Exclusive Psalmody and singing Jesus' name

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Poimen, Jan 21, 2013.

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  1. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    One common objection against exclusive psalmody is that if we only sing the psalms we will fail to sing the “name that is above every other name” (Philippians 2:9).

    I believe this objection fails for a number of reasons:

    1) Of the supposed hymnic fragments found in the New Testament, only one actually uses the name Jesus (Philippians 2:5-11).

    2) Even this passage does not command us to sing the name of Jesus, as exclusive-psalmodist proponents point out. Rather, the command is that every tongue confess Him. Furthermore, the confession is not limited to simply saying the name Jesus but that Jesus Christ is Lord. Arguably, this is done every time we sing Psalms 16 & 110.

    3) We might ask: if it is commanded (i.e. required) that we sing ‘Jesus’ name, does this have to be done every time we gather together? In every song? The latter would require the exclusion of the psalms as songs of the church even though many advocates of hymns, and more importantly the scriptures themselves, require us to sing psalms. So in what way is this to be fulfilled?

    4) If we literally are called to sing the name ‘Jesus’, we would have to do so (it would seem) with the original Greek in mind. Very few Christians, if any, would speak the name ‘Jesus’ in NT Greek. This is ironic since hymnodists often accuse Psalm singers of inconsistency since they do not sing the original Hebrew of the Psalms and often sing them in rhyme and meter.

    5) Even the heavenly songs of Revelation do not use the name Jesus. If the name Jesus is so important to be sung, surely one or more of these songs would record His name.

    6) As Richard Bacon points out, Jesus did not include His name in the baptismal formula (Matthew 28:19).(1) If we are not required to be baptized in Jesus’ name, why would we be required to sing Jesus’ name in order to honor Him?

    7) Jesus name is also not found in institution of the Lord Supper. It is “my body” and eaten in “remembrance of me” but not, necessarily, in ‘Jesus’ name. In 1 Corinthians 10 Paul speaks of the “body of Christ” and the “blood of Christ” but not that of Jesus. Likewise in chapter 11, the apostle speaks of proclaiming “the Lord’s death.”Furthermore, the song that was sung after the celebration of the first Supper was a psalm and, therefore, did not contain the name Jesus (Matthew 26:30).

    8) The Psalms, however, contain the titles of Jesus (Christ, Son of God etc.) and even the very words of Jesus (Psalm 22:1 for example). Psalm singers never fail to honor Jesus even if they do not literally mention or sing his name.

    9) The name ‘Jesus’ refers to His saving work (saving His people from their sins – Matthew 1:21). As others have noted, the Psalms are richly filled with references to His salvation for us.(2)

    10) That psalms can be properly sung unto or in Jesus’ name without having to use the name ‘Jesus’ is demonstrated in Acts 2. Peter addresses his countrymen at Pentecost with a message about Jesus of Nazareth. He references Psalms 16 & 110 as speaking of “this Jesus” (vs. 32).

    (1) www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/crampton.htm
    (2) See the second point in this article: www.cprf.co.uk/articles/whypsalmsonly.htm
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2013
  2. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    :agree: Thanks for sharing.
  3. Scottish Lass

    Scottish Lass Puritan Board Doctor

    Very helpful!
  4. PhilA

    PhilA Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thank you
  5. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is, perhaps, a straw man argument. I don't believe the use of Jesus name is seen as some kind of necessary mantra. Rather, Jesus brings redemptive history to fruition, and His work garners worship, adoration and praise from His church. We sing a new song.
  6. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I agree. We can praise Jesus with inspired Psalms and uninspired hymns.
  7. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    Good points.

    The Name of Jesus, as you say, is His Person and Work, not a mantra.

    The name "Jesus" means Jehovah is Salvation". See how many references there are to "Lord" and "salvation" in connection with each other in the Psalms.

    and many other occurrences.

    Many of us "EPers" don't reject the use of other Scripture songs, paraphrases and hymns altogether, but believe that there is high Scriptural warrant for the use of the Psalms, as compared to these others, and therefore believe that the Psalms only should be used in the stated services.

    The Psalms are the songs that strengthened the Head on His earthly pilgrimage so the body cannot do better. They were always unlikely to refer to Him by His name "Jesus" because they were written before He arrived in the flesh, and He is the singer i.e. they were to be sung by Him in worship of his Father. If we have clear sanction to sing them compared to other songs, the fact that "Jesus" isn't mentioned is clearly not important to the Lord or for our spiritual welfare.
  8. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Asking for clarification: are you replying to my arguments or to those who support hymn singing with the argument I was refuting?
  9. jwithnell

    jwithnell Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    You are making a brilliant argument that does not address the central position of non-EPers.
  10. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Thank you for the clarification. I don't believe, however, it is fair to use the term mantra when referring to the argument I was presenting. I never used the term nor is that how those who advocate its use in song (hymnody) have used it. Some, however, insist on singing Jesus' name in worship and consequently would undermine the EP position.

    Perhaps I should clarify and state that I did not post the op with the intention of proving EP or disproving hymnody. I was merely responding to a common argument which I have often come across in my study of the issue. Common enough for Gary Crampton to use (as per the Richard Bacon article I cited), Joey Pipa in his defense of hymnody and numerous other references, including a colleague of mine. It is also common enough to warrant a defense of the EP position against such arguments by others: Creideamh: On (not?) singing the name of Jesus I am certain many people here who sing EP would also recognize the argument's 'universal' character.
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2013
  11. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Junior

    Good points, but there is one question that is often missed when people discuss this--is the name "Jesus," or "Yeshuah," in the Psalms? The answer is yes.

    Psalm 78:2
    "Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in his salvation."

    I am no Hebraist, but I have heard it taught (and as I've looked into it it seems reasonable) that this could be read "Because they believed not in God, and trusted not in Yeshuah."

    Perhaps someone more learned in Hebrew could help out here?
  12. C. M. Sheffield

    C. M. Sheffield Puritan Board Junior

    Thank you for these points Pastor Kok, very helpful.
  13. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Old Thread same subject kinda....

  14. JP Wallace

    JP Wallace Puritan Board Sophomore

    Very good, compact arguments against what in my experience is the number 2 argument against exclusive psalmody (after psalms, hymns and spiritual songs).
  15. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    The argument has been used a number of times on the Puritanboard by those opposed to exclusive psalmody. As I recall, there are some threads devoted entirely to debating that question, with non-EP'ers taking the line that we MUST sing the name of Jesus.
  16. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    The New Covenant people sing the Psalms as new songs compared with the Old Covenant people with their more limited understanding.
  17. JoannaV

    JoannaV Puritan Board Sophomore

    I never really understand how people who, in a Bible study, demonstrate great understanding of Christ's presence in the Psalms, then use the argument that "but we need to sing about Christ".
  18. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I really don't know any Reformed Christians who sing hymns that would say that the singing of Psalms is not singing about Christ. I've grown to love Psalm singing and it is more apparent every time I sing from the Psalms that Christ is throughout the Psalter. Nevertheless, I love to sing uninspired hymns about Christ too! I believe that there is a legitimate scriptural warrant for so doing. I'm with Ms. Withnell that this seems to be tearing down an argument that most non-EP people do not use.
  19. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    With respect, you haven't read the post very carefully if this is the conclusion you have drawn from the arguments. It is not that advocates of uninspired hymns say that singing the Psalms is not singing about Christ but whether or not we sing the name Jesus (as per Philippians 2:9) which they claim advocates of EP cannot do. And as I and others have noted in this thread, many advocates of hymnody use this argument, and some of them are even respected theologians and churchmen. It is a popular argument and ought not to be used because it is fallacious.
  20. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    I agree that it should not be used and that it is wrong. I just have yet to see anyone use it to justify why they aren't EP. I'm sure there are people out there who do use it, but I haven't seen people in the Reformed community use it.
  21. Bill The Baptist

    Bill The Baptist Puritan Board Senior

    If you truly understand the Psalms, then you will understand that they are ALL about Christ, so if you are singing the Psalms, then you are singing about Christ.
  22. Marrow Man

    Marrow Man Drunk with Powder

    This is very interesting. By that same reckoning, would you say that we would be doing something similar (i.e., singing of Jesus w/o actually mentioning His name, but that of "the Son") whenever we sing Psalm 2?
  23. ProtestantBankie

    ProtestantBankie Puritan Board Freshman

    Interesting to read, but I have never had a Non-EPer actually tell me we have to sing the name of Jesus.

    "Amazing Grace" mentions neither Jesus, Christ nor God. Yet the average Non-EP Christian will happily include it in their sung praise.

    What is the Non-EP regarding the content of hymns? No universal position exists, you pay your money and you take your choice. And I am thankful that at least Reformed Christians who don't hold to EP take "what hymns to include" very seriously!
  24. John Lanier

    John Lanier Puritan Board Junior

    On the opposite side, it seems to me that especially with contemporary Christian music the other two persons of the Trinity are neglected in praise. This is not as much the case with the older hymns but with the more modern Christian music.
  25. AlexanderHenderson1647

    AlexanderHenderson1647 Puritan Board Freshman

    But, Zach, they in fact do. The pastor noted several particulars and I have known more than a few. You offer no help in saying that this argument isn't founded in regular experience. In fact, Mrs. Withnell called it a "straw man," which completely dismisses the argument as not founded in reality. You soften it some, but you could just have not experienced it. Do some asking around/searching and I assure you, you'll find it out there as a "slam dunk" argument used against EP.
  26. Zach

    Zach Puritan Board Junior

    If that is really the case, they should change their argument. I think there are other good reasons not to be EP. But alas, that's for another thread and not one I am interested in engaging on right now.
  27. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Yes. I believe this is clear from Acts 4:24-28.
  28. Poimen

    Poimen Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I am not a moderator but I am the author of the original post and I think that this thread has turned away from its intent: discussing the singing of the name of Jesus as it relates to the issue of exclusive psalmody. In my humble opinion, other issues relevant to EP should be dealt with in other threads.
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