EP clarification

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Leslie

Puritan Board Junior
What is meant by exclusive psalmody? Only the book of psalms? Other psalms and inspired songs from the Bible also (Revelation 5 and 15, Miriam at the Red Sea, Zacharias, Mary, and the like)? How about scripture set to music that was not originally written to be sung--such as the Lord's Prayer and Handel's Messiah? Also, does EP only apply to Lord's Day morning worship or to all worship, private as well as church body?
 

Leslie

Puritan Board Junior
What is meant by exclusive psalmody? Only the book of psalms? Other psalms and inspired songs from the Bible also (Revelation 5 and 15, Miriam at the Red Sea, Zacharias, Mary, and the like)? How about scripture set to music that was not originally written to be sung--such as the Lord's Prayer and Handel's Messiah? Also, does EP only apply to Lord's Day morning worship or to all worship, private as well as church body?
EP does hold that only the 150 Psalms are to be sung in stated worship: corporate, private, or otherwise.

What do you mean by stated worship? Is it forbidden for a believer to worship God with a spontaneous song (not one of the 150) in response to a remarkable providence or deliverance? How do you account for the songs recorded in Revelation 5 and 15--or is there no "stated worship" on the other side?
 

Cotton Mather

Puritan Board Freshman
Josh,
While some would apply exclusive Psalmody to a private worship setting, others would restrict it only to the corporate gathering of the church. The opinion on this one is far from monolithic. Historically, the regulative principle is primarily concerned with the formal gathering of the church to worship. While the singing of hymns privately might be argued against by some, I don't see the legitimacy of arguing against it on confessional grounds. Can you provide some kind of historical/confessional basis for restricting EP to both corporate and private worship settings?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Josh,
While some would apply exclusive Psalmody to a private worship setting, others would restrict it only to the corporate gathering of the church. The opinion on this one is far from monolithic. Historically, the regulative principle is primarily concerned with the formal gathering of the church to worship. While the singing of hymns privately might be argued against by some, I don't see the legitimacy of arguing against it on confessional grounds. Can you provide some kind of historical/confessional basis for restricting EP to both corporate and private worship settings?

There is no Biblical warrant for uninspired hymns in private worship. In fact most commands to sing inspired praise refer to private worship. For more on this, see the relevant chapter in my book The Regulative Principle of Worship: Explained and Applied.
 

Cotton Mather

Puritan Board Freshman
Daniel,
Granted. Nevertheless, WCF 21 seems to be concerned with regulating the elements of corporate worship. While your conscience might prohibit you from singing un-inspired hymns in a private worship setting, can you really defend this position on historical or confessional grounds? Again, was not the regulative principle designed for the religious worship of the gathered church?

Josh,
Thanks. I wasn't at all calling into question the accuracy of your claims or any such thing. I'm genuintely curious as to whether the restriction of EP to private worship can be defended on historical and confessional grounds. Thanks!
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
William Young, “The Second Commandment,” in Frank J. Smith and David C. Lachman, eds., Worship in the Presence of God, p. 75:

The Holy Scripture prescribes the whole content of worship. By this is meant that all elements or parts of worship are prescribed by God Himself in His Word. This principle has universal reference to worship performed by men since the fall. In other words, it has equal application to the Old and the New Testaments. It is also universal in that it is regulative of all types of worship, whether public, family, or private.
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
Daniel,
Granted. Nevertheless, WCF 21 seems to be concerned with regulating the elements of corporate worship. While your conscience might prohibit you from singing un-inspired hymns in a private worship setting, can you really defend this position on historical or confessional grounds? Again, was not the regulative principle designed for the religious worship of the gathered church?

The regulative principle was not understood by the Puritans to be something "designed" for corporate worship. It is understood to be a comprehensive princple derived from the Scripture that is applied to all worship: public, family and private.

Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his Word...


Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself...
(WLC 108-109 abridged :))
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Daniel,
Granted. Nevertheless, WCF 21 seems to be concerned with regulating the elements of corporate worship. While your conscience might prohibit you from singing un-inspired hymns in a private worship setting, can you really defend this position on historical or confessional grounds? Again, was not the regulative principle designed for the religious worship of the gathered church?

The regulative principle was not understood by the Puritans to be something "designed" for corporate worship. It is understood to be a comprehensive princple derived from the Scripture that is applied to all worship: public, family and private.

Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his Word...


Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself...
(WLC 108-109 abridged :))

:amen: There is no RPW for corporate worship and NPW for other spheres; there is only the RPW.
 

Cotton Mather

Puritan Board Freshman
I entirely agree with all of you guys. I was merely trying to make the point that corporate and private worship are different settings. What may be said of one, can't necessarily be said of the other. Obviously, the preaching of the Word or the administration of the sacraments don't apply to either family or private worship. While the regulative principle comprehensively applies to all of our worship, it can't apply in exactly the same ways. I personally don't feel as though the RPW demands that I apply EP to my private worship. Thanks for all your help!
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Daniel,
Granted. Nevertheless, WCF 21 seems to be concerned with regulating the elements of corporate worship. While your conscience might prohibit you from singing un-inspired hymns in a private worship setting, can you really defend this position on historical or confessional grounds? Again, was not the regulative principle designed for the religious worship of the gathered church?

The regulative principle was not understood by the Puritans to be something "designed" for corporate worship. It is understood to be a comprehensive princple derived from the Scripture that is applied to all worship: public, family and private.

Question 108: What are the duties required in the second commandment?

Answer: The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God has instituted in his Word...


Question 109: What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment?

Answer: The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counseling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself...
(WLC 108-109 abridged :))

:amen: There is no RPW for corporate worship and NPW for other spheres; there is only the RPW.

Precisely. If the RPW (i.e. the Second Commandment) does not apply to all worship, then there is nothing to prohibit us from burning incense in family worship.
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
I entirely agree with all of you guys. I was merely trying to make the point that corporate and private worship are different settings. What may be said of one, can't necessarily be said of the other. Obviously, the preaching of the Word or the administration of the sacraments don't apply to either family or private worship. While the regulative principle comprehensively applies to all of our worship, it can't apply in exactly the same ways. I personally don't feel as though the RPW demands that I apply EP to my private worship. Thanks for all your help!

To make such a distinction there needs to be Biblical warrant for it. From my studies of singing in private worship throughout the Bible, there seems to be no reason to presume that uninspired hymns are authorized. For instance, what did Paul and Silas sing when in prison?
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
I entirely agree with all of you guys. I was merely trying to make the point that corporate and private worship are different settings. What may be said of one, can't necessarily be said of the other. Obviously, the preaching of the Word or the administration of the sacraments don't apply to either family or private worship. While the regulative principle comprehensively applies to all of our worship, it can't apply in exactly the same ways. I personally don't feel as though the RPW demands that I apply EP to my private worship. Thanks for all your help!

But the RPW does demand positive warrant (either express command, something deduced by good and necessary consequence or approved example) for every element employed in any setting of worship. What positive warrant do you find in the Bible for singing hymns in private worship? It isn't sufficient to argue that hymn singing is not forbidden in private worship or that there is no command restricting you to psalms in private worship because this is not the RPW.
 

Leslie

Puritan Board Junior
Aren't there three categories of songs: the 150 psalms, other inspired passages set to music, and then uninspired hymns. Do strict EPers refuse to attend Handel's Messiah? The way people are writing they seem to equate hymns with uninspired but this is not necessarily so. Many hymns (as well as some modern praise music [HORRORS]) are word-for-word scripture passages set to music. Is this forbidden? It's not psalms but it also is not uninspired.
 

Cotton Mather

Puritan Board Freshman
It's not my purpose to enter into some kind of full-blown debate over the validity of exclusive Psalmody in private worship. Suffice it to say that there is ample evidence of songs besides the Psalms being sung outside of the formal worship setting. I think of Miriam, Moses, Mary, and others. They responded to God's special providence by singing songs other than the Psalms. There's the first part of my reason. We have ample evidence that songs other than the Psalms were utilized as a response to the providence of God. Now the question must be asked: were these songs inspired? Were they inspired when they were sung, or were they inspired when the content was recorded? It seems to me like 2 Tim. 3:16 and 2 Pet. 1:21 deal exclusively with both the authors of Scripture, along with the inspired autographs, as the instruments and products of divine inspiration. Therefore, I conclude that inspiration took place when Moses or Matthew or Luke penned the words of Scripture, not when the songs were actually sung. Consequently, I don't see any reason for concluding that these people were inspired when they sang their respective songs. Nor do I see them relying on any kind of canonical revelation for the substance of their songs, let alone the Psalter. I therefore conclude that un-inspired or non-canonical hymnody can be utilized in a private setting as a response to the providence of God. I know this comment will probably generate countless responses to the contrary. I'm only explaining why I feel as though hymnody can be utilized privately, and do not wish to enter into a debate. Thanks again for all your help. You guys are much smarter than I, and I've already really enjoyed some of the feedback I've received being on the PB for only a few days. God bless!
 

Cotton Mather

Puritan Board Freshman
I guess the Magnificant is generally assumed to be a song in light of its literary structure? I don't think Mary makes or breaks the case. The case can be made without the Magnificant.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Newer members would do well to peruse the countless threads on such subjects before creating new debates about the same issues. :2cents:
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
How a believer sings or listens to Handel's "Messiah" without worshipful reverence is ... beyond my ken.

So, I don't buy it. Apart from some "formal" comment like:
OK, now I am stating a time for my private devotion. Until I state its close, I will not sing anything but a Psalm​
how on earth have we not simply abolished both the non-Psalm portions of Handel, as well as "Amazing Grace" (along with "Shine, Jesus, Shine" good riddance)?
 

Leslie

Puritan Board Junior
But it doesn't say she sang it, it says she said it. :lol: Sorry, I'm luring myself in to the debate. I have to stop. :D

How about the people who sing from the other side--Revelation 5 and 15. Are they in violation of the regulative principle or do they have a special dispensation?
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
But it doesn't say she sang it, it says she said it. :lol: Sorry, I'm luring myself in to the debate. I have to stop. :D

How about the people who sing from the other side--Revelation 5 and 15. Are they in violation of the regulative principle or do they have a special dispensation?

According to the RPW, we are concerned with what we are commanded to do as the Church Militant. What the Church Triumphant does is neither here nor there.

It's also important to remember the highly symbolic nature of that book, along with the fact that many things are included in it, in which we obviously do not participate.
 

AV1611

Puritan Board Senior
I agree that the RPW demands that we ought to sing Scripture however it would be wrong, I believe, to argue that we should therefore sing all of Scripture. I can’t imagine you are advocating singing 1 Chronicles 1-9 for instance!!

We are to sing songs, and the RPW commands us to sing inspired songs. So we are to limit our singing to Scripture but only that Scripture that is to be sung (if that makes any sense!). The statement “we ought to sing Scripture” is too broad, for whilst all inspired songs are Scripture, not all Scripture are inspired songs. Therefore our position ought be to say that the RPW demands we sing inspired songs only.

What then are inspired songs? Well we have OT songs including Exodus 15 and Judges 5. Also the Psalms. Are there any NT songs? I see no biblical evidence of NT songs: “And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord,” (Luke 1:46); “And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying,” (Luke 1:67); and, “Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,” (Luke 2:28). These then were said, not sung.

The question then is, does God want us to sing all inspired songs? The answer is a fairly simple no. It is highly doubtful that the songs in the OT were ever sung more than once (there are one or two exceptions but then these are commanded to be sung from generation to generation). However the Spirit has composed a Book of Praises or Book of Hymns or Book of Psalms that is made up of psalms, hymns and songs. We have then been told to sing “psalms”, “hymns” and “songs”. Hence I would argue that the exclusive use of the psalter is biblical. :2cents:
 
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