Psalmody and Worship

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timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
My question is still outstanding, though: how do you get from this to the declaration that God permits only the Psalms to be sung?
If the argument is traced carefully, it will be seen that we get to this from the fact that we restrict ourselves only to what God has commanded to be sung. In other words, the exegetical consideration is first, and from there we come to the issue of order and decency. Exegetically, we can see where God commands the singing of psalms with grace in the heart. From there we can see His wisdom in binding us to His set form so that we can sing with the full assurance of faith.
Although one may argue that the it might be held to be a possible inference from the biblical data, the conclusion that God has commanded only the biblical psalms to be sung cannot be proven a good and necessary consequence of the same. For we have no NT statment that explicitly and unambigously commands the sole use of biblical psalms in worship. So we must derive the view that such is commanded by GNC reasoning from other statements. But Paul's categorizing of the sung worship of the churches as "teaching" in Col 3:16 makes it impossible to logically prove that the apostolic church saw sung worship as a separate worship element governed by different rules than the element of teaching. In addition, Paul's includsion of "a hymn" in the list of benefits that prophetically gifted members were bringing to the church services in 1 Cor. 14:26, (note that the context is the proper use of prophecy and tongues), makes it impossible to apodidically prove that the hymns so brought were limited only to the biblical psalms.
 
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JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
My question is still outstanding, though: how do you get from this to the declaration that God permits only the Psalms to be sung?
If the argument is traced carefully, it will be seen that we get to this from the fact that we restrict ourselves only to what God has commanded to be sung. In other words, the exegetical consideration is first, and from there we come to the issue of order and decency. Exegetically, we can see where God commands the singing of psalms with grace in the heart. From there we can see His wisdom in binding us to His set form so that we can sing with the full assurance of faith.
Again you answered in terms I can agree with. We are both concerned first of all with what God says to us, and then with binding ourselves to His set form. Our conclusions come out different.

I've focused on two things in my discussions concerning EP: the Confessions; and the RPW. Here's why. It is one thing to come to the conclusion of EP, but it is quite another to:

A. Decide not to sing along with the congregation of the Lord; and

B. Assert that God is not pleased with, or that He will not accept, the worship of other songs than the Psalms.

These are serious things to assert.

When EP does this then there are two things that are necessary:

1. The onus of proof is now squarely on the EP, for they are doing these two serious things;

2. This is now no longer about EP. It is occurring within the context of EP, but is now much more serious. Implying unfaithfulness on the part of those who also obey the commands and commendations of God concerning the use of songs in worship, who are not breaking the RPW, and who are not outside the Confessions, implying unfaithfulness for asserting that they are, is a very serious thing. And to do so without Biblical proof is far too serious a thing.

If the difference here is just our sentiments, our own personal precommitments, then we have to leave it at that and not allow it to cause a break in fellowship. For if we did allow that then that would catapult this difference into a whole new level. The need for Biblical proof increases greatly; it becomes absolutely necessary.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
A. Decide not to sing along with the congregation of the Lord; and

B. Assert that God is not pleased with, or that He will not accept, the worship of other songs than the Psalms.

These are serious things to assert.
Distinction should be made between a formal and material acceptance of actions. For the form, it must be what God requires; for the material, it must be offered through faith in Jesus Christ. Hence worship might be formally acceptable but materially unacceptable and vice versa.

When EP does this then there are two things that are necessary:

1. The onus of proof is now squarely on the EP, for they are doing these two serious things;

2. This is now no longer about EP. It is occurring within the context of EP, but is now much more serious.
1. As noted in previous threads, given the RPW -- that is, that God regulates His own worship -- the onus is squarely on the person introducing an element of worship to demonstrate his divine warrant for doing so. I think it is agreed by all that there is a divine warrant to sing psalms with grace in the heart. What remains to be proven, on the basis of the RPW, is whether there is a warrant for the introduction of uninspired songs into congregational praise. I am yet to see anything like an exegetical argument for this, and hence I reject uninspired songs.

2. The seriousness of the dispute lies in a departure from God's own revealed will. It is God with whom we have to do in these discussions. Whatever men think of us pales in comparison.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
A. Decide not to sing along with the congregation of the Lord; and

B. Assert that God is not pleased with, or that He will not accept, the worship of other songs than the Psalms.

These are serious things to assert.
Distinction should be made between a formal and material acceptance of actions. For the form, it must be what God requires; for the matter, it must be offered through faith in Jesus Christ. Hence worship might be formally acceptable but materially unaceptable and vice versa.

When EP does this then there are two things that are necessary:

1. The onus of proof is now squarely on the EP, for they are doing these two serious things;

2. This is now no longer about EP. It is occurring within the context of EP, but is now much more serious.
1. As noted in previous threads, given the RPW -- that is, that God regulates His own worship -- the onus is squarely on the person introducing an element of worship to demonstrate his divine warrant for doing so. I think it is agreed by all that there is a divine warrant to sing psalms with grace in the heart. What remains to be proven, on the basis of the RPW, is whether there is a warrant for the introduction of uninspired songs into congregational praise. I am yet to see anything like an exegetical argument for this, and hence I reject uninspired songs.

2. The seriousness of the dispute lies in a departure from God's own revealed will. It is God with whom we have to do in these discussions. Whatever men think of us pales in comparison.
I agree that whatever men thinks of us pales in comparison to what God thinks of us and that we discuss our views and live our conclusions before Him. But you too quickly conclude that biblical psalms only is God's revealed will in the NT when you ignore the exegetical argument I provided that proves the impossibility of asserting that God requires is solely the biblical psalms. I pointed out that Paul subsumes worship within the element of teaching in Col 2, and that his instructions for church order in 1 Cor. 14 read as though the hymns being brought were the result of the prophetic gift. This Scriptural evidence necessarily means that nobody can be certain that God is not limiting acceptable worship to the book of psalms in the new covenant absent either direct Scriptural testimony to the contrary or soundly proven demonstration by GNC from other Scriptures not directly addressing the problem. As I noted previously, you cannot provide the first for it doesn't exist, and you have yet to provide a GNC demonstration that stands up.

All I am asking you to do is live up to your confessional requirements for establishing of doctrine.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I pointed out that Paul subsumes worship within the element of teaching in Col 2, and that his instructions for church order in 1 Cor. 14 read as though the hymns being brought were the result of the prophetic gift.
Yes, 1 Cor. 14 does read like the psalmody was a prophetic function as it was taking place in Corinth, and the instruction the apostle gives is clear and to the point, vv. 29-31 -- one by one were to prophesy and the others were to judge. So there is no basis for congregations singing an individual's composition. As for Col. 2 (3?) if worship is subsumed under teaching, then all worship should be done by individuals, with the rest of the congregation testing the spirits.

One cannot have it both ways. These texts cannot be used in support of a congregational activity while they are being interpreted as prescribing individual actions. This kind of exegesis only succeeds in doing away with congregational singing; it does not provide support for introducing uninspired compositions for congregational praise.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
A. Decide not to sing along with the congregation of the Lord; and

B. Assert that God is not pleased with, or that He will not accept, the worship of other songs than the Psalms.

These are serious things to assert.
Distinction should be made between a formal and material acceptance of actions. For the form, it must be what God requires; for the matter, it must be offered through faith in Jesus Christ. Hence worship might be formally acceptable but materially unacceptable and vice versa.
This doesn't change a thing. Whether the charge of unacceptability is formal or material, a charge is a charge, and the onus is on the one who lays the charge. If it is charged that God forbids it (because He does not command it) or it is that it is not offered in faith to Jesus Christ, either one is a charge of unfaithfulness over the inclusion of other songs.
When EP does this then there are two things that are necessary:

1. The onus of proof is now squarely on the EP, for they are doing these two serious things;

2. This is now no longer about EP. It is occurring within the context of EP, but is now much more serious.
1. As noted in previous threads, given the RPW -- that is, that God regulates is own worship -- the onus is squarely on the person introducing an element of worship to demonstrate his divine warrant for doing so. I think it is agreed by all that there is a divine warrant to sing psalms with grace in the heart. What remains to be proven, on the basis of the RPW, is whether there is a warrant for the introduction of uninspired songs into congregational praise. I am yet to see anything like an exegetical argument for this, and hence I reject uninspired songs.

2. The seriousness of the dispute lies in a departure from God's own revealed will. It is God with whom we have to do in these discussions. Whatever men think of us pales in comparison.
And so we're right back where we started: you appeal to the Confession ("sing psalms with grace in the heart") and to the RPW; and I appeal to the Confessions (Ch. I.vi: i.e., applying the RPW to teaching).
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
I pointed out that Paul subsumes worship within the element of teaching in Col 2, and that his instructions for church order in 1 Cor. 14 read as though the hymns being brought were the result of the prophetic gift.
Yes, 1 Cor. 14 does read like the psalmody was a prophetic function as it was taking place in Corinth, and the instruction the apostle gives is clear and to the point, vv. 29-31 -- one by one were to prophesy and the others were to judge. So there is no basis for congregations singing an individual's composition.
The church is either comanded to sing biblical psalms only or it is not. This Scripture demonstrates that non-biblical psalms were pemitted in the Apostolic church. Since God is not a God of confusion but of peace, the claim that the Apostolic church practiced biblical psalms only is untenable. If they were not limited to biblical psalms only, neither are we unless such can be demonstrated by GNC. And the congregation still is to judge, and as I showed previously, is well able to judge what is set before it in worship.

As for Col. 2 (3?) if worship is subsumed under teaching, then all worship should be done by individuals, with the rest of the congregation testing the spirits.
Although testing what is taught remains both required under 1 Cor 14 and doable today as previously mentioned, the text of Col. 3 is conspicuously plural. It is the church as a whole that is told to teach by singing to one another. Paul does not specify the "circumstances" of how the church is to do this. The church is left free to teach by congregational singing, by solo singing or both. And since worship is set forth as part of the element of teaching, it is the rules that govern teaching that must regulate our congregational singing and not any other. As we are not limited to Scripture verses only when we teach, so also we are not limited to biblical psalms only when we worship. (The biblical limit being of course, that we must only sing that which is truth).



One cannot have it both ways. These texts cannot be used in support of a congregational activity while they are being interpreted as prescribing individual actions. This kind of exegesis only succeeds in doing away with congregational singing; it does not provide support for introducing uninspired compositions for congregational praise.
The congregation remains required to judge what is set before it in worship while the precise mode of teaching one another is left open. Consequently these Scriptures demonstrate the impossibility of establishing EP since the latter does not do away with congregational singing while the former not only proves that non-EP was apostolic practice, it also provides the rule to judge the use of uninspired compositions on the basis of if the greater (prophetic hymns) are to be judged by the congregation then so also must (the lesser) uninspired hymns be subjected to the same judgment. Since neither text prescribes individual action in such a way as to rule out their application when the church engages in congregational worship, there is no attempt to have anything both ways, and therefore the objection fails to stand.
 
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JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tim:

I've been saying that it doesn't really follow that since the Col. 3 text refers to at least the Psalms, and since the RPW, therefore we conclude EP. I say that this is broken logic, that it lacks logical connection.

Now let me see if I understand you. You are saying, it seems to me, that the plain reading of the Col. text refers to more than the Psalms, therefore there needs to direct Scripture or GNC in order to assert that it doesn't. Have I got that right?

Are we pointing to the same thing here?
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
Tim:

I've been saying that it doesn't really follow that since the Col. 3 text refers to at least the Psalms, and since the RPW, therefore we conclude EP. I say that this is broken logic, that it lacks logical connection.

Now let me see if I understand you. You are saying, it seems to me, that the plain reading of the Col. text refers to more than the Psalms, therefore there needs to direct Scripture or GNC in order to assert that it doesn't. Have I got that right?

Are we pointing to the same thing here?
I am trying to say that the plain reading of the Col. 3 text establishes that the Apostle Paul considered congreagational worship to part of the teaching ministry of the church rather than a separate "element". If it is part of the teaching ministry, it must be seen as subject to the same rules as the "element" of teaching is. Since it is recognized by all that one uses more than Scripture verses when teaching, worship therefore cannot be limited to "biblical psalms only" to achieve the end mandated by "teaching one another" absent a provably GNC deduction from other Scriptures. And such a GNC deduction, I have yet to see.
 

Law Grace Radio

Puritan Board Freshman
Very interesting thread bretheren and I see we have a lot of Psalms only position people. I think you make a strong point although if I may, can I humbly suggest otherwise?

A study of New Testement "Worship" suggests that God is interested in attitudes and focus. As far as I can see there is no verse that commands us only to sing the psalms. Please correct me if I am wrong. If a hymn is crafted correct to biblical theology then it can be sung in worship to almighty God. He see's the heart of the issue and the motives. For example, we can pray things outside of what is in scripture as long as we are within the guidelines of scripture. Another few interesting areas of this discussion are:
- Was Miriam wrong to sing her song of praise? All the OT songs before the psalms, which extolled in their own situation God and his dealings were correct theology but nonetheless the response of a people and not a perscribed hymn book.
- People who sing psalms don't actually sing psalms. The same meaning is implied but the words are changed slightly. Isn't it the spirit of the psalms we should be adopting.
- Interestingly Worship is very rarely described in terms of singing. We need a well thought through worship theology.

Singing psalms is of course good and I have a lot of sympathy for my Psalm singing brothers and sisters in this matter. I'll certainly not fall out with you! :D

Let me finish here with an exhortation for each of us to worship according to our conscience but to do it wholeheartedly! Our God deserves worship, and too often we go to worship with the wrong attitude.

Love you bretheren!
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Tim:

I've been saying that it doesn't really follow that since the Col. 3 text refers to at least the Psalms, and since the RPW, therefore we conclude EP. I say that this is broken logic, that it lacks logical connection.

Now let me see if I understand you. You are saying, it seems to me, that the plain reading of the Col. text refers to more than the Psalms, therefore there needs to direct Scripture or GNC in order to assert that it doesn't. Have I got that right?

Are we pointing to the same thing here?
I am trying to say that the plain reading of the Col. 3 text establishes that the Apostle Paul considered congreagational worship to part of the teaching ministry of the church rather than a separate "element". If it is part of the teaching ministry, it must be seen as subject to the same rules as the "element" of teaching is. Since it is recognized by all that one uses more than Scripture verses when teaching, worship therefore cannot be limited to "biblical psalms only" to achieve the end mandated by "teaching one another" absent a provably GNC deduction from other Scriptures. And such a GNC deduction, I have yet to see.
OK. Let's put it this way: (please excuse the repitition; I'm trying to lay down the logical progression in ordinary terms.)

Basic structure: Principle is to be taught as part of worship (strictly Biblical teaching) using teaching helps (other things than the Bible may be used as teaching aids, such as sermons); songs are aids to teaching; therefore songs do not have to be strictly the Bible.

So just like sermons don't have to strictly readings from the Bible, so also singing doesn't have to be only singing the Psalms.

Looking into the structure: Col. 3:16 places songs as teaching aids in the teaching of the Word during worship; therefore it necessarily follows that the text is not referring only to the Psalms, since all Scripture would be used equally here. Singling out the Psalms is unnecessary, and excluding all other Scripture is unwarranted.

Conclusion: The plain reading of Col. 3:16 does not define that the singing of the Psalms is a defined and exclusive element of worship. The plain reading of the text refers to more than the Psalms.

(Here's where our reasonings cross paths, I think. EP is asserting that the singing of the Psalms is a defined element of worship, and that singing other songs is an encroachment on that element, contrary to the RPW; I'm saying that key elements in the reasoning are missing.)

What is assumed is that the plain reading of the text is preferred unless another text intervenes to indicate another meaning. What is also assumed here is that therefore the Col. text, in placing songs along with the teaching aspect of sermons, may give the sense of the text.

What is also assumed is that the Word must be taught; sticking to the teaching (applied RPW) does not obviate sermons. This, then allows, for example, teaching grammar or history, or using examples from everyday life, things other than Scripture, if necessary in order to give the sense of the text.

Col. 3:16 applies "giving the sense" to songs. Therefore it follows necessarily that Col. 3:16, in commanding us to teach and admonish one another in songs, is telling us to use our own words in songs, but to teach Biblically, not that we may only sing the Bible's words. It cannot be other, according to the plain reading of the text.

Now do I have it right?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The church is either comanded to sing biblical psalms only or it is not. This Scripture demonstrates that non-biblical psalms were pemitted in the Apostolic church.
By your own admission this was done within a particular context -- prophecy. Duplicate the context and you have your warrant. The Westminster Confession teaches that those former ways of God's revealing His will have now ceased. The impossibility of duplicating the context means that we cannot use this as a warrant.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Col. 3:16 applies "giving the sense" to songs. Therefore it follows necessarily that Col. 3:16, in commanding us to teach and admonish one another in songs, is telling us to use our own words in songs, but to teach Biblically, not that we may only sing the Bible's words. It cannot be other, according to the plain reading of the text.
On this basis, God requires each individual to use his own words and the possibility of congregational singing is destroyed.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
Tim:

I've been saying that it doesn't really follow that since the Col. 3 text refers to at least the Psalms, and since the RPW, therefore we conclude EP. I say that this is broken logic, that it lacks logical connection.

Now let me see if I understand you. You are saying, it seems to me, that the plain reading of the Col. text refers to more than the Psalms, therefore there needs to direct Scripture or GNC in order to assert that it doesn't. Have I got that right?

Are we pointing to the same thing here?
I am trying to say that the plain reading of the Col. 3 text establishes that the Apostle Paul considered congreagational worship to part of the teaching ministry of the church rather than a separate "element". If it is part of the teaching ministry, it must be seen as subject to the same rules as the "element" of teaching is. Since it is recognized by all that one uses more than Scripture verses when teaching, worship therefore cannot be limited to "biblical psalms only" to achieve the end mandated by "teaching one another" absent a provably GNC deduction from other Scriptures. And such a GNC deduction, I have yet to see.
OK. Let's put it this way: (please excuse the repitition; I'm trying to lay down the logical progression in ordinary terms.)

Basic structure: Principle is to be taught as part of worship (strictly Biblical teaching) using teaching helps (other things than the Bible may be used as teaching aids, such as sermons); songs are aids to teaching; therefore songs do not have to be strictly the Bible.
To refine your last clause: songs don't have to be strictly limited to Biblical psalm texts alone.
They may be biblical psalms, other biblical texts or biblical theology expressed in words that are not biblical verses.

So just like sermons don't have to strictly readings from the Bible, so also singing doesn't have to be only singing the Psalms.

Looking into the structure: Col. 3:16 places songs as teaching aids in the teaching of the Word during worship; therefore it necessarily follows that the text is not referring only to the Psalms, since all Scripture would be used equally here. Singling out the Psalms is unnecessary, and excluding all other Scripture is unwarranted.

Conclusion: The plain reading of Col. 3:16 does not define that the singing of the Psalms is a defined and exclusive element of worship. The plain reading of the text refers to more than the Psalms.

(Here's where our reasonings cross paths, I think. EP is asserting that the singing of the Psalms is a defined element of worship, and that singing other songs is an encroachment on that element, contrary to the RPW; I'm saying that key elements in the reasoning are missing.)
I agree with your understanding both of the EP position, and your claim that key elements in EP reasoning are missing.

What is assumed is that the plain reading of the text is preferred unless another text intervenes to indicate another meaning. What is also assumed here is that therefore the Col. text, in placing songs along with the teaching aspect of sermons, may give the sense of the text.
I would say that the Confession requires the plain reading of the text unless it can be shown by GNC deduction from other Scriptural statements that the plain reading is not correct. Having not yet seen a GNC deduction invalidate the plain reading of Paul's statement which implictly subsumes "psalms, hymns and spritual songs" within the element of teaching, I think we act contrary to the Confession's teaching on the standards for accepting doctrine if we limit the church's worship to biblical psalms only.

What is also assumed is that the Word must be taught; sticking to the teaching (applied RPW) does not obviate sermons. This, then allows, for example, teaching grammar or history, or using examples from everyday life, things other than Scripture, if necessary in order to give the sense of the text.

Col. 3:16 applies "giving the sense" to songs. Therefore it follows necessarily that Col. 3:16, in commanding us to teach and admonish one another in songs, is telling us to use our own words in songs, but to teach Biblically, not that we may only sing the Bible's words. It cannot be other, according to the plain reading of the text.

Now do I have it right?
Aside from a couple of minor quibbles, you do indeed have it right.
 
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timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
The church is either comanded to sing biblical psalms only or it is not. This Scripture demonstrates that non-biblical psalms were pemitted in the Apostolic church.
By your own admission this was done within a particular context -- prophecy. Duplicate the context and you have your warrant. The Westminster Confession teaches that those former ways of God's revealing His will have now ceased. The impossibility of duplicating the context means that we cannot use this as a warrant.
That the hymns that were brought were brought in the context of prophecy does not obviate the fact that the early church was not biblically restricted to biblical psalms only in worship. If God shared your understanding of the RPW, He could not and would not have given those hymns to the Corinthians since it contradicts the biblcal psalms only position. Since he did do so, the church is not restricted to "biblical psalms only".

The other point I draw from the Corinthians text (that what governs the greater must also govern the lesser) remains to govern the use of uninspired songs which are established as legitimate by Paul's subsuming them under teaching in Col 3. That is the congregation must test what is being sung, a point reiterated in 1 Thess 5:23.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
If God shared your understanding of the RPW, He could not and would not have given those hymns to the Corinthians since it contradicts the biblcal psalms only position. Since he did do so, the church is not restricted to "biblical psalms only".
God commanded Israelites to slay the Canaanites. That is no ordinary rule to those who are not given the command. God gave the gift of inspired psalmody for a time in the church. That is no ordinary rule to those for whom the gift of prophecy has ceased.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
Col. 3:16 applies "giving the sense" to songs. Therefore it follows necessarily that Col. 3:16, in commanding us to teach and admonish one another in songs, is telling us to use our own words in songs, but to teach Biblically, not that we may only sing the Bible's words. It cannot be other, according to the plain reading of the text.
On this basis, God requires each individual to use his own words and the possibility of congregational singing is destroyed.
The conclusion does not necessarily follow. It is the Colossian church as a whole (the "you" in 3:16 is plural) that is to have the word of Christ dwelling in it richly. This is accomplished by "teaching and admonnishing one another with psalms etc." The mode of teaching and admonishing one another is not specified. Although a song is usually composed by an individual, it does not have to be sung by only an individual, it can also be sung by a group or congregation.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
The conclusion does not necessarily follow. It is the Colossian church as a whole (the "you" in 3:16 is plural) that is to have the word of Christ dwelling in it richly. This is accomplished by "teaching and admonnishing one another with psalms etc." The mode of teaching and admonishing one another is not specified. Although a song is usually composed by an individual, it does not have to be sung by only an individual, it can also be sung by a group or congregation.
It doesn't follow where you are still assuming the RPW exegesis that this text warrants congregational singing. Of course "you" is plural," it is written to more than one person. But if JohnV's conclusion is correct, that it warrants an individual to compose his own words in order to teach, then the assumed warrant for congregational singing is destroyed, because God requires each individual to teach in his own words.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
The conclusion does not necessarily follow. It is the Colossian church as a whole (the "you" in 3:16 is plural) that is to have the word of Christ dwelling in it richly. This is accomplished by "teaching and admonnishing one another with psalms etc." The mode of teaching and admonishing one another is not specified. Although a song is usually composed by an individual, it does not have to be sung by only an individual, it can also be sung by a group or congregation.
It doesn't follow where you are still assuming the RPW exegesis that this text warrants congregational singing. Of course "you" is plural," it is written to more than one person. But if JohnV's conclusion is correct, that it warrants an individual to compose his own words in order to teach, then the assumed warrant for congregational singing is destroyed, because God requires each individual to teach in his own words.
Huh????
Who says I am assuming this text necessarily warrants only congregational singing? I don't. There are other forms of teaching and admonishing in song, all legitimate.

Congregational singing apart from all other forms of teaching via music is not specifically commanded in these verses nor in the parallel passage in Ephesians. In both places Paul is laying out a general principle (that we are to edify one anothe via singing to each other) and he does not find it necessary to lay out the specifics of how we are to go about doing this. Which means that anything that would be acceptable when teaching is also acceptable in worship - subject of course to the proviso that all examples of sung worship employed neither contradict (in descending order of importance) explict statements of Scripture, that which can be derived by GNC therefrom, and the testimony of Christian wisdom and prudence.

Before you can say that John V's interpretation of this text destroys congregational singing you must prove, either by Scriptural statement or GNC therefrom, that a congregation cannot edify itself by by means of a choir singing a song composed by an individual. I submit that you will find this task impossible. For we have frequent testimony in the psalms to the contrary role of the choir, and every psalm in the book of psalms addressed "To the chief musician" also testifies against you.

Finally, what is at issue is not whether congregational singing is biblical, that is shown elswhere, but whether or not "biblical psalms only" is the Divine requirement for worship. This text only proves that sung worship was subsumed into the element of "teaching" and is not judged as a separate element.
 
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timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
If God shared your understanding of the RPW, He could not and would not have given those hymns to the Corinthians since it contradicts the biblcal psalms only position. Since he did do so, the church is not restricted to "biblical psalms only".
God commanded Israelites to slay the Canaanites. That is no ordinary rule to those who are not given the command. God gave the gift of inspired psalmody for a time in the church. That is no ordinary rule to those for whom the gift of prophecy has ceased.
Show by Scripture where God announced the exemption from the hertofore operative RPW. No explicit text says so nor can we derive GNC from any Scripture text without presuming the RPW in our reading of it. Absent such we must presume no rule made. You are arguing in circles and from silence and the WCF does not permit either circular reasoning nor arguments from silence to be used in establishing doctrine.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
The conclusion does not necessarily follow. It is the Colossian church as a whole (the "you" in 3:16 is plural) that is to have the word of Christ dwelling in it richly. This is accomplished by "teaching and admonnishing one another with psalms etc." The mode of teaching and admonishing one another is not specified. Although a song is usually composed by an individual, it does not have to be sung by only an individual, it can also be sung by a group or congregation.
It doesn't follow where you are still assuming the RPW exegesis that this text warrants congregational singing. Of course "you" is plural," it is written to more than one person. But if JohnV's conclusion is correct, that it warrants an individual to compose his own words in order to teach, then the assumed warrant for congregational singing is destroyed, because God requires each individual to teach in his own words.
I don’t know how you draw that conclusion. How did we get from songs which are in our own words being allowed in worship to a command that each individual is to use songs to teach in his own words? Where did “each individual” come from? And where did each individual teaching come from? There is no logical connection here.

I did not say anything about a command that each individual teach in his own words. All I said was that songs do not need to be confined only to singing the Psalms, just like a sermon isn’t confined to only reciting Bible passages. I said nothing about a command that each individual compose his own songs as a necessary element of worship.

Secondly, how is the “assumed warrant for congregational singing” destroyed in the writing of songs? Col. 3:16 may mean songs of praise, anthems of praise, and instructing or encouraging songs and still assume a warrant for congregational singing.

I cannot see how you came to this conclusion.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
One final response.

If the RPW is followed -- what God has not commanded is forbidden;

If Col. 3:16 is interpreted as commanding Christians to teach one another in song, i.e., one individual speaks/sings whilst another listens;

If this command to teach is supposed to imply that Christians are to use their own words, just as the minister uses his own words when he teaches from the Word of God;

Then, the conclusion which follows is not that that congregations may take up a form of words composed by one individual and sing it together; but, that one must compose his words to instruct another and sing it to them while they hear and discern what is being taught to them.

The premises do not contain a reference to congregational activity but only to individual teaching; so the conclusion cannot add the congregational element but must be restricted to the activity of the individual. Otherwise it is a formal fallacy.
 

timmopussycat

Puritan Board Junior
One final response.

If the RPW is followed -- what God has not commanded is forbidden;

If Col. 3:16 is interpreted as commanding Christians to teach one another in song, i.e., one individual speaks/sings whilst another listens;

If this command to teach is supposed to imply that Christians are to use their own words, just as the minister uses his own words when he teaches from the Word of God;

Then, the conclusion which follows is not that that congregations may take up a form of words composed by one individual and sing it together; but, that one must compose his words to instruct another and sing it to them while they hear and discern what is being taught to them.

The premises do not contain a reference to congregational activity but only to individual teaching; so the conclusion cannot add the congregational element but must be restricted to the activity of the individual. Otherwise it is a formal fallacy.
You here presume 2 premises. 1) that Paul is specifically identifying a 1 to 1 correspondence in all areas between teaching and worship and 2) that one cannot learn Divine truth while singing it but only listening to it. Both presmises are unsound.

As I have shown previously in this thread Paul is giving general instructions of what to do and not how to do it. And I showed that an individual may write a song and teach the remainder of the community through communal singing. "Teaching one another" therefore cannnot be read to presume the 1to 1 correspondence in teaching method between doctrinal teaching and Christian worship and your first premise is unsound.

I also could have mentioned but did not, the fact that we don't learn all a song teaches us on our first encounter with it. More than once, I have learned some things about God when I percieved what a song was talking about while singing it. So your second premise is also unsound
 
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