Archive for June 17th, 2007

Dr. Scott Clark on the singing of psalms in the worship of God

Sunday, June 17th, 2007

Dr. R. Scott Clark is a minister in the Oceanside, California United Reformed Church. He is also Associate Professor of Historical and Systematic Theology at Westminster Seminary in Escondido, California. The official position of the United Reformed Church is that mainly psalms are to be sung in the public worship of God, but that hymns that have been approved by the elders may be sung as well:

Article 39

The 150 Psalms shall have the principal place in the singing of the churches. Hymns which faithfully and fully reflect the teaching of the Scripture as expressed in the Three Forms of Unity may be sung, provided they are approved by the Consistory.

Here is an excerpt from Dr. Clark’s post entitled Lex Credendi:

For URCNA [United Reformed Church of North America] types, tell me why we’re not just a little more conservative than the CRC [Christian Reformed Church]? Shocked, why? We’re mostly using a Psalter-Hymnal that is only a few decades behind where the CRC wants to go. Where will we be in 2013? On what principle are we different from the trajectory of the CRC? We can reprint the 1959 Psalter-Hymnal until the cows come home but we’re just reprinting an older collection of (mostly) psalm paraphrases and hymns.

We jumped a chasm in the late 1920’s and early 1930s when we began singing uninspired hymns and using musical instruments in worship. In for a penny, in for a pound. Are we willing to reconsider our worship as a matter of principle or will be content to try to react conservatively to the progressive developments in the CRC and RCA [Reformed Church of America]?