Best "Arguments" Listed Against Exlusive Psalmody

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C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
Best \"Arguments\" Listed Against Exlusive Psalmody

I want to compile a list of the best arguments against EP that is currently known. I do not want to deal with how the RPW is considered, necessarily. That is really not the issue in the debate between those who hold to the RPW and are not EP, and those who hold to the RPW and are EP. The arguments are more important than that, actually. Certainly we both start there, but the debate is not about that, necessarily in some respects. Also, I do not want to compile a list of arguments that are not helpful. For example, "œYou read the Bible and do what it says." This is not helpful argument to the question overall. I have some I´ve listed, and you can list more. Make them count:

Argument:
God never prescribed the book of psalms in the OT to be the "œmanual of praise."

Argument:
Uninspired music is an illogical counterpart to inspired singing.

Argument:
The Hebrew text of the psalms do not fit a metrical pattern, thus creating a pattern for them as uninspired would not be lawful.

Argument:
If the Scripture is inspired from beginning to end, then we should be able to sing all of the Scripture, like Luke 2 and 1 Timothy 3.

Argument:
Why would you want to go and stand back behind the veil to sing OT psalms in light of the new covenant?

Argument:
Many hymns were written during the century preceding the coming of Christ and during His and the Apostolic days, which may well be used in the praise service.

Argument:
A "œPsalmist" is not an official office in the church, and never was intended to be an official office. Thus, the Psalter is not an official hymn book for the church in any age.

Argument:
We pray extemporaneously our own prayers, and we should be able to sing our own songs. No one advocates that prayer is to be prayed "œScriptures."

Argument:
We preach, which is uninspired, and this is analogous to singing and praying.

Argument:
In Ephesians 5:19 "œspiritual songs" simply means "œsacred songs."

Argument:
The Psalms, the book of Isaiah, and Revelation all command us to sing "œnew songs." The Psalter is not considered a new song. (Psalm 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1; Isa. 42:10; Rev. 5:9; 14:3).

Argument:
The EP arguments rests largely on the LXX which is not inspired.

Argument:
Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 are written to Gentile churches. The Gentile churches would not have thought that "œpsalms, hymns and spiritual songs" were "œpsalms, psalms, and psalms."

Argument:
The cultural context of Ephesians and Colossians do not allow Gentile Christians to be indoctrinated with a "œPsalter" mentality, and instead, would be culturally fixed to "œpsalms, hymns and spiritual songs" as they were discussed and taught in Greek literature.

Argument:
Making "œpsalms, hymns and spiritual songs" say "œpsalms, psalms, and psalms" is difficult in Greek.

Argument:
EP must remain as the only viable biblical argument to be valid.

Argument:
Restricting the Psalter to just the 150 psalms is fallacious since there are other psalms Scripture speaks of which we should sing as well "“ the Song of Moses (Ex. 15), the Song of Deborah (Judges 5)

Argument:
The inspired nature of the text gives no real argument for singing the Psalter since all of Scripture is inspired.

Argument:
Other songs than those contained in the Hebrew Psalter were sung in the temple and in synagogue services.

Argument:
New conditions arise in the church for which new songs should be made.

Argument:
The Psalter is part of the ceremonial worship of the OT, and not to be used today.

Argument:
No secular writers following the establishment of the church used the word "œhymns" or "œsongs" for "œpsalms."

Argument:
1 Timothy 3:16 contains a fragment of a hymn not in the Psalter. This proves uninspired hymnody.

Argument:
1 Corinthians 14:6 says that people in church brought "œpsalms" to sing. These were uninspired hymns that were extemporaneously sung by the person through the Spirit as gifts were given in that era. This proves uninspired hymnody.

Argument:
The psalms are theologically inept to speak on the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ, whom we are commanded to praise and worship.

Argument:
I am commanded to hear the preaching of men, why can´t I hear the singing of men in the same worship service?

Argument:
EP says that if I do not sing the psalms I am sinning against Christ, and I cannot accept that position since the RPW does not accept that position.

Argument:
EPs cannot consistently use the command to "œlet the word of Christ dwell in you" as a support for only singing the Psalms, since they say that the other portions of Scripture that are equally "the word of Christ" are not to be sung.

Argument:
Since the Psalter is an inspired compilation of songs for worship, we should assume that the other inspired songs sung by Old Covenant believers (before the Psalter's completion) are to cease after its completion. But unless God specifically states that this should cease, it should continue, which means songs other than the Psalter should be sung.

Argument:
It is not a sin to sing any portion of God´s word in worship.

Argument:
It was permitted to preach and to sing the song of Moses, but now it is only permitted to preach and not sing the song of Moses according to the EP. I do not see where this shift took place.

Argument:
I must see a command or good and necessary consequence from Scripture to elevate the specific words of song to an element, which is not something the EP can do.

Argument:
The Psalms were never written for the church in all ages.

_________________

Argument
God does not use a lie to teach truth. Thus, when a new song is sung in Rev. 5 which is not a Psalm, God is demonstrating that non-Psalms are acceptable forms of worship.

Argument
EP was never the position of the Church, OT or NT. See Habakkuk 3:19. Habakkuk had written something (his entire prophecy?) as a piece of music to be sung with stringed instruments in the worship of God.

Argument:
The only "true" EP position is the most "logically-extreme" position conceivable, i.e. "there's no one more committed to the Psalms-only position than me."

Argument:
EP makes worship that was lawful in previous times to be unlawful -- namely, worship that occured before the psalms were written-- without any command. [The RPW applies to all ages, to Abraham and Moses as well as David and Daniel. Since song was a part of the worship of God before the Psalter (both by the nature of worship itself and divine command), it is necessary for there to be a command to sing other than psalms, else Abraham and Moses sinned.]

Argument:
Worship and praise are not just formulary, but also voluntary.

Argument:
The hymns that are to be approved for worship, though they contain references to the Saviour by name and to the specific works, and though they contain specific NT themes, yet they do not transgress the norms of the Psalms in the versifying of these.

Argument:
Metrical versions of the Psalms for singing are really not translations of the Psalms but are at best gross paraphrases of the original Hebrew.

Argument:
Worship is divided into two parts: God speaking to the Church; and the Church responds. The RPW applies in different ways to the two parts of worship.

Argument:
The EPist must prove that the Apostle necessarily meant the Septuigent's titles of the Psalms in the phrase, "Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs". If the psalter is not necessarily the only possible option for the interpretation of the Greek phrase, then EP falls.

Argument:
In the LXX, there are 151 entries to the Psalms, including one uninspired addition entitled a "Psalm." How does this work where the EP says the psalms are the 150 but rest on the LXX for support for Col. and Eph.?


[Edited on 7-28-2005 by webmaster]

[Edited on 7-28-2005 by webmaster]
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
I'm going to edit and add the new ones to the list, and delete the posts as they come. This is just to be a running list, nothing more. Don't give me links. [The link last posted by Irons was not helpful - it simply reinterated what was already listed.]
 
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