of joy for the church. Psalm 97 is not usually listed as one of the imprecatory psalms. Every list of them is different, but Psalms 35, 69, 109, and 137 are psalms that are always included. Certain parts of them are “considered...

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Psalm-singing is a uniquely Reformed tradition. Whether in Europe, America, Africa, Australasia, or Asia, wherever the Reformed have established churches, they have brought with them the singing of the psalms. In fact, it can be argued that the farther a church departs from Reformed and biblical orthodoxy, the farther it drifts from psalm-singing. Go to an evangelical—Arminian, Pentecostal, Baptist, or Dispensationalist—church, and the psalms will be, and historically have been, conspicuous by their absence. Indeed, apart from a few of the old favorites—Psalm 23 or Psalm 42—the psalms are almost unheard-of in such circles. Modern worship has pushed out the...

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While it is true that the PRC has a reputation for being a psalm-singing, Psalter-using denomination, this is not to say that this ‘exclusiveness’ has not been challenged in our ninety-year history. It has been, and on a number of occasions. The most significant challenge (proposing the addition of non-psalm-based songs to our Psalter, that is, in addition to the select few already found in “the back of the Psalter”) came from what might sound like an unlikely source, namely, the first editor of the SB, Rev. H. Hoeksema himself (identified in the SB by the initials HH—and in what...

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What among men has endured as many ages under the sun as the psalms…the psalms sung…the psalms sung in corporate worship? Precious little. Psalmody has seen Solomon’s temple used and burned, doleful children of the covenant marched to Babylon and jubilantly returning, the Son of God incarnate humiliated and exalted, Rome risen and fallen, the mighty wave of the gospel of salvation sweeping through the Mediterranean world, into Europe, over the seas to America, and now to the ends of the earth, always with the bitter death of apostasy following in its wake. Over the past three thousand years much...

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I speak for God’s people in the Protestant Reformed Churches, and for our friends: We love to sing the psalms. One of our great joys when we assemble on the Lord’s Day is the privilege of “psalm-singing” the praises of God. How impoverished would our worship be without singing, and how very poor would it be if the singing were without psalms. As long as our worship is not merely drawing nigh to God with our lips (and hearts far distant), psalm-singing makes for a rich worship. And we feel rich. With this special issue, and with this editorial, we...

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You have in your hands a special issue on the church’s long-treasured practice of singing psalms in public worship. Although our Psalter’s anniversary was not in view when we planned the issue, 2014 does mark 100 years since our fathers adopted the 1912 Psalter for use in the churches. God’s faithfulness explains our continuing in psalm-singing. The logic of the articles should not be missed. First, Rev. James Slopsema, one of our long-time writers of meditations, helps us reflect on God’s Word in the psalms. The editorial encourages us in the use of this songbook called “the Psalms” and the...

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O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. Psalm 95:1, 2 Let us begin with a few thought-questions? Do you enjoy singing? How much do you sing? What kind of songs do you sing? Psalms? Hymns? Secular songs? In a similar vein, do you listen to music? To what kind of music do you listen? We are instructed in the passage we consider for this meditation to sing unto the Lord. We...

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