Tensions In The 1920s Over Reformed Worship

That it repeals the decision of the Synod of 1926 regarding choir~singing, and declare that there shall be no singing in our public services except by the congregation as a whole, on the ground:

a) That there is no place for such singing according to our Reformed conception of public worship. Since God meets and fellowships with His Church in public worship, every element must be either an act of God
(through the Minister) having the congregation as its object or an act of the congregation (directly or through the minister) having God as its object. Anthem-singing by a choir or a soloist is neither. It is in reality a usurpation of the privilege and duty of the whole congregation to sing praise to God;

b) It conflicts with Article 69 of the Church Order which permits the singing of only a few hymns specifically mentioned;

c) It conflicts with the basic principle of Article 69 of the Church Order, namely, that the Church as a whole. through the Synod, shall determine what shall be sung in our churches….

Respectfully.
Your Committee.

W. HEYNS.
H. J. KUIPER.
L. TRAP.
D. ZWIER.
J. V AN LONKHUYZEN
W. STUART
Y. P. DE JONG

—Acta der Synode 1928 van Christelijke Gereformeerde Kerk, 11–29 Juni, 1928, Holland, Michigan. Supplement XIV

    Post authored by:

  • R. Scott Clark
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    R.Scott Clark is the President of the Heidelberg Reformation Association, the author and editor of, and contributor to several books and the author of many articles. He has taught church history and historical theology since 1997 at Westminster Seminary California. He has also taught at Wheaton College, Reformed Theological Seminary, and Concordia University. He has hosted the Heidelblog since 2007.

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4 comments

  1. “… Since God meets and fellowships with His Church in public worship, every element must be either an act of God (through the Minister) having the congregation as its object or an act of the congregation (directly or through the minister) having God as its object …”

    So much for small groups, according to this definition (not that I disagree).

  2. That first ground is pure gold. It always amazes me how many corners of the Reformed world see no issue with “special” music like choirs and soloists.

  3. “Anthem-singing by a choir or a soloist is neither. It is in reality a usurpation of the privilege and duty of the whole congregation to sing praise to God”

    Love it.

  4. In the OT worship of the temple, various families of the priests were divinely delegated to play instruments or sing in the choir (cf. 1&2 Chron.). In the NT the congregation becomes the choir, period. Unfortunately this does does not seem to be recognized as an consequence of the priesthood of the believer today.

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