OT Elemental use of musical instruments ceremonial and gone in NT or not?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by bookslover, Sep 19, 2019.

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  1. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    This is the nub of the whole issue right here. I keep waiting for an answer to this: who made this decision and why, especially since there is no place in the New Testament stating or implying that musical instruments are banned in worship. One could just as easily argue in the other direction - that musical instruments are acceptable in New Testament worship because they were acceptable in Old Testament worship, and that they are not mentioned in the New Testament because the New Testament writers assumed their continuation.

    That's why I think the arguments in this thread are so convoluted and complicated: they're trying to justify a ban that doesn't exist.
     
  2. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    If musical instruments were commanded and only part of the ceremonial law and OT worship...like the sacrifices...

    And the ceremonial law was fulfilled and abrogated in Christ...like the sacrifices...

    Then, it stands to reason that musical instruments are fulfilled and abrogated in Christ.
     
  3. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    Why? Christ is the fulfillment of the sacrifices, specifically. It doesn't necessarily follow that musical instruments are also abrogated. The sacrifices pointed to Christ's ultimate sacrifice that forgives our sins. If musical instruments are "fulfilled," how are they "fulfilled?" What does that even mean? Musical instruments were attendant at the Old Testament worship. There's no biblical reason why they can't be attendant at New Testament worship, as well.
     
  4. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Well, they were a regulated aspect of worship. The Levites weren’t free to play them or not play them; weren’t free to innovate; weren’t free to substitute a flute for a lyre if they felt like the psalm “called for it”... and on and on. Their use of musical instruments was just like their use of incense, which must be made and used exactly according to pattern. Their use of them was just like their use of the other instruments (keliy) of the house of God. The appointed musical instruments were ceremonial in nature. They were part of the collection of vessels of the house of God. They served a specific purpose for that dispensation. They were tied explicitly to the sacrificial, Levitical system.

    Anything of that ceremonial nature must have a direct command from God to remain a part of public worship. We aren’t free to innovate. We aren’t free to use incense or any other of the instruments of Levitical worship without express command from God’s word for the new dispensation, which is the better one. We find that the command isn’t there for accompaniment by musical instruments. In fact, Paul shows that the sound of rejoicing and praise, necessarily accomplished then by use of lifeless items of wood and strings and metal, is now accomplished spiritually by hearts filled with grace as we sing (“singing and making melody with (or in) your hearts...”). This is the beauty and genius of our liberation from the ceremonial trappings of OT worship. It wasn’t more glorious; we’ve been delivered from it, really. We have all we need to worship God when we need to meet in secret and when we can meet in our public buildings. (Sorry for the superfluity of words!)
     
    Last edited: Sep 19, 2019
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  5. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Jeri has replied more than adequately. I just wish to make the point that developing your doctrine of worship on the basis of "Why not?" is decidely opposed to the Regulative Principle.

    Direct us to the scriptural commands, or show us your exegetical considerations.
     
  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Dr. Prutow does an excellent job explaining how the trumpets and other musical instruments were used in worship during the time of the Old Covenant. He also does a great job explaining that the Old Covenant Worship was abrogated and what is commanded and carried over into the New Covenant via the Principles set up by God. I think you would appreciate what he has written in his book 'Worship 101' Richard. It is not a combative read. It is very edifying actually. Give it a read when you have time.

    http://dennyprutow.com/public-worship-101/
     
  7. bookslover

    bookslover Puritan Board Doctor

    However, if Paul wanted to tell people in this passage that musical instruments are banned from worship, he had a golden opportunity to do so. Yet, he didn't. You're assuming that, because instruments are not mentioned in this passage, that they're not to be used in worship. But Paul says no such thing. He merely writes about making sure that, when we sing, we do so from the heart.

    Besides, why would Old Testament believers have to "necessarily" use instruments in their worship? Weren't they just as capable of singing a capella as New Testament believers are? Why were instruments "necessary" for Old Testament worship but suddenly not "necessary" for New Testament worship?

    Again, there is no biblical or theological reason why musical instruments should not be used in worship. Those who originally came up with this idea (whoever they were) used flawed reasoning, in my opinion. I think there is no mention of instruments in the New Testament because the New Testament writers assumed that their use would be carried over from Old Testament worship into New Testament worship, in the same way that the Old Testament synagogue was carried over and adapted to New Testament uses as the church.

    By the way, no need to apologize for using a superfluity of words. I don't think you did so. If anything, I'm too often guilty of that myself!
     
  8. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Hi Richard,
    Musical instruments were commanded for OT temple worship, this is specifically recorded in Scripture. Not to have used them would have been sin, a serious offense before God (see a response I wrote to Vic somewhere above. The Scripture tells us what their purpose was). There is a pattern in the Bible of God giving specific and detailed patterns for the various dispensations of OT worship. He gave Moses the exact pattern for the Tabernacle and all its vessels. It didn't include musical instruments. He later gave David the exact pattern for the Temple with its worship, and it did include musical instruments. Since there was a change in worship after Christ, we would expect to see the exact pattern given for NT worship, and we do. It doesn't include musical instruments (we know because there's no command for it). This is all part of the regulative principle. I guess you'd need to decide if you want to understand that more fully and agree with it. Many people just don't agree that it's biblical for the worship of God to be regulated. But the pattern from the beginning is that God does regulate his worship.
     
  9. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    So should we use candles and incense as a means of worship as well since we do not have NT condemnation? (Please answer this and explain why)

    Again looking for NT condemnation is the Normative Principle. Jesus tells us in John 4 that NT worship was to expect a huge change. So then we must ask what was the change by looking at NT worship practice. After the veil was torn and the NT Church began to gather, we see no instruments in the NT worship practice, but we do see prayer, singing, and preaching for sure.

    Many of our faithful reformed forefathers would disagree. Calvin and Henry just for starters.:detective:
     
  10. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Honestly, I think the whole conversation is silly. Old testament saints praised God. New testament saints praise God. If we are to necessitate the use of instruments in public worship, as well as certain types of instruments, then yes, this would be ceremonial in nature. However, OT saints used instruments outside of temple praise.
    Therefore, if we use instruments now, it should be in the same vein that OT saints used instrument outside of temple worship and we then preserve OT/NT continuity as consistent with the CT hermeneutic.

    I am more and more convinced that prohibitions on instruments as well as other arguments such as these are consistent with dispensationalism and not covenant theology, though I understand many would disagree with this assessment. In my estimation, they follow a very similar process of reasoning as Seventh-Day Adventists do in relation to Sunday worship. It seems that a consistent advocate of EP without instruments should also argue for Saturday Sabbath.
     
  11. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Tim,

    Help me out here.

    The EP/AO position advocates dropping an OT practice and picking up the simpler NT model.

    The Seventh Day Adventist position advocates keeping OT Sabbath Model regarding the 7th day.

    So it seems those arguing for instruments to be used as an element of worship would have more in line with 7thDA. Please explain further.
     
  12. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    And to piggyback off of my own post, Baptist theology would collapse if we had one example of an infant baptism in the New Testament. However, Presbyterians maintain that a NT example is irrelevant because of the continuity between Old and New Testaments. But why such a different standard when it comes to this issue?
     
  13. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    This is a good question, in my opinion. I hope someone more well versed in AO will address.
     
  14. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I correlate this in relation to the whole EP/AO issue as you call it. But specifically in relation to instruments, what AO and SDA have in common is that they want to see NT data that explicitly names a command. My correlation is what either group does with the absence of explicit data.
     
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  15. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    This is a little strange. Because I see a correlation between the reasoning to drop the instruments and the reasoning to begin worship on the first day of the week. In both cases those who advocate EP/AO are not really looking for an explicit command (that would be nice), but rather we are looking at and seeing new testament practice in light of the truth that the ceremonial has passed away.
     
  16. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    This is a fundamental misunderstanding of the musical instruments in OT Worship. The only people who used musical instruments in Temple worship from David and after were the levitical priests.

    This is an assumption unproven.

    You are assuming this is necessary. It's like saying, if Paul wanted to say that infant baptism should be practiced he had a great opportunity many times to say that an infant here was baptized.

    One must understand OT theology of music (The same as OT circumcision and Covenant Theology for baptism) to understand if we may or may not use musical instruments in NT worship. The Lord added to OT worship musical instruments under the kingship of David (See Chronicles). Musical instruments were never used prior to this in the worship of God. When instituted some of the Levitical priests only were to play the instruments, another portion of the Levites sang Psalms. What were they doing when they did play musical instruments, they "prophesied with a harp to give thanks and to praise the LORD." (1 Ch. 25:3) There's good reason that Hebrews 13:15 states with similar language, "Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name." What is the sacrifice? No longer animal sacrifices, and no longer animal sacrifices with musical instruments, but the sacrifice of praise to God.

    Eph. 5:19 making melody on what instrument? Not a musical instrument, but the heart.

    When you come to 2 Chronicles 29 you have a good illustration of all of this under Hezekiah. Because as the sacrifices were offered, the priests played instruments and sang psalms. However, in this passage, you see that when the sacrifices ceased that those priests playing instruments ceased playing, while the priests who sang kept singing the psalms. This a picture of NT worship.
     
  17. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    If my example serves more as a distraction, I I'm happy to take away the comparison so the rest of the post stands intact.
     
  18. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Not at all Tim! I think your reflections on this matter are most helpful in wrestling on this topic:detective:
     
  19. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    How would we do that, and who is we?
     
  20. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I'm not understanding your question. "We" would be any living Christian who desires to use an instrument while praising God.
     
  21. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    We are free to use instruments as private persons. It's in the public worship of God that they're abrogated. I'm wondering how you mean that the church in our public worship (assuming that's what you meant) would use musical instruments as OT saints did outside of public worship.
     
  22. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Does the RPW only apply to public worship? Can Jeri sing uninspired hymns in private worship? If instruments are permissible in private worship, are they regulated?
     
  23. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Tim, I think the RPW per se does apply only to public worship. And that I can sing uninspired hymns outside of it, and that musical instruments are not regulated in private use. There are other questions of wisdom, usefulness, edification and so on regarding private uses of such, and there are individual differences and opinions among people, but the RPW as referred to concerns the public worship of God.
     
  24. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Jeri, can you worship God using uninspired hymns in private worship? Do you apply the NPW to private worship and the RPW to public?
     
  25. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    In private worship I really never have; long before I even knew you could sing Psalms metrically I sang snippets of Psalms I'd learned back in my charismatic days, or that I'd set music to. In family worship we don't and won't. But these are things people really must decide for themselves.
     
  26. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Jeri,

    You didn't answer the questions and I'd like to gently push you to do so.
     
  27. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, I realized I didn't quite answer your question (I think you were using a general "you"); my thinking is that the RPW applies to private as well as to public worship. But that's my private thinking. (I'm defining worship as a deliberate coming before God to offer prayer and praise.) I really can't go beyond my own privately-held view as I've never pursued the question with any study or even much thought. I can say I think, without a doubt and hands down, it would be best for Christians to stick to unaccompanied Psalms in private worship, for optimum edification and less distraction.

    No, I don't think the NPW can be applied to worship, ever. That's what's gotten the churches and individual members into the messes they're in.
     
  28. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Perhaps what we should consider now is if what God rejects as idolatry in public worship is something that he accepts in private worship? It seems that if we do not settle for a changing God the same regulations apply to all worship, whether public or private. If this is the case, and instruments can be used in private as you have affirmed, it can logically be inferred that instruments can also be used in public worship if done decently and in order. Do you see how your lack of connecting the dots is causing inconsistency in your reasoning?
     
  29. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    No. The 2nd commandment says we cannot offer things to God as “worship” proper without his command.

    Christians are free to sing uninspired songs and play instruments (assuming done with moral words and methods) so long as they do not think it is a form of worship proper (corporate, private, or secret).

    For example: Reading a commentary can be very devotional and edifying. However it is not worship proper.
     
  30. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Grant, I think you are being more consistent with this position. I'm questioning Jeri's reasoning since she is talking about the possibility of a difference between corporate and private worship. She made the point that instruments were okay for private worship and I'm pushing for consistency in this regard.

    Now in regards to your assertion, do you believe that the Israelites were worshipping God with instruments privately? If so, can believers worship God corporately with instruments or do you insist that even their use outside of temple worship was either a) not done in worship proper, or b) ceremonial in nature? Something else that I missed?
     
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