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Friday, April 27, 2007
Al Mohler: 'There's Not Much Lord In This Church Service'
I am an amateur Hymnologist, and several months ago I had the opportunity to study the hymnal of the Disciples of Christ Church, “The Chalice Hymnal,” 1995 edition. As I paged through this hymnal, my overall impression was this: The editors **went out of their way** to change the words *Lord* and *King,* as well as male pronouns referring to God, Jesus, or men in general. Examples of these changes in four well-known hymns:
* “Rejoice, the Lord is King”
v. 1, original: “Rejoice, the Lord is King, Your Lord and King adore”
Chalice Hymnal: “Rejoice, the Lord is King, The risen Christ adore”
v. 2, original: “His kingdom cannot fail; He rules o’er earth and heaven”
CH: “God’s reign can never fail; Christ rules o’er earth and heaven”
v. 3, original: “Rejoice in glorious hope; our Lord, the Judge shall come,
And take His servants up to their eternal home.”
CH: “Rejoice in glorious hope; For Christ, our Judge, shall come,
To glorify the saints for their eternal home.”
Eliminated verse in CH: “Jesus the Savior reigns, the God of truth and love;
When He had purged our stains, He took His seat above.”
* “Glorious Things of Thee Are Spoken”
v. 1, original: “He, Whose word cannot be broken”
CH: “God, Whose word cannot be broken”
v. 2, original: “Grace which like the Lord, the giver”
CH: “Grace, which like our God, the giver”
v. 3, original: “For a glory and a covering, showing that the Lord is near”
CH: “For a glory and a covering, showing forth that God is near”
* “Praise, My Soul, the King of Heaven” (CH title changed to “. . . God of Heaven”)
v. 1, original: “Praise, My soul, the King of Heaven, to His feet thy tribute bring.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who, like me, His praise should sing?
Alleluia, alleluia, Praise the Everlasting King.”
CH: “Praise, my soul, the God of Heaven, glad of heart your carols raise.
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven, who like me should sing God’s praise?
Alleluia, alleluia, Praise the Maker all our days.”
v. 3, original: “Father like, He tends and spares us, well our feeble frame He knows;
In His arms He gently bears us, rescues us from all our foes.”
CH: “Mother-like, God tends and spares us, knowing well our fragile frame;
Father-like, God gently bears us, tenderhearted, slow to blame.”
(Note: This hymn is based on Psalm 103, v. 13 of which reads,
“As a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth those who fear him . . .”
* “A Mighty Fortress Is Our God”
The original, well-known final phrase of v. 4: “His Kingdom is forever.”
CH: “God’s reign endures forever.”
In the hymnal’s “Introduction,” the only explanation for the wording changes is as follows:
“With great care and pastoral sensitivity, some hymn texts have been amended to eliminate or reduce archaic language, generic masculine references for humanity, and the negative use of metaphors about darkness or physical disabilities. Language in the hymnal expands the imaging of God in a rich and empowering way.”
This paragraph does not explain the editors’ changing the words Lord and King, and male pronouns referring to God, as in the first 4 hymns here. And the vast majority of the people in these churches don’t know the difference. How very sad.
The rationale for changing “Lord” and “King”? As the article said, the word “Lord” conveys hierarchical, patriarchal power -- as does the word “King.” And this structure of authority and submission is not palatable to our post-modern culture.
April 27, 2007 at 7:23 PM
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