New Hymnal Will Not Include Reformed Confessions

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Synod 2011 said the new hymnal being produced by Faith Alive, Lift Up Your Hearts, will not include the full text of the Reformed Confessions as originally planned.

Because of its smaller size, the hymnal will be easier to use and handle without including the confessions. Removing the confessions also increases the hymnal’s potential to be used by other denominations.

Synod noted the easy access to the confessions online and in other publications. They will also be printed in a separate volume that can be used in a classroom, church, or home.

For more coverage while synod is in session, including webcasts, photos, discussion forums, reports, and more, visit the Synod 2011 website.

About the Author

Ryan Struyk was a former Banner news correspondent for classes Grand Rapids South and Thornapple Valley. 

See comments (6)


And I thought we were a confessional church. This will remove the confessions one step furter from the people in the pew. How can the congregation follow along with a sermon preached on the Catechism or the Belgic confession. I suppose it could be put on the power point. Then so could the Bible as well as the hymnal. Maybe it's more important to be able to read notes then to read the confessions. Sorry for being a bit sarcastic.


I'm sure this move was made in order to protect the Confessions of the CRC.

Numerous minor revisions to the wording of the HC, BC, and Canons to be used in the new hymnal had been proposed. (These would have softened the language for God in a unsatisfactory way according to a number of overtures made to Synod).

If you agree with the overtures in wanting to maintain the current wording of the Confessions, this is actually a good thing.

There is symbolic value in having the confessions included in the hymnal, and removing them from the hymnal does indeed risk putting them at a symbolic and conceptual distance from the worshiper.

And even if Faith Alive produces a separate volume with the creeds, confessions, and liturgical forms (baptism, Lord's Supper, etc), will congregations purchase both?

This is one of the tradeoffs of producing a hymnal for use in multiple denominations. Perhaps it could have been a moment for agreeing on common wordings of our shared confessions, but even that seems to be impossible, given the production timeline. Are the tradeoffs worth the potential cost savings and the symbolic value (ecumenical) of sharing a hymnal with the RCA?

I'm an RCA pastor. I fear that the CRC is balanced on the same slippery slope on which we are picking up speed. While we sleep ur "middle of the road," "Reformed" leaders are cutting the hair of our strength and selling our inheritance for a brew of convenience and cultural accommodation. Quite simply, the Standards of Unity have become the last voice of conscience that must be silenced in the pews if our official denominational "goals" are to be accomplished. The RCA's newest book of liturgy (not 3-ring binder to add or subtract at will and whim) has done the same thing: no collection of the Standards of Unity. We have preachers who don't even know them, and a church membership rapidly loosing its grounding to feelings and entertainment. Brothers and sisters, what shall we do? Week in and week out, identify and preach the Heidelberg; identify and preach the Belgic; and identify and use all three creeds equally in your worship! Make sure that your congregation at least knows what is being taken away from them!

So, am I just another one of those nuts--one of those crazy extremists? OK, since this isn't about me,why not? Even in the Bible ad hominums are the only way of dealing with truth by those trying to avoid it. If I'm a nut, let it be in defense and rectitude of what was entrusted to the Reformed churches by those who shed their blood to pass it on.

Good riddance - no, not to the confessions, but to the hymnbook.

The fact is, in my congregation the only time we pull those Psalters out of the pew racks is when we look at the confessions or liturgical forms in the back. The rest of the time we're looking at the words/music projected on the screen. We'll be able to replace the part of the Psalter we actually use without having to buy an expensive songbook we'd never use.

From a marketing standpoint, this is a serious mistake Faith Alive is making. From an end-user perspective, it will save us a lot of money.

a big disappointment. also disappointing that this vote happened without any discussion on the floor of synod. The marginalization of the confessions continues.