Best Hymnody Inclusive Arguments

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Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
In a previous thread I asked for resources from those who argue uninspired songs are allowed for worship. I got a few responses and checked out those sources; Ian Hamilton's booklet, T Gordorn's article, etc. Having read those I find the strongest argument to be that singing should be governed the same way we govern prayer and preaching. However, I think the EP's argument why that is not so is stronger. So for those that hold to an uninspired inclusive position, do you agree that that is the strongest argument? If not what in your opinion do you view as the strongest or most convincing argument for your position. Im not looking to debate but am sincerely wanting to make sure I have studied the best arguments from the pro uninspired song side.

Thanks in advance.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Threads for or against exclusive psalmody need to be in the EP sub forum (this dates back to the days it was moderated). Moving there.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Personally, I believe the strongest argument for uninspired songs is “we want to sing the name of Jesus”, I can understand that desire.

At last years joint synod of the RPCNA and the ARP there was a debate on inclusive vs exclusive Psalm singing, it would serve as a good place to start digging further into the issue:
Thanks for the reply but I’m not looking for resources. I’m looking to see from those that hold a non Ep position what they feel is the strongest argument for their position.
 

RPEphesian

Puritan Board Junior
In my non-EP days the big one was that the Psalms were insufficient for New Covenant worship.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for the reply but I’m not looking for resources. I’m looking to see from those that hold a non Ep position what they feel is the strongest argument for their position.
He only shared the resource after he provided you with what he thought was the strongest argument; namely "We want to sing the name of Jesus."
 

Jack K

Puritan Board Professor
When you say you find the strongest argument to be "that singing should be governed the same way we govern prayer and preaching," I think you come close. But connected to that is how Scripture treats prayer and song very similarly and often merges the two (seen in the content of the Psalms and other scriptural songs), and also how Scripture treats teaching and song very similarly and sometimes merges them as well (in Colossians 3:16, for example). So we must ask ourselves whether we should draw a sharp distinction between song and these other elements when Scripture in fact teaches us that the line is not so sharp.
 

Jake

Puritan Board Senior
The single argument that has given me the most pause is the example of heavenly worship singing about the completed work of Christ in Revelation (Rev 5:9-10)
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
The strongest argument is the direct command in Scripture to sing "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." I find the contrary argument from the superscription of the Septuagint to be completely unconvincing, bordering on ludicrous.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Probably the most compelling argument for me is that both OT and NT saints were IP. Consider that we can prove conclusively that multiple OT saints did not sing Psalms exclusively (e.g. Moses, Deborah). We can also prove that those singing in the temple were not EP. Consider the prayer of Habakkuk (3:1), which was "to the Chief Musician" (v. 19). (It was both a prayer and a song. Regulated differently? I don't think so!) Hezekiah also wrote a song (Is. 38) which ends thus (v. 20): "The Lord was ready to save me; Therefore we will sing my songs with stringed instruments All the days of our life, in the house of the Lord.”

When we get to the NT, Paul speaks of singing (1 Cor. 14), the stronger argument from many on both sides of the debate suggest these were extemporaneous songs (see both OPC majority and minority reports).

So what is the biblical example? Psalms have always been sung inclusively! Many EP say that these examples were exceptions, though scripture never even remotely proves what they believe to be the rule. If we adopt such lines of reasoning, how can we be certain that we should worship on Sunday instead of Saturday? Might the few examples we have of Sunday worship in the NT be the exception, not the rule? But even more, both testaments prove IP, not EP. Their best EP arguments are formulated through conjecture. IP can be formulated through example.

The Psalms themselves tell us to sing praises. If praises are not limited to the Psalms themselves, neither should our singing!
 
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earl40

Puritan Board Professor
The strongest argument is the direct command in Scripture to sing "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." I find the contrary argument from the superscription of the Septuagint to be completely unconvincing, bordering on ludicrous.
Pastor Greco what is a spiritual song in your opinion?
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
The strongest argument is actually the argument that the EP position tries to claim. Scripture in no way commands EP but does command the singing of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs, which the LBCF rightly distinguishes as opposed to the WCF that only states Psalms.
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
The strongest argument is actually the argument that the EP position tries to claim. Scripture in no way commands EP but does command the singing of Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs, which the LBCF rightly distinguishes as opposed to the WCF that only states Psalms.
Yes, I think the LBCF says it better. I don't think the wording of WCF necessarily excludes hymnody, but it almost does. The LBCF simply sticks with scripture in using the three terms.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes, I think the LBCF says it better. I don't think the wording of WCF necessarily excludes hymnody, but it almost does. The LBCF simply sticks with scripture in using the three terms.
Yes, that wasn't the argument I was trying to make, I was arguing the LBCF is clearer on the point.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Yes, I think the LBCF says it better. I don't think the wording of WCF necessarily excludes hymnody, but it almost does. The LBCF simply sticks with scripture in using the three terms.
The WCF absolutely does exclude all but the psalms if original intent means anything. I know Fred agrees, who took exception to the text at 21.5, though I would make the case the adopting intent of the PCUSA allows it due to their revised directory for worship, and thus an exception is not necessary in those churches that have adopted the PCUSA version.
 

earl40

Puritan Board Professor
I’m not really looking for this to turn into a debate. I only want to hear what the Non Ep position thinks are their strongest arguments.
I understand, though I asked because I was wondering how one defines a spiritual song if one holds to non-EP and what would that "argument" be. :)
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Freshman
I wouldn't cast it in those terms precisely, but I do think that's one of the strongest arguments, yes.

Historically speaking, many cultures did not have a separate category for "song," btw, as opposed to "poetry." That's kind of a modern thing. Prayers can be, and often are, highly poetic. So this kind of strict regulation upon "song" itself seems to be somewhat arbitrary, and perhaps artificial.
 
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J.EdwardNewhill

Puritan Board Freshman
Absent of any express COMMAND in scripture to restrict worship to the 150 Psalms; and in light of many commands to sing God's praises, even sing NEW songs about God's continued faithfulness (psalm 96); and in response to the WHOLE revelation of both Old and New testaments, which contain many wonderful works of God, ALL of which are worthy to be sung about (shall we not sing about the cross, the ressurection, the Ascension into Glory?); It becomes clear that EP puts an undo restriction on Christian liberty. However, the greatest arguement against EP are the many congregations that sing hymns with great joy and gratitude toward their God and Savior every week. Either all of that Christ-centered, gospel-saturated, hymn inclusive worship is false worship, or the EP camp attempts to a lay an unjust burden on their liberated brethren.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
Absent of any express COMMAND in scripture to restrict worship to the 150 Psalms; and in light of many commands to sing God's praises, even sing NEW songs about God's continued faithfulness (psalm 96); and in response to the WHOLE revelation of both Old and New testaments, which contain many wonderful works of God, ALL of which are worthy to be sung about (shall we not sing about the cross, the ressurection, the Ascension into Glory?); It becomes clear that EP puts an undo restriction on Christian liberty.
Exactly
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
That is only the case if you take that one line of his post out of context....
The phrase stands alone as an example of the normative principle, so I disagree.

I think the thread has done pretty well in not veering off into negativity toward the opposing view, please work to keep it that way. Re-read once more before you post. Thanks.
 

David Taylor

Puritan Board Freshman
The phrase stands alone as an example of the normative principle, so I disagree.

I think the thread has done pretty well in not veering off into negativity toward the opposing view, please work to keep it that way. Re-read once more before you post. Thanks.
This is the last I will say on this, but the phrase does not stand alone. It is contrasted with the rest of his post that shows commands indicating we are to sing MORE than the 150 Psalms which falls perfectly within the RPW and not the NP.
 

J.EdwardNewhill

Puritan Board Freshman
This is the last I will say on this, but the phrase does not stand alone. It is contrasted with the rest of his post that shows commands indicating we are to sing MORE than the 150 Psalms which falls perfectly within the RPW and not the NP.
You read my response well. Thank you.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
When you say you find the strongest argument to be "that singing should be governed the same way we govern prayer and preaching," I think you come close. But connected to that is how Scripture treats prayer and song very similarly and often merges the two (seen in the content of the Psalms and other scriptural songs), and also how Scripture treats teaching and song very similarly and sometimes merges them as well (in Colossians 3:16, for example). So we must ask ourselves whether we should draw a sharp distinction between song and these other elements when Scripture in fact teaches us that the line is not so sharp.
What you wrote is what I was alluding to in my OP. Its one of the strongest arguments in my opinion for non-ep. it’s definitely something I need to consider and work through.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
The biggest problem with EP lies in the insistence that the phrase, ψαλμοῖς, καὶ ὕμνοις, καὶ ᾠδαῖς πνευματικαῖς (psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs) means nothing more than "psalms, psalms, and more psalms." It simply cannot be proven from Scripture that these three terms must be interpreted in such a manner.

I would say it is analogous to those holding to the "permanence" view of marriage. In their interpretation of our Lord's words in Matthew 19:9 where he provides the exception cause: μὴ ἐπὶ πορνείᾳ (except for fornication), it is insisted by some that these words only apply to the period in between betrothal and marriage. Once a marriage has been formally consummated, it is argued, this exception no longer applies. But this is pure speculation.

So it is in the case of EP. Those holding this view (loved and respected as they are), wish us to accept a speculative interpretation of "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". But there simply is no express command in God's Word to sing the Book of Psalms exclusively.
 
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