The new Lutheran Hymnal is out here is my review of it

Categories: Church
Comments: 2 Comments
Published on: August 10, 2006

Well the new Lutheran hymnal for the LCMS came out this month, and I got my copy back on Tuesday, so I thought I would post a review of it, for others who might have an interested in it. These only represent my own option and no one else’s. I would have posted a review sooner but, I have been busy with a lot of stuff. But this is now the 4th hymnal that I own, I have an older Lutheran hymnal from 1921, I have TLH which was put out in 1941, LW which was put out in 1982, and now LSB put out this year (2006). For those of you that are not Lutheran and don’t recognize the Abbreviations I am using here they are:
TLH — The Lutheran Hymnal
LW — Lutheran Worship
LSB — Lutheran Service Book

The Good:

Prays in the front cover for use during worship. But they could have included some prayers for home use also. But over TLH and LW, this is a mild improvement.
Opening up the back cover you find the “Nicene Creed” the “Apostles’ Creed” and 2 versions of the Lord’s Prayer. The good classical one that most people know, and one with updated language. Could be improved, if they removed the newer updated language one, and included something else.
They have included book marks in the hymnal, this could be useful to those that would want to own their own hymnal, and take it to church with them.

The Ugly:
Here is the ugly stuff of the new hymnal; I would say that the ugly stuff here far far out weighs the good stuff above. They have taken page 15 from TLH. No taking page 15 from TLH is not bad, in fact if they left it alone it would have been good, very good. The updated some of the language to the modern English, this is bad, what is wrong with the old Victorian language? It not like that is the only version of the Divine service in the book there are 4 others, so what would have been wrong with leaving the whole of page 15 alone. They claim that they updated the language to make it friendlier to new people. To that I say hogwash, they updated some of the language, and left others unupdated, and it not update this word and leave that word alone. The updated only the spoken parts and left the sung parts unupdated. Remember not all congregations sing parts of the liturgy, so in some parts you say “you” and others you say (or sing) “thee”. I would think that would be more confusing to people then just leaving the whole liturgy untouched. With the changed page 15 they can not even hope to have their dreams filled, and that dream is to have all churches in the synod convert over to the new one, I am sure there are going to be churches that will stay with TLH for the unmodified page 15. If they can take LWs liturgies and move them over with out changing them, why not TLH page 15. What they will find is that there will now be churches all over the board now, some with TLH, some with LW, and some with LSB.

Things they kept from TLH that were not in LW:

One thing that they brought back from TLH that was not in LW was the meter index. This allowed people to swap tunes and words around by finding other hymns with the same meter. They also brought back the Biblical reference for the hymns. Also they brought back the list of dates for Easter, TLH’s list ended around 2000 and LSBs new list ends in 2050.

All in all the new hymnal is not as much as a disaster as LW, but it still is no TLH. It might be fine for home worship usage, but I would not use it in a church. Also the name leaves it open for some jokes for Lutheran Ham radio operators. At first when I saw the abbreviation LSB my first thought was Lower Side Band, so the other one for Lower Side Band is Upper Side Band or USB, so would that be the unitarian service book 😉 I know a bad joke but still. Also they put a small joke in the hymnal. You know how some Christians seem to have a phobia over the number 666. Well for hymn number 666 in this hymnal the hymn that they put there is “O Little Flock, Fear Not the Foe” so there you go a small joke placed in the new hymnal.

Finally it may not be a bad hymnal, but at the same time I would not say it is a good hymnal it might have its good points but its failings are large enough to out weight the good points of it.

I will probably add another review of it of the hymn section later, and the other parts, but for now this was a look at the ligurgical section.

2 Comments
  1. John O'Connor says:

    I enjoyed reading the review. I would like to find out if you are related to me.My dad Donald O’Connor was born and raised in Pittsburgh he has three sisters .

  2. Hi John, two things, first are you the same John O’Connor I meet up in NY at the LCMS Eastern District convention? Secondly am I related to you, the answer is most likely not, since my father is Bill O’Connor, and his dad was Dan O’Connor (of Behamton, NY) And for generations (as I have been told) there has only been one male child that made it to adulthood, me and my brother are a oddity in the family history. My mom does put pressure on me to get a girlfriend some times (to carry on the family line)

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