Exclusive Psalmody

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Puritan Sailor, Sep 3, 2004.

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  1. luvroftheWord

    luvroftheWord Puritan Board Sophomore

    [quote:7e38147553]With that in mind now, it is exactly the EPers argument that the Scriptures command us to sing Psalms and that because we dont have case examples or commands to sing uninspired hymns they are forbidden. [/quote:7e38147553]

    Where is this commanded? You cannot simply point to the uses of words like "psalm, hymn, song, etc" because even though these words can refer to songs in the OT Psalter, the words themselves are generic terms that can refer to other songs as well. In Scripture they can even apply to the songs of the ungodly, such as in Job 21:12, as even EP advocate Michael Bushell admits (see [u:7e38147553]Songs of Zion[/u:7e38147553] p. 72). So you cannot prove the command by simply appealing to the words being used. If you appeal to case examples, you commit the fallacy of universalizing a particular. So where are we commanded to sing only the 150 Psalms? My position is this. We are commanded to sing. Singing is the element. This is what we have a clear command to do. What we sing can include the inspired psalms or other songs. There is nothing inconsistent about this. And besides, I provided an example above from 1 Cor 14:26 that suggests that there were other songs being sung in the early church than the Psalms. Of course, you could argue that those songs were inspired of the Spirit, but so what? EP doesn't say that we can only sing inspired songs, but only the 150 Psalms. Your only option there is to say that it is a reference to a charismatically selected Psalm from the Psalter, but this is contrary to the other gifts of the Spirit in the passage in which something is given by the Spirit afresh. So although we have case examples of singing Psalms, we also have at least one reference to singing other songs as well.

    [quote:7e38147553]The non-Psalm songs of the Bible were for the particular redemptive historical moment they were sung in (as has been said and repeated many times before with out any refutation). [/quote:7e38147553]

    Where does Scripture say that these songs were only given for particular redemptive historical moments? This distinction is artificial without any argument to prove it.
     
  2. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    [quote:622f5120c5="Peter"]
    [quote:622f5120c5="Fred"]First, drama is something completely different from EP. What EP argues is akin to saying that one type of drama is commanded and another is not. EP draws a distinction WITHIN the element of worship itself. It is not singing that is commanded - which we can find ample evidence of - but rather singing psalms. So the EP advocate cannot lean on the commands to praise God or sing. He must show, from the Scriptures, that the singing of Psalms is commanded. If he cannot, then we are left with either not having singing as an element at all, or singing without such a restriction. The EP advocate is not in the position of being able to ask the hymnodist to show a command to sing hymns. The Hymnodist says that God has commanded song. The EP says that God has COMMANDED psalms, and that is why they are to be sung. The breadth of the command must be established by Scripture. It is not enough to say that the "default" position is psalms only unless established as broader. There is no "default" position in the RPW. Every element - including the element of singing psalms only must be shown from Scripture. [/quote:622f5120c5]

    Granted EP draws distinctions within the element. But the content of the song still has religious significance, is "substantial" and is regulated by the word of God. True, the EPer must prove that Psalms have God's divine approval for worship. But he has. (1) The very fact the Book of Psalms is a canonical hymnal is proof. The Psalms contain musical terminology and imperatives commanding singing, the obvious intention being that song. (2) Eph 5:19 & Col 3:16 there's some ambiguity surrounding those passages, they may or may not command singing uninspired songs and inspired Psalms, but it is clear that they at the very least they command Psalms. (3) Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.[/quote:622f5120c5]

    Thanks Peter for your response. But you are again assuming part of youre argument. It simply is not true that [i:622f5120c5]"The very fact the Book of Psalms is a canonical hymnal is proof."[/i:622f5120c5] The Bible does not declare the Psalms a hymnal. We may say it is, but that does not make it so, We have no proof that ever one of the psalms was sung. We have no proof that the other Biblical songs were not sung, especially Habakkuk 3, which would appear to be sung. There simply is no Biblical, textual evidence, nor good and necessary consequence, that says that the Psalter was the only thing sung by the people of God.

    [quote:622f5120c5="Peter"]The non-Psalm songs of the Bible were for the particular redemptive historical moment they were sung in (as has been said and repeated many times before with out any refutation). Notice also, those which were used in worship, were sung by prophets inspired by God. Modern hymns are not. The Psalms were written for the church in all ages.[/quote:622f5120c5]

    But you see, Peter, the exact same thing can be said about the Psalms. In fact, the worship of the people of God (according to Ussher's scheme) have worshipped for a greater period of time without the Psalms than with them, even if we count the Psalms from the time of David. So if God is jealous for His worship, why would He not have given His canonical hymnal for the first 3,000 years of their worship? Why not when the people of God were a nation and had been given the 10 Commandments on tables of stone? Why not when the Tabernacle was set up in the Promised Land? The answer is that the Psalms themselves are placed in a particular redemptive historical period in time. If I might be so bold, as far as the Biblical text itself goes (outside of song) the Psalms, just like the rest of the OT, are insufficient and somewhat unintelligible outside of the NT. That does not mean useless, or uninspired, but they do not achieve their full meaning outside of the NT revelation. They are, to use Hebrew's turn of phrase, "not made perfect" without the NT.

    Where do we see that "the Psalms were written for the church in all ages" ? This is pure conjecture? Were the Psalms written for and sung by Abraham? He is a part of the Church. How about Adam? How about Samuel the prophet? Were the Psalms written for Joshua? Was there NO congregational worship during the Exodus? Is that why God commanded that Israel be freed to "worship Him" ? Is that why Israel knew enough to "hold a feast to Yahweh" (Ex. 32) even if they did so violating the 2nd commandment? You see, when you make a statement like the Psalms were for all ages of the Church, you must SHOW that. And you cannot, for the Church pre-dates the Psalms. And worship pre-dates the psalms. But prayer does not. Revelation does not. Preaching does not. The Church implies corporate worship. In fact, the best reading of Gen. 2:15 implies that even Adam and Eve were made for corporate worship ("serve and obey" being a better rendering than "dress and keep"). You cannot simply make a statement like that because the Psalms have obvious musical quality or that we know they were used for some period of time.

    Your position should not be that the Eph and Col passage are unclear, but at least they command psalms. This is itself a violation of the RPW. The RPW states that God clearly commands how He is to be worshipped. You MUST find a text (or good and necessary consequence) that says that the Psalms ONLY are to be sung. Otherwise, you are making a commandment of men. This is very serious, perhaps even more serious than will-worship. For the will-worshipper does not bind the conscience of men, and cause others to sin as well. But the one who lays down a command as to how worship MUST be, must be certain it is so.
     
  3. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Peter,

    Your position above will not add up to a "good and necessary consequence". You just admitted that "[i:71f766fc7b]Eph 5:19 & Col 3:16 there's some ambiguity surrounding those passages, they may or may not command singing uninspired songs and inspired Psalms[/i:71f766fc7b]" -This admission is crippling to the EP position because it takes away the possibility of proving by necessary consequence that we are only permitted to sing the Psalms by the "strict regulation" of God. You may (at most) be able to say "it is safe to sing only the Psalms, as such is our only example", but you cannot make exclusive Psalmody a necessary consequence without first demonstrating that all commands in the scriptures necessarily refer only to the singing of Psalms.
     
  4. Dan....

    Dan.... Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hmmm....
    Before I posted, LOTW and Fred's replies weren't there.... Now that they are there and they aparently beat me to it, you can just ignore what I wrote and go back up to their posts. They are much better at verbage and if you answer them, then you've answered me. :D .
     
  5. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Fred and Craig, I agree that there is no "default" for the RWP, and that each aspect of our doctrine of worship must have its own constructive foundation. And I'm not just assuming "from scratch" that EP is true. Rather, the initial part of the constructive case is the claim that we are biblically commanded to sing Psalms at the very least. Once that fact is put on the table and in turn established, we have moved past the "default/from scratch" realm, and our first block has been laid. After the laying of that block (not just from the beginning), we then proceed to say that [i:392fbd2d15]because of[/i:392fbd2d15] its confirmed validity, it is at that point the "default" until another block can be validly laid beside it. And that block that needs to be laid beside the Psalter in order to "demote" it from default status is a constructive case for hymnody. And at that point, it basically becomes an issue of the analysis of 1) the pre-Psalter songs and their purpose, and 2) the exegesis of "hymns" and "songs" in various New Testament Scriptures. And because the first "block" has already been laid unanimously confirming at least the proper use of Psalms in worship, those two issues must be worked out to show the sanctioning of other hymns before EP is "demoted" from the default position.

    As to the specific arguments surrounding those two issues, I really don't have the time at this moment to personally discuss the details of them further, and I think that Peter has already raised noteworthy points relating to those issues just in his previous post. His points should be at least well-considered.

    Fred, my terminology of a "few isolated examples" was not the best terminology to convey what I meant, and I apologize for that. In short, what I was more getting at is the fact that we know we have commands of a general nature to regularly sing the Psalms, but it has not been conclusively established that we have commands of that nature with regard to non-Psalter songs. The only certain mention we have of non-Psalter songs are specific instances like the song of Moses, with no indication that they were more than one-time commands corresponding with a specific occurence in redemptive history.

    In Scripture, we see specific examples of baptisms, and those are confirmed as being intended for the regular practice of the church by commands of a general nature (e.g. the Great Commission). In Scripture, we see a specific example of the Lord's supper, and it is confirmed as being intended for the regular practice of the church by commands of a general nature (e.g. Paul's instructions to Corinth). However, with regard to songs that we conclusively know were sung from outside the Psalter--those sung in the Old Testament such as Moses'--we have only specific examples. And unlike practices such as baptism and the Lord's Supper, those examples of other songs are nowhere confirmed as being intended for the regular practice of the church by commands of a general nature.

    The same is true of, say, vows of celibacy. We see specific examples in the Bible of vows of celibacy taken as devotion to God, such as John the Baptist's and Paul's. However, we do not treat such practices as commanded for all believers, because such examples are nowhere confirmed as being intended for the regular practice of the church by commands of a general nature. All in all, we have no more biblical warrant to treat the singing of non-Psalter songs by people like Moses and Isaiah as commanded for all believers as we do to treat the vowing of celibacy by people like John the Baptist and Paul as commanded for all believers.

    Regarding the use of instruments in worship today, I admittedly haven't yet given the issue much thought, and have yet to do so in light of the rest of the issues. And for now I'm only arguing the reasons I see to believe that we are only biblically warranted to use songs from the Psalter, with instrumental accompaniment or not. And I should also note that I don't yet consider myself "full-blown" on EP, either. However, in light of my thought on the issue thusfar, my viewpoint has definitely shifted from predominantly leaning against much more to leaning toward it.

    John, I'm sorry for the confusion, and in looking back on my posts I see how it was easily there. When pointing to the lack of a command to sing non-Psalter songs, I'm using that as my final support for the overall truth of EP, not as my support for the exegesis of Eph. and Col. Indeed, the "lack of command" claim is that for which the exegesis of such verses is the foundation. So I'm also sorry for giving the impression that I don't consider the interpretation of those verses to be pivotal in the verdict on EP. In short, I think that if they are interpreted to be referring exclusively to the Psalter, that interpretation then becomes the foundation for the "lack of command" claim, which is then the final foundation for EP, as I explained in this post's first paragraph. So all in all, I think it does in a very significant sense come down to the exegesis of verses like Eph. and Col., and the interpretation of events like the songs of Moses and Isaiah.

    As I noted in my previous post, I probably won't have time to reply again for at least a day or so.
     
  6. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Peter:
    Thanks for your input, Peter. I think Fred, Craig, and Dan answered your post well enough. I do want to answer the last part along with them, and combine it with Chris's to make a point that might be helpful.
    [quote:01054b3af2]The non-Psalm songs of the Bible were for the particular redemptive historical moment they were sung in (as has been said and repeated many times before with out any refutation). [/quote:01054b3af2]
    In my view this does not need refutation. It makes no difference one way or the other for me. It is a bare fact that has no direct ramifications for either EP or non-EP, unless EP makes a stand that some of these were included in the Psalter for congregational singing by intentional editing instead of example. It seems that EP does indeed suggest that stand, against NT witness; and that is the objection of Fred and Craig. But notice that the objection is directed at arbitrary notions about this, not the incidents themselves. Two separate issues; which can go both ways. So it is not necessary to refute it.

    From this it seems that EP is taking its stand on the vagueness of the terms in Eph. and Col., if not on more parts of the Bible. And it seems that EP defenders think that the call by me and others for necessary inference also stands on the vagueness of the terms. Chris's position of "default" describes this very well. So this is where the concept that non-EP-er seems to stand on a quasi-Lutheran view of the RPW comes from. That is, if we are not sure whether or not it means the Psalms exclusively then we take it to be a licence for extra songs. I assure you, this is a misunderstanding of the people who desire to see good and necessary consequence for EP.

    We are trying to get around the circularity of the EP position, if possible.

    For example:
    [quote:01054b3af2]I agree that there is no "default" for the RWP, and that each aspect of our doctrine of worship must have its own constructive foundation. And I'm not just assuming "from scratch" that EP is true. Rather, the initial part of the constructive case is the claim that we are biblically commanded to sing Psalms at the very least. Once that fact is put on the table and in turn established, we have moved past the "default/from scratch" realm, and our first block has been laid. After the laying of that block (not just from the beginning), we then proceed to say that because of its confirmed validity, it is at that point the "default" until another block can be validly laid beside it. And that block that needs to be laid beside the Psalter in order to "demote" it from default status is a constructive case for hymnody. And at that point, it basically becomes an issue of the analysis of 1) the pre-Psalter songs and their purpose, and 2) the exegesis of "hymns" and "songs" in various New Testament Scriptures. And because the first "block" has already been laid unanimously confirming at least the proper use of Psalms in worship, those two issues must be worked out to show the sanctioning of other hymns before EP is "demoted" from the default position. [/quote:01054b3af2]

    Notice that the EP block has been laid in place as a minimum command; and then the challenge is placed to knock it from it's place. All this subsumes the commands within the Psalms, in the OT, and in the NT to sing unto God in praise, to be exclusively referenced to the 150 Psalms. The Scripture does not demand that definition. It is the EP position that demands it. So EP is standing on EP.

    Where does the objection to EP stand? I'll tell you where I stand.

    No one has yet shown me that God does not command me to sing my own song of worship to him when it is He that commands me to do so. No one has yet shown that music is worldly, and not intrinsically worshipful itself. I believe it to be the opposite of what seems to be the EP position; I believe that it is the world that does not have the right to the use of music, to praise and worship in the use of music and lyric, in the good and proper sense. For that is what music intrinsically is: worship, prayer, admonition, and teaching. And the command to use music has the default, if there is a default, of including all music and lyric that is praiseworthy or praising. This seems to me to be the meanings in the OT and NT. It is not we, the Church, usurping the world's realm in the incorporation of music into the worship of God; rather it is the world that has usurped God's prerogative and man's liberty to use music for his own ends and for its own pleasures.

    So you see, we are coming at this from two completely different mindsets, which determine the defaults of our thinking in what makes up for good and necessary consequence. It may be that the non-EP cannot establish the inclusion of extra songs, other than the Psalter; but that does not then make EP Biblically necessary yet. The non-EP, to use my own example, does not rest on itself to establish it; my mindset is not the grounding of it. The good an necessary consequence comes from the same place we get the other two good and necessary consequences that are extra-Biblical, namely that truth is one, and that good is one: so we also have the axiomatic that beauty is one, of which music is a part, as well as of the good. These are the realms of God in the creation, not the realms of man, though he makes free use of it. They will also be held accountable for making music a gross thing instead of the beautiful thing that it was created to be. Surely in our time of musically bereft music, mindless thoughts, provoked evocation, etc., etc., we understand that. They will be held accountable because they blasphemed God in the very thing that was meant for use to praise Him, to bless His name, to raise up petition to Him, and to communicate our faith to one another.

    I did not have to state this position. It is not part of the call we make for good and necessary inference. It is an explanation of why it is so important that the ruling in of one thing demands the ruling out of so much that God speaks approvingly of. This is just to show you that the call for good and necessary consequence does not come out of a vacuum, one created by a lack of command from God.

    The EP position is that God commands only the Psalms to be sung. They hang it on the RPW. But the RPW also forbids man to command as of God what God has not commanded. So the EP position admits that it is breaking the RPW to enforce the RPW the way EP-ers see it. That is the objection raised, not an objection to personal views on what is pleasing to God in the worship of Him. You can be an EP-er, but you may not bind it upon all just as you would doctrine.


    Take your time, Chris. You have done very well, and I know how taxing it is to work on this. Just the posting alone is quite a task. I should say that I am impressed with the tone of the exchanges, and the considerate attempts to understand each other. This is what mutual growth in faith is all about. This is a most informative and upbuilding discussion for all of us, I would think. So every post is worth the wait.
     
  7. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    [quote:5b50271fbc="fredtgreco"]Third, at least I have never met or read anyone who advocated EP and was not committed to musical instruments being a violation of the RPW. That was the Puritan position, it is Bushnell's, Schwertly's, Murray's et al. If you know someone (honestly) let me know, because I would be very interested to read them. Part and parcel of the EP argument is acappela psalmody.[/quote:5b50271fbc]

    Fred, It is my understanding that the Protestant Reformed Church holds to both Exclusive Psalmody and the use of musical instruments in worship. I believe a read a tract to that effect once, but it's been a while. I think they use [u:5b50271fbc]The Psalter[/u:5b50271fbc] with piano accompaniment. I believe choirs may also be used in their worship services, however, I am not entirely sure of that. If there is anyone on the Board who is familiar with Protestant Reformed Church worship services, perhaps they can clarify this for us.

    I do believe that Exclusive Psalmody is almost always linked with acapella psalmody in practice and usually in principle in the Presbyterian churches which hold to these positions. I myself hold to both and view them as part and parcel of the application of the RPW.
     
  8. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    Further on the subject of acapella psalmody, here is a link to an well-researched (I found the reference to the marginal notes on Psalm 150 in the Geneva Bible most interesting) article of interest (though I know little about the source): http://www.geocities.com/reformedpresbyterian/hymnody.htm#acappella

    Aside: I live not too far from a chapel built by great 19th century Presbyterian theologian Robert Dabney on the campus of Hampden-Sydney College. The chapel, it is said, due to his views on worship (note that he reviewed favorably John Girardeau's book on musical instruments in worship), was built in such a way that an organ could not be brought in to the building (although he was thwarted in this after his death). More info: http://people.hsc.edu/organizations/collegechurch/history/history2.shtml
     
  9. luvroftheWord

    luvroftheWord Puritan Board Sophomore

    Wow, I've been to Hampden-Sydney College before. A friend and I visited the campus when I was attending Liberty. I never knew that about the chapel.
     
  10. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    [quote:b15c741962="fredtgreco"]

    It simply is not true that [i:b15c741962]"The very fact the Book of Psalms is a canonical hymnal is proof."[/i:b15c741962] The Bible does not declare the Psalms a hymnal. We may say it is, but that does not make it so, We have no proof that ever one of the psalms was sung. We have no proof that the other Biblical songs were not sung, especially Habakkuk 3, which would appear to be sung. There simply is no Biblical, textual evidence, nor good and necessary consequence, that says that the Psalter was the only thing sung by the people of God.

    [quote:b15c741962="Peter"]The non-Psalm songs of the Bible were for the particular redemptive historical moment they were sung in (as has been said and repeated many times before with out any refutation). Notice also, those which were used in worship, were sung by prophets inspired by God. Modern hymns are not. The Psalms were written for the church in all ages
    But you see, Peter, the exact same thing can be said about the Psalms. In fact, the worship of the people of God (according to Ussher's scheme) have worshipped for a greater period of time without the Psalms than with them, even if we count the Psalms from the time of David. So if God is jealous for His worship, why would He not have given His canonical hymnal for the first 3,000 years of their worship? Why not when the people of God were a nation and had been given the 10 Commandments on tables of stone? Why not when the Tabernacle was set up in the Promised Land? The answer is that the Psalms themselves are placed in a particular redemptive historical period in time. If I might be so bold, as far as the Biblical text itself goes (outside of song) the Psalms, just like the rest of the OT, are insufficient and somewhat unintelligible outside of the NT. That does not mean useless, or uninspired, but they do not achieve their full meaning outside of the NT revelation. They are, to use Hebrew's turn of phrase, "not made perfect" without the NT.

    Where do we see that "the Psalms were written for the church in all ages" ? This is pure conjecture? Were the Psalms written for and sung by Abraham? He is a part of the Church. How about Adam? How about Samuel the prophet? Were the Psalms written for Joshua? Was there NO congregational worship during the Exodus? Is that why God commanded that Israel be freed to "worship Him" ? Is that why Israel knew enough to "hold a feast to Yahweh" (Ex. 32) even if they did so violating the 2nd commandment? You see, when you make a statement like the Psalms were for all ages of the Church, you must SHOW that. And you cannot, for the Church pre-dates the Psalms. And worship pre-dates the psalms. But prayer does not. Revelation does not. Preaching does not. The Church implies corporate worship. In fact, the best reading of Gen. 2:15 implies that even Adam and Eve were made for corporate worship ("serve and obey" being a better rendering than "dress and keep"). You cannot simply make a statement like that because the Psalms have obvious musical quality or that we know they were used for some period of time.

    Your position should not be that the Eph and Col passage are unclear, but at least they command psalms. This is itself a violation of the RPW. The RPW states that God clearly commands how He is to be worshipped. You MUST find a text (or good and necessary consequence) that says that the Psalms ONLY are to be sung. Otherwise, you are making a commandment of men. This is very serious, perhaps even more serious than will-worship. For the will-worshipper does not bind the conscience of men, and cause others to sin as well. But the one who lays down a command as to how worship MUST be, must be certain it is so.[/quote:b15c741962][/quote:b15c741962]

    Fred, we have abundent proof that the Psalms were sung. First, you're special pleading that Habakkuk's prayer was a song and the Psalms are not. Why do you think Hab 3 is a song: the poetic language? The musical terminology? "v.1 On shigionoth v.3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah" Or the fact it was written to the musical director v. 19 If thats enough to make something a song we have more then enough evidence for the Book of Psalms. Notice the musical allusions in the Psalms and their titles: "Mizmor", to pluck", 57 times; "Shir", general word for song, 30X; "Selah", a musical interlude, 71X; "Nehiloth", for the flutes, Psa 5; "Neghinoth", the titles of 6 Psalms; "Alamoth", flutingling or "in the style of the maidens"; "Lam-menasseah", to the cheif musician, 55X; plus many bizarre phrases thought to have musical significance, ie, "upon the hind of the morning." (Bushell, 12) Of every EP premiss asserted there is nothing more evident that the Book of Psalms is a hymnal.

    [quote:b15c741962="Michael Bushell"]The Book of Psalms is a book of songs! And the very presence of the Psalter, a book of Songs, in the canon of Scripture constitutes a command to sing the Psalms so clear and emphatic that it is a wonder that a sensible man should require more. If the Lord hands us a book of psalms and then commands us to praise Him in song, are we not then obligated to use the collection He has given to us?[/quote:b15c741962]

    2nd, the Psalms, as a song book inspired by God, were sung by God's people through out the OT and NT. "So if God is jealous for His worship, why would He not have given His canonical hymnal for the first 3,000 years of their worship? Why not when the people of God were a nation and had been given the 10 Commandments on tables of stone? Why not when the Tabernacle was set up in the Promised Land?" Like was said previously, by discusing this we're moving into the realm of speculation. But Im game, (1) it wrong to say that the 1st 3000 years of worship they were without the Psalms of the Bible. The songs in the Book of Psalms were written over a long period of time. Moses wrote at least one of them PSA 90. (2) I dont know why God waited so long to give us the Psalms. Why didnt He just command the construction of the temple right away? or why didn't He just fulfil the mystery of godliness as soon as mankind fell and give us a complete canon of scripture? I dont know His unsearchable counsels, just that for some reason it pleased Him to progressively reveal His plan. Most of the Psalms were written by King David. He, at God's command, (remember all worship must be instituted by God) first estabalished the organized singing of Psalms in worship to God. [i:b15c741962]2 Chronicles 29:25 And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. 30 King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with [b:b15c741962]the words of David and of Asaph the seer[/b:b15c741962][ie Psalms of the BoP]. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped.[/i:b15c741962] "That does not mean useless, or uninspired, but they do not achieve their full meaning outside of the NT revelation. They are, to use Hebrew's turn of phrase, "not made perfect" without the NT. " Agreed, and if these inspired Psalms were cherished and sung when they were "less-then-perfect", when the things they symbolized were shadowy and unclear, how much more should we cherish and sing them now that they are perfect and we fully understand their meaning!
     
  11. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    Peter,

    I am way over my head with school, work and a dozen other things, so I'll just drop a few lines here and let you have the last word.

    1. I wrote that we have no proof that the Psalter was a hymnal. Not that they were not sung. We do indeed have proof that some psalms were sung. Some have musical notation. But we have no proof that the Psalter as a whole was used as a hymnal. There simply is none. The fact that some were sung does not make it an exclusive hymnal.

    2. You are missing my point about the pre-Psalter days. Yes, we have one or two Psalms of Moses. Do you really want to argue that from Moses to David all the people of God sang were those two? Do you really want to argue that the element of song did not exist in worship before the Psalter (i.e. in Seth's day) ? Do you really want to argue that God did not have corporate worship from His people before the Psalter? All these positions have dangerous consequences for the view of the Church.

    Also, your argument about the temple is [i:d0a08c25aa]non sequitor[/i:d0a08c25aa]. The temple was simply a different [b:d0a08c25aa]place[/b:d0a08c25aa] for worship. Before the temple, there was the tabernacle. Before that, the altars of the Patriarchs. We have all of this in Scripture. God's people were never without a place to worship. But what you are saying is that God's people were at one time without a song to worship Him with.
     
  12. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    [quote:1ab956209e="luvroftheWord"][quote:1ab956209e]With that in mind now, it is exactly the EPers argument that the Scriptures command us to sing Psalms and that because we dont have case examples or commands to sing uninspired hymns they are forbidden. [/quote:1ab956209e]

    Where is this commanded? You cannot simply point to the uses of words like "psalm, hymn, song, etc" because even though these words can refer to songs in the OT Psalter, the words themselves are generic terms that can refer to other songs as well. In Scripture they can even apply to the songs of the ungodly, such as in Job 21:12, as even EP advocate Michael Bushell admits (see [u:1ab956209e]Songs of Zion[/u:1ab956209e] p. 72). So you cannot prove the command by simply appealing to the words being used. If you appeal to case examples, you commit the fallacy of universalizing a particular. So where are we commanded to sing only the 150 Psalms? My position is this. We are commanded to sing. Singing is the element. This is what we have a clear command to do. What we sing can include the inspired psalms or other songs. There is nothing inconsistent about this. And besides, I provided an example above from 1 Cor 14:26 that suggests that there were other songs being sung in the early church than the Psalms. Of course, you could argue that those songs were inspired of the Spirit, but so what? EP doesn't say that we can only sing inspired songs, but only the 150 Psalms. Your only option there is to say that it is a reference to a charismatically selected Psalm from the Psalter, but this is contrary to the other gifts of the Spirit in the passage in which something is given by the Spirit afresh. So although we have case examples of singing Psalms, we also have at least one reference to singing other songs as well.

    [quote:1ab956209e]The non-Psalm songs of the Bible were for the particular redemptive historical moment they were sung in (as has been said and repeated many times before with out any refutation). [/quote:1ab956209e]

    Where does Scripture say that these songs were only given for particular redemptive historical moments? This distinction is artificial without any argument to prove it.[/quote:1ab956209e]

    luvroftheWord, my understanding is that the Greek word psalmos, to the church, would have meant the Book of Psalms in the Bible. It is how the Hebrew word is translated and is the title of the Book in the Septuagint. Plus it is the only sense the word definitively used in the NT.
    [quote:1ab956209e]Luke 20:42
    And David himself saith in the book of Psalms, The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand
    Luke 24:44
    And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
    Acts 1:20
    For it is written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let no man dwell therein: and his bishoprick let another take.[/quote:1ab956209e]
    Most Greek scholars, even those with a vendetta against the Psalter concede this. There is also compelling evidence that the words hymns, and songs, refers to Psalms. As you know these words are used in the Septuagint titles of the Psalms. Additionally, consider the context in Col: the words of Christ, spiritual (ie spirit inspired), but this has been debated extensively. Yes the words may denote any song but the overwelming probablity is that they mean the Psalms, which subtracts nothing from the necessity of Psalmody as the same is true with nearly all words in every language. But interpreting scripture w/scripture Psalmos (at the very least) refers to the BoP... But further the Book of Psalms' (a songbook) presence in the canon of scripture assures us their approbation in worship song. See my post to Fred.

    "We are commanded to sing. Singing is the element. This is what we have a clear command to do." By the words of the song are also a substantial part of worship, it isnt merely a natural help to a commanded religious aspect of worship but is religious in itself.

    Yes, 1 Cor 14:26 refers to inspired songs. Yes, EP says WE may only sing the 150 Psalms of the Bible. BUT, that's irrelevant. The early church was given charamatic gifts before the completion of the canon, inorder to establish the church. 1cor refers to spontaniously inspired charasmatic hymns, as is obvious from the contect. During those times there were many extraordinary gifts, such as tongues. Does that mean speaking in tongues is an ordinary function of worship in the church which we should be doing? If not then did the Apostolic church err? Of course not!
     
  13. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    [quote:a176521e02="fredtgreco"]Third, at least I have never met or read anyone who advocated EP and was not committed to musical instruments being a violation of the RPW. That was the Puritan position, it is Bushnell's, Schwertly's, Murray's et al. If you know someone (honestly) let me know, because I would be very interested to read them. Part and parcel of the EP argument is acappela psalmody.[/quote:a176521e02]

    As an additional note on the subject of acapella psalmody, I have spoken personally with Michael Bushell about his views on this and he told me -- acknowledging that many are surprised to hear this -- that although he holds to Exclusive Psalmody, he does not hold to acappella psalmody. That conversation took place several years ago, but I am familiar with the worship at his PCA church in Norfolk, Virginia and they use piano accompaniment both then and now. In his book [u:a176521e02]The Songs of Zion[/u:a176521e02], Bushell does not state his own view but does note that Calvin adamantly opposed the use of musical instruments in worship (p. 179).
     
  14. luvroftheWord

    luvroftheWord Puritan Board Sophomore

    [quote:43e541f081]luvroftheWord, my understanding is that the Greek word psalmos, to the church, would have meant the Book of Psalms in the Bible. It is how the Hebrew word is translated and is the title of the Book in the Septuagint. Plus it is the only sense the word definitively used in the NT.[/quote:43e541f081]

    This is not true. In 1 Corinthians 14:26 the word [i:43e541f081]psalmos[/i:43e541f081] is used and by your own admission it is not referring to the OT Psalter, but to a charismatic psalm given by the Spirit. So we cannot say that this word was definitively used in the NT as a reference to the Psalter. In fact, the only reason that we know the word is referring to the Psalter in the undisputed cases is because the text is quoting from the Psalms.

    Luke 20:42-- "For David himself says in the Book of Psalms..."

    Luke 24:44-- "...that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

    Acts 1:20-- "For it is written in the Psalms..."

    Acts 13:33-- "...as it is written in second Psalm..."

    These are the only uses in the NT of the word [i:43e541f081]psalmos[/i:43e541f081] that are undisputable in their reference to the OT Psalter. They are undisputable because the context explicitly limits the possible uses of the word. And not one of these undisputable references refer to the singing of the Psalms.

    Also, in the case of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, your comment begs the question, because that is exactly one of the points of dispute in the debate.

    [quote:43e541f081]Most Greek scholars, even those with a vendetta against the Psalter concede this. There is also compelling evidence that the words hymns, and songs, refers to Psalms. As you know these words are used in the Septuagint titles of the Psalms. Additionally, consider the context in Col: the words of Christ, spiritual (ie spirit inspired), but this has been debated extensively. Yes the words may denote any song but the overwelming probablity is that they mean the Psalms, which subtracts nothing from the necessity of Psalmody as the same is true with nearly all words in every language. But interpreting scripture w/scripture Psalmos (at the very least) refers to the BoP... But further the Book of Psalms' (a songbook) presence in the canon of scripture assures us their approbation in worship song. See my post to Fred.[/quote:43e541f081]

    Well, I seriously doubt that most Greek scholars concede that ALL usages of the word [i:43e541f081]psalmos[/i:43e541f081] refer to the Psalms. Exegetically, this cannot be the case. But even though most instances of the word do refer to the Psalter, there is clear exegetical reasons for believing so, primarily the fact that the Psalms are being quoted in these passages. In the other instances, the word is used in different ways and in different contexts. It is an exegetical mistake to assume the same meaning into every word every time it appears in the Scriptures (try doing that with the word "sanctified" in 1 Corinthians 7:14).

    And yes, the words for "psalm, hymn, song" do refer to the Psalter. But not EXCLUSIVELY. These words also appear in other places in the OT referring to other songs. So all you have proven with this point is that these words CAN refer to the Psalter, not that they NECESSARILY refer to it.

    [quote:43e541f081]"We are commanded to sing. Singing is the element. This is what we have a clear command to do." By the words of the song are also a substantial part of worship, it isnt merely a natural help to a commanded religious aspect of worship but is religious in itself. [/quote:43e541f081]

    This is an equally strong argument against preaching uninspired sermons. But of course, the answers EP gives to this criticism is the same kind of answer that non-EP gives to them concerning songs. EP says that there is no command limiting preaching in this way and there are examples of uninspired preaching, etc etc. Non-EP says that there is no command limiting singing in this way and that the words in the NT are not necessarily referring to the Psalms. Now, I do believe one side is being more consistent than the other, but I digress.

    [quote:43e541f081]Yes, 1 Cor 14:26 refers to inspired songs. Yes, EP says WE may only sing the 150 Psalms of the Bible. BUT, that's irrelevant. The early church was given charamatic gifts before the completion of the canon, inorder to establish the church. 1cor refers to spontaniously inspired charasmatic hymns, as is obvious from the contect. During those times there were many extraordinary gifts, such as tongues. Does that mean speaking in tongues is an ordinary function of worship in the church which we should be doing? If not then did the Apostolic church err? Of course not![/quote:43e541f081]

    Well, building on what I've already said above, I think the important thing this verse tells us is that the word [i:43e541f081]psalmos[/i:43e541f081] doesn't always refer to the Psalter in the NT.

    With all of this in mind, I cannot find the EP argument that we are commanded in Scripture to sing the Psalms and them ONLY compelling at all. In fact, I'm still not sure where the command is.
     
  15. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    [quote:dd536186f0="luvroftheWord"]
    Luke 20:42-- "For David himself says in the Book of Psalms..."

    Luke 24:44-- "...that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled."

    Acts 1:20-- "For it is written in the Psalms..."

    Acts 13:33-- "...as it is written in second Psalm..."

    These are the only uses in the NT of the word [i:dd536186f0]psalmos[/i:dd536186f0] that are undisputable in their reference to the OT Psalter. They are undisputable because the context explicitly limits the possible uses of the word. And not one of these undisputable references refer to the singing of the Psalms.[/quote:dd536186f0]
    Right Chris, I wasnt asserting anything more then what you just said...
    "Plus it is the only sense the word [b:dd536186f0]definitively [/b:dd536186f0][or as you more aptly put it- undisputably] used in the NT."
    Now you pointed out a qualification: 1 Cor 14:26. So we have 9 instinces of psalmos in the NT. 5 even you agree refer to the BoP (right?) 3 are disputable. 1 we agree refers to something other.

    [quote:dd536186f0]Also, in the case of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16, your comment begs the question, because that is exactly one of the points of dispute in the debate.[/quote:dd536186f0]
    Never intended you to construe that comment as applying to Eph & Col. Just Luk 20, 24, & Acts.

    [quote:dd536186f0] Well, I seriously doubt that most Greek scholars concede that ALL usages of the word [i:dd536186f0]psalmos[/i:dd536186f0] refer to the Psalms. [/quote:dd536186f0]
    Again you've misread me. Remember we're trying to determine what Eph, Col & Jas mean. Thats why Im not appealing to Eph and Col and Im refering exclusively to them when I say: "Most Greek scholars, even those with a vendetta against the Psalter concede this".

    [quote:dd536186f0]And yes, the words for "psalm, hymn, song" do refer to the Psalter. But not EXCLUSIVELY. These words also appear in other places in the OT referring to other songs. So all you have proven with this point is that these words CAN refer to the Psalter, not that they NECESSARILY refer to it.[/quote:dd536186f0]
    No they NECESSARILY do refer to the Psalms of the BoP, once you realize the presence of a songbook in the canon constitutes a command to sing from it, and nowhere does God command us to sing uninspired songs.

    [quote:dd536186f0]"We are commanded to sing. Singing is the element. This is what we have a clear command to do." By the words of the song are also a substantial part of worship, it isnt merely a natural help to a commanded religious aspect of worship but is religious in itself. "
    This is an equally strong argument against preaching uninspired sermons. But of course, the answers EP gives to this criticism is the same kind of answer that non-EP gives to them concerning songs. EP says that there is no command limiting preaching in this way and there are examples of uninspired preaching, etc etc.[/quote:dd536186f0]

    The EPer would never say "there is no command limiting preaching in this way" b/c the EPer is faithful to the RPW. There are positive examples of uninspired preaching but none for uninspired song. Preaching requires reasoning, explaining, interpreting and exhorting (acts 17:2-3; act 18:4; mark 4:34, etc.) . I could just as easily turn the statement around: the verbal content of singing doesnt matter and I can invent my own songs, therefore the verbal content of reading scripture doesnt matter and I can invent my own scripture. But really, all this sophistry does is undermine the RPW.

    I apologize for being unclear in my earlier post. Sorry guys Im going to have to take a little reprieve. Repeating the same thing over and over is getting a little frustrating :banghead: So far the side for human hymns has refused to accept the terms of the RPW and instead is attacking the divine approval of the inspired Psalms, the distinction between elements of worship, the competence of the Psalter, and is making irrelevant appeals to music in liturgical history. I challenge the adherent of uninspired hymnody to meet the demands the Regulative Principle sets forth and to produce a command for uninspired songs. I hope to return and organize things a little better. Finally, I leave you with the wise testimony of the Westminster Assembly, including our Confession (which many of you have sworn to uphold):

    WCF XXI:V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith, and reverence, singing of [b:dd536186f0]psalms [/b:dd536186f0]with grace in the heart;as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: beside religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.

    Directory for Public Worship:
    Of Singing of Psalms.
    IT is the duty of Christians to praise God publickly, by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family.
    In singing of psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.
    That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a psalm book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof.
     
  16. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    All:

    I am running out of people to address this too. Looks like we're all taxed to the max for time. It is important, though. What I am writing here may seem to be a bit tough-minded, but I mean it in fellowship to my EP friends. It is just the argument that is pointed, not my heart. I respect you all for your faith.

    But to continue, to quote Peter,
    [quote:1dbd4a6f26]I could just as easily turn the statement around: the verbal content of singing doesnt matter and I can invent my own songs, therefore the verbal content of reading scripture doesnt matter and I can invent my own scripture. But really, all this sophistry does is undermine the RPW. [/quote:1dbd4a6f26]
    This is an unfair comparison. The objectors to EP are being misrepresented here. What has been called for is an EP grounding that is by necessity, and a use of paradigms that remains consistent. So the word "uninspired" has to be used consitently throughout. What the word refers to in EP is 'non-Scriptural', or to be more precise, 'not directly out of Scripture.' If the song is not found in Scripture, then it is not allowed; and this is extended to confine it even further to the Psalter exclusively. We all understand that some believe this to be the case. What we do not yet have is the binding Scriptural warrant for this.

    The marks of the church are centred around this one aspect: the faithful administration of the Word. This is expressed in three parts, namely, the preaching of the Word, the administration of the sacraments, and the practice of ecclesiastical discipline. We have this from the same source that we have the injunction to sing psalms. But we do not have in this the insinuation that the marks of the church are known by the singing of only the Psalter.

    It is understood that, whatever the Westminster Assembly thought of singing in the service, they knew the necessity of the use of words as a sign which could be freely used to convey Scriptural truths. They also understood music to be in that same category of signs, as they were all heirs of Calvin's leading in the Augustinian tradition. So the marks of the Church centre around God's Word to man, not man's response to God.

    Just as in prayers, where man is exhorted to "make your petitions known to God," and so is given free licence to the use of words, phrases, and propositions not directly found in Scripture, so that he makes his own needs and thanksgivings known to God, just as in prayers there is no injunction as to the marks of the Church, so also in praise the Church has always recognized the need for free expression of song in response, for praise, for prayer, and for instruction. The Book of Psalms is the ideal for every age, but I do not see a restriction to it in the sense of EP, singing only from the Psalter. I can see that some may think so, but I cannot see the Scriptural and creational necessity. As a matter of fact, as I have tried to clumsily convey a few times, necessity pulls us the other way.

    But the point is, if strict confining to the Psalter is meant by the use of the word, "uninspired", then it must be more necessary that it be used to conform the preaching and prayers of the minister of the Word and the congregation as well. Songs and prayers speak on behalf of the people; preaching on behalf of God. So the marks of the church are on the latter specifically.

    It seems not just curious but very strange to me that some would confine the singing of the people to just the Book of Psalms while preachers are given a free licence to preach their opinions instead of confining themselves to the Word. I hear preachers preaching, as an example, the necessity of a particular Millennial view, disparaging the others as if it were unBiblical to hold to them; but the people are confined to the singing of the Psalms only. Why? because the word "uninspired" is used in two very different ways here, depending on which of the two is being talked about, and applying stricter measures on the response of the people than the presentation of God's very Word. And even then, they apply this stricture only for singing, not for prayers. And this is quite impossible to do, since we are not given even the meanings of the musical instructions of the Psalms, much less the notes. We are back at the words of the Psalter, but no reason yet given for the singular restriction in worship for singing only. The word "uninspired" is connotative and pejorative because of its singular use in the discussion on Psalmody.

    All that has been given us is the arbitray view that there are no examples of singing outside the Psalter in public worship given in the NT. The answer to that so far has been: neither are we given an example that the singing was confined to the Psalter. We have received only the notion that this was the case, based on the lack of command to sing other songs, as if that would be needed.

    If we followed the instruction of the Psalms we would be filling our hymnbooks constantly with new songs, each generation impoving on the last in both Scriptural content as well as expertice in musical conveyance of the lyrics, yet never leaving the Psalter.

    The defence for EP has only been circular. "EP confines the understanding of the use of the words of the Eph. and Col. texts to the Psalter: we find commands in the Word to sing from the Psalter, we do not find commands for other songs, so therefore EP is true because there is no command to be otherwise." This defines the conclusion in the premise. This is hardly necessary inference, and begs the question. We are to be sparing in the use of reason, relying on the clearer Scriptures to open up to us the more obscure ones, and always with the understanding that "love fulfills all the law and the gospel." Only when this cannot clear up things for us are we to rely on sound reason. Necessity calls us to acquiesce in our reasoning to the Word; this is a severe restriction on the use of reason. So a circular argument cannot be the basis for a doctrinal stand on EP. I am not saying that you cannot hold to it, for one does not err if he relies upon Scripture for his faith; but it cannot be bound upon all, and for the very same reason.


    [quote:1dbd4a6f26]Repeating the same thing over and over is getting a little frustrating So far the side for human hymns has refused to accept the terms of the RPW and instead is attacking the divine approval of the inspired Psalms, the distinction between elements of worship, the competence of the Psalter, and is making irrelevant appeals to music in liturgical history. I challenge the adherent of uninspired hymnody to meet the demands the Regulative Principle sets forth and to produce a command for uninspired songs.[/quote:1dbd4a6f26]

    But this is all we have received for our requests: just the repetition of the same appeal to the RPW, as defined by EP-ers. It seems that for all the effort that has been expended to explain that the reason we may not agree to this understanding of the RPW is the RPW itself, that these efforts are just sloughed off as irrelevant. We are not being obstinate. We have a right to be tanacious, because EP usurps the ground of orthodoxy without warrant, amending the RPW accordingly, but we are not obstinate.

    I believe I have given more than enough for consideration for the principle of the inclusion of hymns. I may have been unclear, or perhaps even vague, but the intention was to convey that there are more than sufficient commands for hymns and spiritual songs, even in the injunctions to sing the Psalms. It seems unthinkable to me for there to be an exclusive nature to the commands to sing praises to our God and Saviour from only the Psalter, as this undermines the very nature of the commands. Rather it is in compliance with the Psalter, and in conformity to it, that we sing more than the Psalter, not less. All we have had to do was to show that the inference is not of necessity as yet, but we have given you more than that. Your challenge has been more than met.

    But having said all this, let me say that we are becoming a bit obscure here, not keeping to the nature of the debate. I don't mean to talk EP-ers out of their belief, though I would like to. All I wanted to do was to accept the challenge of the EP position, to demonstrate its arbitrary nature, so as to rescue it from saying too much.

    I have been in a church where EP was very much the right solution, and it was accepted by the congregation on that ground, not as a doctrinal stand. They have sung the occasional hymn from memory during a worship service. And they do confine themselves to the use of the piano as accompaniment only, not for prelude, or postlude. Their reasons I support. They have various backgrounds to deal with, various views, and various preferences. They have taken a wise path by restricting themselves to the psalter for now, and by restricting the use of instruments. I don't think it is wise to remain there, to leave it unaddressed, but for now it is a good place to be.

    So EP-ers may have their reasons for the views they hold, which are in respect to the backgrounds and cultural settings of each group. I don't mean to argue against that at all. I would rather take an EP stand with them than to see the secular world take over even in worship music. But the real long-term solution is to understand fully what the Word means to instruct us in in the way of worshipful praise to God. And that is not restrictive to the Psalter in the same way that EP-ers would have it. It may come as a shock but the non-EP-er is actually the better EP-er, in my view. But it is a different kind of restriction, one that is the same as for preaching and prayers. We can actually have a huge hymnbook that never strays from the Psalter, including songs of our Redeemer's work on the cross for us, His glorious resurrection, His impending second coming, and the Spirit's sanctification and intercession in His Church, and more. This is what God commands, even in the injuctions to sing psalms. If Moses and Miram could sing of the horses and riders thrown into the sea, then surely we could "sing of our Redeemer and His wondrous love to me."
     
  17. luvroftheWord

    luvroftheWord Puritan Board Sophomore

    Peter,

    [quote:65f51bda9e]
    Right Chris, I wasnt asserting anything more then what you just said...
    "Plus it is the only sense the word [b:65f51bda9e]definitively [/b:65f51bda9e][or as you more aptly put it- undisputably] used in the NT."
    Now you pointed out a qualification: 1 Cor 14:26. So we have 9 instinces of psalmos in the NT. 5 even you agree refer to the BoP (right?) 3 are disputable. 1 we agree refers to something other. [/quote:65f51bda9e]

    [quote:65f51bda9e]Never intended you to construe that comment as applying to Eph & Col. Just Luk 20, 24, & Acts.[/quote:65f51bda9e]

    [quote:65f51bda9e]Again you've misread me. Remember we're trying to determine what Eph, Col & Jas mean. Thats why Im not appealing to Eph and Col and Im refering exclusively to them when I say: "Most Greek scholars, even those with a vendetta against the Psalter concede this".[/quote:65f51bda9e]

    You clearly said before this:

    [quote:65f51bda9e]luvroftheWord, my understanding is that the Greek word psalmos, to the church, would have meant the Book of Psalms in the Bible. It is how the Hebrew word is translated and is the title of the Book in the Septuagint. Plus it is the only sense the word definitively used in the NT.[/quote:65f51bda9e]

    Your own words say that the definitive use of the word [i:65f51bda9e]psalmos[/i:65f51bda9e] in the NT is reference to the Psalms. This word is used in Ephesians and Colossians. You did not make yourself clear that you were only referring to Luke and Acts.

    My name is Craig, by the way. But no biggie. It"(tm)s an easy mistake to make.

    [quote:65f51bda9e][quote:65f51bda9e]And yes, the words for "psalm, hymn, song" do refer to the Psalter. But not EXCLUSIVELY. These words also appear in other places in the OT referring to other songs. So all you have proven with this point is that these words CAN refer to the Psalter, not that they NECESSARILY refer to it.[/quote:65f51bda9e]
    No they NECESSARILY do refer to the Psalms of the BoP, once you realize the presence of a songbook in the canon constitutes a command to sing from it, and nowhere does God command us to sing uninspired songs.[/quote:65f51bda9e]

    This is fallacious on a number of levels. First, it is a [i:65f51bda9e]non sequiter[/i:65f51bda9e], because simply having a songbook in the canon doesn"(tm)t constitute a command to sing it. And besides, you don"(tm)t follow this reasoning consistently concerning the other songs given in Scripture. There is absolutely no difference in arguing, "œThe Psalter is in the canon, so therefore we sing it", and "œThe song of Moses is in the canon, so therefore we sing it". Now I know the answer you will give. The song of Moses was given for a redemptive historical purpose and is not to be sung today. But this has never been proven throughout this thread. Not one time. It has only been asserted. I agree with you that it is frustrating to keep repeating yourself, but I will continue to raise this question until somebody from the EP camp backs up this claim.

    Second, it begs the question. It has not been proven the Psalms were intended to be the church"(tm)s songbook. As I already pointed out, there are many out there that believe the Psalter was given for the purpose of meditation rather than singing.

    Third, this still doesn"(tm)t change the fact that the word "œpsalm" in Ephesians and Colossians is indefinite. In all other uses of the word where it is referring to the Psalter, there is evidence in the context that the word is definite; that is, there is exegetical reason to conclude the word is referring to THE Psalms, not simply psalms in general.

    [quote:65f51bda9e]The EPer would never say "there is no command limiting preaching in this way" b/c the EPer is faithful to the RPW. There are positive examples of uninspired preaching but none for uninspired song. Preaching requires reasoning, explaining, interpreting and exhorting (acts 17:2-3; act 18:4; mark 4:34, etc.) . I could just as easily turn the statement around: the verbal content of singing doesnt matter and I can invent my own songs, therefore the verbal content of reading scripture doesnt matter and I can invent my own scripture. But really, all this sophistry does is undermine the RPW.

    I apologize for being unclear in my earlier post. Sorry guys Im going to have to take a little reprieve. Repeating the same thing over and over is getting a little frustrating :banghead: So far the side for human hymns has refused to accept the terms of the RPW and instead is attacking the divine approval of the inspired Psalms, the distinction between elements of worship, the competence of the Psalter, and is making irrelevant appeals to music in liturgical history. I challenge the adherent of uninspired hymnody to meet the demands the Regulative Principle sets forth and to produce a command for uninspired songs. [/quote:65f51bda9e]

    This constant "œYou deny the RPW" rhetoric that EP advocates like to throw around is unhelpful and unnecessary. We disagree in the application of the RPW, not the RPW itself. And these accusations can go both ways anyway, since it"(tm)s just as much a violation of the RPW to bind the consciences of men to unnecessary rules and restrictions as well. When we throw these accusations around, we are already assuming the truth of our own positions, so it"(tm)s pointless. Let"(tm)s stick to debating and avoid these kinds of debater"(tm)s tactics.

    And since we"(tm)re issuing challenges, I likewise challenge all adherents of EP to produce a command for singing Psalms exclusively.

    I look forward to your return to the discussion, Peter. I believe this thread has been helpful to all the readers.
     
  18. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    Peter, you said
    [quote:fe950ba7c2]First, you're special pleading that Habakkuk's prayer was a song and the Psalms are not. Why do you think Hab 3 is a song: the poetic language? The musical terminology? "v.1 On shigionoth v.3 God came from Teman, and the Holy One from mount Paran. Selah" Or the fact it was written to the musical director v. 19 If thats enough to make something a song we have more then enough evidence for the Book of Psalms. Notice the musical allusions in the Psalms and their titles: "Mizmor", to pluck", 57 times; "Shir", general word for song, 30X; "Selah", a musical interlude, 71X; "Nehiloth", for the flutes, Psa 5; "Neghinoth", the titles of 6 Psalms; "Alamoth", flutingling or "in the style of the maidens"; "Lam-menasseah", to the cheif musician, 55X; plus many bizarre phrases thought to have musical significance, ie, "upon the hind of the morning." (Bushell, 12) Of every EP premiss asserted there is nothing more evident that the Book of Psalms is a hymnal. [/quote:fe950ba7c2]

    I don't presume to have read Fred's mind, but I don't think special pleading is really a valid charge to bring against him. As I understand the issue myself, and what I think Fred meant, is that if there is compelling evidence in the Psalter that some of them were meant to be sung, then there is the same compelling evidence for Habakkuk 3. In other words if "poetic language" and "musical terminology" and the "fact that it was written to the musical director" persuade us that a given Psalm was intended by God for congregational praise, then that same evidence would compel us to believe that such was also the case for Habakkuk 3; and therefore, that EP cannot be correct, because Habakkuk 3 must also be sung.
     
  19. Ianterrell

    Ianterrell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Ay me!

    This thread has grown a lot. I don't have time to pipe in right now though. Very busy until next week.
     
  20. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I don't have time to get back to this thread either right now, but something needs to be said that is in the background but might not be obvious to a lurker.

    1. The participants in this thread respect one another

    2. The reason this thread has generated such interest and (good) passion is because all participants understand the critical importance of the worship of God

    3. All participants agree that the Regulative Principle of Worship, basically that we are to worship God using only elements of worship that GOD has commanded, is the proper way to worship Biblically. That means that the Anglican/Lutheran formula of: "Scripture forbids something= Not OK, Scripture does not forbid something = OK" for worship is wrong and the RPW: "Scripture commands something = OK, Scripture does not command something = Not OK" is correct.

    This has been a good discussion. It would be better in person over a pint. :lol:
     
  21. VirginiaHuguenot

    VirginiaHuguenot Puritanboard Librarian

    [quote:e1e0b4a570="fredtgreco"]I don't have time to get back to this thread either right now, but something needs to be said that is in the background but might not be obvious to a lurker.

    1. The participants in this thread respect one another

    2. The reason this thread has generated such interest and (good) passion is because all participants understand the critical importance of the worship of God

    3. All participants agree that the Regulative Principle of Worship, basically that we are to worship God using only elements of worship that GOD has commanded, is the proper way to worship Biblically. That means that the Anglican/Lutheran formula of: "Scripture forbids something= Not OK, Scripture does not forbid something = OK" for worship is wrong and the RPW: "Scripture commands something = OK, Scripture does not command something = Not OK" is correct.

    This has been a good discussion. It would be better in person over a pint. :lol:[/quote:e1e0b4a570]

    :ditto: :amen:
     
  22. Me Died Blue

    Me Died Blue Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :amen: & :amen:
     
  23. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    :handshake: :amen:


    :book: (a 21st Century puritan singing praises to God)
     
  24. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Well, hopefully you all aren't tired of this subject yet. I love to build a substantial unity, especially regarding the worship of God. So maybe we can change the thread a little and start from square one, and turn this into a Reformed Think Tank regarding song in worship. It seems to me that many of the arguments for either side have been dispersed throughout the thread and can be hard to follow. So let's try to peice it all together.

    I think of primary importance here is how we build a hermenuetic to establish our covenant songs. It is this hermenuetic which really in the end undergirds our understanding of Paul in Eph and Col. We all admit that God institutes His worship. That is well and good. The non-EP advocates are right in that the book of Psalms did not always exist. There were no Psalms before Moses, at least none that were recorded so to say "the Psalms have always been the songs of God's covenant people" is simply not true, or at least not verifiable. The thing we must keep in mind is that the worship of God developed over time along with redemptive history. And we can only build on what God has revealed to us. It's just like covenant theology. We do not see a specific command to baptize children in the NT, nor a command to forbid it, yet we come to the conclusion with a hermeneutic based on previous revelation in the OT, that children were always included in the covenant before, and we have no indication that this has changed, rather inferential evidence that it remains. But this inferential evidence can only be understood with a correct hermenuetic.

    I think we must apply this approach when discussing the issue of song in worship. There are not enough specifics to simply say "this is how it is." We must first build a hermeneutic. We can understand the mind of the apostle's regarding children in the covenant because of the redemptive historical context in which they were raised from the OT, and from what they learned from Christ and the Spirit. So now, let us build a hermenuetic to understand song in worship, so that we may better understand the mind of Paul when Eph. and Col. were written under the inspiration of the Spirit. We have no specific command either way for EP or non-EP unless the hermenuetic we use to interpret Paul is sound. Either way, Paul gives a command regarding song in worship. So we had better pay attention to it. The sins of Uzzah, Aaron's sons, and Uzziah should be burned into our mind when approaching this subject. So then, let us work on a hermenuetic to build a case for covenant song. I will try in a little while to present my hermeneutic case for EP in a bit. If someone could do that for the non-EP advocates that would be greatly appreciated.

    And just a couple of side notes that I noticed during the thread so far. Mention has been made of Ian Murray's booklet on hymnody. Though he does give some good ideas to consider he fails to interact with the WCF or the Westminster liturgy. He is certainly right that some Puritans dissented from the EP position, but the Westminster Divines as a whole decided on EP and confessionalized it in the WCF and the liturgy. Murray doesn't take that into account in his historical argument against Psalmody. Now, perhaps he's working on a more comprehensive study of the issue but I thought I would just bring this up so that no one invests too much weight into his arguments yet. And I would also say the same for Bushell and Williamson. They do not address some of the issues raised here on the Board, so in some sense, we are really pioneers on this particular issue in worship.

    So, again, if you're tired of the issue for now, then we can pick it up later. I also am strapped for time. But the issue of God's worship has always been an important study for me in my Reforming journey, especially since I was rescued from the sinking sands of charasmania. I'd like to help others like myself get some rocks to build on regarding this subject.
     
  25. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I think this sounds like a good idea, Patrick. We already knew that the Puritan Board is a pioneer in many repsects.

    I see the main difference being in respect to the breadth of God's commands: i.e. that the EP view takes a narrow view, and that the non-EP takes a broad view. Or, to say it differently, the EP is looking at specific commands, while the non-EP is looking a general commands; that music in worship requires its own command as opposed to it falling under a general heading in worship, respectively. That would require, then, some general guidelines to go by, ones we all need to abide by.

    But this is a big task. I see the EP side as impossible to uphold, as of yet. This predisposition is rooted in, among other things, my musical background both in and out of the church. And I understand, I think, that there are other backgrounds at play here for others as well as for myself, which make it almost impossible to convince others. All this makes me wonder if we are up to the task at hand, or if we will just end up where we are now, only with just a bit more appreciation of each other.

    I don't tackle things like this with a great volume of reading, but I do read some from each view. I just read less, but I read it carefully. I would like to get back to basics instead, and try to get away from our modern hair-splitting. And that means that I am taking the general view of things, since I see no specific command one way or the other.

    I suppose that tends to confine the prohibitions to man's directing God's part in the Covenant, stepping on God's domain, if you will, and not so much that of seeing an exhaustive list of do's and don't's for worship. So with regard to the names mentioned, who sinned before God in the worship of Him, they infringed upon worship by spurning the Son of God, not because they did not have freedom in their worship. That is to say, the prohibition is intrinsically tied in with the first, second and third commandments, but especially the second. This mindset of mine is going to be tough for me to dislodge. So, as you can see, there will be a lot to discuss even before we get to EP.

    I'm not the best man for setting up a hermeneutic for the non-EP side. I can offer critque maybe, but I don't have the expertice or background for indepth work on this, as I believe the situation requires. I'll put some thought into it for now, and watch for any movement on this topic.

    It is usual that we let things sit a while, and then go at it with a fresh approach. I think this is wise, not just happenstance.
     
  26. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    [quote:0a8364ad9d="JohnV"]I think this sounds like a good idea, Patrick. We already knew that the Puritan Board is a pioneer in many repsects.

    I see the main difference being in respect to the breadth of God's commands: i.e. that the EP view takes a narrow view, and that the non-EP takes a broad view. Or, to say it differently, the EP is looking at specific commands, while the non-EP is looking a general commands; that music in worship requires its own command as opposed to it falling under a general heading in worship, respectively. That would require, then, some general guidelines to go by, ones we all need to abide by. [/quote:0a8364ad9d]
    I think you may be summarizing the difference correctly. The question is the hermenuetic behind the differences. There are obvious similarities since both hold to the RPW. Now we need to find the point of departure between the two views hermenuetically.

    [quote:0a8364ad9d]
    But this is a big task. I see the EP side as impossible to uphold, as of yet. This predisposition is rooted in, among other things, my musical background both in and out of the church. And I understand, I think, that there are other backgrounds at play here for others as well as for myself, which make it almost impossible to convince others. All this makes me wonder if we are up to the task at hand, or if we will just end up where we are now, only with just a bit more appreciation of each other.

    I don't tackle things like this with a great volume of reading, but I do read some from each view. I just read less, but I read it carefully. I would like to get back to basics instead, and try to get away from our modern hair-splitting. And that means that I am taking the general view of things, since I see no specific command one way or the other.
    [/quote:0a8364ad9d]
    I think we are up to it, though it may take some time. This Board has gathered together some great minds and great fellowship with an overall desire to understand and apply the truth, something rare in the Church these days. Obviously we won't be making any ecclesiastical decisions in our discussions, but it's believers talking like this that helps to get to the bottom of things and help us build from there. Hopefully this will benefit the Body as a whole over time.

    [quote:0a8364ad9d]
    I suppose that tends to confine the prohibitions to man's directing God's part in the Covenant, stepping on God's domain, if you will, and not so much that of seeing an exhaustive list of do's and don't's for worship. So with regard to the names mentioned, who sinned before God in the worship of Him, they infringed upon worship by spurning the Son of God, not because they did not have freedom in their worship. That is to say, the prohibition is intrinsically tied in with the first, second and third commandments, but especially the second. This mindset of mine is going to be tough for me to dislodge. So, as you can see, there will be a lot to discuss even before we get to EP.

    I'm not the best man for setting up a hermeneutic for the non-EP side. I can offer critque maybe, but I don't have the expertice or background for indepth work on this, as I believe the situation requires. I'll put some thought into it for now, and watch for any movement on this topic.
    [/quote:0a8364ad9d]
    John, I agree, we may have to take a break. I guess what I am asking both sides to do, is to start back from square one. Why do you believe what you believe. Why do you interpret the Scriptures the way you do to support that position? Some Scriptures are more clear, some are not. It's usually around those "unclear" ones that our divisions begin. For me, EP is basically the default position because I do not see the warrant for new hymns yet the psalms are clearly commanded as Chris has pointed out earlier. But you and Fred have brought out some points to help me think some more about it. It hasn't changed my opinion yet, but provoked me enough to simply get down to the hermenuetic difference between the two views. Once we have the hermenuetic then we may more easily judge which is the right course to take, and eventually how to rightly understand the NT directives for song in worship.
     
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