The Hymn Question

“In the churches only the 150 Psalms of David, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the Twelve Articles of Faith, the Songs of Mary, Zacharias and Simeon, the Morning and Evening Hymns, and the Hymn of Prayer before the sermon shall be sung.”(Article 69, D.K.O.)

The Christian Reformed redaction of this article of the Church Order is as follows:

“In the churches only the 150 Psalms of David and the collection of hymns for church use, approved and adopted by Synod, shall be sung. However, while the singing of the Psalms in divine worship is a requirement, the use of the approved hymns is left to the freedom of the churches.”

In the proposed Church Order revision of the Christian Reformed Church the above article appears as Article 59 and in it there is no suggested change. However, in this proposed revision there is added in Article 60 a matter which does not appear in our Church Order. This article reads:

“Choirs, soloists, or groups who sing at the public worship services, shall sing only those anthems or hymns which are found in the official Psalter Hymnal or have been previously approved by the consistory as to their Scriptural soundness and general appropriateness” (The Banner, Dec. 1956).

The revision of this article from the original as appears in our Church Order took place in the Christian Reformed Church in 1932 and, as Monsma and Van Dellen state, “the revision of 1932 took place, as will be realized, to make the adoption of a large number of select hymns possible” (The Church Order Commentary, p. 282 ).

The readers of The Standard Bearer are well aware by this time of the fact that the Synod of the Protestant Reformed Churches is currently contemplating changing this article of the Church Order for our churches and, it goes without saying, that the purpose is “to make room for the adoption of a number of select hymns.”

We purpose, D.V., to write a series of articles on this article of the Church Order and to do this we cannot refrain from entering into the current discussion of this matter as carried on by the editor of our Standard Bearer, and a few correspondents. We would at this time emphasize the request of our Editor that more of our people avail themselves of the opportunity to express themselves on this subject. Your silence will only be interpreted as expressing agreement with the change in Article 69 of the Church Order as is proposed before the synod. And if this is not the case the time to be heard is now. Undersigned does not aim at debate but we shall have to express our disagreement with those who are favoring this change for our churches. This, however, will have to wait until the next issues of our paper.

—G.V.d.B.