Can songs written by men out-edify the Psalms?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by WrittenFromUtopia, Jul 27, 2005.

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  1. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    No one said this. The gospel is all through Leviticus as well. Would you be ready for Exclusive Leviticary?
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Ditto. I have been saying this for months, and the best I get get in response is a quip about lawnmowers and cakes. Silly me, I thought that elements of worship had more in common than lawn care and eating.
  3. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior

    Just to be clear, I was not saying that the gospel is not found in the psalms, but that psalm-singing is not the means by which the gospel is to be preached.

  4. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior


    You are misrepresenting me. I did not say that the Gospel is not found in the Psalms or the psalter. I said that it must be explained and preached from therein, in order to be effective for the conversion of the soul. I doubt that you would long worship at a church whose pastor merely read a Psalm every week for his sermon, and then sat down.
  5. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Doh! You beat me to it again, KC!:lol:
  6. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Could you point to where you dealt with (I assume you mean
    that you proved the question about sermons to be invalid) this
    issue? What thread?

    For summary purposes, can you repeat your argument here? Barring
    that, can you tell me where the stipulations and regulations are set
    by Scripture for song, vs. the stipulations and regulations for preaching, and how they are different?

    This is, btw, and honest question - I am sympathetic to the arguments for EP, though I am not yet convinced that good, Scriptural hymnody is improper. I'd therefore value greatly your input.


  7. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    I'm going to quit for awhile so's you can catch up.:lol:

  8. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    It has been suggested that the gospel is not found in the singing of psalms but in preaching. It has also been suggested that the Psalter is not the inspired Word of God.

    The whole counsel of God speaks in some way to the gospel. But the Psalms are given to us for singing God's praises in a manner that relates to the whole of the gospel. The fact that the NT quotes the Psalms more than any other book bears this out.

    There is obviously no command to sing Leviticus. Thus your question needs no further response, according to the RPW.
  9. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Adam, Just to clarify, I was not in any way referring to or responding to your post.
  10. kceaster

    kceaster Puritan Board Junior


    The gospel is to be preached, not sung. The gospel minister may therefore preach from the psalms for the converting of the soul. But again, the gospel is preached, not sung. The gospel can be in our singing, but singing is not a presentation of the gospel. Do you understand what I mean?

    John Brown of Haddington's Psalter is not inspired, nor is it inerrant. The Psalms in the Bible are inspired and inerrant. Do you see what I mean?

    In Christ,

  11. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    Regardless of the post that you were responding to (or perhaps none in particular at all), you must still deal with these and similar arguments.
  12. Archlute

    Archlute Puritan Board Senior

    I apologize for the above statement, Andrew. It in no way helps discussion.

    [Edited on 7-27-2005 by Archlute]
  13. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    I agree that there is a distinction between preaching and singing. It's an important distinction. However, I would assert that 1) God's Word commands the singing of psalms and 2) in the singing of psalms we are teaching and admonishing one another (this includes the gospel message of the psalms). Putting psalms to metre is in accordance with WCF 1.6.

    A faithful metrical psalter is every bit as inspired and innerant as a faithful translation of God's Word.
  14. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is quickly become a very emotional subject. I've got my notes on it, and I can keep a clear head, but its still racking me inside out. So I've got to say it, then I'm keeping out of it.

    I think the stated question is a false dilemma. It misrepresents the choice the Bible gives us. It is even suggested at one time that we need to be more careful about what the people sing in response to God than what the minister represents as coming from God.

    I take this discussion to be illigitimate for the most part. We've got to clean up the obvious first. And a man standing on the pulpit commissioned to telling us God's doctrines when they are really his own is a hundred times more of a problem than whether or not we may sing "Amazing Grace". And now people are telling me that I am in sin for wanting to sing "Amazing Grace"? If you don't see that we have to clean up the pulpit first, you won't convince me at all. That is the overriding issue for me: a man stands on the pulpit and claims to speak for God, and speaks his own opinion; while I am sitting in the pulpit trying sing praise out my heart, using Scripture and the gifts of music and song that God has given for expression.

    Okay, I'm out of it. Its going too fast for me, and there are too many threads. But mostly, this is too emotional for me.

    [Edited on 7-27-2005 by JohnV]
  15. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    The first thing we need to remember is that preaching and singing are distinct elements of worship with different rules and guidelines. Singing is not preaching and visa versa. Next, the Word is a means of grace. The psalms are part of the Word (and metrical psalters are simply the Psalms put into meter).In standard Reformed theology, the preaching of an ordained minister from the Word is considered the Word, ie it is the ordinary means that God, through His Spirit, converts sinners. There is no such promise with singing human hymns, God does not use man made hymns as he does by the preaching of the Word in God's name by an ordained Minister, or by the very Word itself. To say otherwise is borderline blasphemy in my opinion.
  16. satz

    satz Puritan Board Senior

    I am very new to the arguments on EP and thus have been staying out of these discussions.

    One thing i will suggest though, with full respect to Gab, is that the title question is of no use to solving the debate on way or the other.

    Either God has commanded that only the psalms be sang in worship or he has not.

    If he has commanded we sing only the psalms, then we should sing them.

    If he has not, then he has left it to our liberty what to sing ( within limits of course ), and regardless of the answer to the title question, we should not set up rules where God has not.

  17. toddpedlar

    toddpedlar Iron Dramatist

    Borderline blasphemy? Well that's a horse of a different color, and an exceedingly strong charge to make.

    Since you seem to want to argue for psalms on the basis of what I'll call the "edification factor" or "edification probability" here are some things to consider:

    Does God use the witness of a Christian to his neighbor as a means of conversion?

    Can God use the conversation of two Christians to edify one another?

    Does God use the testimony of Christian men as to their faith in glorifying himself?

    Does God use the love of a father expressed in intangible ways to his daughters to glorify himself and edify the man's wife in things spiritual?

    Now the above questions, and myriads like them, are undeniably answered in the affirmative, obviously. The psalms do not stand out differently from these things, on that score - namely, on the test of edification and glorification occuring. Human speech by Christians is often critical in both Christian growth and even evangelism and discipling. Clearly the truthfulness with respect to and faithfulness unto God's word of that speech, or other action, is critical in its effectiveness.

    Is it really your contention, though, (again this doesn't answer the question of whether hymns are permissible in worship - you've strayed from that question by the discursive path you've chosen) that hymns and modern psalm arrangements strictly CANNOT edify and be useful in promoting Christian growth and glorify God?

    Of course your argument falls flat on its face when you are comparing the metrical psalms to songs composed of Scripture set to music. The word is the word is the word. YES the psalms are specially made for singing... but you can't argue for psalms vs. scripture songs solely on the basis the Psalms are the Word - so are such songs.

    Please don't hear in this an argument for hymns and other scriptural songs - I'm not making such an argument... I'm only trying to point out a tactic of the EP side that really is missing the central point (i.e. this point that somehow metrical psalm paraphrases are to be used in worship because of the edification factor - rather than because of Scriptural warrant/diswarrant).

    Yours in Christ,


    ps -
    By the way, many of the things that strict EP folks would disallow and call modern innovations, are simply psalms set to music - i'll point you to a few if you doubt this.
  18. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    I know and I didn't buy it then either.
  19. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    Do you use what Scripture teaches us about baptism when you pray? Do you pray with water and in the name of the Trinity? No. Why not? Because what Scripture teaches about baptism doesn't necessarily apply to prayer.
  20. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior


    I certainly believe that songs like "Nothing But the Blood of Jesus" (and other similar ones) are MUCH CLEARER about our salvation through the death and resurrection of Christ, moreso than any Psalm. I might even be amenable to something like "Exclusive Psalms & Isaiah 53" . . . I love the hymn, "He Was Wounded for Our Transgressions", which is pretty much a paraphrased singing of Isaiah 53.

    But when someone argues for *exclusive* Psalmody, it seems to me that he is doing a great disservice both to Christ and to the Church. I believe that strict EP removes the Church's ability to clearly praise God for the greatest gift of all: Christ. There are some hymns that do a better job of praising God for the death and resurrection of Jesus than any Psalm I know of.

    (The above is actually an excerpt from a post I put in one of Matt's threads, but due to the nature of that thread, my post will probably be deleted, so I wanted to post this portion permanently in this thread.)

    Anyway, Gabe, without venting in anger at your disagreement with what I wrote above, please just help me understand why you think my stance is Scripturally incorrect.

    How can we sing praises to God for the sacrifice of Christ, in the full clarity of New Testament light, if we only sing the Psalms?

    (Note: I am certainly NOT saying that Christ is not present in the Psalms. He certainly is. And I am NOT making a pseudo-dispensational gap between the Testaments. Rather, I am just pointing out the fact that the revelation of Christ is much *clearer* in the New Testament. Christ IS preached in the Psalms, but NOT nearly so clearly as He is in the New Testament, and NOT nearly so clearly as in some hymns. I would rather sing with clarity, rather than always hiding behind OT foreshadowing.)

    "What can wash away my sin?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus!
    What can make me whole again?
    Nothing but the blood of Jesus!"

    Show me ONE Psalm that is clearer than that!
  21. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    True, baptism is not prayer. When you pray do you only use the prayers that are in Scripture? If not are you sinning?
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