James White on Instruments / Psalmody

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Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Did anybody hear James White's recent comments on the Dividing Line? The caller asked about the rejection of musical instruments by the Campbellites (Church of Christ); and James immediately segued into a castigating of the position as held by Reformed believers (along with exclusive psalmody). I understand that his program doesn't provide a lot of time for an extensive treatment of the subject; but his responses made me question whether he's actually read any substantial treatment of those subjects, from a Reformed perspective.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
No big surprise here. I'm sure his argument against EP and the RPW is about as good as his exegesis of Hebrews 8. ;););)

Zing! :bigsmile:

[Edited on 9-9-2006 by WrittenFromUtopia]
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I would assume that he, being a Reformed Baptist elder, would not argue against the RPW; but some of his comments in that program made me wonder -- especially when he referred the question of musical instruments in worship, not to the dictates of the Word of God, but to the sanctified wisdom of the elders of the church. If the use of musical instruments in the Old Testament was commanded by God (and he admitted as much), would this not indicate that they fall under the regulative principle?

He based his position against exclusive psalmody upon (1.) a bare reading of Eph. 5:19/Col. 3:16, (2.) the idea of "hymn fragments" appearing in Phil. 2:5-11 (which I had noticed in his The Forgotten Trinity) and possibly Col. 1, and (3.) the idea that "Christians would want to sing about Jesus / sing the name of Jesus." Whatever happened to exegesis guiding our doctrine and practice, rather than the other way around?

When I read Reformed Baptists trying to press Presbyterians with the regulative principle of worship as an argument against paedobaptism, and I realize that these Reformed Baptists sing hymns, use instruments, and celebrate holy-days, I can't help but consider their remarks on the RPW as sounding rather hollow.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Kaalvenist


When I read Reformed Baptists trying to press Presbyterians with the regulative principle of worship as an argument against paedobaptism, and I realize that these Reformed Baptists sing hymns, use instruments,
Hmm, You have not met all Reformed Baptist. There is a growing movement within Reformed Baptist Circles for Exclusive Psalmody with no instruments. I happen to be one of them. In fact, The church we belonged to was going through many changes and one of them was Contemporary music in worship. Many of us resigned over that issue and the other issues I won't get into. But since we resigned ALL of us have come to Exclusive Psalmody and no instruments. We are looking to start a new Reformed Baptist church grounded in Reformed Theology with Exclusive Psalmody as our only hymn book. I also know that we are not alone. There is a Reformed Baptist church in Kansas that is Exclusive Psalmody and no instruments, and there are many more that are going in that direction due to the Worship Wars affecting us Reformed Baptist. There is even a new book out by a Reformed Baptist pastor, Pastor Price, "Old Light on New Worship" dealing with instruments in the worship of God.

That book "Old Light on New Worship" and Michael Buschell's book "New Songs of Zion" wholeheartly convinced me without a doubt.

and celebrate holy-days, I can't help but consider their remarks on the RPW as sounding rather hollow.
As for Celebrating Holy-Days. We Reformed Baptist on a whole though not exhaustively reject celebrating any Holy-Day in the church or in the Worship of God for the same reason, RPW. But as for our homes we leave it up to personal liberty. I would say half do not celebrate Easter or Christmas at their homes and half do in their homes.


So now that we cleared that up. :)

I would also like to add that headcoverings is also Regulative Principled. And my wife does practice the headcovering in the worship of God.

In His Hands,
Michael
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Probably needless to say, but that eminent Baptist and bible commentator John Gill was EP. Spurgeon was also an enemy of the organ (though I think he left the decision to the liberty of the church)

[Edited on 9-13-2006 by Peter]
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Peter
Probably needless to say, but that eminent Baptist and bible commentator John Gill was EP. Spurgeon was also an enemy of the organ (though I think he left the decision to the liberty of the church)

[Edited on 9-13-2006 by Peter]
You are completely right, John Gill and all the early baptist were Exclusive Psalmist, until Isaac Watts came on the scene, it still took awhile for all the baptist churches to change. As for Spurgeon, he was not Exclusive Psalmist, but he did not have musical instruments in the worship of God. Anyway, thanks for the post. :)

Michael
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
I'm sure he gave the EP/Acapella argument all the treatment it deserves...



[Edited on 9-13-2006 by SolaScriptura]
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
I'm aware of a total of two Reformed Baptist churches that believe in and practice unaccompanied exclusive psalmody -- Emmanuel Church Salisbury (England), and the Reformed Baptist Church of Topeka. I'm also well aware of John Price's book. But I can hardly regard that as a "movement" toward unaccompanied exclusive psalmody in Reformed Baptist circles.

Although all Baptists formerly rejected musical instruments (along with all Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Reformed, etc.), I am not aware of any historical position of exclusive psalmody. Many of the Reformed Baptists in the 17th century rejected the idea that singing of praise (regardless of what is sung) was an ordinance of New Testament worship; they were severely criticized by the Puritans for this (see John Flavel's Vindiciae Legis et Foederis, in which he repeatedly charges his Baptist opponent with neglecting the ordinance of psalmody). Benjamin Keach, one of the ministers who reworked the Savoy Declaration into the Baptist Confession, wrote a work in 1691 (The Breach Repaired) simply to show Baptists that they should sing in church. The work advocated the singing of uninspired hymns -- he had begun writing his own hymns for use in his church as early as 1673, many years before Dr. Watts.

The difference between the three British Calvinist Confessions on this subject is noticeable...

Westminster: "singing of psalms with grace in the heart"
Savoy: "singing of psalms"
Baptist: "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord"

Given the fact that Keach, a hymn-writer and hymn-singer, was an influential minister for Baptist churches of that period (he authored a famous catechism, usually bearing his name, which was a revision of the Westminster Shorter Catechism), and an important contributor at the assembly which authored the Second London Baptist Confession; I can't help but think that the change in the wording of the Confession at that point reflects the practice of singing uninspired hymns.

And John Gill did not believe in exclusive psalmody. He understood Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 as referring exclusively to the Psalter; but in his Body of Practical Divinity, he immediately qualified that interpretation by saying that we can still sing uninspired, non-canonical songs written by good men.

But inasmuch as the "word of God" and Christ in general furnishes out matter for singing his praises, I deny not, but that such hymns and spiritual songs, composed by good men, uninspired, may be made use of; provided care is taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and to the analogy of faith, and are expressed as much as may be in the scripture language. (Gill, Body of Practical Divinity, Book 3, Chapter 7, Section 3c)
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
Well, there is surely more than two Exclusive Psalmist Reformed Baptist churches that I know of, plus some more starting.

As for John Gill, he was a exclusive Psalmist. His Body of Practical Divinity might not be so clear, but it is further clearfied in his commentary. That for the Worship of God only psalms, and that other works might be used OUTSIDE the church or in the home.

Michael

Originally posted by Kaalvenist
I'm aware of a total of two Reformed Baptist churches that believe in and practice unaccompanied exclusive psalmody -- Emmanuel Church Salisbury (England), and the Reformed Baptist Church of Topeka. I'm also well aware of John Price's book. But I can hardly regard that as a "movement" toward unaccompanied exclusive psalmody in Reformed Baptist circles.

Although all Baptists formerly rejected musical instruments (along with all Presbyterians, Congregationalists, Reformed, etc.), I am not aware of any historical position of exclusive psalmody. Many of the Reformed Baptists in the 17th century rejected the idea that singing of praise (regardless of what is sung) was an ordinance of New Testament worship; they were severely criticized by the Puritans for this (see John Flavel's Vindiciae Legis et Foederis, in which he repeatedly charges his Baptist opponent with neglecting the ordinance of psalmody). Benjamin Keach, one of the ministers who reworked the Savoy Declaration into the Baptist Confession, wrote a work in 1691 (The Breach Repaired) simply to show Baptists that they should sing in church. The work advocated the singing of uninspired hymns -- he had begun writing his own hymns for use in his church as early as 1673, many years before Dr. Watts.

The difference between the three British Calvinist Confessions on this subject is noticeable...

Westminster: "singing of psalms with grace in the heart"
Savoy: "singing of psalms"
Baptist: "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord"

Given the fact that Keach, a hymn-writer and hymn-singer, was an influential minister for Baptist churches of that period (he authored a famous catechism, usually bearing his name, which was a revision of the Westminster Shorter Catechism), and an important contributor at the assembly which authored the Second London Baptist Confession; I can't help but think that the change in the wording of the Confession at that point reflects the practice of singing uninspired hymns.

And John Gill did not believe in exclusive psalmody. He understood Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 as referring exclusively to the Psalter; but in his Body of Practical Divinity, he immediately qualified that interpretation by saying that we can still sing uninspired, non-canonical songs written by good men.

But inasmuch as the "word of God" and Christ in general furnishes out matter for singing his praises, I deny not, but that such hymns and spiritual songs, composed by good men, uninspired, may be made use of; provided care is taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and to the analogy of faith, and are expressed as much as may be in the scripture language. (Gill, Body of Practical Divinity, Book 3, Chapter 7, Section 3c)
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
But inasmuch as the "word of God" and Christ in general furnishes out matter for singing his praises, I deny not, but that such hymns and spiritual songs, composed by good men, uninspired, may be made use of; provided care is taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and to the analogy of faith, and are expressed as much as may be in the scripture language. (Gill, Body of Practical Divinity, Book 3, Chapter 7, Section 3c)
Actually, this is makes it pretty clear Gill wasn't EP in the developed sense of the term. But if you'll see the quotes below I think you'll come to the conclusion he wasn't far from most 17th, 18th century EPs. It seems to me that EP didn't have a tight , uniform defense until widespread challenge of its hegemony in the 19th century so what youll find before that is a lot of proto-EPs. In the following Gill gives his exposition of hymns in Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16. In the second he clearly says that though he see allowance for human hymns he sees no need or use for them.

By "hymns" are intended, not any mere human compositions; since I can hardly think the apostle would place such between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and put them upon a level with them, to be sung; but rather this is only another name for the Book of Psalms; the running title of which may as well be the "Book of Hymns," as it is rendered by Ainsworth. ibid
By hymns, we are to understand, not such as are composed by good men, without the inspiration of the Spirit of God. I observe indeed, from ancient writers, and. from ecclesiastical history, that such compositions were made use of very early, even from the times of the Apostles; and I deny not but that they may now be useful; though a great deal of care should be taken that they be agreeable to the sacred writings, and the analogy of faith, and that they be expressed, as much as can be, in scripture language; yet, after all, I must confess, that I cannot but judge them, in a good measure, unnecessary, since we are so well provided with a book of psalms and scriptural songs, indited by the Spirit of God, and suitable on all occasions: However, I cannot think that such composure´s are designed by the Apostle; nor can I believe that he would place such between psalms and spiritual songs, made by men inspired by the Holy Ghost, and put them upon a level with them, and to be sung equally with them, to the edification of the churches; therefore, I take hymns to be but another name for the book of psalms; for the running title of that book may as well be, the book of hymns, as of psalms; and so it is rendered by Ainsworth, who also particularly calls the 145th psalm, an hymn of David: So the psalm which our Lord sung with his disciples, after the supper, is called an hymn, as the psalms of David in general, are called, by Philo the Jew, umnei hymns, as they are also songs and hymns by Josephus.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by SolaScriptura
I'm sure he gave the EP/Acapella argument all the treatment it deserves...
Would you care to explain exactly what you mean? I'm sure you don't mean to disrepect your reformed forefathers by cavalierly dismissing a doctrine as found in the WCF.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by SolaScriptura
I'm sure he gave the EP/Acapella argument all the treatment it deserves...
Would you care to explain exactly what you mean? I'm sure you don't mean to disrepect your reformed forefathers by cavalierly dismissing a doctrine as found in the WCF.
I have a feeling that it's mostly RPCNAers who believe EP is "a doctrine" found "in the WCF," something that is clearly a minority position.
 

fivepointcalvinist

Puritan Board Sophomore
You\'ve caught James\' attention

What's With Colorado Springs?
About ten days ago or so I was informed that someone had taken offense to a very quick, very brief comment I made on the DL regarding exclusive psalmody. Now, I personally don't have the slightest interest in another dispute about such things--the more I watch the world consumed in religious violence that few over here understand in the slightest the less I have any interest in such infighting--but I still don't understand why Reformed folks have to be so unkind when they disagree about things? This writer immediately assumed I have read nothing on the topic (when he gets a webcast and handles out-of-the-blue questions without a moment's preparation, well, we will be on level ground). Why assume such things without knowledge?
So today another defender of the Comma Johanneum (both of these posts appeared on the PuritanBoard) had his say. And when someone pointed to the materials I posted on the issue a number of months back, he again had to respond with personal attack, "Using logical fallacies the way Dr. White does is a good lesson on what not to do as an apologist." Now, I haven't the slightest interest in once again going back over an issue I believe has been settled for anyone with the slightest bit of willingness to reason consistently. This writer doesn't understand the topic he is so confidently addressing, but someone else will have to attempt to reason with him. But what caught my eye was both the initial post, and this one, though written by two different people, both had, as the church home of the writers, "Springs Reformed Presbyterian Chruch, Colorado Springs, CO, RPCNA." Is there some "and when you disagree with James White, poke him in the eye in passing" rule in the SRPC of CO Springs or something? Seems to be endemic to the whole congregation. How odd.


http://aomin.org/index.php?itemid=1540
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by StaunchPresbyterian
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by SolaScriptura
I'm sure he gave the EP/Acapella argument all the treatment it deserves...
Would you care to explain exactly what you mean? I'm sure you don't mean to disrepect your reformed forefathers by cavalierly dismissing a doctrine as found in the WCF.
I have a feeling that it's mostly RPCNAers who believe EP is "a doctrine" found "in the WCF," something that is clearly a minority position.
It's a good thing people don't judge doctrines by their "feelings." ;)
 
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