Die invloed van sinodebesluite op die Psalm as kerklied in die Gereformeerde Kerke in Suid-Afrika
Basson, Willem Diederick
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In this study, an investigation is done to determine to what extent the official views of the general synod of the Reformed Churches of South Africa (RCSA) with regard to the psalms as hymns influence their use in the worship service of Afrikaans speaking congregations. To begin with a historical overview of the origin of the RCSA, the characteristics of the Reformed, the origin and characteristics of the Reformed worship service, and the use of psalms in the Reformed worship service are given. The RCSA – whose origin came about partly as a reaction to the inclusion into the worship service of the Evangelische Gezangen (Evangelical Hymns) – developed into a church with the Bible and confessions as guidelines for everyday life. In the Reformed worship service the proclamation of the Word is central and mainly psalms and Scriptural hymns are sung. Research, however, indicates that the psalms in the 1937 versification and 2001 reversification are not optimally utilised in the worship service and that opposition exists especially to the 2001 re-versification. An empirical investigation into the use of psalms in the worship service, as well as the experience of the psalms by ministers, organists and members of the congregations, was done in 274 Afrikaans-speaking congregations of the RCSA. 87 respondents completed and returned questionnaires. Results from this investigation confirm the statement that the psalms are not utilised optimally and that the majority of the respondents are not positive about synod decisions concerning the psalms. The results of the empirical study are compared with the results of an investigation into RCSA-synod decisions from 1862-2012 to show that the use of the psalms in the worship service is in fact influenced by synod decisions. There are clear disparities in the synod decisions in that a reliable, objective system against which psalms can be measured does not exist. Decisions taken appear not to be taking into consideration the musical profile of confessing and baptised members. Information which has been gathered by means of mixed-methods research is finally interpreted according to Richard Osmer’s model for practical theological research to demonstrate that the psalms are not used optimally partly as a result of synod decisions. The optimal use of all 150 psalms will be an attainable ideal if the synod actively endeavours to establish a usable, singable psalm idiom which is not only Scripturally sound but which also takes into account the musical profile of the confessing and the baptised members.
- Humanities 
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