A worthwhile quote

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toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
Here's a quote from Terry Johnson's contribution to "Give Praise to God", a book on worship (and specifically in honor of the late James Boice) put out a few years ago by P&R. Commenting on the dearth of psalm-singing among even congregations of the PCA (let alone anyone outside confessionally reformed circles), Johnson writes:

The psalms are the 800 pound gorilla of evangelical worship. There they sit in the middle of our Bibles, the book that provides the content of our worship. They make up the longest book in the Bible. They are the only canonical hymnbook. Yet they are mostly ignored even by those with high views of Scripture. Nearly a decade has passed since the Trinity Psalter set all of the psalms to familiar and singable tunes. The whole Psalter is easily and inexpensively accessible to hymnal-using congregations. Though nearly twenty-five thousand copies have been sold, this number represents less than 10 percent of the membership of the Presbyterian Church in America, James Boice's denomination. The anecdotal evidence is that few congregations in the Presbyterian Church in America sing psalms on a regular basis from any source. Extend the survey to include the broader evangelical world and one would probably find that the typical worshiper is more likely to be struck by lightning on Sunday morning than to sing a psalm in church. What has been obvious to me for the last quarter of a century - that psalms should be sung - is obvious to only the tiniest of remnants. The 800-pound gorilla sits, largely ignored. (Give Praise to God, P&R, 2003, pp. 258-9)

:um:
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
I agree with the sentiments, but would add the following note: Many (if not most) hymns of the most popular section in the Trinity Hymnal (like the first 100 selections, or so) are Psalms. You have to read the fine print, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't realize it, but any PCA that uses this hymnal has to be singing them once in a while, and with greater frequency than your chances of getting hit with lightning! :eek:
 

greenbaggins

Administrator
Staff member
True, although this is one reason I really like the gray CRC hymnal. There is a complete Psalter built into the hymnal. Plus, they have many, many other settings of Psalms than the ones in Psalm order. They are all printed in canonical order at the very beginning of the hymnal. In fact, there are only two downsides to this hymnal. They change a lot of the words (in "Come Thou Fount" second verse, they change "here I raise my Ebenezer" to "Here I find my greatest treasure." Ecch) and they have a lot of difficult Genevan tunes. There is a reason why a lot of tunes became metrical after the Reformation. It was difficult for congregations to sing unmetrical hymns.
 

Pilgrim

Puritanboard Commissioner
I agree with the sentiments, but would add the following note: Many (if not most) hymns of the most popular section in the Trinity Hymnal (like the first 100 selections, or so) are Psalms. You have to read the fine print, and I'm sure there are a lot of people who don't realize it, but any PCA that uses this hymnal has to be singing them once in a while, and with greater frequency than your chances of getting hit with lightning! :eek:

The thing is, it seems that a large percentage to PCA churches do not have the Trinity Hymnal, although I don't know what % it would be. The one I am attending has just got them (it had been on backorder for a while) and started regularly singing some of the psalms from it. Usually it is at least one per service and often more than that.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
The thing is, it seems that a large percentage to PCA churches do not have the Trinity Hymnal, although I don't know what % it would be. The one I am attending has just got them (it had been on backorder for a while) and started regularly singing some of the psalms from it. Usually it is at least one per service and often more than that.
Ooh, sorry -- I just assumed that most PCA's used the Trinity Hymnal. My bad! :p
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
You may be interested to know that the OPC is presently considering developing a new OPC Psalter-Hymnal (I believe Rev. Alan Strange is the committee chair). From the 2006 OPC GA report:
Overture 3 came from the Presbytery of Ohio (supported by Overture 4). Advisory Committee 2 recommended that the Assembly respond as follows:

"that the assembly instruct its Committee on Christian Education to explore, together with Great Commission Publications, the need for and requirements of a new Psalter Hymnal and report back to the General Assembly, no later than 2008."

The Advisory Committee sited the grounds for the Overture as the grounds for its recommendation:

1. Orthodox Presbyterian congregations ought to have all 150 Psalms available for singing....
2. Providing an OPC Psalter-Hymnal may contribute to greater continuity in worship from congregation to congregation within the OPC....
3. Moreover, currently available versions of the metrical Psalms are deficient....
4. Developing a Psalter-Hymnal would fulfill a desire that the Orthodox Presbyterian Church expressed....
5. The Orthodox Presbyterian Church has a unique opportunity to provide such a Psalter-Hymnal at this time...."

A motion was made to substitute for the recommendation of AC2 the overture itself, in the following form (as later amended):

"That the 73rd General Assembly of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church authorize its Committee on Christian Education to seek to develop a Psalter-Hymnal by 2011 (our 75th anniversary)—which includes musical settings of all 150 Psalms, in their entirety, with as much accuracy and as little archaic language and confusing syntax as possible—for use in our congregations; that it authorize the Committee on Christian Education to appoint a special Psalter-Hymnal committee; and that it grant this special committee a budget of up to $5,000" [per year for committee expenses].

Following the morning break, the Rev. David Schutter, pastor of Naperville PCA in Naperville, IL, brought fraternal greetings from the Presbyterian Church in America.

The Assembly continued its consideration of Overture 3.

The Assembly adopted the amended substitute as the main motion, and adopted it as its response to Overtures 3 and 4. [See here.]
I sure am looking forward to what develops out of this! :sing:
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
The thing is, it seems that a large percentage to PCA churches do not have the Trinity Hymnal, although I don't know what % it would be. The one I am attending has just got them (it had been on backorder for a while) and started regularly singing some of the psalms from it. Usually it is at least one per service and often more than that.
Ooh, sorry -- I just assumed that most PCA's used the Trinity Hymnal. My bad! :p

None of the PCA churches I've ever been to uses the Trinity...
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The thing is, it seems that a large percentage to PCA churches do not have the Trinity Hymnal, although I don't know what % it would be. The one I am attending has just got them (it had been on backorder for a while) and started regularly singing some of the psalms from it. Usually it is at least one per service and often more than that.
Ooh, sorry -- I just assumed that most PCA's used the Trinity Hymnal. My bad! :p

None of the PCA churches I've ever been to uses the Trinity...

All the PCA churches I've attended use the Trinity Hymnal :think:

I see that the article was printed in 2003, and while I would agree with the assessment, there has been a great effort among reformed worship leaders and musicians to reintroduce the Psalms in the last few years. I recently asked for lists of contemporary settings of the Psalms from worship leaders in the PCA, and they are still trickling in. I am surprised at how many good (non-hymn style) settings of the Psalms are available and being sung regularly in PCA churches. (We just sang a beautiful setting to Psalm 130 last week.) Because most of these settings are in a contemporary style, many EP people are not aware of them.
 

Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Todd, even though I am not EP I can nod my head in agreement with that quote. The Psalter should play an integral part in our worship.
 
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