Exclusive Psalmody

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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:2e63d39dfe="Me Died Blue"]Patrick,
I think I'm getting where you're coming from. You seem to be saying that even though there is no explicit command in the Bible to do away with the already-existing songs at the Psalter's completion, there is also no explicit indication in the Bible that such songs were ever regularly used in a congregational setting before the Psalter's completion in the first place. Am I reading you right? [/quote:2e63d39dfe]
Maybe. What do you mean by "already-existing songs"?

[quote:2e63d39dfe] If that is indeed your intended point, I see its relevance to your argument that the Psalms are the only songs which we have an explicit command in the Bible to sing. Still, I'm somewhat unsure of that claim as a whole. I did a search in the ESV for the word "psalms," and it found seven verses, the only two of which relate to the singing of psalms being Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Earlier in this thread, I thought you gave good reasons for those commands being addressed to a people of Jewish mindset, but I also thought Fred gave good reasons for them being addressed to a people of Greek mindset. So at this point, I don't really know what to make of the phrase "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Are there any online articles you would recommend that explore the exegesis of that phrase from either side?[/quote:2e63d39dfe]
Yes, it does really seem to come down to those two verses and the right hermeneutic to use there. As for sources, Williamson's articel was already cited. He's always a good resource. Bushell's book is also a good place to start. But really, none of these resources have ever got as deep as this thread has that I can remember. This thread has been very helpful, at least to me.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:2a2ee94c0e="puritansailor"][quote:2a2ee94c0e="Me Died Blue"]Patrick,
I think I'm getting where you're coming from. You seem to be saying that even though there is no explicit command in the Bible to do away with the already-existing songs at the Psalter's completion, there is also no explicit indication in the Bible that such songs were ever regularly used in a congregational setting before the Psalter's completion in the first place. Am I reading you right? [/quote:2a2ee94c0e]
Maybe. What do you mean by "already-existing songs"?[/quote:2a2ee94c0e]

I was referring to the songs that we know God's people rightly sung at specific recorded occassions in the OT before the Psalter was completed - such as the song of Moses, etc.

[quote:2a2ee94c0e="puritansailor"][quote:2a2ee94c0e] If that is indeed your intended point, I see its relevance to your argument that the Psalms are the only songs which we have an explicit command in the Bible to sing. Still, I'm somewhat unsure of that claim as a whole. I did a search in the ESV for the word "psalms," and it found seven verses, the only two of which relate to the singing of psalms being Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Earlier in this thread, I thought you gave good reasons for those commands being addressed to a people of Jewish mindset, but I also thought Fred gave good reasons for them being addressed to a people of Greek mindset. So at this point, I don't really know what to make of the phrase "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." Are there any online articles you would recommend that explore the exegesis of that phrase from either side?[/quote:2a2ee94c0e]
Yes, it does really seem to come down to those two verses and the right hermeneutic to use there. As for sources, Williamson's articel was already cited. He's always a good resource. Bushell's book is also a good place to start. But really, none of these resources have ever got as deep as this thread has that I can remember. This thread has been very helpful, at least to me.[/quote:2a2ee94c0e]

Thanks. I'll read that. But if, as you say, it doesn't get as deep as this thread, I don't know if it will do much to clear anything up for me, since, as I mentioned, I don't know what to make of your and Fred's dialogue on the cultural context of those three words. I also need to study all the verses that command us to sing "a new song" further.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Ian:
[quote:969cb0554a]JohnV,


Thanks again for your honesty. I do not fault you with desiring to uphold Sola Scriptura. But you see as one who holds to the RPW I must do what I feel is sanctioned in scripture. I have shown what my scripture proofs are that lead me to EP convictions. All I was asking earlier is that you do the same.[/quote:969cb0554a]
By all means, I am in agreement. I believe that is what I said in my previous post. As a non-EP-er, I have nothing to prove; I am not positing a stance of any kind on the Psalter. At least not on purpose. I want to hold the EP-ers accountable to the position they are taking. And so far that has not been done. (Sorry Patrick, but your assertions of OT worship are speculative, not proof, in the strict sense of it. We are dealing with Biblical directive here, and you do not have the latitude you think you do. You have to rule out all other possibilities, and you have not done that. )

My point, again, is (taking EP as a secondary issue, important as it is) you cannot say that something is from God unless you prove it from His Word, without adding your own slant to it. The reason we are beset with so many isms in our time is that we make this mistake too easily all the time. I can again list these isms, but I won't. These are people believing that they have discovered incontrovertible evidence that a certain human theory on a Scriptural idea is God's very own. But on careful examination we find that it is not so. But they are there, in our own denominations, preaching these things from the pulpit as if from God's very mouth. Do you understand what that is? We should welcome the greater care, for if it is true, then it will hold up. We have everything to gain by it. But we have to come to realize the limits of our own speculative undestandings again, just like the Westminster Fathers did.

EP is innoccuous, to an extent. I give it this: it is not advocating something extra to Scripture. What I see is that it is taking something away. (There, I've done it now, I've made a stance. Sorry, I didn't mean to. ) I do not mean any ill-will to advocates of EP. Like I said previously, it has to done respectfully, with acknowledgment of the Biblical zeal of those who uphold it. They are acting out of faith. I know and love that your intention is to uphold the RPW. Me too.

Ian, I just want to raise the bar, that's all. I think we need to. I am not against the Word by standing up against the arguments for EP; but my zeal is for the Word too. I am not making a stand for hymnody, but a stand for a basic principle of the Reformation, the Scripture of which is obvious and mutually respected by us, and held commonly between the pro and con side of this discussion.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Someone please correct me if I am wrong (I do not claim to be an expert in Greek), but may it be proper to understand the phrase "spiritual" as in "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," as relating to all three types (ie., spiritual psalms, spiritual hymns and spiritual songs)? I believe I have read that this is a proper translation. "Spiritual" I understand to relate to the Holy Spirit (ie., inspired, indited by the Holy Spirit), not just spiritual as we use the term with respect to content. If my understanding is correct, I think it strengthens the argument that this often mis-understood command/phrase refers only to the Psalter, which alone is "spiritual" in the sense of inspired by the Holy Spriit.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Chris,
Even Greek Christians would have been familiar with the Septuagint and so would have understood "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" to mean the Book of Psalms. This becomes evident when we consider how cherished the Psalms were to the early Church. I may be offending a principle of interpretation by suggesting so, but, shouldn't we consider the authors mindset as well, who was of course the Hebrew of Hebrews.

Further, the word for hymn is used in Matt. 26:30 to refer to the Egyptian Hallel (Ps 113-118). I think you're right Andrew, experts say the adjective "spiritual" is properly applied to all three words and that given the already religious context it means Spirit inspired rather than simply religious (Spirit-inspired psalms, hymns and spiritual songs). The book "The Psalms in Christian Worship", by Rowland S. Ward has a good treatment on the subject. I also recommend Michael Bushell's book "Songs of Zion" (which I've relied on extensively in the course of this discussion). Both are for sale at psalms4u.com.

[quote:e02e48270b="JohnV"]As a non-EP-er, I have nothing to prove; I am not positing a stance of any kind on the Psalter.[/quote:e02e48270b]

John, you can't take a neutral position. As a non-EP-er you decidedly are taking a stance against the Psalter. And you do have something to prove: that God has commanded us to create new songs for worship. I dont think you've fully embraced the resrictive character of the Regulative Principle. We are obviously commanded to sing Psalms. Now the burden is on the nonEPer to prove we are commanded to create new songs. Whereas much of the nonEPers debating has been against the application of the RPW to song (analogy of prayer, meter). What Patrick said about OT song is speculation. Exactly, thats not the point, what the OT saints did for song is inconsequential, the point is the nonEP has yet to produce a scripture authorizing new song.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Peter:

For what it is that you are suggesting, I would agree to that. I don't think that you have taken into consideration what I have said concerning my objections; but there is an onus on me to show that the Scriptures do give us the freedom to compose and use our talents in praise of Him, and not just in informal worship. I have not made that stance as yet, and do not wish to as yet either, at least not until I know that it can be done without bias, either mine or others'.

As a non-EP-er I am not taking a stance against the Psalter. I believe I have embraced a full understanding of the RPW. There is a big difference between being commanded to sing the Psalms and being commanded to sing only the Psalms.

For now I am only taking a stand against the use of additional extra-Biblical information, against the equating of our surmisings with Scripture itself. In short, I am calling us to the necessity that Sola Scriptura calls for. Again, [u:85b03b7ac4]necessity[/u:85b03b7ac4] is the key. I am not saying that these arguments are not good; I am saying that they lack the important necessity. For instance, do we have a right to assume what Paul's intention or meaning was if he did not specifically state it? Even if it is 99% sure, there is still that 1% that lacks. And we cannot and we may not base it on how sure some of us may be. That 1% may turn out to be 99% once the other possibilites are properly explored. It has to Sola Scripturally sure.

I am just calling us back to what Fred said: some things are being averred that cannot be averred from the text alone. We are assuming, even if it is an educated asumption.

So much for my auditing.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:ea08362293="Me Died Blue"][quote:ea08362293="puritansailor"][quote:ea08362293="Me Died Blue"]Patrick,
I think I'm getting where you're coming from. You seem to be saying that even though there is no explicit command in the Bible to do away with the already-existing songs at the Psalter's completion, there is also no explicit indication in the Bible that such songs were ever regularly used in a congregational setting before the Psalter's completion in the first place. Am I reading you right? [/quote:ea08362293]
Maybe. What do you mean by "already-existing songs"?[/quote:ea08362293]

I was referring to the songs that we know God's people rightly sung at specific recorded occassions in the OT before the Psalter was completed - such as the song of Moses, etc.
[/quote:ea08362293]
Ok. I think you are getting me :bs2:
We have to stick with what we know for certain from Scripture. We know that God was specific in how He was to be worshipped. We know He despises the innovations of men. We know that the psalms were given to us for the specific purpose of congregational singing. I don't see a command for men to start writing new compositions in the NT.

John,
There may be other options to discuss about the OT worship but until you suggest them there's nothing to discuss. I've tried to stick with what is clear from Scripture and avoid speculation as much as possible. If you have other interpretations or info then please contribute them so we may all benefit.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:5237b9a029="JohnV"]Peter:

For what it is that you are suggesting, I would agree to that. I don't think that you have taken into consideration what I have said concerning my objections; but there is an onus on me to show that the Scriptures do give us the freedom to compose and use our talents in praise of Him, and not just in informal worship. I have not made that stance as yet, and do not wish to as yet either, at least not until I know that it can be done without bias, either mine or others'.

As a non-EP-er I am not taking a stance against the Psalter. I believe I have embraced a full understanding of the RPW. There is a big difference between being commanded to sing the Psalms and being commanded to sing only the Psalms.

For now I am only taking a stand against the use of additional extra-Biblical information, against the equating of our surmisings with Scripture itself. In short, I am calling us to the necessity that Sola Scriptura calls for. Again, [u:5237b9a029]necessity[/u:5237b9a029] is the key. I am not saying that these arguments are not good; I am saying that they lack the important necessity. For instance, do we have a right to assume what Paul's intention or meaning was if he did not specifically state it? Even if it is 99% sure, there is still that 1% that lacks. And we cannot and we may not base it on how sure some of us may be. That 1% may turn out to be 99% once the other possibilites are properly explored. It has to Sola Scripturally sure.

I am just calling us back to what Fred said: some things are being averred that cannot be averred from the text alone. We are assuming, even if it is an educated asumption.

So much for my auditing.[/quote:5237b9a029]

Gottcha. But the EP argument does not weigh upon any speculative texts. "Psalms, hymns, songs", whatever it refers to commands singing. The book of Psalms, by virtue of its canonicity, the musical terminology, the reference to song, has divine approbation. Where is the approbation for new songs? There's the necessity, thats the argument.

Sola Scriptura! That's what EP is advocating, the sufficiency of Scripture for song.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
In dealing with the two verses I mentioned above, Williamson gives the following treatment in his cited article (which I read in full):

[quote:9a2015f36b]In the Greek version of the Old Testament familiar to the Ephesians and Colossians the entire psalter is entitled "˜Psalms"(tm). In sixty-seven of the titles within the book the word "˜psalm"(tm) is used. However, in six titles the word "˜hymn"(tm) is used, rather than "˜psalm"(tm), and in thirty-five the word "˜song"(tm) appears. Even more important twelve titles use both "˜psalm"(tm) and "˜song"(tm), and two have "˜psalm"(tm) and "˜hymn"(tm). Psalm seventy-six is designated "˜psalm, hymn and song"(tm). And at the end of the first seventy two psalms we read that "˜the hymns of David the son of Jesse are ended"(tm). (Ps. 72:20.) In other words, there is no more reason to think that the Apostle referred to psalms when he said "˜psalms"(tm), than when he said "˜hymns"(tm) and "˜songs"(tm), for the simple reason that all three were biblical terms for psalms in the book of psalms itself. We are in the habit of using the terms "˜hymns"(tm) and "˜songs"(tm) for those compositions that are not psalms. But Paul and the Christians at Ephesus and Colossae used these terms as the Bible itself uses them, namely, as titles for the various psalms in the Old Testament Psalter. To us it may seem strange, or even unnecessary, that the Holy Spirit would use a variety of titles to describe His inspired compositions. But the fact is that He did so. Just as the Holy Spirit speaks of His "˜commandments and his statutes and his judgments"(tm) (Deut. 30:16, etc.), and of "˜miracles and wonders and signs"(tm) (Acts 2:22), so He speaks of His "˜psalms, hymns and songs"(tm). As commandments, statutes and judgments are all divine laws in the language of scripture; as miracles and wonders and signs are all supernatural works of God in the language of scripture; so psalms, hymns and songs are the inspired compositions of the Psalter, in the language of scripture itself.[/quote:9a2015f36b]

While I trust that Williamson would not purposefully misinterpret or misrepresent the words he is analyzing both in the OT and NT passages, it would really help if he would just briefly provide their Hebrew and Greek equivalents to make for better and more convincing comparison, especially since they are not numerous, and thus would be easy to analyze in Hebrew and Greek.

On a second note, while at the end of the article he gives a sound answer for why the reference to "new songs" in the book of Revelation does not negate EP, he gives no such answer for the mentioning of "new songs" elsewhere in the Bible, particularly Isaiah 42:10.
 

Covenant Joel

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:211333fcc3]John, you can't take a neutral position. As a non-EP-er you decidedly are taking a stance against the Psalter. And you do have something to prove: that God has commanded us to create new songs for worship. I dont think you've fully embraced the resrictive character of the Regulative Principle. [u:211333fcc3]We are obviously commanded to sing Psalms.[/u:211333fcc3] Now the burden is on the nonEPer to prove we are commanded to create new songs. Whereas much of the nonEPers debating has been against the application of the RPW to song (analogy of prayer, meter). What Patrick said about OT song is speculation. Exactly, thats not the point, what the OT saints did for song is inconsequential, the point is the nonEP has yet to produce a scripture authorizing new song.
[/quote:211333fcc3]

Other than the two mainly used passages in the NT, what evidence do you have for the underlined statement? I am not saying that I disagree with it, I just want to know, being somewhat, though not completely, unfamiliar with this particular debate.

Joel
 

Covenant Joel

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:18e2890071="VirginiaHuguenot"]Someone please correct me if I am wrong (I do not claim to be an expert in Greek), but may it be proper to understand the phrase "spiritual" as in "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs," as relating to all three types (ie., spiritual psalms, spiritual hymns and spiritual songs)? I believe I have read that this is a proper translation. "Spiritual" I understand to relate to the Holy Spirit (ie., inspired, indited by the Holy Spirit), not just spiritual as we use the term with respect to content. If my understanding is correct, I think it strengthens the argument that this often mis-understood command/phrase refers only to the Psalter, which alone is "spiritual" in the sense of inspired by the Holy Spriit.[/quote:18e2890071]

I don't know much about Greek either, but I just took a look at the Greek, and at first glance (I don't know whether this would really hold water or not), it seems that that wouldn't work, because the "spiritual" adjective is feminine (as is the word for songs), but the words for psalms and hymns are masculine. I don't know if that really says anything conclusive one way or the other, but it would seem to indicate that the word for "spiritual" goes only with the word for songs. But that is just a very amateur take on it.

Joel
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
As concerns the claim of the word "spiritual" being applied to all three words, Williamson deals with it in his article. In short, it is not so much a grammatical argument as it is a logical one: In mentioning "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," of course the "psalms" there mentioned are inspired; and the "songs" apparently are as well, since the term "spiritual" in the Bible is almost always (as in 99 percent of the time) associated with the work or guidance of the Holy Spirit. Thus, the argument is made that since the "psalms" and "songs" to which Paul refers are clearly "spiritual" or "inspired" in nature, it would make absolutely no sense for him to mention "hymns" in the middle of the same phrase and mean them to be un-spiritual or un-inspired as such.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
[quote:69875a12c5="Covenant Joel"][quote:69875a12c5]John, you can't take a neutral position. As a non-EP-er you decidedly are taking a stance against the Psalter. And you do have something to prove: that God has commanded us to create new songs for worship. I dont think you've fully embraced the resrictive character of the Regulative Principle. [u:69875a12c5]We are obviously commanded to sing Psalms.[/u:69875a12c5] Now the burden is on the nonEPer to prove we are commanded to create new songs. Whereas much of the nonEPers debating has been against the application of the RPW to song (analogy of prayer, meter). What Patrick said about OT song is speculation. Exactly, thats not the point, what the OT saints did for song is inconsequential, the point is the nonEP has yet to produce a scripture authorizing new song.
[/quote:69875a12c5]

Other than the two mainly used passages in the NT, what evidence do you have for the underlined statement? I am not saying that I disagree with it, I just want to know, being somewhat, though not completely, unfamiliar with this particular debate.

Joel[/quote:69875a12c5]
1 Cor. 14:26, James 5:13

And Chris,
the answer regarding the "new song" passages is that those commands for new song are themselves contained in the new song.

I'm out of this discussion for now. off to Jackson. See y'all in a week or so Lord willing.
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
This has been a most interesting thread. I appreciate the work of both sides of this issue.

We all agree that the proper worship of God is "[i:908d09c409]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[/i:908d09c409]".

Hence we all agree that the use singing in worship must be limited to "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs."

Hence it seems to me that the crux of the debate is over what is to be understood of the words of the Apostle, "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs".

So, in my feable attempt to approach this issue, I am led to focus on these three words and see if it can be proven either explicitly, or by good and [b:908d09c409]necessary[/b:908d09c409] consequence from the scriptures that these words are to be limited to the book of Psalms alone. If this can be proven then I must submit to such a necessary deduction. Yet, if this cannot be proven, either explicitly or by good and necessary consequence, then I must reject the doctrine as such would unlawfully bind the consciences of men.

Help me out here gentlemen:
1. Have I missed the part where the EP proponents in this thread have demonstrated, [i:908d09c409]Sola Scriptura[/i:908d09c409], that the words of the apostle must be understood as refering to the book of Psalms alone?

2. Reading through Williamson's article and reading what Fred Greco said above, I am confused as to what is to be understood of the "superscripts" of the Psalms.

Fred said:
[quote:908d09c409]
the superscriptions of the Psalms in the Septuagint, which are not acknowledged by any as Scripture themselves.
[/quote:908d09c409]

Williamson says,
[quote:908d09c409]
In other words, there is no more reason to think that the Apostle referred to psalms when he said "˜psalms"(tm), than when he said "˜hymns"(tm) and "˜songs"(tm), for the simple reason that all three were biblical terms for psalms in the book of psalms itself. We are in the habit of using the terms "˜hymns"(tm) and "˜songs"(tm) for those compositions that are not psalms. But Paul and the Christians at Ephesus and Colossae used these terms as the Bible itself uses them, namely, as titles for the various psalms in the Old Testament Psalter. To us it may seem strange, or even unnecessary, that the Holy Spirit would use a variety of titles to describe His inspired compositions. But the fact is that He did so. Just as the Holy Spirit speaks of His "˜commandments and his statutes and his judgments"(tm) (Deut. 30:16, etc.), and of "˜miracles and wonders and signs"(tm) (Acts 2:22), so He speaks of His "˜psalms, hymns and songs"(tm).
[/quote:908d09c409]

Is this something that scholars just disagree on? Do more hold that the superscripts are inspired than hold that they are not? or visa-versa? Is the crux of the matter bound up in whether one views the superscripts as Divinely inspired or not?


I agree with John that arguing over whether the Greeks to whom Paul was writing understood the words to mean the Psalter or the uninspired writings of men is fruitless, as such an argument does not lead us to good and necessary consequence. Saying that the Greeks "probably" considered the words to mean the Psalter lands us far from a necessary consequence. One can infer that if they please, but the question is whether that inference is [b:908d09c409]necessary[/b:908d09c409].
 

py3ak

They're stalling and plotting against me
Staff member
As I recall, John Murray goes into the distribution (spiritual being understood of all three terms) argument with considerably greater fullness that Williamson does. He does address the objection, for instance, that spiritual is feminine, by mentioning the phenomenon of attraction, where an adjective meant to modify multiple terms agrees in gender with the closest noun being modified.
However, that argument does not convince me, any more than any of the others do.
For one thing, there seems to be a simpler reason why spiritual is particularly appended to songs. By Psalms people would have understood the book of Psalms (as for instance Luke 20:42, Acts 13:33). An hymn by definition is a song of praise to God. However a song without any modifier could have been any musical setting of words. So Paul adds "spiritual" song so that people would understand that it was a song composed to serve the purpose of teaching and admonishing in conformity with the word of Christ.
For another thing, the question still stands as to what do we do with the Psalms that have no title? Psalms 1, 2, 10 and 33 for instance, have no title; how do we know that they fall under the warrant given in Ephesians and Colossians? If it can be demonstrated that the terms refer to the superscriptions of the Psalms I do not see how that difficulty can be relieved.

Chris,
I don't think it can be demonstrated that spiritual means inspired when you have such phrases as "spiritual wickedness" and "spiritual body". I know you were presenting an argument, not making one.

On an historical note, Iain Murray argues in his booklet on the topic that history is not on the side of EP. The booklet is interesting, but hardly a definitive blow against EP.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Dan,

In approaching the two texts in Ephesians and Colossians, we agree from the beginning that the words must either mean the Psalter or else the Psalter and the un-inspired writings of men. It has to be one of the two. So from that point on, the sole aim of our attempt to exegete the passages is to uncover what Paul would have meant by the words. And one aspect that would surely have great weight on Paul's intention is the audience to which he knew he was writing; he would write in such a manner that his intended audience could properly understand what he was saying.

That is why we must analyze the Greek culture of the time, and think of Paul's intention partially in-light of it, and partially in-light of what his own raised mindset would have meant by the terms in normal conversation. Williamson discusses the latter of these in his explanation of Paul's Jewish upbringing and the Jewish understanding of the three words based on their usage in the Psalter itself. He discusses the former in his talk about the Septuagint.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Patrick:

[quote:f691b68b63]John,
There may be other options to discuss about the OT worship but until you suggest them there's nothing to discuss. I've tried to stick with what is clear from Scripture and avoid speculation as much as possible. If you have other interpretations or info then please contribute them so we may all benefit.[/quote:f691b68b63]
I am not talking about other options. Not yet. I know that you have been sticking to Scripture. That is not the question. You have not avoided speculation, though, but have it mixed in with Scripture. I am not trying (yet) to present other info. The texts that have been discussed all have our impressions all over them, instead of just Scripture. For doctrine it has to be just Scripture. As of yet, EP has been presented on a quasi-doctrinal level, but asserted on a doctrinal level.

I've said it now a number of different ways. I don't know how to say it differently, off hand. Others too have suggested the same thing, but each time it is skirted. My intention is to make us aware of what necessity means, and to hold us strictly to it.

But Patrick, I have not been feeling well lately. For a number of weeks now I have been under the weather. It's part of the sickness I'm carrying, Fibro Myalgia. I have been contributing inbetween sleeps and my job. I wish I could put the effort into it for the hymnody side, for that does need to be stated as well. But my interest for the moment is not in that area.

EP is being asserted as a doctrine, and I want to know the grounds for it. As opinion, I'm OK with that; but as doctrine, that's another story. It takes a lot more than what is given to do that. And if we resort to the acrobatics of Girardeau, I will be greatly disappointed.


But let me wet your whistle a bit. I'll just give you some things off the top of my head:

We must assume, I understand that. But an assumption on our part is only an assumption, no matter how educated it may be. For one thing, as an alternative explanation, music may have been much more prevalent before Moses than we suspect. As a Christian musician I am convinced that music began with worship. If this is true, which I believe has much more weight as an argument than has been accredited, then the songs of Moses and Miriam, joined in by the people, was a most natural expression of their worship at that time. That did not appear out of thin air, but demands a cultural explanation. However, this is my conviction as a musician; I can see no other way of understanding music. This does not make it so. We are not given the information that we need to know what went on, either one way or the other.

I must insist (without sufficient warrant, I'll admit) that music had its origin from God primarily, that it is part of the created world made by God, and that it extends even beyond our sphere into the realms of eternity. Whether the angels sang or not on that starry night in Bethlehem, is something that we can only assume by the context; but Revelation is clear about the heavenly anthems.

The purest of music, the endeavour of all musicians, believer or unbeliever, is found in the glorious praise of our Redeemer and our God. It is also part of the structure of the human body and mind. Music transcends the normal use of words to express the depths of the soul, and yet it is plainly communicative. To understand what free praise is goes beyond the discussion of music alone, and involves an indepth understanding of free will (which is why Edwards found it necessary to go against Calvin's counsel on the subject and devote a treatise to it out of the necessity of the time, though his reasons did not have to do directly with the singing of praises. ) That is to say there is more here than meets the eye when it comes to worship and the use of song and instruments, even if all we do is discuss the virtue of wood in the use of instruments, how it is so ideally suited to the use of strings and of wind instruments, and how its accent to the human voice is sublime in the richest sense, all created by God and so complimentary to each other. There are the Hebrews texts concerning the freedom from the law, as well as "For freedom Christ has made us free" &ff, (Gal. 5, the theonomic principle, which a discussion of Theonomy only tends to ruin), and a host of other difficulties. I am only cutting the edges of what needs to be covered in the subject of song.

All this can easily be passed over in the discussion, if we can find an express command or a necessary inference for the singing of the Psalms only. These have been attempted, but each time there is an entailment or a qualification. These keep it from being what it is purported to be, a direct command from God. But if we succeed, then we have a host of other problems to deal with, some of which are entailed in the above mentioned topics.

I am not trying to get all of us up into the high scholarship level of the Westminster Fathers or the Fathers of Dort. I am not expecting more of us than we are capable of. All I ask is that we know what necessity means. In one fell swoop we can eliminate so many of the things that plague the churches, if we could just get back to Sola Scriptura when we make our speculations, and know the difference.

Joel:

[quote:f691b68b63]Other than the two mainly used passages in the NT, what evidence do you have for the underlined statement? I am not saying that I disagree with it, I just want to know, being somewhat, though not completely, unfamiliar with this particular debate. [/quote:f691b68b63]
(the underlined words being, "We are obviously commanded to sing Psalms." )
No one disputes that the Eph. and Col. texts imply the command to sing psalms. I wish to know how that is extended into, "we are obviously commanded to sing only from the Psalms. Where is the justification for the upper case "P", and where is the necessarily inferred "from the" and "only"?

I know that we have our scholarly works on the interpretions of Greek words. But that is not Scripture. I know it is a fine line, but still that is not Scripture. It has to be the clear intent of the texts, without human help. What I mean is that it requires human acquiescence, just like the doctrine of the Trinity and of the Covenants, but Scripture is sufficient to interpret Scripture. Relying on human scholarship is just that, relying on human scholarship, as good as it may be. And there is too much to consider in subsidiary topics for us to ignore. Some of them have been expressed on this forum. Let us have the patience to deal with them.

All:
I need to go into hibernation for a while. This post really did me in. I'll continue to read, and to post as necessary.

But for now I again state my objection:
Unless it clears all the hurdles, EP must bear the burden of proof. That requires necessary inference in this case. EP is not a universally held doctrine among the Reformed, and some who have held to it have backed away from it as a doctrinal stand, if they ever held it that way instead of a preferential denominational characteristic.

I am not arguing against it per se. I don't mean to, though now I have presented some things to think about concerning the inclusion of hymns, just as an aside. I am only calling for the evidence for now. After that we can explore the other issues at hand, such as hymnody. Please don't get upset with me, for that only tends to undermine the case and get us off track.

I know I am not being fair to some of you. You have done your reading and I don't have the energy right now to go through those citations. I wish I could, but that is too much for me right now. I'm hobbling the discussion this way, I know it. I'm sorry. I have to rely on my memory, so I can't quote sources. For me, I am reacting to what is posted in this thread, without the attached websites. But even if I had the energy I usually refrain from debating the works of others, and try to keep to them as source material. I usually try to bring out the arguments in my own words, and then cite the sources. I think that's the right way to discuss, so that citations don't become a distractionary block to good debate. So if I felt better we may not be much better off. But please accept my apologies. I just can't help sticking my nose into this, and before I know it I've got my foot in it too.
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
[quote:da7fe0de27="py3ak"]For another thing, the question still stands as to what do we do with the Psalms that have no title? Psalms 1, 2, 10 and 33 for instance, have no title; how do we know that they fall under the warrant given in Ephesians and Colossians?[/quote:da7fe0de27]

The warrant in Ephesians and Colossians--at least the "psalms" word there mentioned--undebatedly refers to psalms contained in the Psalter. I think here it is key to recognize that the unnamed psalms you noted are all parts of the entire Psalter, scattered throughout a few different parts of it. And we know that the Psalter has the nature of a complete book, with all its parts united - and for that simple reason the few random psalms therein that don't specifically have a title are still fully a part of the complete book, and thus the same in nature.

[quote:da7fe0de27="py3ak"]Chris,
I don't think it can be demonstrated that spiritual means inspired when you have such phrases as "spiritual wickedness" and "spiritual body". I know you were presenting an argument, not making one.[/quote:da7fe0de27]

In Williamson's article, he justifies that meaning of the word as follows:

[quote:da7fe0de27]And there is no doubt that the term "˜spiritual"(tm) means "˜inspired"(tm). As Dr. B. B. Warfield of Princeton said (The Presbyterian Review, July 1880): "˜Of the twenty-five instances in which the word ("spiritual") occurs in the New Testament, in no single case does it sink even as low in its reference as the human spirit; and in twenty-four of them it is derived from "spirit" (pneuma), the Holy Ghost. In this sense of belonging to, or determined by, the Holy Spirit, the New Testament usage is uniform."(tm)[/quote:da7fe0de27]
 

Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
John,

First, I want to say that I'll pray for you during this time. Thank you for valuing us enough as brothers in Christ to take so much of your time fellowshiping and discussing with us. It is a blessing.

You've especially emphasized that you want to see the positive, constructive case for EP. As I understand it, the positive ground for it is the very claim that the burden of proof is automatically on the other side. Williamson stated concisely and to-the-point what I'm trying to say much better than I could (emphasis mine):

[quote:489efc5320]What is the proper way to worship God? This is an age-old question, and historically there have been two divergent answers. (1) One of these is that of the Roman Catholic Church (followed in principle by Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches) namely, that it is proper to worship God as we will so long as there is no direct statement in the Bible forbidding us. (2) The other is that of the Reformed Churches, which is, that it is proper to worship God only as He wills, and this means only in ways that He has commanded, instituted or prescribed in His Word. [b:489efc5320]The contrast is plain: the one says, what is not forbidden is permitted; the other says, what is not commanded is forbidden.[/b:489efc5320][/quote:489efc5320]

In your question about a constructive case for EP, you seem to be thinking along the former mindset in the above contrast, whereas the EP position, as I understand it, is solely grounded upon the latter. Its constructive case [i:489efc5320]is[/i:489efc5320] the very claim that no direct command to sing songs outside of the Psalms can be found or deduced in the Bible, and thus that it is not permitted. That very first paragraph of Williamson's describes the foundation upon which the EP position is apparently based.

You also noted that music might have been much more prevalent before Moses than we expect. The thing is, we're free to speculate about whether or not it was all we want - but we have absolutely no indication or confirmation from Scripture that it was, and therefore nothing from which we may build a case by [i:489efc5320]necessarily[/i:489efc5320] deducing a command to sing other songs. Since we're not told that there was other congregational singing before Moses' time, we're not free to assume there was, and thus we still have no sure example of the regular congregational singing of other songs. And at that point, it all comes back to the initial contrast in mindsets - [i:489efc5320]forbidden unless explicitly commanded, rather than permitted unless explicitly forbidden[/i:489efc5320].
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
My position pretty much parallels webmaster's.

The EP position, if held to as [i:968b410722]THE[/i:968b410722] only, truly biblical position, must be held at the most extreme position definable. (A possible suggestion: a literal translation, absolutely no metricization, unison chanting, minimal intonation, extremely simple; I'm sure there could be something more extreme...) Nothing less will do. Otherwise someone who is [i:968b410722]more[/i:968b410722] strict than the last fellow will, according to the nature of the argument, correctly define the "less pure" position as strictly non-EP.

The effect of this observation I believe shows that all or most of us in this forum are holding to some form of [u:968b410722]a non-EP theology of song in worship[/u:968b410722], [i:968b410722]even those who only use some version of the Psalter they happen to be comfortable with, rejecting hymnbooks.[/i:968b410722] If this is a correct observation, then we all--hymn-singers and non-hymnsingers alike--are holding to positions that are found on a [b:968b410722]continuum of deviation[/b:968b410722] from an extreme standard. Where you draw the line must be at a "peace of conscience" position that you find biblically defensible. At a minimum in the Reformed church, that means making some appeal to abiding by the RPW (as classically defined--see GIW above).

Obviously by this definition we are virtually all non-EPers. Therefore, it makes [i:968b410722]zero[/i:968b410722] sense in my view to snub anyone who does not come up to the limit of one's own conscience position, as if by choosing that [i:968b410722]pou stow[/i:968b410722] he had defined the limit of the RPW for everyone. Nearly everyone here would find themselves "outside" by somebody's definition! Better to say, "My understanding of the RPW won't let me go there. I hope you understand."

Not everyone will be found properly within bounds in this area on Judgment Day. But I believe this perspective keeps the whole matter of singing and the RPW in view, and keeps us humble, even as we try to persuade others of the limits and allowance of our position.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Chris:

[quote:fe378c29ad="Me Died Blue"]John,

First, I want to say that I'll pray for you during this time. Thank you for valuing us enough as brothers in Christ to take so much of your time fellowshiping and discussing with us. It is a blessing.[/quote:fe378c29ad]

Thank you very much. Let me return that by saying that I consider as my best friends those who differ with me openly in a spirit of love, in mutual love for our Lord. Losing an argument is one of the greatest experiences of my life, especially if I lose it to someone who means my welfare. I have learned so much that way, much more than if I would win.

[quote:fe378c29ad]You've especially emphasized that you want to see the positive, constructive case for EP. As I understand it, the positive ground for it is the very claim that the burden of proof is automatically on the other side. Williamson stated concisely and to-the-point what I'm trying to say much better than I could (emphasis mine):

[quote:fe378c29ad]What is the proper way to worship God? This is an age-old question, and historically there have been two divergent answers. (1) One of these is that of the Roman Catholic Church (followed in principle by Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches) namely, that it is proper to worship God as we will so long as there is no direct statement in the Bible forbidding us. (2) The other is that of the Reformed Churches, which is, that it is proper to worship God only as He wills, and this means only in ways that He has commanded, instituted or prescribed in His Word. [b:fe378c29ad]The contrast is plain: the one says, what is not forbidden is permitted; the other says, what is not commanded is forbidden.[/b:fe378c29ad][/quote:fe378c29ad][/quote:fe378c29ad]

Notice, if you will, what has been done and what has not been done. We can argue until the cows come home about burden of proof, but what still has not been shown is a direct command or necessary inference. This is called shifting the burden of proof. It is an inferential error. I am not positing another claim; I am asking for the substantiation of the caim EP-ers make, that God commands only the singing of the Psalms. If you shift the burden of proof, where are you shifting it onto? I cannot be on my position without your assuming I have one, and what it is.

I am asking for you to tell me, without reference to man's opinions no matter how scholarly, that the Eph. and Col. texts are telling us what EP-ers say. The inferences have to be direct, not circumstantial.

[quote:fe378c29ad]In your question about a constructive case for EP, you seem to be thinking along the former mindset in the above contrast, whereas the EP position, as I understand it, is solely grounded upon the latter. Its constructive case [i:fe378c29ad]is[/i:fe378c29ad] the very claim that no direct command to sing songs outside of the Psalms can be found or deduced in the Bible, and thus that it is not permitted. That very first paragraph of Williamson's describes the foundation upon which the EP position is apparently based.[/quote:fe378c29ad]
You have attributed to me things that I do not hold to. You do not have the warrant for asserting that my stance is similar to that of the RCC, the Lutherans, or the Greek Orthodox. I have given no indication to that end. It is a conclusion on your part, based on your understanding of my postion. Also, you have equated the RPW to EP, again without warrant. This is called begging the question, another inferential error. Those who hold that God has freed us to worship Him to the best of our ability, freely expressed, even if not holily, because it is from a heart of faith, hold with equal tenacity to the Reformed stance on worship as the EP-ers do. I would argue that they hold it more so, because Sola Scriptura goes farther for them, [u:fe378c29ad]not less far[/u:fe378c29ad]. It is a leap in logic to assume that non-EP-ers are taking their stand on anything less than the command of God for this, simply because of a predetermined concept that God only commmanded the singing of Psalms. Look again at the arguments about those two NT texts; they can be taken to mean commands either way when looked at disinterestedly, (another word for 'objectively', but more to the point this time. )

Don't make the mistake of thinking that I am making a stand here. I am answering your assertions. The topic is still the Biblical necessity of EP. What I have stated is to show the tenuous nature of the stance, nothing more. For that inferential error is called distraction.

As well, you have given more to Williamson's words than is there. You make assumptions that are not warranted, at least not by that mere quote. First, again, the Non-EP position is also based on the same principle. And again you are assuming that the burden of proof rests upon those who differ with EP. That misses the point of the discussion. Simply assuming that EP is a Scriptural mandate does not make it so. Repeating it over and over does not make it so. Diverting attention does not make it so. Shifting the Burden of proof does not make it so. Begging the question does not make it so. Only a direct command or necessary inference does. And that has not been done. It has to be done without making any assumptions based on human scholarship or antiquity of man, a very fundamental Reformational institute, more fundamental by the way than EP.

[quote:fe378c29ad]You also noted that music might have been much more prevalent before Moses than we expect. The thing is, we're free to speculate about whether or not it was all we want - but we have absolutely no indication or confirmation from Scripture that it was, and therefore nothing from which we may build a case by [i:fe378c29ad]necessarily[/i:fe378c29ad] deducing a command to sing other songs. Since we're not told that there was other congregational singing before Moses' time, we're not free to assume there was, and thus we still have no sure example of the regular congregational singing of other songs. And at that point, it all comes back to the initial contrast in mindsets - [i:fe378c29ad]forbidden unless explicitly commanded, rather than permitted unless explicitly forbidden[/i:fe378c29ad].[/quote:fe378c29ad]
Well, Chris, that was [i:fe378c29ad]my[/i:fe378c29ad] point. I meant to show that in order to refer to worship at the times of Moses or before, just as an example because it was referred to in a previous post, was speculative at best. There are, in my view, better speculations. But we cannot lean on any of them, mine included, even though I think I have warrant. At best they are interesting and informative, but far from being normative for Scriptural interpretation.

I didn't mean to get technical on you. That is not what the inferential laws are meant to do. I'm just trying to show, as Dan did, that necessity is much more involved, a lot stricter.

I guess I'm having a hard time keeping out of this. I have my mind made up to just audit, and then another great post like yours comes along. Why don't we just leave it at this: I'll contribute when I can. Don't think I've left in disgust or anger or frustration. I'm just tired, that's all. I don't know if you all know what FM is, but it can be described as being tired right down to your soul. The mind is willing, the will is willing, but the body won't go the distance, and that works on one's desire, doing a number on the spirit of a person. But yet I am happy, very happy to engage my dear PB friends in such a lively and loving discussion. I may lose on the EP issue, (which I doubt) but we have everything to gain on the "necessity" issue if we can maintain our attention on it with this topic. NPP will be a piece of cake to handle, no matter how scholastic its proponents may be. :D

:scholar:
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:850197b685="Me Died Blue"]John,
You've especially emphasized that you want to see the positive, constructive case for EP. As I understand it, the positive ground for it is the very claim that the burden of proof is automatically on the other side. Williamson stated concisely and to-the-point what I'm trying to say much better than I could (emphasis mine):

[quote:850197b685]What is the proper way to worship God? This is an age-old question, and historically there have been two divergent answers. (1) One of these is that of the Roman Catholic Church (followed in principle by Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches) namely, that it is proper to worship God as we will so long as there is no direct statement in the Bible forbidding us. (2) The other is that of the Reformed Churches, which is, that it is proper to worship God only as He wills, and this means only in ways that He has commanded, instituted or prescribed in His Word. [b:850197b685]The contrast is plain: the one says, what is not forbidden is permitted; the other says, what is not commanded is forbidden.[/b:850197b685][/quote:850197b685]

In your question about a constructive case for EP, you seem to be thinking along the former mindset in the above contrast, whereas the EP position, as I understand it, is solely grounded upon the latter. Its constructive case [i:850197b685]is[/i:850197b685] the very claim that no direct command to sing songs outside of the Psalms can be found or deduced in the Bible, and thus that it is not permitted. That very first paragraph of Williamson's describes the foundation upon which the EP position is apparently based.
[/quote:850197b685]

:ditto: Thank you Chris. This is what I've been trying to emphasize.

[quote:850197b685]Notice, if you will, what has been done and what has not been done. We can argue until the cows come home about burden of proof, but what still has not been shown is a direct command or necessary inference.[/quote:850197b685]

John, you still don't understand the RPW. I think our disagreement is partially verbal. The EPer's case is that the advocate for uninspired hymnody doesn't have a case. [b:850197b685]What is not commanded is forbidden[/b:850197b685] Sing Psalms is warrented by Scripture (everyone concedes this). Where are new songs warrented by Scripture? That's why the burden of proof is on you. You are attempting to introduce something into worship, you need to prove it is commanded in Scripture.

[quote:850197b685="Michael Bushell, Songs of Zion"] The most important practical consequence of the prohibitory character of the regulative principle is that it places the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of those who would introduce innovations or disputed practices into the worship of God.[/quote:850197b685]
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
[quote:436d7ef82b="Me Died Blue"]John,
You've especially emphasized that you want to see the positive, constructive case for EP. As I understand it, the positive ground for it is the very claim that the burden of proof is automatically on the other side. Williamson stated concisely and to-the-point what I'm trying to say much better than I could (emphasis mine):

[quote:436d7ef82b]What is the proper way to worship God? This is an age-old question, and historically there have been two divergent answers. (1) One of these is that of the Roman Catholic Church (followed in principle by Greek Orthodox, Lutheran and Anglican Churches) namely, that it is proper to worship God as we will so long as there is no direct statement in the Bible forbidding us. (2) The other is that of the Reformed Churches, which is, that it is proper to worship God only as He wills, and this means only in ways that He has commanded, instituted or prescribed in His Word. [b:436d7ef82b]The contrast is plain: the one says, what is not forbidden is permitted; the other says, what is not commanded is forbidden.[/b:436d7ef82b][/quote:436d7ef82b]

In your question about a constructive case for EP, you seem to be thinking along the former mindset in the above contrast, whereas the EP position, as I understand it, is solely grounded upon the latter. Its constructive case [i:436d7ef82b]is[/i:436d7ef82b] the very claim that no direct command to sing songs outside of the Psalms can be found or deduced in the Bible, and thus that it is not permitted. That very first paragraph of Williamson's describes the foundation upon which the EP position is apparently based.
[/quote:436d7ef82b]

:ditto: Thank you Chris. This is what I've been trying to emphasize.

[quote:436d7ef82b]Notice, if you will, what has been done and what has not been done. We can argue until the cows come home about burden of proof, but what still has not been shown is a direct command or necessary inference.[/quote:436d7ef82b]

John, you still don't understand the RPW. I think our disagreement is partially verbal. The EPer's case is that the advocate for uninspired hymnody doesn't have a case. [b:436d7ef82b]What is not commanded is forbidden[/b:436d7ef82b] Sing Psalms is warrented by Scripture (everyone concedes this). Where are new songs warrented by Scripture? That's why the burden of proof is on you. You are attempting to introduce something into worship, you need to prove it is commanded in Scripture.

[quote:436d7ef82b="Michael Bushell, Songs of Zion"] The most important practical consequence of the prohibitory character of the regulative principle is that it places the burden of proof squarely on the shoulders of those who would introduce innovations or disputed practices into the worship of God.[/quote:436d7ef82b]
 

Abd_Yesua_alMasih

Puritan Board Junior
I have not been able to read all the way through but I have read 90% of what has been said. I have a question. Did the early church fathers say anything concerning this? While they may not be inspired they atleast would have carried on some of the very obvious traditions of the apostles. This can not apply to everything but obviously if we are to say the Church should only sing from the Psalms etc.. and other inspired songs then it would stand to reason that at some point early on the church changed this to singing uninspired songs also. Do I make sense? (It is 1am)
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:0059d0ab97]
John, you still don't understand the RPW. I think our disagreement is partially verbal. The EPer's case is that the advocate for uninspired hymnody doesn't have a case. What is not commanded is forbidden Sing Psalms is warrented by Scripture (everyone concedes this). Where are new songs warrented by Scripture? That's why the burden of proof is on you. You are attempting to introduce something into worship, you need to prove it is commanded in Scripture.
[/quote:0059d0ab97]

To question whether the non-EP understands or adheres to the RPW is a diversion.

You say, "[i:0059d0ab97]Sing Psalms is warrented by Scripture (everyone concedes this). [/i:0059d0ab97]" I do not concede this. I concede that "singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" is warranted by the scriptures. To go beyond the singing of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs would be a violation of the RPW. To limit "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" to the Psalms alone, apart from proven necessary inference is to bind the conscience of men without scriptural warrant. The RPW is not at issue here. What is at issue is whether it must be [b:0059d0ab97]necessarily inferred[/b:0059d0ab97] that "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" is limited to the Psalms alone. If someone can show why this must be necessarily inferred, then we can get somewhere.
 

a mere housewife

Not your cup of tea
Chris, you say that "Psalms" would include the whole book of Psalms. If so, then how can "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" be referring to titles of particular psalms? Is it exegetically sound to assume that one word is intended to double for two categories at once?

If it does refer to particular titled psalms, which I understand is the EP argument, then how can untitled psalms be sung, any more than the song of Moses?

(BTW, forgive me if I'm being particularly obtuse about this: I know you explained that all psalms are part of the psalter, which the usage of the word refers to-- but then I don't see, if the psalter is covered with the word "psalms," why the text would go on to specify two kinds of titled psalms?)

As to the term spiritual meaning inspired-- personally, I think any Christian would agree with Warfield there. I think Williamson's argument is weaker, because it is not being suggested by non Ep-ers that "spiritual songs" are simply songs that have to do with the human spirit, or that the word spiritual is used merely in that way (that would not distinguish any music at all). What is being argued, as I understand it, is that "inspired" (in the sense EPers take it, as of Scripture's inspiration-- absolutely God breathed) is not the exact sense of this word, otherwise we have "inspired" wickedness in high places, etc.

Fraser, I think that maybe Iain Murray's book on exclusive Psalmody deals more with history; but I'm not sure if it gets into the early church fathers. I do know that we have a hymn in our hymn book which purports to be written by John Calvin... ?

Anyway, back to my housework.

(added later) I think I understand about "psalm": all three words, in the EP view, constituted a sort of standard reference to the Psalter, and so would include all the Psalms? Is that what you were saying?

I guess I have the same question as Dan in that case: is it quite safe to base the meaning of a passage on something that may have been understood by it, and not on the actual wording? If it does actually mean titled Psalms, shouldn't we sing only titled Psalms?
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:3942b266f5]
In approaching the two texts in Ephesians and Colossians, we agree from the beginning that the words must either mean the Psalter or else the Psalter and the un-inspired writings of men. It has to be one of the two. So from that point on, the sole aim of our attempt to exegete the passages is to uncover what Paul would have meant by the words. And one aspect that would surely have great weight on Paul's intention is the audience to which he knew he was writing; he would write in such a manner that his intended audience could properly understand what he was saying.

That is why we must analyze the Greek culture of the time, and think of Paul's intention partially in-light of it, and partially in-light of what his own raised mindset would have meant by the terms in normal conversation. Williamson discusses the latter of these in his explanation of Paul's Jewish upbringing and the Jewish understanding of the three words based on their usage in the Psalter itself. He discusses the former in his talk about the Septuagint.
[/quote:3942b266f5]

Chris,

I understand the approach that Williamson takes and agree that quite possibly both Paul and his audience understood the use of the three terms as referring to the Psalms. However, such an historical argument is not enough to necessitate that this is the only logical interpretation of these three words. Hence such an inference is not a "œnecessary inference." And, if such can not be shown explicitly from the scriptures or by necessary inference, then the most that can be said is "œthis may be what he meant". "œThis may be what he meant" is not good enough to establish EP as binding.
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:0049e4ea38]
Ian, I just want to raise the bar, that's all. I think we need to. I am not against the Word by standing up against the arguments for EP; but my zeal is for the Word too. I am not making a stand for hymnody, but a stand for a basic principle of the Reformation, the Scripture of which is obvious and mutually respected by us, and held commonly between the pro and con side of this discussion.[/quote:0049e4ea38]

JohnV,

You see the problem is that we are arguing with scripture, you simply are re-stating again and again that we must do so. John, no offense but your tactics are simply frustrating simply because you are holding people to a standard that they have been clearly dealing with honestly the whole time while you continue to interject "sola scriptura, sola scriptura!"
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:0b3c10dd10="JohnV"]Peter:

For what it is that you are suggesting, I would agree to that. I don't think that you have taken into consideration what I have said concerning my objections; but there is an onus on me to show that the Scriptures do give us the freedom to compose and use our talents in praise of Him, and not just in informal worship. I have not made that stance as yet, and do not wish to as yet either, at least not until I know that it can be done without bias, either mine or others'.

As a non-EP-er I am not taking a stance against the Psalter. I believe I have embraced a full understanding of the RPW. There is a big difference between being commanded to sing the Psalms and being commanded to sing only the Psalms.

For now I am only taking a stand against the use of additional extra-Biblical information, against the equating of our surmisings with Scripture itself. In short, I am calling us to the necessity that Sola Scriptura calls for. Again, [u:0b3c10dd10]necessity[/u:0b3c10dd10] is the key. I am not saying that these arguments are not good; I am saying that they lack the important necessity. For instance, do we have a right to assume what Paul's intention or meaning was if he did not specifically state it? Even if it is 99% sure, there is still that 1% that lacks. And we cannot and we may not base it on how sure some of us may be. That 1% may turn out to be 99% once the other possibilites are properly explored. It has to Sola Scripturally sure.

I am just calling us back to what Fred said: some things are being averred that cannot be averred from the text alone. We are assuming, even if it is an educated asumption.

So much for my auditing.[/quote:0b3c10dd10]

JohnV,

We always must deal with historical information to support our interpretation of texts written by men who lived thousands of years before us. This "solo scriptura" idea that you and Fred are using [i:0b3c10dd10]for the sake of this particular argument[/i:0b3c10dd10] is self defeating. Since when do we not refer to other relevant materials from the Bible times to help us more consistently interpret their language and cultural references? Do you always dismiss the use of such "extra-biblical" sources. Again I'm asking you to be consistent.
 

Ianterrell

Puritan Board Sophomore
[quote:a7f3fea816="Contra_Mundum"]My position pretty much parallels webmaster's.

The EP position, if held to as [i:a7f3fea816]THE[/i:a7f3fea816] only, truly biblical position, must be held at the most extreme position definable. (A possible suggestion: a literal translation, absolutely no metricization, unison chanting, minimal intonation, extremely simple; I'm sure there could be something more extreme...) Nothing less will do. Otherwise someone who is [i:a7f3fea816]more[/i:a7f3fea816] strict than the last fellow will, according to the nature of the argument, correctly define the "less pure" position as strictly non-EP.[/quote:a7f3fea816]

Your definition with all due respect is arbitrary. There is no command to sing in chant. As to meter, the hebrew language is very easily made into metrical hymnody. This was the practice of 1 century Jews in their synagogues. Why minimal intonation as opposed to complex inotation? Again an arbitrary standard.
 
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