Psalmody and Hymnody:

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Joshua, Apr 2, 2006.

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  1. Joshua

    Joshua Administrator Staff Member

    [moderator tone on] Firstly, let's not allow this thread to get into a defensive, overly-sensitive, mud-slinging, ad hominemeric debate. If you're "tired" of seeing this discussed, don't read the thread. Stay out. If you're "miffed" with someone, please u2u them, as opposed to making it personal in the thread. If you have nothing of critical value to say, or if it's just sarcasm, please refrain from posting. Thanks [moderator tone off]

    Back in September of 2004, Patrick said this:
    I would like to see this rehashed with the ideal of coming to an agreement, which may not happen, but it would be nice to discuss these things in the realm of Christian brotherhood and unity.

    I think we should begin with this particular request of Patrick:
    What do you folks (that is, ones who are interested in being better honed in the subject) think?
  2. bened

    bened Puritan Board Freshman

    I would love to find links to those who observe psalmody only in their worship so I could hear and utilize such in my own personal worship.

    If there are any examples of the words with notes, etc (i.e. sheet music?), I'd give such to our choir director for use in corporate worship.
  3. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate


    I want to commend you for bringing up this subject again. I know that many people on this board are tired of discussing EP, but I think that as brethren, we must realize that people learn at different paces, and we should not tire of sharpening each other in this area.

    May God grant us all wisdom in this area.

    This is the first thing to recognize: that if one accepts the regulative principle of worship, then it is in the uninspired hymnist (UH herafter) position to show that God has clearly commanded His people to sing "hymns" in worship. The command to sing Psalms is clear, but even from the UH position, the "command" to sing UH is vague and hazy at best.

    So really, we have two things that need to happen:

    1) Arguments need to be brought to the table from the UH camp that show from scripture that UH ARE COMMANDED by God, and are to be used in His worship


    2) Responses from the EP camp refuting these arguments showing how they are not consistent with the regulative principle and that we have no warrant from God to make our own songs.

    I'll be glad to help out with this discussion (as much as I can), and maybe my sword can be sharpened as well.

    Let's do this one charitably. :pilgrim:
  4. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate


    I recommend the Book of Psalms for Singing. It is a complete Psalter, translating all 150 Psalms into meter. :up::up:

    If you want something free (for now) you can view the Scottish Psalter of 1650 that was approved by the Westminster Assembly for use in public worship.

    As John Calvin says:

  5. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    What are new songs? Are they not mandated?

    Psalm 33:3
    Sing to him a new song;play skillfully on the strings, with loud shouts.

    Psalm 40:3
    He put a new song in my mouth,a song of praise to our God.Many will see and fear,and put their trust in the LORD.

    Psalm 96:1
    Oh sing to the LORD a new song;sing to the LORD, all the earth!

    Psalm 98:1
    Oh sing to the LORD a new song,for he has done marvelous things!His right hand and his holy armhave worked salvation for him.

    Psalm 144:9
    I will sing a new song to you, O God;upon a ten-stringed harp I will play to you,

    Psalm 149:1
    Praise the LORD!Sing to the LORD a new song,his praise in the assembly of the godly!

    Isaiah 42:10
    Sing to the LORD a new song,his praise from the end of the earth,you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it,the coastlands and their inhabitants.

    Revelation 5:9
    And they sang a new song, saying, "Worthy are you to take the scrolland to open its seals,for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for Godfrom every tribe and language and people and nation,

    Revelation 14:3
    and they were singing a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and before the elders. No one could learn that song except the 144,000 who had been redeemed from the earth.

    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by jdlongmire]
  6. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Also - Matthew 13:52

    And he said to them, "Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old."

    Sorry - I am a non-EP'er - I suppose that the Scripture is my position statement. Sorry if that is not the format desired...

    Is there any EP'er that has Scriptural support for no new songs as clearly?

    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by jdlongmire]
  7. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Oh, ok - I just try and take the Scripture at face value - not trying to stir up the vitriol - or strain the gnat - did not realize this was an Exclusive Posting session, ciao!
  8. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Well, I had tried to start with what I considered helpful comments and was then corrected and discouraged from participating unless I followed some format of which I had no knowledge.

    Now you have responded in a manner that is both sarcastic and, some might say, vitriolic...really, that sort of thing should be reserved for the signature space... :D

    Now, please feel free to rebut with scathing wit...
  9. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    BTW - I read the New vs. Brand New thread - it seems a tortuous path to rationalize "old" song by redefining "new" - we all know there is nothing new under the sun, anyway...

    So - please tell me I if I have offended, then request that I not post again on this thread and I will happily repent and scoot off - I know how frustrating it is to try and keep a thread constrained.

  10. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    oops, I see you have! Apologies - and toodles...

    Oh, and I cannot resist before I go:

    When you say start a "new" thread - do you mean a "renewed" thread - a "brand new" thread - or go post in a "new way" on the old thread? :lol: :sing:

    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by jdlongmire]
  11. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    JD's post quoting the psalms is one illustration of what I meant in the beginning (which Joshua quoted) about developing a hermenuetic for song. Both EP and non-EP are reading the psalms at "face value." But there are alot of presuppositions by which even those plain verses are interpreted. The EP would argue that the command to sing a "new song" is actually fulfilled with the singing of that very psalm which contains the command. It's a literary phrase in the psalm used to introduce the new (yet inspired) psalm. The non-EP would argue this is an imperative (or at least an allowance) to compose new tunes. Both are logical possibilities.

    So how are you going to decide between the two? Which interpretation is better grounded on biblical presuppositions? Here is where the hermenuetic comes into play. You have to explain why you hold to those presuppositions by which you interpret those "new song" verses in the way you have.

    That's my :2cents: to get the thread back on track. Back to the books.....

    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by puritansailor]
  12. Reformingstudent

    Reformingstudent Puritan Board Junior


    What if you see that EP is correct but you are a member of a church that doesn't practice it and there aren't any churches around that
    do, What than? Would staying in such a church that sings hymns only be a sin? Also would like to know if any here may know of any PCA church that does practice EP.

  13. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Well, at the risk of running us off track again (I really am interested in this subject) take a look at these verses from Revelation:

    Revelation 5:9
    And they sang a new song...

    Revelation 14:3
    and they were singing a new song...

    That seems to me - in my simple way of thinking - to set precedent for the composition and performance of new songs, outside of the Psalms.

    The Isaiah verse is outside the psalms, as well - and the prophecies were written well outside of within the psalm composition period, no?

    edited to add - and the answer is "No" - see John's post below for clarification - thank you!

    Isaiah 42:10
    Sing to the LORD a new song,his praise from the end of the earth,you who go down to the sea, and all that fills it, the coastlands and their inhabitants.

    This verse is directly after a messianic prophecy - it seems to set the temporal expectation of the first coming of Messiah as the time to sing new songs.

    Also would appreciate someone pointing me to the hermenuetic for how "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" describes EP.

    ...seeking to understand...

    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by jdlongmire]

    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by jdlongmire]
  14. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Just a correction, if I may. Isaiah prophesied during the reigns from Uzziah to Hezekiah. Some of the Psalms were written during or after the exile, which started one or two generations later; e.g., Ps. 137. So with many of the prophets. They lived and prophesied during the Psalm-writing era.

    I don't think it makes any difference to what JD is saying, though. If anything, it may strengthen the case he implies.
  15. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Thanks, John - very much appreciated - I really hesitated to make the "well after" statement - I thought to go check the timelines for surety, but wanted to capture the thought - knew my brothers would "refine" my error!


  16. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    We've discussed that before. I can't rmember the thread at the moment. But do a search. If you can't find it, then post your question on a new thread, since it is an important question. It just will side track this thread to address it here.
  17. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    You have to answer the hermenuetical question though JD :)
    Why do you think those verses allow new compositions? To help you answer the question I'll give you a leading question. What is the historical context of those commands? What in the historical context makes you assume they permit new compositions? Or uninspired compositions for that matter? Is there a historical tradition for such music at any point in the OT (or the NT)? Where do you extrapolate the principles to interpret the verses that way, instead of just understanding them to be poetic references to the songs in which they are a part (which EP holds)?

    Any EP advocates will also have to answer the same questions as well for this thread. This is what Joshua and I are trying to get at.
  18. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Appreciate you "priming the pump" - flying out to Dallas - will give it some thought and see if I can approach the reply hermenuetically - a couple of questions though - when you apply historical context to derive the conclusion - to what level do you prioritize Scriptures at "face value" with the derivatives of church history/tradition?



    Not trying to approach this mathematically, but I think it helps me understand the POVs.


    [Edited on 4-4-2006 by jdlongmire]
  19. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    The hermenuetic key is that we can only understand how the Word applies to us, after we understand how it applied to the original hearer. The Scriptures were written to specific people at specific times. God was interacting with a particular worldview at the time he revealed himself to men. So in order to understand those verses, we have to, as best as we can, find out what the mindset of the original hearers were, and what they were suppose to learn from God's Word then, and once understanding those principles, then we build from there. Now, in some cases, this isn't difficult because many of our problems are the same as then. But in other areas, this is much more difficult. I think congregational worship is one of those problem areas. We don't have alot to go on, so we have to reconstruct the orignal conditions as best we can before we proceed to the argument of EP vs. non-EP for us today.
  20. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Matthew 15

    8"'This people honors me with their lips,
    but their heart is far from me;
    9in vain do they worship me,
    teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'"

    Having served in the PCA as music lead for almost 12 years, I am VERY familiar with the Regulative Principle (RP) and feel it is a suitable framework to utilize.

    The problem begins when we begin to legalistically rationalize away our Christian liberty to worship the Lord in spirit and in truth.

    18But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone."

    Who are we, you, me, anyone to create a heavy burden where none exists? If dietary and cleanliness restrictions were liberated by Christ - how much more so the expression of worship? There are principles for guidance, (1 Corinthians 10 - 23"All things are lawful," but not all things are helpful. "All things are lawful," but not all things build up. 24Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor) but they should facilitate the expression of love in liberty - for God AND for neighbor.

    Christ said: "Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light."

    The easy yoke and the light burden in humility epitomizes liberty - not legalism or licentiousness, but blessed liberty.

    Paul substantiated this liberty:

    Romans 14:2-4
    2One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. 3Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. 4Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.

    1 Corinthians 10
    29...For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience? 30If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks? 31So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32Give no offense to Jews or to Greeks or to the church of God, 33just as I try to please everyone in everything I do, not seeking my own advantage, but that of many, that they may be saved.


    John 4:23
    But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for the Father is seeking such people to worship him.

    So - it is with this mind that we should examine Psalmody, Hymnody and Spiritual "Songery"...not by the letter of some man-developed law/doctrine/principle, but the spirit.

    It is a "both/and" (liberty) not an "either/or" (legalism) proposition.

    Brothers, please accept this as a passionate plea, not as a spirit of condemnation - just want to make that clear.


    (Gotta go to bed...way past time...:pray2: )

    [Edited on 4-5-2006 by jdlongmire]

    [Edited on 4-5-2006 by jdlongmire]
  21. py3ak

    py3ak They're stalling and plotting against me Staff Member

    JD, you quoted:

    This is precisely one reason why the RPW is so cherished. This is what comes from our hearts; are we supposed to believe that our hearts will then produce a correct way of worshipping God?

    Further, the RPW is a defense of liberty; it frees my conscience from the commandments of men. It frees me from the tyranny of those who want to worship God by puppet shows and interpretive dance. It leaves me conscience bound only to His word, and not to any idea (whether pleasing to me or not) devised by men. It is onerous to be bound by the traditions of men; it is not onerous to be bound by the law of God, and it is only in maintaining the exclusive authority of the latter that we strike at the root of the former.
  22. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member


    JD - you throw out the charge of legalism and slavish devotion to man-made doctrine far too easily against the Brethren. You need to at least appreciate the sincere and arduous exegetical work that has led to the conclusion that the RPW is a Scriptural principle and not a man-made one. If you disagree with the RPW that is fine but it will take more than a couple of paragraphs to substantiate the charge of legalism.
  23. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    The point is that RPW is a wonderful framework, but should not itself become tyranny.
  24. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    If the RPW is an expression of God saying "Worship me thusly..." then there is never tyranny in obedience. That is what liberty is.
  25. WrittenFromUtopia

    WrittenFromUtopia Puritan Board Graduate

    I find the RPW to be a restful relief, not tyranny.
  26. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    So do I - when utilized in the context of creativity - not so constricting that we get to the infinite regression of normative EP.

    [Edited on 4-5-2006 by jdlongmire]

    [Edited on 4-5-2006 by jdlongmire]
  27. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  28. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Last time I looked, God was the creator! :p
  29. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Precisely so. This verse keeps coming to mind with regard to "creativity":
    We have a few "creative" folks in my Church that make worship very uncomfortable for more than a few of us.
  30. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Brothers, let's not get too bogged down in the particulars. There is some room for creativity in the RPW. Let's not misrepresent both sides of this issue as well. The RPW regards the required elements of worship, but regarding the circumstances of how those elements are carried out we do have liberty. That is why there is so much diversity even in Reformed history as to how worship is practically carried out. Now let's get back to the hermenuetical issue please.
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