An Office of Precentor?

Discussion in 'Church Office' started by Coram Deo, Mar 5, 2008.

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  1. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    To the Chief Musician

    Quoted from a Pedia Source:

    A precentor is a member of a church who helps facilitate Singing. The role of precentor was carried over from the synagogues into the early church.
    End of Quote

    The Psalms were written specifically "to the chief Musician" and we know that the chief musician was an office in the synagogues and in the Old Covenant....

    So is a Precentor or in other words a Chief Musician an office in the New Covenant?

    We are not talking about song writing nor musical instruments.. For all intent and purposes for those that oppose, let assume they have been abrogated which is what I believe.

    A Precentor would be one who helps singing the Psalms and leads singing the Psalms in the church....

    Would this be a continuation office of the Old Covenant since we still have singing and still have singing the Psalms?

    What would be the qualifications of a Precentor?
  2. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think I know where you are going with this, but here's my question--if the role of precentor was needed to facilitate singing in the synogogue in the OT, why would we not need one today? Do they still have precentors in the synogogue today?
  3. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    Are those psalm headings in the originals? Or were they added later?
  4. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    I am not sure about synogogue's today... But we do have a precentor at our church, RPCNA....

    I guess my question is:

    Is it a biblical office? And is it a continuational office from the Old Covenant? and What would be the qualifications of the Office?

    I guess the thread on Offices dealing with Woman Deacons vs. Order of Widows as me rethinking my whole understanding of church offices... Which as a Baptist as always been two, Elder and Deacons and last year changed to three, Elders, Deacons, and Doctors and now it has me thinking, Elders, Deacons, Doctors, Order of Widows, and Precentors (Chief Musician).

  5. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    That could be a loaded question and one that is not easily answered especially since everyone has their own opinions about LXX, Hebrew Canonization, Psalm Titles, and Dates of them all..... :lol:

    But one way or the other should not affect the discussion since the chief musicians were mentioned outside the Psalter in the Old Testament.....

  6. Pergamum

    Pergamum Ordinary Guy (TM)

    ha, okay you skirted around my loaded question....too smooth for that......

    Maybe I should start another thread about this issue.

    If there was a chief musician, what sort of qualifications would he have? The Apostle Paul gives no list like for bishops and deacons...
  7. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I tend to think of offices in the church as ordained positions such as elder and deacon where men were chosen based on spiritual gifts, set aside and prayed over for particular work. Other positions in the church such as precentor or music leader, deaconness In my humble opinion are valid, are put in place under the direction of the leadership for the purpose of order and ministering more effectively. For instance, a deaconness can do the work of a deacon serving women better than a man, so the deacons look for gifted women in the church to serve that role and direct it.
  8. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Agreed, Paul gave no list of qualifications .... But that does not rule out a continuational office from the Old Testament which the list could be there in the old testament.......

    There is continuity between the Covenants and if we still sing and we still sing Psalms, it seem plausible that the job of chief musician is still with us to help facilitate and help the congregation with Singing...

    I am not saying I believe in this office.. I am just asking hard serious questions.....

  9. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Does the Directory of Publick Worship have anything to say about this?
  10. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Those are good questions, but you might not like where they lead. If, indeed, there is an office of precentor which carries over, then should not he do what was done in the OT? In other words, he would be writing and arranging music for instrumentation, directing the choirs, etc. which I know you are opposed to.
  11. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Unless those functions of his office has been abrogated by the New Covenant...

    Like I said in my originally post Let's assume since I already believe that Choirs, Musical Instrumentation, and Song Writing has been completed and were either shadows of New Covenant Realities or as in terms of song writing abrogated due to prophecy and prophecy writing has been completed. New Revelation is done with the fulfillment of the New Covenant.. So Those functions of the Precentor have been fulfilled and abrogated... But not the functions that still continued, i.e. Singing, and Psalm Singing, and Leading the Singing for those not able to read music....

    He would only do his function that was not abrogated in the New Testament....

    Another example would be, The Pastor Prophesies when they give the sermon (See The Art of Prophesying by William Perkins) But the function of future prophesying and New Revelational prophesying has been abrogated..... So the Pastor is in terms a Prophet and has taken those functions of the Prophet to his office...

  12. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Moderator

    Where is the evidence that such an office was carried over into the early church? Interesting that in all Paul's concerns and echoes regarding ecclesiology and worship, especially in Corinth, he makes no mention of this office.

    And I'm curious, what offices have continued from the OT other than elder? As I understand it, Christ fulfilled and assumed all those OT offices. :2cents:
  13. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    I understand the Office of Doctor (Teacher) to be a continued office from the OT.... At least according to the "Form of Presbyterian Church Government" which list Doctor (Teacher) and exampled Gamaliel as one who holds that office...

    Quote from Form of Presbyterian Church Government:

    Teacher or Doctor.

    THE scripture doth hold out the name and title of teacher, as well as of the pastor.

    Who is also a minister of the word, as well as the pastor, and hath power of administration of the sacraments.

    The Lord having given different gifts, and divers exercises according to these gifts, in the ministry of the word; though these different gifts may meet in, and accordingly be exercised by, one and the same minister; yet, where be several ministers in the same congregation, they may be designed to several employments, according to the different gifts in which each of them doth most excel. And he that doth more excel in exposition of scripture, in teaching sound doctrine, and in convincing gainsayers, than he doth in application, and is accordingly employed therein, may be called a teacher, or doctor, (the places alleged by the notation of the word do prove the proposition.) Nevertheless, where is but one minister in a particular congregation, he is to perform, as far is able, the whole work of the ministry.

    A teacher, or doctor, is of most excellent use in schools and universities; as of old in the schools of the prophets, and at Jerusalem, where Gamaliel and others taught as doctors.

  14. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Christ Fulfilled Prophet, Priest and King...

    Quote from RPCNA's Newer Directory of Public Worship:

    Section 4-1. There is Both Discontinuity and Continuity Between the Old and New Covenants in the Life of God’s People:

    The Church continues Israel in a renovated form. Some parts of Israel’s life, which served as shadows of Christ to come, have ceased. For example, prophets, priests, and kings were mediators between God and Israel; but with his appearing, Christ permanently assumed those offices. Therefore the Church has no prophet bringing new words from God, no priest offering daily sacrifices at the temple, and no temporal king. Christ is our prophet, priest, and king, ruling His Church from the right hand of God as the only Mediator between God and man. In Him the saints are prophets to proclaim the gospel, priests to serve God, and kings reigning with Christ (Rev. 1:6; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). Nevertheless, there is continuity between the Old and New Covenants, as well as discontinuity.

  15. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    As I see it, those offices which have been clearly defined in the New Testament are all that we are required. If leadership in the church determines that other positions are necessary to further the ministry of the Gospel, they are allowed under the jurisdiction of the elders and deacons (and only under their jurisdiction), just as Paul and the other apostles divided out responsibilities to those in the early church.

    These positions are not required, nor are they to be ordained, and they don't necessarily need a title. If none of the elders can sing, and they want to appoint an individual to lead the singing to keep people on pitch and together, then they should feel free to do so.

    I do not see any other offices outlined in the New Testament other than elder and deacon. :2cents:
  16. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    But that is a dispensational Argument... I am not saying you are dispensational and I know you are not... But to use only the New Testament is a dispensational argument.....

  17. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

  18. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    There are many offices that have been cared over into the New Testament.... Elder, Doctor, etc.... We don't need to just find the office in the New Testament... Unless obviously abrogated we assume it has been continued... If was shadows, ceremonies or otherwise abrogated by the New Testament my hermeneutic assumes continuity... Which is why I am Presbyterian in polity.... I do not just find my assumptions of church officers in the New Testament....

    Maybe I am on a verge of Baptist Death but so be it if it happens... But In my humble opinion to not look to the old testament and only look to the new testament is dispensational.... If that is loose (Which I do not believe so) then we will have to respectfully disagree.....

  19. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    No one is just looking at the New Testament alone. Read the book I posted. Read both the Pluralistic Elder rule and the Presbyterian rule. It is a good read.

    Negate the comment I deleteted after the one you responded to. I am not feeling well and posted stupidity.

    P.s.Where is Doctor an office in the OC Eldership?
  20. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Are you not being dispensational (and forgive me for bringing this in) when you insist that Psalms are no longer to be sung with instruments because you can find no specific instruction to use them?
  21. jaybird0827

    jaybird0827 PuritanBoard Honor Roll


    It is not a church office. The Session governs the worship of the church on scriptural grounds. That includes providing the direction that the precentor needs. There is no laying on of hands indicating spiritual authority.
  22. Presbyterian Deacon

    Presbyterian Deacon Puritan Board Graduate

    "Precentor" is not a church office.
    The two offices of the church are elder and deacon.
  23. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I didn't seen an answer to this. On a different forum on a different subject; though related, I was led to this paper; see Dennison's contribution for some background on the WA's view.
    Report of the Committee on the Involvement of Unordained Persons in Worship
    For what it's worth, in the first paper, the citing of Baillie is misleading, though true and important to be noted; however, the Scottish church chose to abandon the office of reader; and Baillie was a nearly singular minority opinion to keep it. In other words,, it wasn't just the English who concluded the minister should only read the word of God.:2cents:
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