EP: Who's Changed?

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ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
My family sings Psalms for family worship and our church takes an inclusive Psalmody stance.

I have not read all the past threads, in fact every thread I came across during my days here, Fred responded with a sigh, qualifying how he already addressed this and will no longer entertain anymore threads. So I am not sure I ever read the infamous Fred Greco argument for IP over EP. Which thread contains these original discussions?
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Because it would certainly dishonor the liberty given to us by Christ if EP is not absolute.
:amen:

WCF XX:II. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in any thing, contrary to His Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. So that, to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands, out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience: and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also.
Singing uninspired hymns is to obey a command beside God's word in worship and thus destroys our liberty in Christ.
 

Croghanite

Puritan Board Sophomore
And by the same token, if we know that there is an extra-Psalmic mandate to sing a new song in Isaiah and references to new song in Revelation, then add in the additional references in Psalms, shall we legalistically constrain our liberty and mandate from God?
Thats the problem... I am not certain the new song references are referring to uninspired hymns. I am certain that the singing of psalms is mandated by God. I need to see more interaction on the subject.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Singing uninspired hymns is to obey a command beside God's word in worship and thus destroys our liberty in Christ.
God's word commands us to sing new songs - restricting ourselves exclusively to the Psalms is only to obey part of God's command, thus invalidating the Shema Christ reinforced. :)
 

javajedi

Puritan Board Freshman
Hi, everyone. My first post.

And I hate to swim against the tide on my very first post, but can someone direct me to the best arguments in favor of EP? This evidently has been discussed thoroughly already, and I hate to ask you to do so again, but thus far my strong preference would have to be for hymns. Old hymns sung acapella!

My reasoning has been that songs are analagous to prayer. Just as I pray using my own words, so songs sung in worship not only don't need to be scripture, but probably should not be scripture, I think. But I do realize there are good arguments in favor of exclusive psalmody that I have not heard yet.

Thanks! I am very glad to be on this very informative and challenging board.
:ditto: [this is also my first post]

We use the Psalter Sunday Evenings along with the Trinity Hymnal. But I do have objections to the EP view. I'll not re-hash that here. I'll look at the thread posted by Joe Layman.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
I was converted to EP by the PB. It was also reinforced by the first graduate of NWTS our own Rev. Adam King who was our intern for a year. The Psalms are superior in every way to any other praise. God's holiness demands a perfect sacrifice. We know that our hearts are wicked and deceitful and I refuse to sing unto God something that came from the heart of a man. I personally think as my husband says that anything coming from the heart of a man is idolatrous at least partially. Just like we can never fully capture Gods image in a statue and thus are forbidden to do it, so we can never fully capture Him in all His glory in a song. They couldn't in the OT either thus God gave them the songs to sing and by example Jesus and the apostles sang them and preached Christ from them. One of the first rules of exegeting scripture is context so In my humble opinion the 'new song' argument just falls flat.

I am not feeling well and I didn't have the energy to tip toe so there it is raw and unedited. It will definitly rub some the wrong way because some have admitted it has in the past. It can't be helped. If I thought otherwise I wouldn't be EP. It is only the above that keeps my mouth shut tight during anything not from the canonical psalter. If it gets me the label of legalistic, fine. I can do nothing else because of conscience. I was a noxious fume in my praise to God in a charismatic church for so many years already.
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
I was EP before I signed up, but I have changed.

Now I am even more solidly convinced of EP. Certain opponents of EP have been especially instrumental.

:pilgrim:
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I have not read all the past threads, in fact every thread I came across during my days here, Fred responded with a sigh, qualifying how he already addressed this and will no longer entertain anymore threads. So I am not sure I ever read the infamous Fred Greco argument for IP over EP. Which thread contains these original discussions?
Two of the main lines of thought had to do with the continuity and progression of worship throughout redemptive history, and also the issue of how Paul's readers would have interpreted his words in Ephesians and Colossians (as well as Paul's intention). One thread on the former issue is here. One thread on the latter issue is here. Some that address both issues are here and here

Also, some other threads with not nearly as much material are here and here and here.
 

ChristopherPaul

Puritan Board Senior
Two of the main lines of thought had to do with the continuity and progression of worship throughout redemptive history, and also the issue of how Paul's readers would have interpreted his words in Ephesians and Colossians (as well as Paul's intention). One thread on the former issue is here. One thread on the latter issue is here. Some that address both issues are here and here

Also, some other threads with not nearly as much material are here and here and here.

:lol:

Well, thank you very much :book2:

<picks up phone, "uh yes, please cancel my 4:00, 5:00 and, well, all my appointments for tomorrow, thanks.">
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Has it been proved that beyond a doubt psalms, hymn, and spiritual songs, doesn't refer to the psalter? If not, then we are left with practical EP still? Are we not? The RPW is about certainly, not uncertainly. We all agree we can sing psalms. Why isn't that enough if there is uncertainty?
As an honest answer to an honest question, not as debate, I would respond that this is not enough for me. We're not talking about whether to paint the barn red of green. In this case you can't say, "Well, its not green, so it has to be red." We can still paint the barn other colours. But in this case we're talking about what God requires of us, and there is so much more to it than merely singing the Psalms. He isn't just saying "Sing my songs", but also, "When you sing your songs out of your heart, sing them with grace in your heart." But more than that, we're talking about what God requires of us, not what is left to us after we've considered this or that.

And yet on the other hand, again to give an honest answer to an honest question, not as debate, this kind of answer says far too much. The conclusion reaches beyond the reasons. Its conclusion appeals to the RPW for regulation, where the elders' discretion plays a role, not to Confessional restrictions where discretion does not play a role. There is a difference to utilizing the RPW within its own restrictions compared to appealing to the RPW as if to the Word for instruction. This makes EP more difficult to accept, not less difficult.

This is where these discussions have helped me out a great deal. Through the proper concerns and rightful arguments that have been raised in favour of EP I've come to appreciate more the many facets of expression of praise in both the care of the words and its relationship to the notes, harmonies, and even the instruments used. Some songs must be sung to the harp, for example, because only the harp renders the solemn, plaintive notes required for a certain song, so that the right thing is expressed; and some songs are to be sung by the young women, so that it renders the right voice to the words. Without these additional instructions, the songs lose so much.


I have been asked to help out with a man who needs some friendship. He is musically inclined, and that is where we began to be friends. But I've also used music to try to get some things through to him, and to help him get some things engrained in his thinking. One of the songs I used was "Lonesome Valley", which speaks a lot to his problems and needs. But it is a song with an endless range of verses, which were originally part of the song's intent. There are very few set stanzas, because they changed in the original according to the need and place. And it usually had three different meanings at once. I used that to help him find a way out of his problems and into joy and the expression of it to the One who faithfully leads him. His challenge is to control his thoughts, which, because of his handicap, is a difficulty he cannot escape. But he can work with it. I am trying to help him in the little way that I can.

Anyways, to get back to "Lonesome Valley". I played for him three different versions of it. (Actually four; the first one was only a few lines long to bring it back to remembrance for him: he did remember it.) I played each of the three basic meanings for him: the one in the field of drudgery, of heavy work without rest or remuneration; the one of expressing solace, hope, comfort, and companionship to someone within voice range, but too far away to reach physically; and the one of saying something that you don't want others to understand. But I didn't tell him that. I told him that I was playing the personal contemplative version, the more hopeful turn-your-feelings-into-something-positive version, and the joyful exhuberance-which-results version. With each the words slowly changed from something some of you might think was Arminian to something that was definitely Reformed, doctrinally speaking. Yet all of it was an expression of the heart out of feeling the need for God. And it followed the song naturally. And, of all things, I got it from a history book, from Andy Griffith, June Carter Cash, and others, as well as from the preaching of the Word in the Reformed Church.

There is so much more to music, to praise and worship in song. Everything that I sang to my friend was in the Psalms, and yet I did not sing one particular Psalm. If I sing Ps. 1:1, or part of it, and also sing Ps.111: 10, then I have something that's not too far off from Ps. 19, but just not word for word the same. I've fulfilled all the requirements of the EP-ists, that is all except the doctrinal EP, but I sang "Lonesome Valley."

Its not altogether that different in formal worship, although there are distinct differences to be allowed for. I can sing some things about Christ's teachings, or His sacrifice for our sins, stating these things specifically, and yet not depart from the Psalms at all. We can do it in our time, our culture, with our sense of music, without further instruction than that the Hebrews sang it to the harp, with women voices, but nothing about notes, cadences, harmonies, melodies. If it expresses the heart's longings for God, and is fully within the parameters of the Psalms, then it not only follows the praise of the Psalms but also its commands in relation to song as praise and worship. It fulfills every requirement of the EP-ists, though not that of doctrinal EP, and yet may not be word for word any one Psalm in particular.

What I've tried to show here is that a lot of the discussion on EP has been helpful. But EP is far from drawing such conclusions as "good enough". That's for painting the barn red or green, but not for worship. The discussions have been helpful to me to expand my understanding of what God requires of us in work and in praise, in life and in worship.

Again, I'm not trying to debate. I'm just telling you some of the things that have been positive and some of the things that have been lacking in the EP discussions. I haven't nearly covered everything that is on my mind about this subject, but I hope that I've given an honest answer to an honest question.
 

LadyCalvinist

Puritan Board Junior
I was definitely thinking about exclusive psalmody, and had attended several churches that practiced EP, but it wasn't until I read Matt's article on the subject that I became firmly convinced of the position.

One of the things that has long bothered me about praise and worship, and even many hymns, is that I wondered about the theology of many of the songs. There were times when I would be singing and I would literally stop and wonder if what the song was saying was true.

Whatever we sing to the Lord must be theologically accurate or else how does it honor him? If a guy sings a song about what lovely blue eyes his girlfriend has that is all very well, unless she doesn't HAVE BLUE EYES (men do not try this at home).

1. The Psalms were written by God, therefore we know they are theologically accurate.
2. They were meant to be sung.
3. We know that Calvin and the Westminster Divines believed in EP. There is good reason to believe that EP was the practice of the early church.
I grant you that there are hymns that are beautiful but the real question is how do we honor God? What does he want us to sing?
After Rich Mullins died a number of Christian musicians did a tribute album to him. They could have written sungs about what a great guy he was, but that was not what they did. Instead, to honor him, they sang songs that he had written. In other words, what higher praise could they give than to sing his own songs?
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Okay... trying to get it back on track...

As is evidenced by the numerous threads one can view in this forum, there are other places one can argue EP. I'm just interested in finding out if this Board has "done people good" in this regard, leading people to be convinced of exclusive psalmody, or at least a greater emphasis on psalmody as contrasted with hymnody. And if some people, in "bearing their testimony" to EP, happen to also set forth some of the reasons that brought them to such a position, please don't take it as some kind of reason to begin another debate, here on this thread.

If you wanna debate it, start your own stinkin' thread. ;)
 

Machaira

Puritan Board Freshman
Is there a version of the Psalter that is considered standard these days? If yes, where can I find it?
 

justingrid

Inactive User
I have not been completely convinced of exclusive psalmody...yet....but I think that I am definitely leaning in that direction. The Scriptures seem far more supportive of exclusive psalmody. Watch this space..... :)
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I don't know. There are several popular newer Psalters like the RPCNA work; but the old standard of Psalm singing Presbyterians was the 1650 Scottish Psalter available many different ways. A new version that is not a split leaf Psalter is The Comprehensive Psalter.
Is there a version of the Psalter that is considered standard these days? If yes, where can I find it?
 

Croghanite

Puritan Board Sophomore
Is there a version of the Psalter that is considered standard these days? If yes, where can I find it?
Check out The Psalms of David in Metre, 1650 Scotish Psalter. http://www.tbs-sales.org/
Click on "other publications" to the left of the page and then scroll down the next page.
I have used this psalter and the Comprehensive Psalter. I prefer the Psalms of David psalter because of the size and I dont like the pages divided the way the CP has done.
 
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MrMerlin777

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I haven't changed and truthfully, haven't seen an argument I found convincing for the doctrine of EP yet. But that's another thread, of which I'm sure there are dozens.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
What's your opinion of The Book of Psalms for Singing? That's what we have.
When FPCR session was looking at psalters back in the very early 1990s, they chose the *1650 as still the better translation. That's all I know. I haven't done any personal comparison.
 
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jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
What's your opinion of The Book of Psalms for Singing? That's what we have.
When FPCR session was looking at psalters back in the very early 1990s, they chose the 1560 (sic) as still the better translation. That's all I know. I haven't done any personal comparison.
I agree with Chris, except that we sang from some of the BPS before we got our Scottish Metrical books and found ourselves much more comfortable with the 1650 as far as the words.

Another advantage the 1650 has is that the music is simpler. You can sing every Psalm to the tune Amazing Grace if you like.

You can do Azmon (O for a Thousand Tongues) or St. Columba ("How Sweet and Awful is the Place") or Crimond ("The Lord's My Shepherd") or St. Anne ("O God Our Help in Ages Past"), St. Agnes, Durham ("Jesus the Very Thought of Thee), St. Magnus ("The Head that Once was Crowned with Thorns"), and so on to vary things a bit.

:sing:

I also happen to be a precentor. I have a musical background but it's somewhat basic. I cannot handle the musical sophistication of the BPS.

:2cents: (* 1.5 for inflation)
 
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