Why does the PCA read lots of psalms and only sing hymns?

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Theoretical

Puritan Board Professor
Maybe it's just my limited experience visiting/attending 4 different PCAs, but why do PCA churches seem to never sing psalms but use tons of them for responsive readings and other components of the liturgy.

Is there any logical reason for this or is it a "we do it because that's how we do it" answer?

I don't want this turning into an EP debate, just seriously asking why this is such a prominent feature.
 

Presbyterian Deacon

Puritan Board Graduate
Don't judge the whole on the basis of a few....

If you came to my church the past couple of weeks, you might conclude that PCA churches have their responsive readings from only the Minor Prophets, and sing both Psalms and hymns.

A month ago, you might have concluded PCA churches don't do responsive readings and sing only hymns, while the Scripture reading is from the Epistles of Paul.

I think you'll find, should you continue to attend more PCA churches, or better attend one for several weeks in a row, that the order of worship and material selected for worship in PCA churches varies from church to church, and what is used by pastor/session of one church might be similar or very different from the next PCA church you attend.

In our church there seems to be great variety in the contents of the order of worship from week to week. So what you would have seen there this morning will most likely not be the same thing you see next week, or next month. :2cents:
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
If you had been at our church this week, you would have noticed we sang two Psalms. Last week we didn't sing any Psalms. Next week it will be different again.

Based on my communications with PCA worship leaders (I belong to a large network of them from all over the country), it seems the majority of them choose music either based on a biblical theme, or they choose it based on the passage of Scripture the pastor is preaching that week. Some consciously try to choose from the Psalms, and others choose what works best, whether it's a Psalm or a hymn.

Just as an aside, I've been spending a lot of time lately looking at old hymns set to more contemporary tunes, and I am both surprised and delighted to find that many of them are metered Psalms or based on Psalms.
 

SueS

Puritan Board Freshman
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I think you'll find, should you continue to attend more PCA churches, or better attend one for several weeks in a row, that the order of worship and material selected for worship in PCA churches varies from church to church, and what is used by pastor/session of one church might be similar or very different from the next PCA church you attend.

In our church there seems to be great variety in the contents of the order of worship from week to week. So what you would have seen there this morning will most likely not be the same thing you see next week, or next month. :2cents:

That's pretty much how we are in our PCA. We sing only hymns at the moment, a practice that our pastor who is originally of the Reformed Presbyterian Church in Ireland, considers to be "pathetic". However, I believe steps are currently being taken to begin introducing Psalm singing, which I think is very encouraging. It's an older, pretty much set in its ways, congregation, so it will probably be a rather slow process. As our pastor says, "You eat an elephant one bite at a time". :lol:
 

brianeschen

Puritan Board Junior
The church that I attend just started singing Psalms recently. We are recovering from a "seeker sensitive" methodology. It took over six years for the change . . . but it is a blessing to be able to sing the Psalms.

Just as "love takes time to heal when you're hurting so much:sing:" so too it takes time for congregations to change. Most people in today's churches just do not know what is being missed . . . I know I was this way.
 

HokieAirman

Puritan Board Freshman
My church is making an effort to sing more psalms. Currently, we try to have at least one per Sunday, but the most important thing is that they support the sermon and aren't just 'out there on their own',and of course the hymns must be scriptural. Our church is an exception in the PCA in that most members are postmillenial, so we generally leave out pre-mil hymns like #381 in the red Trinity Hymnal.

For the past few months, I've been choosing hymns for our services and I've found that while the Trinity hymnal has some excellent hymns, I haven't found a psalm in the accompanying psalter yet that isn't stellar.

We don't however, have as much responsive reading as others might. We just respond to the catechism question. I'm on a worship committee to try to make our order and content of worship more Biblical, so we'll probably change some things.
 

brianeschen

Puritan Board Junior
My church is making an effort to sing more psalms. Currently, we try to have at least one per Sunday, but the most important thing is that they support the sermon and aren't just 'out there on their own',and of course the hymns must be scriptural. Our church is an exception in the PCA in that most members are postmillenial, so we generally leave out pre-mil hymns like #381 in the red Trinity Hymnal.

For the past few months, I've been choosing hymns for our services and I've found that while the Trinity hymnal has some excellent hymns, I haven't found a psalm in the accompanying psalter yet that isn't stellar.

We don't however, have as much responsive reading as others might. We just respond to the catechism question. I'm on a worship committee to try to make our order and content of worship more Biblical, so we'll probably change some things.
Ha! I beat you to it Jeremy.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
We read Psalms if it is for our Scripture reading or Call to Worship (not responsively). But since we are going through the Bible reading Consecutively 1 chapter in the morning (right now Ruth) and 1 chapter in the evening (right now James) with short exposition, it will be awhile before we get to the Psalms.

We sing one Psalm, at least, morning and evening. Hoping to increase that. We usually have 3 songs total. The two hymns are usually with the theme of the sermon, the Psalms we sing through consecutively. So we don't leave any out or forsake any.

I would assume however that in most PCA churches (not represented on the PB) that what you are stating is correct. I've had the same experience. Many/most churches, in my opinion, have neither reading responsively or singing of Psalms.
 

ericfromcowtown

Puritan Board Sophomore
We have responsive reading of Psalms, but not at every service.

Perhaps 2/3 of the songs we sing are from the hymnal and the remainder would be more contemporary or otherwise not from the hymnal.
 
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