Compare the scriptural support for canonical hymnody with the no instruments practice

Which practice has the best scriptural support: canonical hymnody or no instruments?


  • Total voters
    23
Status
Not open for further replies.

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
Consider the practices of canonical hymnody and no instruments in public worship. Which practice do you believe has the better scriptural support? For the purposes of the poll, no "none of the above" or "I believe both are equally supported" -- choose the best answer.
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
Oh, no, here we go again.

Scripture requires the singing of canonical praise; that is, the psalms, hymns, and odes of the OT Psalter, in a known tongue.

The burden of proof is on those who insist that Scripture requires the singing of noncanonical songs and accompanying the singing of canonical or noncanonical songs by musical instruments.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
By canonical hymnody, what do you mean? EP, inspired praise or are both included?
Consider the practices of canonical hymnody and no instruments in public worship. Which practice do you believe has the better scriptural support? For the purposes of the poll, no "none of the above" or "I believe both are equally supported" -- choose the best answer.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
I was trying to be more inclusive by using the term canonical hymnody. For the purpose of the poll, if you hold to EP you hold to canonical hymnody.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
What if I hold to not EP and not No Instruments, meaning I believe we are to sing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs that are not only purely Scripture; and the use of instruments is permitted?
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
*smacks self in the head*

doh! i misunderstood that you wanted to include EP with 'canonical hymnody' and cast my vote incorrectly.
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
Consider the practices of canonical hymnody and no instruments in public worship. Which practice do you believe has the better scriptural support? For the purposes of the poll, no "none of the above" or "I believe both are equally supported" -- choose the best answer.
But I do believe both exclusive psalmody and a prohibition against musical instruments are supported from the word of God. I cannot select any of the above choices.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
What if I hold to not EP and not No Instruments, meaning I believe we are to sing psalms, hymns, spiritual songs that are not only purely Scripture; and the use of instruments is permitted?
As do I, but of the opposing arguments, which do you find more persuasive?

But I do believe both exclusive psalmody and a prohibition against musical instruments are supported from the word of God. I cannot select any of the above choices.
Surely you can choose one that you think has the better support.

By "best scriptural support" do you mean which docrtine is more perspicuous?
Precisely. "All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all..."
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I hold to both, but I think that it's probably easier to defend exclusive psalmody -- at least in order to satisfy a lot of people. Most are satisfied with a simple explanation of Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16, that the terms all refer to the Psalter. In the case of musical instruments, it becomes necessary to explain their ceremonial character from their first institution in formal worship, which can become a somewhat more extended argument. And I would add that it is much easier to explain rejection of extra-biblical holy days on the basis of the RPW than either exclusive psalmody or no instruments.
 

bookslover

Puritan Board Doctor
I hold to both, but I think that it's probably easier to defend exclusive psalmody -- at least in order to satisfy a lot of people. Most are satisfied with a simple explanation of Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16, that the terms all refer to the Psalter. In the case of musical instruments, it becomes necessary to explain their ceremonial character from their first institution in formal worship, which can become a somewhat more extended argument. And I would add that it is much easier to explain rejection of extra-biblical holy days on the basis of the RPW than either exclusive psalmody or no instruments.
I think musical instruments are okie-dokie, and I think EP is okie-dokie but not required by Scripture. So, I guess that leaves me out of the poll entirely. Suddenly, I feel so lonely...
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
I think musical instruments are okie-dokie, and I think EP is okie-dokie but not required by Scripture. So, I guess that leaves me out of the poll entirely. Suddenly, I feel so lonely...
Don't despair! If you believe that instruments are OK and non-canonical songs are OK you can pick from options 3 and 4. Everyone is included!

I guess the question wasn't very clear. At least Sean gets what I was after.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The OT saints had musical instruments..why cannot we? The inhabitants of heaven in Revelation will sing a new song..why can't we?
Not entirely true. Only a certain group of OT saints used musical instruments in the worship of God, and the Levitical priesthood does not exist anymore.

David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were numbered, and the total was 38,000 men. "Twenty-four thousand of these," David said, "shall have charge of the work in the house of the LORD, 6,000 shall be officers and judges, 54,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the LORD with the instruments that I have made for praise." 1 Chron. 23:2-5

When I see one group of people set apart in front of the rest of the congregation, set apart as the 'worship band' to lead everyone else in worship, this is all I can think about.
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
Not entirely true. Only a certain group of OT saints used musical instruments in the worship of God, and the Levitical priesthood does not exist anymore.

David assembled all the leaders of Israel and the priests and the Levites. The Levites, thirty years old and upward, were numbered, and the total was 38,000 men. "Twenty-four thousand of these," David said, "shall have charge of the work in the house of the LORD, 6,000 shall be officers and judges, 54,000 gatekeepers, and 4,000 shall offer praises to the LORD with the instruments that I have made for praise." 1 Chron. 23:2-5

When I see one group of people set apart in front of the rest of the congregation, set apart as the 'worship band' to lead everyone else in worship, this is all I can think about.
Ditto. Instruments were germain to OT Temple worship. They were not part of synagogue worship.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I believe that every people on earth should make up songs in their own language to the accompaniment of their own local instrumentation to the praise of God.






The OT saints had musical instruments..why cannot we? The inhabitants of heaven in Revelation will sing a new song..why can't we?

You mean sing a new song?
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
Yes, we are to sing a new song. There are 150 of them in the biblical Psalter.

"I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
"And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God."
Romans 12:1-2 (AV)
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Scott:

I can't agree with the way the question is put. I know that you're coming at it from the non-EP and the non-NI side, but it seems to me that you're making the same error in juxtapositioning things that are not incompatible in themselves, just like the EP and NI arguments do. You listen to some people and you would think that songs of worship are unfaithful to God, just because they aren't strictly word-for-word from the Psalms.

I'm not taking sides here, I'm just saying that the question itself is wrong. I can't cast a vote, because it makes very little difference to me whether I come down on one side or the other; they're both wrong. It's a misrepresentation of the thing required of us in worship. That's my position.

[disclaimer] The opinions stated above are those of the author alone, and are not necessarily the opinions of anyone else. These may be read by the public, and may not be misrepresented in whole or in part. ;)
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
And if the use of instruments were a part of Old Covenant, Levitical Priesthood worship that is done away with in the New Covenant, then where do we see the use of instruments described in the Levitical code? Or was David "adding" instruments to the prescribed worship in violation of the regulative principle?
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
And if the use of instruments were a part of Old Covenant, Levitical Priesthood worship that is done away with in the New Covenant, then where do we see the use of instruments described in the Levitical code? Or was David "adding" instruments to the prescribed worship in violation of the regulative principle?
The first time instruments are mentioned in the bible is in Genesis 4:22.

Zillah also bore Tubal-cain; he was the forger of all instruments of bronze and iron. The sister of Tubal-cain was Naamah.
This obviously has nothing to do with the worship of God. The next time that instruments is mentioned is in 1 Samuel 18:6.

As they were coming home, when David returned from striking down the Philistine, the women came out of all the cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet King Saul, with tambourines, with songs of joy, and with musical instruments.
Again, this is not the religious worship of God. It's a big party celebrating David's victory in battle. The word "instrument" does not appear again until 1 Samuel 18:6 and 1 Chronicles 15:16, when David appoints Levites to play certain instruments during worship. But this wasn't the first time instruments were used, it's just the first time the word "instrument" is used in a general sense in the context of worship. However, specific instruments were mentioned before this time and other specific instruments would be mentioned after. Here's your reference to instruments in the Mosaic/Levitical code:

Speak to the people of Israel, saying, In the seventh month, on the first day of the month, you shall observe a day of solemn rest, a memorial proclaimed with blast of trumpets, a holy convocation.
Leviticus 23:24

Then you shall sound the loud trumpet on the tenth day of the seventh month. On the Day of Atonement you shall sound the trumpet throughout all your land.
Leviticus 25:9

Trumpets were commanded to be made to call the assembly together on feast days. Trumpets then appear again in Leviticus:

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Make two silver trumpets. Of hammered work you shall make them, and you shall use them for summoning the congregation and for breaking camp. And when both are blown, all the congregation shall gather themselves to you at the entrance of the tent of meeting. But if they blow only one, then the chiefs, the heads of the tribes of Israel, shall gather themselves to you. When you blow an alarm, the camps that are on the east side shall set out. And when you blow an alarm the second time, the camps that are on the south side shall set out. An alarm is to be blown whenever they are to set out. But when the assembly is to be gathered together, you shall blow a long blast, but you shall not sound an alarm. And the sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets. The trumpets shall be to you for a perpetual statute throughout your generations.
Moses commands to have trumpets made to gather the assembly together at the tent of meeting. Who was supposed to play them? "The sons of Aaron, the priests, shall blow the trumpets."

Biblical theology becomes important for these questions. See the way the use of musical instruments is developed. The first trumpets are used to gather the assembly for feast days. The next trumpets are used to gather the assembly together at the tent of meeting and are to be played by the sons of Aaron who are the priests. Then King David appoints more instruments to be played by the Levites. There is a progression here. Revelation within the Old Covenant is itself growing through time, first as more law is added in Leviticus and Deuteronomy to what was originally given at the end of Exodus, and then as the nation of Israel is established as a type of the Church and the monarchy is established through David as a type of Christ's kingly leadership of the Church. But, as I said, these were shadows and types. We have no more feast days. We have no more tent of meeting. We have no more Levitical priesthood. These were all types and shadows and have passed away. The only mention of instrumentation in the NT is Paul saying that we should "make music in our hearts" while singing to God (Ephesians 5). So no, David wasn't violating the regulative principle, but we are if we use instruments when they were only commanded during the old covenant as part of the types and shadows of the coming Christ.
 
Last edited:

providenceboard

Puritan Board Freshman
I voted PRO- EP and PRO- no instruments. The reason that I believe that no instruments is easier to understand is only because of the "psalms hymns and spiritual songs" passages in the NT.

What I do not understand is how anyone that claims to hold to the Regulative Principle of worship can think that instruments are OK. No where in the NT are we told or are we shown instruments in worship. The idea that if the levites did it, then we can do something similar is a doctrine of ROME. The idea of "where does the Bible say that we cannot do it?" is the Normative principle and at least Presbyterians should be holding to the Regulative Principle.

I can understand how easy it is to say "psalms hymns and spiritual songs" are "psalms hymns and spiritual songs", but that just seems to me to be either lazy exegesis or just eisegesis. However these 2 passages are the only place that singing man invented songs can be pulled from scripture.
 

elnwood

Puritan Board Junior
Biblical theology becomes important for these questions. See the way the use of musical instruments is developed. The first trumpets are used to gather the assembly for feast days. The next trumpets are used to gather the assembly together at the tent of meeting and are to be played by the sons of Aaron who are the priests. Then King David appoints more instruments to be played by the Levites. There is a progression here. Revelation within the Old Covenant is itself growing through time, first as more law is added in Leviticus and Deuteronomy to what was originally given at the end of Exodus, and then as the nation of Israel is established as a type of the Church and the monarchy is established through David as a type of Christ's kingly leadership of the Church. But, as I said, these were shadows and types. We have no more feast days. We have no more tent of meeting. We have no more Levitical priesthood. These were all types and shadows and have passed away. The only mention of instrumentation in the NT is Paul saying that we should "make music in our hearts" while singing to God (Ephesians 5). So no, David wasn't violating the regulative principle, but we are if we use instruments when they were only commanded during the old covenant as part of the types and shadows of the coming Christ.
So David appointed more musical instruments in 1 Chronicles 15:16? Why was he able to do this without violating the Regulative Principle? They were only told to use trumpets. Shouldn't the Levites balked at obeying an order from the King on how to conduct worship? The king was not in charge of the priesthood.

Also, the Psalms themselves are part of Levitical worship, and surely they are types and shadows of the Old Covenant and as well. The use of musical instruments is inextricably linked to the Psalms (see especailly Psalm 150). If you use only the New Testament to justify the continuation of Psalms, why can't you pull in musical instruments as a part of that?

I say this because I have been to EP, no instruments congregations, and I have been blessed by the worship, but we have sung Psalm 150 a cappella. Quite frankly, singing Psalm 150 without instruments strikes me as confusing at best, and giving conflicting commands of God at worst, i.e. "Praise him with trumpet sound!" and "Don't use instruments in worship!"
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
***edit***

The simple response is that in the New Testament we are commanded to sing psalms but not to use musical instruments. Since it seems clear that musical instruments were tied to Old Covenant worship (which can be seen in the development of their use under the instruction of Moses, the prophetical type of Christ and David, the kingly type of Christ) that they have passed away along with other types and shadows of the old covenant (like prophets and earthly kings of the Church) and elements of worship that receive no command to continue their use in the New Testament.

It may seem confusing with the texts of certain psalms but I don't really see how that's much of a point. If mentioning of instruments in a psalm means we have to play those instruments, why shouldn't we perform animal sacrifices that are mentioned in the psalms we sing or in the portions of the Law we read from the Pentateuch? It would be easier, I admit, to get out of a situation that requires carefully studying the purpose and usage of musical instruments throughout the scripture by simply proof-texting Psalm 150 and being done with it. However, this is the same thing I used to do as a Charismatic with regard to certain gifts of the spirit. I would point to a verse in 1 Corinthians 14 and say "ah ha! obviously we're supposed to still speak in tongues and prophesy" but I was completely ignoring the meaning and usage of those gifts throughout the course of redemptive history. Since that time was not so long ago it still makes reading 1 Cor 12 and 14 difficult for me sometimes, but the fact that it becomes difficult for me doesn't mean that I shouldn't read, understand and apply them the way I do now.
 
Last edited:

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
***edit***

The simple response is that in the New Testament we are commanded to sing psalms but not to use musical instruments. Since it seems clear that musical instruments were tied to Old Covenant worship (which can be seen in the development of their use under the instruction of Moses, the prophetical type of Christ and David, the kingly type of Christ) that they have passed away along with other types and shadows of the old covenant (like prophets and earthly kings of the Church) and elements of worship that receive no command to continue their use in the New Testament.

It may seem confusing with the texts of certain psalms but I don't really see how that's much of a point. If mentioning of instruments in a psalm means we have to play those instruments, why shouldn't we perform animal sacrifices that are mentioned in the psalms we sing or in the portions of the Law we read from the Pentateuch? It would be easier, I admit, to get out of a situation that requires carefully studying the purpose and usage of musical instruments throughout the scripture by simply proof-texting Psalm 150 and being done with it. However, this is the same thing I used to do as a Charismatic with regard to certain gifts of the spirit. I would point to a verse in 1 Corinthians 14 and say "ah ha! obviously we're supposed to still speak in tongues and prophesy" but I was completely ignoring the meaning and usage of those gifts throughout the course of redemptive history. Since that time was not so long ago it still makes reading 1 Cor 12 and 14 difficult for me sometimes, but the fact that it becomes difficult for me doesn't mean that I shouldn't read, understand and apply them the way I do now.
:ditto:

Psalm 150 cannot be a proof text for instruments any more than Psalm 149 is a proof text that we ought to be bringing beds and swords to church.
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
Scott:

I can't agree with the way the question is put. I know that you're coming at it from the non-EP and the non-NI side, but it seems to me that you're making the same error in juxtapositioning things that are not incompatible in themselves, just like the EP and NI arguments do. You listen to some people and you would think that songs of worship are unfaithful to God, just because they aren't strictly word-for-word from the Psalms.

I'm not taking sides here, I'm just saying that the question itself is wrong. I can't cast a vote, because it makes very little difference to me whether I come down on one side or the other; they're both wrong. It's a misrepresentation of the thing required of us in worship. That's my position.

[disclaimer] The opinions stated above are those of the author alone, and are not necessarily the opinions of anyone else. These may be read by the public, and may not be misrepresented in whole or in part. ;)
I'm not quite sure I understand what you are getting at. Are you saying that the two positions are independent? I believe that is the case, which is why two of the options are for a person who holds one position but not the other. I think we will find, however, that very few people only subscribe to one of the two practices. One thing I am interested in finding out is of those who only subscribe to one practice, which one is more popular.

I voted PRO- EP and PRO- no instruments. The reason that I believe that no instruments is easier to understand is only because of the "psalms hymns and spiritual songs" passages in the NT.

What I do not understand is how anyone that claims to hold to the Regulative Principle of worship can think that instruments are OK. No where in the NT are we told or are we shown instruments in worship. The idea that if the levites did it, then we can do something similar is a doctrine of ROME. The idea of "where does the Bible say that we cannot do it?" is the Normative principle and at least Presbyterians should be holding to the Regulative Principle.
Coming from the other side, I agree in that I could be more easily persuaded by the instruments position. At this time I believe that while instrumental music by itself is a violation of the RPW, instruments are acceptable as a circumstance to singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I see the absence or presence of instruments while singing to be like the absence or presence of a pulpit while preaching. I'm just outlining my position for your understanding; I'm not interested in debating right now.
 

providenceboard

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm sure a lot have seen these quotes from the past concerning instruments in worship, but here is a link: http://www.bible.ca/H-music.htm

I find it interesting that Luther, who would not have held to the Regulative Principle did not agree with the use of the organ in worship:

Martin Luther, Reformation Leader: "The organ in the worship service is a sign of Baal." Realencyklopadie Fur Protestantische Theologie und Kirche, Bd, 14, s.433 cited in Instrumental Music and New Testament Worship, James D. Bales, p. 130.

Or Wesley:

John Wesley, Founder of Methodist Denomination: "I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen." Cited by Methodist commentator Adam Clarke; Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, p.684

Or that great Baptist:

Charles Spurgeon, Baptist Author/Pastor: "We might as well pray by machinery as sing by it" and "Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her learn; but in these days when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes... we do not need them. That would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto Him. This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice." Charles Spurgeon, Commentary on Psalm 42

I realize that these prove nothing concerning the poll, but I find it interesting that for a VERY LONG time in early church history, there was no argument about instruments in worship.
 

providenceboard

Puritan Board Freshman
Coming from the other side, I agree in that I could be more easily persuaded by the instruments position. At this time I believe that while instrumental music by itself is a violation of the RPW, instruments are acceptable as a circumstance to singing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs. I see the absence or presence of instruments while singing to be like the absence or presence of a pulpit while preaching. I'm just outlining my position for your understanding; I'm not interested in debating right now.
Hey Scott, I hope you are doing OK. That is interesting. I'm sure I disagree but it is something to think about. What about during an offering or something? I know a lot hold giving to be an element. Would then things done while the plate was passed be a circumstance?
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top