#2 How Great Thou
How Great Thou Art
by Stuart K. Hine
The United Methodist Hymnal, No. 77
As Carlton Young was preparing The United Methodist Hymnal, a United Methodist Reporter poll revealed that “How Great Thou Art” headed the list of hymns that should be retained in the then-forthcoming 1989 hymnal.
As the poll was published, John A. Lovelace, Reporter editor emeritus, wrote, “What no previous survey had found, though, is that ‘How Great Thou Art’ may also be United Methodism's least-liked hymn” (The United Methodist Reporter, August 23, 1985).
Earlier, when the hymn was reluctantly included in the 1966 Methodist Hymnal (as most-requested hymn), Dr. Young notes that many complained that “the church’s official hymnal would bring respectability to the theme song of the Billy Graham Crusades . . .. Others brought equally uninformed and unfair criticism on the Methodist Publishing House for presumably dictating editorial policy and cheapening the church’s official hymnal” (Young, 1993, 409).