Puritan Board Doctor
It was the old covenant practice to sing psalms sure. but what kind of psalms? Where does it ever say "inspired" psalms? Where does the OT ever define psalms only that which is inspired?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.
My point was that if Paul is only commanding the use of songs to teach and admonish then that is a command to compose new songs. Paul is commanding the use of song to further expound the Scriptures in our praise of God and help us encourage one another.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.
And I argued that the very definition of "teach" and "admonish" requires exposition, thus it is entirely possible Paul is commanding us to expound with the use of songs, to teach and admonish each other with the means of song.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 you are asserting your position without proofAnd 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.
Where does Scripture define song as "inspired" song? That is a category you are assuming, not proving.
If in fact the OT psalms as well as the NT is commanding the use of songs, not just the Psalms, then there is no "sea change" at all in the worship of God to include new praises for the continuing works of God in redemption, only the overthrow of a tradition of men imposed upon the text of Scripture limiting our teaching and admonishing to the Psalms alone. The criteria to judge the content of song would be the same as that which the elders use to judge preaching and teaching.
Again, prove that Scripture defines song as "inspired song" and not just a general command to sing praise to God for who he is and what he has done. This will probably require a little more homework, because you need to go back through all the psalms in context, and whenever the author commands us to sing, ask, does he really mean, sing only "inpsired" song? And then justify that assumption, why would the author only mean that?