Exclusive Psalmody

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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:bcc2eebf2c="Me Died Blue"]Patrick, you said, "the OPC is generally ok though I personaly prefer churches that hold more strictly to the WCF than they do." I wholeheartedly agree with you that enforcement of subscription is the only thing that keeps a denomination doctrinally sound, and that the loose approach most Reformed churches have to that today is why there are so many Reformed denominations. Still, I wasn't aware that there [i:bcc2eebf2c]were[/i:bcc2eebf2c] any denominations that hold more strictly to the WCF than the OPC - of which ones are you thinking? I'd say the RPCNA, but that also involves the separate issue of deciding what one believes on EP. [/quote:bcc2eebf2c]
Wow, this thread was one of my beginnings responses on the Board. I didn't expect to see it again :)
To you post Chris, the OPC though holding more firmly to the WCF than most, still allows exceptions to doctrines which the Divines clearly intended to be fundamental. The Creation Views are one clear example. As long as you can defend an alternative creation view well in your presbytery interview you will be ordained (Kline was from the OPC). So far they have only drawn the line at evolution. This is the same with the Sabbath. You are allowed to differ from the Westminster view if you can defend it well in presbytery. And EP, though the OPC abandon it long ago, is still the teaching of the WCF no matter which version you read, the English or American. And the OPC for the most part fully acknowledges they as a denomination take exception to that. You may read about that in their Report on Song. You may think that these are only small issues, but the precedent has been set. The path to follow the PCUSA is wide open. And nothing illustrates this more than the Justification controversy over the last 20 years since Sheppard. Thankfully the subscriptin debates are being raised in the PCA and hopefully that will spread to the OPC as well.

As for denominations which hold firmly to it, there are only a few micro denominations out there. Virg mentioned the PRC. The RPCNA does hold to it firmly, though they seemed to have lost the art of good preaching in the few sermons I have heard from them. Again, just my opinion thus far.

[quote:bcc2eebf2c]
Also, you say the recital of creeds in worship in unbiblical. I'm not so sure that can be said. As David Hall points out in his book, [i:bcc2eebf2c]The Practice of Confessional Subscription[/i:bcc2eebf2c], the [i:bcc2eebf2c]Shema[/i:bcc2eebf2c] was being used as a liturgical creed in the synagogue by New Testament times. Psalms functioning as confessions of faith (such as 33, 97, 136) arguably also give biblical justification for the liturgical use of creeds. Furthermore, a possible, though less certain, reference to liturgical creed use can be found in 1 Corinthians 12:3. [/quote:bcc2eebf2c]
I will simply respond the same way the Puritans did. Where are we commanded to use Creeds in worship? The Scriptures don't command it. The Regulative Principle does not allow it. Overly simple perhaps but hey I'm a Puritanhead. :pilgrim: Personally I think modern worship is much to complex, even in reformed circles. Give me prayers, psalms, good preaching of the Word, and the sacraments. Simple, pure, and easy to accomplish in almost any atmosphere with minimal dependance on material needs.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:c78f6a0e19="puritansailor"]Wow, this thread was one of my beginnings responses on the Board. I didn't expect to see it again :)[/quote:c78f6a0e19]

Yeah, I came across this while moving some threads, and it raised some points that interested me, so I raised it! :bs2:

[quote:c78f6a0e19="puritansailor"]And EP, though the OPC abandon it long ago, is still the teaching of the WCF no matter which version you read, the English or American. And the OPC for the most part fully acknowledges they as a denomination take exception to that. You may read about that in their Report on Song.[/quote:c78f6a0e19]

I know that Chapter XXI.V mentions psalms and makes no mention of hymns; but do you actually consider anyone who denies EP (by affirming that hymns are biblically allowed) to be taking exception to the Confession?
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
You're welcome, Patrick.

Regarding the question of whether rejection of Exclusive Psalmody means that one is taking exception to the WCF, I personally believe the answer is yes. The language of the Confession is well-crafted. The specific elements of public worship that are ordained by God are listed and hymns are not included. Creeds are not listed either. This is consistent with the Regulative Principle of Worship, which I believe is what the Westminster Confession is articulating when it comes to how we may rightly worship God.

WCF 21.1: ...But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He may not be worshipped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the holy Scripture.

As an aside, Dr. William Young, one of the authors of the 1946 OPC minority report on this issue, is a minister in my denomination, the Presbyterian Reformed Church.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
The Bible says "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" so the EP crowd is adding a constraint that does not exist in the Scriptures.

Also, the creeds confessed in the Bible are all inspired Scripture - the WCF and LBCF is not and should not beelevated to that position. We should read and recite the Scriptures in worship - not the creeds. The creeds are secondary to the Bible, or at least should be.

Phillip
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:4de5b18ba4="pastorway"]Also, the creeds confessed in the Bible are all inspired Scripture - the WCF and LBCF is not and should not beelevated to that position. We should read and recite the Scriptures in worship - not the creeds. The creeds are secondary to the Bible, or at least should be.

Phillip[/quote:4de5b18ba4]

Phillip,

That makes no sense. By that logic, we should not have preaching because it is not the inspired text, and is subject to the Bible (e.g. the Bereans)
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
[quote:3e32b53d3c]They taught exclusive psalmody. Now, if the OPC and PCA wish to discard it then fine, but they need to modify the standards if they wish to do it honestly and maintain the necessity of subscription.[/quote:3e32b53d3c]

Patrick - you are 100% accurate as to the need or shift that the PCA and OPC need to make in taking an exception to this.

Phillip,

I agree (so far) that we should sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs as we understand them to be seperate musical expressions.

However, simply saying,

[quote:3e32b53d3c]The Bible says "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" so the EP crowd is adding a constraint that does not exist in the Scriptures. [/quote:3e32b53d3c]

does not make the the very good arguments for EP go away. In stuyding these terms, it is very possible to see all of them as speaking of the Psalter, and that Paul was (in both Colossians and Ephesians) using a hendiyadis in his thinking. If that is the case, then the definition of these are not sperate, but synonymous.

Arguments against EP are not strong with simply noting "psalsm, hymns and spiritual songs." I think the greter argument surrounds chaning the Hebrew text to fit a metricular pattern, and then adding uninspired music. Both of those,seem to me, to put a stop to having an "inspired psalter" for song without truly HAVING an inspired psalter with metricular patterns and notes which are equally inspired.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
I was referencing what we read to each other - why read the creeds - we should read Scripture! Worship is about God and His Word. Preaching is commanded, reading man made creeds is not.

As for the EP argument, it really is that simple. You read the Bible and do what it says. It does not have to be any more complicated than that. To make a huge argument about it all is to miss the whole point. We are not confined by the Scriptures to singing psalms only, but that is another argument like baptism that could take up threads and threads of its own....even though the Bible says we are to sing "pslams, hymns, and spiritual songs" - three diffrerent words used to describe types of songs sung.

Simple. Sola Scriptura.

Phillip
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:06310c705a="pastorway"]I was referencing what we read to each other - why read the creeds - we should read Scripture! Worship is about God and His Word. Preaching is commanded, reading man made creeds is not.

As for the EP argument, it really is that simple. You read the Bible and do what it says. It does not have to be any more complicated than that. To make a huge argument about it all is to miss the whole point. We are not confined by the Scriptures to singing psalms only, but that is another argument like baptism that could take up threads and threads of its own....even though the Bible says we are to sing "pslams, hymns, and spiritual songs" - three diffrerent words used to describe types of songs sung.

Simple. Sola Scriptura.

Phillip[/quote:06310c705a]

Phillip,

I am not EP, but it is not that simple. Because before the last 25 years of Marantha and diddy brain-dead songs, no one ever tried to argue that there was a third category of songs - "spiritual songs." It was not until Baby-boomer lovers of worthless music decided that they needed a Bible verse to beat others into submitting singing "Oh, Jesus He like me a lot" 45 times in a row that Col. 3:16 was meant to say that.

So if we take the historical position that songs and hymns are describing the same things (what the church has claimed for centuries) and that BOTH are spiritual, we are left with something very different than what the CCM crowd would use as "Sola Scriptura."

I believe that there are excellent Biblical arguments for the use of uninspired hymnody (such as anaolgy to prayer, preaching, etc; the command to sing new songs). But to argue as you have invites EP adherents to lump me in with the diddy-boppers who never met theology they did not hate. That is a disservice to what I believe is the Biblical position.
 

pastorway

Puritan Board Senior
I understand. It should be that simple though!

Spiritual songs means literally "sacred" songs. Not CCM.

And our church has no relation to the Maranatha music company.
:lol:
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you [b:8584dca2b2]sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs [/b:8584dca2b2]with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Pastor Way, the Greek words for psalms, hymns and spiritual songs meant something different to Paul then it does to you. The believers of the 1st century used the Septuagint. In the Septuagint these same words are used to describe inspired Canticles and Psalms.

Webmaster, the Psalms are put into English Meter and sung to uninspired settings out of necessity. They are natural, inherently nonreligious additions we use to preform a commanded element of worship. God has commanded singing and has given us a book of praise but has left tunes and meter to the discretion of the church. Circumstances that have no spiritual significance and are a natural help to the preformance of commanded worship (such as, church location, meeting time, pastors sermon notes, song tunes, meter) may be determined by the church. The reasoning for having metrical versions of the Psalms is similar for having vernacular translations of the scriptures, the Psalter versions being virtually translation quality.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Elaborating on a point Fred mentioned, how would those here who adhere to EP interpret all the verses that speak of singing "a new song" to God (e.g. the Psalms verses, Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 4:13)?
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:660f8fff88="Me Died Blue"]Elaborating on a point Fred mentioned, how would those here who adhere to EP interpret all the verses that speak of singing "a new song" to God (e.g. the Psalms verses, Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 4:13)?[/quote:660f8fff88]

I think the answer would be to consider Psalm 40:3, "He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD."

I appears from the words of the Psalmist that the song is not new because the words or ideas are new. The song is new because God has put it new into the heart of the believer.

Thus the Psalms become a "new song" to those who have turned to the redemption offered in Christ.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:73beff80e1="Me Died Blue"]Elaborating on a point Fred mentioned, how would those here who adhere to EP interpret all the verses that speak of singing "a new song" to God (e.g. the Psalms verses, Isaiah 42:10, Revelation 5:9, Revelation 4:13)?[/quote:73beff80e1]

[i:73beff80e1]ISA 42:10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof. 11 Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift up their voice, the villages that Kedar doth inhabit: let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains.[/i:73beff80e1]

The inspired prophet is not giving a command about worship but is simply communicating God's glory in calling the gentiles by using figuritive language. We're not literally expected to sing a new song, just as the islands, the wilderness and the cities are not.

[i:73beff80e1]REV 5:9 And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation;[/i:73beff80e1]

The songs of Revelation are apocalyptic symbolism. They're not instructing us how to worship but are conveying a message about the end times.

The Psalms which contain phrases like "sing a new song" are refering to that particular song. Example: [i:73beff80e1]Psa 96:1 Oh sing unto Jehovah a new song (ie this song, PSA 96): Sing unto Jehovah, all the earth[/i:73beff80e1]
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Of course the interesting fact for the hymnodist is that the EP argument rests on the Septuagint, which is not inspired, and further on the superscriptions of the Psalms in the Septuagint, which are not acknowledged by any as Scripture themselves.

For me (along with many other factors which this is not the thread to go into) the clincher is that both Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 which speak of [font=Bwgrkl, Bibleworks greek font:8fb1f3871e][size=18:8fb1f3871e]yalmoi[/size:8fb1f3871e][/font:8fb1f3871e] and [font=Bwgrkl, Bibleworks greek font:8fb1f3871e][size=18:8fb1f3871e]u`mnoi[/size:8fb1f3871e][/font:8fb1f3871e] was written to largely (if not exclusively) Gentile, Greek churches (note the emphasis in Eph. 2:14).

The big thing today is that we are being too "Greek" with Bible, and we need to be more Hebrew. Here is an instance where we are being too Hebrew, I believe. No native Greek (speaking as a Classicist) would think of the psalms when they heard the word hymn. Even if we grant the fact that the Septuagint uses this language and it might have some influence, we are not talking about converted Jews here as much as converted pagan Greeks. They would be thinking of hymns in the vein of a thousand years of Greek tradition, including Homer, Pindar and the like. To say that a Greek Christian would just hear "psalms, psalms and psalms" in Col 3:16 is to completely ignore the cultural context. This, for me, is especially weak since it rests nearly completely on a superscription of an uninspired translation.

Sorry. Can't do it.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't know Greek at all. I have to go by common sense. And I see the words from Col. and Eph. interpreted to be exclusive instead of inclusive, and I still see no warrant for that. The fact that the three terms are parallel, or interchangeable, or definitionally equivalent, can still be taken either way. We have examples in the NT that freely composed anthems were common enough even then, even for the Jews. They were not reversifications of the Psalms.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:6962a6e9ef="fredtgreco"]
I am not EP, but it is not that simple...So if we take the historical position that songs and hymns are describing the same things (what the church has claimed for centuries) and that BOTH are spiritual, we are left with something very different than what the CCM crowd would use as "Sola Scriptura...I believe that there are excellent Biblical arguments for the use of uninspired hymnody (such as anaolgy to prayer, preaching, etc; the command to sing new songs). But to argue as you have invites EP adherents to lump me in with the diddy-boppers who never met theology they did not hate. That is a disservice to what I believe is the Biblical position.
[/quote:6962a6e9ef]

[quote:6962a6e9ef="fredtgreco"]
No native Greek (speaking as a Classicist) would think of the psalms when they heard the word hymn. Even if we grant the fact that the Septuagint uses this language and it might have some influence, we are not talking about converted Jews here as much as converted pagan Greeks. They would be thinking of hymns in the vein of a thousand years of Greek tradition, including Homer, Pindar and the like. To say that a Greek Christian would just hear "psalms, psalms and psalms" in Col 3:16 is to completely ignore the cultural context. This, for me, is especially weak since it rests nearly completely on a superscription of an uninspired translation.

Sorry. Can't do it.[/quote:6962a6e9ef]

So they hear "hymns, hymns, hymns". :puzzled:

If they were Christians living in the Hellenistic world (Jew or Greek) they would have been familiar with the Septuagint. I'm not trying to argue EP from these two passages, just demonstrate that the words used there were also commonly used for the Psalms of David and could mean the Psalms. Though, I have read a very complicated argument by Rowland S. Ward that psalms, hymns and songs necessarily means Psalms.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
[quote:15e8e4b37f="Peter"][quote:15e8e4b37f="fredtgreco"]
I am not EP, but it is not that simple...So if we take the historical position that songs and hymns are describing the same things (what the church has claimed for centuries) and that BOTH are spiritual, we are left with something very different than what the CCM crowd would use as "Sola Scriptura...I believe that there are excellent Biblical arguments for the use of uninspired hymnody (such as anaolgy to prayer, preaching, etc; the command to sing new songs). But to argue as you have invites EP adherents to lump me in with the diddy-boppers who never met theology they did not hate. That is a disservice to what I believe is the Biblical position.
[/quote:15e8e4b37f]

[quote:15e8e4b37f="fredtgreco"]
No native Greek (speaking as a Classicist) would think of the psalms when they heard the word hymn. Even if we grant the fact that the Septuagint uses this language and it might have some influence, we are not talking about converted Jews here as much as converted pagan Greeks. They would be thinking of hymns in the vein of a thousand years of Greek tradition, including Homer, Pindar and the like. To say that a Greek Christian would just hear "psalms, psalms and psalms" in Col 3:16 is to completely ignore the cultural context. This, for me, is especially weak since it rests nearly completely on a superscription of an uninspired translation.

Sorry. Can't do it.[/quote:15e8e4b37f]

So they hear "hymns, hymns, hymns". :puzzled: [/quote:15e8e4b37f]

No, I would argue that they hear: "psalms, hymns and songs" exactly what the text says. To make it say otherwise is, as you pointed out, very convoluted and difficult.

I realize that you are not treating the issue in detail; I don't have time for it either. I know a good case can be made for EP - most of the puritans (if not all) held to it. All I was trying to point out, is that a good RPW case can be made for hymnody. So often the EP position tries to end the discussion with "if you really believed in the RPW, you would have to have EP..." That is not the case. Stephen Pribble has made an excellemnt case for hymnody, as well as the majority OPC report (see their website for the Report on Song).
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:bd0aeb5ea7="fredtgreco"]
For me (along with many other factors which this is not the thread to go into) the clincher is that both Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 which speak of [font=Bwgrkl, Bibleworks greek font:bd0aeb5ea7][size=18:bd0aeb5ea7]yalmoi[/size:bd0aeb5ea7][/font:bd0aeb5ea7] and [font=Bwgrkl, Bibleworks greek font:bd0aeb5ea7][size=18:bd0aeb5ea7]u`mnoi[/size:bd0aeb5ea7][/font:bd0aeb5ea7] was written to largely (if not exclusively) Gentile, Greek churches (note the emphasis in Eph. 2:14).

[/quote:bd0aeb5ea7]

Fred,

I appreciate what you are saying, but I think you are putting to much of a Greek emphasis on Ephesians.

If you just look at the historical setting, you will see that the church was far from "largely (if not exclusively) Gentile". In Acts 18 we see Paul's short visit to the synagogue in Ephesus, as was his custom. We also see the ministry of an Alexandrian Jew named Apollos in Ephesus. (It's interesting that the Septuagint was an Alexandrian product.) We then see Paul's return to Ephesus in Acts 19 where we are told that he found "some disciples" (Acts 19:1). We are also told that "Jews and Greeks" heard the Word of the Lord.

The bottom line is that there appears to have been significant Hebrew influence in the region of Ephesus before the arrival of Paul and the other Christians. One could reasonably assume that there were many "God-fearing" gentiles (gentiles who were already familiar with the Word of God) when Paul arrived and began his ministry. As we are told in Acts 15 concerning the gentile cities, "For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

Given this influence, I would not take for granted that Greek disciples would "automatically" think in terms of classical Greek when hearing Paul words in Ephesians 5:19.
 

fredtgreco

Vanilla Westminsterian
Staff member
Tom,

Without having time right now to discuss your point, do you think the same can be said of Colosse?
 

tcalbrecht

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:7b4684e0c5="fredtgreco"]Tom,

Without having time right now to discuss your point, do you think the same can be said of Colosse?[/quote:7b4684e0c5]

We have much less biblical evidence of the conditions in Colossae. If I were to speculate I would say conditions in that city were probably similar to Ephesus; synagogue, presence of "God-fearers". We do know that Paul was free to write about the relationship of circumcision and baptism (2:11,12), and concerned about a false mixture of Judaism and Christianity (2:16,17). Many of the themes parallel the message in Ephesians (e.g., husbands/wives).
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:8049bc5908="pastorway"]The Bible says "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" so the EP crowd is adding a constraint that does not exist in the Scriptures.
[/quote:8049bc5908]

And Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs most certainly refer to the inspired compositions contained in the book commonly called the Psalms of David. All three terms are used to referred to the inspired compositions especially in the Septuagint which the Apostles as we know used quite often.

Therefore the inclusivist and other singers of unispired songs in public worship are adding a liberty which is not allowed by the Scriptures.

:bs2:
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:6b3037d67f="fredtgreco"][quote:6b3037d67f="Peter"][quote:6b3037d67f="fredtgreco"]
I am not EP, but it is not that simple...So if we take the historical position that songs and hymns are describing the same things (what the church has claimed for centuries) and that BOTH are spiritual, we are left with something very different than what the CCM crowd would use as "Sola Scriptura...I believe that there are excellent Biblical arguments for the use of uninspired hymnody (such as anaolgy to prayer, preaching, etc; the command to sing new songs). But to argue as you have invites EP adherents to lump me in with the diddy-boppers who never met theology they did not hate. That is a disservice to what I believe is the Biblical position.
[/quote:6b3037d67f]

[quote:6b3037d67f="fredtgreco"]
No native Greek (speaking as a Classicist) would think of the psalms when they heard the word hymn. Even if we grant the fact that the Septuagint uses this language and it might have some influence, we are not talking about converted Jews here as much as converted pagan Greeks. They would be thinking of hymns in the vein of a thousand years of Greek tradition, including Homer, Pindar and the like. To say that a Greek Christian would just hear "psalms, psalms and psalms" in Col 3:16 is to completely ignore the cultural context. This, for me, is especially weak since it rests nearly completely on a superscription of an uninspired translation.

Sorry. Can't do it.[/quote:6b3037d67f]

So they hear "hymns, hymns, hymns". :puzzled: [/quote:6b3037d67f]

No, I would argue that they hear: "psalms, hymns and songs" exactly what the text says. To make it say otherwise is, as you pointed out, very convoluted and difficult.

I realize that you are not treating the issue in detail; I don't have time for it either. I know a good case can be made for EP - most of the puritans (if not all) held to it. All I was trying to point out, is that a good RPW case can be made for hymnody. So often the EP position tries to end the discussion with "if you really believed in the RPW, you would have to have EP..." That is not the case. Stephen Pribble has made an excellemnt case for hymnody, as well as the majority OPC report (see their website for the Report on Song).[/quote:6b3037d67f]

Fred,

With all do respect it is the Christian culture that the Gentiles were conforming to, NOT viceversa. The Gentiles were studying Jewish scriptures translated into the Greek language. The words psalmoi, psallo, and the like were of course used in other places and in other contexts but in the Christian context they had a specific meaning. A meaning further made clear by the apostles Paul's words to the church of Colasse:

[b:6b3037d67f]Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly[/b:6b3037d67f] in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Col iii 16)

The Psalms and Hymns and Spiritual Songs are the Word of Christ! This is the inspired word of God. The writings of the Holy Spirit. And if it couldn't be any clearer there are no evidences at all of uninspired songs created by the early church. The early uninspired songs that we do see written to supplant the usage of the Word of Christ come from the pens of heretics such as Arius and Montanus.
 

luvroftheWord

Puritan Board Sophomore
I think Matt's point is a good one.

[quote:33de34b854="Peter"]Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you [b:33de34b854]sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs [/b:33de34b854]with gratitude in your hearts to God.

Pastor Way, the Greek words for psalms, hymns and spiritual songs meant something different to Paul then it does to you. The believers of the 1st century used the Septuagint. In the Septuagint these same words are used to describe inspired Canticles and Psalms.

Webmaster, the Psalms are put into English Meter and sung to uninspired settings out of necessity. They are natural, inherently nonreligious additions we use to preform a commanded element of worship. God has commanded singing and has given us a book of praise but has left tunes and meter to the discretion of the church. Circumstances that have no spiritual significance and are a natural help to the preformance of commanded worship (such as, church location, meeting time, pastors sermon notes, song tunes, meter) may be determined by the church. The reasoning for having metrical versions of the Psalms is similar for having vernacular translations of the scriptures, the Psalter versions being virtually translation quality.[/quote:33de34b854]

Who says that English Meter is nonreligious in nature? Who says it is only a circumstance and not an element?
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:8acaf4dbe2="luvroftheWord"]Who says that English Meter is nonreligious in nature? Who says it is only a circumstance and not an element?[/quote:8acaf4dbe2]

Because the Bible gives absolutely nothing that could be used as a guideline for meter, the meter must thus be considered a circumstance. It's the exact same situation as how we determine that the preacher's message content is an element, but his length of pausing between sentences is a circumstance. Scripture gives words to preach on, and it also gives us words to sing to - but it neither gives specifications regarding the length of pausing between sentences or regarding the meter of songs.

I'm not persuaded of EP, but I have to say I think this meter argument is a very weak argument against it. If we can't claim that song meter is merely circumstancial, then we can't claim that the preacher's length of pausing between sentences is, either.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
No necessary inference has yet been given for EP. It has to be be necessary, leaving us no choice but to determine that it is the Biblical mandate. It is one thing to make a sound Biblical argument, it is another to say that it is the only Biblical argument. Until this is done the burden of proof lies with EP. And until that burden is satisfied, EP is an additional tenet, a directive added to Scripture by man.

I don't believe either that the Puritans were all EP-ers. There were many hymns written in their time as well, as has been done throughout the history of the church. But even if it were true, it is still a fallacy to appeal to them without the necessity of doing the same thing all over again, showing that what they did was strictly Biblical: it does not relieve the burden of proof.
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
John,

You are saying that the burden of proof is on the EPers without providing an argument that this is so. You are stating your conclusion in other words. I maintain that the burden of proof is on non-EPers to prove that uninspired songs are sanctioned acts of worship. I have my explicit command in the scriptures, whereas the non-EPer does not.

Historically there were other songs written by Christians, but these songs were overwhelmingly used outside the realm of public worship. The Puritans overwhelmingly were EP. The arguments among the Puritans as regards the content of singing praise was whether or not the singing should conclude with "Amen" or what meter to use.

We do not have inspired guides for meters, nor inspired tunes. We do have inspired songs, how we sing them, when in the liturgy we sing them, is circumstantial. We similarly we have scriptures to teach from and recite, it would be no honor to God to exegete a passage from Spurgeon's Morning by Morning and call it a sermon from the scriptures. We should seek to honestly adhere to whatever it is Paul himself meant by Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here is a fine article by G.I. Williamson on the subject of singing the inspired Songs of the Spirit.

http://www.evertek.net/giwopc/psalms.html

"˜The Donatists make it a matter of reproach against us, that, in the Church, we sing with sobriety the divine songs"¦whereas they inflame the intoxication of their minds by singing psalms of human composition"(tm). (Augustine, Confessions, IX, 4.)
 
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