The Songs in the WCG
(What were we really singing??)
I just recently listened to some of the "Bible Hymnal" songs from the Worldwide Church of God tape albums that were sold at the Feast of Tabernacles in past years. I amazingly discovered that all the time we thought we were singing the exact words from the Psalms, Dwight Armstrong (under Herbert W. Armstrong's tutorage?) had ever so slightly twisted the words and subtly introduced fear into the songs. What a heinous thing to do! The songs very much dwelt on "sins" and "wickedness" verses in the Psalms, but would leave out the verses that dealt with peace from God, His bearing our burdens, etc.
In the WCG, unknowingly, we were starving to know the real Christ and His truth and weren't getting it! The sickening thing about all this is that the WCG leaders (and many ministers also) knew exactly what they were doing all along! In their songs they would change the word "Lord" to "Eternal" in most instances.1 They didn't want anything to sound like the other "Protestant" Christian music, which they told us was too "sentimental."
I also discovered that the WCG changed the words in some of the newer hymns they added to their 1993 hymnal. To give only a few examples: In the hymn "God Be With You," they added a 4th refrain that wasn't at all in the original. In the chorus, they left out, "Till we meet at Jesus' feet." In the hymn "Onward Christian Solders," they changed "cross of Jesus" to "word of Jesus. "In the hymn "I am Thine O Lord," they changed the words in the chorus from "to the cross where Thou has died," to "the way that Thou hast shown," and they changed "to Thy precious, bleeding side," to "Thy ever-ruling throne." (It's true, the WCG never wanted to say the words "blood" if it tied in with how Christ had redeemed us. After all, blood was only mentioned to remind us that that's where the "life" was.)
Then I went over the music sheets that the choir used in the WCG, thinking it was all normal classical Christian music. I found out that much of it was taken from Roman Catholic music sheets! And here WCG told us that the Catholic Church was the "Great Whore of Babylon"!
By D. Woods
Exit & Support Network™
Updated with footnote March 15, 2012
NOTE: Dwight L. Armstrong (1904-1984), Herbert W. Armstrong's brother, was used by HWA to write some of the songs in the Radio Church of God hymnal (Bible Hymnal) and in the Worldwide Church of God 1974 hymnal (The Bible Hymnal). He began this work for the RCOG in 1947 and originally "borrowed" many of his songs from old Presbyterian hymns. Yet HWA always told members that such Protestant churches were part of "Satan's false church." Read: The Awful Music of Dwight L. Armstrong (letter to ESN)
Footnote by ESN:
1 WCG taught that Jesus was subordinate to the Father and they often referred to the Father as "the Eternal." However, "eternal" along with the words "God" is mentioned only once in the O.T. (Deuteronomy 33:27) and once in the N. T. (I Timothy 1:17). But the entire Godhead is mentioned in Hebrews 9:14 and says "the eternal Spirit." Since Jesus was and is God these references also apply to Him. Notice this scripture: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (Isaiah 9:6)
Comfort in Music (Reading through the words of sacred hymns can speak to us of Jesus and His love. Let these words comfort you.)