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Worship discuss "Special Music" in church in the The Church forums; I started singing solo "special music" in church when I was six years old. I come from a very musical family, and we all sing ...

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    Kim G's Avatar
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    "Special Music" in church

    I started singing solo "special music" in church when I was six years old. I come from a very musical family, and we all sing and play multiple instruments.

    That said, I've been wondering where our modern idea of "special music" comes from. (I visited to one church where there were five "specials" in each service, with only three congregational songs of one or two verses each. I felt left out of worship!) I'm thinking of two specific areas:

    --Choir. My husband and I are in choir at church and spend two hours every Lord's Day in choir practice, which makes for a pretty exhausting Sunday. Why do we have choirs?

    --Singing solos. Most churches in my circle have someone sing special music right before the message. I did it all the time growing up. But it started bothering me that the song leader would say, "So-and-so (a woman) will now come and minister to us in song (or bring us a message in song)." Is a woman supposed to minister to and exhort the congregation in that way? And why do we have special music anyway?

    Are these enough questions?

    Oh, and I don't really want this to be about what kinds of songs are being sung (EP vs. non), but about why we use these forms of worship in some churches.
    Kim G
    Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church
    Greenville, SC

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    The "special music" you describe comes under the category of "innovations". In other words, human invention. This practice is not commanded in Scripture, and that is why the purer the worship of a church, the less likely you are to find such practice in that church.
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    In addition to that, special music crowds time out of the worship service. Often these solo performances by an individual or a choir degenerate into entertainment, and the congregation are relegated to being passive spectators.

    I'll leave it to someone else more well versed in this than I to expound on the fact that one of the things the Reformation recovered was congregational singing and that choirs, etc. were done away with in Reformed churches.
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    Not every church has choirs, some of them out of principle that they should NOT have them.

    THE choir is the assembly, not a segment of it. We are singing for God and for joy, not for the vicarious enjoyment of the pew-sitters.

    Solos just take that idea one step farther. Now some individual "special gift" is being used to "edify" the church... but I thought that was the job of the minister of the Word? Hmmmmm. And by women sometimes, double hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

    Happy pondering.

    BTW, I used to LOVE to sing in church choirs, and even sang a few solos in services. That was before I was ordained to the ministry, before I went to Seminary. I really didn't want to miss out on active participation in that part of the service. I've kind of done a 180 on the whole thing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshua View Post
    At the root of it? Will-worship. However, I wouldn't give that intention to all who have it today. Although the practice is still will-worship, it's done mostly out of ignorance today (but that's no excuse, because we have the manual for Worship: the Scriptures).
    Why are people happy to stay in ignorance? Why do people and pastors I so greatly respect not question these things? Sometimes I feel like my husband and I are strange because we try to think through things without letting current trends cloud our judgement.
    Kim G
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshua View Post
    This is a good question; although, I know that in my case, I was never exposed to any other "view" than what I had done most all of my life out of tradition. Singing "specials," in choirs, playing guitar, "leading" worship with "my band." It's just "what we did." When I finally yielded to the force of God's Sovereignty in Salvation (precisely when He wanted me to), I was still doing these things. I was in an Arminian Church still, and still attached to much of the traditionalism found in such circles (It was an SBC Church). I did "Youth Ministry." We had a rock band, and we just knew the kids were "worshipping" when we saw them raising their hands, closing their eyes, and swaying with the music.

    However, when I came to the Puritan Board and was introduced to the Regulative Principle Worship, etc. all that mess started to fade. Eventually I left the Youth Ministry out of conscience. Then, after some frowning providences, I was joined to my current church, a Calvinistic Baptist Church we believes in the RPW. Now, I'm not exactly in agreement with my church, but we certainly don't have choirs or special music. For that, I'm thankful. It took me a while to distinguish between the Normative Principle of Worship (whatsoever the Bible doesn't condemn is permissible in worship) and the Regulative Principle of Worship (whatsoever is not commanded in worship is forbidden). But when one considers the totality of Scripture, along with explicit examples of Nadab & Abihu, Uzzah, King Saul's debacle, etc., it's a clear Biblical principle to which I happily submit myself.

    Ignorance is bliss, right? Not for me.
    Hmm . . . definitely things to think about. Thanks

    For those who don't follow the RPW (I just recently learned about it), I still don't see the point of special music. Only a select few get to lift their voices to God while others sit as spectators. Hmm . . . . . . my brain hurts.
    Kim G
    Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church
    Greenville, SC

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    VirginiaHuguenot is offline. Puritanboard Librarian
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    This previous thread may be of some interest:

    Congregational Singing as an act of Corporate Worship
    Andrew

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    FWIW, besides the Regulative Principle there is also the Normative Principle of Worship ( I think that's what its called. Someone correct me if I'm wrong). This principle says that what is not specifically forbidden in Scripture can be done in a worship service. The Lutherans, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and other churches follow this principle. That may be the reason you see solos, choirs and special songs during a worship service.
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    Well it seems it doesn't help a whole lot! It didn't help me read your whole post!!!
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    Quote Originally Posted by wsw201 View Post
    FWIW, besides the Regulative Principle there is also the Normative Principle of Worship ( I think that's what its called. Someone correct me if I'm wrong). This principle says that what is not specifically forbidden in Scripture can be done in a worship service. The Lutherans, Anglicans, Roman Catholics and other churches follow this principle.
    not to mention the vast majority of everyone else, including (i suspect) the majority in the PCA.

    That may be the reason you see solos, choirs and special songs during a worship service.
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    AV1611 is offline. Puritanboard Senior
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kim G View Post
    For those who don't follow the RPW (I just recently learned about it), I still don't see the point of special music. Only a select few get to lift their voices to God while others sit as spectators. Hmm . . . . . . my brain hurts.
    At Choral Evensong it would possible to attend and say nothing with the choir singing everything!! Sounds lovely though
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    I'm sure this has been addressed on the PB somewhere before, but I can't recall the details.

    In the OT, singers were appointed as part of worshipping God:

    1Ch 15:16 And David spoke to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren to be the singers with instruments of music, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.

    2Ch 5:12,13 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets: ) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;

    2Ch 29:28 And all the congregation worshiped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished.

    Does the idea of special singers set apart for the music ministry NOT follow from these verses because they are part of the sacrificial part of the law, which has been fulfilled by Jesus? Is this one of those areas where a command to continue the practice would require a command in the NT?
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    AV1611 is offline. Puritanboard Senior
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    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post
    Does the idea of special singers set apart for the music ministry NOT follow from these verses because they are part of the sacrificial part of the law, which has been fulfilled by Jesus? Is this one of those areas where a command to continue the practice would require a command in the NT?
    Temple worship has ceased hence all of the cultic activity inextricably tied up with that has ceased also.
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    Quote Originally Posted by AV1611 View Post
    Temple worship has ceased hence all of the cultic activity inextricably tied up with that has ceased also.
    Not sure what you're referring to when you say cultic activity tied to temple worship. By cultic activity, you're not referring to singers praising and thanking God, lifting up their voices in praise, and singing Psalms, right?

    2Ch 5:12,13 Also the Levites which were the singers, all of them of Asaph, of Heman, of Jeduthun, with their sons and their brethren, being arrayed in white linen, having cymbals and psalteries and harps, stood at the east end of the altar, and with them a hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets: ) It came even to pass, as the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD; and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying, For he is good; for his mercy endureth forever: that then the house was filled with a cloud, even the house of the LORD;
    B.Howes
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    The Levitical choir is done away with as surely as the Levitical priesthood, both of which were part of the ceremonial worship that was fulfilled and abolished in Christ. The regulated Levitical choir must now give way to the whole congregation of the saints, who are the royal priesthood of God (1 Pet. 2.9), in Christian gospel worship.

    Augustine's exposition of Psalm 149.4:

    4. Let them praise His Name in chorus (ver. 3). What means chorus? Many know what a chorus is: nay, as we are speaking in a town, almost all know. A chorus is the union of singers. If we sing in chorus, let us sing in concord. If any one's voice is out of harmony in a chorus of singers, it offends the ear, and throwes the chorus into confusion. If the voice of one echoing discordantly troubles the harmony of them who sing, how does the discord of heresy throw into confusion the harmony of them who praise. The whole world is now the chorus of Christ. The chorus of Christ sounds harmoniously from east to west.
    and on Psalm 150.6:

    You [God's saints] are trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, choir, strings, and organ, cymbals of jubilation sounding well, because sounding in harmony. All these are you: let nought that is vile, nought that is transitory, nought that is ludicrous, be here thought of.
    Brian Schwertley notes:

    A study of God’s word reveals that the only choirs (i.e., people set apart to sing during the worship service) that existed in the Bible were composed of Levites (cf. 1 Chron. 9:33; 15:16; 2 Chron. 5:11-13; 29:28-30; 33:15). “Prepare yourselves according to your fathers’ houses, according to your divisions, following the written instruction of David King of Israel and the written instruction of Solomon his son. And stand in the holy place according to the divisions of the fathers’ houses of your brethren the lay people, and according to the division the father’s house of the Levites.... And the singers, the sons of Asaph, were in their places, according to the command of David, Asaph, Heman, and Jeduthun, the king’s seer” (2 Chron. 35:4-5, 15). Since the use of choirs, like musical instruments, was restricted by God to the Levitical temple worship, their use is clearly inappropriate and unscriptural in Christian worship services. Their use (like that of musical instruments) arose as an aspect of the Judaizing Papal mass with its priestly garments and unauthorized rituals.
    Andrew

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    Quote Originally Posted by joshua View Post
    Yes, because the Levitical priesthood had to do with the ceremonial aspect of the Old Covenant.
    Just slowly thinking this through a bit, but if you strip out everything from the law related to the ceremonial aspect of the Old Covenant, including the above sited aspect of worship via music, what are we to glean from what's left over that can be used to govern how we worship in the NT? Several of the 10 commandments, of course, tell us when to worship and how to honor God, but apart from that, what else should be gleaned.

    Quote Originally Posted by joshua View Post
    Furthermore, even if in some feasible way it were still practice, it would be restricted to officers, just as it was restricted to the Levites.
    That would be consistent.
    Last edited by blhowes; 04-22-2008 at 02:40 PM.
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    The precise point alluded to is that the participants were ministers, i.e. priests and Levites. So, the more accurate analogy to today would be if all the church officers got up and did all the singing in worship. That is not the case today, inasmuch as the participant "priesthood" has been widened out. The choir is the priestly congregation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    The precise point alluded to is that the participants were ministers, i.e. priests and Levites. So, the more accurate analogy to today would be if all the church officers got up and did all the singing in worship.
    Knit-picking, but since not all the priests/Levites were singers, wouldn't the analogy be that only some of the church officers did the singing? (That line that Pat Paulson was so famous for is so appropriate, wouldn't you agree).
    Quote Originally Posted by Contra_Mundum View Post
    That is not the case today, inasmuch as the participant "priesthood" has been widened out. The choir is the priestly congregation.
    No comment, new thoughts, so just continuing to think...
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    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post
    if Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 weren't in the NT, what would we use to guide us in worship, specifically music?
    Those two are sufficient, in a general sense, to instruct us, but some more explicit testimony...

    Acts 16:25
    Rom 15:9
    1 Cor 14:15, 26
    Heb 2:12
    James 5:13
    Rev 5:9, 14:3, 15:3
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    While I am able to accept that the non EP position can be held in good faith I react with horror to the notion of solos in communal worship and with great unease to the use of choirs.

    Church worship is communal, that is the whole point of being a church, to be communal in our worship. We do not do our own thing in Church, there is no difference between someone singing a solo and someone break dancing on the pulpit or even showing everyone his excellent stamp collection.
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    Quote Originally Posted by joshua View Post
    2. The problem with hypotheticals, Bob, is they're not real.
    True, but...

    Let's do a test. For 10 seconds, everybody close their eyes. With all eyes closed, and nobody looking around...

    <sneaking back to previous post to delete embarrassing hypothetical question>
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    AV1611 is offline. Puritanboard Senior
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    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post
    Knit-picking, but since not all the priests/Levites were singers, wouldn't the analogy be that only some of the church officers did the singing?
    I am not convinced that the biblical data teaches that only Levites sung but even if that were the case, corporate praise is warranted from Eph 5:19.
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    Does anybody's church pianist/organist play music while the elements of the Lord's Supper are being passed out? It seems to me that by the same argument many are offering here, instrumentals during times such as the Lord's Supper and giving of tithes/offerings ought to be discarded...it seems the best way to be consistent on this argument is to go EP...or, there is another option.

    Let me also say: I generally agree with most folks that "special music" tends to be done in a God dis-honoring way. I remember watching these performances growing up...many times they were purely performance...and then it was followed up with clapping. I'm not a fan of it at all.

    When it comes to the receiving of offerings, I have no problem with "special music" so long as it is not done for performance/will-worship, rather, to keep our minds on Christ while the plates are being passed around.

    I believe in the RPW...my beliefs tend to be more rigid than most...but I think someone can do a solo, or have a choir sing in a way which is God-honoring...especially if there is active over-sight on the part of the pastor/elders to keep the songs in check, and not allow it to be more than what it is.

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    Quote Originally Posted by AV1611 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post
    Knit-picking, but since not all the priests/Levites were singers, wouldn't the analogy be that only some of the church officers did the singing?
    I am not convinced that the biblical data teaches that only Levites sung but even if that were the case, corporate praise is warranted from Eph 5:19.
    Agreed, corporate praise is warranted. No arguments there.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Does anybody's church pianist/organist play music while the elements of the Lord's Supper are being passed out? It seems to me that by the same argument many are offering here, instrumentals during times such as the Lord's Supper and giving of tithes/offerings ought to be discarded...it seems the best way to be consistent on this argument is to go EP...or, there is another option.

    Let me also say: I generally agree with most folks that "special music" tends to be done in a God dis-honoring way. I remember watching these performances growing up...many times they were purely performance...and then it was followed up with clapping. I'm not a fan of it at all.

    When it comes to the receiving of offerings, I have no problem with "special music" so long as it is not done for performance/will-worship, rather, to keep our minds on Christ while the plates are being passed around.

    I believe in the RPW...my beliefs tend to be more rigid than most...but I think someone can do a solo, or have a choir sing in a way which is God-honoring...especially if there is active over-sight on the part of the pastor/elders to keep the songs in check, and not allow it to be more than what it is.
    But what is the point of a solo, why should everyone not join in?
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Does anybody's church pianist/organist play music while the elements of the Lord's Supper are being passed out? It seems to me that by the same argument many are offering here, instrumentals during times such as the Lord's Supper and giving of tithes/offerings ought to be discarded...it seems the best way to be consistent on this argument is to go EP...or, there is another option.

    Let me also say: I generally agree with most folks that "special music" tends to be done in a God dis-honoring way. I remember watching these performances growing up...many times they were purely performance...and then it was followed up with clapping. I'm not a fan of it at all.

    When it comes to the receiving of offerings, I have no problem with "special music" so long as it is not done for performance/will-worship, rather, to keep our minds on Christ while the plates are being passed around.

    I believe in the RPW...my beliefs tend to be more rigid than most...but I think someone can do a solo, or have a choir sing in a way which is God-honoring...especially if there is active over-sight on the part of the pastor/elders to keep the songs in check, and not allow it to be more than what it is.
    But what is the point of a solo, why should everyone not join in?
    Again,
    what is the point of in instrumental solo for an offeratory? May we all join in? What's the point of an instrumental solo during the offering anyway? If instrumental music is appropriate for the offeratory, how is that okay but not a vocal solo or choir?

    EP makes things simpler, really. But if we are not going to go EP, we have to explain our reasoning better.

    I'm just trying to throw in a monkey wrench

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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    But what is the point of a solo, why should everyone not join in?
    Again,
    what is the point of in instrumental solo for an offeratory? May we all join in? What's the point of an instrumental solo during the offering anyway? If instrumental music is appropriate for the offeratory, how is that okay but not a vocal solo or choir?

    EP makes things simpler, really. But if we are not going to go EP, we have to explain our reasoning better.

    I'm just trying to throw in a monkey wrench
    The big difference is that if someone is singing why should everyone not join in, I would feel the same way if everyone had a glockenspiel in front of them and music was played during the offering, everyone should join in. It is the communal aspect that is so important for church worship.

    Solo's are inherantly offensive in church as there is absolutely no point in them apart from really really bad ones.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    The big difference is that if someone is singing why should everyone not join in, I would feel the same way if everyone had a glockenspiel in front of them and music was played during the offering, everyone should join in. It is the communal aspect that is so important for church worship.

    Solo's are inherantly offensive in church as there is absolutely no point in them apart from really really bad ones.
    But following your thought, playing an instrumental is decidedly non-communal if no one else is singing, right? I promise I'm not merely trying to be difficult here.

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    Just wanted to say to everyone for a good discussion.

    A little , but I guess I can do that since I started the thread . When I was growing up, I always hated cleaning my bedroom (I still do). When my mom would finally force me to clean it, I would say that I wanted to set my room on fire so the mess would be gone and I could just start over again. I feel that way about theology sometimes. There are so many issues to study that I feel like throwing away everything I've known and understood, and start re-building straight out of Scripture. I think if enough Christians did that, we would have a very different understand of worship, for example, than the practices of the vast majority of churches right now.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    The big difference is that if someone is singing why should everyone not join in, I would feel the same way if everyone had a glockenspiel in front of them and music was played during the offering, everyone should join in. It is the communal aspect that is so important for church worship.

    Solo's are inherantly offensive in church as there is absolutely no point in them apart from really really bad ones.
    But following your thought, playing an instrumental is decidedly non-communal if no one else is singing, right? I promise I'm not merely trying to be difficult here.
    If everyone is playing it is communal, I am not suggesting that one person sing and everyone plays but that either all play or no one plays.

    The argument would have to be that the music during the offering is not an element of praise, and this is probably not that bad an argument but it does beg the question of why do it if it is not praise.

    I guess it is done because it is nice and "feels" spiritual and holy. I have answered my own question here and I agree with you that it is actually really bad to play music during the offering unless everyone joins in.
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Craig View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Hippo View Post
    The big difference is that if someone is singing why should everyone not join in, I would feel the same way if everyone had a glockenspiel in front of them and music was played during the offering, everyone should join in. It is the communal aspect that is so important for church worship.

    Solo's are inherantly offensive in church as there is absolutely no point in them apart from really really bad ones.
    But following your thought, playing an instrumental is decidedly non-communal if no one else is singing, right? I promise I'm not merely trying to be difficult here.
    If everyone is playing it is communal, I am not suggesting that one person sing and everyone plays but that either all play or no one plays.

    The argument would have to be that the music during the offering is not an element of praise, and this is probably not that bad an argument but it does beg the question of why do it if it is not praise.

    I guess it is done because it is nice and "feels" spiritual and holy. I have answered my own question here and I agree with you that it is actually really bad to play music during the offering unless everyone joins in.
    This is a good discussion, it is really good to knock these points around and challnge your own assumptions.
    Mike
    Free Church of Scotland
    England

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    [quote=AV1611;394382]
    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post

    Temple worship has ceased hence all of the cultic activity inextricably tied up with that has ceased also.
    Temple worship commanded by God= cultic activity? not sure i see where your going with that one?

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    [quote=ModernPuritan?;394475]
    Quote Originally Posted by AV1611 View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post

    Temple worship has ceased hence all of the cultic activity inextricably tied up with that has ceased also.
    Temple worship commanded by God= cultic activity? not sure i see where your going with that one?
    "Cultic" is not necessarily a derogatory term. It just means a system of rituals or beliefs.
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    [quote=Backwoods Presbyterian;394477]
    Quote Originally Posted by ModernPuritan? View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by AV1611 View Post

    Temple worship commanded by God= cultic activity? not sure i see where your going with that one?
    "Cultic" is not necessarily a derogatory term. It just means a system of rituals or beliefs.
    ahh

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    Let me say first of all that I am opposed to set-apart choirs (though not good singing by a congregation), instrumental solos, vocal solos, etc., etc., within the life of the church. Why do people do them? Well one reason (although not a good one) is that people feel that they are not serving God unless they do something at church. So if someone has (or thinks he has) vocal talent, in order to "serve the Lord" with that "gift" he must "do a special number". People like them for the same reasons as they like any low-quality music, with an added feel of "holiness". When this is your mindset towards special music, then someone who opposes it is seen as having a bad attitude, probably stemming from sinful pride in that they would be unwilling to humiliate themselves by bawling and moaning in front of the congregation. This is also why young people are pushed into it; if you make it about your willingness to serve God (as I have seen done on multiple occasions), then "it's such a blessing" to see the young people ready to "serve". Part of the solution to that, I think, is to emphasize that serving God is not only or mainly done in an ecclesiastical context. A carpenter can glorify God without displaying his talent for carpentry within the church; if someone is really gifted musically, they can do the same (thanks to John MacArthur for that observation).

    But I think it does ultimately boil down to the RPW (although you can certainly launch pragmatic arguments against it, such as the tendency to pride, the torture to those with musical sensitivity, etc.): who gets to define what "serving God" looks like? If it's God, then we have to find Scriptural warrant for special music. If it's us and our feelings, then we just have to be careful about not turning it into a performance, making sure content is doctrinally sound, etc., etc. Personally, I think special music time is a great time to get a drink from the water fountain in the hallway.
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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    I think special music time is a great time to get a drink from the water fountain in the hallway.
    The only time that I have left a Church due to my disagreement with an RPW type issue was this Christmas when my old Church had a doll in a crib at the front of the church during a Christmas service.

    I just quietly walked out and went home, when I queried what had happened I did not even get a response for several months and then I was told that I should not see it as a problem as it was done "for the children".

    What a great idea to let children think of the God of the universe as a plastic doll.
    Mike
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    Quote Originally Posted by blhowes View Post
    Not sure what you're referring to when you say cultic activity tied to temple worship. By cultic activity, you're not referring to singers praising and thanking God, lifting up their voices in praise, and singing Psalms, right?
    I am talking about those rituals that were specific to Temple worship. Hope that helps.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backwoods Presbyterian View Post
    "Cultic" is not necessarily a derogatory term. It just means a system of rituals or beliefs.
    Richard
    CofE
    UK

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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    A carpenter can glorify God without displaying his talent for carpentry within the church; if someone is really gifted musically, they can do the same (thanks to John MacArthur for that observation).
    Good observation. Thanks for sharing.
    Kim G
    Mitchell Road Presbyterian Church
    Greenville, SC

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    Quote Originally Posted by py3ak View Post
    So if someone has (or thinks he has) vocal talent, in order to "serve the Lord" with that "gift" he must "do a special number". People like them for the same reasons as they like any low-quality music, with an added feel of "holiness". When this is your mindset towards special music, then someone who opposes it is seen as having a bad attitude, probably stemming from sinful pride in that they would be unwilling to humiliate themselves by bawling and moaning in front of the congregation.
    I think you make a good observation. This is pretty typical of evangelicalism...but instead of pointing out how everyone else does it wrong, I think it's best to consider if there is a way to do it right? Perhaps "special music" is the wrong thing to call it...I wouldn't call it "ministering to our hearts" necessarily, either.

    I also would not say it is the antithesis of communal...Mike (Hippo) agreed with me that his argument was inconsistent...unfortunately, he didn't consider that I was challenging his premise.

    How many RPW following churches encourage, or at least allow, members to pray while waiting to communally partake of the elements? My former OPC church did that...and they were far stricter on the RPW than my current church home. The *same* principle of communal emphasis which is being applied against solos and choirs applies *against* private prayer and meditation.

    The argument itself is wrongheaded, and the selective application of the principle is arbitrary.

    Am I saying special music is typically awful? Absolutely. Am I saying "special music" may supercede the Word? No. I am saying that hearing a familiar melody will cause our minds to recall biblical truth (using a familiar tune to a hymn or Psalm), and act as a proper guide for personal prayer during these times. With the proper principle guiding us, and pastoral/elder oversight: solos and instrumentals are quite appropriate for corporate worship.

    I think the baby is being thrown out with the bathwater...and that may be necessary...but the tub needs inspecting before it can be refilled.

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