Book Review: The Psalter

It is no surprise that Psalm singing is in serious decline in Reformed and Presbyterian churches today, With some notable exceptions. These churches have traditionally been involved with singing the 150 Psalms along with good sturdy hymns.

There are many reasons for this. One is that many worship leaders or praise team leaders are introducing new choruses to the congregation by way of the screen or overhead, many of which are not the Psalms. Further, a new method of praise is being used in some churches in which a praise team does most of the singing and thus leaves the congregation out of active participation. Also, some of the new tunes which are used for the Psalms are not compelling and singable and thus are seldom sung.

Psalm singing characterized the high water mark of many Reformed churches in the past, and the decline in Psalm singing characterizes the weakening of the churches.

You can imagine the sheer delight I felt when I discovered this new PSALTER. It was put together by two Christian Reformed pastors and a printer, all of whom share a deep desire to see Psalm singing return to its former vitality in the churches. The two pastors are Rev. Jacob Eppinga and Dr. Dick L. Van Halsema, and the printer is Mr. Daane Etheridge.

The PSALTER contains the metrical settings of the 150 Psalms selected from the 1912 United Presbyterian Psalter, the 1934 Christian Reformed Psalter Hymnal and the 1957 Psalter Hymnal, Centennial Edition. It contains a treasury of psalms beloved by past generations of Reformed Christians and not available in other praise books today.

We immediately bought enough for our church and we use it every Sunday. What a joy it was to sing Psalm 103 to the tune of Londonderry Aire: “Good is the Lord and Full of Kind Compassion,” again after so many years without it. I am so happy to have such a large and familiar body of Psalms to draw from for our worship.

This book is very well-bound and attractive. You can order it from IDEA Ministries, 4596 Broadmoor Ave., Suite 237, Grand Rapids, Ml 49512-5365 at $ 15.00 per copy, plus $3.00 US funds, Canada add 7% GTS handling and postage. Michigan residents add 6% sales tax.

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