Loss of Psalms amongst the Dutch Reformed

by wanliss on June 27, 2017

in Education, From Books, Philosophy and Religion

The following quote gives some historical background to the loss of psalm singing amongst the Dutch Reformed.


The king’s arbitrary actions roused very little public dissent. Most clergy were happy to get paid regularly again and their parishioners welcomed the restoration of the national church, even if it was subject to closer government control. Opposition against the new regime came only from a few orthodox local congregations and a small group of intellectuals.

In the countryside, passive resistance arose when the first national synod to meet under the revised structure mandated pastors in each worship service to select one or more hymns from the new hymnal, called De Evangelische Gezangen, which included 192 gospel songs to augment the traditional Genevan Psalms. The Synod had adopted this hymnal in 1807 and recommended it to the churches but did not make its use obligatory. When that changed in 1816 some “stijf kops” [ed. note: lit. “stiff heads” or stubborn fellows] refused to sing the “man-made songs,” which they thought smacked of Arminianism. They stood silently, or put on their caps, or even marched out of the church until the singing was over. A few sympathetic ministers defied the ruling and selected only the Psalms, but they were subject to discipline.

Robert P. Swierenga, Elton J. Bruins, Family quarrels in the Dutch Reformed Churches in the Nineteenth Century: The Pillar Church Lectures (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1999), 12.

See also Hendrick DeCock’s blast against the use of uninspired hymns of praise.


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