Question on basic EP argument

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Casey

Puritan Board Junior
I meant that we are not "truthful" in fact we are liars. And to worship in "Spirit" we need Spirit inspired songs. We are supplied with both. We would pollute any song we tried to write.

I can't remember where exactly but in the OT someone was going to build an altar for God and God told him not to put any tool to any of the stones but to use them as they were, because he would have polluted the alter by his handiwork. God's work is of course perfect thus the rocks as they were, were fitting for an altar of worship to Him.
I understand what you're saying -- but, for sake of argument, let's apply that logic to other aspects of our worship. Just as we would "pollute any song we tried to write," so we likewise pollute all our prayers and preaching. We ought not then even use uninspired prayers and uninspired preaching. But you see then, no one is willing to take it that far. So, why apply that logic to our singing?
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Casey,

I'm afraid that you're comparing apples and oranges here. You can't apply what Scripture teaches about one element of worship to another element of worship. If you want to argue that only the Lord's Prayer should be prayed, then present your argument and see it crumble when compared to the teaching of Scripture. You seem to be the one ignoring the arguments that have been presented to you.
Actually, I believe I'm simply consistently applying the EP argument to the worship element of prayer. I haven't quite seen my argument crumble yet, and there have thus far been a lot of posts on this thread.
Paul tells us in Romans 8:26 that the Holy Spirit aids us in our prayers because, "for we know not what we should pray for as we ought". If the Lord's Prayer is the only prayer to be prayed, then we would not need the Spirit's assistance in reciting it.
So, the Holy Spirit does not assist us in our prayers? That's an interesting argument. Anyway, if you read Rom. 8:26 in it's context, it is clear from v. 27 that "He [the Holy Spirit] makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God." Yes, the Spirit assists us in our prayers -- but that assistance is no different in our singing. The context is showing that since we do not know what we ought to pray for, the Spirit prays on our behalf! What you're arguing here really does nothing to the essence of my argument.
Paul does instruct us to, "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord." in Col 3:16. Uninspired hymns are not the word of Christ, but words of man offered up as Cain's unacceptable sacrifice was or the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu.
Hmm. I could just as well argue that there isn't necessarily a parallel between "the word of Christ" and the "psalms and hymns and spiritual songs," because I can't quite remember Christ composing any "psalms and hymns and spiritual" songs for me. (Of course I'm not denying the role of Christ's Spirit in the inspiration of all of Scripture, but you see your argument isn't absolutely necessary in the context of this verse being written in the NT.)

And now you've just characterized my worship as pure idolatry. Thanks. Why don't you tell me what you really believe! :smug: This connection between "Cain's unacceptable sacrifice" and "the strange fire of Nadab and Abihu" with the uninspired songs that I sing is your connection, not Scripture's connection.
Another example I could give you in Scripture does address both prayer and singing psalms in the same verse. Jam 5:13 "Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms." Now James does not instruct us to pray the Lord's Prayer, but he does instruct us to sing Psalms. He doesn't say, Is any merry? let him sing, he says sing psalms.
Please, do note: He does not say that we may sing only psalms -- in fact, Paul had written that we may sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs! (Which, by my estimation, are not psalms! And you are free to disagree.)

Anyway, if your argument is that since James says we ought to "sing Psalms" and therefore we may only sing Psalms, why not consistantly apply that logic to prayer when Jesus commands us: "When you pray, say: Our Father, who..." You see, you can't have it both ways.
We have no example of Christ or the Apostles singing anything other than the Psalms of David in Scripture, but we do have examples of them praying prayers other than the Lord's Prayer.
Which is, after all, a pure argument from silence when it comes to singing. That they prayed other words is easily answered with this: they were inspired.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
I have struggled with the whole EP issue, and don't know where I stand, but I would like to say this: You're ignoring the fact that there is no command in Scripture to preach a certain book of Sermons, or to pray a certain book of Prayers. Not only that, but there are examples of prayers and sermons which are not verbatim Scripture in the Scriptures which are presented in a good light. Not so with praise.

Respectfully,
That's not entirely correct. :) Ministers are commanded to "preach the Word," would could be construed to mean that they must only say the inspired words of Scripture (without adding any uninspired comments). And as for prayer, we read in Luke 11:2, "So He said to them, 'When you pray, say: Our Father in heaven, . . .'" This in the Greek is a direct command to say these words when we pray. Okay, so we don't have 150 to choose from as we do for singing, but nevertheless the EP argument can just as easily be applied to prayer, even though there is but 1 prayer that we are commanded to pray. :D
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Just a note, Casey. What you're talking about is sanctification: Does the Spirit sanctify our worship if we sing our praises instead of speaking them, just we pray our prayers sanctified by the same Spirit?
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Friends, I don't actually believe we can only pray the Lord's Prayer. :) See how you react to my argument for exclusive-Lord's-Prayer-praying? With all honesty, that's how I view exclusive-Psalm-singing -- it's just completely untenable, In my humble opinion. As much as you want to claim that singing and prayer are apples and oranges, I do believe that if you were to consistently apply your logic to other aspects of worship (like prayer, as one example) you'd end up in these knots. I could keep arguing my point, and I appreciate your interaction, but I don't believe anything's been said that proves my argument invalid thus far (you may happily believe otherwise). Anyway, I find it hard to post on a forum where at least half the people here believe that every Lord's Day I practice pure and simple idolatry merely because I sing uninspired songs (I don't claim to not be an idolater in the sense that, the Lord knows, I do sin). The EPers on this forum seem, in my opinion, to dominate in the worship forum -- everything, it seems, centers on this issue (like rubbing dirt into an open wound). It makes discussion real difficult.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Casey:

I'm not EP either. As much as I appreciate the juxtaposition that you pose, I think it is more fundamental than that. As I have said before, positioning EP upon the RPW does not work; as a matter of fact it is counter productive and proves the opposite. But to see that you need to be able to apply the logic both ways. And that, as I believe, is actually the point to be garnered from your comparison. My point here was that beating around the bush doesn't help either; the point you're making is actually a matter of the limits or extent of sanctification, not merely of legalistic Biblical directive.
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
Anyway, I find it hard to post on a forum where at least half the people here believe that every Lord's Day I practice pure and simple idolatry merely because I sing uninspired songs (I don't claim to not be an idolater in the sense that, the Lord knows, I do sin). The EPers on this forum seem, in my opinion, to dominate in the worship forum -- everything, it seems, centers on this issue (like rubbing dirt into an open wound). It makes discussion real difficult.

As one who holds to exclusive psalmody, I am sorry to hear that this is how we come across. So often we "EP"ers are in a minority that I think it is easy for us to develop a minority mentality!! No matter how much we believe we may be correct, we should strive to be charitable. I think a reasoned response is that many sing hymns without having thought through the issues, many sing them because they genuinely believe the Bible authorises them to do so (or permits them). While I still believe this practice is forbidden under the second commandment, I would not call you an idolator in the same category as a Baal worshipper or papist. We do need to draw distinctions and think the best of our brethren with whom we disagree--even when we believe the practice itself is unbiblical!

On the other side of the coin, I have noticed that those who reject EP are quite commonly very strong and emotional in their position as well-- it is sometimes difficult to talk to them. Please understand that I am not accusing you of this, it is just an observation from personal experience.

Have you read any thorough treatments of the issue such as Bushell's "Songs of Zion"? I find that it is difficult to deal thoroughly with this debate in these forums because many people have so many assumptions and many defenders do not always write out book length defences each time someone has questions about the position. If you are seriously interested in the topic I would commend that book to you. I do not think the strength of the psalmody position can really be felt by reducing it to three simple steps of logic. Although that is the gist of it, there is much more exegetical (and historical) evidence for it. Please do not judge exclusive psalmody based off of informal dialogue alone.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Okay, let me work with this then:

1. Christ the King of the church is the only one who may institute divine worship
2. The Spirit of Christ has included a prayer (specifically the Lord's Prayer) in the scriptures
3. We should pray with Christ's prayer.

(I suppose you don't mean to suggest that prayer isn't an aspect of our worship.)

Why do you think my conclusion from this would be that prayer isn't worship? Perhaps I do only pray the Lord's Prayer.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Why do you think my conclusion from this would be that prayer isn't worship? Perhaps I do only pray the Lord's Prayer.
Because of the way your logic went directly from God's Word regulating our "worship" to regulating our "praise"/singing, without consideration for prayer. It's no biggy, I don't think you limit worship to singing alone.

So, do you really only pray the Lord's Prayer? :wink:
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
As one who holds to exclusive psalmody, I am sorry to hear that this is how we come across. So often we "EP"ers are in a minority that I think it is easy for us to develop a minority mentality!! No matter how much we believe we may be correct, we should strive to be charitable. I think a reasoned response is that many sing hymns without having thought through the issues, many sing them because they genuinely believe the Bible authorises them to do so (or permits them). While I still believe this practice is forbidden under the second commandment, I would not call you an idolator in the same category as a Baal worshipper or papist. We do need to draw distinctions and think the best of our brethren with whom we disagree--even when we believe the practice itself is unbiblical!

On the other side of the coin, I have noticed that those who reject EP are quite commonly very strong and emotional in their position as well-- it is sometimes difficult to talk to them. Please understand that I am not accusing you of this, it is just an observation from personal experience.

Have you read any thorough treatments of the issue such as Bushell's "Songs of Zion"? I find that it is difficult to deal thoroughly with this debate in these forums because many people have so many assumptions and many defenders do not always write out book length defences each time someone has questions about the position. If you are seriously interested in the topic I would commend that book to you. I do not think the strength of the psalmody position can really be felt by reducing it to three simple steps of logic. Although that is the gist of it, there is much more exegetical (and historical) evidence for it. Please do not judge exclusive psalmody based off of informal dialogue alone.
Years ago I read arguments in favor of EP -- including that red volume published by Greenville Seminary, Worship in the Presence of God (which I by and large found to be a very useful book, even if I did/do disagree with it on the point of EP). I could, of course, study the issue further (when I get the time!).

I really do appreciate the tenor and tone of your post. Thank you very much. :)
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
This shows your inadequate . . .
Jeff, I do believe I'd reached the purpose of my argumentation on this thread -- and I think I could keep arguing my point, but that it really wouldn't serve my purpose any longer. :) Thanks, though, for your detailed response, nonetheless!
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Rather than be bound by the fallible forms of men, EPers see that the church is bound to the form of Christ, to the words which He Himself sings in the midst of the congregation. You may as well say that we have freedom to read the Apocyrypha in public worship as say that we have freedom to sing the words of uninspired men.
Well, this is the very attitude evident on this forum that I don't appreciate. You're right, my very goal in this argument is that we can worship the living God with the Apocrypha! Right! [Note: sarcasm.] I could just as easily say that your goal in the argument for EP is to manifest an arrogant sectarianism. I hardly believe you'd appreciate that! Anyway, just as we are not limited to inspired words in our prayers, we are not limited to inspired words in our songs -- but that hardly means we are at liberty to say anything we please in our prayers or our songs.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
Evidently you are offended. Why, I do not know, since I was only answering your parallel of prayer and praise. You seem to think that liberty in prayer means liberty in praise. Yet you take offence at the idea that you are affording yourself liberty in what is read. Very inconsistent!

Where is the sectarianism? I would say it is to be found in those that depart from apostolic forms.

Concerning your offence, I think if we are going to disagree and to allow a manly discussion of facts, we need to be a little more thick skinned. Nothing personally derogatory was said. However, "I hardly believe you'd appreciate that!" is bordering on puerile.
I have a feeling that you've missed my point entirely -- I commend to your reading ADKing's post above.
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
OK, read. Where have I said anything derogatory about you? My initial post did not even address you. It seems to me that you are becoming defensive over having an inconsistency in thinking pointed out.
Okay, I'm sorry. :handshake: Could you explain this inconsistency? Also, in response to an earlier post of yours, could you show where the (so-called) "fact that the Psalter itself was given to be an inspired manual of praise for the church of all ages" comes from?
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Because of the way your logic went directly from God's Word regulating our "worship" to regulating our "praise"/singing, without consideration for prayer. It's no biggy, I don't think you limit worship to singing alone.

So, do you really only pray the Lord's Prayer? :wink:

No, I did consider prayer. Again, hypothetically, what if I said I do limit prayer to only the Lord's Prayer. What is your response to someone who only prays the paternoster b/c of the RPW?
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
:handshake:

The inconsistency I find to be in the parallel with prayer. It is argued that in prayer we have freedom of composition, then why not in praise? But the parallel is seen to be irrelevant when we look at public reading, where we acknowledge we do not have freedom of composition, but are bound to canonicity. Now praise more resembles public reading than public prayer because praise requires a set form, whereas prayer does not. It then comes down to a question of whose forms we are going to utilise. And it is in that context that I say, one may as well argue for the use of the Apocrypha in reading as argue for the use of man made hymns for singing.
Okay, thank you for your detailed response. I see what you are saying now, but I still don't believe it follows (if only because I believe the comparison with singing/public reading is being over-emphasized; it is clear that many of the Psalms themselves are prayers). We are not required to use inspired words in our prayers (which is what I was arguing, for sake of argument, above) -- but that does not mean we may pray in any way we please (for example, in the name of Baal). The songs that are composed for worship are likewise limited in their words, just as our prayers ought to be based on God's Word. I realize you disagree (in regards to our liberty of composing songs), but I do not believe it is logically necessary to conclude that then "one may as well argue for the use of the Apocrypha in reading as argue for the use of man made hymns for singing" (I do see, though, how you could conclude such if you suppose singing were like public reading--but then what is your argument from Scripture that singing ought to be compared to the public reading of God's Word instead of prayer?).
Concerning the giving of the Psalter for the purpose of praise, it will be necessary to go into the details of OT history. Here I will just abbreviate the facts. (1) That the Psalter itself provides indications both in its titles and contents that it was designed to be sung in public worship. (2) That the words of David and Asaph were appointed to be sung at the reformation under Hezekiah. (3) That the restoration under Ezra-Nehemiah placed emphasis upon reinstituting old forms, not introducing new ones, including the Davidic provisions for public worship.
Well, you claimed that it was a "fact" that it's the song-book for the "church of all ages" -- but that cannot possibly be true, unless you're going to believe Adam, Abraham, etc., had access to this book of songs (as a side note: did these men, and other patriarchs, sing to the Lord? We have nothing to suggest that they did not do so -- if they did, they certainly didn't sing the Psalms of David). Anyway, as I see it, the mere historical account doesn't prove the "fact"-ness of your statement. :)
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
No, I did consider prayer. Again, hypothetically, what if I said I do limit prayer to only the Lord's Prayer. What is your response to someone who only prays the paternoster b/c of the RPW?
I would argue in the very same way I would against the position of exclusive psalmody -- it's simply an overly "rigorist" application of the RPW. That was, in fact, the whole point of this thread! If you consistently apply a rigorist application of the RPW (such as is done in exclusive psalmody) to other aspects of worship, you end up with these strained arguments. No one honestly believes we ought to limit our praying to the Lord's Prayer -- so why would anyone believe we ought to limit our singing to the Psalms? That was my argument. :)
 

Casey

Puritan Board Junior
It is in the nature of the things themselves. In prayer, as you have already acknowledged, we are not bound to a form. In reading, we are bound to a form. In praise, we must necessarily use a form if we are going to sing the same words. Because we are ipso facto tied to a form, and because we acknowledge the reformation principle that we should not be tied to the forms of men, it follows that we should observe the form that Christ has given.
Well, I don't see that argument in the pages of Scripture -- nor do I believe that to be a good and necessary consequence from Scripture. That the psalms themselves are forms of prayer seem to me an adequate response to your claim that singing is more like public reading than prayer. Even so, why not apply your logic consistently to the entire "form" of the order of worship?
It seems to me that we need to be clear on the fact that Scripture was a developing canon. The OT fathers didn't read the Scriptures of the NT. But once the Scriptures of the NT are given we are bound to read them. The same would apply for the developing canon of song.

Perhaps it would help you to see the weight the "mere historical account" carries, if you saw the historical account as a divine appointment. I am not sure what there is about the account which makes you think it was not of a binding nature.
If that were the case, I fail to see why that "binding nature" doesn't likewise apply to the command to pray the Lord's Prayer. It seems to me advocates of exclusive psalmody fail to apply their logic to other aspects of worship, and that in itself is sufficient cause for me not to adhere to EP.
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
I would argue in the very same way I would against the position of exclusive psalmody -- it's simply an overly "rigorist" application of the RPW. That was, in fact, the whole point of this thread! If you consistently apply a rigorist application of the RPW (such as is done in exclusive psalmody) to other aspects of worship, you end up with these strained arguments. No one honestly believes we ought to limit our praying to the Lord's Prayer -- so why would anyone believe we ought to limit our singing to the Psalms? That was my argument. :)

The reason no one (presumably!) believes that we ought to limit our praying to the Lord's prayer is because Jesus gave it as a pattern as the Larger catechsim rightly points out. It is approporiate to use it as a prayer but it is not given to be the only prayer. How do we know this? Well, I think someone has already referenced Owen on this, but briefly... Other NT teaching gives us approved examples and instructions to pray for things that are not in the Lord's prayer. Are we not to pray in the name of Jesus? By good and necessary consequence we may deduce from the NT examples and instruction that if we are commaded expressly to pray for things not expressly stated in the Lord's prayer, we may (and must) compose our own prayers.

However, this is where singing is dissimilar to prayer. We are commanded to sing. We are specifically commanded to sing the Psalms. I would contend that we are commanded to sing the Psalms not merely as a pattern (if someone wished to disagree he would have to prove otherwise exegetically or by deduction from good and necessary consequence) but the actual Psalms themselves.

The point that has been made several times before in this thread is that you cannot simply compare one element of worship to another (prayer/singing or singing/preaching etc etc). Each element of worship requires its own institution. The Bible defines how each is to be done. Are there similarities betwen prayer and singing? Sure. But we must look at the specific instructions given to us in each. We should be as "rigorous" at applying the RPW to each element of worship--but according to the specific instructions that regulate each.
 

WrittenFromUtopia

Puritan Board Graduate
My basic argument for EP starts with the premise that "nothing is worthy of being sung to God as worship unless it came from Him." (via Augustine)
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Pastor Winzer,

Some questions:

First, concerning the historical development of the Psalter. I know that Psalm 90 was written by Moses. Were any of the other Psalms written in the generation of Moses or before?

And if not: did the congregation only sing one psalm weekly (the psalm of Moses) in holy convocation? Were the saints prior to Moses psalmless?

One more: Where in the scriptures, in as much as the Scriptures had been revealed to Israel in the generation immediately after the death of Joshua, did it authorize that generation to sing Psalms in holy convocation (of course, your answer would need to be limited to the scriptures that that generation had on hand)?
 

Augusta

Puritan Board Doctor
Acts 17:23-24

24 God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands.
25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
I would argue in the very same way I would against the position of exclusive psalmody -- it's simply an overly "rigorist" application of the RPW. That was, in fact, the whole point of this thread! If you consistently apply a rigorist application of the RPW (such as is done in exclusive psalmody) to other aspects of worship, you end up with these strained arguments. No one honestly believes we ought to limit our praying to the Lord's Prayer -- so why would anyone believe we ought to limit our singing to the Psalms? That was my argument. :)

1. Only God may invent forms of worship
2. God has given the LP for prayer
3. We must only use the LP

The argument shows well that something does not comport with common sense. I think what is amis is either our conception of the RPW or your view of prayer. I.e. our RPW is too rigid or prayer is not analogous with song in this respect. Rev. Winzer and Mr. Bartell have extensively debated the latter with you but unless I missed it there has been silence on the actual RPW argument for EP. So the EPs have given reasons to show that the reductio argument is a false analogy but I challenge you to show that the actual RPW argument for EP is false or invalid. Let me put it this way, we have an answer to the reductio that we may only use the LP (viz, that prayer is not analogous to song) while you haven't said anything yet.
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Just so you know, Casey, I am, as I said, a non-EP, but it goes deeper for me. I tend to group men like Frame and Girardeau together rather than seeing them as taking opposite sides. Though they may oppose each other on an issue, I see them both opposing something more important in much the same way.

There is another form of EP which I would support in a minute, as it represents a proper Reformed application of the RPW.

If I may, I would suggest these things:
1. you ought to concentrate on the doctrine of sanctification in addressing these particular things that you brought up,
2. there are two distinct EP's that you need to keep separate in your mind, and
3. you should keep in mind certain Reformed axioms which are prior when discussing this particular type of EP. E.g., this type makes a unique distinction between public worship and private worship; but is their distinction over the singing of Psalms and hymns commensurate with the distinctions they make of worship, when the priorities reflected in the Confessions are taken into account? etc.

I hope this helps.
 
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