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by The Christian Century
While we are talking with what may sound like more than a trace of smugness about the high standards of "the best Protestant hymnals," perhaps it would do no harm to ask what hymns the American people really like to sing. A Seventh-Day Adventist radio program, broadcast from a California station, has been trying to find out. More than 10,000 people, from all denominations and the unchurched, furnished their lists of favorites. What are they? Well, by a wide margin, the top favorite is "The Old Rugged Cross." Then in order, "The Love of God," "In the Garden," "What a Friend We Have in Jesus," "Beyond the Sunset," "Precious Lord, Take My Hand," "Rock of Ages," "It Is No Secret," "Abide with Me," and "No One Ever Cared for Me Like Jesus." It will be said that this list reflects the interests of the particular radio program which obtained it. Of course, this is so. But we also suspect that it is just about such a list as almost any national sampling of hymn singers —or at any rate Protestant hymn singers—would produce. And it tells a lot about the people in our American churches that is in danger of not being told when the big denomina­tional conventions are in session. Has a list of this sort, for example, any bearing on the Evanston Assembly of the World Council? Certainly it's eschatological.
"Copyright 1953, Christian Century Foundation. Reprinted by permission from The Christian Century, Vol. 70, No. 37, September 16."