Is there Scriptural Warrant for Composing Uninspired song for use in public worship

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DonP

Puritan Board Junior
Only one question then, does Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 teach more than the psalms, and is this referring to in public worship.

Now how could it? Stop and think, if you were a 1st Century Jew who was a believer or became converted and met in the synagogue or some other place and this was written to you, what would you think it meant?
Well, history seems to show that they thought it meant compose new hymns. Isn't that why Paul included new hymns in his letters (E.g Col 1:15-20,)? He is quoting early hymns to Christ. If he is quoting early hymns wouldn't that must mean that the earliest Christians were composing them? And would the fact that he is including them in letters meant to be read during worship mean that Paul thought it was ok to include new Christian hymns in the worship service?
What hymn did he quote?

Col 1:15-20 was a new hymn??

And even if it was we have no problem with new hymns, just not to use them in the stated worship

So no this still would not tell me it was OK to use them in worship.

Although if it is a hymn then it is included in revelation and would therefore be an inspired hymn, thus, not a new uninspired hymn.

Can you site something to help me see why you think this is a new hymn?
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you Puritansailor this settles it for me.
So you are arguing the the psalter is insufficient?
Not at all. The psalmists celebrate the nature and work of God up until their point in time, and anticipated what God would do in the future. So they have their place. But they didn't know exactly how God would work salvation for his people, nor the glory of the Trinity which the coming of Jesus would reveal. Now that the great mysteries of salvation have been revealed, how can we not sing praise to God for what he has done for us? Whenever the curtain over God's character was rolled further back in the OT, the saints praise God with new songs. How can we not do that in the NT, when his greatest works and revelation of his character are revealed? If we are to be consistent with the practice of the OT saints, we should still obey the commands in the Psalms and Prophets to sing new songs of praise to God for the greater works he has done, and the greater revelation of his character after the OT was completed. And lo and behold, we are commanded to do just that in the NT, to teach and admonish one another with song, just as the psalms functioned in the Old Testament.
:2cents:
Patrick,

You are arguing that that Psalter is insufficient. You are saying that it was sufficient at one time, but now we need to add to it. Where is this command to add these uninspired hymns? You can't have it both ways. I'll repeat what I said earlier. It is what our Lord sang and it is what the apostles sang. We have no command or example to add to it.
 

PresReformed

Puritan Board Freshman
Only one question then, does Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 teach more than the psalms, and is this referring to in public worship.

Now how could it? Stop and think, if you were a 1st Century Jew who was a believer or became converted and met in the synagogue or some other place and this was written to you, what would you think it meant?
Well, history seems to show that they thought it meant compose new hymns. Isn't that why Paul included new hymns in his letters (E.g Col 1:15-20,)? He is quoting early hymns to Christ. If he is quoting early hymns wouldn't that must mean that the earliest Christians were composing them? And would the fact that he is including them in letters meant to be read during worship mean that Paul thought it was ok to include new Christian hymns in the worship service?
Taken from Brian Schwertley's book Exclusive Psalmody

What About the Alleged Hymnic Fragments in the New Testament?

A common method for arguing against exclusive Psalmody is to appeal to the existence of hymnic fragments within the New Testament. The existence of these hymnic fragments, we are told, teaches us that the apostolic church was engaged in hymn writing, and thus we also ought to compose our own hymns. The problem with this argument is that it is not based on solid scriptural evidence, but is basically the speculation of modernistic theologians and commentators.

The Greek scholar Delling writes,

Attempts have been made to identify various primitive Christian hymns or hymnal fragments in the N.T. But such identifications must remain hypothetical, particularly as there is in the N.T. no attempt—and this is a point worth noting in itself—to use the Greek style of metrical hymns. The pieces in the N.T. which take the form of praise are in general so little controlled by any discernable laws that for the most part judgment as to their character as hymns can claim only limited validity.

A study of the literature which speaks of these so-called hymnic fragments reveals that the methodology for determining what is and is not a hymn fragment is totally subjective and unreliable. Subjective speculation does not provide a biblical foundation for church practice, especially in light of the biblical evidence in favor of exclusive Psalmody.

Furthermore, if hymnology flourished in the apostolic church, as many suppose, “it is indeed remarkable that not a single one of these hymns has survived intact outside the New Testament writings. Nor is there a single shred of undisputed historical evidence suggesting the use of such hymns in the Church in the second century. It is just as astounding that not a single one of these ‘hymns’ is identified as such in the New Testament writings themselves.”

Since Scripture never identifies the poetic or rhythmical passages as songs or hymns fragments, and since there is not a shred of evidence that these fragments were used for worship songs in the apostolic church, or even in the second century, we can refer to the hymn fragment argument against exclusive Psalmody as the grasping after invisible straws argument.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
So you are arguing the the psalter is insufficient?
Not at all. The psalmists celebrate the nature and work of God up until their point in time, and anticipated what God would do in the future. So they have their place. But they didn't know exactly how God would work salvation for his people, nor the glory of the Trinity which the coming of Jesus would reveal. Now that the great mysteries of salvation have been revealed, how can we not sing praise to God for what he has done for us? Whenever the curtain over God's character was rolled further back in the OT, the saints praise God with new songs. How can we not do that in the NT, when his greatest works and revelation of his character are revealed? If we are to be consistent with the practice of the OT saints, we should still obey the commands in the Psalms and Prophets to sing new songs of praise to God for the greater works he has done, and the greater revelation of his character after the OT was completed. And lo and behold, we are commanded to do just that in the NT, to teach and admonish one another with song, just as the psalms functioned in the Old Testament.
:2cents:
Patrick,

You are arguing that that Psalter is insufficient. You are saying that it was sufficient at one time, but now we need to add to it. Where is this command to add these uninspired hymns? You can't have it both ways. I'll repeat what I said earlier. It is what our Lord sang and it is what the apostles sang. We have no command or example to add to it.
Is the Psalter sufficient as Scripture? Certainly. Is it sufficient to sing in worship? Certainly. But do they praise God for everything he has accomplished in Christ, do they praise God for the greater revelation of himself as Trinity? No. God had not revealed it completely yet. That doesn't mean the songs are defective, they were just completed at an earlier point in redemptive history when God had not finished revealing everything we needed to know about him. God had more to reveal about himself, and he commands us both in the Psalms and the NT to sing praise for these things. It's a pattern we see over and over again in Scripture. God reveals himself, God's people praise him for it. He commands us repeatedly to sing "new songs" (not "inspired songs") to praise him for who he is and what he has done, and to teach and admonish with songs. Therefore, we can compose new songs to praise God for his greater works and greater revelation of his character. :2cents:
 

tellville

Puritan Board Junior
Only one question then, does Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 teach more than the psalms, and is this referring to in public worship.

Now how could it? Stop and think, if you were a 1st Century Jew who was a believer or became converted and met in the synagogue or some other place and this was written to you, what would you think it meant?
Well, history seems to show that they thought it meant compose new hymns. Isn't that why Paul included new hymns in his letters (E.g Col 1:15-20,)? He is quoting early hymns to Christ. If he is quoting early hymns wouldn't that must mean that the earliest Christians were composing them? And would the fact that he is including them in letters meant to be read during worship mean that Paul thought it was ok to include new Christian hymns in the worship service?
What hymn did he quote?

Col 1:15-20 was a new hymn??

And even if it was we have no problem with new hymns, just not to use them in the stated worship

So no this still would not tell me it was OK to use them in worship.

Although if it is a hymn then it is included in revelation and would therefore be an inspired hymn, thus, not a new uninspired hymn.

Can you site something to help me see why you think this is a new hymn?
Sure, here is an article by FF Bruce: http://www.biblicalstudies.org.uk/pdf/vox/vol15/hymn_balchin.pdf

Here is a link if you can't open pdf's:

The "Christ Hymn" of Colossians 1:15-20


The main point of my post was to show that Christians were composing new hymns. They obviously felt it was ok to compose new hymns in honour of Christ. Also, assuming that Paul did not know he was composing scripture but rather was in his mind at the time writing a letter to address problems and issues in the church of Colossae wouldn't it be safe to assume that he thought including newly composed hymns in the worship service was ok given that he included one?

-----Added 4/12/2009 at 10:39:33 EST-----

Only one question then, does Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16 teach more than the psalms, and is this referring to in public worship.

Now how could it? Stop and think, if you were a 1st Century Jew who was a believer or became converted and met in the synagogue or some other place and this was written to you, what would you think it meant?
Well, history seems to show that they thought it meant compose new hymns. Isn't that why Paul included new hymns in his letters (E.g Col 1:15-20,)? He is quoting early hymns to Christ. If he is quoting early hymns wouldn't that must mean that the earliest Christians were composing them? And would the fact that he is including them in letters meant to be read during worship mean that Paul thought it was ok to include new Christian hymns in the worship service?
Taken from Brian Schwertley's book Exclusive Psalmody

What About the Alleged Hymnic Fragments in the New Testament?

A common method for arguing against exclusive Psalmody is to appeal to the existence of hymnic fragments within the New Testament. The existence of these hymnic fragments, we are told, teaches us that the apostolic church was engaged in hymn writing, and thus we also ought to compose our own hymns. The problem with this argument is that it is not based on solid scriptural evidence, but is basically the speculation of modernistic theologians and commentators.

The Greek scholar Delling writes,

Attempts have been made to identify various primitive Christian hymns or hymnal fragments in the N.T. But such identifications must remain hypothetical, particularly as there is in the N.T. no attempt—and this is a point worth noting in itself—to use the Greek style of metrical hymns. The pieces in the N.T. which take the form of praise are in general so little controlled by any discernable laws that for the most part judgment as to their character as hymns can claim only limited validity.

A study of the literature which speaks of these so-called hymnic fragments reveals that the methodology for determining what is and is not a hymn fragment is totally subjective and unreliable. Subjective speculation does not provide a biblical foundation for church practice, especially in light of the biblical evidence in favor of exclusive Psalmody.

Furthermore, if hymnology flourished in the apostolic church, as many suppose, “it is indeed remarkable that not a single one of these hymns has survived intact outside the New Testament writings. Nor is there a single shred of undisputed historical evidence suggesting the use of such hymns in the Church in the second century. It is just as astounding that not a single one of these ‘hymns’ is identified as such in the New Testament writings themselves.”

Since Scripture never identifies the poetic or rhythmical passages as songs or hymns fragments, and since there is not a shred of evidence that these fragments were used for worship songs in the apostolic church, or even in the second century, we can refer to the hymn fragment argument against exclusive Psalmody as the grasping after invisible straws argument.
I'm sorry but I just don't buy this. Why would we expect songs to survive outside of the NT? This was the time of the persecuted church - protecting hymns would be the least important documents to save. Also, hymns and songs would probably have been remembered by oral tradition anyway. Why waste limited resources on songs? Finally, I do not think scholars are grasping at proverbial straws when they point to hymns in the NT text. Most, if not all, scholars who find these hymns in the NT text aren't even thinking about Exclusive Psalmody. It's not even an issue on their radar. They promote the idea simply because they actually think the text is a hymn.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Embedded hymnic fragments in NT literature is a debatable point. Any argument for the inclusion of compositions other than Psalms should be based on the "assured" results of biblical criticism, not bare conjectures which scholars of all shades cannot agree on.

Concerning the argument that progressive revelation should result in progressive psalmody -- it begs the question as to why God did not authorise and equip psalmists to pen progressive psalmody to keep in step with progressive revelation. The fact remains that David and his musical seers mark an epoch in the history of revelation which knows no equivalent in subsequent ages.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."

The warrant for singing uninspired compositions in public worship is not expressly set down in scripture.

Anyone disagree with that?

Is there an unequivocal command to do this? My expectation is no one contends this but realizes we are making the second kind of argument, deductions by good and necessary consequence. But I was curious if indeed anyone contends this.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Folks,
Do not make posts by adding to an already approved post. You have the freedom to edit the approved post; this is a loop hole that allows adding more material that does not pass through moderation. Anyone doing this subsequent to this warning will have their whole post deleted.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."

The warrant for singing uninspired compositions in public worship is not expressly set down in scripture.

Anyone disagree with that?

Is there an unequivocal command to do this? My expectation is no one contends this but realizes we are making the second kind of argument, deductions by good and necessary consequence. But I was curious if indeed anyone contends this.
I guess I disagree with it. I don't see anywhere in scripture that claims the distinctions the EP side has made. Do the Colossians and Ephesians passages indicate that they are only referring to the 150 songs included in the Canon of Scripture? A Psalm is music that has musical accompaniment to it. That is what the word means. A Hymn is a song of Praise. A Spiritual Song is relative to things that are spiritual in nature. It could be a song of Testimony.

I just have never been convinced that the early New Testament church took these passages to be understood as singing the 150 psalms specifically. As noted before there are references in History that indicate that portions of the New Testament were also sang by the earliest Christians.

Just my two cents worth.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Randy,
Okay, to be clear then. You understand EPH 5:19 and COL 3:16 as unequivocal commands to compose songs for worship? On the face of it? No other deductions or inferences are needed in addition to come to that conclusion?
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."

The warrant for singing uninspired compositions in public worship is not expressly set down in scripture.

Anyone disagree with that?

Is there an unequivocal command to do this? My expectation is no one contends this but realizes we are making the second kind of argument, deductions by good and necessary consequence. But I was curious if indeed anyone contends this.
The warrant to sing and why we should sing is "expressly set down in Scripture." But to argue further either way regarding which songs to sing is a matter of "good and necessary consequences."

We are in fact commanded to sing "new songs" in Scripture. The problem is a debate over the context of those commands. Are they general commands to praise God with song, or are they commands restricted to the Psalter?

The broader meaning of the words "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" would be a general command to use songs for the purpose of praise and exhortation. The more narrow meaning restricting these words to the Psalter would command the Psalms alone.

But either interpretation requires more argumentation as this debate has demonstrated. :2cents:
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks very much Patrick. I just wanted to ensure we were all on the same page on that score at least.
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."

The warrant for singing uninspired compositions in public worship is not expressly set down in scripture.

Anyone disagree with that?

Is there an unequivocal command to do this? My expectation is no one contends this but realizes we are making the second kind of argument, deductions by good and necessary consequence. But I was curious if indeed anyone contends this.
The warrant to sing and why we should sing is "expressly set down in Scripture." But to argue further either way regarding which songs to sing is a matter of "good and necessary consequences."

We are in fact commanded to sing "new songs" in Scripture. The problem is a debate over the context of those commands. Are they general commands to praise God with song, or are they commands restricted to the Psalter?

The broader meaning of the words "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" would be a general command to use songs for the purpose of praise and exhortation. The more narrow meaning restricting these words to the Psalter would command the Psalms alone.

But either interpretation requires more argumentation as this debate has demonstrated. :2cents:
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture....".
Okay, now that we are on the same page that the argument for or against the proposition hinges on good and necessary consequence. Can the thread stick to handing this question? Prove by good, and necessary, consequence that there is a scriptural warrant for composing uninspired song for use in public worship, or rebut the same.
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
An issue I would like to see clarified is just how does one go from the inspired book of Psalms given by the Holy Spirit to uninspired songs in the New Testament written by some "qualified someone" but not by the Holy Spirit and not a prophetic utterance.?

Also, David, when writing about "new songs" simply points to a new song he has written. It is quite a leap to go from that to now we can compose uninspired (not God breathed) songs today. You are forced to shift from God-breathed songs to man-breathed songs. You must have warrant for that and what Paul wrote would not overthrow that basic distinction.

As to the content of songs (i.e. doctrinally sound= ok to be sung). I think we miss the point of the compilation of the Psalms by the Holy Spirit for a reason. The inclusion 150 Psalms in the book was not ad hoc (as with Scripture to which nothing is to be added) but given for us and it is not unreasonable to assume it has the fullness there needed in singing if we reflect upon them. In fact, we cannot think otherwise. Here we are speaking of fullness of meaning not certain words used such as "Christ rose from the dead". Do those words have to be used to get the fullness of meaning? One would have to argue the Psalms fall short in God-breathed meaning and fullness rather than fall short of inclusion of certain words. Lack of inclusion of certain words does not prove the insufficiency of the Psalter.


Just a few thoughts.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Chris,

When you speak of "uninspired song" I assume you are speaking of anything not written in the book of Psalms. Is that correct?

I have been thinking about the phrase in Colossians 3:16, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom". There is a connect between that phrase and "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." I asked my pastor yesterday if there was a connect between these two phrases, and his reply to me was "Can you prove to me there is not a connect between those two phrases.

What is the Word of Christ?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
J,
The question in the OP uses uninspired versus inspired by the Holy Ghost. and is not specific as to the EP or inspired praise position. As to the Eph. and Col. passages, I hold to the EP position.

Chris,

When you speak of "uninspired song" I assume you are speaking of anything not written in the book of Psalms. Is that correct?

I have been thinking about the phrase in Colossians 3:16, "Let the Word of Christ dwell in you richly with all wisdom". There is a connect between that phrase and "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs." I asked my pastor yesterday if there was a connect between these two phrases, and his reply to me was "Can you prove to me there is not a connect between those two phrases.

What is the Word of Christ?
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Randy,
Okay, to be clear then. You understand EPH 5:19 and COL 3:16 as unequivocal commands to compose songs for worship? On the face of it? No other deductions or inferences are needed in addition to come to that conclusion?
I do believe that there are boundaries set in those passages. The Word of Christ is to dwell in us. We can deduct from this that the truth must be sang and that musical accompaniment should be used as per the passages mentioned. Nothing heretical should be sang.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."
So if you can't deduce from scripture that we are to compose or sing uninspired songs in worship, then it would be a violation of the Confession to do so.

Also those of you who keep saying as long as the new songs are doctrinally accurate it is 'ok.

Well doctrinally accurate by whose judgment?

We don't even agree on what is doctrinally correct on this PB of similarly minded Christians.
Do you assume any of the people who write songs today will say, yes this one is heretical, it has some minor doctrinal errors in it? No they al think theirs is truth.

So the point is we are to sing these songs to God, to praise Him

So He can be the only judge of whether it is is doctrinally accurate enough for His worship.

This is why He had an inspired book for worship put together. Else why would He if we can all write songs.
David probably had a lot of other things that cold have been written. But this shows the importance of God's desire for a composed book of worship songs to be exclusively used for His worship.

Sing a new song is clearly the same songs, same truth, sung with a new heart, a new attitude, a new understanding, a new zeal for God.

I don't need a new composition to do this. I need a new heart. That is what God is more concerned with .

Ps 147:10 He does not delight in the strength of the horse;
He takes no pleasure in the legs of a man.
11 The LORD takes pleasure in those who fear Him,
In those who hope in His mercy.
12 Praise the LORD, O Jerusalem!
Praise your God, O Zion! NKJV


Ps 51:15 O Lord, open my lips,
And my mouth shall show forth Your praise.
16 For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it;
You do not delight in burnt offering.
17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit,
A broken and a contrite heart

These, O God, You will not despise. NKJV
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."
So if you can't deduce from scripture that we are to compose or sing uninspired songs in worship, then it would be a violation of the Confession to do so.

Also those of you who keep saying as long as the new songs are doctrinally accurate it is 'ok.

Well doctrinally accurate by whose judgment?
It wouldn't be for those of us who hold to the LBCF...

Here is what Sam Waldron says on p. 267 of A Modern Exposition of the 1689.

This chapter follows very closely the Savoy Declaration's minor revisions of the Westminster Confession. The only change of note from the Savoy is the addition of the phrase, 'teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs' in paragraph 5. This alteration, which seems to have originated with the authors of the 1689 Confession, takes the place of the words 'of psalms' in the Westminster Confession and Savoy Declaration. It probably indicates a desire to distance themselves from the position of exclusive psalmody.
Concerning your remark of...
Well doctrinally accurate by whose judgment?
The Scriptures are adequate in teaching truth. Heresy has been dealt with all through history. The Presbyters are usually capable men of discernment.

Sing a new song is clearly the same songs, same truth, sung with a new heart, a new attitude, a new understanding, a new zeal for God.
I think you are talking about a new heart instead of a New Song.

As I noted above....

I guess I disagree with it. I don't see anywhere in scripture that claims the distinctions the EP side has made. Do the Colossians and Ephesians passages indicate that they are only referring to the 150 songs included in the Canon of Scripture? A Psalm is music that has musical accompaniment to it. That is what the word means. A Hymn is a song of Praise. A Spiritual Song is relative to things that are spiritual in nature. It could be a song of Testimony.

I just have never been convinced that the early New Testament church took these passages to be understood as singing the 150 psalms specifically. As noted before there are references in History that indicate that portions of the New Testament were also sang by the earliest Christians.
There is prescription here concerning what is to be sung. I find the EP lacking in this area as I noted what the words indicate.
 

DonP

Puritan Board Junior
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."
It wouldn't be for those of us who hold to the LBCF...

Here is what Sam Waldron says on p. 267 of A Modern Exposition of the 1689.

.
" Probably distance from the WCF"

So this means he believes the WCF is clear on EP and he probably thinks this may be a distancing.

I wouldn't want to base my worship on this man's "probably"

I would want to interpret scripture to see if Psalms, hymns, Spiritual Songs were all parts of the psalms, or not, and if in fact these verses are authorizing them in stated worship

This leaves two items to interpret and prove, rather than to just go by one commentator who also chooses not to prove it, but thinks "probably" it means that?

We don't need 3-4 years of seminary and language and ancient culture study to think "probably" the scripture means this.
Anyone can do that.

Lets hear some exegesis using hermeneutical principles to change a practice of the church for 1000 years BC and 1800 more AD.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
The question stands. Where is there warrant for the composition for uninspired songs? Neither the Ephesians or Colossians passage commands us to compose or expound. They simply command us to speak, teach, and admonish by singing the psalms.
I guess my question is who says they are not inspired by God?


And where in scripture does it say singing THE Psalms?? The verses say singing Psalms, so it appears 'the' is being added to the verses..

If I am wrong in that, please show me where the word 'the' is in these verses..

What is the tune of "The Doe of the Morning?"

Psa 22:1 For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
 

YXU

Puritan Board Freshman
WCF 1.6. "The whole counsel of God, concerning all things necessary for his own glory, man's salvation, and life, is either expressly set down in scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from scripture...."

The warrant for singing uninspired compositions in public worship is not expressly set down in scripture.

Anyone disagree with that?

Is there an unequivocal command to do this? My expectation is no one contends this but realizes we are making the second kind of argument, deductions by good and necessary consequence. But I was curious if indeed anyone contends this.
I guess I disagree with it. I don't see anywhere in scripture that claims the distinctions the EP side has made. Do the Colossians and Ephesians passages indicate that they are only referring to the 150 songs included in the Canon of Scripture? A Psalm is music that has musical accompaniment to it. That is what the word means. A Hymn is a song of Praise. A Spiritual Song is relative to things that are spiritual in nature. It could be a song of Testimony.

I just have never been convinced that the early New Testament church took these passages to be understood as singing the 150 psalms specifically. As noted before there are references in History that indicate that portions of the New Testament were also sang by the earliest Christians.

Just my two cents worth.
Sir, below are some quotations from the commentary of scriptures of the church father Chrysostom.

Quote:
Ver. 18, 19, 20, 21. But be filled with the Spirit; speaking one to another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God even the Father; subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

Do you wish, he says, to be cheerful, do you wish to employ the day? I give you spiritual drink; for drunkenness even cuts off the articulate sound of our tongue; it makes us lisp and stammer, and distorts the eyes, and the whole frame together. Learn to sing psalms, and you shall see the delightfulness of the employment. For they who sing psalms are filled with the Holy Spirit, as they who sing satanic songs are filled with an unclean spirit.

What is meant by with your hearts to the Lord? It means, with close attention and understanding. For they who do not attend closely, merely sing, uttering the words, while their heart is roaming elsewhere.

Always, he says, giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ unto God even the Father, subjecting yourselves one to another in the fear of Christ.

That is, let your requests be made known unto God, with thanksgiving (Philip. iv. 6.); for there is nothing so pleasing to God, as for a man to be thankful. But we shall be best able to give thanks unto God, by withdrawing our souls from the things before mentioned, and by thoroughly cleansing them by the means he has told us.

But be filled, says he, with the Spirit.

And is then this Spirit within us? Yes, indeed, within us. For when we have driven away lying, and bitterness, and fornication, and uncleanness, and covetousness, from our souls, when we are become kind, tender-hearted, forgiving one another, when there is no jesting, when we have rendered ourselves worthy of it, what is there to hinder the Holy Spirit from coming and lighting upon us? And not only will He come unto us, but He will fill our hearts; and when we have so great a light kindled within us, then will the way of virtue be no longer difficult to attain, but will be easy and simple.
(Commentary on Ephesians 5:19)

Teaching, he says, and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs. Mark also the considerateness of Paul. Seeing that reading is toilsome, and its irksomeness great, he led them not to histories, but to psalms, that you might at once delight your soul with singing, and gently beguile your labors. Hymns, he says, and spiritual songs. But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians; no one knows any psalm, but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, and a mockery, and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils. For whatsoever soil the plant stands in, such is the fruit it bears; if in a sandy and salty soil, of like nature is its fruit; if in a sweet and rich one, it is again similar. So the matter of instruction is a sort of fountain. Teach him to sing those psalms which are so full of the love of wisdom; as at once concerning chastity, or rather, before all, of not companying with the wicked, immediately with the very beginning of the book; (for therefore also it was that the prophet began on this wise, Blessed is the man that has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly; (Ps. i. 1.), and again, I have not sat in the council of vanity; (Ps. xxvi. 4, Sept.), and again, in his sight a wicked doer is contemned, but he honors those that fear the Lord, (Ps. xv. 4, Sept.,) of companying with the good, (and these subjects you will find there in abundance,) of restraining the belly, of restraining the hand, of refraining from excess, of not overreaching; that money is nothing, nor glory, and other things such like.

When in these you have led him on from childhood, by little and little you will lead him forward even to the higher things. The Psalms contain all things, but the Hymns again have nothing human. When he has been instructed out of the Psalms, he will then know hymns also, as a diviner thing. For the Powers above chant hymns, not psalms. For a hymn, says one, is not comely in the mouth of a sinner (Ecclus. xv. 9.); and again, My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land, that they sit together with me (Psalm 101:6, 7, Sept.); and again, he that works haughtiness has not dwelt in the midst of my house; and again, He that walks in a blameless way, he ministered unto me. (Ps. ci. 6, Sept.)

So that you should safely guard them from intermixing themselves, not only with friends, but even with servants. For the harm done to the free is incalculable, when we place over them corrupt slaves. For if when enjoying all the benefit of a father's affection and wisdom, they can with difficulty be preserved safe throughout; when we hand them over to the unscrupulousness of servants, they use them like enemies, thinking that they will prove milder masters to them, when they have made them perfect fools, and weak, and worthy of no respect.

More then than all other things together, let us attend seriously to this. I have loved, says he, those that love your law. (Psalm 119:165, not exact.) This man then let us too emulate, and such let us love. And that the young may further be taught chastity, let them hear the Prophet, saying, My loins are filled with illusions (Ps. xxxviii. 7, Sept.); and again let them hear him saying, You will utterly destroy every one that goes a whoring from You. (Ps. lxxiii. 27, Sept.) And, that one ought to restrain the belly, let them hear again, And slew, he says, the more part of them while the meat was yet in their mouths. (Ps. lxxviii. 30, Sept.) And that they ought to be above bribes, If riches become abundant, set [not] your heart upon them (Ps. lxii. 10.); and that they ought to keep glory in subjection, Nor shall his glory descend together after him. (Ps. xlix. 17.) And not to envy the wicked, Be not envious against them that work unrighteousness. (Ps. xxxvii. 1.) And to count power as nothing, I saw the ungodly in exceeding high place, and lifting himself up as the cedars of Libanus, and I passed by, and lo! he was not. (Ps. xxxvii. 35.) And to count these present things as nothing, They counted the people happy, that are in such a case; happy are the people, whose helper is the Lord their God. (Ps. cxliv. 15, Sept.) That we do not sin without notice, but that there is a retribution, for, he says, You shall render to every man according to his works. (Ps. lxii. 12, Sept.) But why does he not so requite them day by day? God is a judge, he says, righteous, and strong, and longsuffering. (Ps. vii. 11.) That lowliness of mind is good, Lord, he says, my heart is not lifted up (Ps. cxxxi. 1): that pride is evil, Therefore, he said, pride took hold on them wholly (Ps. lxxiii. 6, Sept.); and again, The Lord resists the proud; and again, Their injustice shall come out as of fatness. That almsgiving is good, He has dispersed, he has given to the needy, his righteousness endures for ever. (Prov. iii. 34.) And that to pity is praiseworthy, He is a good man that pities, and lends. (Ps. lxxiii. 7, Sept.) And you will find there many more doctrines than these, full of true philosophy; such as, that one ought not to speak evil, Him that privily slanders his neighbor, him did I chase from me. (Ps. cxii. 9.)

What is the hymn of those above? The Faithful know. What say the cherubim above? What say the Angels? Glory to God in the highest. (Ps. cxii. 5.) Therefore after the psalmody come the hymns, as a thing of more perfection. With psalms, he says, with hymns, with spiritual songs, with grace singing in your hearts to God. (Ps. ci. 5, Sept.) He means either this, that God because of grace has given us these things; or, with the songs in grace; or, admonishing and teaching one another in grace; or, that they had these gifts in grace; or, it is an epexegesis and he means, from the grace of the Spirit. Singing in your hearts to God. Not simply with the mouth, he means, but with heedfulness. For this is to sing to God, but that to the air, for the voice is scattered without result. Not for display, he means. And even if thou be in the market-place, you can collect yourself, and sing unto God, no one hearing you. For Moses also in this way prayed, and was heard, for He says, Why do you cry unto Me? (Ex. xiv. 15.) albeit he said nothing, but cried in thought— wherefore also God alone heard him— with a contrite heart. For it is not forbidden one even when walking to pray in his heart, and to dwell above.
(Commentary on Colossians 3:16 )

End Quote
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
The question stands. Where is there warrant for the composition for uninspired songs? Neither the Ephesians or Colossians passage commands us to compose or expound. They simply command us to speak, teach, and admonish by singing the psalms.
I guess my question is who says they are not inspired by God?
I think it's very hard to come up with any argument that would put the inspiration of any non-Biblical author on par with the inspired word of God that is not heretical.

Are modern tune writers inspired? Sure, they've been given gifts by God. I'm an inspired physicist and college professor in the same way.

Can the words of a modern hymn-writer be compared to those of Scripture?

NO, and I'm sure you'd agree.

The question is not whether God gifts people to write music. The question is whether there is a positive warrant in Scripture to sing in the gathered worship of God's people ANYTHING other than the inspired songbook of the church. Your question misses that vital point.

And where in scripture does it say singing THE Psalms?? The verses say singing Psalms, so it appears 'the' is being added to the verses..

If I am wrong in that, please show me where the word 'the' is in these verses..
I think this has been dealt with elsewhere.

What is the tune of "The Doe of the Morning?"

Psa 22:1 For the director of music. To the tune of "The Doe of the Morning." A psalm of David. My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? Why are you so far from saving me, so far from the words of my groaning?
It really doesn't matter what the tune of "The Doe in the Morning" is because that heading is a later addition, and I'm fairly confident that the headings we find in our Bibles are no more inspired than are the chapter and verse divisions. Check most commentaries on the Psalms and you should find reference to this.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
toddpedlar;

Can the words of a modern hymn-writer be compared to those of Scripture?
No, but how is that the point?

The question is not whether God gifts people to write music. The question is whether there is a positive warrant in Scripture to sing in the gathered worship of God's people ANYTHING other than the inspired songbook of the church. Your question misses that vital point.
In part it is, even the Psalters have changed the words of the actual scripture verses around in order to make them 'sound' better, take for example the Bay Psalm Book Psalm 23:

The Lord to me a shepherd is,
Want therefore I shall not,
He in the folds of tender grass
Doth make me down to lie
To waters calm he gently leads
Restore my soul doth he
He doth in paths of righteousness
For his names sake lead me.
Yea though in valley of death’s shade
I walk none ill I’ll fear,
Because thou art with me, thy rod,
and staff my comfort are.
For me a table thou hast spread
In presence of my foes;
Thou dost annoint my head with oil
My cup it over-flows.
Goodness and mercy surely shall
All my days follow me;
And in the Lord’s house I shall dwell
So long as days shall be.
Even the Scottish Psalter has Psalm 23:

1 The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want.
2 He makes me down to lie
In pastures green: he leadeth me
the quiet waters by.
3 My soul he doth restore again;
and me to walk doth make
Within the paths of righteousness,
ev'n for his own name's sake.
4 Yea, though I walk in death's dark vale,
yet will I fear none ill:
For thou art with me; and thy rod
and staff me comfort still.
5 My table thou hast furnished
in presence of my foes;
My head thou dost with oil anoint,
and my cup overflows.
6 Goodness and mercy all my life
shall surely follow me:
And in God's house for evermore
my dwelling-place shall be.

The ESV has it as this..

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters

He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name's sake.

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.

You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; you anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.
so even in both of these Psalter, someone has taken liberties to add to the actual verses, so how can they do this and it still be considered singing the Psalm of David?? It has in essence become a 'new' song with added words..as it's not the same song David wrote and sang..which is what this argument is basically about..saying we should only sing the Psalms found in Scripture..

how can these be considered inspired if the authors of these Psalters changed and added words to the actual Psalms themselves?



It really doesn't matter what the tune of "The Doe in the Morning" is because that heading is a later addition, and I'm fairly confident that the headings we find in our Bibles are no more inspired than are the chapter and verse divisions. Check most commentaries on the Psalms and you should find reference to this.
And checking the various commentaries, Psalms are considered songs of praise sung with musical instruments, and not merely the Psalms of David.

1Ch 16:9 Sing unto him, sing psalms (2167) unto him, talk ye of all his wondrous works.

1) to sing, sing praise, make music

a) (Piel)

1) to make music, sing

2) to play a musical instrument

Psa 95:2 Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms (2158).

1) song, psalm

Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms (5568) and hymns (5215) and spiritual (4152) songs (5603,) singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Strongs--5568
1) a striking, twanging

a) of a striking the chords of a musical instrument

b) of a pious song, a psalm

Strongs- 5215

1) a song in tithe praise of gods, heroes, conquerors

2) a sacred song, hymn

Strongs-4152

1) relating to the human spirit, or rational soul, as part of the man which is akin to God and serves as his instrument or organ

a) that which possesses the nature of the rational soul

2) belonging to a spirit, or a being higher than man but inferior to God

3) belonging to the Divine Spirit

a) of God the Holy Spirit

b) one who is filled with and governed by the Spirit of God

4) pertaining to the wind or breath; windy, exposed to the wind, blowing

Strongs 5603

1) a song, lay, ode
 

toddpedlar

Iron Dramatist
toddpedlar;

Can the words of a modern hymn-writer be compared to those of Scripture?
No, but how is that the point?
It's quite to the point, unless I misunderstood your statement. You asked about the inspiration of non-canonical hymns, did you not, when you said "how do you know they (other hymns/songs) were not inspired by God? Your implication, if indeed I understood you properly, is that if such non-canonical hymns were inspired by God, then they must be ok to sing in worship.

The question is not whether God gifts people to write music. The question is whether there is a positive warrant in Scripture to sing in the gathered worship of God's people ANYTHING other than the inspired songbook of the church. Your question misses that vital point.
In part it is, even the Psalters have changed the words of the actual scripture verses around in order to make them 'sound' better
They have changed word order, but are faithful representations of the Psalms. All translations change word order because English is not Hebrew. I'm not sure I understand your point. The EP argument does NOT require one to sing in Hebrew, or even Hebrew word order.

so even in both of these Psalter, someone has taken liberties to add to the actual verses, so how can they do this and it still be considered singing the Psalm of David?? It has in essence become a 'new' song with added words..as it's not the same song David wrote and sang..which is what this argument is basically about..saying we should only sing the Psalms found in Scripture..

how can these be considered inspired if the authors of these Psalters changed and added words to the actual Psalms themselves?
One "adds words" in translating the Scriptures in order to faithfully
represent the original text. Are you taking a similar dispute with ALL
Scripture, then?

It really doesn't matter what the tune of "The Doe in the Morning" is because that heading is a later addition, and I'm fairly confident that the headings we find in our Bibles are no more inspired than are the chapter and verse divisions. Check most commentaries on the Psalms and you should find reference to this.
And checking the various commentaries, Psalms are considered songs of praise sung with musical instruments, and not merely the Psalms of David.
I'm not sure what your point here is, but NO commentary will argue that the headings which call for particular instruments or tunes are part of the inspired text, but later additions.

If you're trying to argue for the NT use of instruments, you'll need to do better than your argument above. No EP argument disputes the fact that in the temple worship instruments were used.

If you're trying to make a point with the Strong's (or whatever other) dictionary, you should be aware that laying out a list of dictionary entries in order to make your point is not a particularly strong means of making an argument. (no pun intended)
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Once more, please keep to the topic as outlined here.
http://www.puritanboard.com/f124/the...tml#post595110

However one may think EP may be defective is not the issue for this thread; the issue is the warrant for the nonEP position that presumably accounts for the act of compostion some way in keeping with good and necessary inference from scripture.

On the arguments about word order in translation see this post I have already posted recently on a thread in translations and manuscripts.

http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/how...n-makes-no-longer-gods-word-46738/#post593737

And see Matthew Winzer's succinct proof from Scripture for supplying words as needed in a translation here:
http://www.puritanboard.com/f63/how...n-makes-no-longer-gods-word-46738/#post593782
 

YXU

Puritan Board Freshman
If Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19 give clear warrant for composing new worship songs called hymns and spiritual songs. As we all agree that the worship of God is regulated by God himself, then who are to compose these hymns and spiritual songs? According to clear scriptural warrants, only appointed prophets, seers and musicians can compose worship songs. If we still have those offices today in the church, yes, they can compose new songs and we can use them, even so, these new songs are all inspired songs.

So there is no scriptural warrant AT ALL for any new composition to be used in the appointed worship to God. Unless one can show that hymn or spiritual song writers are appointed prophets, seers or musicians from God.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
RPW either requires or prohibits EP

My view of the RPW is that those things that are prescribed in worship are in fact required. If they are required, even if not at all times, must be a part of worship at some time. That means that either EP is required, or it is prohibited. There is no middle ground in this issue as far as the RPW stands.

That means the debate here is critical for worship; it is NOT something which would define heresy ... those that "get it wrong" are not outside the church. It is not one of the signs of the true church. But it is not just what one prefers. Nor is it merely "what is allowed". If there is Biblical warrant to compose songs for worship that are not in the book of Psalms (or Songs, if we actually translate the word into modern English) then we have a command to use those songs. If on the other hand we have no warrant to do so, then it is wrong to worship God in that fashion.

Now, I also believe we should be tolerant on the issue toward those that differ, even if we believe them to truly be wrong.

My personal view is shaped from what I see the scripture state. The single most salient point being that we are given in fact a view of perfect worship in a perfect state. The worship of the saints in heaven through the revelation of Jesus Christ given by John. In that worship it is not Psalms alone that are used, but in several cases "a new song" that is not prior scripture. That being said, perfect worship (if the inspired Word recorded in the NT is correct) contains more than just the book of Psalms. Our worship is a reflection of what worship in heaven is (even as the OT worship was to reflect the worship of God in heaven -- even down to the Holy of Holies being a cube in shape, which is the same shape as the New Jerusalem). The commands Moses had to make sure everything fit the design revealed to him was to make sure what was produced was modeled after the true worship in heaven. That EP is not what is used in heaven ought be enough that it not even be thought of as a possibility for our worship.

Other items that speak against EP are that there are fragments of hymns used in the NT church that speak toward them being used, and yet no commands against their use ... while this is an argument from the negative, tied with the first, it becomes more powerful.

1 Cor 14:26 only makes sense in the context if it is speaking not about one of the OT Psalms, but new songs, and that is very clearly talking about the assembly of the saints.

As I said, the most salient is that perfect worship in heaven includes new and different songs. We are to worship, even in heaven, only as God commands (though I imagine that in heaven, we will not need to be "commanded" as our hearts will have his law written upon them). I would say what I believe is clear teaching is that we are to worship God with new music. That in heaven we use instruments (as we should here as well) and that what is done in perfection in the next age is done in reflection in this age.
 
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