Christian Reformed Church [Christian Reformed Church in North America; CRC; CRCNA]
- Bert F. Polman
- , revised by John D. Witvliet
[Christian Reformed Church in North America; CRC; CRCNA]
One of several small denominations in North America with origins in the Dutch Reformed (Calvinist) tradition, each of which initially inherited Genevan psalmody as their only form of music in worship. The denomination was formed in 1857 by immigrants from the Netherlands who had seceded from the Reformed Church of the Netherlands over various theological issues. Initially isolating themselves from American culture, these settlers sang exclusively Dutch psalms using a 1773 Dutch Psalter which featured tonal, isorhythmic versions of the Genevan tunes. Later in the 19th century, some German-speaking Reformed congregations in Iowa and some English-speaking Reformed congregations in New Jersey merged with the CRC. These unions brought some marginal use of hymns into the denomination, though the CRC largely remained committed to Dutch metrical psalmody until just before World War I. In 1914 it adopted the Presbyterian Psalter (1912) as its first English-language worship book. This collection had 413 settings of British and American psalm and hymn tunes for the 150 psalms and included an appendix with the texts for catechism hymns from the Reformed Church in America, but all of these could be sung only by the English-speaking CRC congregations in New Jersey. Only four (altered) Genevan tunes appear in the book. This psalter thus signaled a significant break for the CRC from its Dutch roots....