We use the Trinity Hymnal which includes psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. Our hymnal has a great history as a rich collection of the praise of God's people throughout the history of the church. For more than 40 years, the Trinity Hymnal has been used in churches around the country. Containing hymns especially for churches in the Protestant Reformed tradition, the Trinity Hymnal has been established as one of the more theologically sound hymnals available.
Preface to the Trinity Hymnal (1961)
TRINITY HYMNAL is presented with the prayer that it may supply a recognized need for a truly ecumenical hymnal, theocentric in orientation, biblical in content, and containing suitable hymns for every proper occasion of public and private worship of God. It has been compiled with the full consciousness that “the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men ... or any ... way not prescribed in the holy Scripture” (Westminster Confession of Faith, 21.1).
TRINITY HYMNAL is published by the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. Yet its ecumenical character is evident, for it contains hymns from hundreds of original sources representing many communions and every era in the history of the church. Its theocentric orientation is apparent not only from the theological arrangement of its hymns but from its emphasis upon the function of worship in bringing glory to the Triune God. As for the biblical character of its content, hymns based upon nearly a thousand portions of the Word of God, including a large part of the Book of Psalms, will be found among the 730 selections. These hymns were chosen to meet the various needs of the people of God, from the simplest informal services in the home among the smallest children to the most solemn occasions in the life of the church.
TRINITY HYMNAL is published during the twenty-fifth anniversary year of the Orthodox Presbyterian Church. From its inception, this church has been deeply conscious of the need for a hymnal in which each selection conforms to the requirements for the acceptable worship of God as set forth in the Bible and in the subordinate standards of the church. As early as 1943 a committee was elected to give preliminary consideration to the matter and for several years thereafter the subject of song in the public worship of God was under discussion. The committee which prepared this hymnal was erected in 1949 and its membership has included, in addition to those named below, the Rev. Messrs. R. B. Kuiper, Edward L. Kellogg, and the late James W. Price, and Mr. Wilfred G. Clelland. Grateful acknowledgment must be made of the services of all who worked on the hymnal and especially of the devoted labors of the Rev. Robert S. Marsden who served as chairman from the very beginning until his death in October 1960.
The publication of a complete hymnal by a small and young denomination is most unusual, yet it was undertaken because of the realization of the importance of song in the worship of God. It is well known that the character of its song, almost equal with the character of its preaching, controls the theology of a church. In more than one communion where the preaching has departed from biblical truth the remnant of sound theology contained in favorite hymns has prevented the spiritual life of the church from becoming entirely blighted. However, as the older hymnals have become unavailable, newer editions have introduced ideas foreign to the Word of God. And, as the more formal hymnals often fail to provide hymns for informal occasions, many evangelical congregations have turned to smaller hymnals and song books. These, at best, have presented a truncated view of the place of song in divine worship, and, at worst, they have turned worship into something unworthy of a holy God and his people. Thus there is need for the resurgence of reverent worship of the Lord in song. It is essential that He be worshipped in accordance with His own infallible Word, and that that worship seek to reflect the whole counsel of His will. It is our earnest hope that Trinity Hymnal will be found to satisfy this manifest need.
If, in some small measure, our sovereign God will graciously use Trinity Hymnal to restore to his church the joy and blessing of worship in song, the committee will be well repaid for the work of love which has filled many days of rewarding labor.
Robley J. Johnston, Arthur W. Kuschke, Jr. LeRoy B. Oliver,
Edward J. Young, Robert S. Marsden, Chairman
July 29, 1961