How do you choose the melodies to sing the Psalms?

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tellville

Puritan Board Junior
I apologize if this this question has an obvious answer:

For those who participate in the exclusive practice of singing only the psalms: How do you choose the melodies you sing them to?
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
I think that your question is a good one, and I don't think that the answer is always obvious.

I try to be judicious as far as the choice of tune. It depends on the passage to be sung and the prevailing mood of the passage. Some tunes seem appropriate; others don't.

The Psalms in Meter (Irish split-leaf) suggests that tunes fall roughly into seven categories: plaintive, prayerful, restful, didactic, cheerful, jubilant, majestic; and the editors list tunes under each category. This is obviously subjective. Some tunes seem to span more than one classification. Within a classification the range of moods may be very broad. Two tunes in the same classification might not seem to work equally well.

We sing from the 1650 Scottish Psalter. Here are some of my favorites. They are not necessarily what is practiced in the congregation, and some of them reflect more of what we do privately at home:

Psalm 1, St. Peter (didactic)
Psalm 2, York (didactic, but somewhat more majestic than St. Peter)
Psalm 6 (I), Quebec (prayerful-plaintive)
Psalm 23, St. Columba (prayerful-restful. It's always been Crimond ever since the Queen of England was coronated in 1952, but The Scottish Psalmody also suggests it)
Psalm 52, Psalm 107 (not sure how the Irish would classify this tune; it just seems to work well with Psalm 52)

If you're not singing the whole Psalm you might consider which passage within the Psalm you're singing at a given time and make a selection. For example, toward the beginning of Psalm 22 a plaintive tune like St. Mary tends to work well. I prefer to assign Louis Bourgeois' Genevan Psalter tune Old 22nd more towards the end of the Psalm because it is more of a triumphant-sounding tune.

One of my other most favorite combinations, also suggested in The Scottish Psalmody is Psalm 95 to the tune Glenluce. I like it because it seems appropriate to the entire Psalm; it has just enough didactic in it to carry all the way through to the warning on which the Psalm ends.

I do not like to use tunes like Materna ("America the Beautiful") because tunes like that are so closely associated with a specific set of words outside the Psalms that I find them distracting. Also certain music comes across to me as more reverent and dignified than other, and that also affects my preferences.

These are just some examples and personal preferences I've come to with about 12 years of singing from the 1650 Psalter.

My pastor occasionally asks me to select the tune for a passage. In that case there are other questions to be answered such as have we sung this before, and to what tune? Is the congregation familiar with the tune?

These are some of my thoughts, in answer to your question. I seldom participate actively on this discussion board, and I am definitely not into debating or arguing with people and frankly I don't have the time for it.

I cordially invite you to visit my blog and see what we're singing in the congregation. The word precentor in my signature also takes you there.
 
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Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
As Mr. Sultzman has indicated in his helpful post, there are no inspired tunes, hence according to WCF 1.6 they are to be ordered by the Light of Nature, Christian Prudence, and the general principles of the Word.

What this means in a nutshell is that the tune ought, in some thoughtful and purposeful way, to support the text of the Psalm. This is a judgment process, and since our judgments are not always perfect, we 1) strive to do as well as we are able in the choosing of tunes, and 2) pay close attention to the Words of the Psalm itself, for it is there-ward, not in the tune, that the mind ought to cast its gaze. Worship song is focused work, requiring our full attention to the Words of life in order to receive the most from them as we sing. The tunes ought to be chosen to enhance, not to detract, from this element of worship.
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you for the replies!

I don't know a whole lot about the debate between EP and non-EP but I am under the impression that EP is believed because EP's would state that since God has given us a collection of worship songs and provides scriptural examples of them being sung, God requires these songs and these songs only to be used in public worship. But I wonder, given that God does not supply the melodies or give any indication as to what those melodies would be, using the strict hermeneutic and application of the regulative principle that EP's use, one would be forced to not sing the Psalms for fear of singing them with an inappropriate melody or inappropriate way. Also, especially given the fact that the Psalms are in Hebrew, can we be sure our English translation even provides us with the proper syllables or poetic structure so as to accurately determine the proper tempo and mood that said Psalm should be sung?
 

Guido's Brother

Puritan Board Junior
Not all EP churches use the Scottish Metrical Psalter. There are also some of Dutch ancestry, particularly the Free Reformed, Protestant Reformed and I believe also the Netherlands Reformed. I think all of these use the 1927 "Psalter," which is a mixed bag.

Historically, all the Reformed churches in continental Europe sang the psalms to the tunes carefully selected and composed by John Calvin, Louis Bourgeois, and Clement Marot. While we are not EP, the Canadian Reformed churches and the Free Reformed Churches of Australia are (as far as I know) the only English speaking churches which continue to use the complete Genevan psalter.
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Thank you for the replies!

I don't know a whole lot about the debate between EP and non-EP but I am under the impression that EP is believed because EP's would state that since God has given us a collection of worship songs and provides scriptural examples of them being sung, God requires these songs and these songs only to be used in public worship. But I wonder, given that God does not supply the melodies or give any indication as to what those melodies would be, using the strict hermeneutic and application of the regulative principle that EP's use, one would be forced to not sing the Psalms for fear of singing them with an inappropriate melody or inappropriate way. Also, especially given the fact that the Psalms are in Hebrew, can we be sure our English translation even provides us with the proper syllables or poetic structure so as to accurately determine the proper tempo and mood that said Psalm should be sung?
Well, this objection, applied consistently across all worship forms, would also prevent the reading of Scripture in anything other than the original languages, and would further prevent the reading of Scripture even in those languages for fear of using the wrong intonation. Again, we must put forth our best efforts in applying WCF 1.6, and realize that we must be ever reforming. Sanctified sense is always in order.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
I agree with what has already been said (Jay is our former precentor and he knows whereof he speaks :)). The selection of tunes for psalms is matter of Christian prudence. I think this principle is applicable whether one holds to exclusive psalmody or uninspired hymnody, ie., everyone involved should be asking, how do we arrive at the selection of tunes to be used in praise?

The church gives its stamp of approval to a psalter (or for some, a psalter-hymnal or hymnal). The church, ideally, applies Christian prudence and wisdom in the formulation of that psalter, et al., by selecting tunes that are appropriate to the content, singable by the congregation, and facilitate singing with understanding and grace in the heart.

For some counsel from a previous thread on how to sing psalms, see the words of Josias A. Chancellor, The Psalmody of the Church (1873):

IN WHAT MANNER SHOULD WE SING THE PSALMS?

1. Intelligently. We are rational beings. This is a reasonable service. "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." It requires the concentrated action of all the mental faculties, as well as previous familiarity with the matter of the Psalms. On this account they should be regularly explained from Sabbath to Sabbath. Where their excellence is appreciated they will never be laid aside.

2. With the heart. God looketh on the heart. He says to every worshipper, "My son, give me thine heart." When filled with love, and joy, and gratitude, how it beats responsive in his presence, imparts its own thrilling emotions to the music and the psalm, and pours out its richest and its sweetest treasures unsparingly at his feet! Without this, the finest music and the noblest Psalmody are empty and worthless offerings—not better than the husks which swine do eat.

3. With the voice. It is the divine outlet and utterance of the mind and heart in man. God's voice is himself, and we receive it as such. So when we ask God to accept of us we say—hear my cry, attend to my voice. It is a distinctive and inseparable part of ourselves; the natural embodiment of our emotions and desires. We cannot give utterance to them without it. God has made it with special adaptation to this end, and therefore it is, beyond all comparison, the most consummate organ of expression and of praise. He formed it for himself, and claims its most skilful intonations for his worship. We insult, but do not praise God when we use mechanical instruments in its stead. If there be "no essential distinction between the music of the voice and the music of an instrument," may we not use instruments to deepen and interpret our emotions in prayer as well as in praise? The church of Rome plays her litanies and masses with as much propriety and effect as she plays her anthems and oratorios. This substitution of man-made instruments and offices in place of God's is the very core of Anti-Christian worship. The early Christians perfectly understood the symbolical import of the musical instruments which are mentioned in the book of Psalms, and could sing about them with as much freedom and intelligence as they sang of the sacrifices, which no one thinks of renewing. Thus Clement of Alexandria, at the close of the second century, refers to those mentioned in the 150th Psalm. "Praise him with the psaltery. The tongue is the psaltery of the Lord. Praise Him on the lyre. By the lyre is meant the mouth struck by the spirit as it were by a plectrum. Praise him on the chords and organ. Our body he calls an organ, and its nerves are the strings by which it has received harmonious tension, and when struck by the Spirit it gives forth human voices.'' The common sense of the Church in all ages has declared that instrumental music may be calculated to gratify the senses and inflame the passions, but not to aid, unless as types or symbols, the devotions of men. It properly belongs to the public procession and the battlefield, to the theatre and the drinking saloon, but not to the Church of the living God.

4. With distinct enunciation. Every word, as well as every note, should be clearly pronounced. Otherwise, to a stranger coming into the Church, our singing might as well be in an unknown tongue.

5. Skilfully. The art of singing cannot be learned without much study and practice. It is a divine art, and should be cultivated incessantly for the glory of God's name and the improvement of his worship. "As it is commanded of God that all should sing, so all should make conscience of learning to sing. Those, therefore, who neglect to learn to sing live in sin, as they neglect what is necessary to one of the ordinances of God's worship." If any say the heart is everything in praise, we reply they can have no heart whatever in the exercise who do not strive to perform it in the most skilful and perfect manner. In every congregation there should be a standing class for the improvement of sacred music.

6. With appropriate melody. Each psalm has its own character and style, and should have its own tune. The collection is not too large for this. The Reformers everywhere accomplished it with ease. Some of the longer historical psalms are specially adapted for chanting, and chanting is the most simple, ancient, and devotional form of all music. Every tune should be marked by a religious character; the singer and the hearer should at once feel that they are not in the theatre, or the concert-room, or in the private social party, but in the house of the most high God.

7. Harmoniously. All voices are not alike. In pitch as well as in tone they have deep natural distinctions. Instead of vainly trying to obliterate these distinctions, we should aim to harmonise them in God's worship. Human voices resolve themselves into what is called four-part harmony, a natural arrangement by which the different voices of women and men are employed together, according to their pitch. Each individual should find out his own proper part, and cultivate and practise it in full-toned harmony with all the rest. When two or three meet together in the name of Christ they are required to agree together, or harmonise, as to what they shall ask, and as to their general intercourse and action for the common good. Should they not, in the same manner, tune their feelings and voices to sing together in the harmonious expression of their common praise?

8. In the way of direct and sustained adoration. "O come, let us sing unto the Lord. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto Him with psalms. For the Lord is a great God, and a great king above all gods." Yet how often do the indolent posture, the wandering eyes, the frequent interruptions, that would not be permitted during prayer, indicate the want of that solemnity which befits an act of divine worship! When the Jews sang praises they bowed their heads and worshipped, and the redeemed in the Apocalyptic heaven fall down and cast their crowns before the throne. Should not we also take the attitude of highest respect and adoration when engaged in this exercise? "Thou, even thou, art to be feared; and who may stand in thy sight if once thou art angry?" "Praise ye the Lord. Ye that stand in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God."
 
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tellville

Puritan Board Junior
Well, this objection, applied consistently across all worship forms, would also prevent the reading of Scripture in anything other than the original languages, and would further prevent the reading of Scripture even in those languages for fear of using the wrong intonation. Again, we must put forth our best efforts in applying WCF 1.6, and realize that we must be ever reforming. Sanctified sense is always in order.
Todd, I think you nailed my point exactly. If one were to take the EP hermeneutic consistently one would be forced to do just as you say. At least right now that is what it appears to be to me.

It just seems to me inconsistent to insist on EP when one is using melodies that are completely non-Biblical.

As for the article that Andrew posted "IN WHAT MANNER SHOULD WE SING THE PSALMS?" is this not the spirit in which non-EP's strive to create their own worship songs?
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Mark, You wrote:

"Todd, I think you nailed my point exactly. If one were to take the EP hermeneutic consistently one would be forced to do just as you say. At least right now that is what it appears to be to me.

It just seems to me inconsistent to insist on EP when one is using melodies that are completely non-Biblical. "

The "EP hermeneutic" does not include the tunes--they're not in the text of Scripture, nor has the Lord seen fit otherwise to preserve them. If your point is that the EP hermeneutic *ought to* be thus, then you have a responsibility to prove it. I know of no EP'ers who hold such a hermeneutic. What you have attributed to EP'ers is a charicature, not their hermeneutic.
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Mark, You wrote:

"Todd, I think you nailed my point exactly. If one were to take the EP hermeneutic consistently one would be forced to do just as you say. At least right now that is what it appears to be to me.

It just seems to me inconsistent to insist on EP when one is using melodies that are completely non-Biblical. "

The "EP hermeneutic" does not include the tunes--they're not in the text of Scripture, nor has the Lord seen fit otherwise to preserve them. If your point is that the EP hermeneutic *ought to* be thus, then you have a responsibility to prove it. I know of no EP'ers who hold such a hermeneutic. What you have attributed to EP'ers is a charicature, not their hermeneutic.
However, it seems to me anyway, that the accusation against those who are non-EP's is that the worship songs they are singing are not in God's word. Thus, due to the EP's use of the regulative principle, any music sung in Public Worship that is not found in God's word is inappropriate for said worship. But this seems, again to me, to be an inconsistent argument given that the EP will then use non-Biblical music to sing said Psalms.

If it is a caricature to say that EP believe that only what God has explicitly commanded in the Bible should be allowed in Christian worship, then please correct me on said assumption!
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
I'm not sure where to go with this discussion from here. The EP argument is not "sing these tunes" as divinely authored, but "sing these words" as divinely authored. It is the propositions of Scripture that inform our thinking, and the circumstances of various melodies serve other purposes such as making those words memorable, etc. To say that EP'ers demand that everything in song be ordered according to God's Word, and then say that we're somehow inconsistent because we don't use melodies that the Lord has not preserved in His Word seems to be reaching beyond "sanctified sense".
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior
I'm not sure where to go with this discussion from here. The EP argument is not "sing these tunes" as divinely authored, but "sing these words" as divinely authored. It is the propositions of Scripture that inform our thinking, and the circumstances of various melodies serve other purposes such as making those words memorable, etc. To say that EP'ers demand that everything in song be ordered according to God's Word, and then say that we're somehow inconsistent because we don't use melodies that the Lord has not preserved in His Word seems to be reaching beyond "sanctified sense".
1. Do EP'ers demand that anything done during Public Worship must propositionally come from Scripture? That is what I am trying to establish.

2. Because if it is the case that EP'ers do demand that anything done during Public Worship must propositionally come from Scripture, then wouldn't that mean, according to the EP'ers hermeneutic, that because Scripture does not mention or provide us with any melodies that we are not to sing the Psalms with melodies?

Here is a syllogism:

1. EP'ers demand that anything done during Public Worship must propositionally come from Scripture.
2. Scripture does not propositionally provide musical melodies.
3. Therefore, musical melodies should not be used during Public Worship.

But yet, EP'ers do use melodies during public worship. However, it seems to me that to be consistent the EP'er would have to assume that God does not desire melodies during worship because he has not provided any in His Word.
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Ep'ers distinguish, as do all who hold to the regulative principle of worship, between elements and circumstances of worship. John L Girardeau on Chris Coldwell's website here. So no, not all things that take place in worship must be found in the Word. What kind of seats? What kind of lighting? What kind of facility? What time do we meet? How long is the service? These are questions of circumstance common to all human actions and societies and are to be governed by the light of nature, Christian prudemce, and the general principles of the Word, which are always to be obeyed. (WCF 1.6) The tune of the Psalm, as I said in my first post, falls in this category.

To answer your question directly, dear sir, no, Ep'ers, with all who hold to the regulative principle of worship, do not hold that "everything in worship" must have a specific command in Scripture. I hope this clarifies my position.

To say that the Lord does not desire melodies because He has not left any in Scripture is to deny the command given *in* Scripture to sing. The Lord has not left melodies, as He has not regulated lighting, seating, time of service, length of service.
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior
Ep'ers distinguish, as do all who hold to the regulative principle of worship, between elements and circumstances of worship. John L Girardeau on Chris Coldwell's website here. So no, not all things that take place in worship must be found in the Word. What kind of seats? What kind of lighting? What kind of facility? What time do we meet? How long is the service? These are questions of circumstance common to all human actions and societies and are to be governed by the light of nature, Christian prudemce, and the general principles of the Word, which are always to be obeyed. (WCF 1.6) The tune of the Psalm, as I said in my first post, falls in this category.

To answer your question directly, dear sir, no, Ep'ers, with all who hold to the regulative principle of worship, do not hold that "everything in worship" must have a specific command in Scripture. I hope this clarifies my position.

To say that the Lord does not desire melodies because He has not left any in Scripture is to deny the command given *in* Scripture to sing. The Lord has not left melodies, as He has not regulated lighting, seating, time of service, length of service.
Thank you Todd for your engaging replies.

It seems to me then that unless a direct command is given in Scripture to only sing Psalms during Public Worship then the choice of song sung can be chosen in the same way that you say the melodies can.

I agree that Scripture encourages us to sing, but I am not the one (at least currently) holding to EP. As of right now I think the way that has been shown to choose the melodies for Worship are totally valid. I just don't think at this present moment that they are valid reasons if you hold to EP.

Maybe I should modify my syllogism:

1. EP'ers demand that anything done during Public Worship specifically meant as part of the order of worship must propositionally come from Scripture.
2. Scripture does not propositionally provide musical melodies.
3. Therefore, musical melodies should not be used during the order of worship during Public Worship.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Maybe I should modify my syllogism:

1. EP'ers demand that anything done during Public Worship specifically meant as part of the order of worship must propositionally come from Scripture.
2. Scripture does not propositionally provide musical melodies.
3. Therefore, musical melodies should not be used during the order of worship during Public Worship.
Here is revealed something which you have been assuming all along, but which has no basis in the nature of the EP argument, namely, that musical melodies are a part of the worship of God. No Psalm singer claims to be worshipping God when they take up musical melodies; they simply use musical melodies as a necessary part of fulfilling the command "to sing." The Psalm singer does, however, claim to be worshipping God in *what* they sing, since the Scriptures prescribe the singing of a certain *quality* of song in praising God. This being the case, in responding to the EP argument, you are obliged to understand the distinction which is made between (1.) circumstances, the fulfilling of which are necessary in order to obey the command to sing, and (2.) elements, which are the essence of worship, and which God has commanded us to do in worship to Him, such as the singing of Psalms with grace in the heart. Failure to recognise this distinction will only lead to what is called the fallacy of composition, such as is committed in your modified syllogism above. Blessings!
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
To the OP:

The question was, "How do you choose the melodies to sing the Psalms?"

I see that the real question is clarified in Post #4 above.

Now that I think about it, apparently I failed to read between the lines when I read "the exclusive practice of singing only the psalms" back in Post #1. Had I been more careful, I would have spent that time period in alternative activity.

Lesson learned. I regret the misunderstanding.
 
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tellville

Puritan Board Junior
Maybe I should modify my syllogism:

1. EP'ers demand that anything done during Public Worship specifically meant as part of the order of worship must propositionally come from Scripture.
2. Scripture does not propositionally provide musical melodies.
3. Therefore, musical melodies should not be used during the order of worship during Public Worship.
Here is revealed something which you have been assuming all along, but which has no basis in the nature of the EP argument, namely, that musical melodies are a part of the worship of God. No Psalm singer claims to be worshipping God when they take up musical melodies; they simply use musical melodies as a necessary part of fulfilling the command "to sing." The Psalm singer does, however, claim to be worshipping God in *what* they sing, since the Scriptures prescribe the singing of a certain *quality* of song in praising God. This being the case, in responding to the EP argument, you are obliged to understand the distinction which is made between (1.) circumstances, the fulfilling of which are necessary in order to obey the command to sing, and (2.) elements, which are the essence of worship, and which God has commanded us to do in worship to Him, such as the singing of Psalms with grace in the heart. Failure to recognise this distinction will only lead to what is called the fallacy of composition, such as is committed in your modified syllogism above. Blessings!
Ok, so the EP'er does not believe that the melody behind the Psalm is in any way glorifying God (BTW, I am under the impression that anything that glorifies God during Public Worship IS Worship)?

I know my questions may seem like to you and other EP'ers to be pointless questions not worth the bytes used to express them. Maybe it's because I'm a musician, I don't know, but this overall question seems important to me.

To the OP:

The question was, "How do you choose the melodies to sing the Psalms?"

I see that the real question is clarified in Post #4 above.

Now that I think about it, apparently I failed to read between the lines when I read "the exclusive practice of singing only the psalms" back in Post #1. Had I been more careful, I would have spent that time period in alternative activity.

Lesson learned. I regret the misunderstanding.
I'm sorry you found your post to be a waste Jay. I personally found it very informative. I am just as curious in the answer you gave as the answers to my more clarified question in P4. I'm sorry if you feel you were misled and that I have caused you feelings of regret. I had no intentions of causing such feelings. On a brighter note, I definitely know who to ask for recommendations if I ever adopt EP or just adopt singing of the Psalter! God bless Jay.
 

jaybird0827

PuritanBoard Honor Roll
I'm sorry you found your post to be a waste Jay. I personally found it very informative. I am just as curious in the answer you gave as the answers to my more clarified question in P4. I'm sorry if you feel you were misled and that I have caused you feelings of regret. I had no intentions of causing such feelings. On a brighter note, I definitely know who to ask for recommendations if I ever adopt EP or just adopt singing of the Psalter! God bless Jay.
Mark,

:handshake: Accepted.

Received your PM and replied. Glad you profited from it after all.

May you have a blessed Lord's Day.
 

russelljohnson

Puritan Board Freshman
6 pre-selected Psalm/Tune selections each week

...I try to be judicious as far as the choice of tune. It depends on the passage to be sung and the prevailing mood of the passage. Some tunes seem appropriate; others don't.

The Psalms in Meter (Irish split-leaf) suggests that tunes fall roughly into seven categories: plaintive, prayerful, restful, didactic, cheerful, jubilant, majestic; and the editors list tunes under each category. This is obviously subjective. Some tunes seem to span more than one classification. Within a classification the range of moods may be very broad. Two tunes in the same classification might not seem to work equally well.

We sing from the 1650 Scottish Psalter.
Another good resource for singing the Scottish Psalter is the "Comprehensive Psalter", by Faith Presbyterian Church Reformed (formerly First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett, until they moved from Rowlett) at http://www.fpcr.org/catalog/catalog-online.htm:

There are 312 standard Psalm settings. This gives the user of The Comprehensive Psalter six Psalm settings (or "Psalter selections") - one for each weekday plus Saturday - for the 52 weeks in one year. Using this plan, one can sing entirely through the Psalter once every year. At First Presbyterian Church of Rowlett, we sing those same six Psalm selections in our public worship the following Sunday. Utilizing this plan, one can sing entirely through the Psalter twice every year: once during the week in family or personal worship, and then again on Sundays in public worship.​

If, like me, you're not familiar with the tunes, they have the corresponding MIDI files freely available for download at http://www.fpcr.org/catalog/software.htm.
 

x.spasitel

Puritan Board Freshman
Might I note that, coming from a Reformed Presbyterian perspective, since we don't use the Scottish Psalter the matter of tunes does not come as a case of widespread special revelation, we all agree, kumbayah, etc. The people who put together our Psalters try their best to put something together that fits the mood of the words, that is in a free enough metre that the words aren't crabbed, and that is easy enough to sing by a congregation of which 80% of the members are not trained singers, at least. Sometimes they do a very good job, and other times not so well. In general the 1972 Book of Psalms for Singing is a very reasonably fit tune-book, with a few tunes being just plain bad.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mark,

I would like to add a brief note of clarification, which seems to be required here.

I have seen it previously and frequently claimed that EPers have some kind of special or strict hermeneutic which forces them to their conclusions. But I have repeatedly asserted that we simply desire to apply the regulative principle only as far (or as strictly) as God Himself applies it in His Word. If something about an appointed element of worship has been appointed by God, then God regulates that aspect of that element. If not, then He doesn't. (E.g., God appoints that we meet on the Lord's Day for religious worship, but doesn't appoint a particular time -- He regulates the day, not the particular time or hour.)

Thus, since God does not appoint a particular language to be employed in either Scripture or worship services, we do not consider ourselves bound by the particular languages in which the Word of God originally came. Further, since we are positively bound by 1 Corinthians 14 to not speak an uninterpreted word in worship services (and following the example of Christ and His apostles, who employed a Greek translation of the Old Testament), we render the Scriptures and the worship of God in the vernacular. -- This same principle which authorizes our translation of the Scriptures, likewise authorizes our translation of the Psalter.

Likewise, since God gave and authorized the Psalms for the singing of His praise, but did not supply particular tunes, we therefore understand that the particular songs which we sing are regulated, but not the tunes to which we sing those songs.

This is a logical, rational explanation of our guiding principles in applying the regulative principle, accounting for our actual practice. If you believe that we operate under a radically different principle, which should force us to the exclusive use of the Psalter in Hebrew, sung to appointed tunes; you should probably demonstrate that we hold to such a principle, before asserting what we should or shouldn't do, based upon that principle.
 
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