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

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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Moderator: Brian raised side issues (musical instruments) which will not be discussed on this thread; so folks, please interact with the warrants He adduces in keeping with the topic and several moderator appeals throughout. Off topic and pointless posts will not be approved for posting. Feel free to refer back to previous posts instead of reinventing the wheel. For instance see Matthew Winzer's post on hymnic fragments as a basis of interaction; the matter of new songs generally has been roundly covered in the thread; but I do not recall if the argument from Revelation has been specifically addressed on this thread before now.

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.
 

Turtle

Puritan Board Freshman
Example of Song other than Psalms

"Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation; And hast made us unto our God kings and priests: and we shall reign on the earth."

Rev 5:9

There are additional examples of song other than Psalms. :book2:

bryan
tampa, fl
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Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
I'm not quite sure the heaven example speaks directly to the point. We will not baptize in heaven where our worship is perfect, and yet we do that boldly here on earth; also, should not the saints of old have endeavored to worship perfectly as in heaven also? And yet they had different ordinances of worship than under the new covenant. The fact that we may be given and inspired to sing new songs in our glorified state speaks nothing by way of analogy to the present state unless you may prove that connection.

The fact that Moses was so commanded does not prove anything; if you take it as literally as you intend, we shall still be sacrificing in heaven, etc. Rather, Moses' worship gave a picture, and image of the heavenly worship. Otherwise, it would be our task to study The Revelation thoroughly and do whatever is found in there; that is, assuming that all the heavenly worship is therein contained. But, we are not commanded to do this; neither was Moses. Moses was explicitly given a vision and told to construct things a certain way, and to direct his people therein; so we believe that Christ also did this through his apostles so that we don't have to attempt to see some heavenly vision and discern for ourselves how best to pattern it. Remember, Moses' and our worship are both based on the same pattern, and yet they look entirely different -- what does this say?

Again, if you can show that baptism will happen in heaven (or explain to me why this objection is in error), please do.

Edit
Note: Although I am one of those pesky psalm-singers, I think a fairly strong case can be made for the non-EP position; I just don't think this is it.
 
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Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Brian,

I apologize for taking far too many words to say so little substance: in short, declaring that there is not EP in heaven seems a weak argument; for it to have the possibility of any strength (although I'm not sure even then I would be convinced) you would have to demonstrate that the saints themselves are composing these songs, and are not inspired or given them in some way by God. If they are inspired, then this is the same cause that the Psalmody crowd is pleading: we sing that which God has given to be sung.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Before you read this post, please understand that I am only now beginning to address this issue in my own walk. I am not EP, but that is only because that’s not the tradition I am in or have ever been in. I’m not anti-EP any more than I’m pro-EP. I just don’t know. So with that, please take my questions/observations as non-partisan, but genuine probing for my own understanding.

One of the questions I always ask myself, when assessing a message I am about to preach is, “Would a rabbi say, “Amen”? If so, I have failed. Our messages are to be gospel focussed. Shouldn’t our praise? I believe we have warrant in the Psalms themselves to sing of all God’s wondrous deeds of faithfulness. True, the gospel events are predicted in the psalms, but only πολυμερῶς and πολυτρόπως (Heb 1:1 -- at various times and in various ways -- or as FF Bruce puts it, “partial and piecemeal”). We are also given textual warrant in the Psalms to praise God’s name, which we now know is the (singular) name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19). So, could it not be argued that we do not adequately praise him for his deeds or adequately praise his name, unless we praise him with the greater precision, or better, the fuller development of the New Testament. Putting it provocatively (and please remember my opening caveat), Wouldn’t the rabbi feel quite at home worshipping with EP? And yet, he worships a different God altogether -- a non-trinitarian one.
Rejecting the hymn fragments out of hand as not explicitly called that in the NT seems to undermine all biblical scholarship that would look into and draw implications from background materials. And yet, most of us read commentaries and glean helpful information of just this sort. We even rely on such scholarship for our very translation of hapax legomena (terms occurring only once), especially in the book of Job. Biblical scholarship is not an enemy of the gospel, per se, In my humble opinion. I’d like to see a better response to this issue.
What textual warrant do we have for the assumption that all 150 Psalms, and only the 150 Psalms were used in temple worship or the synagogue? If the synagogue only, why is that normative? What textual warrant is there for a synagogue?
Why would we not include the “ultimate song” (Song of Songs)?
As to “new song”, would not the analogy of scripture permit bringing Rev. 5:9 and 14:3 in as indicators that the song would actually be novel, and not merely the understanding of it?

Again, please understand that I raise these issues by way of genuine inquiry, not antagonism to EP.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The problem with appealing to the "perfect worship" of Revelation is that it is deliberately cast in the imagery of Old Testament worship, including the use of incense, white robes, altar, temple, etc., in keeping with the "priestly" theme of the book. Further, one of the examples of "new song" specifically indicates that the concept of new song is to be taken in a figurative sense, Rev. 14:3.

1 Cor. 14 deals with the utterances of the Spirit through individual activity; there is no reason for supposing the "psalms" referenced in that passage indicated a written form which was sung by the whole congregation, and therefore fail to serve as a precedent for new compositions in congregational worship.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Rejecting the hymn fragments out of hand as not explicitly called that in the NT seems to undermine all biblical scholarship that would look into and draw implications from background materials.
The alleged presence of hymnic fragments is not rejected out of hand, but deemed too speculative to be used with certainty as a precedent for NT worship. The scholars themselves who discuss this subject generally recognise that "prayers, hymns, and creedal statement cannot be rigidly distinguished" (Westminster Dictionary of the NT, 224). If one cannot distinctly identify embedded hymn fragments then they cannot serve as a distinct precedent for new compositions in NT worship.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks Matthew. That's very helpful (both responses). I'm not sure where I referenced 1Co 14, but your (preemptive, perhaps) response to it makes sense. I'd appreciate it if you'd comment on my other remarks and questions.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Thanks Matthew. That's very helpful (both responses). I'm not sure where I referenced 1Co 14, but your (preemptive, perhaps) response to it makes sense. I'd appreciate it if you'd comment on my other remarks and questions.
Clark, The Revelation and 1 Cor. 14 comments were written in response to Brian's post.

I'm not sure I understand the drift of your "rabbi" comment. Our Lord Jesus Christ was a rabbi and also quite at home singing the Psalms. If Hebrews 2:12 is at all indicative of Christ's present service in the midst of the church and the heavenly tabernace then it indicates that the Psalms are perfectly adapted to NT worship. Blessings!
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Thanks Matthew. I am in no doubt about their suitability to NT worship. My question has to do with whether they are sufficient by themselves. The rabbi thing and the name thing are really one and the same point, just looked at from two different perspectives. Surely the OT is suitable for NT preaching, too. The question is, can we preach the OT now without reference to the NT? I don't think so. I'm really asking if a modern rabbi were among us and we sang EP, would he be uncomfortable? It's not an argument. It's a question -- something I've pondered. On the name thing, which is along the same lines, the Psalms themselves, in many places, speak of extolling God's name (in song) in the congregation. Since we now know that God's name is trinitarian, is that not scriptural warrant for singing trinitarian-ly? Can that be done with EP?

The other point I'd love to hear your comments on -- truly, as they are generally to the point and very helpful -- is the scriptural warrant for circumscribing the content of our praise around specifically the 150 Psalms, excluding songs from the Pentateuch, but more especially, excluding the Song of Songs.

Also, being committed to continuity unless discontinuity is explicit (hence paedobaptistic, e.g.), I appreciate the argument that they were sung in the synagogue, and so we ought to emulate that pattern. But I don't know of any text that warrants a synagogue at all -- might not the synagogue itself violate the RPW? I guess not, since Jesus went to them. But do you see the nature of my question? I'm wondering why we've canonized (poor choice of words, I know, but I think you get my meaning) the synagogue service as normative. If we answer, "because the early church emulated the synagogue", then we have to ask, "in every respect?"

You've handled my other questions well. So, I have no doubt you'll have something profitable for me to hear here as well. Thanks for taking the time to shed some light on this for me.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Clark, and everyone, please keep the subject of the thread in view with your posts. Raising issues of the synagogue may be interesting (and dealt with on other threads previously) but it has to do with the EP argument. If you have a case that it supports composing uninspired hymns that is different. If Matthew has a succinct reply that is fine but we are not going to open up a rabbit trail.:judge:

Thanks Matthew. I am in no doubt about their suitability to NT worship. My question has to do with whether they are sufficient by themselves. The rabbi thing and the name thing are really one and the same point, just looked at from two different perspectives. Surely the OT is suitable for NT preaching, too. The question is, can we preach the OT now without reference to the NT? I don't think so. I'm really asking if a modern rabbi were among us and we sang EP, would he be uncomfortable? It's not an argument. It's a question -- something I've pondered. On the name thing, which is along the same lines, the Psalms themselves, in many places, speak of extolling God's name (in song) in the congregation. Since we now know that God's name is trinitarian, is that not scriptural warrant for singing trinitarian-ly? Can that be done with EP?

The other point I'd love to hear your comments on -- truly, as they are generally to the point and very helpful -- is the scriptural warrant for circumscribing the content of our praise around specifically the 150 Psalms, excluding songs from the Pentateuch, but more especially, excluding the Song of Songs.

Also, being committed to continuity unless discontinuity is explicit (hence paedobaptistic, e.g.), I appreciate the argument that they were sung in the synagogue, and so we ought to emulate that pattern. But I don't know of any text that warrants a synagogue at all -- might not the synagogue itself violate the RPW? I guess not, since Jesus went to them. But do you see the nature of my question? I'm wondering why we've canonized (poor choice of words, I know, but I think you get my meaning) the synagogue service as normative. If we answer, "because the early church emulated the synagogue", then we have to ask, "in every respect?"

You've handled my other questions well. So, I have no doubt you'll have something profitable for me to hear here as well. Thanks for taking the time to shed some light on this for me.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Okay. Sorry. When I read the thread before my first post, I noted that someone had made the argument that we do EP as continuation of the synagogue's use of EP. Thought it was a relevant question. My mistake.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I would like to keep the OP in view as I don't think it has been addressed adequately by any stretch and you will note the thread has had to be called back many times to that question.
Okay. Sorry. When I read the thread before my first post, I noted that someone had made the argument that we do EP as continuation of the synagogue's use of EP. Thought it was a relevant question. My mistake.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Since we now know that God's name is trinitarian, is that not scriptural warrant for singing trinitarian-ly?
The Psalms abound with Trinitarian thought. Ps. 33:6 is often referenced by reformed and evangelical theologians to show the Trinitarian nature of creation.

The other point I'd love to hear your comments on -- truly, as they are generally to the point and very helpful -- is the scriptural warrant for circumscribing the content of our praise around specifically the 150 Psalms, excluding songs from the Pentateuch, but more especially, excluding the Song of Songs.
As God Himself excluded these from the Psalter I would say that suffices for a divine warrant. Presumably the Song of Solomon existed at the time of Hezekiah's reforms, yet we only read that he prescribed sung praise to be offered in the words of David and Asaph, 2 Chron. 29:30.

Also, being committed to continuity unless discontinuity is explicit (hence paedobaptistic, e.g.), I appreciate the argument that they were sung in the synagogue, and so we ought to emulate that pattern. But I don't know of any text that warrants a synagogue at all -- might not the synagogue itself violate the RPW? I guess not, since Jesus went to them. But do you see the nature of my question?
Good question and good answer -- that Jesus Himself ministered in the synagogue. It should be kept in mind that the earliest Christian congregations were basically extensions of the synagogue or became rival meeting places when the Jews rejected Christian missionaries, Acts 18:7-11; 19:8-10. The epistle to the Hebrews calls the assembling together of the saints a "synagoguing," Heb. 10:25. Hence, while temple worship foresignified the eschatological worship of Christ in offering Himself to the Father, it was the synagogue which formed the basic pattern of congregational worship.
 

chbrooking

Puritan Board Junior
Excellent responses. Right to the point. I expected no less. You've given me much to think, study and pray about. Thank you.

And thanks mods for this forum/thread. I've found it very helpful in getting a sense of the debate. I know you've urged us not to just post "thank you's", but I would appreciate it if this one got through.
 

Bodigean

Puritan Board Freshman
"Is there clear and sufficient warrant given in Scripture for the composition of uninspired writings for use as song in the public worship of the Church?"

I would say no there is not. As there is no command to do so nor an example of it we would hard pressed to allow it. Of course, as believing and practicing EP I would certainly say this. But without a command or example how would know if it would be acceptable to God? One cannot, in my opinion.

As defining the terms Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs the Book of Psalms would definitely fit into the meaning. Just my two-cents on the matter. Good posts and I am enjoying the responses.


Sincerely,
Mark
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
I'm not quite sure the heaven example speaks directly to the point. We will not baptize in heaven where our worship is perfect, and yet we do that boldly here on earth; also, should not the saints of old have endeavored to worship perfectly as in heaven also? And yet they had different ordinances of worship than under the new covenant. The fact that we may be given and inspired to sing new songs in our glorified state speaks nothing by way of analogy to the present state unless you may prove that connection.

The fact that Moses was so commanded does not prove anything; if you take it as literally as you intend, we shall still be sacrificing in heaven, etc. Rather, Moses' worship gave a picture, and image of the heavenly worship. Otherwise, it would be our task to study The Revelation thoroughly and do whatever is found in there; that is, assuming that all the heavenly worship is therein contained. But, we are not commanded to do this; neither was Moses. Moses was explicitly given a vision and told to construct things a certain way, and to direct his people therein; so we believe that Christ also did this through his apostles so that we don't have to attempt to see some heavenly vision and discern for ourselves how best to pattern it. Remember, Moses' and our worship are both based on the same pattern, and yet they look entirely different -- what does this say?

Again, if you can show that baptism will happen in heaven (or explain to me why this objection is in error), please do.

Edit
Note: Although I am one of those pesky psalm-singers, I think a fairly strong case can be made for the non-EP position; I just don't think this is it.
Anyone who is converted in heaven will be baptized -- but of course no one will either be born or baptized in heaven. The problem is that we are baptized but once ... and those that are already baptized are not again baptized, so I'm not sure it fits with baptism ... we will sing, pray, hear God speak (those things that remain that are possible). We might not baptize anyone, but if we saw it in a heavenly context by sprinkling, it would certainly put to rest any doubt that sprinkling was a valid method of baptism. (Note: this is not to argue the point of method or mode of baptism, but only the logic of if it is seen in heaven, it must be perfect.)

Again, while we might not have a complete picture of heavenly worship, to say that any of the worship in heaven does not comport with the RPW seems untenable. If heaven is where we have the word written on our hearts, and we do not ever miss the mark, then what we do see in Revelations is perfect worship ... if in heaven worship includes prayer, then we should include prayer. That does not mean that the picture of worship we see in heaven is complete. (We certainly would have corporate confession of sin, which would be not only unneeded in heaven, but almost insulting to the sacrifice of Christ).

So I would suggest the objection is in error, in that it is looking at what happens in what is revealed in heaven as all that will happen in heaven, and that it places an unnecessary requirement that what certainly isn't possible in heaven would restrict what we do see in heaven as a model as not applicable.
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Rejecting the hymn fragments out of hand as not explicitly called that in the NT seems to undermine all biblical scholarship that would look into and draw implications from background materials.
The alleged presence of hymnic fragments is not rejected out of hand, but deemed too speculative to be used with certainty as a precedent for NT worship. The scholars themselves who discuss this subject generally recognise that "prayers, hymns, and creedal statement cannot be rigidly distinguished" (Westminster Dictionary of the NT, 224). If one cannot distinctly identify embedded hymn fragments then they cannot serve as a distinct precedent for new compositions in NT worship.
Matthew,

Have you ever thought the idea of hymn fragments without any statement to the contrary is insufficient reason to reject the use of songs outside of the book of Psalms? If God prescribed other songs, and we do not use any other songs, that is just as wrong as if God had not commanded other songs and we used other songs.

It would seem outlandish that the apostles knew of other songs being used in worship and did not chastise those churches for violating the worship of God if it had been wrong.

This is not about what is okay in worship ... what is "okay" is what is required. If new composition is required, then not having new composition is sin of omission, and just as bad as a sin of commission.

In conserving posts, I'd also like to address something of the prior of your two posts....

The idea that Revelations is cast in OT imagery seems a non-sequitur. Of course what is in heaven has OT imagery ... the worship in the OT was to reflect what is in heaven. But that does not change that God does not hold up an image of what is wrong to show us what is right. Even if the "songs" in revelation are not literal songs of worship (which I doubt highly) the fact that they are singing a new song seems to point toward new songs as being a good thing, not something that is wrong.

If the argument is that the Psalms are the only perfect songs, then we should only sing them in Hebrew, as every translation is at some place in error in that book (our confession points to all matters of doctrine to be finally appealed to the Hebrew/Greek versions of scripture). If we take that we are to sing in a sensible (to the singer) language, then we already admit to worship imperfect songs (a translation of the Psalms). If we admit what is not perfect, and our best is always not perfect, then we rely on it being accepted in Christ. That is not to say that we can bring to God the broken, sick or lame. But if God commands us to sing more than Psalms, then we are negligent if we do not.

-----Added 5/12/2009 at 10:40:16 EST-----

For the latest reopening of the exclusive psalmody sub forum, I’m simply going to throw out the debate question designed for the EP debate that never happened on the PB debate forum.

Is there clear and sufficient warrant given in Scripture for the composition of uninspired writings for use as song in the public worship of the Church?

Feel free to post and submit your arguments bearing in mind the stipulations for the reopening of the forum; see the “sticky” note at the head of the forum thread listing.
This is going to sound strange, but I think the title of the thread is backward. Rather than "is there Scriptural Warrant for Composing Uninspired song for use in public worship", the question should be "is there Scriptural Warrant for rejecting the use of uninspired song for use in public worship."

What is not commanded is prohibited, but what is commanded is required. It seems clear that uninspired songs were used throughout church history, and to reject not only the fragments of songs in the scripture, but the totality of church history from the earliest times to the present would require clear teaching that such was wrong from the start.

It is backward to try to establish what has been (dare I say the word in reformed circles) tradition and accepted by the church. More than Psalms have been required in worship from the start of church history. Calling for a change to this means rejecting what has been standard interpretation for 2000 years.

I respectfully submit the question is backwards.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Thank you for your opinion. It of course requires agreeing with your case. Since your case is not agreed with, to discuss the subject we have to approach it from some angle to get at answers and have discussion. The RPW requires scriptural warrant for our worship, and the clear difference between EP and non EP is, is there sufficient warrant in scripture for composing uninspired song for use in public worship? This is the question that it almost always comes down to in debates, at least here. This is in fact the question the PB moderators gave the go ahead for an official debate on EP that never materialized.

So this is how the subject will proceed on this thread.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Have you ever thought the idea of hymn fragments without any statement to the contrary is insufficient reason to reject the use of songs outside of the book of Psalms? If God prescribed other songs, and we do not use any other songs, that is just as wrong as if God had not commanded other songs and we used other songs.
As the Westminster Dictionary quotation indicates, the alleged portions cannot be proven to be "hymns;" they might as equally have been prayers or creeds. Hence there is no distinct proof of "other songs" in the NT even if one follows modern NT research on the subject.

The idea that Revelations is cast in OT imagery seems a non-sequitur. Of course what is in heaven has OT imagery
In the words of the apostle Paul, we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit. If it is admitted that the Apocalypse contains OT imagery, and it is acknowledged that OT forms of worship have been abrogated, then obviously those OT images in the Apocalypse should not be taken as literal indicators of NT forms of worship.

If we take that we are to sing in a sensible (to the singer) language, then we already admit to worship imperfect songs (a translation of the Psalms).
In Hebrews 3 we find a translation of Psalm 95 into Greek with the conviction that this is the utterance of the Holy Ghost. Likewise the congregation reads a translation of the Bible prefaced with the exhortation to "Hear the Word of the Lord." It does not follow that because it is a translation it is less than perfect. If there is an issue with quality of translation then that should be addressed, but the conviction that a correct translation conveys the word of God should not be rejected simply because there are incorrect translations. What is the chaff to the wheat?
 

Brian Withnell

Puritan Board Junior
Have you ever thought the idea of hymn fragments without any statement to the contrary is insufficient reason to reject the use of songs outside of the book of Psalms? If God prescribed other songs, and we do not use any other songs, that is just as wrong as if God had not commanded other songs and we used other songs.
As the Westminster Dictionary quotation indicates, the alleged portions cannot be proven to be "hymns;" they might as equally have been prayers or creeds. Hence there is no distinct proof of "other songs" in the NT even if one follows modern NT research on the subject.

The idea that Revelations is cast in OT imagery seems a non-sequitur. Of course what is in heaven has OT imagery
In the words of the apostle Paul, we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit. If it is admitted that the Apocalypse contains OT imagery, and it is acknowledged that OT forms of worship have been abrogated, then obviously those OT images in the Apocalypse should not be taken as literal indicators of NT forms of worship.

If we take that we are to sing in a sensible (to the singer) language, then we already admit to worship imperfect songs (a translation of the Psalms).
In Hebrews 3 we find a translation of Psalm 95 into Greek with the conviction that this is the utterance of the Holy Ghost. Likewise the congregation reads a translation of the Bible prefaced with the exhortation to "Hear the Word of the Lord." It does not follow that because it is a translation it is less than perfect. If there is an issue with quality of translation then that should be addressed, but the conviction that a correct translation conveys the word of God should not be rejected simply because there are incorrect translations. What is the chaff to the wheat?
I would argue that the idea (highlighted in red above) that OT forms of worship are abrogated would be true for those forms that are not eternal. If they exist in heaven after the resurrection (i.e., when John had the vision of worship in heaven) then it is NOT something abrogated as it continues into the NT era, and into the next age. I would say that apocalypse worship ought to be explicitly looked at as worship after the resurrection and therefore fully within the scope of NT worship. Trying to explain post resurrection heavenly worship images OT worship is putting the cart before the horse. The better way to state things is OT earth "images" the apocalypse ... heaven does not reflect earthly worship, proper earthly worship reflects and images heavenly worship. Heavenly worship, if it did change at all in time, would have changed at the resurrection. The Apocalypse is post resurrection (after 60 A.D.) and so would be as heavenly worship is today.

This point cannot be glossed over. Heaven is the reality and earth the shadow (Hebrews 8:4,5). That which is revealed of what is in heaven cannot be error. Worship in heaven includes new songs, it is not EP, and it is perfect. This alone is not only sufficient to say there is warrant for new songs, but it is requires new songs as a scriptural mandate. Earth is supposed to reflect heaven, and if we do not sing a new song, we have left behind what is taught throughout scripture that earthly worship is to reflect heavenly worship. While ceremonial law is abrogated (we no longer offer sacrifice for Christ is sacrificed, once for all) we do offer worship in every other way as it is in heaven. And while we do not sacrifice Jesus over and over, we remember at the Lord's table that sacrifice. And the lamb in heaven bears those marks. All of worship points to worship in heaven, and if we are to sing a new song in heaven, then we are to do so here as well.

As to an inspired translation of the original Psalm by an inspired author of the NT, I'll take that to be a perfect translation. I do not take *any* English version of the scripture to be perfect, so perfection is not an argument for EP (unless we only sing Hebrew, or those few that are translated into Greek by the NT authors and then sing Greek). Of course we tell people to hear the word of the Lord, but that does not mean that they hear inspired word. The logic fails for holding EP to be perfect words. This is just a peripheral issue ... it is so much smoke to the real issue mentioned above.
 

BJClark

Puritan Board Doctor
There are many verses that tell us to sing a new song, some even tell us to clap our hands, and to shout, so do we also clap and shout in church as well as the Lord commands? Aren't these things forms of Public Worship?


Psa 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

Psa 47:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Psa 96:1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

Psa 98:1 [[A Psalm.]] O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

Psa 144:9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

the congregation is also dancing, so do we also dance? I realize this is a tad of topic, but they are being told to do both sing a new and to dance.

Psa 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise in the congregation of saints.

Psa 149:2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

Psa 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
Isa 42:10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

Isa 24:14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.

Psa 98:5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

2Sa 22:50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

Jer 31:7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

1Cr 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

Num 21:17 Then Israel sang this song: "Spring up, O well!--Sing to it!--

1Ch 16:23 Sing to the Lord , all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.

Isa 27:2 In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!

Interesting...why not also sing the 1,005 songs of Solomon?

1Ki 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore,

1Ki 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.

And then what do we make of verses like these? David appointed certain people to be singers, do we continue that as well since nothing in NT says that we shouldn't?

1Ch 9:33 And these [are] the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, [who remaining] in the chambers [were] free: for they were employed in [that] work day and night.

2Ch 5:13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord ), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord , "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever," the house, the house of the Lord , was filled with a cloud,

1Ch 15:16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren [to be] the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.

2Ch 20:21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

2Ch 29:28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: [and] all [this continued] until the burnt offering was finished.

Neh 11:22 The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem [was] Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers [were] over the business of the house of God.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Folks,
A reminder. This is a moderated forum. Parameters for the discussion have been "set" and off topic posts which do not interact to either refute or support the question of warrant will simply be deleted. "Off-topicness" or whether a post is germane is at the moderators' discretion.
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
There are many verses that tell us to sing a new song, some even tell us to clap our hands, and to shout, so do we also clap and shout in church as well as the Lord commands? Aren't these things forms of Public Worship?


Psa 33:3 Sing unto him a new song; play skilfully with a loud noise.

Psa 47:1 To the choirmaster. A Psalm of the Sons of Korah. Clap your hands, all peoples! Shout to God with loud songs of joy!

Psa 96:1 O sing unto the LORD a new song: sing unto the LORD, all the earth.

Psa 98:1 [[A Psalm.]] O sing unto the LORD a new song; for he hath done marvellous things: his right hand, and his holy arm, hath gotten him the victory.

Psa 144:9 I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery [and] an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee.

the congregation is also dancing, so do we also dance? I realize this is a tad of topic, but they are being told to do both sing a new and to dance.

Psa 149:1 Praise ye the LORD. Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise in the congregation of saints.

Psa 149:2 Let Israel rejoice in him that made him: let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.

Psa 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
Isa 42:10 Sing unto the LORD a new song, [and] his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles, and the inhabitants thereof.

Isa 24:14 They shall lift up their voice, they shall sing for the majesty of the LORD, they shall cry aloud from the sea.

Psa 98:5 Sing unto the LORD with the harp; with the harp, and the voice of a psalm.

2Sa 22:50 Therefore I will give thanks unto thee, O LORD, among the heathen, and I will sing praises unto thy name.

Jer 31:7 For thus saith the LORD; Sing with gladness for Jacob, and shout among the chief of the nations: publish ye, praise ye, and say, O LORD, save thy people, the remnant of Israel.

1Cr 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.

Num 21:17 Then Israel sang this song: "Spring up, O well!--Sing to it!--

1Ch 16:23 Sing to the Lord , all the earth! Tell of his salvation from day to day.

Isa 27:2 In that day, "A pleasant vineyard, sing of it!

Interesting...why not also sing the 1,005 songs of Solomon?

1Ki 4:29 And God gave Solomon wisdom and understanding beyond measure, and breadth of mind like the sand on the seashore,

1Ki 4:32 He also spoke 3,000 proverbs, and his songs were 1,005.

And then what do we make of verses like these? David appointed certain people to be singers, do we continue that as well since nothing in NT says that we shouldn't?

1Ch 9:33 And these [are] the singers, chief of the fathers of the Levites, [who remaining] in the chambers [were] free: for they were employed in [that] work day and night.

2Ch 5:13 and it was the duty of the trumpeters and singers to make themselves heard in unison in praise and thanksgiving to the Lord ), and when the song was raised, with trumpets and cymbals and other musical instruments, in praise to the Lord , "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever," the house, the house of the Lord , was filled with a cloud,

1Ch 15:16 And David spake to the chief of the Levites to appoint their brethren [to be] the singers with instruments of musick, psalteries and harps and cymbals, sounding, by lifting up the voice with joy.

2Ch 20:21 And when he had consulted with the people, he appointed singers unto the LORD, and that should praise the beauty of holiness, as they went out before the army, and to say, Praise the LORD; for his mercy [endureth] for ever.

2Ch 29:28 And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: [and] all [this continued] until the burnt offering was finished.

Neh 11:22 The overseer also of the Levites at Jerusalem [was] Uzzi the son of Bani, the son of Hashabiah, the son of Mattaniah, the son of Micha. Of the sons of Asaph, the singers [were] over the business of the house of God.
These songs are all new now that the veil has been lifted on them and they are fulfilled. For scripture references see this post: http://www.puritanboard.com/f124/there-scriptural-warrant-composing-uninspired-song-use-public-worship-46680/index2.html#post594712
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
The burden of proof is still upon those to show explicitly in Scripture that God wants people writing uninspired songs to be sung in His worship.

I have seen nowhere in this thread (maybe I missed it) that there is a passage somewhere in the NT that again explicitly lays out the qualifications for someone to write these hymns. Where are they?

I think we all know people who thought in their own minds that they were "gifted," when in reality they put pen to paper and produced very questionable doctrine. Again, where are the "checks and balances" in Scripture to ensure that what is written agrees with the Word of God?

If the hymnwriter says "well, if you disagree with my hymn, that is your interpretation" and then goes off to start another church, then schism and division have been created - something clearly not condoned in Scripture.

Therefore, only the Psalms are universal and can truly promote harmony. You simply cannot go wrong with them. If you say you are disagreeing with the words of the Psalm - well, now we are dealing with a different and much more serious matter.

Does no one find it odd that of the spiritual gifts mentioned in the NT, there is no explicit recognition of the gift of hymnwriting? While one could possibly claim the gift of "prophecy" as being inclusive of hymnwriting, it is definitely being speculative, as we have no clarity to that being the case. Again, Paul says to SING the inspired (gr., pneumatikais) psalms, hymns, and songs, not COMPOSE them.

So no, there is no explicit warrant to compose hymns/songs to be sung in the worship service. It simply isn't there.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Mr. Harris I linked to a page that did make some arguments for this.

Banner of Truth Trust General Articles

Those who hold to exclusive psalmody believe that they stand in the purest reformed tradition. This is doubtful. The Free Church of Scotland, for example, did not adopt exclusive psalmody until 1910 and in recent General Assemblies questions have been asked about the practice. Geneva’s Psalter, 1543, contained 49 psalms, the Nunc Dimittis, Ave Maria, musical versions of the Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed and Lord’s Prayer, and two graces. A fuller account is given by Nick Needham in The Westminster Confession, into the 21st Century, Volume 2, Mentor, 2004, page 256. Calvin probably composed the hymn, ‘I greet Thee who my sure Redeemer art’. Thomas Manton, a leading Presbyterian at the Westminster Assembly, wrote: ‘we do not forbid other songs; if grave and pious, after good advice, they may be received into the church. Tertullian, in his Apology, sheweth that in the primitive times, they used this liberty.’ (Tertullian, AD 160-225, was writing about the beginnings of the church.)

Do we have a mandate to compose and sing hymns? Yes, we do. It is found in Psalms 95:2, 105:2, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. Thus, ‘Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord’ (Col. 3:16). The Word of Christ should richly fill our singing. If heaven resounds to the new song, how can we deny the church on earth the joy and privilege of praising God and adoring the Lamb who was slain? How can we sing without ever naming the name of Jesus? How can we speak of the mighty victory of Christ incarnate in shadows and not plainly, richly and fully? If our hymns faithfully reflect the doctrine of the New Testament, and richly express the glory of God and the work of Christ, we believe that we are doing what is acceptable to the Lord.
 

R Harris

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mr. Harris I linked to a page that did make some arguments for this.

Banner of Truth Trust General Articles

Those who hold to exclusive psalmody believe that they stand in the purest reformed tradition. This is doubtful. The Free Church of Scotland, for example, did not adopt exclusive psalmody until 1910 and in recent General Assemblies questions have been asked about the practice. Geneva’s Psalter, 1543, contained 49 psalms, the Nunc Dimittis, Ave Maria, musical versions of the Ten Commandments, Apostles’ Creed and Lord’s Prayer, and two graces. A fuller account is given by Nick Needham in The Westminster Confession, into the 21st Century, Volume 2, Mentor, 2004, page 256. Calvin probably composed the hymn, ‘I greet Thee who my sure Redeemer art’. Thomas Manton, a leading Presbyterian at the Westminster Assembly, wrote: ‘we do not forbid other songs; if grave and pious, after good advice, they may be received into the church. Tertullian, in his Apology, sheweth that in the primitive times, they used this liberty.’ (Tertullian, AD 160-225, was writing about the beginnings of the church.)
A couple of quick things about Calvin, since I don't want this to get off track. First, Calvin's preface to the 1543 GP makes it abundantly clear that he held to EP. I would encourage you to read it if you do not take my word for it. It would thus make Calvin a gross hypocrite to turn around and sing the other material that is in that psalter in the congegational worship service. Bottom line: it is UNCLEAR as to how the other material was actually used by the Geneva congregation. Simply because the material is there does not mean that they used it in the manner you might think they did. Perhaps Chris could address this elsewhere. Second, note carefully the use of the word PROBABLY regarding Calvin writing a hymn. As Michael Bushell notes in "The Songs of Zion," citing Calvin as the author is spurious at best and almost certainly doubtful that he did do such a thing. Read that section of his book for the detail.

Tertullian? Known for a number of strange statements, I definitely take most of anything he says with a grain of salt. Additionally, you see no such other comments from church fathers regarding apostolic age hymn writing.

Manton? In his commentary on James 5:13, it certainly appeared to me he held to EP, but either (a) I am seriously misreading him, or (b) he made the above statement you quoted at a different time than when he wrote his James commentary and held to a different view. I don't know, so I can't say for sure.

But again, back to the premise of this thread: post-canonical church history is always secondary. One must still produce the explicit warrant and not engage in circular or a priori reasoning with any particular text.
 

PuritanCovenanter

Moderator
Staff member
Reverend Winzer's comments on Historical Revision by Ian Murray.

Concerning the Geneva Psalter of 1543. p. 4

The first reformed church who attracts Mr. Murray's attention is none other than that perfect school of Christ at Geneva. Without hesitation he quotes Louis Benson: "Even at Geneva, the fountain head of Metrical Psalmody, the addiction to psalms was not exclusive - no divine prescription was claimed for the Psalter."42 As early as 1543, however, John Calvin expressed the opinion of Augustine that "no one is able to sing things worthy of God except that which he has received from him. Therefore, when we have looked thoroughly, and searched here and there, we shall not find better songs nor more fitting for the purpose, than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit spoke and made through him."43 This expresses a divine prescription for the use of the Psalter in public worship. The fact that the Genevan Psalter included "such materials as the commandments and Nunc Dimittis," as well as other uninspired matter including a hymn attributed to Calvin is quite beside the point. The inclusion of the Apocrypha in some of the early Reformed translations would not suggest to any fair-minded historian that the Apocrypha was thought to be suitable for reading in public worship. Neither should the presence of these other materials, which could have been included for any number of reasons,44 suggest that they were used in congregational praise. Unless the historian can provide a concrete testimony of their actual use in worship any claim that they were employed in worship is mere conjecture.
Concerning Thomas Manton. p. 4

Besides John Ball, the only other apparent Puritan advocate of an uninspired hymnody whom Mr. Murray quotes is Thomas Manton.65 It is difficult to comprehend under what auspices Mr. Manton would "not forbid other songs," but receive them "into the Church." But let the reader continue on with the earnest Puritan's thoughts on the subject:

Scripture psalms not only may be sung, but are fittest to be used in the church, as being indited by an infallible and unerring Spirit, and are of a more diffusive and unlimited concernment than the private dictates of any particular person or spirit in the church... But suppose men of known holiness and ability should be called to this task, and the matter propounded to be sung be good and holy, yet certainly then men are like to suffer loss in their reverence and affection, it being impossible that they should have such absolute assurance and high esteem of persons ordinarily gifted as of those infallibly assisted. Therefore, upon the whole matter, I should pronounce, that so much as an infallible gift doth excel a common gift, so much do scriptural psalms excel those that are of a private composure.66

An unbiassed reader of Thomas Manton's exposition will undoubtedly conclude that the earlier part of his treatment on the subject was nothing more than a concession for the sake of the argument until he had come to deal with the question as to which songs are more appropriate to be used. When he says, "Therefore, upon the whole matter, I should pronounce," the reader is being provided with the Puritan's final conclusion on the subject; and that should be taken as his mind on the matter. And if the reader will continue to listen to his exposition, he shall discover that Mr. Manton actually provides a good defence for an inspired hymnody, and contradicts the great majority of Mr. Murray's arguments against it. Let Mr. Murray give an ear to this "Puritan leader," and he shall see the good old way in a better light than he himself has painted it.
Just to be fair I thought this should be posted since I posted the first.
 
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