Psalmody and Worship

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Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
I understand what you are getting at, I just don't agree. :) The "amen" of worship is not predicated on the perfection of the elements as a whole or individually. And as far as I know, neither is there a requirement for "immediacy" or perfection in one element vs the other.

Finally, following your rationale, why would we not have a time of Scripture reading, Scripture praying and Psalm singing and have a perfect worship service that all could reasonably and immediately say the "amen" to every time?
I think you missed my main point, that is, the distinctive difference between
singing and teaching/prayer.

Our own heart, which in this life remains affected by sin and comes short of the glory of God, is not sufficient to represent the truth of God, to be confessed immediately in singing by all.

Can you at least see the difference between that which is *confessed immediately by all" and that which isn't?

Can you think of reasons why teaching and prayer are not immediately confessed by all?




:)
Can you make a Scriptural argument for your assertion? :)
Do you understand what my assertion is? :detective:
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
I understand what you are getting at, I just don't agree. :) The "amen" of worship is not predicated on the perfection of the elements as a whole or individually. And as far as I know, neither is there a requirement for "immediacy" or perfection in one element vs the other.

Finally, following your rationale, why would we not have a time of Scripture reading, Scripture praying and Psalm singing and have a perfect worship service that all could reasonably and immediately say the "amen" to every time?
I think you missed my main point, that is, the distinctive difference between
singing and teaching/prayer.

Our own heart, which in this life remains affected by sin and comes short of the glory of God, is not sufficient to represent the truth of God, to be confessed immediately in singing by all.

Can you at least see the difference between that which is *confessed immediately by all" and that which isn't?

Can you think of reasons why teaching and prayer are not immediately confessed by all?




:)
Can you make a Scriptural argument for your assertion? :)
BTW, if we just reflect on the nature of things, it isn't hard to make these distinctions. :book2: :)
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I think you missed my main point, that is, the distinctive difference between
singing and teaching/prayer.

Our own heart, which in this life remains affected by sin and comes short of the glory of God, is not sufficient to represent the truth of God, to be confessed immediately in singing by all.

Can you at least see the difference between that which is *confessed immediately by all" and that which isn't?

Can you think of reasons why teaching and prayer are not immediately confessed by all?




:)
Can you make a Scriptural argument for your assertion? :)
Do you understand what my assertion is? :detective:
What would convince you that I do? :think:
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I think you missed my main point, that is, the distinctive difference between
singing and teaching/prayer.

Our own heart, which in this life remains affected by sin and comes short of the glory of God, is not sufficient to represent the truth of God, to be confessed immediately in singing by all.

Can you at least see the difference between that which is *confessed immediately by all" and that which isn't?

Can you think of reasons why teaching and prayer are not immediately confessed by all?




:)
Can you make a Scriptural argument for your assertion? :)
BTW, if we just reflect on the nature of things, it isn't hard to make these distinctions. :book2: :)
The question is - does Scripture demand the distinction and the attributes as you are asserting?:gpl:?
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
By answering my questions? lol
Our own heart, which in this life remains affected by sin and comes short of the glory of God, is not sufficient to represent the truth of God, to be confessed immediately in singing by all.

Can you at least see the difference between that which is *confessed immediately by all" and that which isn't?
Please give some Scriptural reference\support to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".

Can you think of reasons why teaching and prayer are not immediately confessed by all?
Since I don't concur with your premises, I don't find any value in speculation utilizing them.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Please give some Scriptural referencesupport to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".
Does it have to be a Scriptural reference or can it be from the light of reason?

Singing could be considered an immediate confession by all because all are saying the lyrics without having studied them first.

Preaching is not something that we verbally ascent to, but rather think on and compare against Scripture, and then ascent to it.
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
By answering my questions? lol
Our own heart, which in this life remains affected by sin and comes short of the glory of God, is not sufficient to represent the truth of God, to be confessed immediately in singing by all.

Can you at least see the difference between that which is *confessed immediately by all" and that which isn't?
Please give some Scriptural reference\support to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".

Beth: By its very nature congregational singing is such. I don't need to point anywhere to explain that.

Can you think of reasons why teaching and prayer are not immediately confessed by all?
Since I don't concur with your premises, I don't find any value in speculation utilizing them.
Beth: So you already don't concur and so there is no reason to reason with you? The reason for my questions were in order to elucidate my points. That wasn't nice of you to not participate. lol

Please note I answer other question in body of quote.
 
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Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
Please give some Scriptural referencesupport to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".
Does it have to be a Scriptural reference or can it be from the light of reason?

Singing could be considered an immediate confession by all because all are saying the lyrics without having studied them first.

Preaching is not something that we verbally ascent to, but rather think on and compare against Scripture, and then ascent to it.
Yes, this is how I think. The *nature* of singing by all is immediate confession and assent. What else on earth could it be? :detective: :)
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Please give some Scriptural referencesupport to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".
Does it have to be a Scriptural reference or can it be from the light of reason?

Singing could be considered an immediate confession by all because all are saying the lyrics without having studied them first.
This is only good and necessary consequence if you presuppose EP.

Preaching is not something that we verbally ascent to, but rather think on and compare against Scripture, and then ascent to it.
hmm, I'd think the majority of sermons would be easily and immediately discernible and agreeable (perhaps with some points to ponder) or you should look for another teaching elder.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Please give some Scriptural referencesupport to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".
Does it have to be a Scriptural reference or can it be from the light of reason?

Singing could be considered an immediate confession by all because all are saying the lyrics without having studied them first.

Preaching is not something that we verbally ascent to, but rather think on and compare against Scripture, and then ascent to it.
Yes, this is how I think. The *nature* of singing by all is immediate confession and assent. What else on earth could it be? :detective: :)
A primary objective of confessional worship is immediate and unified confession and assent (Jn 17:11). That's the nature and goal of confessional worship, so that all things in worship may be done in "spirit and truth" and "decently and in order" and therefore "safe" and God-honoring in terms of unified agreement and assent among the Bride.

There is nowhere in Scripture that commands this segregated nature and attributes of singing in worship you are asserting - it is a flawed conclusion from a flawed premise, EP.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Acts 17:11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Please give some Scriptural referencesupport to singing alone being an "immediate confession by all" or this idea of an "immediate confession by all".
Does it have to be a Scriptural reference or can it be from the light of reason?

Singing could be considered an immediate confession by all because all are saying the lyrics without having studied them first.
This is only good and necessary consequence if you presuppose EP.

Preaching is not something that we verbally ascent to, but rather think on and compare against Scripture, and then ascent to it.
hmm, I'd think the majority of sermons would be easily and immediately discernible and agreeable (perhaps with some points to ponder) or you should look for another teaching elder.
 

FrielWatcher

Puritan Board Sophomore
Does the Trinity Hymnal cover all the bases?

Trinity Hymnal

Quit asserting and assuming and attributing - start talking.
So I have posted to this thread at least twice with valid questions and been bypassed by other people quoting and requoting until each post is at least ten inches long with only 1 ounce of content. I didn't imagine that my initial question would go this long, but now I see that it is getting absolutely nowhere.

Those convinced against their will are of the same opinion still.

So, in lieu of referring to this thread for good information about psalmody and worship, which VirginiaHeugonot (spelling error) already posted, I will refer back to what he posted.

Regards,
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A few thoughts I had while reading through this thread:

The word "new" in the phrase "new song" used in the Psalms, Isaiah 42:10 and in Revelation means something new or fresh (as in never done before) like building a new house or getting a new wife, etc. To argue that this means anything else seems to be stretching things a bit far.

We are commanded to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. While it is true that these define titles in the book of Psalms, but there are also two other titles given to Psalms - "michtam" which means poem (Psalm 16 and 56 - 60) and "shiggaion" which means a rambling poem (Psalm 7). Does that mean because we are not commanded to sing "michtam" and "shiggaion" in the NT that we are to cut these out of the Psalter?

Throughout the scriptures, we see the saints breaking out into new songs, not all of them are in the Psalter, but many of them made it to the Scriptures. Singing praise to God pleases Him, both in our daily lives and in worship. To restrict our singing in worship to 150 songs does not seem to be in line with God's character or who He made us to be.
 

FrielWatcher

Puritan Board Sophomore
Throughout the scriptures, we see the saints breaking out into new songs, not all of them are in the Psalter, but many of them made it to the Scriptures. Singing praise to God pleases Him, both in our daily lives and in worship. To restrict our singing in worship to 150 songs does not seem to be in line with God's character or who He made us to be.
Thanks for those insightful words, brother. I can see both sides of this argument, to a point. I believe that God, through His Son through prayer can give us a spirit of discernment to know good, God-exalting music from bad, opposite-of-God-exalting music. David, being a man after God's own heart, can play the lyre and sing songs to God, be it that he composed - why would Luther not be so endowed to be seeking the heart of God any less than David?
Granted, Luther is not a Levite but how much "after God's own heart" and blessed by God, and sanctified by God does a man, apart from David, have to be to create music worthy of God?

And would someone please answer this because I think it is a valid question toward the essence of faith with regard to creation of hymnody and psaltery?
 

FrielWatcher

Puritan Board Sophomore
Okay, I apologize for that. Couldn't tell from JBaldwin and a majority of members are men. My fault.
Thank you, brother Josh.
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Throughout the scriptures, we see the saints breaking out into new songs, not all of them are in the Psalter, but many of them made it to the Scriptures. Singing praise to God pleases Him, both in our daily lives and in worship. To restrict our singing in worship to 150 songs does not seem to be in line with God's character or who He made us to be.
Thanks for those insightful words, brother. I can see both sides of this argument, to a point. I believe that God, through His Son through prayer can give us a spirit of discernment to know good, God-exalting music from bad, opposite-of-God-exalting music. David, being a man after God's own heart, can play the lyre and sing songs to God, be it that he composed - why would Luther not be so endowed to be seeking the heart of God any less than David?
Granted, Luther is not a Levite but how much "after God's own heart" and blessed by God, and sanctified by God does a man, apart from David, have to be to create music worthy of God?


And would someone please answer this because I think it is a valid question toward the essence of faith with regard to creation of hymnody and psaltery?

Dear Peter,

The question is not one of sanctification--David was an adulterer and a murderer, and Luther questioned the canonicity of the book of James. This is a bad argument. What exclusive Psalmodists argue for is the *inspiration* of the words of their sung praise, as recorded and collected by God Himself in the Scriptures as His own hymn-book. These words are perfect, never to be modified, full and complete (there are many works showing clearly the completeness of the Psalter; Luther himself called it a "little Bible") proper for all Christians who love God's Word, for it *is* God's Word, which can be sung without fear of greater theological light requiring augmententation, alteration, or showing aberration. It is God's Word, therefore perfect. It cannot be improved upon.
 

FrielWatcher

Puritan Board Sophomore
So do we look at the imperfect man of David who wrote the perfect words of God? Such as Moses and the Torah, Paul and the epistles - perfect words written by imperfect men? I am gaining clarification on this so thank you Rev. Pastor Ruddell.

Now, does the hymnal: Trinity Hymnal cover psalmody well? (Iff'n you've ever heard of it.)
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
So do we look at the imperfect man of David who wrote the perfect words of God? Such as Moses and the Torah, Paul and the epistles - perfect words written by imperfect men? I am gaining clarification on this so thank you Rev. Pastor Ruddell.

Now, does the hymnal: Trinity Hymnal cover psalmody well? (Iff'n you've ever heard of it.)
Dear Peter,

I have not sung at all from the Trinity Hymnal, although I have looked it over a couple of times. I do not think it specializes in Psalms--you'd have to get a Psalter for that.
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
We are commanded to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. While it is true that these define titles in the book of Psalms, but there are also two other titles given to Psalms - "michtam" which means poem (Psalm 16 and 56 - 60) and "shiggaion" which means a rambling poem (Psalm 7). Does that mean because we are not commanded to sing "michtam" and "shiggaion" in the NT that we are to cut these out of the Psalter?
Can anyone address this question?
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Acts 17:11. These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

Does it have to be a Scriptural reference or can it be from the light of reason?

Singing could be considered an immediate confession by all because all are saying the lyrics without having studied them first.
This is only good and necessary consequence if you presuppose EP.

Preaching is not something that we verbally ascent to, but rather think on and compare against Scripture, and then ascent to it.
hmm, I'd think the majority of sermons would be easily and immediately discernible and agreeable (perhaps with some points to ponder) or you should look for another teaching elder.
not sure what your point is?

6And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, "These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus." 8And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go. 10 The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12 Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Perhaps to add to JD's major point that "new" songs are commanded in the Psalms themselves, as well as the fact that instrumental music is just as clearly commanded, we may consider the fact that Paul commands us to "teach" and "admonish" one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Teaching and admonishing by their very definition require exposition not just recitation. For some reason, no one questions that when the same words are used to describe preaching. But for singing it must mean something else? Is that how Paul's Greek mission audience would have understood his Greek usage?

It may be possible that Paul is commanding only the book of Psalms to be sung, assuming that the three-fold expression refers to the Psalms. But it is also exegetically possible that he is commanding us to expound the Scriptures to one another through the means or convention of songs in order to teach and admonish one another. In that case, the Christian is at liberty to sing praise to God for what all of Scripture reveals Him to be and for what He has done, including that clearer revelation of the NT. Thus the judge of a good hymn would not be "inspiration" but faithfulness to the biblical testimony of God and the gospel, and how it qualitatively "teaches" or "admonishes" the Church to greater faith in Christ. That the Psalms can do this is clear. But other hymns as well can do this too.

And where does Scripture impose upon itself the requirement of only singing "inspired" hymns or words? Where do the Psalms even do this?

It is considerations like this which forced me to abandon EP a few years ago. :2cents:
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
And where does Scripture impose upon itself the requirement of only singing "inspired" hymns or words? Where do the Psalms even do this?

It is considerations like this which forced me to abandon EP a few years ago. :2cents:
The regulative principle requires a command to use uninspired song in worship in order for such song to be acceptable to God. The regulative principle of worship is simply the principle of sola scriptura applied to worship. So, the question ought to be, "Where does the Scripture *command* uninspired song?" If this is what you meant to ask, very good question indeed! Some have asserted arguments in this and other threads that this command is contained in the command to sing "New Song". In my opinion, this is very shaky grounds for justifying uninspired song. Others have a different opinion, and we will all stand before Christ with those opinions. There are, however, many possible interpretations of the phrase "New Song" in the Psalter, as so many have pointed out, both by giving their own opinions, and by citing the writings of some of the giants of the Church who have passed into glory. And, it is true that there are some other giants of the faith who held a contrary opinion. However, if it is exegetically plausible that the term "New Song" can refer to the Psalter itself, to Psalms being written at that time which were, in fact, "new", or if the "New Song" is not really temporally new at all, but new in the sense that we sing the Psalms with a New Covenant/Redemptive understanding, which corresponds to the command of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14.16 and also Psalm 47.7, then we have an exegetical basis for understanding "New Song" as something different than uninspired song.

Further, one might ask which view comports best with the historical record of the Scriptures? Not wanting this post get get so long as to become burdensome, I would refer y'all to a study of the monarchy after the establishment of Psalmody by the sweet Psalmist of Israel, and especially to the reforming kings, as they re-established proper worship. At every instance, they instiituted the inspired Psalter for worship music, per the record of the prophets in 1,2 Chronicles. The same is true of the establishment after the exile--the returning exiles sang fdrom the Psalter, and there simply is no record of any other type of music being used.

The record of the New Testament is much the same, with the Apostle mentioning only the Psalms in his regulation of New testament worship in 1 Corinthians 14, and in the disputed passages of Colossians 3.16 and Ephesians 5.19 this three-fold synonymy has been conceded even by opponents of EP to refer to the Psalter. (See also Ephesians 2.2 and 6.12 for other examples of this kind of synonymy in Pauls writings)

Finally, I know these arguments will not convince those ensconced in their positions--that is not my aim, nor do I have the time nor the inclination to be drawn into a protracted debate. I write this overly long post only to show that we who do practice exclusive Psalmody do so from what we believe to be a comprehensive view of the Biblical data on worship song.
 
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Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
And where does Scripture impose upon itself the requirement of only singing "inspired" hymns or words? Where do the Psalms even do this?

It is considerations like this which forced me to abandon EP a few years ago. :2cents:
The regulative principle requires a command to use uninspired song in worship in order for such song to be acceptable to God.
The RPW requires a clear command in order to make something an element of worship. The dispute is not about the RPW itself but what it in fact commands. Singing is clearly commanded. Where does Scripture ever define worship song as "inspired" song? Where does the OT even do that?

So, the question ought to be, "Where does the Scripture *command* uninspired song?" If this is what you meant to ask, very good question indeed!
No, the question I asked is where does Scripture define "song" as only inspired song? That is where the whole crux of the argument lies. Just because we have inspired songs doesn't answer the question nor justify the exclusion of expounding upon the Scriptures through other songs.

Some have asserted arguments in this and other threads that this command is contained in the command to sing "New Song". In my opinion, this is very shaky grounds for justifying uninspired song.
Not just in that command but in the commands of Paul to "teach" and "admonish" with songs. What is he actually commanding there? Did the Hebrew authors of "new song" mean only songs that God inspired through them? Or did they perhaps mean that we should continue to praise God for the great works of redemption he has and continues to do for His people through the means of singing?

That is a very real exegetical possibility, especially given the Greek missionary context Paul ministered in. And this does not in any way jeopardize the RPW nor our Reformed Theology. If the commanded content of our song is the teaching and admonition of Scripture, then the content and edifying quality of any song can be appropriately judged by the elders of the Church testing every song by the Scriptures.

I'm still looking for a good argument to impose the category of inspiration upon "song." EP advocates just assume that point in their rhetoric. Where does Scripture ever define worship song in that way? We are commanded to praise God for who he is and what he has done, throughout all the Scriptures. Where do the Scriptures ever define that act to be done by "inspired" song?

However, if it is exegetically plausible that the term "New Song" can refer to the Psalter itself, to Psalms being written at that time which were, in fact, "new", or if the "New Song" is not really temporally new at all, but new in the sense that we sing the Psalms with a New Covenant/Redemptive understanding, which corresponds to the command of the Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 14.16 and also Psalm 47.7, then we have an exegetical basis for understanding "New Song" as something different than uninspired song.
Exegetical plausibility is not enough. As I've shown above, it is just as plausible for the commands to refer to an element of expository singing rather than only a fixed body of material in the Psalter. And this is plausible not only in the NT use but the OT use within the Psalms as well. There are other arguments at work which sway the exegesis one way or another. Those are the kind of arguments and presuppositions that need to be brought out in the open and examined. :2cents:
 

Rev. Todd Ruddell

Puritan Board Junior
Dear Patrick,

A reading of the Psalter contains commands to sing Psalms. Paul commands the singing of Psalms. The historical examples of how this was carried out in the reforming kings points out that the Psalms were commanded by the Prophets, including David, to be sung, and that they were used when the worship was set back in order by those kings' reforms. I'm not sure what else would be required. If the RPW is in fact Scriptural, and from your comments it does not seem you disagree, then these commands and approved examples ought to confirm the argument. The content of the word "song" is defined by the Scriptures themselves.

When you write:

"Not just in that command but in the commands of Paul to "teach" and "admonish" with songs. What is he actually commanding there? Did the Hebrew authors of "new song" mean only songs that God inspired through them? Or did they perhaps mean that we should continue to praise God for the great works of redemption he has and continues to do for His people through the means of singing?"

You neglect to notice that the Apostle does not say "teach and admonish with the songs of your own composition" but with "psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". I believe this command is clear--the intention of the Apostle is not for the members of the Church to compose their own songs, but to use the Psalter. I'm all for praising God by "continu(ing) to praise God for the great works of redemption he has and continues to do for His people" and that through the means of singing--I believe that the Psalter is perfectly suited to this task--that it lacks not one whit to this most necessary element of Christian living.

Further you write:

"Exegetical plausibility is not enough. As I've shown above, it is just as plausible for the commands to refer to an element of expository singing rather than only a fixed body of material in the Psalter. And this is plausible not only in the NT use but the OT use within the Psalms as well."

Where is this evidence, my dear friend? You have asserted, without proof from Scripture, that what Paul means when he says "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual songs" is uninspired songs to teach what the inspired songs mean. Where do the Scriptures command what you call "expository singing"? And where is the ancillary command, which would be necessary in such a context, since it represents a "sea change" in the worship song of the God's people, giving guidelines to the officers of the Church as to what constitutes acceptable song? The standard throughout Scripture is indeed *inspiration*. Please read the Chronicles, Ezra and Nehamiah again and see those prophetically approved examples.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
We are commanded to sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. While it is true that these define titles in the book of Psalms, but there are also two other titles given to Psalms - "michtam" which means poem (Psalm 16 and 56 - 60) and "shiggaion" which means a rambling poem (Psalm 7). Does that mean because we are not commanded to sing "michtam" and "shiggaion" in the NT that we are to cut these out of the Psalter?
Can anyone address this question?
Much like the term "the Law and the Prophets" was a reference to the entire OT (not just the part that had the Law and the Prophets)...so too the term "Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs" is simply a term used to reference the Book of Psalms.
 

larryjf

Puritan Board Senior
Eph 5 and Col 3 are brought up in this debate quite frequently (by me as well). Looking more closely at the passages, is the context even about worship?
 
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