O Come, Let Us Worship!



Evangelical Lutheran Hymnary
O Come, Let Us Worship main page
Bibliography and discography

APPENDIX A - Comparison of the Norwegian Rites

APPENDIX B - Hymnbook Prefaces


APPENDIX A - Comparison of the Norwegian Rites

(from Henry Holloway's The Norwegian Rite. London: Arthur H. Stockwell Ltd., 1934)

(Note: In this chart "Psalm" means "Hymn." The Norwegian word "salme" means both.)

APPENDIX B - Hymnbook Prefaces

1. Quotations from the Preface to Christian Hymns for Church, School, and Home, 1898

The committee has given preference to Lutheran hymns and tunes already familiar and dear to our people In the Sunday School, not only the Special Hymns for Children, but also the church hymns should be used.


2. Quotations from the Preface to the Lutheran Hymnary, 1913

The Norwegian Lutheran Church of America has inherited a rich treasury of hymns and chorals from the Mother Church; and while the Norwegian-American Church would secure this treasure and transmit it to her children, it is also hoped that the hymns of Kingo, Grundtvig, Brorson, Landstad, Brun and others, rendered into English, may prove attractive to the English bodies of the Church of the Reformation, and eventually find a place in their hearts and hymnals.


3. Outline and pertinent quotations from the Preface to the Lutheran Hymnary, Junior, 1916

I. The Demand for a new Song Book

a. Song Books for the Congregation

b. Song Books for Devotional Meetings

c. Song Books for Children and Youth (School Song Books)

d. Other Church Books

II. The Efforts to Meet the Demand

a. By Independent Efforts

b. By Synodical Efforts

c. By Intersynodical Efforts

III. The Principles Underlying this Book

a. Childhood Songs

The songs of childhood should be essentially of the same character as the songs of maturity. The child should therefore learn the easiest and best of the songs he is to sing as a communicant member of the Christian Congregation. Old age delights in the songs learned in childhood. The religious songs learned in children should therefore be worth while. We want childlike songs, but not childish songs. The early songs should be the choicest congregation songs adaptable to his age and capacities. In the same manner as he is taught the rudiments of Christian theology through Luther's "Smaller Catechism" and the chief Bible stories through the "Bible History," should he also be taught the words and tunes of our most priceless church songs and chorals. It can be done just as easily as teaching him a number of equally difficult and perhaps new songs and tunes which will never be sung in his congregation. It should be done, for a child should be trained up the way he should go (Prov. 22:6).

b. Lutheran Songs

The songs of Lutheran children and youth should be essentially from Lutheran sources. The Lutheran Church is especially rich in songs and hymns of sound doctrine, high poetical value and fitting musical setting. They express the teachings and spirit of the Lutheran Church and help one to feel at home in this Church. Of course, there are songs of high merit and sound Biblical doctrine written by Christians in other denominations also, and some of these could and should find a place in a Lutheran song treasury. But the bulk of the songs in a Lutheran song book should be drawn from Lutheran sources. We should teach our children to remain in the Lutheran Church instead of to sing themselves into some Reformed sect.

c. Transition Songs [From Norwegian to English]

d. School Songs

The demand for a new song book referred to above is really a demand for a school song book, to be used in Sunday schools, parochial schools, congregational schools, higher church schools, and young people's societies. Such a school book should contain songs which cover the five parts of the Lutheran Catechism, the church year and various special themes and occasions, besides songs specially appropriate for opening or closing. The Catechism is a "Key to the Scriptures," a summary of the Bible, "the little Bible," and a guide to Christian faith and works, and as such can and should become dear to the heart through song as well as through doctrinal study. It is plain that it should also cover the main festivals of the church year, because everyone, whether young or old, should always keep in touch with the church year, and because a school song book for children and youth should lead up to a deeper and wider understanding of the church year and its messages. Among the special songs that should be represented are the following: The Church, the ministry, missions, the home, morning and evening prayer, grace before and after meat, the state, and heaven. All of these should occupy the thoughts and help determine the words and deeds of the children and youth of the Church. For convenience, some of the most suitable songs should be placed apart, as opening songs, likewise some as closing songs. But it should be understood that many other songs too can be used as opening or as closing songs, and these others should occasionally be selected for such use.

e. Memorized Songs

The choicest, most common and representative songs should be memorized. They will thereby become dearer, clearer and more useful. And with the passing years they will grow still more dear, clear and useful. When learned by heart they can be sung more freely and expressively, on any occasion, at work as well as from a book. They will guide and admonish, entertain and comfort. They will ennoble one's thoughts and enrich one's language. They will inspire to higher ideals, nobler deeds, truer devotion. Songs should be memorized now as of old. Our congregations should become singing congregations, our people a singing people, out of church as well as at divine service. When a people is under Gospel influence it begins to sing, and when a people begins to sing the Gospel it gets under the influence of the Gospel. A notable example of this reflex influence is that of the Reformation period. Already as a boy Luther had taken to music and had begged his bread by singing in the streets. How his memorizing of songs was turned into a manifold blessing to himself and us! He introduced congregational singing in the mother tongue and made singing a school requirement. Thus, the Lutheran Church became a singing Church, an object of fear to the Pope and all the powers of darkness. The great songs which have outlived their generation should be learned by heart. The possibilities of learning by heart are well nigh limitless, if there is a will. The opportunities come to each one's door again and again throughout life. Oftenest in childhood, the best time to learn by heart. Then, next, in youth. But also later on. Parents can learn songs while teaching their children, at meal-time devotions, a blessed practice that has helped to make many a home the "dearest spot on earth." Teachers should assign songs to be memorized. Sunday schools should assign a part of the Sunday school period to singing of old songs and drilling on new ones. The songs in "Lutheran Hymnary, Junior" are old songs, but yet many of them are new to those who use the book. All of them should be learned to some extent. Some congregations and schools seem to be able to sing only "Søde Jesu, vi er her," "Nearer, my God, to Thee," and a few others. Many people do not know a single song by heart, although they have been singing at a few numbers all their lives.

IV. The Contents of "Lutheran Hymnary, Junior"

a. The Songs

The compilers of this book have had in mind the principle stated above. The songs selected are some of the choicest of the songs that children and youth can learn to sing and like to sing and want to sing later on in life. They are songs that have been officially approved and used by the Lutheran Church. The book contains 164 numbers, 165 different songs. Of these songs 114 were taken from Landstad's "Salmebog," 141 from the "Lutheran Hymnary." "Lutheran Hymnary, Junior" contains, then, about one-sixth of Landstad's "Salmebog" and about one-fourth of the "Lutheran Hymnary," a guarantee that the songs have been tested and found worthy. The book is not a historical song collection, but a song book for juniors, several of the longer hymns have been shortened. About 120 of the songs are over 115 years old. A few date back to the third, fourth, eighth, ninth and fourteenth centuries. The sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries are each represented by 30 or more songs.

The Church is rich in spiritual songs and hymns from many lands. Every age, every people under Gospel influence adds to the store. No age has added more hymns of lasting merit than the Reformation period. No people has sung its devotion more deeply and truly than the Germans. No modern poet has done more for church song that Martin Luther, who struck the keynote of all Christian song in his battle hymn "A Mighty Fortress Is Our God." The compilers of our church hymnals ("Landstad's," "Synodens," and "Lutheran Hymnary") have therefore drawn largely upon the German song treasures. Landstad added many Danish songs, and the "Lutheran Hymnary" many English songs. The chief sources of the Landstad collection, by languages are German, Danish, Norwegian and Latin; of the "Lutheran Hymnary" are English, German Danish, Norwegian and Latin. In the "Lutheran Hymnary, Junior" 60 have been written by Germans, 39 by Danes, 34 by Englishmen, 22 by Norwegians and the remaining 10 by men of other nationalities. 10 are from Catholic sources, 36 from Reformed and 119 for [sic] Lutheran. These songs have not been objected to just because they came from Catholic or Reformed sources, providing they were doctrinally correct and pedagogically suitable. Although the committee did not plan to bring about this result, but rather sought songs that were sound in doctrine and pedagogically suitable for a school book, yet this result is a witness to the fact that the song treasury of the Lutheran Church is surpassing rich in song of the best qualities

b. The Tunes

c. The Order of Service

d. The Indexes

e. The Title

V. The Points in Criticism of This Song Book

a. The Intrinsic Value of Songs and Tunes

The songs and tunes in the book are standard and have outlived the storm and stress of competition and time. They represent the best orthodoxy and piety of all of the different periods of the Church. They are heart songs and heart tunes.

Most objection[s] will no doubt be directed against the choral tunes selected. Concerning choral tunes we shall therefore let F. L. Humphreys, S. T. D., Mus. D., an American authority on church music (who is not a Lutheran), say a few words. In his "Evolution of Church Music" he speaks as follows of the lighter songs which unfortunately are at present demanded also by many Lutheran church people: "The character of piety they encourage is somewhat superficial, not to say hysterical; they are full of extravagant and often foolish statements; but it can not be denied that they stir the hearts of the common throng. The refrains which are generally attached to them are readily caught by the ear; and that wave of emotional sympathy, easily started in large audiences, soon sweeps over the meeting, and choir and Congregation are at once drawn into close accord. The musical structure of these hymns is very slight; the harmony has hardly any variety, seldom changing more than once in a bar, and they employ the march rhythms so frequently that they produce an effect of monotony. The slight structure and trivial harmony of these tunes only vitiate the public taste and strengthen the impression abroad that in America only the cheapest forms of art can flourish."

Rev. Humphreys continues: "It is a pity that the compilers of almost all hymn books have failed to borrow as many of the German chorals as they should. These 'chorale' are so elevated, and at the same time so simple and devotional, that they are beyond question the most perfect models of hymn tunes. It is humiliating to compare our collections with those used in the German (Lutheran) Churches. In one for the use in their Sunday schools, the title page bears the inscription: 'For our children only the best is good enough.' If our compilers would give us a few more of these 'chorale' instead of the feeble and sensuous melodies which are too numerous in our collections, our psalmody would be greatly improved; and, more important still, the public taste would be better trained. In the Lutheran Church (of Germany) the introduction of those trifling tunes, even for Sunday school use, would not be permitted. There is a certain dignity in the German music, and, indeed, in their entire conception of the church service Stateliness, majesty, solidity, grandeur, dignity, beauty, purity of style, fulness of harmony, fine modulation and rhythm-all these are characteristics of good music; they are essential to the formation of model tunes."

In addition to this witness by a non-Lutheran we might say that the chorals are sung by children in all of the Lutheran lands and are not considered difficult. It is only here in America that their stately swing and reverential spirit are considered heavy and dull.

b. The Pedagogical Results

We have seen that a new song book has been demanded. The popular demand is for novelty. To lower the standard of Lutheran church music to suit the popular demand would be a disastrous policy. There is besides a deeper demand for a book to "train up the children and youth they way they should wander." To give the children and youth of the Lutheran Church a song book through which they could learn the songs and teachings, the spirit and the ways of the Lutheran Church is the object of this book. The book should be given a fair trial before it is condemned as not answering to the needs of Lutheran children and youth. The juniors do not determine what Catechism they are to study and should not determine what song book they are to adopt, for a song book ought to have a confessional character as well as a Catechism.

c. The History of Lutheran Hymnody

The critic of a song collection should bear in mind that the best Lutheran songs are the best Christian songs in the world. As Dr. Philip Schaff, the great Presbyterian theologian, says in the Preface to his German song book of 1874: "To the Lutheran Church unquestionably belongs the first place in the history of Church song." And as Dr. Adolph Spaeth, the great Lutheran theologian, says in his article on Hymnody in Jacobs's "Lutheran Encyclopedia": "The Reformation of the Sixteenth Century is the mother of true evangelical church song. The message of God's free grace puts a new song into the heart and mouth of the justified believer. The general priesthood of believers demanded the active participation of laymen in the service of the sanctuary, and particularly in the service of song, which Gregory the Great had assigned to the choir of the clergy Luther gave to the Germans not only their Bible and Catechism, but also their hymn book. He called for poets and singers, able to produce hymns which might be worthy to be used in the daily service of the Church of God. It was primarily in the interest of the Congregation and its service that he wanted the hymns."

Following upon Luther, during the Sixteenth Century, a host of hymn writers arose, such as Hermann, Decius, Walther, Helmbold, Ringwaldt, Nicolai and others, whose hymns are plain and direct, fresh and vigorous, expressing the deep personal conviction and the objective testimony of the whole Congregation. They were sung by children as well as adults.

Also during the Seventeenth Century the subjective personal element blends most beautifully with the pronounced objectivity of the earlier hymnody. Among the notable hymn writers may be mentioned Gerhardt, Clausnitzer, Heerman, Held, Neander, Rinkart and Schirmer.

During the first half of the Eighteenth Century, in the interest of personal piety and sanctification, the hymns of the Pietists emphasize the personal element so strongly that many of their songs are not adapted to congregational use, not to say school use. Among the best hymn writers of this period are Freylinghausen, Garve, Mentzer, Rambach and Zinzendorf. During the second half of this century the Rationalists played sad havoc with the hymn books of the Church. Churches became lecture rooms where longwinded treatises on morals and the utility of things were pronounced to a sleeping audience. The liturgy was shortened and otherwise mutilated. The good old church hymns were removed or changed, and commonplace rhymes praising virtue and natural religion were substituted.

During the first half of the Nineteenth Century a revival of positive Christianity swept over the Church, bringing with it a number of gifted hymn writers. "But by far the most precious result of the revival of the old faith was the renewed appreciation of the old jewels of our Lutheran hymnody, and the return to those classical hymns in their original beauty and force" (Spaeth).

A number of able critics began analyzing the hymn book chaos (for example R. Stier in his "Die Gesangbuchsnoth" ["Hymn Book Misery"], 1838). The German Church governments in 1852 appointed a commission to select 150 standard hymns, up to the middle of the Eighteenth Century, which were to form the common nucleus for the different territorial hymn books. The result of their work was published in 1854, under the title "Deutsches Evang. Kirchen-Gesangbuch, in 150 Kernliedern." Thus the way was opened for a general return to the more conservative principles which characterize all the latest hymn books of our Lutheran Church in Germany, though in different degrees.

In our day, here in America, too, we are having a "hymn book misery" in that we are throwing overboard our choicest hymns and tunes from the past and manufacturing a multitude of more commonplace ones. We are being forced to listen to the demand from the children attending our American public schools and living in a Reformed atmosphere to provide our Lutheran books with American tunes and Reformed music. All of the English Lutheran church books, including our own "Lutheran Hymnary," are over 50 per cent from Reformed sources. Most unwarranted and uncritical judgements against the Lutheran portion of our English Lutheran song books are freely offered not only by children, but also by parents, pastors, teachers, publishers and sellers. The situation here is really worse than it was in Germany in 1852, when a song book commission, as stated above, was appointed to compile a book of 150 standards hymns which should form the nucleus of the future German hymn books. We are happy to say that our "Lutheran Hymnary" contains nearly 250 of such precious hymns; also that the present book, "Lutheran Hymnary, Junior," contains 114 of the choicest of the hymns to be found in Landstad's "Salmebog," and 95 of the easiest chorals from Lindeman's "Koralbog." The committee that has prepared "Lutheran Hymnary, Junior" has recognized the "hymn book misery" of our times and in the light of history has sought to choose songs and tunes for this book chiefly from Lutheran sources. It is their hope that the book may in some measure serve as a check against the temptations from Reformed quarters that plague our people and lead them away from their Lutheran song treasures and into Reformed tastes.


(Note: Salmebog = Hymnbook containing hymn texts; Koralbog = tune book containing hymn tunes.)

1531 first Danish hymnbook by Mortensen (10 hymns) - revised by Hans Tausen in 1544

1534-1559 King Christian III rules Denmark & Norway and makes them Lutheran

1537 Bugenhagen prepares a Church Order for Denmark and Norway an appoints seven Lutheran bishops

1569 Thomissøn's Salmebog (Den danske Psalmebog) - 268 hymns - served for 150 years

1573 Jesperssøn's Gradual

1588-1648 King Christian IV commissions Lutheran Church Music (Mogens Pedersøn, John Dowland)

1685 Church Ritual (Order of Service and Pastoral Theology; ordered by King Christian V)

1699 Kingo's Gradual (Salmebog) about 300 hymns arranged by Sundays of the Church Year

1740 Pontoppidan's Den nye Psalmebog

1778 Guldberg's Salmebog - 1781 Schiørring's Koralbog

1798 Balle's Evangelical-Christian Psalmebog - 1801 Zinck's Koralbog

1802 Rescript of the Church Ritual

1819 Lars Roverud's salmodikon with number system (He studied in Leipzig)

1866 Henderson's Choral-Bog (in America, poor musically and theologically)

1869 Landstad's Salmebog - 1877 Ludvig Lindeman's Koralbog

1870 Lindeman's Norsk Messebog - Book of Chant for Gospels, Epistles, and Collects

1887-88 two new series of texts for preaching, not for reading from the altar (Cartford p. 357)

1889 Alterbog for den norske Kirke draws on the Bavarian Order of 1879 (Löhe, Kliefoth, etc.); approximately the Lutheran Hymnary order - revised liturgy by royal decree of 1887 [in America add the absolution after the Kyrie and continue chanting the lessons rather than reading]

1895 Landstad's Salmebog printed in Minneapolis with an appendix of additional hymns

1898 Christian Hymns for Church, School, and Home (Norwegian Synod)

1899 Lindeman's Koralbog printed in Minneapolis

1901 Alterbog (Norwegian Synod)

1903 Synodens Salmebog (Norwegian Synod')

1904 Rhytmisk Koralbog (U. V. Koren, Nils Brandt)

1913 Evangelical Lutheran Hymn-Book (ELHB, LCMS)

1913 Lutheran Hymnary [LHy, published by the three merger synods of 1917, influenced by Ludvig Lindeman and F. M. Christiansen-mostly isorhythmic chorales]

1916 Lutheran Hymnary, Junior (bilingual)

1916 Collects of the Lutheran Church Service arranged for chanting (F. M. Christiansen, C. Melby - published by Augsburg; the longer Dietrich collects as in the Lutheran Hymnary)

1922 The Liturgical Service of the Lutheran Church (Dahle and Smeby - bilingual - For the first time in almost 400 years the (shorter) historic collects are used in the Norwegian Lutheran church again. Palladius (1556) had translated them into Danish, but they disappeared in the 1580 edition of Palladius' Alterbog by Povel Madssøn. (Cf. Cartford p. 166-167; Holloway, p. 127-128.)

1932 The Concordia Hymnal

1941 The Lutheran Hymnal (TLH, Synodical Conference: LCMS, WELS, ELS, Slovak Synod)

1969 Worship Supplement (LCMS)

1978 Lutheran Book of Worship (LBW, ELCA)

1981 Lutheran Worship (LW, LCMS)

1994 Christian Worship (CW, WELS)