ARE WE "DUMBING DOWN"?
I read Reformed Worship from cover to cover, make use of its material frequently, and truly appreciate the quality and breadth of topics. I sincerely hope we can use your "Isaiah" service soon [RW 39]. It is excellent. But I was sorry to see that the "Hymn of the Month" has been replaced by "Songs for the Season," which downplays the use of the hymnal.
On a more positive note, I also appreciated your fine editorial in RW 37. I wish it had been written and read by all before the praise and worship movement gained such a foothold in the church. Your #4, "Start with who you are and what you have" was excellent.
I am greatly concerned that the Psalter Hymnal is no longer regarded as being of great importance. Personally, I love it and do all I can to promote its use. Our choir uses selections only from it for choral introits. We use concertatos on hymns whenever possible, and I play many organ selections based on the new tunes, referring to the hymnal number. Our congregation is able to sing a new song readily since we have so many who can read music. [But] the proliferation of praise choruses is diminishing the use of the hymnal.
I have read Marva Dawn's book Reaching Out Without Dumbing Down and appreciated John Witvliet's review [RW 39] especially the reference to
Turner's book: "Turner makes it clear that faith was lost, not because churches did not adapt themselves to change in the culture around them, but because they sacrificed the wisdom of their traditions too eagerly and too submissively in favor of capitulating to societal ideologies and demands." Marva Dawn wonders, "Is it happening again?" I'll continue to pray that it does not.
Wilma Vander Baan
THANKS FOR ADDRESSING REAL ISSUES
I am a secretary and serve as a permanent member of the Liturgy Planning Committee for our congregation. My work is made much easier with the help of Reformed Worship; I don't know what our committee would do without your publication! When we meet to work on upcoming services, we come with Bible, hymnals, and issues of RW.
Thank you for your excellent publication that addresses issues I regularly encounter. The job of a church secretary is unique—there aren't many people who relate to the topics that are fascinating to us. For instance, I found the article "Is It Well with Your Worship" (RW 39) to be very timely and pertinent to our own questions and wranglings in worship issues.
Thank you again for your endeavors. In July 1995 I attended COLAM and was extremely blessed by the conference. I anticipated coming home with my head filled with learning, but came home with my spirit renewed and my heart brimming with joy as well. Keep up the great work to the glory of God.
Jan De Boer