Covenant Theology, RPW, and Musical Instruments

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

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  1. dcomin

    dcomin Psalm Singa

    Can someone cite a Scriptural example of musical instruments being used in the OT un-connected with the sacrificial offering and clearly in the context of a corporate worship gathering?
  2. Roldan

    Roldan Puritan Board Junior

    Excellent :agree:
  3. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    This leaves us with two commands unable to be observed in relation to the same element of worship, which would mean that God gave a command relative to His worship and left it willy nilly to be observed as the worshipper saw fit. This is not stretching the regulative principle but snapping it in two.
  4. Roldan

    Roldan Puritan Board Junior

    But it Doesn't matter anyways if the Temple worship instruments have been abrogated cause they were not used for SINGING and PRAISE!!!!! Hello

    I am pursuaded by reading all the arguments against instruments in worship that they are arguing against something totally different. Should we blow a rams horn during worship? of course not. But what does that have to do with SINGING? :banghead:
  5. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

  6. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    Wrong. It leaves the OT saints the ability to sing to God if instruments were not present and the ability to sing to God if instruments were present. Praising God is the element; the presence or absence of instruments is a circumstance. Ps. 150 proves the point. First is the command Praise the Lord: then the rest of the psalm breaks down how to do it. We are told where to praise: both inside the sanctuary and everywhere outside it. Then we are told why: his mighty acts and excellent greatness. Then we are given the accompanying instruments and finally the human voice in v. 6a. Vs. 1, 2 and 6b (repeating the original command) are the elements established here. vv. 3-5 are circumstances: (That vocal praise is an element whether or not instruments are present is established by other texts).

    These instruments mentioned in Ps. 150 were not present everywhere in Israel. David could have a top flight musical establishement in Jerusalem, but the smallest village in the backwoods Zebulun couldn't do so. Even in present day Canada I can think of some places where unaccompanied praise might be necessary in churches let alone outside them.

    You are making the logical error of concluding that when God gives options in one thing, what that must necessarily imply is that he is thereby granting license in all things. That conclusion does not follow. That God allows for options in one thing does not mean he is ipso facto granting license to apply options in all other things.
  7. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    Verses 3-5 command certain actions to be done; they do not in the slightest hint that these actions are optional.

    Like JD, you are creating a sui generis by allowing for "prescribed circumstances." See the John Owen statement referenced earlier. That which is prescribed by God is ipso fact an element of worship. The regulative principle allows for prescribed elements; it also allows for circumstances concerning worship actions to be ordered prudentially; but it knows no such thing as a circumstance prescribed by God Himself. When God prescribed the circumstance of offering sacrifices at the temple at Jerusalem that circumstance became a part of the element of sacrifice and therefore binding. Likewise, if God commands the use of instruments then the instruments are an element of worship and binding on the worshipper.
  8. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    So you believe that every synogogue in Israel that used the pslams must have had all the instruments mandated by Ps. 150?

    I have good reason to do so. You are ignoring Scriptural testimony that instruments accompanied sung praise and that Scripture also gives us commands to engage in sung praise in contexts in which instruments were unlikely to be present. Your arguement is with Scripture not me.

    When God himself commends singing with instruments and singing without instruments both became possible. Please note that God did not make the accompanyment or lack thereof of sung praise a matter of covenant but a matter of subsequent command.

    Many psalms are cast in a personal context (e.g., Ps. 89:1): the man who wrote this was making a personal promise to God of what he would do. He would teach all generations with his mouth forever. Would he do so in each instance accompanied by the full gamut of Ps. 150? Or would Ps. 92:4 only be sung in the temple with instrumental accompanyment and not in the synogogue since such accompanyment was (allegedly) lacking there? Or could it be sung by a shepherd on a hillside overlooking lake Tiberias contemplating a Galilean sunset?
  9. MW

    MW Puritan Board Doctor

    If my argument were with Scripture I would yield. My argument is with your misinterpretation of Scripture. You have asserted that there are commands to sing unaccompanied. All you have put forth for evidence of this assertion is that there are commands to sing without any mention of instruments. The evidence does not support the assertion.

    As noted previously, a circumstantial command ties the worship to that circumstance so that it become non-negotiable. I allow that there are contexts in which there was unaccompanied singing, e.g., convocations; but I also note that the temple worship required the use of mechanical instrumentation to orchestrate the sacrificial service. In the former context, there is no warrant for the use of instrumental accompaniment; in the latter, instrumental accompaniment was jure divino and binding. The convocations continue in NT congregational worship; the temple worship is accomplished by Jesus Christ in the heavenly tabernacle made without hands.

    One thing is certain, your idea of willy-nilly prescriptions creates confusion, of which God certainly is not the author.
  10. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    To reiterate: it is not unique unto itself:

    Music is an element. Singing is required, utilizing instruments as appropriate.

    Just as preaching is an element. Proclamation is required, having the Scriptures to hand as appropriate.

    Psalm 96:2
    Sing to the LORD, bless His name; Proclaim good tidings of His salvation from day to day.
  11. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Again why would the Scriptures be as "appropriate"? What else could/would you preach from?
  12. Casey

    Casey Puritan Board Junior

    He can speak for himself, but I think what he meant was that if you suddenly found yourself before a crowd willing to hear the gospel, you could still preach the gospel even if you don't have a Bible physically in your hand.
  13. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Or, if you were in a worship service and did not have the Scriptures immediately to hand - it is normative to have them, but not required for every instance of praxis.

    That is, you would not be in sin if you preached without the Scriptures immediately to hand.
  14. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    How does that have anything to do with use/non-use of Instrumental music? One can memorize the Scriptures and not need per se to have the Scriptures on their person. The Scrolls and the instruments are not interrelated in Old Testament Temple Worship. But that has nothing to do with an exegetical argument as the requirement/abrogation of musical instruments in Corporate worship.
  15. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    We are correlating element praxis, not interrelating them. The exegetical argument stands:

    We are commanded to use the Psalms as our guide in worship.

    We are commanded to sing and make melody, that is, practice music as a worship element.

    There is, therefore, no abrogation of the element of music in the NT or the circumstance of praxis of the Psalms in worship.

    The basis of the sui generis argument seems to be that it causes confusion - I contend that it causes no more confusion than the the due diligence required for the practice of any worship element, so this is an invalid argument.
  16. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    Do you necessarily need instruments to make melody?
  17. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Not to answer a question with a question, but:

    Do you necessarily need the Scriptures on hand to preach? :)

    The answer in both instances is no, but do those "instruments" facilitate orthopraxy? Yes.
  18. Backwoods Presbyterian

    Backwoods Presbyterian Puritan Board Doctor

    How do the instruments necessarily "facilitate orthopraxy"?
  19. DeoOpt

    DeoOpt Puritan Board Freshman

    So you bring in the instraments, ie bass, guitar, drums. Then you start dancing, clapping, raiseing your hands. Yes its all about entertainment rather than worship. Ohh dont stop ther next you will want a coffee and book shope so it will be convenient on the Lords day to do so. Dont think it wont happen? Well my friends it happend to me when I attended a particular reformed church for 2 years, slowley thay incorperated these things into there worship. I left that church. But remember "a little leaven leavens the whole lump"
  20. RTaron

    RTaron The Grandpa (Affectionately Called)

    Yes, your voice box can be considered an instrument of music. I dare say that man can not equal by invention its beauty and versatility.
  21. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Well, for one, if skillfully practiced, they keep the singing decent and in order, just as the Scriptures do for preaching.
  22. RTaron

    RTaron The Grandpa (Affectionately Called)

    Panta, since you are getting all pragmatic about this, you can just as easily practice with your voice and lead the congregation in A Capella singing.

    check this out, that is me doing all four parts.:sing:

    Get your gitarish inventions out of here!
  23. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    So you allow that there were worship contexts in which there was unaccompanied singing - but you claim that temple worship required the use of instruments for sacrifices only? Please explain why Ps. 61 (which is set to stringed instruments) does not mention sacrifice or Ps 66 is silent likewise?

    The hidden premise under your argument is that we are not allowed to do what God has not commanded. The fact is, before David, God never commanded that he be worshipped by sung praise: although songs were used as a teaching device in some places e.g., Deut. 32. So if we were never allowed to do what God has not commanded, one would expect no singing of praise to God before the command came in David's day to do so. Or if people did engage in sung praise uncommanded we might expect an immediate judgment. But this is not what we find.

    Now it is certain that people sang praise to God even when not commanded to do so (e.g., Ex. 15. 1-16, Judges 5) and He did not object. Second, in at least one case, these songs involved instruments (Ex. 15:20,21) and again God did not object. If we can trust the psalm headings, then it appears that Ps. 34, 52, 54, 56, and 90 were written before sung praise was commanded, and some of the other psalms (Ps. 7, 18, 63) may also have been written before the Levites took on singing and instrumental duties. So your premises that unacompanied songs were limited in the old covenant to convocations and that instruments were never used outside sacrifices are both demonstrably incorrect. As I said before, your quarrel is with Scripture and not me.
    Last edited: Jul 31, 2008
  24. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    You are jumping to a conclusion that does not necessarily follow. The correct use of instruments to accompany worship does not necessarily lead to the conclusions you draw. I can't dispute what happenened in your case, but you can't dispute that I have been 18 years in a church that uses instruments and occasional dance (which by the way is the biblical use of dance, since dance was never commanded as a regular part of the OT worship but only occurred on very special occasions) and we certainly don't entertain.
  25. timmopussycat

    timmopussycat Puritan Board Junior

    The full orchestra matches the beauty of the human voice and its versatility considerably exceeds that of the voice by any measure. Remember too that all human inventions have their ultimate source in God who gave the capacity for the invention when he created the world and gave man the brain to discover and perfect the invention.
  26. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Just as you can practice the Scriptures by heart and preach without them to hand. :)

    Prudence advises that I not split hairs on this :)

    But for fun, here is a new song with stringed instruments :)
  27. RTaron

    RTaron The Grandpa (Affectionately Called)

    Okay, you win. A full orchestra is more versatile than one human voice. Next will you be arguing that any one or all of these instruments are praising God from the heart with the distinct sound of praise? As in declaring God's mighty acts. No, I think not. They can only make uncertain sounds like the babbling of one speaking in tongues.
  28. ColdSilverMoon

    ColdSilverMoon Puritan Board Senior

    No, that's not the point. Instruments are just that - tools used for worshipping God, but unable to worship God by themselves. Tim's point is that God gave man the ability to worship Him through inventions such as instruments.
  29. dcomin

    dcomin Psalm Singa

    Exodus 20:25 'And if you make Me an altar of stone, you shall not build it of hewn stone; for if you use your tool on it, you have profaned it.

    Before you dismiss this as patently unrelated to the issue under discussion, think about the reason for this command and the purpose of worship...
  30. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I think that the argument should remain on exegetical grounds. Incense was used in the temple as a part of worship. What is a wave offering? David danced as an expression of his love to God. None of these acts are comprised primarily of speech, so to say that instruments cannot be used in worship merely because they "make a noise" instead of _________ is unfounded, IMO.
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