Music/Worship/Praise inside and outside of Church.

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Zork, Apr 5, 2016.

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  1. Zork

    Zork Puritan Board Freshman

    Our Church has a piano and guitar and we sing the HYMNS from the hymn-book. I prefer it that way. I know some Churches only has an organ or piano and thats awesome to. Can Churches use other instruments? Drums electric guitars etc. And why not? (I agree with only having a certain instrument to keep the rhythm of the song). Is it conforming to the world? Is it to evangelise youngsters? Is it to be in with the crowd? Do we see it as modern?

    And outside of church. I do listen to hymns etc but its more modern. I like the hymn makers. Its got a more modern feel to it. Some songs has drums but its not overwhelming.
    Im really struggling to get good music to buy. Any suggestions?
  2. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Hi Ronny, have you considered that there is a biblical principle that governs whether we are to use instruments in worship? If not it would be profitable for you to make a study of it, and also whether one should sing hymns or not. You will find plenty of discussions on various forums on the board. One thought to consider is that if you allow one instrument then logically you can not refuse any other or how many, because it depends on the preferences of personalities that lead. It has reached the point in that full blown bands are being used with all the modern cacophony that the entertainment world blares.
  3. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

  4. Zork

    Zork Puritan Board Freshman

    Wow thanks a lot. Going to listen to it tonight.
  5. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    Here's a quote from Spurgeon on the matter. Using instruments in worship in Reformed and Reformed Baptist churches is a relatively new innovation, and some of us still do not in our worship in absence of a command to do so in New Testament worship.

    "Praise the Lord with the harp. Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her to learn; but in these days when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes. We do not need them. They would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto him. This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice." -Commenting on Psalms 42:4 (Treasury of David)
  6. Kurt Steele

    Kurt Steele Puritan Board Freshman

    I agree with Spurgeon on many things and I am a Spurgeon fan but this paragraph does not set right. Revelation 14 talks of harps in heaven. I cannot agree!

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  7. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    It talks about more things than instruments that would be irregular in worship here on earth in the new covenant, being as it is an apocalyptic passage and not prescriptive for worship.

    Also, Spurgeon was in no way being novel, but following Calvin, the vast majority of the puritans, the framers of our confession, and many others in his position on instruments in worship.
  8. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    You should listen to the sermon linked to above, friend. The harps were part of the Old Testament ceremonial worship, along with lots of other things in Revelation (altars, lambs, priests, candles, incense).

    Out of curiosity, does your congregation use harps?
  9. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Spurgeon reckoned organ pipes should be filled with concrete.
  10. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    Me too
  11. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I thought the sermon was good and a very convincing argument. I just didn't quite understand his stance on Psalm 150 and the like. It seemed as if he was saying Psalm 150 refers to types and shadows. I thought it referred to praising God outside of corporate worship. Any clarity would be great. Thanks!
  12. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Senior

    People have different views on this. My view is that the instruments in Psalm 150 are figurative expressions for praising God with all our faculties. The reason I think this is because, so far as I am aware, not all of the instruments mentioned were allowed in the temple. Seeing how instruments were not allowed in specifically worshipping God outside of the temple/levitical (or prophetical, Exod. 15) contexts, the Psalm must be calling the people to something other than using these specific instruments (otherwise, it would be calling the people to sin).

    The figure is established because some instruments were used in the temple context, and these instruments are mentioned in the Psalm (and of course, all the psalms are in a temple context, e.g., "to the chief musician"). These instruments being types and shadows, they are a figure that points forward. The Psalm then branches out from these instruments to include ones not in the temple, and broadens out further for everything that has breath to praise the Lord. It would seem then that the other instruments are mentioned as part of this broadening to "everything." Perhaps someone else here has time to elaborate on this more convincingly or give another view of the matter.
    Last edited: Apr 7, 2016
  13. thomg

    thomg Puritan Board Freshman

    My first thoughts...
    I believe instruments can help in worship. But it has become a "need" to keep people coming to church.
    So does it then not become sensual? The worship becomes pleasing to the people and not something you offer God?

    They start creating worship in this trance like feeling that is nothing else then you have in a concert. Look at the Doors. Jim Morisson actually admitted in trying to bring his audience to this state of mind.

    We have to be careful in not indulging our senses. It should be about God.

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  14. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Instruments were once 'helps' in worship, but are now no longer needed or commanded (and so, not being commanded, are unlawful). Whereas the singers were once commanded to make melody with the harp, Paul changes the command- we're now to make this melody (because we're now enabled) with the heart. Paul didn't just forget to mention harps and lyres- his command in Ephesians and Colossians purposely brings to mind the commands in the Psalms to make melody. For this present church age at least, we are to eschew those musical helps as well as the incense, the dance, and other outward forms that were needed in OT times. It can be disconcerting to our modern understanding, so used are we to the use of musical instruments in the church, when reading the Psalms, especially 150, and see all the commands to use those instruments. But the Psalms also command the dance, incense, and animal sacrifice in various places. We have to get a good grasp on the place those held in OT worship and how they relate to the accomplishment of Christ.

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  15. kodos

    kodos Puritan Board Junior

    I don't think I will better any arguments provided by the esteemed Rev. McCurley, or others who have chimed in. So I won't. I do agree that Instruments are Ceremonial in nature and have been done away with.

    But I wanted to offer a simple observation from being in churches that do use instruments. What I have found interesting is that instruments have a tendency to overshadow the congregation's voice. What might have started as a "help" for the accompaniment of the human voice, has now become "tyrannical". God's people, by large, have lost the ability to sing with their voice and their heart. Instead, they have become so reliant on musical instrumentation that they have lost the ability to sing. I know my own singing has improved (from non-existent ability to mediocre) since being in acapella congregations. Singing is something to work at, just like reading. Since God commands both reading the Word, and singing the Word - we better work on our singing!

    Now, if God desires the heart, He truly doesn't care about the instruments being used in worship. He cares about the heart of faith that sings and expressses the joy of salvation through the lips. Making melody in our hearts, that burst forth into the fruit of our lips.

    You see, God is a Spirit - this is why we are to worship in Spirit and Truth. God doesn't listen the way the human ear listens. He isn't impressed with our pageantry. He is impressed with His humble people singing to Him with the praises that He has ordained for them.

    So much mischief would be avoided if we simply remember that God is a Spirit - and desires our Heart. Not solos, not guitar riffs, etc. While we may be entertained by such, He is not. I think this is the spirit that Spurgeon offers the following critique by, "David appears to have had a peculiarly tender remembrance of the singing of the pilgrims, and assuredly it is the most delightful part of worship and that which comes nearest to the adoration of heaven. What a degradation to supplant the intelligent song of the whole congregation by the theatrical prettiness of a quartet, bellows, and pipes! We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it."
  16. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    The #1 argument that I believe that is appropriate to this discussion is that the person that is playing ANY musical instrument is not and cannot, no matter what objections are raised, sing unto The Lord with the goal with the whole heart soul and mind. The fact of the matter is that human beings cannot split two tasks within the mind that takes conscience effort and do both with the goal of "wholeness".
  17. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    I'm not sure this is a great argument. I've seen accompanists who are very talented at playing an instrument and are able to easily sing along as they play in worship (though admittedly few even sing at all from my experience). In contrast, as someone who is not as experienced with leading in Psalm singing a capella, I have to be a lot more conscious about the mechanics of singing and leading than when I am following along in the worship service.
  18. R Harris

    R Harris Puritan Board Sophomore

    Not to mention that for the first 630 years after Pentecost, there is ZERO evidence of anyone having used musical instruments in worship. Then, of course, the Pope Vitalius said that it was ok to use them in worship in 665 AD, and even then more general acceptance did not occur until the 13th - 14th century.
  19. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    To supplement Elder Rom's point on tyrannical employment of instruments, Dr M.L. Jones (who favoured the organ)nevertheless warned about organ tyranny by an organist tyranny. As has been pointed out,that the dance is in the same context as instruments(ps149)which gyrations would hardly be allowed in the temple,but seems now to be acceptable in some "progressive churches."
  20. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    What percentage of the mind is engaged in playing the instrument of those who are able "to easily sing along"? 5%, 10%, or %15? Our Lord requires us to sing to Him with our heart and mind wholly (100%). We being human do not need any other activity such as fingers on any instrument to distract us from what we ought to do.
  21. Ryan&Amber2013

    Ryan&Amber2013 Puritan Board Junior

    I play the acoustic guitar for us every Lord's Day at our church. We are a simple means of grace church, but we use one instrument to help give us pitch and rhythm.

    I completely understand what you are saying, Earl. Although I see what Jake is saying too. But for me personally, it is very hard for me to focus on singing worship to God with all of my heart and mind while playing the guitar. I do sing, and I sing loudly, but I am very distracted while playing the instrument. Maybe it's the pressure of not hitting a wrong chord, or thinking about tempo, or my tuning, or intros and outros; whatever it may be, I am distracted. For me, I would say that during corporate worship song time, 90% of me is thinking about the technical aspect of the instrument side of things, and 10% of me is thinking about worship.

    I know that seems pathetic of me to even say that, but it is true, and it's a real struggle I think about. Also, I've been playing the guitar for about 15 years very passionately, so it's not a matter of being confident with it.

    I hope this helps.
  22. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    As a guitarist myself, I would agree (though you already know I don't do it in worship :)). Even when playing and singing songs I've known for years and can perform virtually flawlessly, I still think about my playing. In fact, I probably think about it more than my singing.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2016
  23. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Disclaimer: I lead our congregation in music on the piano.

    The argument that says that musical instruments are inferior to "heart worship" may be better off singing in their hearts and not out loud. The fact of the matter is, musical instruments can be used to assist singing, thereby making the mechanics of singing less distracting.

    Honestly, I find singing Psalm 150 while forbidding musical instruments to be highly ironic, irrespective of the arguments.

    The argument stating "why not include drums and the whole rock band if we allow any instruments at all" holds little weight in my mind. If we agree that "not all things are helpful," we should probably stay away from certain instruments and combinations/styles because they are not helpful due to their cultural context, not because they are sinful.

    Lastly, the RPW is a principle, not a well-defined list. Shouldn't we treat it as such and understand that not all variations in reformed churches in relation to music or the like are contrary to the principle? This would certainly help the unity of the reformed churches.

  24. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I think there is a well-defined list for NT corporate worship, though- just as well-defined as for OT worship. Instruments were done away with in the first century church (along with all the old sacrificial system)- it wasn't suddenly an option to use or not use them, since they had been so carefully and explicitly defined before. This very point is where the argument lies, and it brings into focus whether an individual or a church is focused on God's revealed will, or is just making decisions about instruments and what to sing based on more pragmatic reasonings.

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  25. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Where? An argument from silence, in my thinking, lacks the clarity of a positive commandment or prohibition as we have defined in the OT, hence the word principle. Also, are we arguing that the first couple centuries produced a perfect church?
  26. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Since we're going there, moving to the sub forum.
  27. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    My understanding is that as historically understood, the RPW requires a positive, explicit command in order to introduce any element into the public worship of God. My point about the first century church is that the apostles oversaw and directed the elements of the NT church's gathering and worship, and that God left us the record of their directions (I.e. His will). The apostles didn't prescribe musical instruments and in fact were specific about how instrumental melody is to be made- with or in the heart.

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  28. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Professor

    If the principle is not followed may I ask what is one breaking if one does not follow that principle?

    a fundamental truth or proposition that serves as the foundation for a system of belief or behavior or for a chain of reasoning.
    "the basic principles of Christianity"
    synonyms: truth, proposition, concept, idea, theory, assumption, fundamental, essential, ground rule
    "elementary principles"
    a fundamental source or basis of something.
    "the first principle of all things was water"
  29. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Some of the Psalms have a positive, explicit command that they be sung to instruments. Show me where the New Testament amends or revokes this, and then we can go from there.
  30. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    May I ask this- Psalm 150 commands us to dance. How does the church theologically resolve the NT failure to include the dance in our corporate worship? (Well, some churches do include it and I've been in them!) There is no NT verse that explicitly revokes this.

    My understanding is that singing to the accompaniment of musical instruments is not commanded. There was prophesying upon the harp, etc. I believe the harp and lyre served as keliy, utensils, in the service of God. I'll need to refresh my memory on all the pertinent passages.

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    Last edited: Apr 10, 2016
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