EP: Can you actually prove it from SCRIPTURE???

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by kevin.carroll, Jan 3, 2006.

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  1. youthevang

    youthevang Puritan Board Freshman

    I have one question concerning the RPW discussion. It was stated somewhere earlier in this thread that Israel followed the RPW. If that is so, how would someone explain the establishment of the "Feast of Purim?"
     
  2. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Thanks Kevin.

    I approached this issue by examining the use of these terms asking myself..."What is God commanding me to sing here?"

    I personally think that all of the EP arguments for interpreting "hymns and spiritual songs" to be a triadic expression for the book of Psalms far outweigh the arguments for interpreting them in the modern usage of the english words.

    You might work through the arguments "against" EP listed in the thread Best "Arguments" Listed Against Exlusive Psalmody and make sure that none of them constitute a command of God to sing hymns.

    If the arguments for hymnody don't constitute a clear command from God, we must cast them out of public worship out of reverence for him.

    God speed in your studies.
     
  3. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    A cultural/national festival of thanksgiving, not required worship.

    [Edited on 1-5-2006 by puritansailor]
     
  4. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    They usually try to say it was a national day of celebration established by a civil magistrate and not a ceremonial or religious holy day.
     
  5. crhoades

    crhoades Puritan Board Graduate

    For what it's worth,

    For an interesting look at the Westminster Assembly's discussions about the translation, publication, and use of the Metrical Psalms check out Carruther's Everyday Work of the Westminster Assembly:
    http://www.heritagebooks.org/browse.asp?fname=Samuel&lname=Carruthers

    They sent it to be reviewed by the best Hebraists of the day to ensure the best possible translation. I recommend it to all no matter which side of the fence you are on.
     
  6. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Days of Purim

    See an extract from M'Crie's lectures on the book of Esther in appendix 1 of this paper
     
  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    :ditto:
    The psalter was also extensively reviewed by the GA and presbyteries of the Church of Scotland over several years before the Assemblies production basically turned into the 1650 Scottish Psalter.
     
  8. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Serious question: Was early synagogue worship EP ? ?
     
  9. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    There is the other difficulty. Most EP's will say yes. But the evidence is hard to conclude. For one, there are differences between Jewish traditions (i.e. pharisaic, essene, etc.). Which ones followed the right pattern? The OT really doesn't spell out how synagogue worship was to be done. We have some descriptions from Jewish literature, but are those descriptions of divinely ordained worship or just traditions of men? Here is where alot of assumptions come into play for EP and non-EP.
     
  10. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Then we would have to ask What Would Jesus Sing ? ?

    Actually, He would be singing worship to Himself. Kinda wierd anyway.
     
  11. BobVigneault

    BobVigneault Bawberator

    Zephaniah 3:17
    The Lord your God is in your midst,
    a mighty one who will save;
    he will rejoice over you with gladness;
    he will quiet you by his love;
    he will exult over you with loud singing.

    I don't know what He would sing either but it's a wonderful thought and poor Zephaniah doesn't get quoted much. :sing:
     
  12. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Sorry for coming in late, my ignorance of the subject, and if this has already been asked; but why does using the word 'psalms' necessarily mean the book of Psalms in the OT?

    Also, Isn't there a lot of places in Scripture where people are singing and those songs not being Psalms from the book of Psalms in the OT?

    [Edited on 1-5-2006 by Romans922]
     
  13. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    That is a great passage... just don't sing it in church!

    ;)
     
  14. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    The title page of the 1673 revision to the 1650 Scottish Metrical Psalter (created by men such as Thomas Manton, John Owen, Matthew Poole and Thomas Watson) states:

     
  15. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Bob that truly is glorious. I want to set that to music. And, just reading it, I cannot fathom how it would be abhorrent to God if His people sing it in His presence on Sunday morning.
     
  16. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Bingo. That's one reason why I think the Puritan version of the RPW is suspect. Scripture did not command specific worship to be done in the synagogue. Thus, according to the Puritan version of the RPW, the Israelites must have just done *nothing* at all in the synagogue. If they sang anything in the synagogue, it was against the RPW, because no singing was commanded for the synagogue. The same goes for prayer, preaching, etc. Thus, you either have to say that they upheld the Puritan RPW and did *nothing* there, or you have to believe that they did actively worship God in various ways in the synagogue, and that the Puritan RPW is in error.
     
  17. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Or you have to remember that Scripture has not always been God's sole means of special revelation to His people.
     
  18. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    :eek::eek::eek: Do you REALLY want to try to argue that unenscritpurated directives regarding worship were given???:eek::eek::eek:
     
  19. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I do not want to explicitly argue that we know such - but if the Regulative Principle can be biblically derived from elsewhere in Scripture as a whole, and if we know the synagogue was for worship, I don't see many other plausible options (and the fact that there was much verbal special revelation under the Old Covenant only corroborates the plausibility of that implication).
     
  20. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    From A Critique of Steve Schlissel's 'All I Need to Know About Worship, I don't Learn from the Regulative Principle.'. by G.I. Williamson:

     
  21. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I'm with Kevin: I would like to see some substantial arguments from Scripture concerning EP. I make the following observations to facilitate futher discussion, not to cast aspersions on EP.

    It could be that we are not understanding the RPW. I note Patrick's post, which refers to the OT Jews holding to the RPW. We know that they didn't. But if our attention is only on what they sang, whether they held to the RPW, then of course we don't know. But the Sermon on the Mount, and the rest of Matthew's gospel is full of references of where the Jews liberally added to the worship of God, the leaders exonerating themselves while holding everyone else to be sinners. And today we have something similar, where ministers are adding liberally to God's Word based on their best considered opinion, but not sufficient warrant. These are the primary concerns of the RPW. And if people break it here, the rest hardly matters. A church is not a true church if the Word is not preached and discipline falls aside, even if athey sing only the Psalms. And a church can administer the sacraments according to formulary standards, but that does not mean that the administration is properly looked after. It all hinges on the recognition of the Word as the Word, and there we are lacking in many a denomination. So for all intents and purposes the RPW as it applies to singing too often comes along as nothing more than legalism, not as purity of worship.

    I agree that the singing of songs, which ones to sing, is a matter of acceptable worship in God's eyes. He does not quench a smouldering flame, not break a bruised reed. He does not turn away the plea of those who call upon His name, in supplication and in Spirit and in truth. No other strings attached. What we're talking about is the form that formal worship takes, which takes on something different once a Christian becomes mature; namely a refining of worship according to God's revealed will. We have to determine this carefully, not smothering the worship of those new to the faith, and worshipping God on matters they do not yet understand and for which many churches give no guidance.

    I believe it is a mistake to argue that the problem in today's contemporary Christian music is merely ( and I say "merely" because I believe it to be a bigger issue than that ) a matter of the RPW. There is so much more wrong with it than that. A lot of it has been unmusical, unlyrical, and even anti-musical and anti-lylrical, following the patterns of the age. But that seems to be somewhat past us now, as some really good music is reappearing. In some ways Christian music has started to "come into its own", as the saying goes. I don't impress easily, but some stuff has indeed impressed me ( not that whether I am impressed or not is any kind of litmus test. )

    As Christians we can't just leave music in the hands of those who destroy it, and undermine the very reason for music as well. This has to be ruled, and ruled properly. Music is and always has been a vital element to worship. This is the real problem with the songs in contemporary worship. Too many liberties are taken with it, far too many, because of a dearth in rules. Where doubt is cast on Scripture to introduce man's theories on par with Scripture itself, and sometimes normative to Scripture, this is taken much further with music as there are no long-standing and comprehensive rules for music, not even in Scripture. So here I support the EP-ers, for we see the same problem here. EP is the fall-back position when in doubt. And we are presently in doubt, not just about some passages on origins or millenniums, but on what to sing in worship.

    For me, if we don't reform the pulpit, then reforming song is of little consequence. But more importantly, it betrays a lack of understanding of the RPW. In my former church, the same ones who talked of EP as in accord with the RPW were also pounding tenets of Reconstructionism from the pulpit as normative to understanding the whole of the Bible; a very revealing contradiction. These people obviously did not know the RPW like they claimed, and had no right to selectively and arbitrarily cite it to me while they flagrantly cast it aside for to place their isms side by side, and even overtop of, the Scriptures, and overtop of the doctrines the churches collectively recognize. So what I need to see is a real concern for the RPW before it is cited selectively in relation to singing in worship.

    And that would open the door to some of the issues that I have with EP as it is defined in our day. I'm not that sure yet that the way that modern EP understands things is what the WA had in mind, nor that Calvin or the Puritans meant the same thing as EP-ers do today. There is much to discuss beforehand, and we kind of skip that too often. Using the term "uninspired hymns" usually has the effect of mullifying any substantial argument that it is attached to; it is too much a pejorative term. We need to address the pros and cons of hymns before we apply the RPW, otherwise we are simply throwing things out based on arbitrary definitions.
     
  22. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Chris,

    The synagogue pattern could only add weight to the EP argument, not prove it. Since there seems to be no regulation explicitly given by God for worship in it.

    Your "oral tradition" argument is wickedly spurious. You are stacking the deck in favor of the RPW so that it cannot be argued against from Scripture unless an explicit statement from God can be offered. So your universal reply to all polemics would be:

    "well, there must have been an extra-biblical command for that".

    What a vicious begging of the question.

    Also here are a few more things to consider in the debate:

    1. Why do we never see any warning in the epistles or beginning of the apocalypse (letters to 7 churches) regarding Exclusive Psalm singing ? ?

    2. If it was so important, and it was practiced in the synagogue, why is it not affirmed by the apostles throughout the book of acts ?

    3. Most importantly, if Paul commands us to sing with the spirit and the mind what are the implicatons of that ?

    Public giving of thanks is commended, and singing praise in the same passage. Now does that word praise mean a Psalm ? ? If not, it implies that other biblical and I would go so far as to say non-inspirational songs, may be sung if they are intelligable, and useful for edification of the body.

    After all, cannot giving thanks be done in musical form ? Thanking God for blessing America and the acts He has performed throughout history is hard to do specifically when we stick to EP. (I grant that it would be generic)

    Again Paul:

    Can any of those things he mentions be done in the form of song ? Is not music a circumstance ?
    This brings up interesting points to the next part of the passage as well.

    I wonder if he left singing praise and hymns out of that section because a) women are permitted to sing praise and should, and b) it is the one aspect that the whole congregation can participate in together.

    The problem was the disorderly way the Corinthians were worshipping. It seems like the men might have been arguing about which hymn to sing next in the previous section.

    If extemporaneous prayers may be offered in church, can they be chanted or set to music ? ?

    [Edited on 1-6-2006 by Saiph]
     
  23. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    Interesting post Mark, you give me a lot to consider.

    What do you say is the difference between a spiritual song and a hymn?
     
  24. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    Another thing I've been wondering about: how do EP'ers account for the fact that the vast majority of Presbyterians who hold to RPW are not EP? I suppose the answer is the aren't really holding to the RPW...or, at the worst, they are gross idolaters...
     
  25. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Even Westminster was not unanimous on the issue. The Scots and the new England Puritans were the only ones to actually practice it. But even there, there were voices of dissent, but they submitted for the sake of unity. Read Needham's article in The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century. He lists some Divines and even some later Scottish theologians who did not hold EP while the Church did. The New England Puritans didn't hold on to it that long either as soon as Watts came on the scene. But Psalmody took a strong hold for a long time even though it was not exclusive. Even as late as 1912, The Psalter was published for worship in the northern Presbyterian church, and it was predominantly psalm paraphrases, a few NT songs, and no contemporary hymns.
     
  26. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Kevin, In the 16th and 17th centuries, the vast majority of all those holding to the RPW were EP. :sing:
     
  27. kevin.carroll

    kevin.carroll Puritan Board Junior

    Which leaves one of two possibilities...they were wrong...or non-EP'ers today are...
     
  28. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    That is not correct. None of the continental reformed churches were EP, not even Calvin. The only Churches to officially endorse the practice was the Church of Scotland and the New England Puritans (who didn't hold out that long). Everyone else allowed NT songs, the 10 commandments, and the Apostle's Creed to be sung, therefore not EP.
     
  29. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    It is my understanding of the verse that Paul is including all types of musical compositions. Psalms set to music, acapella, maskils, imprecatory etc . . Hymns, praise songs, plainsong. I think he was trying to be generic in the use of the three words not specific (LXX).

    The phrase "word of Christ" is used only here in the N.T. Are we to assume then that the Psalms are the word of Christ Paul is referring to ? Is not part of the teaching and admonishing also singing doctrine ?

    I take the verse as a whole, not three seperate ideas.
     
  30. ChristopherPaul

    ChristopherPaul Puritan Board Senior

    Very clear, thank you Mark.
     
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