Psalmody and Hymnody:

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

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  1. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Well, let's agree on an approach...


    I. Scriptural context
    II. Historical context
    III. Scholarly Support
    IV. Conclusion

  2. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    That would be fine, though I don't think you can seperate Scriptural and historical context. You need one to understand the other. Certainly much of the historical context can be gathered from Scripture, but outside sources could prove helpful.

    Again, the idea here is to reconstruct the Hebrew worldview during the 1000 year (give or take) time period that the psalms cover. That way we can understand how singing functioned for them, and thus, we can better understand what the apostles came out of when building up the new covenant people of God and NT worship and the context in which they were speaking. We're trying to get out of our own world as best as possible, and get into the mind of the ancients. This will hopefully get us to think like they did. Then we can move to application in our own culture.
  3. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I've been in 2 Samuel lately and it occurred to me that the bringing up of the ark from Obed-edom to Jerusalem in 2 Sam 6 was a worship event. Bulls are sacrificed in conjunction with the event. It kind of jumped out at me that David was "...leaping and dancing before the Lord..." which seems commended.

    If so, don't we have a RPW principle that leaping and dancing before the Lord is an appropriate expression of worship? I'm not sure how that would be worked out.

    It does seem to lend support to the idea that, even within the RPW, the "lateral limits" of what is proper are broader than what we may normally admit.

    I'm not an EP guy because I don't think that the only appropriate way to praise God is to praise him with "inspired" thought. If so, then the only appropriate way to talk or pray to Him in worship would be the Words of Scripture. It seems any attempt to establish EP for singing must be the same for prayer and speaking as well because all examples of worship in the OT are prescribed just as tightly. One could even argue that Christ says "Pray this way" as a support that only the Lord's prayer is acceptable where Christ never said "Sing this way".

    Beyond the example of David, the worship of the Israelites at the Red Sea after their deliverance seems to me to be extemporaneous. The worship is legitimate because it praises God from the outflowing of grateful hearts for what He has done for His people. Amazing Grace is no less an expression of gratitude and adoration, in my estimation than "...the horse and the rider He has thrown into the sea...." Are the words to Amazing Grace imperfect and uninspired? Yes but so are our prayers and we probably pray way more imperfectly than that in worship all the time. Christ perfects our prayers and our praises.

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

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

  5. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    and that is the key...

  6. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Good point Josh but that could still support the idea that we should use their inspired prayers and not our own uninspired ones.

    While Moses' song after the Red Sea crossing was inspired, do you think Miriam's and the women's singing and dancing after was as well? It's almost a simple "praise chorus". I guess it's easy to say yes because, after all, there it is in Scripture but it could just be a narrative describing what they sang and not necessarily that God inspired the simple song.

    Also, it would seem that the corpus of inspired songs is incomplete unless we include not only the Song of Moses and the Song of Miriam but the Song of the Bow and some others that occur before the Psalms and after as well. I've even sung, in worship, the hymn recorded in Revelations that is sung by the Elders before the throne of God. Is it appropriate in heaven but not in worship on the Earth?
  7. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Also, I would recommend those interested to read Exclusive Psalmody FAQ; especially on the "prayer objection":

    and Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs (Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16) by Richard Bacon.
  8. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Patrick mentioned that we ought to consider both the Hebrew mind and the Ancients in this and I quite agree. Regarding the mind of the "ancients" what about the Gloria Patri?
  9. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Thanks Jeff. I don't mean to belittle the EP position but I just don't agree with it. To state that the only type of prayers that we pray are supplications is just not true. In fact the first petition of the Lord's prayer is a prayer of adoration and praise for the Holiness of God. We express uninspired adoration for the glory and majesty of God all the time in formal worship.

    If I pray "Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now and ever shall be, world without end. Amen" then I'm OK but as soon as I set it to a tune and sing it a capella I've just offered strange fire?
  10. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    This is the question we are trying to answer :)
    The argument that they only sang because it was inspired song, I think needs further evaluation. Would they have understood that back then in the original historical context? The song of Moses is interesting because there is historical evidence that the Jews continued to sing it. But other songs are not so explicit, and did seem extemporaneous. Would the original hearers have understood those songs to be inspired? Is that the only reason they sang them? There's a historical gap here that we need to settle. For us, all this is inscripturated as redemptive history. But were the original hearers conscious of their redemptive historical place? Did they know that their songs would become Scripture later on? This is why we need to answer the question on the nature of song back then, before we make our conclusions for today. :2cents:
  11. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    Please call me Rich.

    Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum, Amen.

    Glory [be] to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

    I believe it was first written in the 4th Century. I don't know the precise history behind it but I'm sure others would know.
  12. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    That's o.k. I used to think it was silly too. :)

    This might be true. I see prayer as supplication/confession/thanksgiving:

    With all due respect...yes. There are different rules for different elements of worship.

    I could make a similar argument about you quoting the gloria patri as the sermon. Would you say that as an unordained individual, it is violating the RPW to preach to the congregation?

    That is the difference between singing/preaching/praying. For preaching, God has set up a specific office designated for the ministering of His word. For praying, He has promised the Spirit to utter in words that we cannot express. the area of song, He has not promised us His Spirit to guide us in composition; He has not instituted a specific office of "songwriter"; but he HAS given us an inspired hymnbook in the middle of our Bibles, and has commanded us to sing them.
  13. Semper Fidelis

    Semper Fidelis 2 Timothy 2:24-25 Staff Member

    I don't think the EP position is silly. I just don't agree with it. I respect the thoughtfulness of those who hold to it even if I don't see it.

    Whether our Confession leaves out adoration and doxology in prayer I think they have firm Scriptural foundation.

    By the way, this marks my 1000th post. On EP too! Yikes!
  14. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Congrats! :banana:
  15. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    What do you believe will be achieved by this approach, JD? More to the point, do you agree with Patrick:


  16. Randall Pederson

    Randall Pederson Puritan Board Freshman

    EP in history

    I think it's interesting that in the preface to one of the editions of Francis Rous's Psalter, a whole host of Puritans signed their names to the statement that "uninspired hymns have their place, but not in the public worship," or something to that effect. I'd have to look up the exact wording. In my experience, I have only met one person who endorsed EP that was against the use of hymns at all. Most EP people are simply against the use of uninspired hymns in public worship. Of course, this begs the question as to why 'America' is in some editions of the American Dutch Psalter!!?

  17. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    I would just like for us to agree on some orderly approach - my suggestion is open to modification...

    To some degree - of course we all realize that most of the contextualizing would be mere speculation, since the musical forms are substantially lost in time....why do you think that is?

    I think it is to allow for us to have creativity in the form/genre of music. If the form/genre were inspired, perhaps it would have survived...

    The point has been made that the new song directive could have been an internal reference to itself - I would rebut with the directive in Isaiah - it is not internally referential - and the model of Revelation.

    Also, the internal reference defense is inherently weak, intuitively and logically. Good points have been made that if one follows this logic stream, then we should only pray the Lord's Prayer, since it is inspired - and one cannot rebut that external references to prayer would eliminate the restriction, because there are non-Psalmic references to singing and songs.

    This is a very presuppositionally fraught subject. I would contend that the personality of the debator and their comfort being or expressing creativity in worship would deeply impact their rationale.

    Man was made in the image of God - all our characteristics are marred by sin, but we can see that God considers Creation a good activity, so - we can exercise our musical creativity in an ordely way in liberty to the glory of God - or constrain the avenues we have been given by infinitely regressing our liberty.



    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]

    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]
  18. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    Are you saying that creativity is praiseworthy? An acceptable sacrifice of praise?
  19. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    JohnV - Great use of the Socratic method! :D Thank you!

    God is creative.

    Genesis 1:1

    In the beginning, God created...

    We are to imitate God.

    Ephesians 5:1

    Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children

    So - is creativity an acceptable sacrifice of praise? - Yes - always bound by WHY the creativity is being expressed.

    Sing to the LORD a new song...

    Just as one of the first acts of creativity:

    Genesis 2:19
    So out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.

    The creative act was a response to God.

    The mandate is that all should be done to the glory of God:

    1 Corinthians 10:31
    So, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God.

    Through faith:

    Hebrews 11:4
    By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts.

    We seek guidance...

    Psalm 119:108
    Accept my freewill offerings of praise, O LORD,and teach me your rules.

    ...And what rules has He taught us?

    Micah 6:6-8
    What Does the LORD Require?
    6"With what shall I come before the LORD,
    and bow myself before God on high?
    Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,
    with calves a year old?
    7Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,
    with ten thousands of rivers of oil?
    Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,
    the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?"
    8He has told you, O man, what is good;
    and what does the LORD require of you
    but to do justice, and to love kindness,
    and to walk humbly with your God?

    So by offering creative praise humbly to His glory through faith, we trust that the Lord will:

    Psalm 19:14
    Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight,O LORD, my rock and my redeemer.

    Only through Christ, our Redeemer, can ANY praise be right and acceptable - it is less a matter of content and form than attitude and context.


    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]

    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]
  20. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Very good answer, JD.

    Do you believe that composing, whether prose, poetry, or especially musical lyric, as a creative act, is praiseworthy? An acceptable sacrifice of praise?
  21. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    So, can I use my creativity to create a golden calf to worship God???

    Creativity is exactly what is wrong with worship. When people use their imaginations to try and "worship" God, we should only expect failure. As Calvin says, our minds are "idol factories."

    Gen 6:5 And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.

    Do you think things have changed? Would a golden calf now be acceptable to God because we have Christ as our mediator?

    God forbid.

  22. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm sure you are familiar with the phrase "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."
  23. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Now...let's get back to the subject.

    The question of EP gets down to the question:

    "Does the bible regulate the content of song?"

    We can find numerous examples of commands to sing psalms, so we can answer this question in the affirmative. But where do we find the command to create our own uninspired songs?

    I cannot find one. And hence we are back to the UH to present a command/example of a command to create our own songs in worship.
  24. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    My creativity is guided by the Spirit and the Word, not my own unfettered imagination.

    Acts 17:29

    Being then God's offspring, we ought not to think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by the art and imagination of man.

    Luke 4:18

    "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captivesand recovering of sight to the blind,to set at liberty those who are oppressed,

    John 7:38-40

    38Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, 'Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.'" 39Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.

    Acts 2:38

    And Peter said to them, "Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

    John 15:26

    "But when the Helper comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth, who proceeds from the Father, he will bear witness about me.

    My creativity is my mind working with my spirit to fulfill the commands:

    Mark 12:30
    And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'

    31The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these."

    God forbid that we constrain the liberty given at such great sacrifice.

    1 Corinthians 14:15

    What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.


    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]
  25. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm curious, is the Word or the Spirit instructing you to compose uninspired hymns?
  26. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    We can find numerous examples to mandate singing new songs and yet we legalise with our imaginations "new" and "song" then attempt to bind the conscience of other brethren, even casting judgment to the point of questioning the state of their salvation (which I assumed you were doing, with your "road to hell" statement - a particularly poignant example of straining the gnat and swallowing the camel...BTW - is that in the Bible?)

    ...and where does it say in the Scriptures that there is no new inspired songs?

    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]

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

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Who says I compose?

    I actually measure any song I sing in worship or lead the people of God to sing against the Word and Spirit. Do I perfectly filter every song? No. Do you pray perfect prayers? Does anyone? Does that stop us from striving?

    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]
  28. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    I'm curious...if you interpret "new" song the way you do, where do you find the command to sing "old" songs, or can you?

    Which was not my intent. My intent was to show that good intentions do not play into the idea of what content of worship is regulated by God's word.

    Rev 22:18 For[9] I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add[10] to him the plagues that are written in this book;

    I believe this verse implies as much.

  29. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Forgive me. Allow me to rephrase my question:

    I'm curious, is the Word or the Spirit instructing you to sing uninspired hymns?

    Exactly, and what better way to strive, then to obey the command to sing the PERFECT inspired psalms??
  30. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Ephesians 5:19
    addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart,

    Colossians 3:16
    Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.

    Psalms (old songs) vs. Hymns (old/new songs) vs. spiritual songs (new songs)

    [Edited on 4-7-2006 by jdlongmire]
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