At my church we sing hymns, specifically those found in the Trinity Hymnal (Baptist Edition). The original edition was published by a Presbyterian church in 1961. The Baptist edition was published in 1995 as a collaborative effort of several Reformed Baptist churches to make minor revisions in order to accommodate Baptist congregations. Having been a member at my church for about 25 years (not to mention my husband being the pianist and the one primarily responsible for making the weekly song selection), I am very familiar with its contents. I think it is really sad that in so many churches, hymns have fallen by the wayside, being replaced with praise songs and trite, repetitive ditties.
If you want hymns that contain solid doctrine, this is the hymnal for you. The Baptist edition contains 774 hymns, each one with a scripture printed in the heading. It also includes the full text of the London Baptist Confession of Faith (which replaced the Westminster Confession of Faith that was in the original edition). There are many classics and tunes that will be very familiar to those who have been in evangelical churches for any amount of time, but some not so much, and some, to be honest, are not easy or “catchy” tunes. But the purpose of singing hymns is primarily to worship and praise our God, to extol His person, word, and works, and to instruct us in his truths. Of course for the most part, hymns began as poems, then had a tune added to them. Some of the most well-known hymn writers are found here: John Newton, Isaac Watts, Charles & John Wesley, Martin Luther, William Cowper, Fanny Crosby, Frances Havergal, and Augustus Toplady.
In light of it being the weekend of July 4th, my husband chose two hymns for today’s service that are national hymns – prayers that a Christian may pray for the country in which he or she lives. The Scriptures instruct us to pray for our leaders and our nation; we should sing hymns with this in mind as well. Here is one of them:
I shared the other hymn we sang as a Prayer for our Nation in another post.
If you can get hold of a copy of this hymnal, I encourage you to take the time to read the lyrics of these wonderful hymns. Like most hymnals, it’s organized by topic, and an index of hymns by subject and occasion is at the end. Even if you are not musical or cannot figure out the tunes, you will find the words to be edifying to your soul and instructive to your heart and mind as you reflect on the God that these hymns speak of.