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

    Is this a valid illustration of your question?

    Acts 1:20
    "For," said Peter, "it is written in the book of Psalms, " 'May his place be deserted; let there be no one to dwell in it,' and, " 'May another take his place of leadership.'


    Ephesians 5:19
    Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,

    [Edited on 4-9-2006 by jdlongmire]

    [Edited on 4-9-2006 by jdlongmire]
  2. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    That is good you are eager to learn about there positions. But are you willing to learn more about your own? :)
    The questions I am asking are further back in the logical scheme of thought than just "why are you EP/non-EP." As with the example of "psalm" I referenced above, how you interpret even the individual words psalm, hymn, and song, are predetermined by an assumption about what usage of the word you favor. All these words have a broader usage in their original language (both Hebrew and Greek) than just the book of Psalms (which is absolutely one possible use).

    For the EP to argue that every command of song refers to that one usage is a major interpretive decision whether they realize it or not. And the same follows for the non-EP advocate favoring a broader use of one or all words. I'm trying to get both sides to explore those hidden assumptions and why they rely so heavily upon them.

    It is these kinds of questions we need to be asking of each other. As Bruce pointed out, it's not about whether we both hold to the RPW. Both sides do. But there is disagreement in it's application which revolves around some hidden assumptions that keep both sides talking passed each other. It is pointelss to discuss any point of doctrine if we are not willing to learn more, even about our own position.
    To some degree yes. Whenever there is disagreement among brethren, the best course of action is to get back to the foundations upon which you agree, and then find out the real reason why you disagree.

    That is certainly possible. But either way, even if the difference is not solved, both positions will be strengthened because they have asked and answered more fundamental questions about their positions. And this also creates the possibility for more toleration and unity among brothers as they better understand each other and themselves. More importantly it will help us to better worship God in song, having a better understanding of what He commands and desires of us.

    [Edited on 4-9-2006 by puritansailor]
  3. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Yes, yes and yes! Test everything (even my own presuppositions), keep the good...


    Interlinear word study for reference sake:







    [Edited on 4-9-2006 by jdlongmire]
  4. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    I think the larger context can be framed contextually by questioning whether or not we are mandated to be creative.

    P1 - God is creative *
    P2 - We are to be imitators of God **
    C1 - We are to be creative

    If we can agree to this basic supposition, I believe that will help determine the course of dialogue.


    * Genesis 1:1
    In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.

    ** Ephesians 5:1
    Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children

    [Edited on 4-9-2006 by jdlongmire]
  5. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I'm just lurking, adding a question here and there. I'm phasing myself out of the conversations. But I'm still interested. So I'd like to pose a few questions for consideration.

    Perhaps, if I may play off of JD's assumptions, I might put the question to Josh this way: is being creative a reflection of God's character? Or is it a detraction from resembling God?

    And JD, is composing songs of praise a creative act? Or is it a defiant act? I think we need to be clear on this simple question, and not sit on the fence with it. Do you accept the equating comparison of a song of praise to "unholy fire", to putting forth the hand to steady the ark? Is it, in fact, a making of a golden calf? Do you accept these equating comparisons? Nothing has been given to show that they relate at all, but yet they seem to be part of the discussion. Do you agree?

    [Edited on 4-9-2006 by JohnV]
  6. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    I said I would back out, but someone asked if I would stay in. So I will, but for now I'm not going to choose a side to defend. Except to defend explicitly Reformed worship.

    I'm gratified that some of the things I wrote earlier resonated with you. And yet I could never affirm an open-ended affirmation of "creativity" in worship, which by your recent post above seems foundational to (at least) a portion of your thinking about worship. True, everything we do Coram Deo (which is everything, no exception) has an "unto God" element to it; but we have to organize our behavior or we lose the special meaningfulness of anything we do.

    If creativity--even "regenerate person's creativity"--could sanctify anything we offered to God for worship, literally aything "lawful" could be included in public acts of worship. Sure, we wouldn't want fornication, but why not married coiitus in the "worship service"? Read up some on Moravian Church history and Zinzendorf before you write this off as something so bizzarre as to be a ludicrous mockery of where such foundations could lead.

    But also, we have to face the brutal truth that "creativity" in worship is so often condemned by God in Scripture, that if Scripture alone becomes our guide, we really have to begin with the default position that creativity must be limited to the express dictates of God's Word.

    We see the sinful creativity of idol-worshippers. We see the sinful creativity of worshipping Jehovah under simply unauthorized means, as well as by those that were unlawful. We even see divine judgment against failure to discern God's will (or to ask him for revelation). Paul condemns disorganized, ungoverned worship. Apparently the spark of spontenaity--so highly prized in the Corinthian church--was deeply distressing to Paul.

    A God so jealous for his worship must be approached deferentially. We owe him to bring him that which he has expressely asked for. How much of that time for public worship, limited as it is, is ours for using at our discretion? All the time we spend on things invented is time detracted from things instructed.

    So where is there any freedom in Reformed worship? We prize freedom from a liturgical straightjacket. We prize freedom from prescribed "holydays". We prize freedom in prayer. We prize freedom in preaching. We prize freedom in giving. EP and non-EP alike prize a degree of freedom in song--EP observing a 150 Psalm limit, a generous selection by most measures. The limitations we observe and the liberties we enjoy are defined by what God says he wants from us.

    Our theology shapes our worship. And our worship informs our theology. If our thinking about worship does not exert thorough mastery over our practice, then eventually our practice will change what we think about worship. Our theology will be changed in order for us to "make sense" out of what we are doing.
  7. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    But that was not the point of my question, Josh. The RPW is not in question at all, unless you think it applies more to the response of the people than it does to the things being taught to the people. You are going too fast, making too many assumptions. I only asked about creativity, about whether it reflects the glory of God, or whether it does not. I am not asking about about good or bad creativity, but just about creativity. That, as I believe, was JD's point. I'm just trying to focus in on it.
  8. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Popping in...

    No - glorifying God is foundational - imitating God is foundational - worshipful creativity is a product of those foundations and binds the licentious display of that creativity.

    I have already proposed that the RPW is an agreeable framework. My syllogism was presuppositional, recapitulating Patrick's earlier post that room for creativity is allowable within the RPW.

    [Edited on 4-10-2006 by jdlongmire]
  9. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Just start asking questions of yourself.
    Why do you believe the RPW?
    Why are you EP?
    On what grounds are you coming to those conclusions?
    Why do you interpret "psalms, hymns, spiritual songs" to refer only to the Psalms, when the word usage in that day allows for other possibilities of interpretation?
    If it may help you, write down a brief argument of why you hold the position, and then start challenging the assumptions, both written and unwritten. Ask yourself why your hold that assumption. Can your assumptions be proven or grounded in Scripture?
    Just consider some of the leading questions I've been trying to get people to think about.

    This is a good exercise for both sides.
  10. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Absolutely - with the correct intent.

    How can it be defiant if approached in obedience, humility and love?

    I do not agree that these things correlate. It is more of a strained concatenation.

    The unauthorized (ESV) fire and touching the ark both have to do with specific rules concerning intent and circumstance wrapped around the ark and the presence of God.

    If I recall correctly, there was song and dance happening around the ark, but only touching it initiated death...

    The calf was an idol and God punished Israel for worshipping it...

    Is there anywhere in the Bible that songs or composing songs/hymns/psalms to God are punished?

    [Edited on 4-10-2006 by jdlongmire]
  11. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    I might be able to help a bit.
    But what if it is what God commands?

    It sounds like you already have those so-called uninspired hymns pegged. You're ready to apply the RPW even before you know whether it applies. I understand that your intention may be good, but you could in fact be breaking the RPW by trying to keep it; you might be ruling out of the worship what God has commanded to be in it.

    We're not after intellectual satisfaction; we're after obedience. Putting the texts in limbo over interpretive differences does the opposite. The general rule is to go with the plain meaning of the text if there are differing views.

    I just asked about creativity, whether it showed God's image in us or not. I didn't ask about good or bad things which come out of creativity, but just about creativity itself.

    Maybe I could put it another way. Do you think "Amazing Grace" is on the same level as "unholy fire"? Is it on par with, say, "Stairway to Heaven", or "Hey You! Get Off of My Cloud"?

    Or yet again, to push this up a level: is it possible to fulfill within the text of a composition all the requirements of drawing near to the throne of God in worship? What are the requirements; and is it possible to fulfill them creatively? Is it even possible to fulfill them without creativity? What are we ruling out when we are ruling out hymns?

    Or yet again: is there any way to posit the EP position without dismissive and pejorative terms? ( That's what has Bruce and JD upset. Me too. )

    Maybe you can already see where I am going with this. I don't at all believe the texts are unclear. But to tell you what I think will just be another interpretation to you. I have no authority. So I would like to push things towards the authority of truth itself. Then you can believe based on the facts instead of on my views. I'm merely starting where JD started, with creativity.

    Unfortunately, I hesitate to do this because I doubt that I will be able to see it through. I'm going to be far too busy until July. And then I might not qualify to be on this Board anymore. I don't have the answers, but that doesn't stop me from asking the questions.
  12. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If I'm not mistaken, you began this thread with references to the Uzzah and Nadab and Abihu, bringing this in as a possible comparison to hymns.

    I understand, Josh, that you are trying to grapple with this too. You're trying to take a neutral stand. I think that is commendable. I'm only pointing out how un-neutral it is.

    I'm going to take it that the plain meaning of the texts in Eph. and Col. stand until we are shown good and sufficient reason to believe differently. But I'm not going to hold them in abeyance until the problem is solved. That's something I won't do.

    A long time ago I asked for necessity. I never got it. All I got was something that people thought as sufficient, but no necessity. What was clear to me was that people don't really know what it means to give good and necessary inference.

    Let's look at the argument given. The Eph. and Col. texts may mean psalms and hymns and spiritual songs that come from the Psalter only. We have, therefore, at the very least, a command to sing the Psalms. Now, come up with a text to show that hymns are also commanded and the discussion is over.

    In other words, "we just commandeered your texts. Now produce other texts to justify your interpretation of these texts to prove we're wrong. Until you do, these texts cannot be used to justify including hymns."

    But no grounding is given to the reinterpretation of these texts. It may be, but it is not sure. Even if the words are taken to mean exactly what the EP-er say they mean, there still is no certainty. Even if it is triadic, ( which really causes greater problems for us than it solves ), there still is no certainty of that interpretation. It only may be so. But at the very least what it has done is put the text in limbo until it is resolved outside those texts.

    But what then, if we do find another text to include hymns? Will the same thing be done? Will that interpretation also be called into question? What we have is the EP standing on a default position which is not really connected to any real grounding, but only upon a positon of abeyance. With all due respect, I won't accept that. I still call for necessity. Until then, the plain meaning of the text takes precedence. But abeyance of texts over disputable positions is not acceptable to me.

    That was my point. I'm not questioning your integrity. Josh. You and Patrick are the ones who put the question, and I'm staking out my position. Its not non-EP particularly, but just opposed to being manipulated into a position on tenuous grounds. Putting texts into abeyance is not an acceptable way to go about it, as far as I'm concerned. That was the point of my questions, and what I was trying to get at with these later posts. I just didn't want to be so blunt.
  13. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Rich, this is a perfectly valid questionand I had thought of posting something similar myself. But I think it would distraction from this thread. So do please start another. In, fact, I'll do it for you :)
  14. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    You are correct here John. It is this weakness of the EP argument that you and Bruce have pointed out which are causing me to look deeper. It is certainly an interpretive possibility that "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs" refers to the Psalter. But there are other interpretive possibilities that are perfectly legitimate exegetically speaking. So it is possible for the "face value" interpretation in it's historical context to be a reference to the Psalms. I'm trying to get the EP advocates to reconsider their foundational assumptions. It may be true, but I want that explained more, exegetically. How can such an interpretation be made certain in the historical context of the original writings? You're calling them to the carpet about Uzzah and the "strange fire" incidents are good examples of those assumptions coming into play. On what grounds did song fit into that category? Do we have any examples of Levites being slain for singing forbidden song? This will seem like an obsurd question to the EP advocate, but why is it absurd? These are the assumptions I'm trying to get them to explore.
  15. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I don't mean to pick on you. You know that I love you as a brother. You just happen to be saying the things that I relate to what I object to. I'm not implying that these are your beliefs, but just interacting with your question. OK?

    Let me say it again, as I did in previous threads: bringing in the RPW to bolster the EP position is faulty. It betrays the weakness of the position. You cannnot ( understand: CANNOT ) bring in the RPW unless you have a clear Scriptural command. It is one thing to assert that, at the very least, we have a command to sing the Psalms, it is quite another to bring in the RPW because, by bringing the Eph. and Col. texts into abeyance, there are no direct texts to justify the inclusion of hymns. The fact is, as JD has rightly pointed out, there is a whole underlying assumption, at the very least, that supports the notion that Israel and Christians freely engaged in, and were encouraged by Scripture to, make songs of praise, thanking God in all circumstances and occasions, in everything. It is in that context that we find both the Eph. and Col. texts. We find it throughout the Psalms themselves. We find in in the parable of the talents. We find it in the Biblical assertion that we were made free for freedom, not for slavery to the law. It is assumed under the context that we can do all things in Christ who strengthens us, and falls under the rubric already quoted concerning all things being permitted, but not all things are beneficial. We can write good songs and we can write bad songs, but no where do we find any reference to curtailing the abilities of the soul and the heart to praise God. Instead, we find them commended again and again.

    And if we care to study the nature of music, in both lyric and melody, it is a quite natural thing to do in cases of joy, liberation, exultation, and praise. And it is nowhere quelled in Scripture, but rather is a common and commended practice where ever it occurs. It is never condemned, as such. Only the use of it for self-serving purposes is condemned, if anything.

    Now, let's go back to the idea that the terms are triadic in the Eph. and Col. texts. I'm no Greek scholar. As a matter of fact, I am completely at a loss concerning it, and am completely under the trust of those who excel in Greek relying totally upon them. But it seems to me rather plain that positing that this may be a triadic expression for the sake of clarity, instead has the opposite effect. If it is lingustic tool, then it should clearly be so, otherwise we are guessing as to whether it is such or not. As such, it renders the text ambiguous. That goes directly against the intent of Scripture. I cannot appreciate that Paul, in his attempt to be clearer, accidentally became less clear, ambiguous. That takes that text right out of Scripture. It either is or is not a triad, there is no in-between and no maybe about it. If it is not sure whether it is a triadic expresion, then it is not. That must necessarily the case. This, it seems to me, is just common sense.

    So unless there is explicit proof (read: necessity ) that this is a triadic expression, it moves me not in the slightest to suggest that it is. I will not allow that to be done to the Scriptures for myself. I will not allow anyone to remove a text from Scripture from me for the sake of their scruples. The EP position will not persuade me unless they hold the very same high regard for Scripture.

    Now look what happened. I never meant to get involved. I need to make myself scarce. Instead, here I am, involving myself in discussion again.
  16. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    :sing::amen::amen:and :amen:
  17. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    **sigh** - just call me cottage cheese...and I try SO hard... :lol:

    Thanks for posting on my 'blog Josh and I like your blog - thought you had a link in your sig?

    Grace & Peace,

  18. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Because it is clear from scripture...whatever is not commanded is forbidden:

    Deu 4:1 "œNow, O Israel, listen to the statutes and the judgments which I teach you to observe, that you may live, and go in and possess the land which the LORD God of your fathers is giving you."

    Deu 12:29 "œWhen the LORD your God cuts off from before you the nations which you go to dispossess, and you displace them and dwell in their land,
    Deu 12:30 take heed to yourself that you are not ensnared to follow them, after they are destroyed from before you, and that you do not inquire after their gods, saying, "˜How did these nations serve their gods? I also will do likewise.´

    Deu 17:2 "œIf there is found among you, within any of your gates which the LORD your God gives you, a man or a woman who has been wicked in the sight of the LORD your God, in transgressing His covenant,
    Deu 17:3 who has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, either the sun or moon or any of the host of heaven, which I have not commanded,

    Jos 1:7 Only be strong and very courageous, that you may observe to do according to all the law which Moses My servant commanded you; do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may prosper wherever you go.

    Jos 23:6 Therefore be very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the Book of the Law of Moses, lest you turn aside from it to the right hand or to the left,

    Mat 15:8 "˜ These people draw near to Me with their mouth,
    And [5]honor Me with their lips,
    But their heart is far from Me.
    Mat 15:9 And in vain they worship Me,
    Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.´"[6]

    Col 2:20 Therefore,[5] if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations--
    Col 2:21 "œDo not touch, do not taste, do not handle,"
    Col 2:22 which all concern things which perish with the using--according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
    Col 2:23 These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

    1) God has commanded a specific type of song to be sung in worship, and therefore the type of song is regulated.

    2) We have a clear command to sing Psalms, examples of Psalms being used by our Lord and others, and a divine Psalter written by God himself.

    3) There is no clear command to sing Hymns, there is no hint that we should compose our own songs, there is no clear example of hymns being authored

    Scripture alone.

    It allowes for other interpretation only when not following the primary biblical hermeneutic, scripture is to be interpreted by scripture. If the passage is vauge, or a person is having difficulty defining what a hymn or spiritual song is, turn to a clearer passage in scripture. In those clearer passages, we find that these terms refer to the Psalms themselves.

  19. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Ah-ha! Thought it was on the banner! tx!
  20. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate


    I do not understand your line of reasoning at all here. The RPW is exactly what needs to be brought up here. Does God command worship is supposed to be like? Yes.

    Do you hold to the RPW John? It seems like last time we discussed this, you did not (at least I remember you rejecting "Whatever is not commanded is forbidden").

    This is a non sequitor. Giving thanks and composing songs are two different things. Who gives you authority to compose songs? Does the laity have the authority, or is it for the ordained only? Preaching is for the ordained, prayer is for all, but what about composing songs???
    How do you know?

    No. We were made free to obey the law. This is Christian Liberty 101. We are not given license, but we are freed from our bondage to sin, and made slaves to Christ...slaves to love him...which in biblical termonlogy means keeping his more, no less.

    That is using a verse completely out of context. We cannot sin "in Christ who strengthens us." Can a layman preach because "all things are permitted?" Does Christ give us strength to make golden calves now? etc. etc.

    We can't worship God in anyway we want, just because we have Christ on our side. Rather it increases our responsibility to serve him in all the fullness of what he does command.

    Exactly, but this shows that you do not understand the regulative principle John. We cannot worship God according to our imaginations, because our imaginations are sinful, and God is too jealous for pure worship to "permit" false worship. The list of verses provided by Josh only prove that.

    Prove it.

    Well then common sense is the downfall. You must have a reason to reject the triadic expression, for it is a common linguistic tool.

    You tell me, what is better, a person reading a definition of "hymn and spiritual song" that cannot be found in the pages of scripture?


    Comparing scripture with scripture and finding that "hymn" and "spiritual song" are used throughout the Psalter itself, and if any definition is to be used for them, those would be most appropriate.

    It really is amazing to see this charge leveled against EP.

    The high regard for scripture comes from interpreting scripture WITH scripture. Not reading our modern definitions into the text. That is eisegesis.

    The EP position has a VERY high regard for scripture, and we see the sufficiency of the Bible for worship, including song. How is relying on scripture itself for our song NOT having a high regard for scripture? Afterall, isn't it you who thinks it necessary to use songs OUTSIDE of scripture?
  21. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Actually the burden of proof is on the EP advocate to interpret the triadic expression to refer to the book of psalms just as much as it is on the non-Ep to prove that it isn't.

    Paul could be using the triadic expression (if indeed it is that) to refer to song in general not the psalms. The wider usage of those words in Paul's day does allow for other legitimate interpretions. They had broader meanings than just the Psalms in Paul's day. Interpreting Scripture with Scripture does not mean excluding the historical use of the words in Paul's own day. Where does Scripture lay out the "definition" of psalm, hymn, and song as only referring to Psalms?

    The problem is not eisogesis but exegesis. "psalms, hymns, and songs" had a wider usage in Paul's day just as they do today. EP has made an exegetical decision about that usage and claims it is "interpreting Scripture with Scripture." But, it is an exegetical possibility that Paul was refering to new songs. Therefore, by studying the word usage in his day, it is possible to come to a conclusion of new songs by "interpreting Scripture with Scripture." Where is the command in Scripture to only sing "inspired songs"? Is that not modern terminology? Couldn't that be construed as eisogesis? It is an assumption. Prove the assumption, exegetically. Prove that this is the only possible meaning for Paul's (and the rest of the NT and OT) use of the words. Obviously the Psalms will be referred to by those expressions because they are songs. But saying the refer only to Psalms is another big leap. Falling back on the RPW is not going to solve the problem, because that is not the issue. You have to prove exegetically that the songs commanded (in both the OT and NT) are only the Psalms. And you have to interact with the other exegetical possibilities and explain why they are not possible with certainty.
  22. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    We are treading on sacred territory here. You are a mamber of the RPCNA, which binds you to an EP position, whether as doctrine or as policy I do not know off hand. Either way, it is a denominational ruling. When you took your vows, you were bound by that ruling. This is not the case with me. So you are bound by something that I am not bound by. I need to respect the fact that you have taken vows; I will not violate that.

    I do not agree with you, and I do not agree with the RPCNA. But that is quite beside the point. The thing that I have taken a stand on in this thread is the use of Scripture. I have stated where I personally stand and given reasons.

    But I would like to make something clear. Every Reformed church has the following documents of necessity: the Bible, which is not subject to anything; the primary statements of faith ( sometimes called 'secondary documents' ), which are subject to the Bible; and the secondary statements, which include an order for the church, as well as various liturgical forms or formularies, which are subject to the primary statements of faith and, therefore, also to the Bible. That is, then: first the Bible, second the Confessions and Catechisms, and third the Book of Order and the Forms of Worship; in that order of importance and subjection.

    The Bible, being not subject to anything ( or, to put it conversely: is the utlimate authority ), is also not subject to men's opinions. Neither may anyone be bound by personal opinions. But one is bound by the official interpretation of his church, unless one can show that such an interpretation goes against Scripture or the standards of faith. No one is bound to the capricious ruling of an elder or even of a Session, if it is not made explicit in the vows.

    Having said that, it should be noticed that we have here two distinct views, not merely of Scripture, but also of the RPW. There are precommitments involved, or, as Patrick calls it, eisogesis, whether as a result of our different backgrounds, education, doctrinal emphases, philosophical understandings, or any combination of these. These things are up for discussion. When the discussion begins to impose upon our vows and submission to our respective churches, then we need to back off. This Board is not here to foment dissensions. We need to be personally convinced, to be sure, but we should not suppose that we know better than the church, unless we have legitimate Biblical and Confessional grounds to dissent. The purpose of the Puritan Board is to educate and to communicate our beliefs to one another, to sharpen each other's commitment to Christ and His Word. It is an open forum in that respect. But is not intended to be an open forum to cause unwarranted dissent. For me the EP question is not that important that I would cause you to question your commitment to your church.

    Nevertheless, I stand by my convictions concerning the integrity of the Word, and what the RPW means, and how that relates to EP in this case, for those are my firm beliefs.

    I just wanted to be clear about this for everyone's sake. Especially my own.

    This, then, underlines what Patrick said about what is at stake here. Nothing more, I hope.
  23. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    With all due respect here John, I am not bound to believe EP, I am bound by my vows to practice it, so that should have no bearing on the current conversation. It just so happens that we have a small number of members in our congregation that do not believe EP, but practice it out of submission to the session/denomination. I just so happen to be one of the members who believe EP. I hold to EP because I believe that is what the Bible preaches, and it is our ONLY rule for faith and life.

    Discussing EP does not "foment" dissensions In my humble opinion. We are commanded to sharpen each other, and not only on subjects that exist outside the reformed confessions for fear of "dissension." I understand your concerns, but unity of one mind is more helpful than unity in physicality. We are said to have the "mind of Christ", but when we disagree, do we really? It would be nothing less than a contradiction to say that both sides on a particluar issue had the "mind of Christ" regarding it.

    I don't question my commitment to my church.


    The more I discuss this with you, I realize that our differences are not based upon a specific application of the RPW, but rather the substance of the RPW itself. What is the RPW? Without agreeing on the theory, we will never arrive at an agreement on practice. EP is a debate for those who hold to the RPW, for the argument assumes it.
  24. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    Agreed. :handshake:

    As you well know, this question has been debated on many different threads already, at least one of which I know has been locked down. I think in order to appropriately answer these question (which I think are a beneficial exercise to both sides), it deserves a discussion all it's own. I however, am hesitant to actually start the threads due to the nature of past discussions, although I would probably participate if someone else wished to do so. I just don't think that a blurb I can say here will satisfy anyone regarding this question (including myself).

    Again, I think that these are important questions, and questions that need to be revisited. However, again I believe they deserve more than just a blurb on a thread that is already "all over the place."

    EP is a very detailed discussion, and In my humble opinion needs to be approached carefully and systematically or else we will just be jumping from one topic to the other without any order.
  25. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Actually, that's what this thread was for :)
    Josh and I were trying to build the case for/against EP exegetically. So, please feel free to get the thread back on track :D
  26. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Indeed, Jeff, the main problem is how we view the RPW. Those members in your church that disagree with EP, but submitting for the sake of peace, are doing so because the denomination has made its stand on it. Again, I do not know off hand whether they do so for the sake of doctrine or of policy. Either way it requires submission. If they are not satisfied, they may change their membership to a church that allows the singing of hymns. This type of commitment is precisely what I was talking about. You aren't just convinced of EP, but you have the backing of your church behind you. Those that you submit to under Christ have authoritatively enacted an EP policy.

    So in disagreeing with you I also disagree with an entire denomination. Well that's nothing new. I disagreed with the CRC on its change in view on Scripture; I differ with URC on their practice of ordination; I am totally disappointed in the RPCGA; and I am utterly aghast at what I found to be the practice of the OPC in my area. This subject, though, is not at all like the practices I found in those churches, none of which are from a commitment to the official church doctrine or policy. No one is committed to Presuppositionalism, for example, except on their own persuasion; no one is committed to a lax view of office; and no one is committed to a severly devalued view of Scripture: these are not in the doctrines of these denominations, or even suggested by them. So these issues are not at all like EP.

    Getting back to the RPW, this is where the crux of the matter lies. I will maintain that standing upon the RPW without warrranting EP directly or necessarily from Scripture is not right. It is a breaking of the RPW. Here is where we differ. You see nothing wrong with a minister mandating submission to his capricious decision that Presuppositionalism is necessary doctrine, even though the church has clearly defined it as adiaphora non-essential and indifferent. I, on the other hand, am absolutely set that I will never be reconciled to a church that allows such nonsense as capricious doctrine. It will allow one minister in one church to say the God demands submission to one view, while another minister may say that God demands submission to another, exclusively different view. Are we allowed to divide the Spirit like that? Are we allowed to compartmentalize the Word from church to church like that? It is clear that such a denomination that allows such things has a low view of Scripture. Too low. All the same, it is your belief that this is not only allowed, but that this is the very licence of ordination to do. I will not concede that this is a high view of Scripture. I will insist that it is a low view of Scripture.

    All that aside, the RPW either firstly and mostly applies to those who are commmissioned to tell us Christ's gospel, so that they do not tell us their own, or it is entirely useless. Doctrine is not capriciously built on men's opinions. That is why I ask for necessary grounds for EP. I've never gotten an answer to that. All that I've ever gotten is a misunderstanding of what it means to give necessary reasons. Neutralizing those texts goes both ways, as has been shown. But the only ones who are unhappy with neutralizing those texts are the non-EP proponents. I take the stand that it is not just unsatisfactory, but wrong.

    You are committed by your vows to the RPCNA, but I am not. Even those in your church who disagree with EP are committed to their vows. But I am not. I am in an awkward position where I may no longer say it doesn't matter, that I may take a back seat to this. I am going to be excommunicated over this, that is, over an abuse of the RPW, if there is no change. This is not anyone else's position. For me its life and death; for the rest of you its only a point of discussion or a matter of great interest.

    Therefore I suggest that we go back to Patrick's first intention, of finding what it is that the Bible does demand before we apply the RPW. I am willing to discuss that with equinimity. I will not discuss EP that stands on the RPW, for that is utter nonsense, as I have pointed out again and again.

    [Edited on 4-11-2006 by JohnV]
  27. George van Popta

    George van Popta Inactive User

    Where does Augustine say this?
  28. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

  29. Kaalvenist

    Kaalvenist Puritan Board Sophomore

    According to Sherman Isbell in his "The Singing of Psalms: Part XIII," at footnote 169,
  30. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    Well, Pilgrim, you got your desire...on another thread...

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