The Book of Common Worship of 1932

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The Book of Common Worship of 1932 was the second liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA). It was superseded by a new edition in 1946.

Henry van Dyke, who chaired the committee that composed The Book of Common Worship of 1906, began in 1928 calling on General Assembly to revise the book. The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of 1929 constituted a committee, again chaired by van Dyke.

During the course of their work, van Dyke addressed the critics of the 1906 book: "We can see no force in the thoughtless opposition of such a book which is represented by the rather irreverent phrase, 'canned prayers.' The Bible and the service books of Calvin, Knox and the other reformers, all contain written forms of prayer. All our hymns are written. Yet no one is foolish and crude enough to protest against 'canned praise.' The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man is acceptable though it be written."

The 1932 book was a revision and an expansion of the 1906 book, thus becoming the second liturgical book of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Texts for additional festivals and seasons were added. A rudimentary lectionary was included.

When presented to the 1931 General Assembly, there were no speeches against 'canned prayers' and the book was unanimously approved. The work was published in 1932. Henry van Dyke, who had called The Book of Common Worship of 1932 "his last labor" of life, died in 1933.

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