Do the Westminster Stds teach Exclusive Psalmody?

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VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Zachary Boyd was famous for versifying not only non-Psalter scripture songs but other parts of the Bible as well.

His ambition was to put the whole Bible into verse, of course an impossible attempt; and undoubtedly we should not call it all poetry, but poetic prose.
There is an interesting bit of information from his biography on his connection to the Psalter as follows:

We have now to notice Mr Boyd in the character in which he has hitherto been best known to the world, namely, in that of a poet. One of his most popular attempts to render himself serviceable to his country was in preparing a poetical version of the Book of Psalms for the use of the church. It had been previous to 1646 that he engaged in this, as the Assembly of 1647, when appointing a committee to examine Rous’s version, which had been transmitted to them by the Assembly at Westminster, ‘recommended them to avail themselves of the psalter of Rowallan, and of Mr Zachary Boyd, and of any other poetical writers.’ It is further particularly recommended to Mr Zachary Boyd to translate the other Scriptural Songs in metre, and to report his travails therein to the commission of that Assembly: that after their examination thereof they may send the same to the presbyteries to be there considered until the next General Assembly. (Assembly Acts, Aug. 28, 1647.) Mr Boyd complied with this request, as the Assembly, Aug. 10, 1648, ‘recommends to Mr John Adamson and Mr Thomas Crawfurd to revise the labours of Mr Zachary Boyd upon the other Scripture Songs, and to prepare a report thereof to the said commission for publick affairs,’ who, it is probable, had never given in any ‘report of their labours.’ Of his version, Baillie had not entertained a high opinion, as he says, ‘Our good friend, Mr Zachary Boyd, has put himself to a great deal of pains and charges to make a psalter, but I ever warned him his hopes were groundless to get it received in our churches, yet the flatteries of his unadvised neighbours makes him insist in his fruitless design.’ There seems to have been a party who did not undervalue Mr Boyd’s labours quite so much as Baillie, and who, if possible, were determined to carry their point, as, according to Baillie’s statement, ‘The Psalms were often revised, and sent to presbyteries,’ and, ‘had it not been for some who had more regard than needed to Mr Zachary Boyd’s psalter, I think they (Rous’s version) had passed through in the end of last Assembly; but these, with almost all the references from the former Assemblies, were remitted to the next.’ On 23d November, 1649, Rous’s version, revised and improved, was sanctioned by the commission with authority of the General Assembly, and any other discharged from being used in the churches, or its families. Mr Boyd was thus deprived of the honour to which he aspired with some degree of zeal, and it must have been to himself and friends, a source of considerable disappointment.
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't want to get too far off the subject, but so many of those "songs" listed aren't even songs. What is the Song of Jonah? I always thought it was strange that Luke 1:46-55 has been interpreted by some as the Song of Mary when the text clearly says, "And Mary said..." I'm presently working on John Cotton's treatise on Psalmody (8 pages to go) and he takes the position that Scripture Songs are also acceptable in worship along with the 150 Psalms of David.
 
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Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Those against. If a church decides to sing psalms only then why is this even an issue? I dont understand that.

Blade
Because the inevitable conclusion of their position is that all non-EPers are flat-out practicing idolatry by singing uninspired songs.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Those against. If a church decides to sing psalms only then why is this even an issue? I dont understand that.

Blade
I was a member of a church (still am, technically) that implemented a Psalms only policy. They had a distaste for a few of the things that they believed were overdone. They shopped around for psalters to sing from for their congregation, and settled on the RPCNA book of praise. It was a fall-back policy. They were having a hard time coming up with guidelines for proper songs in the worship service. I think it was a good idea for them.

What is at issue in these discussions, though, is not whether an individual church should or should not have a policy of singing only from the Psalms. Its about the insinuation, as Casey says, that other churches should be singing only from the Psalms too. That means that one congregation is imposing upon another. In other words, they are saying it is a Biblical command that is for all churches alike. This has a host of very important problems with it.

This particular discussion is about whether the WCF actual says that the Psalms alone are to be sung in the worship service, with the implication that those churches who sing also hymns are going against the WCF. The question, then, is whether this is in line with the RPW or against it. Is this what God says to us in His Word. This is where we disagree.
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
This may or may not be the inevitable conclusion of the EP position. What is the inevitable conclusion of the non EP position concerning those who hold to EP?

At the end of the day, you cannot argue against a position on the basis that holding to it implies something offensive about those who do not hold to it. Such implications might be drawn out of every opposing position on every subject.
:agree:
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
This may or may not be the inevitable conclusion of the EP position. What is the inevitable conclusion of the non EP position concerning those who hold to EP?

At the end of the day, you cannot argue against a position on the basis that holding to it implies something offensive about those who do not hold to it. Such implications might be drawn out of every opposing position on every subject.
Friend, my post was in the context of responding to Blade's question:
Those against. If a church decides to sing psalms only then why is this even an issue? I dont understand that.
I was not giving an argument against EP in my response to him.

Honestly, I believe those who hold to EP are a bit more vocal concerning their opinion of the non-EP position (as a form of idolatry) than those not holding to EP are concerning EP (as a form of binding the conscience) -- but maybe I'm being overly subjective here?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
This seems to have stumped some folks so let me put the question directly. If the Westminster Assembly in the Westminster Standards was supposedly articulating and teaching the doctrine of Exclusive Psalmody (i.e nothing should be sung in worship but the 150 Psalms, not even other supposed songs in Scripture), what’s up with the Scottish General Assembly moving to produce this volume of what they viewed as the other songs in Scripture, apparently with the view of using it in worship, at the same GA the Confession of Faith was approved, August 27, 1647? And if I’m not mistaken, Baillie and Gillespie were in attendance as they had brought the text of the Confession to be approved at that Assembly.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Let me put a finer point on my reasoning. If we are going to insist on putting a particular theory or thought behind why the Westminster Divines only authorized the singing of the Psalms of David, we have to go to sources external to the productions and deliberations of the assembly because this question is simply not addressed by them in their work. However, doing so will simply leave the question uncertain at best. Which has priority for interpreting their work? A work published 25 years after the Assembly which may indicate the men signing it had an EP view of Col. 3:16 and EPH 5:19 (the 1673 preface to the English edition of the 1650 Psalter) or the actions of the 1647 Scottish GA approving both the WCF as well as a project to put the other scripture songs into meter which as Matthew Winzer indicates demonstrates the Inspired praise view the GA had of those same verses? The work of Ford or the comments of Robert Baillie? The fact that the teacher of Baillie and many other Scottish ministers of his age, Robert Boyd, held to uninspired hymnody, whose lectures on Ephesians Baillie helped to get published, or that Rutherford’s contemporaries Robert MacWard and John Brown of Wamphray held to the position of Inspired praise? I think it is clear enough that the productions and context of the work of the assembly indicate what they were authorizing by singing of psalms—the singing of the Psalms of David. We don’t need to muddy that certainty by trying to prove more than is possible. Maybe I’m wrong, but at this juncture I do not think that I am.
 

providenceboard

Puritan Board Freshman
Honestly, I believe those who hold to EP are a bit more vocal concerning their opinion of the non-EP position (as a form of idolatry) than those not holding to EP are concerning EP (as a form of binding the conscience) -- but maybe I'm being overly subjective here?
It is my opinion that it is the NON-EP that binds a man's conscience. When someone writes a song "to God", and then says that everyone has to sing his song ( or someone elses song ) to God it is binding the conscience of another. You wouldn't require me to pray your prayers, would you?
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Let me put a finer point on my reasoning. If we are going to insist on putting a particular theory or thought behind why the Westminster Divines only authorized the singing of the Psalms of David, we have to go to sources external to the productions and deliberations of the assembly because this question is simply not addressed by them in their work. However, doing so will simply leave the question uncertain at best.


This would decidedly violate the very principle they took pains to establish, vis a vis.

IV. The authority of the Holy Scripture, for which it ought to be believed, and obeyed, dependeth not upon the testimony of any man, or church; but wholly upon God (who is truth itself) the author thereof: and therefore it is to be received, because it is the Word of God.[9]

9. II Peter 1:19-20; II Tim. 3:16; I John 5:9; I Thess. 2:13; Rev. 1:1-2

V. We may be moved and induced by the testimony of the church to an high and reverent esteem of the Holy Scripture.[10] And the heavenliness of the matter, the efficacy of the doctrine, the majesty of the style, the consent of all the parts, the scope of the whole (which is, to give all glory to God), the full discovery it makes of the only way of man's salvation, the many other incomparable excellencies, and the entire perfection thereof, are arguments whereby it doth abundantly evidence itself to be the Word of God: yet notwithstanding, our full persuasion and assurance of the infallible truth and divine authority thereof, is from the inward work of the Holy Spirit bearing witness by and with the Word in our hearts.[11]

10. I Tim 3:15
11. I Cor. 2:4-5, 9-10; Heb. 4:12; John 10:35; Isa. 55:11, 59:21; Rom. 11:36: Psa. 19:7-11; II Tim. 3:15; I Thess. 1:5; I John 2:20, 27

VI. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men.[12] Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word:[13] and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.[14]

12. II Tim. 3:16-17; Gal. 1:8-9; II Thess. 2:2
13. John 6:45; I Cor. 2:12, 14-15; Eph. 1:18; II Cor. 4:6
14. I Cor. 11:13-14; 14:26, 40

VII. All things in Scripture are not alike plain in themselves, nor alike clear unto all:[15] yet those things which are necessary to be known, believed, and observed for salvation, are so clearly propounded, and opened in some place of Scripture or other, that not only the learned, but the unlearned, in a due use of the ordinary means, may attain unto a sufficient understanding of them.[16]

15. II Peter 3:16
16. Psa. 119:105, 130; Deut. 29:29; 30:10-14; Acts 17:11
Their own language was carefully selected, so as to be clear in meaning and not to go beyond what Scripture said. They were summarizing the teachings of the Scripture as has been handed down throughout the generations since the time of the Apostles. Certain historically adopted conclusions concerning things which men tried to twist or wring out of context were included and strongly grounded in Scripture, so that it would be clear that it is only the Word of God that tells us what we are to believe concerning all the things of salvation and of a godly life. It has been so written that, should it happen that church councils err in their decisions, that even the unordained who search the Scripture may also see it. For the sole purpose of the WCF is to offer a unified systematic accounting of the teachings of the Word of God as the only rule for faith and life. (See articles I, VIII, IX, and X also.)


Which has priority for interpreting their work?
Answer:

IX. The infallible rule of interpretation of Scripture is the Scripture itself: and therefore, when there is a question about the true and full sense of any Scripture (which is not manifold, but one), it must be searched and known by other places that speak more clearly.[23]

23. Acts 15:15; John 5:46; II Peter 1:20-21

A work published 25 years after the Assembly which may indicate the men signing it had an EP view of Col. 3:16 and EPH 5:19 (the 1673 preface to the English edition of the 1650 Psalter) or the actions of the 1647 Scottish GA approving both the WCF as well as a project to put the other scripture songs into meter which as Matthew Winzer indicates demonstrates the Inspired praise view the GA had of those same verses? The work of Ford or the comments of Robert Baillie? The fact that the teacher of Baillie and many other Scottish ministers of his age, Robert Boyd, held to uninspired hymnody, whose lectures on Ephesians Baillie helped to get published, or that Rutherford’s contemporaries Robert MacWard and John Brown of Wamphray held to the position of Inspired praise? I think it is clear enough that the productions and context of the work of the assembly indicate what they were authorizing by singing of psalms—the singing of the Psalms of David. We don’t need to muddy that certainty by trying to prove more than is possible. Maybe I’m wrong, but at this juncture I do not think that I am.
They why muddy it? It is quite simple. If the Psalter was sufficient and complete for worship, then why even commission a committee to produce a psalter? What was it that they wanted to add to the Scripture by doing so that they had to appoint a special committee to produce it?

For all that you've asked, Chris, is it not possible that you are reading things into what these men said? Did they not themselves warn us not to go beyond what they wrote under the help of the Spirit as a church? Did they not warn us not to seek out their meanings and understandings, but to go to Scripture, to the Spirit Himself to search out the meanings?

These men took great care over the words they chose. They would never have been so careless as to have left out the word "only" if they had intended it to be there. They wanted to be as clear as possible.

Therefore, with the many among them who people on this Board claim were EP, with the importance to worship that it has been given in these threads, it is very significant that it is not clearly stated in the WCF. May I suggest that the idea is imported, that the Assembly had something else in mind, something which makes the article in question quite clear?

Perhaps I might ask a question, another one: Are we to sing the commands to praise all God's works found in the Psalms, or are we to obey them by singing about God's works, including what He did for us as revealed in the NT? Are we allowed only to sing the commands, or may we obey them too?
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
It is my opinion that it is the NON-EP that binds a man's conscience. When someone writes a song "to God", and then says that everyone has to sing his song ( or someone elses song ) to God it is binding the conscience of another. You wouldn't require me to pray your prayers, would you?
The same exact argument could be made against non-inspired prayers, non-inspired sermons, non-inspired creeds, non-inspired confessions, non-inspired catechisms, etc. -- all of which are aspects of public worship in which all members of the congregation are called to participate. You ought not limit this argument of yours merely to song, if you're going to be consistent, that is.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Well, Casey, Providenceboard has a point. If the church does not approve of the song, and someone is insisting that his song be sung, that is wrongly binding the conscience. I think he errs in attributing this to non-EP, for no one is advocating a careless use of hymnody, nor an unsupervised song section, nor a willy-nilly free-for-all during the singing part of the service. If someone has a hymn, let it be examined. Is that not what 1 Cor. 14 teaches?
1Co 14:26 What then, brothers? When you come together, each one has a hymn, a lesson, a revelation, a tongue, or an interpretation. Let all things be done for building up.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Well, Casey, Providenceboard has a point. If the church does not approve of the song, and someone is insisting that his song be sung, that is wrongly binding the conscience. I think he errs in attributing this to non-EP, for no one is advocating a careless use of hymnody, nor an unsupervised song section, nor a willy-nilly free-for-all during the singing part of the service. If someone has a hymn, let it be examined. Is that not what 1 Cor. 14 teaches?
Well said. But I think ProvideBoard was speaking against any uninspired hymns, regardless of whether they are edifying and in accord with Scripture, being a form of binding the conscience purely on the basis that they aren't inspired.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Well said. But I think ProvideBoard was speaking against any uninspired hymns, regardless of whether they are edifying and in accord with Scripture, being a form of binding the conscience purely on the basis that they aren't inspired.
Yeah, well that requires a whole new thread to respond, doesn't it? I want to address that notion of "uninspired" hymns sometime; that term, as it has been used, is pejorative. It is itself a violation of conscience. But a lot of arguments have been put forward that are not carefully thought out. In this thread I'm trying to confine my arguments to how the WA is put against the WA; or, more specifically, how the WCF is used to oppose the WCF. And that is as you said, consciences are being bound to things that are not there, and that we now know are specifically not there by design. As much as the WA may have been EP, they were all conscience stricken to not go beyond Scripture. It would be better to say that the Spirit was guiding Christ's church through the WA, and that their own predispositions did not stand in the way. The RPW is being used to oppose the RPW. "Good and necessary consequence" is being used to oppose "good and necessary consequence". These arguments are not as careful as they suppose, and do not compare well with the standard the WA itself upheld.

But we should examine that use of the term "uninspired" some time. Would that include the psalter that the Scottish GA commissioned, or not? Or is it to be appended to our Bibles, just as the Catholics have the Apocrypha included in the Scripture? I agree with your conclusion concerning whose consciences are being bound.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Yeah, well that requires a whole new thread to respond, doesn't it? I want to address that notion of "uninspired" hymns sometime; that term, as it has been used, is pejorative. It is itself a violation of conscience. But a lot of arguments have been put forward that are not carefully thought out. In this thread I'm trying to confine my arguments to how the WA is put against the WA; or, more specifically, how the WCF is used to oppose the WCF. And that is as you said, consciences are being bound to things that are not there, and that we now know are specifically not there by design. As much as the WA may have been EP, they were all conscience stricken to not go beyond Scripture. It would be better to say that the Spirit was guiding Christ's church through the WA, and that their own predispositions did not stand in the way. The RPW is being used to oppose the RPW. "Good and necessary consequence" is being used to oppose "good and necessary consequence". These arguments are not as careful as they suppose, and do not compare well with the standard the WA itself upheld.

But we should examine that use of the term "uninspired" some time. Would that include the psalter that the Scottish GA commissioned, or not? Or is it to be appended to our Bibles, just as the Catholics have the Apocrypha included in the Scripture? I agree with your conclusion concerning whose consciences are being bound.
I think you've raised some very good points here -- and yes, I agree, the term "uninspired" is pejorative. And yes, that there were divines holding to the EP position (if that is the case) doesn't prove the point at all -- since they did not limit singing to Psalms in the Confession itself. If it were an issue they wanted included in the Confession, they would have made the matter clear. Understanding the positions of the various divines may be helpful, and even interesting, but it doesn't settle the matter.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
Why wouldn't Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 be seen as expanding the list of available songs for NT worship as opposed to simply reiterating what was the OT practice?
I don't think this question has been answered via an exegete of Scripture. Until someone can prove to me from the Word that the Scriptures means strictly the Psalms of David, I find Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 open the worship to any song that is Biblical (and therefore just as true a Scripture itself).

As for Brian Schwertley's A Brief Examination of Exclusive Psalmody. I'll give it a look. But can someone save me the trouble and explain it here. It shouldn't take a book.

Also, I have yet to see EP expressed in WCF. What's the citation? And no, RPW does not cut it since unless one can prove that Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 are EP. At this point, that argument is circular. And you know how I detest circular arguments!

So far - WCF does not teach EP, it teaches RPW. That much is clear.

Next, does RPW imply EP. To do this, prove that Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 and ALL other verses that calls for singing praises to God is is EP.

Thanks,
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Anthony:

It is interesting, when you think about it, that interpreting the Eph. and Col. texts as meaning "psalms and psalms and psalms" makes no difference to the texts themselves. The point of them remains wholly intact, even if that interpretation is imposed upon them. However, one runs into difficulty when reading 1 Cor. 14. What can it mean, "if someone has a hymn'? If only the Psalms were used in worship, and in the Eph. and Col. texts the Spirit was intending that only the Psalms be sung, then what can that text mean?

It is an immense problem. For this is during a time when the Apostles were yet alive, and they would have had direct appointment from Christ when they sang a hymn after supper. They would have known the Psalms, AND the melodies, AND all the givens to that music. So what could this text in 1Cor. 14 mean? Why is it in the contexts of revelations, tongues, inspirations, etc.?
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
As for Brian Schwertley's A Brief Examination of Exclusive Psalmody. I'll give it a look. But can someone save me the trouble and explain it here. It shouldn't take a book.
I find this statement curious. Why shouldn't it take a book? In order for a doctrine to be understood fully sometimes it takes more than a simple/simplistic boiling it down into a few paragraphs. In order for a comprehensive exegesis of Ephesians 5.19 and Colossians 3.16 to be offered that would satisfy you of the EP position (or at least thoroughly explain it to you), it is necessary that it be dealt with in a thorough way. And even then, the whole EP argument does not rest on those two passages alone. If you are going to accept/reject a position make sure you do so after a fair hearing of its strongest presentation rather than seeking the "Reader's Digest" version. :2cents:
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The point often made in this context is that the hymnody was inspired as equally as the prophesying was inspired; that these were extraordinary gifts which served a temporary purpose; and therefore they provide no warrant as to what may be done in the ordinary worship of God. The Westminster divine, Thomas Ford, makes this very point in his book, Singing of Psalms a Gospel Ordinance.
So there were inspired hymns? Could some of them be the ones that Paul includes in his epistles? So we have some inspired hymns besides the Psalms? So the Eph. and Col. texts then CANNOT be said to be saying "psalms and psalms and psalms" because there were inspired hymns during that time too?
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
I don't think this question has been answered via an exegete of Scripture. Until someone can prove to me from the Word that the Scriptures means strictly the Psalms of David, I find Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 open the worship to any song that is Biblical (and therefore just as true a Scripture itself).

As for Brian Schwertley's A Brief Examination of Exclusive Psalmody. I'll give it a look. But can someone save me the trouble and explain it here. It shouldn't take a book.

[...]

Next, does RPW imply EP. To do this, prove that Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 and ALL other verses that calls for singing praises to God is is EP.

Thanks,
Uninspired Music = music that is not inspired. Are hymns inspired? No. Therefore uninspired music is the clearest, most concise way to describe hymns.

Is this perjorative? No. Has the term "unispired" been used in a perjorative sense, maybe so.

I'd like to hear a better term to describe songs that are not inspired by God. If we can find one I'll use it so as not to offend brothers.

Also, I have yet to see EP expressed in WCF. What's the citation? And no, RPW does not cut it since unless one can prove that Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 are EP. At this point, that argument is circular. And you know how I detest circular arguments!

So far - WCF does not teach EP, it teaches RPW. That much is clear.
The citation in question is in Ch. 21 para. 5:

V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear,[17] the sound preaching[18] and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence,[19] singing of psalms with grace in the heart;[20] as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God:[21] beside religious oaths,[22] vows,[23] solemn fastings,[24] and thanksgivings upon special occasions,[25] which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.[26]​

Here are the footnotes:

[17] ACT 15:21 For Moses of old time hath in every city them that preach him, being read in the synagogues every sabbath day. REV 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

[18] 2TI 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

[19] JAM 1:22 But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. ACT 10:33 Immediately therefore I sent to thee; and thou hast well done that thou art come. Now therefore are we all here present before God, to hear all things that are commanded thee of God. MAT 13:19 When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart. This is he which received seed by the way side. HEB 4:2 For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it. ISA 66:2 For all those things hath mine hand made, and those things have been, saith the Lord: but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at my word.

[20] COL 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. EPH 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord. JAM 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.

[21] MAT 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: 1CO 11:23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread: 24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me. 25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me. 26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord's death till he come. 27 Wherefore whosoever shall eat this bread, and drink this cup of the Lord, unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and blood of the Lord. 28 But let a man examine himself, and so let him eat of that bread, and drink of that cup. ACT 2:42 And they continued stedfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, and in breaking of bread, and in prayers.

[22] DEU 6:13 Thou shalt fear the Lord thy God, and serve him, and shalt swear by his name. NEH 10:29 They clave to their brethren, their nobles, and entered into a curse, and into an oath, to walk in God's law, which was given by Moses the servant of God, and to observe and do all the commandments of the Lord our Lord, and his judgments and his statutes.

[23] ISA 19:21 And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. ECC 5:4 When thou vowest a vow unto God, defer not to pay it; for he hath no pleasure in fools: pay that which thou hast vowed. 5 Better is it that thou shouldest not vow, than that thou shouldest vow and not pay.

[24] JOE 2:12 Therefore also now, saith the Lord, turn ye even to me with all your heart, and with fasting, and with weeping, and with mourning. EST 4:16 Go, gather together all the Jews that are present in Shushan, and fast ye for me, and neither eat nor drink three days, night or day: I also and my maidens will fast likewise; and so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law: and if I perish, I perish. MAT 9:15 And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bridechamber mourn, as long as the bridegroom is with them? but the days will come, when the bridegroom shall be taken from them, and then shall they fast. 1CO 7:5 Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.

[25] (PSA 107 throughout) EST 9:22 As the days wherein the Jews rested from their enemies, and the month which was turned unto them from sorrow to joy, and from mourning into a good day: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, and of sending portions one to another, and gifts to the poor.

[26] HEB 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

You'll note in the scripture proof, footnote 20, "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, but in the actual confession it has only "psalms".

Does this strike anyone here as a bit odd? What on earth could this mean? To my mind there are a few logical possibilities:
1) The Divines forgot to add the "hymns, and spiritual songs" part of the scripture to the confession
2) They only have "psalms" listed in the Confession because they recognize in the footnotes that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" meant the Psalms of the Bible.

If there are other possibilities please list them so I may contemplate them.

The very fact they used these scriptures as prooftexts is very compelling to me.

My question: Why did they deliberately leave off "hymns and spiritual songs" in the confession? is this not exactly how a modern day EPer reasons, argues, and writes? See, again, Brian Schwertley's article.

I agree it shouldn't "take a book" to explain Psalmody but there are many gainsayers aren't there?

In The Directory for The Publick Worship of God we find:

Of Singing of Psalms.

IT is the duty of Christians to praise God publickly, by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family.

In singing of psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.

That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a psalm book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof.​

What is meant by "psalms" and "to sing with understanding" and read the psalm line by line"? It appears the authors desire is for the people to understand the Psalms of David they are singing.

Serious question: are the non-Epers also claiming the Directory of Public Worship of God is also referring to uninspired music like the WCF?

This particular debate (does the WCF teach EP) is new to me. I have always assumed that everyone knew the WCF was referring to the Psalms in the Bible. I just figured people took exception to it.
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
I find this statement curious. Why shouldn't it take a book? In order for a doctrine to be understood fully sometimes it takes more than a simple/simplistic boiling it down into a few paragraphs. In order for a comprehensive exegesis of Ephesians 5.19 and Colossians 3.16 to be offered that would satisfy you of the EP position (or at least thoroughly explain it to you), it is necessary that it be dealt with in a thorough way. And even then, the whole EP argument does not rest on those two passages alone. If you are going to accept/reject a position make sure you do so after a fair hearing of its strongest presentation rather than seeking the "Reader's Digest" version. :2cents:

Because when it takes a whole book to support a position, I suspect the position requires rationalizing (poor logic). Often, it take more words to argue for a bad position.

Any doctrine that can not be explained in a few paragraphs is probably a waste of time. But almost all doctrines can be explained without writing a book. If EP is clearly supported in Scripture - it should be easy to summarize it's defense.

One could still write a book looking at all the angles, all the inductive positions, but the Word of God is usually clearer than that.

P.S. I read a few paragraphs of Brian Schwertley's paper, and I see few good arguments for EP. And I don't think it should take more than a few sentences to summarize what he is saying.

P.P.S. I think often we are too lazy to trim or prose into succinct and clear statements that can be easily digested by the normal reader. We tend to argue endlessly with redundant propositions with qualifications and minor clauses that do nothing more to support our position than the few key arguments upon which the whole argument is founded. And theologians are notorious for such excessive verbiage (think verbal garbage) considering the tombs that they present. (please note the bit of satire.)
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
This is a non sequitur. One may as well argue that the apostle meant to include "inspired messages" in his definition of Scripture in 2 Tim. 3:16, 17, because of the extraordinary gift of prophesying mentioned in 1 Cor. 14. At any rate, it still wouldn't provide a warrant for "uninspired" material. And besides, Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19 speak of existing material, they do not provide a warrant for the production of new material.
I didn't realize the word "existing" was in the texts of Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19. So Eph. 5:19 should read: "speaking to one another in existing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord"?
 

Civbert

Puritan Board Junior
You'll note in the scripture proof, footnote 20, "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, but in the actual confession it has only "psalms".
Given A, B, C, D, and E. If I were to say A, B, and C - it does not imply only A, B, and C. I have said nothing whatsoever about D and E. The Divines were not ignorant of logic. They agreed with the logical analysis of Scripture to prove spiritual truths.


The WCF is clear on RPW. So unless one can show that only the Psalms of David are permitted in worship, the argument is unresolved.


Does this strike anyone here as a bit odd? What on earth could this mean? To my mind there are a few logical possibilities:
1) The Divines forgot to add the "hymns, and spiritual songs" part of the scripture to the confession
2) They only have "psalms" listed in the Confession because they recognize in the footnotes that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" meant the Psalms of the Bible.

If there are other possibilities please list them so I may contemplate them.
How about this: The Divines were not united in excluding songs other than the Psalms of David, so purposely left the door open to other hymns.

We have precedents for this position in the supra vs. infra debate. The WCF seems infra, but they clearly did not make infra mandatory.


Serious question: are the non-Epers also claiming the Directory of Public Worship of God is also referring to uninspired music like the WCF?

This particular debate (does the WCF teach EP) is new to me. I have always assumed that everyone knew the WCF was referring to the Psalms in the Bible. I just figured people took exception to it.
I never heard of one taking an exception to part of WCF because they thought it taught EP. It seems to me the WCF is clearly open to ANYTHING in Scripture, and clearly does not say songs to the Lord are strictly limited to the Psalms of David.

Unfortunately, the WCF does not take the EP position.

As for the DPW, I don't know what it says regarding "exclusive" psalmody.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
This is a non sequitur. One may as well argue that the apostle meant to include "inspired messages" in his definition of Scripture in 2 Tim. 3:16, 17, because of the extraordinary gift of prophesying mentioned in 1 Cor. 14. At any rate, it still wouldn't provide a warrant for "uninspired" material. And besides, Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19 speak of existing material, they do not provide a warrant for the production of new material.
Wait a minute. A non sequitur? I thought that the grounding for the interpretation that "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs" was grounded in the fact that the Church did not know of any other worship songs than the Psalms, and therefore this meaning is explicitly implied. Now you're telling me that this is not the case, but your telling me its irrelevant? You lost me.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The DPW is a secondary document. It is not of the same authority as the WCF. It is not binding, but is an example of godly government for worship.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
And besides, Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19 speak of existing material, they do not provide a warrant for the production of new material
No, the Psalms do that.
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
The DPW is a secondary document. It is not of the same authority as the WCF. It is not binding, but is an example of godly government for worship.
Yes, I understand. But is it your position to say that the Directory is not advocating the EP position?

Could you please entertain some more of my previous post? Those were sincere questions?

Thanks
 
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