How Worldwide Church of God Changed the Original Words of Sacred Hymns!
Do men of good Christian character that have gone "from cult to mainstream" tamper with the words of copyrighted hymns?
Did the WCG actually think that no member would ever look at old hymnal books that Christians used for decades? Sacred hymns that were cherished and sang over and over and passed on down through generations? Did they think the sheep would never notice how the WCG subtly changed the words in many of the hymns that they decided to add to their brand new new hymnal book of August 1993? Many Christians today use newer songs and an overhead screen when singing "praise songs," and the old hymns in many churches are relegated to the library, so it may be hard to find the actual words to these songs (although some may be online). I suggest you locate an old hymnal and then read the following to see if what I have discovered is true.
Most hymnals have a "Topical Index of Hymns" in the back and usually have songs that are listed under topics like, "Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness." (There is NO topic in the WCG's 1993 hymnal for songs about GRACE!)
NOTICE: In April 2009 Worldwide Church of God changed their name in the United States to Grace Communion International. (Some local church areas and countries may still carry the former name or a different one.) They have since gone on to embrace New Age teachers and philosophies.
The following pertains to the book: WCG Hymnal (Worldwide Church of God) Copyright 1993, Published August 1993.
ABIDE WITH ME:The original stanza #2 is removed and they added the last stanza, which is their own words.
COUNT YOURS BLESSINGS:
They left out stanza #3 where it mentions, "Your home in heaven" and "your home on high.
BATTLE HYMN OF THE REPUBLIC:
They changed "beauty of the lilies" to "beauty of the autumn" [fits in with their saying Jesus was born in the fall] and they changed "as he died to make men holy" to "as he lives to make men holy."
FAITH OF OUR FATHERS:
The 2nd stanza is really twisted around and words are changed from the original.
GOD BE WITH YOU:
They added a 4th stanza that wasn't in the original and in the chorus they leave out, "Till we meet at Jesus feet."
I AM THINE O LORD:
They changed the words in the 4th stanza: "Till I cross the narrow sea" to "till I have immortality." In the chorus they changed, "To the cross where Thou hast died" to "the way that Thou hast shown," and they changed "to Thy precious, bleeding side" to "Thy ever-ruling throne." [I Peter 1:18-19 says we were redeemed "with the precious blood of Jesus Christ."]
ONWARD, CHRISTIAN SOLDIERS:
They changed "cross of Jesus" to "word of Jesus." They took out the 2nd stanza [probably because it had "Hell's foundations" in it and put in a stanza in place of the original 3rd stanza that they complete made up themselves.]
CROWN HIM WITH MANY CROWNS:
They removed the chorus. In the 3rd stanza they changed the words, "Awake my soul and sing...And hail him as thy matchless King" to completely different words that they made up.
TRUST AND OBEY:
They changed "abide" to "remain" and didn't acknowledge it was written by a Reverend. They took out stanza #4 altogether, so they could probably have stanza #5 where it say, "What He says, we will do; where He sends, we will go."
GLORIOUS THINGS OF THEE ARE SPOKEN:
They removed the last two lines of stanza #3, removing such words as, "Safe they feed upon the manna [a reference to Jesus Christ]" and substituted their own words.
LOVE, DIVINE, ALL LOVES EXCELLING:
They changed "Loves" to "Love's" and then they omitted the 3rd stanza altogether and moved the 4th stanza to the 3rd stanza's place. They changed the words, "'Til in heaven we take our place" to say "Serve Thee as Thy hosts above" which are words that are taken from the original 3rd stanza and moved in place here! They totally omit "'Til we cast our crowns before Thee, Lost in wonder, love, and praise."
COME, THOU ALMIGHTY KING:
They changed "Spirit of holiness, On us descend" to "Spirit of holiness, our prayer attend." (Actually they took the words "Our prayer attend" from the first part of the 2nd stanza and moved it to the very end of the second stanza!) Then they changed "Come, Holy Comforter, Thy sacred witness bear" to "Come, Holy Advocate, A pure heart in us create." [Instead of using the word "Comforter" as Jesus did.] The original words in the 3rd stanza, are, "Now rule in every heart, Never from us depart," but they substituted instead, "Thou, who almighty art, open our minds to see What Christ would have us be." [This places the emphasis on works.] Finally, they totally leave out the 4th stanza [no doubt because it mentions the Trinity] which says, "To Thee, great One in Three, The highest praises be, Hence evermore! Thy sovereign majesty May we in glory see, And to eternity Love and adore."
By D. Woods
Exit & Support Network™
August 22, 1997
Last updated November 3, 2004
COMMENT: Herbert Armstrong said he was "forced to use a Protestant hymnal" when he first founded the Radio Church of God, as they had no hymnal of their own. In his introduction to the new 1974 hymnal for WCG, he states: "For some time I had realized that many of the standard hymnals contained songs that were unscriptural" and then he admits to "even having to change words in a few instances." (The Bible Hymnal, "How This Hymnal Came to Be" by Herbert W. Armstrong) Read our 2005 article concerning this: Did Herbert W. Armstrong Change Words of Sacred Hymns?
When S. E. Anderson, author of Armstrongism's 300 Errors (Exposed by 1300 Bible Verses), questioned a WCG minister who came to his house if WCG sang songs like Blessed Assurance, he was told, "we used to, but not any more because we don't like the sentiment in it." (p. 198)
After their new changes WCG proclaimed that Herbert W. Armstrong was a "sincere Christian" and "dedicated to Christ." (Read this quote and more from our Q&A: Has WCG (GCI) whitewashed Herbert W. Armstrong?) How could HWA have been sincere when he knew what these hymns originally said? He scorned sacred hymns, and was ashamed of the Lord Jesus Christ, our personal Savior, as proclaimed in the Word of God and through the words of these time-honored sacred hymns of the Christian faith.
Starting in the 1990s Joseph Tkach, Jr. notified WCG members of his preference for "praise and worship" music. Traditional hymns were no longer played and many members were left to struggle with the introduction of unfamiliar songs and ones they felt uncomfortable with. Eventually, hand raising, tongues speaking and hand clapping became common in services, which is prevalent in Pentecostal, Four Square Gospel, and Charismatic churches today.
Why I Didn't Like the New Music in WCG (By former WCG member; also reveals some of the behavior incited by the new music)
Comfort in Music (Reading through the words of sacred hymns can speak to us of Jesus and His love. Let these words comfort you)