Covenant Theology, RPW, and Musical Instruments

Discussion in 'Covenant Theology' started by Backwoods Presbyterian, Jul 26, 2008.

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  1. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Not to be argumentative, but if worship and praise that included instruments was exclusive to the foundation of the Temple or specifically abrogated in the NT, then the rationale might hold water.

    In my opinion, working to rationalize away instruments in worship is an attempt to "reign in" the excesses of Man in the expression of worship. It is actually "throwing the baby out with the bathwater", since our prime authority on worship praxis, particularly musical worship, is the Psalms... and they certainly do not ban instruments.

    We'd do better understanding how we should follow the Lord's commands then regulate as opposed to ban. Otherwise, we run the risk of condemning what the Lord commands.
  2. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Well certainly if you do not buy the premise that all elements of the Temple Worship ceased with Christ's atoning Death and Resurrection and Ascension (and the destruction of the Temple in AD 70 do not forget) and instruments were an "element" then the discussion is moot.

    Here is a quote from John Calvin to think about:
    Of course as Calvin says if you use instruments why do you not also use incense and the other things "commanded" by the Psalms?
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  3. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior

    Price's book is good - isn't it!

    What I particularly liked about it was how the Early Church Fathers answered panta dokimazete's point above:

    That the musical instruments of David represented the joy that is now experienced in the heart of the Christian man celebrating Christ. Worship is not mechanical in nature, but is now done "in Spirit and in Truth."

    What does it say about us when we allow musical instruments to sound off the Praise that should be coming from our own hearts and mouths.

    In Jesus,

  4. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    As you know - I greatly appreciate the exegetical genius of John Calvin, however, he is mistaken - in this particular instance.

    from here

    Couple of items:

    It doesn't seem as if he can decide whether it was strictly a ceremonial institute or an aid for singing (keeping the worshipers in tune or training them to sing in tune, as it were).

    As far as the correlation to the other elements - the apostle enjoined us to use the Psalms as our guide and the Psalms don't refer to incense or lamps for use in worship. It seems to me the Lord preserved the worship He expects. John was just caught up in his disgust with all things that could be perceived as Romish.
  5. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Thomas Aquinas, who is more Roman than anyone in history, also wrote against the use of instruments in worship.

    Why would the Psalms need to reiterate what was already in progress at the Temple? Take a look at these verses.

    As far as incense take a look at Psalm 66:15.
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2008
  6. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    By the way Thomas Aquinas gives a great definition for the RPW
  7. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    The premise seems very weak.

    Not sure what your point is?

    15 I shall offer to You burnt offerings of fat beasts,
    With the smoke of rams;
    I shall make an offering of bulls with male goats. Selah.

    Last edited: Jul 30, 2008
  8. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

  9. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    I would follow everything they teach that is not abrogated by the NT. What are you intimating?

    BTW: I think the term is prescriptive (I know because I used the wrong spelling once and got called on it :))
  10. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Do you dance in worship? How about play trumpets and lyre's?

    I do not see any explicit commands for piano's or organs in the Psalms.
  11. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Me, particularly? I move rhythmically when I praise, pat my feet, sway, clap, so, yes, in the strictest terms, I do dance. Very decently and in order. And when I was worshipping in Uganda, where the brethren are a bit more expressive, I was, too.

    Where do the Psalms command to use those instrument types exclusively? There are generic terms that make the specific instrument used circumstantial.

    Also, since you used the KJV, earlier:

    Psalm 150:4
    Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.
  12. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    He didn't say "of the Jews" - he said in fear of imitating the Jews. That is, to draw a distinction between Christian and Jewish practice, just as the early church fathers banned instruments in worship in fear of imitating the Greeks. As far as I could see, he didn't give any scriptural support for his fear.
  13. mybigGod

    mybigGod Puritan Board Freshman

  14. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    The early fathers did not ban instruments in fear of "imitating the Greeks".

    Justin Martyr says:
  15. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Are you sure?

  16. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    I do not see how the first or second quotes fits into an exegetical argument? You are trying to make instruments into an idol meat issue, a "weak brother" issue with these quotes. The first is Augustine making a statement concerning the active practice in 4th century Alexandria. No one is making the primary argument that we should not use instruments "just because they did back then". As the quotes from Justin Martyr show there was an exegetical framework buttressing the practice. The mere fact that it separated the Christians from the pagans is just icing on the proverbial cake. The second is the statement of a musicologist, not a theologian or a Christian for that matter. No mention is made as to why they did not use instruments other than the heathens did so and the Christians did not. We can tell from the third and fourth quotes why this was, especially as the third and fourth quotes work in the favor of those of us that see the RPW as denying the use of musical instruments in worship.

    It worked quite nicely that, as your last quote says quite correctly:

    Last edited: Jul 27, 2008
  17. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

  18. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete is plain to see that I rebutted your error with sources from "your side" of the argument - that does not mean I accept the rationale, simply that the facts disagree with your assertion.
  19. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    I notice that, in the quote itself, as presented, Calvin offers no scriptural support for his position. He just asserts that, since the church has reached "full age" (whatever that may mean; I would say that the church won't reach "full age" until the eschaton), musical instruments in worship are not necessary.

    He offers no biblical proof for this assertion because he can't. Nowhere in the New Testament is the use of musical instruments in worship forbidden. I believe Calvin's opinion is an overreaction to the excesses of the Roman Catholic Church.
  20. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    The facts remain:

    1. We are commanded to use the Psalms as a guide to proper worship.
    2. The Psalms command the use of instruments.
    3. Instruments were a circumstantial part of worship pre-Temple.
    4. Instruments are nowhere abrogated by the NT.
  21. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    Good. Since musical instruments were used in the Old Testament, and since they are not banned in the New Testament, then musical instruments are allowed in worship.
  22. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Professor

    As part of this topic, why do Calvin and some of the early church fathers posit this gulf between Old and New Testament worship praxis? Yes, on this side of the cross, we have a fuller revelation, and the prophecies concerning Christ's first advent have been fulfilled, but what does that difference have to do with the use of musical instruments in worship? There's no logical or theological connection between the two. Instruments, in and of themselves, have no redemptive-historical significance vis-a-vis worship praxis. Again, the New Testament does not prohibit their use in public worship.

    I'm sure many of us have read Michael Bushell's fine book on this subject. It is well-written and interesting to read. But, read carefully, you'll notice that most of his argument is taken from church history, not Scripture. Fortunately, as Reformed Protestants, we take our cues from Scripture alone, not church history. It's a good book, but he fails to make his case - because he does not have the Scriptures on his side.
  23. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Psalm 43:4, "Then will I go unto the altar of God, unto God my exceeding joy: yea, upon the harp will I praise thee, O God my God."

    Hebrews 13:10, 15, "We have an altar, whereof they have no right to eat which serve the tabernacle... By him [Jesus] therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name."

    Under the Gospel the believer is to sing praise to God in the full revelation of the mediatorial character and work of Jesus Christ, not by mechanical instruments.
  24. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    You are concatenating the discontinuation of animal sacrifices and associated ritual with the sacrifice of praise that we do continue in prayer, song, practice and proclamation. I'd say v15 tied to the Psalm quoted would actually guide one toward the allowable use of instruments as a supporting circumstance of praise, not the contrary, since praise must be vocalized.

    Psalm 51:15
    O Lord, open my lips,That my mouth may declare Your praise.

    Psalm 71:22
    I will also praise You with a harp,Even Your truth, O my God;To You I will sing praises with the lyre, O Holy One of Israel.

    Psalm 149:3
    Let them praise His name with dancing;Let them sing praises to Him with timbrel and lyre.
  25. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    JD, Your thesis is based upon a misunderstanding as to what part the musical instruments played in OT worship. You are arguing for instrumental accompaniment, but the Psalms mandate instrumental worship, i.e., that the instruments be played in worship to God as an orchestration of the sacrifical service. These musical instruments typically illustrate "the joy" set before the Lord Jesus Christ as He endured the cross and despised the shame. Rather than stir up our affections by means of such mechanical instruments, the apostle teaches that we are to make melody in our hearts, which is exegeted by himself to mean that we should sing with grace in our hearts to the Lord. The Lord Jesus Christ has fulfilled all types and ceremonies associated with the sacrifical worship as prescribed by the Psalms. The book of Hebrews should easily convince you of this.
  26. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    With all due respect, where does Scripture mandate the use of instruments unaccompanied by praise? In every instance of OT worship I know of, instruments are used as accompaniment to praise\worship, not as sufficient in and of itself.

    Also - the apostle says "singing and making melody with your heart" (NASB) and "singing and making melody in your heart" (KJV) - so unless you propose that this commands both singing and making melody as internalized actions, then I believe it is more accurate to exegete "making melody" as an externalized and distinct reference to instrumental accompaniment.

    Psalm 98
    4Shout joyfully to the LORD, all the earth;
    Break forth and sing for joy and sing praises.
    5Sing praises to the LORD with the lyre,
    With the lyre and the sound of melody.
    6With trumpets and the sound of the horn
    Shout joyfully before the King, the LORD.
  27. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    No doubt the singing was also an essential element of the sacrificial service, but this does not detract from the point that musical instrumentation was not implemented to accompany praise but to orchestrate the sacrifice.

    2 Chron. 29:25-29, "And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped."

    There is no possibility of separating the musical instrumentation as if it were merely appointed to accompany the singing of praise. The orchestration was a Levitical rite which was commanded as a specific part of the sacrifice.

    The words should be understood in connection with Col. 3:16, where the apostle serves as the best commentator on his own words by changing the clause to "singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." The "making melody" of Eph. 5:19 clearly equates to "with grace in your hearts."
  28. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    What? The "facts" you presented support the NT Church's disuse of Jewish Temple worship and all things associated with worship.

    I still fail to see where the New Testament says that the Psalms are proscriptive and normative for New Testament worship?
  29. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Well that is just because I did not include the proofs, it does not mean automatically that Calvin pulled this argument out of thin air. It cannot be dismissed that even the Lutherans (who do not hold to the RPW) did not use instruments in worship until the 17th century. As well as the fact that the Eastern Orthodox (who do not hold to the RPW) to this day do not use instruments for precisely the same reasons. In fact they use(d) the NPW to deny the use of instruments in worship.

    Here is Calvin (with proofs):

    From his Commentary on Psalm 33:2

    John Calvin commentary on Psalm 71:22,

    John Calvin on Psalm 81:1-3,
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2008
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