Appreciation of Protestant Hymns


Not a hymn as such, but there’s a setting of Newman’s “Lead Kindly Light” – which he wrote as an Anglican – that’s absolutely beautiful. It was arranged by Howard Goodall under commission for a Methodist church in Texas, as I recall.

“Lift High the Cross” is my favorite hymn.


Maybe in the same way that “Purple People Eater” counts as a report on visitors from other planets.


When I was in Boy Scouts we attended a church service on Remembrance Day and we sang “O God, Our Help in Ages Past”. I wasn’t a believer then (and I’m not sure I’m one now) but the first verse struck me with its majesty and stayed with me. I read the other verses and imagine them being sung, and I’m struck again by the majesty of the song and its subject. I’m surprised nobody else has named it yet. Has anyone else heard it?


“Oh God Our Help in Ages Past” has been sung within the Catholic Church. I personally sang it in church growing up more than once. Therefore, it doesn’t meet the OP’s criteria for Protestant hymns that “aren’t sung within the Church.”


Whoops. Pardon my two cents.


No problem, it’s still a great hymn. I’m just explaining why it wasn’t mentioned on the thread, as I’m assuming other people sung it in church too.


“How Great Thou Art” is in Canada’s Catholic Book of Worship III. I consider it lucky that they didn’t update it to “How Great You Are”.

We have sung it acapella at the Saturday evening Mass and it’s often chosen for funerals so that’s kind of what I’ve come to associate it with. My FIL sang that in his United Church choir and it always reminds me of him.


Some Methodist friends were at my mum’s Funeral Mass .

Now Methodists are really into singing hymns , and one of them , Ken said , " You sing the same hymns which we do ."

One of them was - - - - - - -


I do too. I always sing “Holy God We Praise THY Name” even if in our hymnal it’s YOUR.


I’m weird about that. When I’m by myself, I follow the modern pronoun usage in the Our Father and the Hail Mary, but I’m all for the old-fashioned lyrics in the hymns :open_mouth:



When they recite the Rosary before Mass one person names the mysteries but each decade is led by a different person. One or two use the modern pronouns but the rest use “the”, “thou”, and “thy”. It doesn’t feel right to use you and your.

Strangely enough I have no problem praying the “Our Father” in French using the 2nd person singular, rather than the polite 2nd person plural the way I learned it as a child. I guess we’ve been using it that way at Mass for so long it’s become normal. But I can’t say the French “Hail Mary” in the 2nd person singular.


Russian is the same way – 2nd person singular is familiar, plural is formal. In the Our Father, it’s all singular.



Do you know the story of “O God Our Help In Ages Past” ?

In 1714, the English people were anxious because Queen Anne was dying and had no son or daughter to succeed her. Everyone was wondering who the new ruler would be. The previous regime had been intolerant and quick to imprison people who disagreed with them.

Isaac Watts was especially worried because when he was a child, his father had been jailed under the old regime. He turned to Psalm 90 and wrote “O God Our Help in Ages Past,” a poem that many people consider the greatest of all the 600 hymns that he wrote. It was a poem about how God is above human time and we can be confident in God. This world is not all there is.

I always love learning how the hymns came to be written.

Several posters have mentioned “Great is Thy Faithfulness.” Did you know that it was written by an insurance agent? Thomas Obadiah Chisholm had frail health that forced him to resign after only one year of serving as a Methodist minister. Along with selling insurance, he wrote poems and submitted them to various Christian magazines, receiving a lot of rejections, but some acceptances, and very little money.

But he never stopped trusting in God and extolling God’s unfailing faithfulness.

So next time you have to deal with an insurance agent, remember Mr. Chisholm and his wonderful hymn!


So beautiful @Rob2. Thanks for sharing.


I was just talking about this today with someone - Catholics who fear a “Protestant” Bible. You are correct that it is incomplete, and just don’t read the footnotes!


This hymn is ideal for our present culture with its lack of reverence , its noise , its stress .


Yeah, my mother was amazed years ago when we sang “A Mighty Fortress” at Catholic Mass; she was taught that that was one of those Protestant hymns we weren’t supposed to sing.

And I’ll add a couple of favorites of my own that aren’t specifically Catholic:

“The Church in the Wildwood,” from the religious music show my father used to listen to on Sunday mornings:

Church in the Wildwood

This song has a nice story behind it. The songwriter was passing through the area and saw the spot on the border of the woods and thought it would be a perfect spot for a church. Years later he visited the area again and a little brown church had been built there.

And another one from the woods, “The Green Cathedral,” which I sang in an assembly in sixth grade:

Green Cathedral


My mother was taught the same thing about A Mighty Fortress. She was surprised to even see it in the Missalette. It was sung maybe once in 20 years at our church.


It is based on the early Greek Christian hymn Sigesato pasa sarx in the St Jacob Divine liturgi from the 4th century so definitely old enough to be of Catholic/Orthodox tradition. Tune is traditional from the Provence region in France and composed around 1590s. G Moultrie (1829-1885) is the “modern writer” of the text, lived in Great Britain, was an Anglican priest and translated a lot of the ancient texts from the Greek and Latin languages.

We sing it during the Offertory in my parish as is recommended. It is one of my favourites for the Offertory. The 9 protestant denominations, that use the same hymn book, have a different translation than the Catholic Church where I live. Putting them side by side it is very easy to see which is of Catholic tradition and which is of protestant tradition.


I think there are only the traditional Latin ones that have a “universal” approval from the Holy See. :smile:

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit