A critique of the New Calvinism

Status
Not open for further replies.

LawrenceU

Puritan Board Doctor
One thing I have been thinking about: Is there a difference between worship styles and worship principles?

I have some thoughts, but no time to post them. What about y'all?
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
One thing I have been thinking about: Is there a difference between worship styles and worship principles?

I have some thoughts, but no time to post them. What about y'all?
I suppose there might be if the Psalms were sung to tunes that were substantially different from the tunes of today's Psalters -- e.g., singing a Psalm to the melody of "How Great Is Our God" (a praise song). Otherwise, if the RPW entails EP (which I believe), then I see no difference.
 

JonathanHunt

Puritan Board Senior
Phil Johnson has responded (awesomely graciously) to Greg Linscott who asked him for his opinion of the article:

Given Dr. Masters' stature, his age, and his history of usefulness for the cause of Christ, I'm happy to let him have his say without feeling the need to argue with him on the points where I disagree. As you note, he makes some valid points and says vital things no one else is saying. Like you, I can't agree with him on every detail of the worship issue completely, and I certainly wouldn't place the importance he does on matters of style per se. (The doctrinal content of our singing and the mindfulness we pay to the lyrics is of much more importance in my judgment than the question of whether we're being accompanied by instruments or not.)

Anyway, he has given a message on this subject at every conference I have ever attended with him. In his mind it's the most vital issue facing the church today. No one is likely to change Dr. Masters' mind on that, so all anyone in your position (or mine) can do is listen with an open heart, glean whatever edification we can from his lectures on the worship issue, and be thankful to the Lord for the way He has used Dr. Masters.

If Dr. Masters had come to central London and taken the pulpit of a thriving church and let it die while making worship style the one issue he was passionate about, even while his evangelistic testimony in the community completely diminished--then we might be justified in taking him aside and suggesting that his priorities are upside down. But since the opposite is the case, and he took a historic but nearly-dead congregation and shepherded it through a season of growth and fruitful evangelism, so that it is now full every Sunday, I think he is entitled to speak his mind on the worship issue, and I'm thankful to the Lord for all He has accomplished through Dr. Masters.

I'm also deeply grateful for Dr. Masters' own faithfulness and clarity on all the crucial doctrinal issues of our time.

Given all that, I have no trouble listening to him with great profit even when I disagree. I just have to keep all that in clear perspective.

Hope that helps.
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
My man at T4G is Lignon Duncan and Dr. Dever and Mohler have admitted that if he goes to their church on a communion day he will be denied it.

Is this true? Anybody got a link to a proof?

I heard Duncan at a PCRT in Philly talking about the Word of God. One of the most powerful teachings I ever heard....

:(
I got the quote wrong: He would permit a visitor to partake but not on a regular basis according to AW: adrianwarnock.com: Sam Storms Feels Mark Dever is Confusing on the Lord's Supper

I was correct on Mohler: Credo-Baptists, Paedo-Baptists and The Lord’s Supper Reformation Faith Today You can search albertmohler.com with the matching show dated (1-2 day difference between the blog and the show). I do specifically remember him saying that.



-----------
And I would agree with baptists: Both baptism and a clear profession of Faith that evidences regeneration are necessary for partaking in the Lord's Supper. I just don't believe scripture commands an order in those two requirements. If my close charismtic friend came to my church on the first sunday of the month I would ask her not to partake in it even though I am sure she is a christian she has not been baptized.
 

christianyouth

Puritan Board Senior
You might be surprised to find that there has been a discussion going on for quite some time on the relationship between music, the emotions, and ethics (millenia, in fact).
This is really interesting, and it would be a good topic to explore more sometime. Thanks for the post!
 

jogri17

Puritan Board Junior
If you do not believe one of the Reformed confessions and are held under its authority as the truth interpretation of scripture you have no right to claim to be in the Reformation or Calvinistic tradition. You may be in its protestant heritage but you are not Reformed and not one of the historic Reformed folk would recognize most of the major players in the Young, restless and Reformed movement. To see the ballance to this harsh statement please see my long post.
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Another thing, so this is called "New Calvinism" because we don't worship like centuries old Puritans? LOL you got to be kidding. Should we dress like them too in order to be accepted, I mean where do we draw the line.
Respectfully, before you so cavalierly dismiss the concerns of a great many (i.e., the majority of the denizens of this board), it would be fitting to take some time to understand the causes of why Puritans (and the heirs today) worship the way they do; as your comment comparing worship with dress suggests you don't yet understand the theological basis for puritan worship. Our forefathers were mocked and ridiculed for their beliefs on worship, and this is why they were called "Puritans;" this importance which they placed upon it suggests it may be prudent to look into their practices a bit more closely.
It might be helpful for Ricky to clarify what he means. Worship was at the core of Puritan belief - to dismiss it is to dismiss Puritanism in general. Maybe Ricky means their dress and music styles, being 400 year old, are outdated though their worship principles (namely the RPW) are still valid. If that's his point I would tend to agree with him.
Thank you..That is exactly what I meant. And you read me right so I think I communicated myself clearly in my opinion.

Yes their worship STYLE is outdated and we cannot formulate a doctrine on a cultural practice but soley on biblical principle.

-----Added 6/10/2009 at 10:55:34 EST-----

Another thing, so this is called "New Calvinism" because we don't worship like centuries old Puritans? LOL you got to be kidding. Should we dress like them too in order to be accepted, I mean where do we draw the line.
Respectfully, before you so cavalierly dismiss the concerns of a great many (i.e., the majority of the denizens of this board), it would be fitting to take some time to understand the causes of why Puritans (and the heirs today) worship the way they do; as your comment comparing worship with dress suggests you don't yet understand the theological basis for puritan worship. Our forefathers were mocked and ridiculed for their beliefs on worship, and this is why they were called "Puritans;" this importance which they placed upon it suggests it may be prudent to look into their practices a bit more closely.

Sorry for the confusion.....
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
ANd for the record, there is no "New Calvinism" to critique in the first place :doh:

We teach and preach the same Calvinism that has been taught since the Reformation and even would venture to say that we have brought to light true Reformed thought and Calvinism by engaging culture and the arts :cool:
 

Oecolampadius

Puritan Board Sophomore
ANd for the record, there is no "New Calvinism" to critique in the first place :doh:

We teach and preach the same Calvinism that has been taught since the Reformation and even would venture to say that we have brought to light true Reformed thought and Calvinism by engaging culture and the arts :cool:
Does this mean that what Mark Driscoll says about "New Calvinism" in the Resurgence blog, which is that primarily it is different from "Old Calvinism", is just a product of his imagination?

Here is what Driscoll says:
Four Ways 'New Calvinism' is So Powerful

1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
ANd for the record, there is no "New Calvinism" to critique in the first place :doh:

We teach and preach the same Calvinism that has been taught since the Reformation and even would venture to say that we have brought to light true Reformed thought and Calvinism by engaging culture and the arts :cool:
Does this mean that what Mark Driscoll says about "New Calvinism" in the Resurgence blog, which is that primarily it is different from "Old Calvinism", is just a product of his imagination?

Here is what Driscoll says:
Four Ways 'New Calvinism' is So Powerful

1. Old Calvinism was fundamental or liberal and separated from or syncretized with culture. New Calvinism is missional and seeks to create and redeem culture.
2. Old Calvinism fled from the cities. New Calvinism is flooding into cities.
3. Old Calvinism was cessationistic and fearful of the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. New Calvinism is continuationist and joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.
4. Old Calvinism was fearful and suspicious of other Christians and burned bridges. New Calvinism loves all Christians and builds bridges between them.
Sounds like good ol regular Calvinism to me......

1. Calvinism was always to engage culture, some did and some didn't just like we do today.

2. "Old Calvinism" fled from persecution in those cities (not because of culture ) and flooded other cities in the process.

3. Calvinism is still cessationistic but never fearful, this is an assumption forced into this description by the author for we always were til this day joyful in the presence and power of the Holy Spirit.

4. Again another forced assumption, Calvinism has always defended itself from error and in the process those who disagreed took away their bridges and burned them themselves, just because we have always been confident in our doctrine does not equal being fearful by any means, Calvinism has ALWAYS loved other Christians, its the other Christians who feared us not vise versa, example...PURITANS

Just because Calvinist are finally starting to be more consistent in their Theology does not make it anything "New" I would rather call it TRUE CALVINISM....Que Dios te bendiga

So yes Driscoll is wrong on many counts....
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
One thing's for sure; Driscoll wasn't biased in describing so-called "Old Calvinism"! (Speaking of burning bridges...)
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
he's judging based on his preferences, NOT the Bible.
A standard defence that those who decry 'new worship' are wrong because it is a matter of their 'personal taste'. A fair reading of his scripturally based arguments surrounding worship would be required to make such a sweeping statement.

I don't agree with the article in every respect, as Jie-Huli does, but I think you are being a little unfair.
It's not my intention to be "unfair." I made my statements by comparing his definition of "worldly" with the Bible's definition of "worldly." I'll try to show you my line of thinking as briefly as possible.

I'll begin with the most obvious. Romans 12:1-2, which says:



What is "the world" in this passage? I'd like to submit that "the world" is the world system in all it's rebelliousness and hatred of God. We are encouraged to "be transformed." How is one transformed? By the world and the spirit. Now, according to the author, this music is "worldly" because of the genre. Where in scripture is it taught or even implied that music, in and of itself, is "worldy"? He seems to be expressing a preference.

He says:

And this picture is repeated many times through the book – large conferences being described at which the syncretism of worldly, sensation-stirring, high-decibel, rhythmic music, is mixed with Calvinistic doctrine.
.....We are told of thunderous music, thousands of raised hands, ‘Christian’ hip-hop and rap lyrics (the examples seeming inept and awkward in construction) uniting the doctrines of grace with the immoral drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture.
I won't even touch on "immoral drug-induced musical forms of worldly culture." This just shows the author's ignorance regarding the subject of Christian rap. Here are my questions: What on earth is a "musical form of worldly culture"? Where did he get this term? By what standard is he making the claim for the existence of a "musical form of worldly culture"? Where is this concept discussed explicitly or implictly in the Bible? Help me out.

Next. I'm not sure if you are familiar with the lyrics of any Christian rappers, but as an avid supporter, I can tell you that Shai Linne, Trip Lee, Flame, Tedashii, Lecrae, Timothy Brindle, etc. are only putting scripture to music. I listen hymns, psalms and Christian rap. That's how Christ exalting this stuff is.

There is even an album titled 13 Letters with an exposition of each over music. Tim Brindle has an album "Let's Kill Sin." Sound familiar...yes...John Owen. Brindle is how I was introduced to this AWESOME theologian...

I don't want go off on a tangent. The point off all of this is, these men do not love the world and it is proven in their music and ministry. They preach that we are not to love the world, we are to shun evil, we are to love the church, we are to preach the gospel, we are to disciple and be discipled, we are use our gifts, we are to show forth fruits of the spirit, live holy lives, serve others, be faithful in our marriages, all to the glory of God out of our love for God. How is this message a "worldly" one? I can't even list all the bible verses associated with what these rappers preach. If these men were "worldly" using the biblical definition of "worldly" they would not preach these things. They would preach the opposite.

When comparing what these rappers preach with author's implied definition of "wordliness" I saw a difference. I can tell you that many of the rappers I named attend ONE church in Philly. To my knowledge, no one raps during corporate worship on the Lord's Day. If the complaint is a violation of RPW, that should do away with it.

I could go on and on about this...lol. I think Christian rap has been discussed here ad nauseum. People have the right to have a personal preference. When those same people decide to make it their personal "don'ts," laws that everyone must abide by to be "holy," it becomes a problem. This goes for ANYTHING (music, food, drink, clothing, etc.)

I hope this makes sense! I'm trying to type this quickly because I need to get back to work.

-----Added 6/10/2009 at 04:16:05 EST-----

I won't take time to read the article (not that I would disagree with him necessarily, but I have a lot on my plate right now), but I would like to clarify something in his defense. I believe that I am speaking accurately when I say that there is a disjunction of thought between many of the younger reformed folk on this board (and in the PCA as a whole) regarding issues of musical form and many older ministers (or even Westerners in general) who would take a particular approach to music and the human spirit.

Up until the early to mid 20th century the predominant way of viewing the relationship of the arts and the human spirit was set forth by Platonic and Aristotelian aesthetic theory. The basic idea being that music has the ability, for better or for worse, to affect the human spirit, and therefore we should be careful about how we allow our art, and our music in particular, to be constructed and ingested.

This is not a bad thing, and would fall in line with the apostolic instruction regarding sobermindedness and respectability being a virtue among office holders in the church. For if it is good for them to set and example of being sober in our thoughts, and yet we listen to music that causes our thoughts to drift and flow with the induced emotions, how can we then say that exposing ourselves to these musical forms on a regular basis is following in the footsteps of apostolic teaching and its intent for the personal life of Christian?

However, in our own day, when classical thought is a widely neglected area of our educational development (dead white men, you know), and personal liberty reigns as king in our decision making processes (just read current popular critiques of the aesthetic restrictions found in Plato's Republic, and how un-American they are :lol: ) one begins to see why even many of today's Christians take offense at statements targeting music. They have no intellectual context in which to place such a criticism other than it being an encroachment upon their personal liberties. They think that labeling certain forms of music as worldly and others as less so is an arbitrary distinction, because they have never taken time, or maybe not had opportunity give, to think about the subject as men such as Dr. Peter Masters have been given opportunity.

The bottom line is that, whether you want to label certain styles as being worldly or otherwise, music is indeed a powerful force that affects our emotions and our thoughts. If you want to deny that you are either a liar or an android, and I would hope that you would not want to exist as either! With that in mind, our selection of music for worship needs carefully to be thought through. Are we creating soberminded disciples of Christ, or are we developing our people in less strengthening and edifying ways? I am not hesitant to say that on more than one occasion my wife and I (and on even one occasion my kids also!) have been embarrassed to see people leading worship in Reformed congregations who were swaying before the us with eyes shut and who looked like they were waiting for someone to come up and give them a kiss! When your own young daughter has to ask why the men leading worship in a local PCA congregation were sweating and "looked like he was trying to kiss his microphone", then you know that issues of worship need to be addressed!

So for all who think Peter Masters is acting like a fundy with his take on music, I think you should realize that a bit of ignorance may be going on at your own end, and that you should familiarize yourselves with historic Western thought on the matter, as well as studying that thought in the light of Scripture (the Pastoral Epistles especially) to see how much light these man may have been able to gather from general revelation on the matter. You might be surprised to find that there has been a discussion going on for quite some time on the relationship between music, the emotions, and ethics (millenia, in fact).
Thanks for your thoughts on this. I'm familiar with what you've discussed here and I think it's great that you've included this information in this thread.

If one exposits Ephesians and puts a rap music track under it, what will be the effect on the emotions of the hearers? What if I put that same exposition over a piano? A violin? No music at all? I also wany to reiterate that some of the rappers being targeted in his article are RPW adherents, so the use of said music during corporate worship on the Lord's Day would not occur.

I also want to add that I don't take personal offense to when people express distaste regarding Christian rap. LOL...I do take offense when people imply that I'm not trying to live a life pleasing to God because I listen to Christian rap. I also take offense when I see attacks based on personal preferences rather than admonishments based on God's word. I've seen the Lord use these men mightily. I've seen some of these men on the streets witnessing to people who frankly, I don't think Dr. Masters would even approach. It's very unfair of him to imply what he's implied about them because they music they use to exalt Christ and is too "rhythmic" for his taste. The saga will continue though...LOL. As you've said, this has been going on for.ev.er.
Beautifully said my sista....Folks better get on board for God is doing glorious things in our culture and very rapidly redeeming and reforming a genre and culture that noone thought possible LOL God is so awesome when He brings confusion to those who thought they were God's gift to the Church...Love it!!!!
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Gloria and I wanted to share this email with you guys sent to Masters...The person who sent this email is a member of another board and a sound brotha and good friend..

Dear Dr. Peter Masters,


Good sir. My name is Sylvester Pittman and I was born and raised in Orlando,FL in the United States. I hope all is well and that Grace is being extended to your entire organization. I was given a link to your article about Worldly Calvinism. Now off hand sir, I am a Calvinist in soteriology and Presbyterian in my ecclesiology. I Love Owens, Gill, and Spurgeon. However with the accusations you bring against this worldly Calvinism is quite unwarranted and the name in itself is offensive. Worldly is something associated with pagans and their lifestyles not the ideas worldly people come up with. That's like saying we are worldly for eating at Mcdonalds or shopping at walmart. Perhaps a pagan came up with the two business but their ideas are not evil within themselves or sinful. It's the same exact thing with Rap. Rap is a form of communication and what's being communicated depends on the persons worldview and master. Many you may of heard of worship satan and it's obvious. Yet, to bunch in Christian Rap artist as being worldly b/c they use the same form of communication as heathens is not a logical assertion and a fallacy. So, it would be most appropriate to drop off the Worldly when you connect that with the Doctrines of Grace. They are two conflicting terms and assert irrationalism.

Now on the subject of worship. We are commanded by Paul to worship God with Spiritual Songs and hymns. Please take time to listen to the words of these songs and see what's being communicated. As you have acknowledged in your article that the Truth of Scripture which is Calvinism in soteriology is being broadcast on airways and concerts. Many of us (myself included) were in heretical movements like Word of Faith, Pentecostal, and etc. Yet unfortunately none of your sermons nor books were presented to me where I lived. Infact there isn't a reformed Baptist or Presbyterian church within 20 miles of my "Urban" or "Ghetto" home. So forgive me good sir, but it is the height of arrogance to condemn or slander the means that our Sovereign God chose to get these truths to us. Forgive us for not being in a location where a church plant isn't profitable. Forgive us for being given Heretical Doctrine nearly our entire lives by churches that are in these areas but God sent a Christian Rapper with Truth to open our ears. Forgive us for this offense.

There is a lot of emotion built up in this topic. Spurgeon, Owens, and Gill all being Post Mill would certainly see how God's Word transcends not only time but cultures and sub cultures to articulate his majesty. I did not write this email for you to have pity or to condone Christian rap. That's not my objective. There's a lot of bad Christian rap out there that I will openly and freely help you refute. This email is about the expansion of YHWH's Kingdom and his means in doing so. If Christian rap and this raunchy worship isn't your cup of tea then please continue to avoid it. However, to frankly condemn it without seeing it as a means of how God reaches people many within your own denomination wouldn't even look upon is hypocrisy. Britain being the home of Dispensationalism can be blamed for many ills in our country thanks to Darby and then Scofield. So there are many concerns and accusations that can be made about your nation as well. However, this isn't about history either. We learn from history and there is plenty of truth in it. The future however is evident that this movement will continue to grow because anything that produces spiritual fruit is from above. It's not about the art form (rap) but what's being communicated is the greatest story every told.

In closing, I hope you read this email with the same mind I'm reading it through. We are co-laborers for Christ and all are called to those whom the Father will draw to himself. Please feel free to respond back with your thoughts because as an Elder and learnt man of the Faith I'm sure I can learn a lot from you. If my emotions and sensuality has blinded my mind from seeing the truth I pray the Spirit shines light on it. I hope to hear from you soon.

Hail King Jesus,
Sylvester Pittman Jr.
Hopefully he will get a response.......:popcorn:
 

The Author of my Faith

Puritan Board Freshman
Rap

O. Wow. I guess rapping or listening to rap music must now be placed under as the same category as sin, huh....And since I rap, and I am a calvinist I guess im at the forefront of this "new calvinism"? Give me a break. :barfy:
dude, you must post some of your rap so that we can hear it!
I will. I just haven't worked on anything for a while. School and work have occupied most of my time. I will soon.

-----Added 6/10/2009 at 01:03:15 EST-----

dude, you must post some of your rap so that we can hear it!
sinner :eek:
:lol: i hope your kidding :(


Julio,

Some think any music that has a beat is of the devil. I have a neighbor that boasts that there Baptist Church only has a piano and someone suggested an electric keyboad and drums and they were rebuked. "those are tools of the devil". So I guess to some if you listen to Rap you are a SINNER. Funny, I know some who refuse to show any emotion towards Jesus yet act like a lunatic at a Football game. I like Christian Rap (Shia Linne, Cross Movement, LaCrae, and I look soft intrumental music and I like hymns and whatever else falls under Ephesians 5:19 "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;")

Some like to worship to Bach, other to Billy Jo Jim Bob and a Banjo, some to Contemporary Worship, some to Rap. As long as it is (making melody in your heart to the Lord) and not to entertain man I say Knock yourself out. It is all a matter of personal preference. So bust out a rhyme and praise Jesus!! :lol:
 

dbroyles

Puritan Board Freshman
Owen Quoted

John Owen sums up this example in this quote: “The custom of sinning takes away the sense of it, the course of the world takes away the shame of it”
I love this quotation by Owen. I just looked it up online -- BOOK 3, Chapter 1 on the "Work of the Holy Spirit in the New Creation by Regeneration." It's found near the end of the chapter where Owen expounds on Ephesians 4:19 - "Being past feeling, have given themselves over unto lasciviousness with greediness."

And also, thanks for the rest of your comments in this post. I found them helpful.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Some like to worship to Bach, other to Billy Jo Jim Bob and a Banjo, some to Contemporary Worship, some to Rap. As long as it is (making melody in your heart to the Lord) and not to entertain man I say Knock yourself out. It is all a matter of personal preference. So bust out a rhyme and praise Jesus!! :lol:
Well, the regulative principle of worship demands only that elements prescribed in Scripture are permitted in worship -- and not only permitted, but required. All elements not prescribed are forbidden. As a result, it's not all a matter of personal preference.

However, it is entirely a matter of personal preference regarding one's own music tastes outside of worship. For instance, I enjoy metal, though I would never advocate its inclusion in a worship service (per the RPW, not per the majority opinion on metal). This would mean that keyboards are excluded by the witness of Scripture, not because they are inherently "of the devil."
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Some like to worship to Bach, other to Billy Jo Jim Bob and a Banjo, some to Contemporary Worship, some to Rap. As long as it is (making melody in your heart to the Lord) and not to entertain man I say Knock yourself out. It is all a matter of personal preference. So bust out a rhyme and praise Jesus!! :lol:
Well, the regulative principle of worship demands only that elements prescribed in Scripture are permitted in worship -- and not only permitted, but required. All elements not prescribed are forbidden. As a result, it's not all a matter of personal preference.

However, it is entirely a matter of personal preference regarding one's own music tastes outside of worship. For instance, I enjoy metal, though I would never advocate its inclusion in a worship service (per the RPW, not per the majority opinion on metal). This would mean that keyboards are excluded by the witness of Scripture, not because they are inherently "of the devil."
And thats a whole other subject that a plethora of threads on this board is dedicated to. But you raise a good point, noone ever said that Christian rappers are going to rap in worship service (though some do and that is where I draw the line) not only is it a form of CLEAN entertainment but also a means of teaching.
 

Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
Some like to worship to Bach, other to Billy Jo Jim Bob and a Banjo, some to Contemporary Worship, some to Rap. As long as it is (making melody in your heart to the Lord) and not to entertain man I say Knock yourself out. It is all a matter of personal preference. So bust out a rhyme and praise Jesus!! :lol:
Well, the regulative principle of worship demands only that elements prescribed in Scripture are permitted in worship -- and not only permitted, but required. All elements not prescribed are forbidden. As a result, it's not all a matter of personal preference.

However, it is entirely a matter of personal preference regarding one's own music tastes outside of worship. For instance, I enjoy metal, though I would never advocate its inclusion in a worship service (per the RPW, not per the majority opinion on metal). This would mean that keyboards are excluded by the witness of Scripture, not because they are inherently "of the devil."
And thats a whole other subject that a plethora of threads on this board is dedicated to. But you raise a good point, noone ever said that Christian rappers are going to rap in worship service (though some do and that is where I draw the line) not only is it a form of CLEAN entertainment but also a means of teaching.
I really do not wish to enter into a long discussion about music at the moment - again, the article that is the subject of this discussion is about much more than music, as large an issue as that is. I am glad to see the article itself being read by many people, and I just hope that many people will read the article with an open mind and not reflexively dismiss it because it seems "fundamentalistic" compared to the circles they are used to travelling in.

The only thing I would like to add, very briefly - because I think this is a most important matter that Christians need to be clear on - is that I do not believe it is at all proper to make such a sharp distinction between what is done during formal public worship and what is done outside of public worship - as though the regulative principle had relevance only to public worship.

I would agree that, in the strictest sense, the RPW regulates primarily stated times of worship - public, private and family. But at the same time, we must recognise that much of what is contained in these principles must surely apply whenever we are singing about the things of the Lord. If we agree that styles such as rap are not appropriate in public worship, we must be clear on why that is. Is the RPW simply an arbitrary rule which we just follow in public because we are following what is written in a systematic theology, or are we actually appreciating the spiritual reasons behind the RPW? Why is it that God does not want us to worship Him in ways that He has not prescribed? To put it another way, there are reasons why everything that is excluded from public worship by the RPW is excluded - the reasons are not arbitrary. And if we truly appreciate these spiritual reasons, it is difficult to see why we would just put them in a box as applying only during the formal worship services (which would seem at base a most legalistic approach) and not apply these principles at any other time that we are singing about the things of God. The RPW is surely normative for the whole of life.

It is useful to remind ourselves that the RPW is closely connected with the 2nd Commandment, which forbids us from making graven images of God. But throughout reformed history, it has been clearly understood that it is not just forbidden to make graven images of God to use in worship services; it is forbidden to make graven images at all, whether for "private" use or otherwise. The same must surely apply to music. If a worship style is not appropriate for public worship, surely it is not appropriate for private worship either? For the God who is being addressed in worship is the same whether we are alone, together with the body of Christ for stated worship, or in some other sort of gathering. If our singing/music is truly for the purpose of worshipping God, the question must be asked why the musical enjoyments of the worshippers would enter into the discussion at all.

Perhaps some will say that what is going on in Christian rap is not actually "worship" at all, but this raises other serious difficulties. Is it possible or appropriate to sing/make music about the things of God without worshipping Him? I cannot see that the Scriptures ever mention singing other than in the context of worship. Singing/music is not, for example, mentioned in the Bible as a means of evangelism, so there is no Scriptural warrant for viewing it as such. And I cannot imagine how the things of Christ can be put to song and regarded simply as a matter of "entertainment".

I do not write the above in a censorious spirit, but I do think these issues deserve serious contemplation by everyone professing the name of Christ.

Respectfully,

Jie-Huli
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Well, the regulative principle of worship demands only that elements prescribed in Scripture are permitted in worship -- and not only permitted, but required. All elements not prescribed are forbidden. As a result, it's not all a matter of personal preference.

However, it is entirely a matter of personal preference regarding one's own music tastes outside of worship. For instance, I enjoy metal, though I would never advocate its inclusion in a worship service (per the RPW, not per the majority opinion on metal). This would mean that keyboards are excluded by the witness of Scripture, not because they are inherently "of the devil."
And thats a whole other subject that a plethora of threads on this board is dedicated to. But you raise a good point, noone ever said that Christian rappers are going to rap in worship service (though some do and that is where I draw the line) not only is it a form of CLEAN entertainment but also a means of teaching.
I really do not wish to enter into a long discussion about music at the moment - again, the article that is the subject of this discussion is about much more than music, as large an issue as that is. I am glad to see the article itself being read by many people, and I just hope that many people will read the article with an open mind and not reflexively dismiss it because it seems "fundamentalistic" compared to the circles they are used to travelling in.

The only thing I would like to add, very briefly - because I think this is a most important matter that Christians need to be clear on - is that I do not believe it is at all proper to make such a sharp distinction between what is done during formal public worship and what is done outside of public worship - as though the regulative principle had relevance only to public worship.

I would agree that, in the strictest sense, the RPW regulates primarily stated times of worship - public, private and family. But at the same time, we must recognise that much of what is contained in these principles must surely apply whenever we are singing about the things of the Lord. If we agree that styles such as rap are not appropriate in public worship, we must be clear on why that is. Is the RPW simply an arbitrary rule which we just follow in public because we are following what is written in a systematic theology, or are we actually appreciating the spiritual reasons behind the RPW? Why is it that God does not want us to worship Him in ways that He has not prescribed? To put it another way, there are reasons why everything that is excluded from public worship by the RPW is excluded - the reasons are not arbitrary. And if we truly appreciate these spiritual reasons, it is difficult to see why we would just put them in a box as applying only during the formal worship services (which would seem at base a most legalistic approach) and not apply these principles at any other time that we are singing about the things of God. The RPW is surely normative for the whole of life.

It is useful to remind ourselves that the RPW is closely connected with the 2nd Commandment, which forbids us from making graven images of God. But throughout reformed history, it has been clearly understood that it is not just forbidden to make graven images of God to use in worship services; it is forbidden to make graven images at all, whether for "private" use or otherwise. The same must surely apply to music. If a worship style is not appropriate for public worship, surely it is not appropriate for private worship either? For the God who is being addressed in worship is the same whether we are alone, together with the body of Christ for stated worship, or in some other sort of gathering. If our singing/music is truly for the purpose of worshipping God, the question must be asked why the musical enjoyments of the worshippers would enter into the discussion at all.

Perhaps some will say that what is going on in Christian rap is not actually "worship" at all, but this raises other serious difficulties. Is it possible or appropriate to sing/make music about the things of God without worshipping Him? I cannot see that the Scriptures ever mention singing other than in the context of worship. Singing/music is not, for example, mentioned in the Bible as a means of evangelism, so there is no Scriptural warrant for viewing it as such. And I cannot imagine how the things of Christ can be put to song and regarded simply as a matter of "entertainment".

I do not write the above in a censorious spirit, but I do think these issues deserve serious contemplation by everyone professing the name of Christ.

Respectfully,

Jie-Huli
Its for worship only brother......to extend it further than that is to be totally irrelevant to culture and to peoples. Further, to extend the RP and I can't emphasis enough the W, is to take away any form of music to listen to at all for that matter, especially those who hold to the EP principle. We are not considering the consequences of our ideas when we exaggerate principles.

To all, like it or not the bottom line is this, God is being Glorified through this music and thousands are coming to the Reformed Faith because of it. Are any of the Strict RPW or EP folks going into the ghettos and hoods to communicate this faith? I sure don't see it and I've been in Urban missions for 13yrs now and have seen rapid growth in our culture in respects to sound doctrine because of this music and its teachings, so go figure.....
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Its for worship only brother......to extend it further than that is to be totally irrelevant to culture and to peoples.
He does make a good point, however, in pointing out that the RPW applies to non-corporate worship, including family and private.

Furthermore, as Jie-Huli noted, I'm not sure how I understand exactly the demarcation between corporate worship and rapping about Jesus publicly. There certainly seems to be a difference (otherwise it would seem to be a censorship on mentioning Jesus, because "that counts as worship!"), but I can't put my finger on it. If there is no difference, however, then the RPW applies.

:think:
 

Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
Its for worship only brother......to extend it further than that is to be totally irrelevant to culture and to peoples. Further, to extend the RP and I can't emphasis enough the W, is to take away any form of music to listen to at all for that matter, especially those who hold to the EP principle. We are not considering the consequences of our ideas when we exaggerate principles.
All right.

To be clear, I am, at the moment, speaking only about music/singing in relation to the things of the Lord.

I would like to ask you, on the basis of your response above, the following questions:

1) When you say that the RPW is "for worship", what do you mean by worship? Do you mean that the RPW applies only to the public services held by the church, or do you mean that it applies to all worship whenever and wherever it occurs, whether in the church, at home or at other gatherings of believers?

2) Do you believe it is possible to ever sing/make music about the things of God without there being an element of worship in it?

3) Is there any Scriptural warrant for using music in relation to the things of God in any way other than in worship?

4) Given that the RPW is derived largely from the 2nd Commandment, if the RPW can be reduced to applying to the things of God only in certain settings, does this mean that you would be allowed to have little statues representing the three members of the trinity in your house as long as you did not bring them to the stated times of worship?

Kind regards,

Jie-Huli

-----Added 6/11/2009 at 01:25:20 EST-----

To all, like it or not the bottom line is this, God is being Glorified through this music and thousands are coming to the Reformed Faith because of it. Are any of the Strict RPW or EP folks going into the ghettos and hoods to communicate this faith? I sure don't see it and I've been in Urban missions for 13yrs now and have seen rapid growth in our culture in respects to sound doctrine because of this music and its teachings, so go figure.....
Just to be clear, the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr Masters' church) is itself situated in what has become one of the roughest parts of London - surrounded by gigantic low income housing estates and with crime and gang activity rife in the area. Most of the members purposely live in this area specifically in order to be intimately involved in the ministry of the church, and there are evangelistic teams out constantly on the streets and in the parks reaching out to people of every possible description in witness. And people from every background are being saved continually, by the Lord's grace, through the preaching of the Word. Whatever else may be said, it is certainly possible to do this work without rap and pop music.
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Just to be clear, the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr Masters' church) is itself situated in what has become one of the roughest parts of London - surrounded by gigantic low income housing estates and with crime and gang activity rife in the area. Most of the members purposely live in this area specifically in order to be intimately involved in the ministry of the church, and there are evangelistic teams out constantly on the streets and in the parks reaching out to people of every possible description in witness. And people from every background are being saved continually, by the Lord's grace, through the preaching of the Word. Whatever else may be said, it is certainly possible to do this work without rap and pop music.
Super, that still doesn't negate the use of music by any means. God can use whatever means He wants to communicate His Word, if He used a jackass/donkey to communicate I think him using human beings and their poetry on beats to do so as well.

-----Added 6/11/2009 at 01:40:34 EST-----

Its for worship only brother......to extend it further than that is to be totally irrelevant to culture and to peoples.
He does make a good point, however, in pointing out that the RPW applies to non-corporate worship, including family and private.
Says who? The bible sure doesn't.....you mean to tell me that on my family nigh with my kids that I can't even play a board game that teaches the gospel and talks about Jesus without it being called "worship"? This is just silly to be quit frank. The RPW is for corporate worship only, again to exaggerate the principle beyond its limits is to make basic entertainment of no effect and basically we must live in the 17th-18th centuries. We can't everytime we disagree with something or don't like something right away pull the RPW card...frustrating
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
Says who? The bible sure doesn't.....you mean to tell me that on my family nigh with my kids that I can't even play a board game that teaches the gospel and talks about Jesus without it being called "worship"? This is just silly to be quit frank. The RPW is for corporate worship only, again to exaggerate the principle beyond its limits is to make basic entertainment of no effect and basically we must live in the 17th-18th centuries.
Where does the Bible restrict it to corporate worship? I am fairly sure that the men who originally deduced the RPW from Scripture also applied it to family and private worship, although I admittedly am ignorant of the specific Scriptural warrant for such an application.

But the question you raise about board games brings up a point that can assist us in understanding what I asked before? How is it possible for Jesus to be involved in an event (e.g. as a rapper's lyrics) without necessitating that the event be worship? I for one think that it is, but I don't know how.
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Where does the Bible restrict it to corporate worship? I am fairly sure that the men who originally deduced the RPW from Scripture also applied it to family and private worship, although I admittedly am ignorant of the specific Scriptural warrant for such an application.
Where in the bible does it extend the principle beyond corporate worship? I would reccomend John Frames book of RPW.

But the question you raise about board games brings up a point that can assist us in understanding what I asked before? How is it possible for Jesus to be involved in an event (e.g. as a rapper's lyrics) without necessitating that the event be worship? I for one think that it is, but I don't know how.
So according to your reservation then, playing a board game is also considered worship since Jesus is involved or anything that involves speaking of Jesus is worship....you see my brotha this is the logical conclusion that one must lead to in order to hold to extending the RPW to anything that mentions Jesus....I for one think that its a silly exaggeration to say the least.
 

Confessor

Puritan Board Senior
John Frame's view of the RPW is unconfessional, essentially a NPW, because he defines worship so broadly as to be inclusive of pretty much anything. He makes no real distinction between church on Sunday mornings and work during the week.

So according to your reservation then, playing a board game is also considered worship since Jesus is involved or anything that involves speaking of Jesus is worship....you see my brotha this is the logical conclusion that one must lead to in order to hold to extending the RPW to anything that mentions Jesus....I for one think that its a silly exaggeration to say the least.
I'm sorry that I was unclear. I said I think there is some way to distinguish between events that mention Christ and worship events that are under the purview of the RPW. However, I don't know what that distinction is.

That is what Jie-Huli was asking above; he was asking how rapping about Jesus is substantially different from corporate worship. As I said, I believe that it is without knowing how it is at the moment.
 

Jie-Huli

Puritan Board Freshman
Just to be clear, the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr Masters' church) is itself situated in what has become one of the roughest parts of London - surrounded by gigantic low income housing estates and with crime and gang activity rife in the area. Most of the members purposely live in this area specifically in order to be intimately involved in the ministry of the church, and there are evangelistic teams out constantly on the streets and in the parks reaching out to people of every possible description in witness. And people from every background are being saved continually, by the Lord's grace, through the preaching of the Word. Whatever else may be said, it is certainly possible to do this work without rap and pop music.
Super, that still doesn't negate the use of music by any means. God can use whatever means He wants to communicate His Word, if He used a jackass/donkey to communicate I think him using human beings and their poetry on beats to do so as well.
Well, you have implied or asserted many times in this discussion that people who adhere strictly to the RPW and traditional worship principles are not interested in witnessing to people who live in urban sub-cultures (i.e., "Are any of the Strict RPW or EP folks going into the ghettos and hoods to communicate this faith? I sure don't see it . . .") and I was simply pointing out that this is unfair and untrue. Come to Elephant & Castle, London, and you will certainly see what you say you've never seen.
 

Roldan

Puritan Board Junior
Just to be clear, the Metropolitan Tabernacle (Dr Masters' church) is itself situated in what has become one of the roughest parts of London - surrounded by gigantic low income housing estates and with crime and gang activity rife in the area. Most of the members purposely live in this area specifically in order to be intimately involved in the ministry of the church, and there are evangelistic teams out constantly on the streets and in the parks reaching out to people of every possible description in witness. And people from every background are being saved continually, by the Lord's grace, through the preaching of the Word. Whatever else may be said, it is certainly possible to do this work without rap and pop music.
Super, that still doesn't negate the use of music by any means. God can use whatever means He wants to communicate His Word, if He used a jackass/donkey to communicate I think him using human beings and their poetry on beats to do so as well.
Well, you have implied or asserted many times in this discussion that people who adhere strictly to the RPW and traditional worship principles are not interested in witnessing to people who live in urban sub-cultures (i.e., "Are any of the Strict RPW or EP folks going into the ghettos and hoods to communicate this faith? I sure don't see it . . .") and I was simply pointing out that this is unfair and untrue. Come to Elephant & Castle, London, and you will certainly see what you say you've never seen.
Well that would be pretty sad that I would actually have to fly to another continent to actually see this......that furthers my point
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top