Are Psalm-singers divisive?

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Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
yes, in many cases they are. Not all of EP people are divisive, but you must really lead a sheltered life if you have not encountered a "reformer" that is out to correct everyone else, on everthing starting with EP.

That last guy that brought it up to me I told him to call me back when he moved out of his parents basement. (true story)
 

Idelette

Puritan Board Graduate
In my experience, the majority of divisive folks have actually been non-EP'ers. In fact, many of the EP folks I have known have been attacked for their views, and were able to still remain gracious. Ultimately, I think people are offended when you seek to hold to what Scripture teaches, because it implies something about the way that they are doing things. When people are offended they immediately translate that into being divisive. The same is the case with Calvinism, or Reformed Theology or any other doctrine that is controversial to some. It will stir the pot so to speak, by it's very nature.

Also, I would like to add that we need to be careful not to import modern-day meanings of "hymns" and "spiritual songs" into the text. We need to seek to understand what they specifically referred to in Scripture. There is evidence that all three are actually referring to the Psalms, and not uninspired songs.

I can't see holding to an EP position and reading Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16. We are commanded to sing Psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs (translation may differ). There are 3 categories of songs here and to ignore the others is wrong. (in my opinion)
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
I am EP and I will tell you that in our hearts we are all divisive. It's human, sinful nature. I know some EP folks who will cause all sorts of problems over the issue. I heard of one former-RPCNA pastor who was at an OPC presbytery meeting and called them out on their lack of the use of the psalter and called for their repentance. In some ways, it's a funny story, but it really does not do much for the unity of the body of Christ. There are better ways to do these things, In my humble opinion.

On the other hand, for Reformed people- we must remember that it was the hymn singers that divided from the psalm singers, not the other way around. EPs cannot be called divisive in one sense, because we are just standing on the position that at one time ALL reformed people held. The hymn singers divided from us, not the other way around. EPs are just calling the church to remember her goodly heritage, and many are not comfortable hearing that. :2cents:

I love singing the psalms, exclusively, without musical accompaniment- I do it every day in my home with my family, and every Lord's Day with my congregation, and every Wednesday evening at prayer meeting. I love it! But I do realize that this is a sensitive issue that requires much grace and Christ-like behavior when discussing. That's that hard part, I guess.


I can't see holding to an EP position and reading Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16. We are commanded to sing Psalms, Hymns and spiritual songs (translation may differ). There are 3 categories of songs here and to ignore the others is wrong. (in my opinion)
This is not germane to the discussion, but in the first century- what were these 3 categories of song that you speak of? Was it psalms, hymns and praise songs or was it something else? I am just curious as to how this is to be understood apart from the psalter. :)
I'm not very familiar with this debate and my question may be off topic - forgive me, but if the assertion is that musical instruments are not part of authentic/historic worship, how do EP proponents square the following passage?

Psa 81:2 Take a psalm, and bring hither the timbrel, the pleasant harp with the psaltery.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator note: Let's stay on the thread topic. Those who wish to address questions from various poster's about the arguments for EP, please direct them to previous threads as others have already done above. Many thanks.:judge:
 
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Herald

Administrator
Staff member
Ken, I know I'm going down a rabbit trail, but I would be resistant to conceding anything regarding the construction of worship to individuals who hold to a different opinion on EP. It begins at bad precedent In my humble opinion.
Is it as bad a precedent as not including the Psalms in worship since they are commanded, or am I misunderstanding what you're saying? I'm sure it's the latter, so clarification would be helpful.
Josh, I believe it would be wrong to change our order of worship in order to accommodate new or potential members. The church doesn't operate by general consensus. I would expect that a church holds to its position on EP because of fully vetted theological convictions.

Also, we are to sing psalms. Scripture commands it. The question is whether we should sing only psalms.


Sent from my SAMSUNG-SGH-I897 using Tapatalk
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Well, if some of the Free Church congregations here in Scotland introduced man-made hymns, I assume they'd have to have a rule that they'd have 2 or 3 psalms in each worship service because the evangelical heart even after conversion prefers man's compositions to God's more demanding and searching compositions.

One point on this issue, I've never understood: how can a Christian church restrict itself to songs that do not specifically name Christ? I understand that many of the Psalms are prophetic; it still just seems odd to me.
We are the Israel of God, and Christ is our King, the King of Israel. The Book of Psalms is transfigured by the First Advent of Christ, and everything in the Psalms is to be interpreted in the light of His First Advent.

I don't find it any great loss that the name "Jesus" isn't used in the Psalms, since I get much more spiritually from the Psalms than I do from man-made hymns, as one would expect since they are the very words of God. "Mashiach"/"Christos" is used e.g. Psalm 2.

I'm not against the idea of composing or singing good quality biblically-based hymns, but I rarely use hymns, as I get so little benefit from them compared to the Psalms.

There seems to be a pecking order here in songs of worship which the Israel of God should take note of:

(a) The Psalms - a ready made inspired, infallible and inerrant "hymnbook" given by God, God's Own Hymnbook.

(b) Extra-Psalmodic Scripture Songs.

(c) Good quality paraphrases of Scripture prose.

(d) Good quality man-made compositions.

(e) Pap, drivel, heresy and nonsense that shouldn't be sung at any time or any place.
 

au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
FYI. The Admins have lifted the moderation of the EP subforum. Thread creation and posting no longer require moderator approval. However, please note the exhortation in the forum description. :judge:
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
As respects the diviseness of exclusive psamoldy supporters, the first Q is, Is EP the correct way to go, rather than relegating the Psalm books to a dusty box in the attic, with a notice on it saying not to be opened until the Parousia?

I personally am not an EP-er in the sense that I'm willing to sing hymns and have done in the past. But I don't like to see the Psalms relegated from their primacy in the worship of the New Covenant Israel - Jews and Gentiles who profess the true religion and their children.

We have to get on with our brothers and sisters in Christ. You may as well ask if baptists are divisive, because they believe on principle that they are to try to baptise only regenerate people?

(Some) EP-ers are often willing to put fellowship with their non-EP brothers and sisters as an important principle ahead of their commitment to the Psalms, by engaging in worship with them on their terms.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I wouldn't say that those who are EP are any more divisive than non-EPers. I would say that some individuals on both sides of the debate are divisive, because that is their nature, and if you spent much time with these same individuals, you would discover that they are divisive about more than just psalm-singing.

If you are convinced that you know the truth about a particular interpretation of Scripture, then you will feel strongly about it. The problem comes when you think you have cornered the market on truth. A person who loves the Lord will understand that He may be completely right, but also understands that it is not his job to convict that person of the truth. He will speak it in love and trust the Lord to work out it out in his brother or sister in the Lord.
 

fishingpipe

Puritan Board Freshman
Seeing many of you are in church leadership I wanted to ask that you clarify something from earlier posts in this thread. If the presbytery or regional governing body has approved a liturgy for worship, and the local session has agreed to abide by it and use it in their own local body, and someone does not participate in that portion of corporate worship, (i.e. an EPer standing silently during singing from the hymnal) should they be counseled by the session to participate? Is it a matter of obedience? Would it fall under church discipline?
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Seeing many of you are in church leadership I wanted to ask that you clarify something from earlier posts in this thread. If the presbytery or regional governing body has approved a liturgy for worship, and the local session has agreed to abide by it and use it in their own local body, and someone does not participate in that portion of corporate worship, (i.e. an EPer standing silently during singing from the hymnal) should they be counseled by the session to participate? Is it a matter of obedience? Would it fall under church discipline?
Hmmm. Even if it was a matter of church discipline, it is unenforceable. It would be like trying to enforce people who don't participate in prayer because their thinking about the football game they are missing. I would think this would need to be addressed before membership is offered. At most, I think the elders could exhort and admonish on this issue.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Not an officer but I've been in the situation of needing to tell a session what I cannot go along with in public worship. I'm not aware of an American Presbyterian church that enforces a directory like this but it may be specific practices have been insisted on. Church officers should not insist someone sing what he thinks is a sin to sing, or comply with anything that he is not clear is lawful. That violates liberty of conscience or sins against conscience regardless if he is right or wrong. I believe the second reformation in Scotland as far as worship issues at least, turned on this very freedom. Prospective members should make any scruples known to the session. I did this when I joined my current church and no one got uptight about it. Of course, officers are responsible to see that folks with scruples not be divisive in holding such. However, simply not complying with a practice is not divisive if it is not contemptuous of lawful authority. :2cents:
Seeing many of you are in church leadership I wanted to ask that you clarify something from earlier posts in this thread. If the presbytery or regional governing body has approved a liturgy for worship, and the local session has agreed to abide by it and use it in their own local body, and someone does not participate in that portion of corporate worship, (i.e. an EPer standing silently during singing from the hymnal) should they be counseled by the session to participate? Is it a matter of obedience? Would it fall under church discipline?
 

Scottish Lass

Puritan Board Doctor
Seeing many of you are in church leadership I wanted to ask that you clarify something from earlier posts in this thread. If the presbytery or regional governing body has approved a liturgy for worship, and the local session has agreed to abide by it and use it in their own local body, and someone does not participate in that portion of corporate worship, (i.e. an EPer standing silently during singing from the hymnal) should they be counseled by the session to participate? Is it a matter of obedience? Would it fall under church discipline?
In our case, the young man was not a member; he attended worship with us while completing a college internship in our city, so even if it were a matter of church discipline for members, it wouldn't have applied in this situation.
 

jwithnell

Moderator
Staff member
We are the Israel of God, and Christ is our King, the King of Israel. The Book of Psalms is transfigured by the First Advent of Christ, and everything in the Psalms is to be interpreted in the light of His First Advent.
Thank you for the response. I'm more curious about the position than critical of it, and I can't say as I've encountered much division over the issue. We use a mixture of hymns and psalms and have never had anyone come in and try to argue us out of it. If I were in an EP church, I'd be glad to lend my voice to the praise of OUR God.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Well, since about 10% of the world's EPers are on the PB, and most of the non EPers here think it is at least a legitimate option for Christian worship... Let me be the meanie.

I'm against EP. I'm opposed to it. I won't go to an EP church.

Why?
Because to sing EP, one disobeys the command of Scripture. Yep, you read me correctly - I think it is wrong to be EP. Sure, we should sing Psalms, in our worship. But not exclusively. And I've never heard of a non-EP congregation that explicitly banned/prohibited the singing of Psalms the way EP congregations do with Christian hymns.

Second, the exclusive singing of the songs of a covenantal administration that was a shadow and a type is stunted theologically.

Third, in my estimation, consistent EPers ARE divisive because a consistent application of their theology of worship requires them to view EP as a necessary component of proper worship - with the corollary being that non-EP worship is improper - and as a result, a consistent EPer won't worship with fellow Christians unless those Christians are willing to worship with their consciences bound. (Meaning, the EPers want it their way or not at all. If you want to worship with them, you worship on THEIR terms. In contrast, non-EPers are fine if they (the EPers in our midst) simply don't sing or if we include some psalms in our service. You'll get no such accomodation and consideration from an EPer. It's Old Covenant Psalms or nothing, baby.) Are their exceptions? Absolutely. But generally, principially...

By way of example, a potentially viable church plant in a place I was once stationed fell apart because the EPers refused to sing Christian hymns even though the rest said that they would be ok if the EPers were silent when they sang, the EPers essentially accused them of false worship and said they wouldn't be a part of it. Now THAT is divisive.

Interestingly, the chaplaincy would absolutely LOVE IT if I had the mentality of an EPer. They'd be giddy with delight if I was content to stick to the completely ambiguous words of the Pslams - because the words are amenable to any theistic religion. (Of course, the fact that Christ isn't explicitly named is owing to the reality that the Old Covenant was, as I said above, type and shadow of the reality.) Maybe I should change my views so that I can grease the skids and go all the way to the top. Pondering it... Pondering it... Nah. I need to sing about Jesus - BY NAME.

Now... in the words of my CPE supervisor... "How does that make you feel?"
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Ben,
I'm EP. I don't sing hymns. I belong to a non EP PCA church. Yet you say all EPs are divisive. I think you need to modify you comments to avoid being a liar or slanderer.
 

Tim

Puritan Board Graduate
(Meaning, the EPers want it their way or not at all. If you want to worship with them, you worship on THEIR terms.
That's a bit unfair, brother. We are arguing for worship according to what we believe are God's terms.

They'd be giddy with delight if I was content to stick to the completely ambiguous words of the Pslams - because the words are amenable to any theistic religion. (Of course, the fact that Christ isn't explicitly named is owing to the reality that the Old Covenant was, as I said above, type and shadow of the reality.) Maybe I should change my views so that I can grease the skids and go all the way to the top. Pondering it... Pondering it... Nah. I need to sing about Jesus - BY NAME.
I would be a bit more cautious in choosing your words here, brother. This is the Word of God we are talking about. The Psalms are not ambiguous as you say, and are not "amenable to any theistic religion". If they are inappropriate now, they were inappropriate in OT times. When we sing the Psalms, we sing with NT understanding. NT Christians are not left in the dark just because they sing something from the OT. There is no shadow for me when I sing the Psalms.

I also encourage you to consider that Christ is indeed mentioned in the Psalms.

Psa 2:2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying,...
The word anointed is the Hebrew word משׁיח (mâshı̂yach), from which we directly transliterate Messiah. Since Christ is simply the Greek word for Messiah, we have in Psalm 2 satisfied your requirement for "mention of Christ".
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
Fascinating topic and after viewing several EP threads I find some EP proponents unnecessarily dogmatic. It does seem sad to divide on worship; the matter seems to fall under the doctrine of Christian liberty, similar to head covering arguments. There also appears to be some lack of Christian charity towards those that are non-EP, something almost hostile and akin to condescension. Ben gave an example when the Kingdom may demand all hands on deck (for which he will be trounced I’m sure). Paradoxical to say the least, EP does seem oddly divisive, refusing to sing “A Mighty Fortress is Our God” in church. What would Luther say! Peace. Si fractus illabatur orbis, Impavidum ferient ruinae

1Co 10:28 But if any man say unto you, This is offered in sacrifice unto idols, eat not for his sake that shewed it, and for conscience sake: for the earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof:
1Co 10:29 Conscience, I say, not thine own, but of the other: for why is my liberty judged of another man's conscience?
1Co 10:30 For if I by grace be a partaker, why am I evil spoken of for that for which I give thanks?
1Co 10:31 Whether therefore ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God.
1Co 10:32 Give none offence, neither to the Jews, nor to the Gentiles, nor to the church of God:
1Co 10:33 Even as I please all men in all things, not seeking mine own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Ben,
I'm EP. I don't sing hymns. I belong to a non EP PCA church. Yet you say all EPs are divisive. I think you need to modify you comments to avoid being a liar or slanderer.
Of course you'd think I'm being a slanderer. But I'm not. I'm responding to an OP question that speaks in generality with a general response based upon generality. Is every single last EPer divisive? Of course not.

But I get weary of people doing what you just did - I read through any number of threads and people make sweeping generalizations and across the board statements - and that's fine becaues in normal language generalization is fine and inherently understood to not be absolute, but the minute I do it against the majority view here, suddenly the semantical nuances come out and the language has to be uber precise and I'm labeled a liar or slanderer because you don't like what I'm saying. I don't like double standards. But be things as they may, I'm not the one whose view holds sway here... so I've modified my comment.

---------- Post added at 08:28 AM ---------- Previous post was at 08:05 AM ----------

I would be a bit more cautious in choosing your words here, brother. This is the Word of God we are talking about. The Psalms are not ambiguous as you say, and are not "amenable to any theistic religion". If they are inappropriate now, they were inappropriate in OT times. When we sing the Psalms, we sing with NT understanding. NT Christians are not left in the dark just because they sing something from the OT. There is no shadow for me when I sing the Psalms.
You actually prove my point, and thank you. Because you read the Psalms through a Christian lens, they make perfect Christological sense to you. And so if I read it, pray it, sing it, you are NOT offended. Well, this may surprise you, but when a Jew reads the Psalms, guess what? He reads it with his lens and they make perfect sense to him. So if I stand up - even as a Christian - and read it, pray it, sing it... he is NOT offended. And guess what? The same is true of the Mohammedean. So if I stand up and use the Psalms, NO ONE is offended and EVERYONE is happy because EVERYONE hears it through their lens. That is why I'm encouraged to use the Psalms. But the act of using passages with the explicit and intentional goal of trying to make everybody happy and enabling them to it engage in acts of worship knowing full well that they are attributing meaning to those passages in accordance with a blatantly unChristian lens is, I think, at least bordering on encouraging false worship. That's my context. I need to speak about Jesus because if I don't, people in my culture don't automatically assume that I am.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Ben,
Thanks for qualifying. Now, Please continue to show that care to qualify that everyone else on this thread has seen fit to do to this point.
Folks,
A reminder to keep on the topic of the OP. Specific arguments for or against EP may come up in the course of discussion but please point folks to threads that discuss those rather than opening up rabbit trails in this thread.
N.B. Don't cause the moderators to regret lifting thread and post moderation from this subforum. :judge:
Ben,
I'm EP. I don't sing hymns. I belong to a non EP PCA church. Yet you say all EPs are divisive. I think you need to modify you comments to avoid being a liar or slanderer.
Of course you'd think I'm being a slanderer. But I'm not. I'm responding to an OP question that speaks in generality with a general response based upon generality. Is every single last EPer divisive? Of course not.

But I get weary of people doing what you just did - I read through any number of threads and people make sweeping generalizations and across the board statements - and that's fine becaues in normal language generalization is fine and inherently understood to not be absolute, but the minute I do it against the majority view here, suddenly the semantical nuances come out and the language has to be uber precise and I'm labeled a liar or slanderer because you don't like what I'm saying. I don't like double standards. But be things as they may, I'm not the one whose view holds sway here... so I've modified my comment.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
Doctrines divide; that is a given. Strong convictions over song, preaching, leadership, and the sacraments divide Christians. It does not follow, however, that individuals are necessarily divisive.

I think this thread has run its course.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Third, in my estimation, consistent EPers ARE divisive because a consistent application of their theology of worship requires them to view EP as a necessary component of proper worship - with the corollary being that non-EP worship is improper - and as a result, a consistent EPer won't worship with fellow Christians unless those Christians are willing to worship with their consciences bound.
Are you referring to the RPW here?

I only ask (as a non-EP person) because that's what we're talking about.

Specifically, the WCF confesses:

I. The light of nature showeth that there is a God, who hath lordship and sovereignty over all; is good, and doeth good unto all; and is therefore to be feared, loved, praised, called upon, trusted in, and served with all the hearth, and with all the soul, and with all the might. But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.
Do you take exception to this clause in the WCF?

If not, then, by definition, something that you do NOT permit in the religious worship of God on the basis that He has not instituted in His Word, will be a dividing line between you and other Christians who believe they are at liberty to worship God in other ways (drama, dance, etc). Are you, by your own standard, inherently divisive?

Rather, is it the RPW that causes division in religious worship?

Now, I may not agree with the EP position for exegetical reasons but if I grant to my EP brethren that they arrive at their conclusion that the singing of Psalms with joy in the heart is instituted by God (and no other form of singing) then they are simply carrying the principle above to the same conclusion I am.

Furthermore, regarding liberty of conscience:

II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in any thing contrary to his Word, or beside it in matters of faith on worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commandments out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.

III. They who, upon pretense of Christian liberty, do practice any sin, or cherish any lust, do thereby destroy the end of Christian liberty; which is, that, being delivered out of the hands of our enemies, we might serve the Lord without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
This has always gone hand in hand with the RPW. As I'm sure you're aware, there were many Puritans who went to prison because they refused to violate their conscience on religious worship being forced to celebrate Holy Days or to worship Him in other ways He had not commanded. Liberty of conscience has always been a key idea in Puritan worship and, ironically, where you see the EP binding the person's conscience to Psalms they see it being left free from worshipping God in a way He has not commanded.

At the end of the day, this comes down to exegesis and the heart of the man with a convicted conscience. I think it impugns centuries of Christians to call divisive when they were convinced that EP was what God had instituted in His Word. To add insult to injury is to compare their Psalm singing to a desire to worship an unknown God is simply inconceivable given the Messianic weight ascribed to them throughout the NT. If it is inexcusable for the spiritually blind to have misunderstood the nature of the Servant of the Lord, how much more a minister of the Gospel to treat the Psalms as such for polemical force?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I want it to be known that I hold Ben in esteem and our disagreement should not be seen in any other light. We actually agree in the sense we don't practice EP but I simply want to draw out that the RPW (that I know Ben confesses) forces all of us to be "divisive" to some minds. As far as some are concerned, any limit to their imagination is stifling of the Spirit.

The longer I've been in some form of ministry the more I regret how acerbic I am and especially how easily I can be dismissive of others. I don't hold to EP but not because I believe the WCF framers were completely out to lunch or captive to a cultural context any more than I may be captive to it.

We've been going through a great Gospel series at our Church and we were meditating on differentiating between judging others and Judging others. I guess capitalization doesn't really make much difference to the term but I'm trying to distinguish between the judgment we have where we discern whether or not someone is in accordance with/violating God's Word and the other kind of Judgment where I hold another in contempt. We can (and should) rightly note: "I believe that is wrong." I realize, increasingly, my habit is to judge in the sense of placing myself in some continuum between the Creator and the creature and assume I'm in a place of relatively position to condemn for that practice. I'm sure there are people who have read me for a long time on this board and thought: "That guy is just mean." You'd be right. By God's grace, I hope to put that to death because I do put myself in the place of the Judge at times.

I believe that these convictions are consequential and the fact that an EP Church exclusively worships in a certain way has consequences but that's for God to ultimately judge (just as He judges me if my dim sight has caused me to read/teach the Scriptures wrongly on this subject). I would hope that my concern for Brethren is not how much I wish they would not be so obnoxious to my sense of how things ought to be but this ought to be my attitude:
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
(Romans 15:1-3 ESV)
Is my concern for my Brother that I might build him up? Is that why I want to correct a conviction?

I had intended to stay out of this thread because I knew, by the title, that little good was going to come out of the thread. My immediate thought at the question, however, was this: "No, it's not the conviction that is divisive, but it will be the individual." It's going to boil down to whether the person has the attitude that Christ had. For every person I'll find that is obnoxious about their EP beliefs and cares little for other brethren who don't share their conviction I'll find plenty that return with the same lack of concern. For my part, I have dear friends who are EP who put me to shame by their study, piety, and genuine concern the people of God.

Anyway, a lot of stream of consciousness concern. Dealing with a congregation with very diverse views who are still in need of instruction, this subject is hardly at the top of my list but my visceral response to what I perceive as error is very much important to me as I try to figure out how I learn to bear patiently and deal with men in such a different way than my natural inclination has habitually inclined me toward.
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
What a lovely post

For the record, I didn't close the thread earlier. I also want it to be known that I hold Ben in esteem and our disagreement should not be seen in any other light. We actually agree in the sense we don't practice EP but I simply want to draw out that the RPW (that I know Ben confesses) forces all of us to be "divisive" to some minds. As far as some are concerned, any limit to their imagination is stifling of the Spirit.

The longer I've been in some form of ministry the more I regret how acerbic I am and especially how easily I can be dismissive of others. I don't hold to EP but not because I believe the WCF framers were completely out to lunch or captive to a cultural context any more than I may be captive to it.

We've been going through a great Gospel series at our Church and we were meditating on differentiating between judging others and Judging others. I guess capitalization doesn't really make much difference to the term but I'm trying to distinguish between the judgment we have where we discern whether or not someone is in accordance with/violating God's Word. We can (and should) rightly note: "I believe that is wrong." I realize, increasingly, my habit is to judge in the sense of placing myself in some continuum between the Creator and the creature and assume I'm in a place of relatively position to condemn for that practice. I'm sure there are people who have read me for a long time on this board and thought: "That guy is just mean." You'd be right. By God's grace, I hope to put that to death because I do put myself in the place of the Judge at times.

I believe that these convictions are consequential and the fact that an EP Church exclusively worships in a certain way has consequences but that's for God to ultimately judge. I would hope that my concern for Brethren is not how much I wish they would not be so obnoxious to my sense of how things ought to be but this ought to be my attitude:
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
(Romans 15:1-3 ESV)
Is my concern for my Brother that I might build him up? Is that why I want to correct a conviction?

I had intended to stay out of this thread because I knew, by the title, that little good was going to come out of the thread. My immediate thought at the question, however, was this: "No, it's not the conviction that is divisive, but it is the individual." It's going to boil down to whether the person has the attitude that Christ had. For every person I'll find that is obnoxious about their EP beliefs and cares little for other brethren who don't share their conviction I'll find plenty that return with the same lack of concern.

Anyway, a lot of stream of consciousness concern. Dealing with a congregation with very diverse views who are still in need of instruction, this subject is hardly at the top of my list but my visceral response to what I perceive as error is very much important to me as I try to figure out how I learn to bear patiently and deal with men in such a different way than my natural inclination has habitually inclined me toward.
for a mean guy that uses the wrong bible!:lol: Seriously, my favorite post during my short time here on the PB. Bravo. ecclesia semper reformanda est
 

nwink

Puritan Board Sophomore
You actually prove my point, and thank you. Because you read the Psalms through a Christian lens, they make perfect Christological sense to you. And so if I read it, pray it, sing it, you are NOT offended. Well, this may surprise you, but when a Jew reads the Psalms, guess what? He reads it with his lens and they make perfect sense to him. So if I stand up - even as a Christian - and read it, pray it, sing it... he is NOT offended. And guess what? The same is true of the Mohammedean. So if I stand up and use the Psalms, NO ONE is offended and EVERYONE is happy because EVERYONE hears it through their lens.
Ben, I don't know if I'm understanding you correctly, but how does what a Jew thinks or a Mohammedan thinks about the Psalms matter...in the corporate worship of the Christian church? And regarding the lens through which people understand the Psalms, sure, the Jew could sing them...but post-Christ Jews clearly misunderstand several Psalms that prophesy about the Messiah, etc. So having the wrong/cracked lens in the first place means you won't understand what you think you're seeing correctly even if you think you are seeing it correctly. But the whole issue is that this is worship in the Christian church...and with sitting under the preaching of the Word for a time, the Jew will realize his error in understanding the Psalms. Also, as for Jews, for those Jews pre-Christ who had faith in the coming Messiah, they didn't misunderstand the Psalms (though they wouldn't have as clearly seen the fulfillment as we do looking back in time at Christ and having completed revelation)...but post-Christ Jews (who, by nature of being a post-Christ "Jew," are not Christian), of course they would misunderstand the Psalms.

As for the Mohammedan, of course there would be many things offensive to him in the Psalms..."therefore God, your God has annointed you..." is merely the first example that comes to mind (consider what light the NT says about this passage). Also, it's God's Annointed who kings and people should kiss and bow to or he'll come on them with a rod of iron...is this a Mohammedan understanding?


---------- Post added at 04:17 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:08 PM ----------

I'm against EP. I'm opposed to it. I won't go to an EP church. Why? Because to sing EP, one disobeys the command of Scripture. Yep, you read me correctly - I think it is wrong to be EP. Sure, we should sing Psalms, in our worship. But not exclusively. And I've never heard of a non-EP congregation that explicitly banned/prohibited the singing of Psalms the way EP congregations do with Christian hymns.
Ben, what "command of Scripture" do EPers disobey? Could you provide a reference?

---------- Post added at 04:08 PM ---------- Previous post was at 04:00 PM ----------

Interestingly, the chaplaincy would absolutely LOVE IT if I had the mentality of an EPer. They'd be giddy with delight if I was content to stick to the completely ambiguous words of the Pslams - because the words are amenable to any theistic religion. (Of course, the fact that Christ isn't explicitly named is owing to the reality that the Old Covenant was, as I said above, type and shadow of the reality.) Maybe I should change my views so that I can grease the skids and go all the way to the top. Pondering it... Pondering it... Nah. I need to sing about Jesus - BY NAME.
The Psalms are not ambiguous...sure, they were less clear with only the revelation given up to that point in history, but we have the entirety of Scripture today! (And even at that point in time, the Psalms were given in the context of all the revelation to that point...the Psalms weren't just revealed by themselves and without any context!) The Bible must be understood in its progressive fullness/entirety! The Psalms were given to the people of God, the Church...not Jews post-Christ (who don't believe in NT revelation) or Mohammedans. And there might be elements to some Psalms that could be applied to any theistic religion, but not the entirety of the Psalms! The Psalms often refer to the God of Isaac and Jacob, not to Ishmael. The Psalms assume the God of Israel.

I feel like your logic on the ambiguity issue goes the same way against hymns. There are some hymns that are ambiguous and could be applied to any theistic religion...especially some popular hymns if they were used outside of the Christian context and with only a few verses selected. Or some hymns might have good elements and more ambiguous elements...b/c hopefully the hymn-writer was assuming a Christian context. Show me one hymn that encompasses the entirety of Biblical revelation!

As for mentioning Jesus' name, in the context of the corporate worship of the Christian church, I don't know if that's absolutely necessary. What believer singing Psalm 22 can't help but not think of his Lord crucified? What believer singing Psalm 2 wouldn't think of Christ receiving the nations as his inheritance and returning some day in judgment? In a Christian context, it seems like the person and work of Christ is more than sufficient!

Or consider that the wonderful hymn "Amazing Grace" doesn't mention the name of Jesus...
 
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SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
I want it to be known that I hold Ben in esteem and our disagreement should not be seen in any other light. We actually agree in the sense we don't practice EP but I simply want to draw out that the RPW (that I know Ben confesses) forces all of us to be "divisive" to some minds. As far as some are concerned, any limit to their imagination is stifling of the Spirit.

The longer I've been in some form of ministry the more I regret how acerbic I am and especially how easily I can be dismissive of others. I don't hold to EP but not because I believe the WCF framers were completely out to lunch or captive to a cultural context any more than I may be captive to it.

We've been going through a great Gospel series at our Church and we were meditating on differentiating between judging others and Judging others. I guess capitalization doesn't really make much difference to the term but I'm trying to distinguish between the judgment we have where we discern whether or not someone is in accordance with/violating God's Word and the other kind of Judgment where I hold another in contempt. We can (and should) rightly note: "I believe that is wrong." I realize, increasingly, my habit is to judge in the sense of placing myself in some continuum between the Creator and the creature and assume I'm in a place of relatively position to condemn for that practice. I'm sure there are people who have read me for a long time on this board and thought: "That guy is just mean." You'd be right. By God's grace, I hope to put that to death because I do put myself in the place of the Judge at times.

I believe that these convictions are consequential and the fact that an EP Church exclusively worships in a certain way has consequences but that's for God to ultimately judge (just as He judges me if my dim sight has caused me to read/teach the Scriptures wrongly on this subject). I would hope that my concern for Brethren is not how much I wish they would not be so obnoxious to my sense of how things ought to be but this ought to be my attitude:
We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up. For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.”
(Romans 15:1-3 ESV)
Is my concern for my Brother that I might build him up? Is that why I want to correct a conviction?

I had intended to stay out of this thread because I knew, by the title, that little good was going to come out of the thread. My immediate thought at the question, however, was this: "No, it's not the conviction that is divisive, but it will be the individual." It's going to boil down to whether the person has the attitude that Christ had. For every person I'll find that is obnoxious about their EP beliefs and cares little for other brethren who don't share their conviction I'll find plenty that return with the same lack of concern. For my part, I have dear friends who are EP who put me to shame by their study, piety, and genuine concern the people of God.

Anyway, a lot of stream of consciousness concern. Dealing with a congregation with very diverse views who are still in need of instruction, this subject is hardly at the top of my list but my visceral response to what I perceive as error is very much important to me as I try to figure out how I learn to bear patiently and deal with men in such a different way than my natural inclination has habitually inclined me toward.
Rich,

Your conciliatory tone and posture are inspiring.

I believe the core of what I wrote, but I would be lying if I denied that I intentionally used incendiary language with glee. And for that I ask forgiveness.
I'll bow out and not engage in this debate.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
You'll get different views among EP-ers anyway. There are some among our Reformed Presbyterian brothers who seem to think that it is sinful to sing a hymn - by extension, I assume that they believe it is sinful to compose hymns, even good quality biblically sound hymns. I don't know what their view is of non-Psalmodic Scripture songs and paraphrases.

I was brought up in a denomination (The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland) where psalms were the only materials of praise in collective and family worship, yet hymns weren't off the menu altogether, but were effectively kept at the periphery.

From Wikipedia
Scots Metrical Psalter (1650)

The last edition of the 1564 psalter with music was issued in 1635. The lack of musical culture contributed to a significant decline in singing and contributed to the movement to produce a new psalter. A complete psalter by Francis Rous, an English member of Parliament, was revised by the Westminster Assembly but did not satisfy the Scots. Over a period of 2 years and 4 months it was revised by direction of the General Assembly, and it has been calculated that about 40% of the lines are original to the Scottish revisors with only 10% from Rous and 30% from the Westminster Version. Accuracy of translation was in the forefront. This psalter continues in use until the present day in parts of the Highlands, and around the world in some of the smaller Presbyterian denominations.[1]

In 1929 the music of the psalter was revised by the Church of Scotland to bring its harmonies into line with those in the revision of the hymnal. The psalter was usually printed at the front of the first two editions of the hymnal (1898, 1927), and throughout much of the 20th century there was a widespread tradition of beginning worship with a psalm before continuing in the hymn books. However, the most widely used version of the third edition did not have the psalter in the same volume, with the result that the full psalter has disappeared from the majority of Church of Scotland congregations.

The psalter contained all 150 psalms in their entirety, though obviously many of them were too long to be sung whole. In 1781 a selection of 67 paraphrases of Scripture was given permissive use for a year. Although never officially adopted, the paraphrases had significant use in succeeding years, mainly in the lowlands. Five hymns were inserted at this time without church authority. Reflecting a move from the simplicity and plainness of earlier Scottish worship in some later editions there was also a set of seven trinitarian doxologies ("To Father, Son and Holy Ghost..."), each for a different metrical pattern, which could be sung at the close of a psalm. These were printed together at the end of the psalms, and were intended to allow the Old Testament text to be sung in the light of the New.

All the metrical psalms were in common meter (CM) with 13 having an alternative in another metre. A few were in long meter (LM) or short meter (SM), and the rest had other metrical patterns. This meant that, within the limits of good taste, almost any psalm could be sung to any psalm tune. Musical editions of the psalter were published with the pages sliced horizontally, the tunes in the top half and the texts in the bottom, allowing the two parts of the volume to be opened independently. The music section was arranged alphabetically by the traditional names of the melodies. Psalm 23, "The Lord's my shepherd", would typically be sung to tune 144 "Wiltshire" (tune "Crimond", written in 1872, becoming overwhelmingly popular from the 1930s), but could theoretically be sung to almost any other, the only restriction being the conventions of familiarity. At the end of some 19th century music editions of the psalter, however, in whole rather than split pages, there were several special settings for particular psalms or sections of psalms, like Psalm 24.7-10, "Ye gates lift up your heads", to the tune "St. George's Edinburgh", a rousing piece traditionally sung after Communion.
[edit] Church Hymnary (1898)

The introduction of hymns was part of a reform of worship in the second half of the 19th century which also saw the appearance of church organs and stained glass. This reform began in individual congregations such as Greyfriars Kirk, and it took several decades before the General Assembly was ready to produce a hymnal for the whole of the Church.

The Hymnary was intended to be used together with the psalter, and thus omits such favourites as "The Lord's my shepherd". It contained 650 pieces
As can be seen this backwards "reformation" led from five hymns being introduced in 1781 to the Psalms being to a large extent - if not completely, in all CofS congregations - abandoned in the twentieth century.

Some of these congregations that long ago abandoned EP have since gone down the "entertainment as worship" route.

The fact that many "Psalmsingers" (surely all Christians are, or should be "Psalmsingers" at least to some extent?) are willing to have fellowship and worship with their brothers under circumstances which they would view as less than ideal, shows their willingness to put the principle of brotherly fellowship alongside or beyond ideal worship.
 
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PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
by extension, I assume that they believe it is sinful to compose hymns, even good quality biblically sound hymns. I don't know what their view is of non-Psalmodic Scripture songs and paraphrases.
This is not true. We love the Godly hymns as we do other music. We do not believe it is sinful to compose music or art based upon a biblical understanding. When it comes to prescribed worship in looking at the Regulative Principle we think the Psalms rightly name Jesus as the Christ and name him. We also think that the whole of God's doctrine is proclaimed from an inspired position. We love the uninspired Hymns and sing them. Just not during a worship service. God wrote our song book. It is inspired and we know it.

As a side note. I receive a daily devotional that can be inspirational but not God breathed. I like it. But it is not inspired as God Breathed. It is only inspired as it is. Meditation upon the truly inspired. Just my humble opinion.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
p.s. From what I understand the early church sang Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs till Ambrose. They were the book of Psalms. Am I mistaken?
 
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