Exclusive Psalmody and Foreign Missions

Status
Not open for further replies.

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Recently a thread was created on the topic of missions and the RPW. I would like to push the question further and ask other Exclusive Psalmodists on the board what their experiences have been with foreign missions and psalm singing. Translating the whole of the bible into indigenous languages is obviously a challenge which certain groups (like Wycliffe) are addressing. But what will EP missionaries do while on the field? Are any groups working to translate the metrical psalter into other languages? How should this be addressed, considering that we are exhorted to sing with understanding?
 

Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Recently a thread was created on the topic of missions and the RPW. I would like to push the question further and ask other Exclusive Psalmodists on the board what their experiences have been with foreign missions and psalm singing. Translating the whole of the bible into indigenous languages is obviously a challenge which certain groups (like Wycliffe) are addressing. But what will EP missionaries do while on the field? Are any groups working to translate the metrical psalter into other languages? How should this be addressed, considering that we are exhorted to sing with understanding?

Translating the Psalter into the indigenous language of the people is a must on the mission field; the new converts will need God's hymnbook translated into their own tongue if they are to praise their new-found Saviour in His own appointed way, using the songs He has given for His worship. :sing:
 

SRoper

Puritan Board Graduate
I wouldn't think that you would necessarily want to translate the metrical psalter. It seems more appropriate to adopt the psalter to the local form of singing which may not be metrical.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Are there currently any translations of this kind? Is anyone working on one? I'd like to one day help translate the psalter into German (metrical would be fine over there, I think).
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
The elders at my old church were involved in a project to do a psalter for the mission in Myanmar. I am not entirely sure what point the work got to; I think it was completed. See the Mission to Myanmar blog; I think there is a link from the fpcr.org site. They ran into all the issues you can imagine as far as translation, faithfulness to the Hebrew, manner of singing in the country, etc.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The elders at my old church were involved in a project to do a psalter for the mission in Myanmar. I am not entirely sure what point the work got to; I think it was completed. See the Mission to Myanmar blog; I think there is a link from the fpcr.org site. They ran into all the issues you can imagine as far as translation, faithfulness to the Hebrew, manner of singing in the country, etc.
I'm having trouble viewing the site for some reason. Am I the only one?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
They must be in the middle of a conversion; the familiar old site was up last time I checked but that may have been last week or before. See here for the Burma blog. Maybe there will be info on the psalter project archived there.
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland has planted missions in Africa.

One of the missionaries wrote a tune that was named "Zenka" after a city in Africa. This happened in the 1950's.

It was written for the short meter version of Psalm 67. I am not sure whether they actually created a short meter translation of the Psalm in the local language.

JJS
 

dcomin

Psalm Singa
A couple of quick responses on this very interesting and important subject...

First, I have a set of 20 compact discs that contain the entire Psalter in Korean, sung by a choir that is absolutely beautiful. When I played some of these for a Korean friend, he was amazed! The tunes used are those from the Book of Psalms for Singing, published by the RPCNA, but the words are taken verbatim from the Korean Bible text. Somehow, the word order and translation works perfectly over the American tunes and it sounds amazing!

Second, the question of the Psalms in relation to missions has important cultural implications too. I once heard someone trying to make an argument against exclusive psalmody on the basis that the practice is somehow culturally narrow, growing out of a Scottish or British tradition. A Japanese pastor strongly objected and made the point that man-written hymns are actually culturally-conditioned, for they inescapably reflect the cultural ideas of those who compose them. But the Psalms, being God's Word, avoid any expression of cultural bias - they are truly cross-cultural.

Just a quick thought or two...
 

Pergamum

Ordinary Guy (TM)
Ah....but even how you sing these psalms would be culturally conditioned. Metrical or to a jazzy beat...to the the tune of the Old 100th.....




Another thought: If we believe that the RPW demands EP, and we enter a culture whose songs are all highly religious, then a situation is created in which music can abound in the culture, but don't you dare sing about religious things. Thus, whereas music had a religious impact before, now a gap is split open between music and religious sentiment, thus secularizing music.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ah....but even how you sing these psalms would be culturally conditioned. Metrical or to a jazzy beat...to the the tune of the Old 100th.....




Another thought: If we believe that the RPW demands EP, and we enter a culture whose songs are all highly religious, then a situation is created in which music can abound in the culture, but don't you dare sing about religious things. Thus, whereas music had a religious impact before, now a gap is split open between music and religious sentiment, thus secularizing music.
I don't understand your second paragraph at all.

And your comment on EP and culture (the one with all the dots) misses the context of what Doug was saying. Someone said that the practice of singing the Psalms is culturally conditioned. But while the tune used may be cultural, as you noted, the Psalms themselves, the substance being sung, is not conditioned at all. Doug was pointing out that the argument that Psalm Singing in se is cultural is silly. No EPer I know of thinks that the "accidents" of singing (the tune) have to remain the same across cultures. But the words themselves are what is being offered to God and uninspired hymns from different cultures may bring unbiblical substance into the singing.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top