Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Joshua, Oct 17, 2005.

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  1. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior


    I believe that there is considerable emotion on both sides. Both sides want to glorify God in everything they do including Worship. What should give each side pause is that major denominations within the Reformed camp are not EP. If the EP position is so clear then why aren't they EP? The answer is that it is not as clear as it would seem. That is why there is disagreement.

    BTW, you can discuss any topic you want to and so can everyone else. If someone doesn't agree with you then so be it.

    [MOD HAT ON]

    The requirements of this board do not include having to respond to every post made. If you don't have anything edifying to say then move on. (and this is not directed specifically at you Traci).

  2. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    "And Mary SAID, My soul doth magnify the Lord" (Luke 1:46).

    Although the passage bears a certain resemblance to the Psalms (more so than the supposed "Song of Zacharias"), nevertheless this is something she said, not something she sang. And even if she did sing it, (a) it was private, not public, and (b) it appears to have been an inspired utterance. Not exactly the best of proofs for the use of uninspired compositions in public worship.

    I might also note one point that I was thinking over yesterday:

    God provides for His own worship to be observed. Not only did He give the Psalms, but He gave prophets to write the Psalms. Under the New Testament, it is true that He does not Himself write the sermons that are delivered (hence the possibility of error), but He has promised to provide ministers. But He has nowhere promised to provide songwriters to compose new, uninspired songs. If we were required to sing uninspired songs, He would have provided for an office in the church to ensure that this would be observed.

    (1) There is no command in Scripture to sing uninspired songs. (2) There is no command in Scripture to write uninspired songs. (3) There is no provision in Scripture for the office of songwriters. (4) There is no promise in Scripture that God would provide songwriters. Non-EP therefore fails the test of Sola Scriptura, as well as the RPW (since the Scripture is not sufficient to make any provision for uninspired songs, either in their composition or use).
  3. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dang it, I hate being the slow poster! All I end up doing is responding to somebody of ten comments ago.
  4. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    Saiph, I just realized that you're up in Westminster. Have you ever gone to the Westminster RP Church, pastored by Bob Hemphill?
  5. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior


    You realize that you are making a rather condescending statement against the majority of Reformed churches, which are not EP. This type of comment is not edifying to anyone.
  6. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    With all due respect Sean, we can use the word said, in a general way that includes singing.

    So I would speak of the songs of Hannah and Deborah.

    [Edited on 10-18-2005 by Saiph]
  7. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I do not believe, first of all, that there is "more freedom" in private worship. All true worship is regulated by Scripture. Secondly, I do not believe there are "proof texts" for the tri-fold distinction of worship into corporate, familial, and private. I am sure Andrew Myers or other faithful RPW/EP'ers on the board might be able to come up with a list for you, but I don't have one readily avaiable to copy and paste for you. I believe it is a necessary distinction gathered from Scriptural truth. I hold to it because it is part of the faith I confess. The Westminster Standards, in fact, outline the regulations for all three. Corporate, and Familial / Private.

    This is no different than any theological and doctrinal truth, really. We must make distinctions in order to explain and convey truths gleaned from God's Word. There is no strict formula or outline of the Trinity or other basic tenets of orthodoxy in Scripture that we can quickly reference or prooftext, but it is a truth that must be proved by necessary consequence and much Scriptural interaction and study (not simply a few isolated verses).

    Since the RPW is by good and necessary consequence gathered from Scripture (cf. WCF XXI for Scriptural references, although largely abridged and incomplete), even from the Second Commandment, we must hold to it in a manner consistent with what Scripture teaches about it. Scripture teaches us that there are certain 'things' commanded that are not optional and not subject to change in worship. We call these elements. Scripture also teaches that there are certain 'things' not directly related to those things commanded which may be implemented according to the particular context of worship, not being regulated by Scripture. We call these circumstances.

    This distinction has to be made in order for people to understand the RPW, b/c 9 times out of 10 the very first objection made to the RPW is in regards to a confusion of the element/circumstance distinction! For example, "Well pews aren't commanded in the Bible, so we can't have those can we? Scripture doesn't say we can chew gum, does that mean I cannot chew gum??" etc. into further rediculous absurdity.

    In other words, this distinction has to be made in order for the RPW to be explained and practically applied, as Scripture commands us to follow such a principle in our reverent approach to God and His holiness (cf Heb 12:28-9).
  8. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    If it is Westminter Reformed Church on 112th near Front Range community college, no. I do have friends that attend there though.
  9. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    You can assume that they are:

    1. Songs
    2. Songs to be sung
    3. Songs that were immediately sung as an act of formal Worship to God
    4. Songs to be sung in futher instances of formal Worship to God

    But you cannot prove it from Scripture. Nor can you provide any text commanding us to sing these poetic writings.

    Thus, I revert back to my 2-cents paragraph; Certainties regulate our reverent worship of a holy God, not possibilites.
  10. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Well, in fairness, non-EP'ers do the same thing against EP'ers. I highly doubt Sean meant it as an insult, merely his Scriptural conviction.
  11. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Just admit that the RPW is not itself COMMANDED, but derived by wisdom, and a deep sense of reverence and I will leave it alone.

    Anyone who follows the RPW is taking a "safe" route to worship.

    I do not criticise the devotion to RPW as a priciple. I do think it is wrong to say anyone not following the so-called RPW is offering strange fire though. Because, I can argue for many things from a good and necessary consequence gathered from Scripture.

    Heb 12:28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,
    Heb 12:29 for our God is a consuming fire.

    AMEN & AMEN.

    Worship should always be reverent, orderly, and directed to God alone.
  12. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Mark, here are the WCF Scriptural references for the tri-fold distinction of worship:

    I am forced to say the RPW is commanded, not simply a principle, as a result of the Second Commandment and numerous other Scriptural texts in regards to God's attitude towards acceptable worship. Sorry, I can't concede on this point. We can agree to disagree and continue in loving fellowship, but I will not renounce the RPW as a Scriptural command so far as God gives me the grace to hold to it.
  13. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Joshua W:

    Its called pejorative language. And I agree. I would add that it sometimes borders on adding standards to the standards, in that the WCF isn't good enough, we also need the authority of other things the men of Westminster wrote in order to get their meaning. Yet on the other hand, when we're not talking about EP, their language is so difinitive and exact. The thing is that not even Westminster dared to impose what they had no authority to impose, though personally they may have been persuaded of somethings that were not specifically included.

    And that for me hits the nub of it. Its not about the singing of Psalms in worship, its about separating opinion from Scriptural authority. The singing of Psalms in worship is a given, by all; its whether or not singing hymns is an addition to worship, whether composition and expression are additions to worship. I don't think there can be any question about that, that these things are commanded, and that they are not unwelcome additions to worship.
  14. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    JohnV, you must be able to prove decisively from Scripture that we are not only allowed to compose un-God-breathed songs for Worship of God, but that we are commanded and expected to do so as well. You cannot simply conclude that we can and that God accepts them. Where are your premises for this? Just some thoughts and encouragement.
  15. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate


    I think it is important to remember that both sides should be charging the other side with sin, if they follow the RPW. We must do this in love, but I think that all too often, people fail to realize that the RPW doesn't allow for "cans" or "mays" in worship, but only "musts."


    1) God commands Psalms and uninspired hymns, therefore EP churches are in sin for not singing uninspired hymns.


    2) God commands Psalms only, therfore non-EP churches are in sin for worshipping God according to their own imaginations.
  16. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Gabriel, the portion of WCF you quoted, for me, shows the scope of our lives which worship INCLUDES, not how we should divide it into various distinctions, and then make different rules for each. (Not that you are doing that, but a few RPW nazis I know tend towards this, and they are not on this board either).

    If I sing a Psalm, I am worshipping according to the RPW right ?
    So which english translation ?
    Can I rearrange a few verses and words so they sing better ?
    If I can rearrage them, as most Psalters I have do, then why not paraphrase them (again some Psalters do this) ?
    If I can paraphrase them, why not write songs where the meaning and truth, and sentiment of the Psalms is present, but not word for word ?

    Basically, in my opinion, the true EP and RPW would sing them only in Hebrew or LXX . . . . . .. .

  17. Augusta

    Augusta Puritan Board Doctor

    Mark one reason why the solemn assembly is different than private worship is that when we gather scripture states we are caught up in the heavenlies and worship in the temple not made with hands. It is like the holy of holies in the temple only it is the original and not the copy. Thus we are truly before the throne of God in worship in the solemn assembly.

    In the type you had a detailed ritual washing before you went in there. Now we are washed and robed in Christs righteousness, an alien righteousness, not our filthy rags righteousness. All implements in the type were contructed and sanctified by God for use in the temple. In addition to our lovely new robe when we enter there we are given sanctified songs to sing to him. I just cannot see bringing our filthy rags songs in there either.

    Our sacrifices of praise are supposed to be spotless just like the lambs for sacrifice were. If we bring in the lame and the blind sacrifices Malachi 1:7-8 says it is evil. If we offer polluted bread we make His table contemptable. This is strong language and it was no small thing to approach a Holy God in the OT it should be no less today.
  18. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    You cannot go from desiring to understand what the RPW is and how it works to defining it for itself, friend. You don't define the terms for something you don't hold to (i.e. the WCF or RPW/EP) or completely understand! :) Not fair, sir, not fair. :)
  19. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Do you hear what you are saying??? EP'ers vs Non-EP'ers?? Them vs Us?? I know what you are getting at but for crying out loud think about how this post reads!! It sounds like you have divided the Church based on EP! and I know you don't mean to do that but it certainly can be interpreted that way.

    BTW, we all have Scriptural convictions. But not all Scriptural convictions need to be expressed in such a manner that does not edify. And if you happen to read a post that makes such a comment about churches that are EP, let me know and I'll make the same comment to them.
  20. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Yes, I hear what I am saying, and I have no problem with it.

    It is not divisive unless you make it out to be so, which I am not, obviously, as I have many close friends who are not RPW/EP, my entire family, and so forth ...
  21. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Hold on Jeff,

    Comments like this is why this topic gets emotional. No one should be charging anyone with sin.
  22. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Wayne, do you think it is sinful to withhold baptism from the children of believers?
  23. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    It appears that emotions have taken over. There are plenty of threads on EP.

    Stick a fork in this one. It's done.
  24. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member


    Just so that we are perfectly clear: the purpose of the Report button is to report language and comments that are inappropriate for a Christian.

    It is not so that you can complain and moan about the actions of a Moderator. In case it was not clear, this thread (like other unrelated threads) has the exact same posts with the exact same arguments and the exact same Scripture references as at 10 other threads on the board.

    If a Moderator believes that it serves little to no purpose to simply parrot the exact same arguments and repeat them, that is his or her discretion. If the world will collapse unless you get to repeat the same line for the 50th time, do it by email.

    [Edited on 10/18/2005 by fredtgreco]
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