According to this article on the Christianity Today website the Vatican
has ruled that the word “Yahweh” should no longer be used in worship in
Roman Catholic churches. The reason for this ruling is the longstanding
Jewish practice of not pronouncing this name of God–known in its Hebrew
form as the “Tetragrammaton.” The original word contains no vowels,
making it unpronounceable, and even transliterations of the word like
“Yahweh” and “Jehovah” are not spoken by Jews (and now Catholics) out of
respect for the holiness of God.
The article goes on to report various evangelical responses to this
practice. Some assert that Protestants should follow suit in removing
these words from their songs, translations, and prayers. Others point
out that nowhere in scripture is speaking this name forbidden. A
representative from a large Christian publisher even talks about the
preferences of their “customers” regarding this issue.
I’m curious what you all think. In the Covenant worship community we
have already had significant discussions about the language of our
worship, most notably affecting the wording of songs in our current
hymnal. We’ve changed lyrics of our songs to reflect our diversity, to
more carefully express our theology, to “freshen” “tired” language, and
to remove archaic and irrelevant words. Is this yet one more change we
should consider? Should Hymn #408 in our hymnal now be changed to
“Guide Me, O You Great Redeemer”? Should we ban the Vineyard songs
“Yahweh” and “He Is Yahweh” from our worship?
Looking forward to reading your thoughts! God bless!
Associate Pastor of Worship and the Arts
Bethany Covenant Church
Mount Vernon, Washington