Wednesday 3 December 2008

The Old Gray Hymnal

My memories of WCG are intertwined with the purple hymnal. It was the official hymn book when I first attended on the Feast of Trumpets in 1975 (at a forgotten rural hall a few kilometres out of Hamilton), and was still a solid fixture at the last service I attended (at the Epsom Girls Grammar venue in Auckland), years later. Even now those Dwight Armstrong hymns pop back into memory at unexpected moments - especially, for some reason, on long road trips.

But before purple there was gray, and by the miracle of PDF files we can now all peruse the hymnal that reigned in the Empire prior to 1974. (This is perhaps the 1958 edition, updated after the name change from Radio Church of God in 1966, though that's just a guess on my part as the PDF files carry no copyright information. Can anyone clarify?)

You may be as surprised as I was at what the brethren were singing way back then. Of course there are lots of Dwight Armstrong's earlier tunes, though many carry different titles. But how about these weeds in the garden of the Eternal:

- Standing On The Promises
- Stand Up, Stand Up For Jesus
- I Would Be True
- Open My Eyes, That I May See
- No Night There
- Safely Thro' Another Week*
- Just When I Need Him Most
- Jesus Calls Us, O'er The Tumult
- With Happy Voices Singing
- Blessed Assurance
- It Is Well With My Soul*
- I Need Thee Every Hour
- I Love To Tell The Story
- Sweet Hour Of Prayer
- What A Friend We Have In Jesus
- In The Garden
- Count Your Blessings*
- Tell Me The Old, Old Story
- Day Is Dying In The West
- Blest Be The Tie That Binds

All of these were "purged in purple," and it seems that the WCG took a further turn to the sectarian (at least musically) in the process. (You have to wonder how Onward Christian Soldiers managed to survive the cull of 74.) Would current PCG, RCG or LCG members feel comfortable with these pre-purple "Protestant" songs? I found just browsing through the pages brought on, as you'll see if you click the links above, a definite Pat Boone moment- very scary! - surely the Old Rugged Cross would be only a few pages away... (it wasn't.)

In 1993 the "reformed" WCG published their new hymnal, which reintroduced a few of these titles (the ones with an asterisk), but the rest continue to disappear out of living memory.

You can download your own copy of the gray hymnal here.

Addendum: I keep looking at the way the color/colour grey/gray is spelled in the above item, and brethren it just ain't right! Everyone in New Zealand familiar with Footrot Flats knows it's the Grey Ghost, not the Gray Ghost. The problem is compounded by the fact that, in deference to the number of AW readers coming from General Washington's rebel colonies, I usually adopt US spelling. But, without wanting to labour/labor the point, here's the best discussion on this weighty issue I've come across.

Whew! Glad to have that off my chest.


Anonymous said...

Well, one thing's for sure, at least Dwight's writing got marginally better. Check out the first version of "Righteous Judge".

Righteous Judge From Foes Defend Me

Righteous Judge, from foes defend me, Who combined false charges lay;

From thy arm deliv'rance send me, And my treach'rous foes dismay.

Now thy light and truth forth sending, Let them lead and guide me still;

Guide me to thy house ascending Lead me to thy holy hill.

There thine altar, Lord, surrounding, God my God, my boundless joy;

Harp and voice aloud resouding Praise shall all my pow'rs employ.

Why my soul cast down and grieving? Why within me such distress?

Hope in God, his help receiving, God my life I yet shall bless.

I can't believe Dwight redacted the full title in the purple joy-killer, it speaks volumes as to what the church was really all about.

Anonymous said...

An older member (pre-1974) once told us younger fellows some tales from the days before the Purple Hymnal. One story was how Onward Christian Soldiers kept bouncing between the okay to sing list and the not okay to sing list. It must have been on the okay list when the Purple selection was finalized.

The Third Witness said...

Redaction was the name of the game. The ultimate blame for that title (and all of the wording used in that hymn) rests elsewhere.

The words of other familiar hymns go back further than that to the old Scottish Psalter and Paraphrases – like Psalm 5, for example.

Those Presbyterians get everywhere, don’t they, Dennis?

Anonymous said...

I am 39 years old, and I know I sang "Tie that Binds" and "Stand Up for Jesus" within the last 10 years or so. (And, I belong to a "splinter" group)

Anonymous said...

Church hymns were always, and still are, very comforting to me, When growing up Presbyterian, we had after church hymn sings of mostly the classics that were cut from WCG hymnal. What was behind that?

Perhaps when HWA got on the "people make a lot about the messenger, but forget the message" (the Kingdom of God) jag, he routed out the Jesus sentimentality in favor of a more prophetic type hymn. Blech....

Now, on the other hand, the New Jump In The Other Ditch, WCG oozes the messenger who has no message. The message comes from the Apostles, and not the ones Jesus is supposed to have personally taught adding confusing to both message and messenger. The Triune God has infested WCG now just as badly as the prophetic one did in the old. The hymns always reflect the change.

I don't know how many ministers WCG now has, but I do know that Ted Johnston gets from 0 to 2 comments on any deeply Triune posting he puts up. I guess one can only say "wow" so many times and mean it.

Personally, those old hymns such as How Great Thou Art and the ones I remember from youth, when they were attached to less anxious times and more stability give me pause the most.

I never got much encouragement from "climbing through the windows leap they march as warriors, each unharmed on their way..." or some such nonesense.

The Third Witness said...

Faith of Our Fathers needed some redaction, too. The hymn started life as a defense of Catholicism and originally contained the following verse:

Faith of our fathers, Mary’s prayers
Shall win our country back to Thee;
And through the truth that comes from God,
England shall then indeed be free.

A salutary reminder that Puritans and Sabbatarians were not the only ones who suffered for their beliefs in “Christian” England.

Was the inclusion of the bit about “wouldn’t it be great if we could die just like our forefathers did” in Verse 2 intentional, I wonder, or was it an editorial oversight? That verse didn’t “make it” into the most recent WCG hymnal.

Anonymous said...

PS We used to sing "God Be With You 'Til We Meet Again," as the last song of the Festival. That one got to me. That's when it all felt like a family to me. Different people, same hopes.

Strangely, Xmas music never did much for me. I think I always suspected the origins of the birth stories or at least that they were not credible history, though I played a Wiseman in Sunday school play :)

But it would have been better in the long run if, not only not many, but if no wisemen now or at anytime were called to end result of that whole experience :)

Maybe it's just Earth School....

Mickey said...

Interesting. I never thought about it but the Purple was issued after Loma Armstrong had passed away.

I recall reading in someone's writing that she had enjoyed some of the protestant hymns. I wonder if Herbert Armstrong became more vehement against them after her death?

Anonymous said...


I am pretty sure that "Standing on the Promises" and "Stand up for Jesus" made the red hymnal redux in 93 as well. How could I forget - it made so many old timers uncomfy we were standing up for God. What a hoot.

And, "Blest be the Tie" was a supposed Joe Tkach Sr. fave from years gone by and I remember singing it at the Feast in 90's. I am sure it is was in the red hymnal as well.


Anonymous said...

The grey hymnal was in play during most of my tenure with WCG. And, of course, for most of that time, the church was called Radio Church of God.

The song leaders and we as a congregation were reprimanded by HWA for preferring "the world's" hymns to the ones that "God inspired" his brother Dwight to write.

Way back while we were regularly singing them, I didn't know the backgrounds for the various traditional hymns which were included in the early grey hymnal. They were just generic hymns to me at that time. But, I've learned since that many of those hymns have some very powerful stories behind them. It wasn't just a matter of someone sitting down at the piano and putting a melody to Psalms or other Bible passages. Often the writers of the so-called Protestant hymns were writing praises to God even as they suffered unthinkable tragedies in their lives or great losses. There are some incredibly powerful stories behind them.

Sadly, some of these people were marginalized, and their personal experiences with God considered all for nought by the jingoistic ministry of WCG.

I have not written any hymns myself. I love playing my guitar, but it is more on the scale of personal amusement. So, my own musical experience has not positioned me to be worthy to critique Dwight Armstrong. All I can say is that I know the stories behind some of the well known Protestant hymns in that original grey hymnal, and I seriously doubt that Dwight Armstrong suffered as much, or had his faith tested as much as some of his predecessor songwriters did.

I particularly love the hymn "Amazing Grace". Knowing the story of John Newton's life, and how God worked with him, really adds power to that song.


Anonymous said...

You've missed a couple with the asterisks. Standing on the Promises and Stand Up, Stand Up (reputedly Tkach's favorite song) were in there, as well quite a few more on that list. "Blest Be the Tie" actually made it into the new LCG hymnal (for what reason I have no idea .. I can't stand that song), so I imagine it was also in the new WCG version. Betcha Tkach and Co. were able to get a lot of people onboard with putting these in the 1993 version by saying "Look! They had them in the old gray mare!"

        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

As a kid I liked "Standing on the Promises".

It seemed the Phoenix congregation could get into that tune musically. I know I really tried to belt it out, plus it was a fun one.

Certainly better than that " of clouds and gloominess....." song of Dwight Armstrong's....

Corky said...

I remember the old gray hymnal and she ain't what she used to be...

Looking back on my church attendance days (which shall never come again) I picture little children in kindergarten class singing "Mary Had a Little Lamb".

That's how goofy it is, no, really. Grown (even aged) men and women still trying to group sing like they did in elementary school.

It makes me want to scream, "grow up, already!" You know, act your age - unless you're a singer, don't do it . . . please, that's what choirs are for.

I know church goers are sheep but they don't have to bleat - just be happy clappers and hand wavers, that looks goofy enough without adding vocals to it.

Anonymous said...

Ah the cannonization of the WCG hymnal. They would probably say that it was a progressive revelation, that the church was still maturing pre-purple days. They probably hold the purple hymnal to the same standard as the original King James version.

Anonymous said...

I kinda miss trying to catch my breath singing "praise ye the Lordo" :)

Questeruk said...

Dennis said...
“I don't know how many ministers WCG now has, but I do know that Ted Johnston gets from 0 to 2 comments on any deeply Triune posting he puts up.”

Only 0 to 2 comments published, but I wonder just how many comments Ted Johnston gets that are not published? If a comment disagrees, will it actually appear on the blog?

I have made the occasional comment, but nothing has ever appeared.

In fact Ted Johnston and Tom Mahon’s blogs are the only two blogs that haven’t published comments that I have made, which is interesting, as they are absolute poles apart, and everyone knows what a polite person I am!

Even the “I survived Armstrongism” blog has allowed through my comments in full every time, which is nice.

Anonymous said...


That forgotten rural hall will probably be Tatuanui.



Anonymous said...

Many of the hymns that were left out of the Purple Hymnal have words that, if contemplated, might help encourage humility, kindness, and even spirituality. It's difficult sometimes to peer through the archaic hymn-language, but there's even some good advice for the fighting, bickering, less-than-brotherly-loving Churches of God:

Dear Lord and Father of mankind,
Forgive our fev'rish ways!
Reclothe us in our rightful mind;
In purer lives thy service find,
In deeper rev'rence, praise.


Breathe thro' the heats of our desire
Thy coolness and thy balm;
Let sense be dumb, let flesh retire:
Speak thro' the earthquake, wind, and fire,
O still, small voice of calm!

Too bad nobody listened.

It's interesting that many old-timers don't remember some of the hymns that were sung back then. During our short stint using the '95 WCG hymnal in LCG, we were given a list of songs that were not to be sung. Naturally, the list included "The Old Rugged Cross," but a few of the songs from the old grey book were also disallowed.

It seems ironic that "Safely Through Another Week," whose words had already been massaged to reflect an appreciation for the seventh-day Sabbath, was on LCG's do-not-sing list.


(Equally ironic is that the Purple Hymnal had no songs at all thanking God for the Sabbath...)

Anonymous said...

"They probably hold the purple hymnal to the same standard as the original King James version."

Yep, we certainly did, when we were in. And no one would have dared to breathe the heresy that Dwight hadn't come up with the words himself, whole cloth, "from gawd".

Still, I stand by every word I published on the PH blog; the hymns may have had older origins than Dwight's head, but they were meant to be, and they were, interpreted by us to fit in with the theology we were being pounded over the head with weekly.

"If a comment disagrees, will it actually appear on the blog?"

If a comment agrees, it won't actually appear; I commented on the difference between pantheism and panentheism, and it never got through.

How "surprising".

"Even the “I survived Armstrongism” blog has allowed through my comments in full every time, which is nice."

And so are you, which is why your comments are allowed in full. :-)

"During our short stint using the '95 WCG hymnal in LCG, we were given a list of songs that were not to be sung. Naturally, the list included "The Old Rugged Cross,"

Wowee. Am I ever glad I missed out on the red hymnal. Either my congregation was full of very late adapters, or our infrequent attendance in the last two years we were in, caused us to miss out on that one. That would not have gone over well with me, back in the day.

I remember, immediately post-changes, practically the only hymn we sang was Go Ye Therefore Into All the World, which was a dirge of a joy-killer if ever there was one.....

Anonymous said...

QuesterUK said:

"I have made the occasional comment, but nothing has ever appeared"

I have commented to Ted on The Surprising Blog God and never been posted. He won't take anything from anyone that is not a current WCG minister or offers any kind of even gentle questioning or rebuttal.

The site is there to tell everyone how it all is and for the few remaining ministers to high five each other over their new found truths. Where they used to proof text the Bible, now they proof text Trinitarian authors.

And I have to admit, sometimes I read and read what they are saying and the best I can come up with in response is..."what the hell are you talking about?" However I can hear a voice in my head that still haunts with "but to you it is not given..." Good thing I guess.

Knowing a good number of these ministers, it's like a parallel universe of somekind that I can't begin to identify with.

But if you are not a minister, you'll never see your comment in print.

Anonymous said...

Actually, the first edition of the purple hymnal came out in 1972. The 1974 edition had a number of changes. Congregations generally had some copies of each edition, and sounded quite cacophonous when they got to those places.

Anonymous said...

corky. for your enjoyment, the lamb story.

go to, link to story.

Anonymous said...

If I'm not mistaken, there were actually two gray hymnals: the earlier one I recall was 48 pages and its successor was about 100 pages. I used to love the congregational singing before the purple hymnal came out. Like Dennis, I remember singing "God Be with You 'til We Meet Again" at the end of the last service on the Last Great Day in Squaw Valley. By the time the Seattle congregations were assigned to Penticton, I think we were in the purple hymnals. I have to confess that a handful of Dwight Armstrong's hymns still bring back pleasant memories, but for me, nothing was ever quite the same after 1974, even though it would take me another twenty years to figure out that I wanted to leave. Music was an integral part of my Radio Church of God/Worldwide Church of God experiences, just as it would be later when I joined the Episcopal Church. Even though I don't attend any church these days, and consider myself an atheist, some sacred music still reasonates with me, recalling a pleasant sense of belonging.

Mike (Don't Drink the Flavor Aid) said...

The Church of Ron has some Dwight Armstrong mp3's for download for those with a nostalgic bent. Personally, I'll pass.

Anonymous said...

I remember hearing George Geis play a driving, boogie version of "Standing on the Promises" one Friday night down in the basement of Manor Del Mar in Pasadena. It was funny and rousing at the same time. I still sing it to myself sometimes and smile every time.

I always liked the grey/gray song book a lot better than the purple version. I still sing a few of the hymns to myself while in the shower or on road trips alone. Hearing some of those songs brings back faces and voices I have not seen or heard in 30 years.

Anonymous said...

Nice memories, these. One occasionally heard criticism of Dwight Armstrong's melodies, but they were ours, and they kept us aware of the work of ancient psalmists.

Does anyone notice that from other hymn composers we have only one or two of their best -- but with Dwight Armstrong we printed virtually everything he wrote? Poor guy had to put his best and worst out there, and was probably more sensitive about it than we were. He wrote "Go Ye Therefore Into All the World" almost as an afterthought, and was amazed at how well received it was, not having worked on it as much as the others. He was utterly skeptical of the notion that God had chosen him to create the hymnal, and thought rather that "it's far more likely that my brother chose me."

People prior to the Tkach years may always have sung more from the grey than the purple versions since those hymns, being so familiar, tended to get more exposure. "God be With You Till we Meet Again," was especially moving after fall festivals, and was included in every hymnal I remember from 1955 on, if memory serves.

I'm another one who seems to remember loving congregational singing more before the purple books appeared. Perhaps those years were the happiest, being the most innocent, prior to the time when, as one man said to me, "all my gods have died." Things began to lose their luster when personal secrets and serious doctrinal problems surfaced.

Some contributors here remember "Blest be the Tie That Binds" and "Stand Up, Stand Up" as Tkach Sr. favorites. He was also especially fond of "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken," which got major attention at the Pasadena Feast site when he was there.

Anonymous said...

"Knowing a good number of these ministers, it's like a parallel universe of somekind that I can't begin to identify with."

That's exactly right, and exactly what happened.

We branched off from the multiverse at one point, but the majority of us merged back with the "main" timeline post-changes. There are still some hangers-on that want to live in their own little pocket universe though.

They need to get the LHC online pronto, you ask me, and then those pocket universes will go poof!

Yeah. Right. Nice to dream, isn't it? ;-)

Anonymous said...

When I first attended services in 1974, the first thing I was told was to grab a songbook and sit down.

The Purple Hymnal would have been the '72 edition. When the '74 version came out, we were told we could buy the older hymnals for $1 each - pay the deacon on the way out...

Anonymous said...

After the first service I attended, I remember humming Not Many Wise Men Now Are Called on my way home...

Anonymous said...

It's nice to me that a topic such as this brings such a diverse group as we folks, together sharing the good memories and feelings that hymns have brought to us throughout our lives.

While I present the Bible as less than authoritative, historically true, not written by those who say they wrote it or not for the reasons we have always been told, I'm a sensitive guy :)

Once I personally saw that the big story seems to come from the sun's journey through the 12 signs in a one year circut (Galilee means "circut" if you can believe that! Jesus of the Circut) and the SUN of God story long preceeded the Son of God, I was ruin't. Anyway....Merry Solstice :)

Hymns, whether from the WCG or previous affiliations are things of the emotions and the spirit. They reflect heart stuff and the hopes that are or were in us.

In WCG, old and new, we found ourselves singing and leading others in songs that made us say things that weren't true or encouraging to the spirit.

We sang of war and climbing through windows unharmed.

We sang "we are not divided" when we sure were.

We sang "twas not a foe that deride.." which made us watch out for others who were off track.

We sang "death shall them seize.." to remind us of "others," not of us.

We sang "before me I constantly see my dis-grace" to remind us we were crap and unworthy human beings.

(From the above I learned to remind myself I was born right the first time.)

We had some encouraging ones as well, but not many.

Music is a great way to program the mind without much resistance. The only hymn from my past that got dragged over to WCG, that I hated from the start was "Onward Christian Soldiers." As a kid, it sounded like something one would sing in a crusade and I had visions of slaughter for Jesus. Weird stuff. Oxymoronic. There is way too much killing already in spreading human "truth" around the planet.

I think the lesson most of us here have learned and struggle with putting in some perspective is that we allowed others to mess with our minds, hopes and dreams, and that's not going to happen twice.

I admit to being a little lost in this whole process at times.

Let's all have a FOE sometime....Feast of the Exiled :)

Morning blather....


Anonymous said...

Onward Christian Soldiers-The Updated Version:

"Onward all us nice guys, walking not like thugs
With some food from Jesus, and a bunch of hugs.
Jesus, he just loves you, wants you to be free.
Forward with the fooooooood, here's a hug for thee.

Onward Christian nice guys, making not a fuss
With some food from Jesus and some hugs from us.

Onward then you nice guys, boy we like you too
Here, how can we help you, do what you can do?
We are here to love you, help you all we can.
Let's just build some pla-ay ground, someone bring some sand.

Onward Christian nice guys, here's some food for you
Gosh we're just so haaaappy, thanks for all you do."

Questeruk said...

Re Grey or Gray

I always though the change of spelling in the US was all part of the rebellion!

After for some strange reason not wanting to be under the authority of good King George lots of things changed over the pond.

Railways became railroads. Driving switched from the correct left hand side (obviously done so you would meet your oncoming adversary with your sword in your right hand) to the strange idea of driving on the right.

Spelling I assumed was part of the rebellion – change the correct spelling of grey colour through (NOT thru!) to the rebel spelling. The only other reason I could think of was not having good British education, to learn to spell correctly!

At least the colonials in NZ kept to the right spelling, and the correct side of the road.

Good on you Gavin!!

(Hey, the above doesn’t get me banned from this blog, does it????)

Questeruk said...

"Even the “I survived Armstrongism” blog has allowed through my comments in full every time, which is nice."

Purple Hymnal said...

“And so are you, which is why your comments are allowed in full. :-)”

Wow – Thanks Aggie – my mummy (British spelling!) always told me to play nicely!

Neotherm said...

Armstrongism was bizarre and exhaustively so. Even the hymnal can be analyzed for organizational significance.

I recall being told be a church member back in the late Sixties that the song "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken" was not to be sung often. There was a fear that it would stir up the German element in the congregation. Like maybe they would start goose-stepping if they heard this tune too mcuh.

-- Neo

camfinch said...

"I remember hearing George Geis play a driving, boogie version of "Standing on the Promises" one Friday night down in the basement of Manor Del Mar in Pasadena."

Sounds like what I used to do sometimes on the baby grand in the student center at Pasadena. Usually, it would be one of the non-orthodox Protestant hymns that we didn't actually sing. The one I most remember that I bluesed-swung-rocked-up was "In The Garden". Just imagine in your mental ears hearing the music to "And he walks with me, and he talks with me" etc. played to boogied, sycnopated 8/8 time! Makes me wanna dance!

Anonymous said...

Knowing A.V., the editor of the 1972 ed. purple hymnal, I am confident that the adding Dwight Armstrong's hymns and deleting traditional ones was not done as part of a thought-police move.

It was done out of simple expediency to get the project done in time for use at the F of T.

Dwight's material needed no vetting or inside-the-organization advocate, as would each traditional hymn selected.

The rush to publication, he said, was the reason for the errors that were corrected a couple of years later.

Anonymous said...

Was the OLD HUNDRETH in the Purple Hymnal, "All People That On Earth Do Smell"?.

Remember the early days when suits were worn even for Summer services.


Anonymous said...

God created the herbs.

"Glorious Things Of Thee Are Smoken".

Need I say more


Anonymous said...

I say old chaps,Does it matter how we spell gray/grey?

We colonials,descended from the great and glorious tribe of Ephraim,are a little more tolerant perhaps than those who remain in Britannia.

I do remember that Kiwi students at Ambassador were marked down for their spelling by punk-tilious Yank "profs" and lecherers.


Anonymous said...

I well remember the song-leaders in Auckland who enthusiastically thrashed the air whilst we peons,the flock, tried to keep in time with their flailing arms.

We were told to "make a joyful noise"; harmonistic dissonance.

Ah,yes,the old hymnals.No blasphemous "Protestant" hymns for us.

"By the Ribbers of Babylon" some of us irreverently used to sing,especially when Boney M came out with their version.(My forbears passed through the Southern USA on their way to NZ; in fact,some were born there,so the music from that part of the world holds some meaning.)

Having been to the Methodist Church in my formative years,I then,and now,revert to some of the Wesleyan hymns,such as "Immortal Invisible", "Oh for a Thousand Tongues To Sing"....grand music.

Dwight Armstrong,was, I believe,given very little time in which to put the original grey book together...he did pretty well considering..not every one could be a cracker.

I was always amused when we sang "America The Beautiful"...."Oh Israel, Oh Israel,God shed his grace on thee". Or for special music,Jack Langford sang Frank Sinatra's song as " I Did It The Right Way", in accordance with ministerial wishes,oops,instructions....
pompous,pretentious.This is really cringe material.


Anonymous said...

"In WCG, old and new, we found ourselves singing and leading others in songs that made us say things that weren't true or encouraging to the spirit."

The Lord Eternal Reigns

The Lord Eternal reigns! Let us rejoice! Let all the multitudes of earth be glad! Dark clouds surround him and fire burns his foes. Like wax the mountains melt at his return.

His lightnings bare the earth, men see and shake! His high authority heavens proclaim! All those who idols serve will be ashamed! Judah rejoices and Zion is glad!

Our God is far above all other gods! He is exalted above all the earth! He will preserve His saints; those who love Him. Rejoice you righteous and giv thanks to God!

"Self-righteous" was more like it.

Lord Teach Me That I May Know

Lord, teach me that I may know of the way where I should go; For to Thee I lift my soul, set me free from all my foes.

Unto Thee I flee to hide me, teach me now Thy will to do; For Thou Eternal, art my God. Lead me by Thy spirit good!

Bring my soul from trouble, and for Thy Name’s sake quicken me; Lead me to the land of refuge, and for Thy mercy’s sake

Cut off all my foes, destroy them, they which do afflict my soul; O Thou Eternal, righteous God; for I am Thy servant, Lord.

Enough negative harping, here are my favourites from the old purple hymnal:

For Even From My Youth O God

For even from my youth, O God, by Thee have I been taught; And hitherto I have declared, the wonders Thou hast wrought. And now O God, forsake me not when I am old and gray; Till I proclaim Thy wondrous deeds to this and every age.

Thy perfect righteousness, O God, the heaven’s height exceeds; O God, who is like Thee, who has performed such mighty deeds? Thou who hast shown me trials sore and great adversities; Will quicken me again and bring me from the depths of earth.

My greatness and my power Thou will increase and far extend; Against all grief on every side to me will comfort send. And I will also praise Thy truth, O God, with psaltery; Thou Holy One of Israel, with harp I’ll sing to Thee.

Our God is Good and Upright

Our God is good and upright; the way He’ll sinners show. The meek in judgement, He will guide, and make His paths to know. The whole paths of the Lord are truth and mercy sure. To those that keep His covenant and testimonies pure.

Now, for Thine own Name’s sake, O Lord, I thee entreat To pardon mine iniquity, for it is very great. What man is he that fears the Lord and doth Him serve? Him shall He teach of His own way, the way that he should choose.

His soul shall dwell at ease; and his posterity shall flourish still, and of the earth inheritors shall be. With those that fear Him is the secret of the Lord; The knowledge of His covenant He will to them afford.

O That Men Would Praise Their God

O that men would praise their God, For all His goodness and all His works! For he fills the hungry soul and they who are thirsty He satisfies. Some are bound in darkness and chains, For their rebellion against the Most High.

O that men would praise their God, For all His goodness and all His love. He has opened the prisons wide and saved men from death where they lay enslaved; In their trouble they cried to Him, And with His word He delivered their lives.

O that men would praise their God, For all He does for the sons of men. O that they would give thanks to Him, With shouts of joy and with songs of praise! Some crossed o'er the stormy seas; They see the wonders of God in the deep.

They Are Blest Who Are Forgiven

They are blest who are forgiven, To whom God imputes no sin; Who go to the Eternal, And confess to Him their sins. Whose iniquities are covered, Whom the Lord does instruct! Saying I will direct you, In the way that you should go!

Many sorrows have the wicked, Who know not the way of God. Be not as mules or horses, Which are held, by bridles strong; But be glad in the Eternal, And rejoice all you just; Shout for joy all you upright; In whose spirit is no guile.

Day and night God’s hand was on me, And I groaned till I confessed.
My sins I laid before Him; Quickly He forgave them all; Every godly one shall pray thus, While the Lord may be found; So be glad all you upright; All you righteous, shout for joy!

Well, this has been a lovely little singalong. Bet you won't find any WCG congregation singing those ones, nowadays.

Anonymous said...

Did Not "Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken" have the same tune as "Deutschland Über Alles"?

I suppose it was appropriate for those days..."Ach, Assyria,The Rod of My Anger"

I daresay Herr Flurry keeps this on his list of approved hymns.

We have been given to understand that Herr Flurry drinks these days from only Steuber crystal.



Anonymous said...

Some years ago a song leader who was of the super deacon variety stopped in the middle of a hymn and berated the pianist for playing too fast. He was a bloke with a strong independent streak and proceded to play the rest of the hymn at the most unbelievably slow speed leaving the s/leader floundering and the congregation falling about laughing. The only reason he wasn't thrown out that day was that the Minister really agreed (I think) with what he did. Really took the p*ss out of a self righteous bloward. mOne of the funniest things I have ever seen.

Anonymous said...

I remember quite distinctly that when Joe Sr. gave his infamous sermon at the end of 1994 one of the songs in the opening 3 was "Stand Up for Jesus."

Also before the 1993 hymnal, nearly every week the middle hymn in Pas. Aud. P.M. was "Glorious Things of Thee are Spoken" because Tkach Sr. liked it before he came out to do announcements. Neotherm's comment regarding this hymn was particularly interesting to me....

Anonymous said...

Wow. Who knew that George Geis could be so cool as to play a boogie woogie version of a hymn?

Guess it just goes to show that you can't ever really know all the dimensions of another's personality!


        AMERICAN KABUKI said...

Questeruk said...

I always thought the change of spelling in the US was all part of the rebellion!

After for some strange reason not wanting to be under the authority of good King George lots of things changed over the pond.

Railways became railroads. Driving switched from the correct left hand side (obviously done so you would meet your oncoming adversary with your sword in your right hand) to the strange idea of driving on the right.

A lot of design issues have their roots in history. The standard railway gauge (width of track) in Britain and N. America owes its width to width of carriage wheels and carriages produced in England.

Spain came up with its extra wide and narrow gauge rails to keep French and Germans from using the rails to invade their country. Trains coming in from France have to change wheel carriages upon entry to Spain.

Those carriage wheels owed their widths to the ruts in European road created by Roman chariots over the centuries. If you made a carriage a different width, the roads would tear up the carriage.

Its also no accident automobiles have wheel widths roughly that of a chariot, given that they too descend from carriages, and were once known as horseless carriages.

Christian customs, hymns, beliefs have similar curious paths in history, they never just appear out of a vacuum fully formed.

Perhaps the difference in driving sides owes more to America early use of guns, not having a long sword tradition? A gun shoots from either side of the road

Its also easier for a right handed person to shift a stiff transmission with the right hand.

larry said...

Bammboo Bends, I will wade into this debate...gingerly. Having driven in both North America and the UK and Ireland, I have an opinion about the left-right controversy. Driving on the right side is easier, but for some reason the left side is more fun. The real issue is the one you mentioned, the stick shift. Thankfully, when I was suffering from jet lag and daring enough to face oncoming lories on narrow backroads, I had an automatic.

At least the pedals are the same.

camfinch said...

"Did Not "Glorious Things Of Thee Are Spoken" have the same tune as "Deutschland Über Alles"? "

Absolutely; the music was actually composed by the classical period master, Franz Josef Haydn, back in the 1700s. Not sure how he, a presumbaly loyal citizen of Imperial Austria, and patronized by the nobility of that realm, would have appreciated Nazi Germany's goose-step appropriation of his music with patriotic German lyrics attached!

On the subject of railway/railroads: all kidding about American spelling rebellions aside (although it's interesting that our North American buddies across our northern border, good subjects of the Crown, did NOT change their spellings as we did), since steam-powered traction engines were not invented (someone correct me if I'm wrong, please) until the early 19th century, this post-dates the colonial and revolutionary times. "Railroad" in America might just have been an organic term.

Interesting to note, too, that whereas Americans almost always use the term "anyway", many Brits (ncluding my wife's brothers) will say "any road up". Those of you in NZ and Oz: do you use that term as well?

Anonymous said...

Before the Harleys I was into Brit bikes, bigtime. Some had right foot shift, and others had left. And, I owned them concurrently, so had to remember which bike I was on at any given time. I learned to give preferential treatment to my front brake, believe me. Obviously stepping on the wrong pedal would get you into beaucoup trouble, fast!

One thing my Trident (right shifter) was good for, though. While convalescing from an operation on my left foot, I could still ride it quite effectively. My doctor was not amused!


Anonymous said...

Speaking of hymns, I appreciate the fact many are based directly on Biblical psalms. It's nice to sing a selection like "The Heavens God's Glory Do Declare" and then later open up the Psalms and see how very close the wording is.

It's a good thing...right?

Anonymous said...

The Irish government is planning to change from driving on the left to the mainland Europe standard, the right. This week all public transport will change over, including taxis. Next week all private vehicles.

The Third Witness said...

Burgers: I quite agree. The Bible Hymnal was a serious attempt to provide a group of sincere believers with words to sing that were biblically based – without the addition of other concepts that they didn’t believe were true. A thoroughly laudable objective. Starting from scratch with new tunes was also beneficial in that it avoided the risk of importing a lot of “baggage” (religious or otherwise) from the past. HWA used to say he could focus either on the tune or on the words but not on both at the same time. However, for many people, simply hearing a familiar tune will automatically trigger memories of the words that went with it. So, from that point of view, it probably made sense to include as many new compositions as possible.

On the other hand, although the gray hymnal was before my time, a German version was still in use in the late 70s and early 80s – and I must admit I always thought it was better and more varied than the later purple editions. (As an added bonus, the literary quality of some of the German translations was an improvement on the original, but that wasn’t the main reason.)

When I saw advance copies of some of the “traditional” hymns that were going to be included in the new 1993 WCG Hymnal, though, I was moved to tears. Rather like the minister who used to carry a photocopy of Galatians from the Ferrar Fenton translation around in his briefcase (but there the analogy ends!), I had been carrying photocopies of some of those hymns around (and sometimes using them at choir practices) for years.

For the record, the 1993 Hymnal was not exactly “post-reform”: among the new compositions included were: “Remember the Sabbath Day to Keep it Holy” and “Let Us Keep the Feast”. It was a worthy successor to the Bible Hymnal – and far and away the best of the lot, as far as I am concerned.

Anonymous said...

"It's a good thing...right?"

Neither good nor bad, it was how we interpreted the words that was slightly out of whack.

Anonymous said...

LOL! He may not accept non-Levitical comments, but Johnston hasn't figured out how to disable the "Links to this post" feature. (I didn't realize that till after I wrote the post on ISA, to be honest with you.)

ROFL. Wonder how long it will take him to figure out how to disable it??

Anonymous said...

"By the time the Seattle congregations were assigned to Penticton, I think we were in the purple hymnals."

Off-topic, I know, but I just wanted to say, Penticton? Best Feast site ever. :-)

larry said...

PH, Penticton was a wonderful Feast site. I agree. Canadians are alot of fun. But, nothing compares to a Feast in Jerusalem.

Anonymous said...

I repeat again, Larry, are you SURE you're a member of the "new and improved" WCG? Because your comments come straight from 1985.......Are you broadcasting from the parallel universe I grew up in? I think so!

Unknown said...

Does anyone have one of those grey hymnals they would be willing to part with??