Question on EP

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Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
I understand this debate can get pretty heated. Because of my background, three weeks ago I never even knew this issue existed! I thank God that He has brought it to my attention and I have been reading about it and studying it. Which brings a question.

If the Psalms are not sung in the same way they were sung by Israel and/or the Apostles then are we violating the Regulative Principle? In my understanding (which is usually where the problem lies :lol:), EP'ers can possible sing the same Psalm but to a different tune or singing different notes. Does this not bring a creative aspect into worship that is not expressly commanded?

I understand I could be making a false dichotomy! I'm not trying to be combative at all, just trying to make sure that I worship the Most Holy God according to His Word.
 

BobVigneault

Bawberator
Trouble maker!!!!!!

Just kidding, wish I could help but I won't touch this issue with a 10 foot cattle prod. :p
I'm sure someone else will however, if they have any breath left after heaving a very heavy sigh.

Good question and you will find a lot of answers by doing a search. Obviously this has been discussed a bunch but it's fun to interact in real time as well. Enjoy the journey.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
That question sparked a follow-on amplification of the same question:

David gave Solomon the pattern of instrumental worship for Sanctuary worship. Why would we assume that the pattern did NOT include the melody of the psalms that the priests were commanded to sing as well as the instrumental accomponiment? Surely an EP would not assume that it was just left up to the creativity of each generation? Hence, I do not believe one could state that the melody was a mere circumstance to Sanctuary worship.

This again, in my estimation, militates against a rigid EP position. It is one thing to argue against instruments on the basis of ceremony (if indeed you can based on the other thread) but to argue that the melody of a Psalm is ceremonial is quite another.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by BobVigneault
Trouble maker!!!!!!

Just kidding, wish I could help but I won't touch this issue with a 10 foot cattle prod. :p
I'm sure someone else will however, if they have any breath left after heaving a very heavy sigh.

Good question and you will find a lot of answers by doing a search. Obviously this has been discussed a bunch but it's fun to interact in real time as well. Enjoy the journey.
Posted while I was formulating my thoughts. Only a little bit of waking breath left for me. Have fun all of you. I'm going to bed...
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
Brandon, welcome. U2U me if you would like help finding a church, or check out my website.

And something that occurred to me: are prescriptions for worship linked at all with the dispensation of the covenant? That is, is there possibly an OT form of worship which differs from a NT form of worship? I might be tempted to argue for the "destruction" of OT worship when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed ca. AD 70 (= the end of the Old Covenant). If I am completely off base, please tell me so, and point me to the relevant threads / papers (EP or not).
 

Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by BobVigneault
Trouble maker!!!!!!

Just kidding, wish I could help but I won't touch this issue with a 10 foot cattle prod. :p
I'm sure someone else will however, if they have any breath left after heaving a very heavy sigh.

Good question and you will find a lot of answers by doing a search. Obviously this has been discussed a bunch but it's fun to interact in real time as well. Enjoy the journey.

:D :D :D :D

I know that this issue has been discussed a lot on the board and that is where I was introduced to it. It maybe because I simply over-looked part of the discussion but I didn't see this question asked or addressed.

I don't want to :deadhorse: (I've always wanted to use that one!) so does anyone know if this has been discussed in another thread? If so, point me to it and I will shut up :)
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Originally posted by beej6
And something that occurred to me: are prescriptions for worship linked at all with the dispensation of the covenant? That is, is there possibly an OT form of worship which differs from a NT form of worship? I might be tempted to argue for the "destruction" of OT worship when the Jerusalem temple was destroyed ca. AD 70 (= the end of the Old Covenant). If I am completely off base, please tell me so, and point me to the relevant threads / papers (EP or not).
I'm not sure what you are asking. Are you asking if God only prescribed the allowable content of worship under the Old Covenant, but not under the New? This is not the case, because this is a moral issue. Approaching God required his initiative, instruction, and provision even in the Garden. A perfect man need only consult his mind already aligned with God's in order to please him, but there again the prescription is present.

Schlissel basically says that in this NC era, regulated worship is out the door. Only prohibitions and examples apply today for guidance. Since we're "spiritual", God accepts anything we bring that isn't prohibited. This is, of course, recipie for spiritual anarchy. independent preachers or sessions will just decide what is acceptable and what isn't, based on their subjective interpretations. Appealling to "common consent" is also fallacious, because RC worship was widespread and uniform, and also deeply corrupted.

It's all or nothing--either there is a rule of Scripture prescription and an essential conformity, or there isn't and worship is supposed to look as mixed up as the whole ungoverned American scene. What's sad is that in reaction folks looking for a way out of anarchy are migrating to Rome, and her unscriptural dictates of conformity.


If you mean did the prescriptions change that answer is "certainly;" OT Temple worship looked remarkably different from ordinary worship today under the NT. We have gone from a single main focal-point, highly symbolic and ritual worship, to a multi-point, spiritual-invisible dominant worship. But it makes no sense to abolish every shred of continuity across dispensations.

So, for example, if you tie psalm-singing exclusively to the OT, then basically you are saying you cannot sing the Psalms today. That is incomprehensible; no one Reformed advocates that, not to mention it's contrary to what Paul indicates is normative.


Check me if I have completely missed your proposal in either case...

[Edited on 4-27-2006 by Contra_Mundum]
 

beej6

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by Contra_Mundum
<snip>
If you mean did the prescriptions change that answer is "certainly;" OT Temple worship looked remarkably different from ordinary worship today under the NT. We have gone from a single main focal-point, highly symbolic and ritual worship, to a multi-point, spiritual-invisible dominant worship. But it makes no sense to abolish every shred of continuity across dispensations.

So, for example, if you tie psalm-singing exclusively to the OT, then basically you are saying you cannot sing the Psalms today. That is incomprehensible; no one Reformed advocates that, not to mention it's contrary to what Paul indicates is normative.


Check me if I have completely missed your proposal in either case...

[Edited on 4-27-2006 by Contra_Mundum]

Thanks Bruce. I'm certainly not in agreement with Schlissel. And I agree with you - there is continuity in dispensations; and certainly what was allowed in the OT should be allowed in the New Covenant.
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Founded on the Rock
If the Psalms are not sung in the same way they were sung by Israel and/or the Apostles then are we violating the Regulative Principle? In my understanding (which is usually where the problem lies :lol:), EP'ers can possible sing the same Psalm but to a different tune or singing different notes. Does this not bring a creative aspect into worship that is not expressly commanded?

I really have struggled with the question of EP in terms of my own growth but I have arrived at a position of what some call "Inclusive Psalmody." I think most everyone on this Board would agree that the Psalms should be sung, that, indeed, the woeful state of worship in the modern church in America could partly be blamed on its shallow singing (aka 7-11 music).

The question is should the Psalms be sung exclusively; i.e. since the Apostle Paul commands that songs (and it is the world for psalms; thus the area of agreement), hymns, and spiritual songs be sung, and assuming that "hymns" and "spiritual songs" also refer to the Psalter, should they be the only thing the Church sings? After all, the RPW is that whatever is not commanded, is forbidden.

EP'ers maintain that singing Psalms is an element of worship, and thus Psalms must be sung exclusively. Non-EP'ers say, no, SINGING is an element of worship and that while the Psalms ought to be sung (and on this point we agree), that biblically sound hymnody is also acceptable.

I reject the EP position for the following reasons:

1. EP'ers treat singing completely different from other elements of worship. Why is it that it is OK that we can preach non-inspired sermons that are based on the Word and pray non-inspired prayers that are filled with the Word, but we MUST sing "inspired" words (i.e. the Psalms) only. My reason for putting "inspired" in quotations is deliberate...and I will comment on that in a moment.

2. EP'ers hold a position that is tatamount to ignoring the progress of revelation. While, they maintain, we may sing the words of Christ on the Cross (Ps. 22) it is a somehow sinful (one could even say idolatrous!) to sing the NAME OF Jesus in worship. This makes no sense whatsoever. If I cannot sing the name of my Redeemer...what is the point of worship?

3. EP'ers tend to misuse the word "inspired." When they say we should sing inspired words they mean, of course, canonical words, over against purely man-made hymns. The doctrine of inspiration, however, applies only to the autographs. If it does not, then we have all sorts of related bibliological problems, to wit: Which English version is inspired? (KJV of course! :p ) How come the one is inspired and the other is not? If two differing versions are inspired, then why do they differ (treading on the doctrine of inerrancy)? The problem is exacerbated by the undeniable fact that the metrical Psalms (which are generally what are sung) are largely paraphrastic. They may have begun as fresh translations of the Psalms, but must necessarily be altered in order to make them singable in a metrical fashion. How can the deliberate altering (note I did not say perversion!) of the text in any way be called inspired? To be consistent, EP'ers would necessarily have to sing the Psalms. Acapella. (OK, many of them do.) In Hebrew...though I would allow that Greek would be OK. After all, Paul did command them to sing Psalms, using a word that would have pointed his readers to the LXX! Betcha a nickel it's not happening in any Reformed circles though.

3. EP'ers present a one-sided view of Church history. The Early Christian Church did indeed commend the singing of Psalms early on, because of the intrusion of gnostic heresies into early hymnody, so it seems, they argue, that EP stands in the grand tradition of the Church. They ignore, however the fact that the beef of the early church was with gnostic doctrine and NOT with hymnody! In fact, Pliny the Younger writing of Christian worship in c. AD 111-113 said, "[The Christians] asserted, however, that the sum and substance of their fault or error had been that they were accustomed to meet on a fixed day before dawn and sing responsively a hymn to Christ, as to a god." The fact that the were singing to Christ argues that they were not, in fact, singing Psalms and this as early as 20 years after the Apostle John died. Some could retort, I imagine, that this evidences how quickly Christian worship became corrupt. The response is that we have preserved in Philippians and Collosians what appear to be early Christian hymns. The response is that they are not hymns...even though they are highly metrical, structured, rythmic...sort of like the metrical Psalms!

4. EP'ers arguments live and die on Paul's command that we sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs (c.f. Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16). They say that all three terms are used in the LXX Psalter headings and prove that Paul was commending the singing of different types of Psalms...but Psalms only. Since they make such sweeping pronoucement, we only need to find a single exception, right? Here it is: The word translated "songs" in Eph. 5/Col. 3 is the Greek word hode. But that same word is used in Rev. 5:9, to describe the song of worship (sung to Christ!) around the throne in heaven. Now surely, God would not accept unbiblical (idolatrous!) worship in heaven...in His presence! Some will respond that we cannot interpret Revelation literally. That this is symbolic of the worship in heaven. OK, granted that there is a lot of symbolism in the Apocalypse, where are the markes in the immediate context that would suggest that we should understand the worship of the saints as symbolic? And even if it is, who wants to argue that God symbolizes heavenly worship by using something He otherwise considers idolatrous? This makes no sense and is, frankly, clutching at presuppositions while the EP boat sinks underneath their feet.

Should the Psalms be sung? Absolutely. What a better state the Church would be in if they were! Should they be sung exclusively? If your concscience leads you in that direction, then do it. Does the Bible command that they be sung exclusively? Nope. Can't find it in my Bible. Although, I DO use the NIV...:lol:
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I am on the cusp of giving up EP largely for the reasons Kevin has listed. I'm slowly working my way through Bushell's book right now. So far he hasn't made a good case yet, but I still have a few chapters to go. To me, it's just requires to many exegetical assumptions about the use of the words in both the OT and NT. But if I do make the switch I will post why on the Board, since I have been an advocate for EP on the Boad for a while.
 

Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
I don't think I have seen an EP'er comment on my question and I believe the question addressed by Mr. Carroll.

He took my question a little further by noting that they ought to read the in Greek or Hebrew. I am not an adovcate of either position but I would like to know the perspective of an EP'er.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Although I am not EP, I have immense respect for a good number of those who are committed to EP, because sometimes they have stood nearly alone uncompromisingly in favor of the Scripture Law of Worship. I have a strong speculative opinion that God ever intends a few "heavy mass" Psalm-only singers to always be present in order to counterbalance the frequently more numerous "lighter-than-air" singers-of-fluff.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Founded on the Rock
I don't think I have seen an EP'er comment on my question and I believe the question addressed by Mr. Carroll.

He took my question a little further by noting that they ought to read the in Greek or Hebrew. I am not an adovcate of either position but I would like to know the perspective of an EP'er.

1 Cor. 14 grants us the authorization to translate into the vulgar tongue. In Paul's day it was Greek. We must worship with our understanding. That requires translation. In theory, this is not any objection against EP. Though it is a strong objection against paraphrasing the psalms to make them easier to sing.
 

Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Founded on the Rock
I don't think I have seen an EP'er comment on my question and I believe the question addressed by Mr. Carroll.

He took my question a little further by noting that they ought to read the in Greek or Hebrew. I am not an adovcate of either position but I would like to know the perspective of an EP'er.

1 Cor. 14 grants us the authorization to translate into the vulgar tongue. In Paul's day it was Greek. We must worship with our understanding. That requires translation. In theory, this is not any objection against EP. Though it is a strong objection against paraphrasing the psalms to make them easier to sing.

Thanks, I knew that argument didn't sound to appealing to me but I couldn't pin down why. Thanks for the clear response!

In regards to my question, if we do not sing the psalms in the same metre and tone, then is that a violation of RPW? I know that an EP'er would obviously say it is not but I cannot think of what response they would offer.

I just need some help :)
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
1. The divine command to read the Scriptures does not restrict us to the Hebrew (and Aramaic) Old Testament, or the Greek New Testament. Likewise, the divine command to sing the Psalms does not restrict us to singing them in the Hebrew language, or set to Hebrew tunes; it is generally admitted by scholars that the early churches, under the Apostles, sang the Psalms from the Septuagint (Greek) Version.

2. There are many reasons why song is treated differently than sermons or prayer. (a.) The congregation doesn't recite sermons or prayers together, but does recite songs together. (b.) God gives the Spirit to all believers to pray, and gifts preachers to make sermons; but He only gave Psalmists in the Old Testament. (c.) Prayer, preaching, and singing are distinct elements of worship, with distinct requirements. Reading of Scripture is also an element of worship. Why aren't we allowed to use our own words in that activity?

3. The entire argument of "singing the name of Jesus" is defective at best, superstitious at worst. According to this argument, I can sing Psalm 2, which all admit is one of the most Messianic Psalms in the entire Psalter; which, in the AV and the 1650 Psalter, speaks of the Lord's "Anointed"; in The Book of Psalms for Singing speaks of "Messiah"; and in the 1912 Psalter speaks of "Christ"; I say, I can sing this Psalm, but because I haven't sung the name "Jesus" (and note, not "Joshua," or "Yeshua," or "Jeshua," or some other variant, but "Jesus"), I am somehow limiting the prerogatives of believers, and restricting the flow of redemptive history. Is this not a superstitious attachment to the bare sounding of syllables, without any concern for what is substantially meant (since the substance is met in Psalm 2)?

4. Final authority is found in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. But a subordinate authority (subordinate to the accuracy of translation) is found in translations of Scripture. Why is it that the Holy Ghost is said to speak certain scriptures (Acts 1:16; 28:25; Heb. 3:7; 10:15), and immediately following are quotes from the Old Testament, in Greek, not in Hebrew? May we not say, with Paul, that the Holy Ghost has spoken, and then quote an accurate English translation? Would we be getting into semantical differences if we were to say that the phrase "the Holy Ghost spake" can be applied to a translation, but "inspiration" cannot?

5. Pliny's letter has been touted many times. The argument only applies if the Psalms do not speak of Christ. Do we not today sing the Psalms in praise of God generally, and also Christ particularly? (If you don't, I would be concerned for you.) Why then do you suppose that "singing a hymn (carmen) to Christ as God" conclusively demonstrates the case against exclusive psalmody in the early church?

6. The case for "hymn fragments" in the Epistles rests on no evidence whatsoever. Why is it that none of these "hymns" have survived as hymns outside of their appearance in the Epistles? Why do we have no hymns or hymnbooks (other than the Psalter), recognized as such, dating from the time of the Apostles? Instead of pointing to such things (which do not exist), you point to passages in the Epistles where the Apostle "waxed poetic," but gave no indication whatsoever that he was quoting from an early Christian hymn, inspired or otherwise.

7. My argument does not rest solely on the exegesis of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. I argue that the divine appointment of the Psalms in the Old Testament Church shows that the divine regulation extends to which particular songs will be employed in worship. This shows that the divine regulation is more extensive with regard to song, than with regard to sermons or prayer (in reference to (2) above).

Ergo, even if "hymns and spiritual songs" in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 meant uninspired compositions, they could only refer to particular hymns or hymnbooks in the Apostolic period, and could not grant warrant for us to compose our own uninspired compositions. They do not present a command to write "hymns and spiritual songs," but to sing "hymns and spiritual songs."

8. As I have said before, EP exegesis of Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 does not rest on identifying each term as applying only to the songs of the Psalter. The fact that each of those terms can be applied to the Psalter is only one point of evidence. (1.) What else could they have sung during that time? As I have already said, there is no hymn that we have from that period. (2.) The full phrase together is meant to refer to three synonymous terms. This gets missed by those who affirm "psalms" means the songs of the Psalter, "hymns" means uninspired songs, and "spiritual songs" means unspiritual...I mean uninspired songs. ;) Here, even in the non-EP exegesis, the terms get confused. We are simply saying that, like "iniquity and transgression and sin" (Exod. 34:7), or "precepts, statutes, and laws" (Neh. 9:14), the three terms all refer to the same body of songs (found in the Psalter).

9. The EP position is not "inspired songs vs. uninspired songs" (more the position taken by many of the Dutch Reformed); our position is "authorized songs vs. unauthorized songs." It just so happens, the authorized songs are all inspired. It is on this ground that we reject uninspired hymns: not because they are uninspired, but because they are unauthorized. (I admit that there can be a lot of overlap in our arguments on this point, and that certain authors arguing for exclusive psalmody have forgotten this point, like Murray in the Minority Report to the OPC; but the basic position is 1. Only authorized songs should be sung; 2. Only the Psalms are authorized; ergo 3. Only Psalms should be sung.)

10. The most fundamental argument between Psalm-singers and hymn-singers (both holding to the RPW) is, Does the divine regulation extend to which particular songs are sung in worship, or does it simply regulate the "theological content" of songs, as in the case of sermons and prayers? All discussion of New Testament texts must be subordinated to this question. I believe that the divine appointment of the Psalms under the Old Testament conclusively shows that God's regulation extends to particular songs, not just theological content.
 

Founded on the Rock

Puritan Board Freshman
Originally posted by Kaalvenist
1. The divine command to read the Scriptures does not restrict us to the Hebrew (and Aramaic) Old Testament, or the Greek New Testament. Likewise, the divine command to sing the Psalms does not restrict us to singing them in the Hebrew language, or set to Hebrew tunes; it is generally admitted by scholars that the early churches, under the Apostles, sang the Psalms from the Septuagint (Greek) Version.

2. There are many reasons why song is treated differently than sermons or prayer. (a.) The congregation doesn't recite sermons or prayers together, but does recite songs together. (b.) God gives the Spirit to all believers to pray, and gifts preachers to make sermons; but He only gave Psalmists in the Old Testament. (c.) Prayer, preaching, and singing are distinct elements of worship, with distinct requirements. Reading of Scripture is also an element of worship. Why aren't we allowed to use our own words in that activity?

3. The entire argument of "singing the name of Jesus" is defective at best, superstitious at worst. According to this argument, I can sing Psalm 2, which all admit is one of the most Messianic Psalms in the entire Psalter; which, in the AV and the 1650 Psalter, speaks of the Lord's "Anointed"; in The Book of Psalms for Singing speaks of "Messiah"; and in the 1912 Psalter speaks of "Christ"; I say, I can sing this Psalm, but because I haven't sung the name "Jesus" (and note, not "Joshua," or "Yeshua," or "Jeshua," or some other variant, but "Jesus"), I am somehow limiting the prerogatives of believers, and restricting the flow of redemptive history. Is this not a superstitious attachment to the bare sounding of syllables, without any concern for what is substantially meant (since the substance is met in Psalm 2)?

4. Final authority is found in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. But a subordinate authority (subordinate to the accuracy of translation) is found in translations of Scripture. Why is it that the Holy Ghost is said to speak certain scriptures (Acts 1:16; 28:25; Heb. 3:7; 10:15), and immediately following are quotes from the Old Testament, in Greek, not in Hebrew? May we not say, with Paul, that the Holy Ghost has spoken, and then quote an accurate English translation? Would we be getting into semantical differences if we were to say that the phrase "the Holy Ghost spake" can be applied to a translation, but "inspiration" cannot?

5. Pliny's letter has been touted many times. The argument only applies if the Psalms do not speak of Christ. Do we not today sing the Psalms in praise of God generally, and also Christ particularly? (If you don't, I would be concerned for you.) Why then do you suppose that "singing a hymn (carmen) to Christ as God" conclusively demonstrates the case against exclusive psalmody in the early church?

6. The case for "hymn fragments" in the Epistles rests on no evidence whatsoever. Why is it that none of these "hymns" have survived as hymns outside of their appearance in the Epistles? Why do we have no hymns or hymnbooks (other than the Psalter), recognized as such, dating from the time of the Apostles? Instead of pointing to such things (which do not exist), you point to passages in the Epistles where the Apostle "waxed poetic," but gave no indication whatsoever that he was quoting from an early Christian hymn, inspired or otherwise.

7. My argument does not rest solely on the exegesis of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. I argue that the divine appointment of the Psalms in the Old Testament Church shows that the divine regulation extends to which particular songs will be employed in worship. This shows that the divine regulation is more extensive with regard to song, than with regard to sermons or prayer (in reference to (2) above).

Ergo, even if "hymns and spiritual songs" in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 meant uninspired compositions, they could only refer to particular hymns or hymnbooks in the Apostolic period, and could not grant warrant for us to compose our own uninspired compositions. They do not present a command to write "hymns and spiritual songs," but to sing "hymns and spiritual songs."

8. As I have said before, EP exegesis of Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 does not rest on identifying each term as applying only to the songs of the Psalter. The fact that each of those terms can be applied to the Psalter is only one point of evidence. (1.) What else could they have sung during that time? As I have already said, there is no hymn that we have from that period. (2.) The full phrase together is meant to refer to three synonymous terms. This gets missed by those who affirm "psalms" means the songs of the Psalter, "hymns" means uninspired songs, and "spiritual songs" means unspiritual...I mean uninspired songs. ;) Here, even in the non-EP exegesis, the terms get confused. We are simply saying that, like "iniquity and transgression and sin" (Exod. 34:7), or "precepts, statutes, and laws" (Neh. 9:14), the three terms all refer to the same body of songs (found in the Psalter).

9. The EP position is not "inspired songs vs. uninspired songs" (more the position taken by many of the Dutch Reformed); our position is "authorized songs vs. unauthorized songs." It just so happens, the authorized songs are all inspired. It is on this ground that we reject uninspired hymns: not because they are uninspired, but because they are unauthorized. (I admit that there can be a lot of overlap in our arguments on this point, and that certain authors arguing for exclusive psalmody have forgotten this point, like Murray in the Minority Report to the OPC; but the basic position is 1. Only authorized songs should be sung; 2. Only the Psalms are authorized; ergo 3. Only Psalms should be sung.)

10. The most fundamental argument between Psalm-singers and hymn-singers (both holding to the RPW) is, Does the divine regulation extend to which particular songs are sung in worship, or does it simply regulate the "theological content" of songs, as in the case of sermons and prayers? All discussion of New Testament texts must be subordinated to this question. I believe that the divine appointment of the Psalms under the Old Testament conclusively shows that God's regulation extends to particular songs, not just theological content.


Thank you for your comments as they answer many of the objections raised. But I possibly have a mis-understanding, does the RPW extend to how a song is sung? If it does, how do we know what to sing and what about variants in the styles?

Again, just to make sure we are clear, I am not trying to be combative :) Just trying to understand how to worship the Most Holy God.

Brandon
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Founded on the Rock
The question I am asking is are we required to sing the Psalms the way the Apostles sung them?

We can't. We don't know. Just like we don't know what their worship services looked like. We don't know how they preached, prayed, gathered, did offering, etc. All we get are glimpses in Acts and some breif instructions in the epistles. All we have to go on are the commanded elements of worship and we must build from there. Sometimes the practice of the early church may shed some light on things, but the traditions even back then had differences.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Founded on the Rock
The question I am asking is are we required to sing the Psalms the way the Apostles sung them?

We can't. We don't know. Just like we don't know what their worship services looked like. We don't know how they preached, prayed, gathered, did offering, etc. All we get are glimpses in Acts and some breif instructions in the epistles. All we have to go on are the commanded elements of worship and we must build from there. Sometimes the practice of the early church may shed some light on things, but the traditions even back then had differences.
I would agree. It would be a stretch for one to argue that the largely Gentile churches were forced to sing Hebrew tunes to the Psalms, when they weren't forced to sing the Psalms in Hebrew; and I don't know of any evidence that would support such a claim. Even if the titles do refer to tunes used at that time (which I question -- my version [AV] makes no mention of tunes, and older expositors, like John Brown of Haddington, seemed to think that they refer to the content of the Psalms), that does not restrict our use of them to those tunes, any more than their mentioning of the Psalms being sung with particular instruments restricts us to those particular instruments; or their mentioning of other particulars restricts them to those particulars (such as Psalm 92, "A Psalm or Song for the sabbath day").

Patrick,

I would say that, if you are trying to take the Old Testament as a whole, it was NOT practicing exclusive psalmody. However, contrary to what many may think, I do believe in the progress of redemptive history. Singing praise in God's worship seemed to be rather sporadic under the Old Testament, until its particular institution under David. You have Moses, Miriam, and Deborah all contributing (inspired) songs; but these all occurred at major points in redemptive history, and seem to have been one-time occurrences. There is no indication that they sung these songs on any occasions after their initial use.

But under David (which was another major epoch of redemptive history), song was officially brought in as an element of regular worship. At this time, you had the institution of the Temple essentially replacing the Tabernacle; you had musical instruments brought into worship; and several other expansions made in the divine worship, all by the divine appointment (1 Chron. 28:11-19). The first example of "singers" in worship that we have occurs in 1 Chron. 15:16-22. Following this, they are a regular part of the Old Testament worship (when Hezekiah later was reforming the worship, and when Ezra and Nehemiah were even later reconstituting the worship, singers are particularly mentioned).

As to what songs they sang, 1 Chron. 16:7 speaks of David delivering a psalm to Asaph and his brethren, for them to sing. What follows are selections from Psalms 105, 96, and 106. In 2 Chron 5:13, 14, under Solomon, they sang, "For he is good; for his mercy endureth for ever" (Ps. 136:1). When Hezekiah was commencing his (authorized) reformation of the Temple worship, "Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped" (2 Chron. 29:30). The phrase, "the words of David, and of Asaph the seer" clearly refers to the Psalter (and only the Psalter), as far as it was completed at that time. It is true that the Psalter was not completed until many years later; however, this would be no different from the commands to read the Scripture, prior to the completion of the canon, still give warrant to read the entire, completed canon of Scripture.

Related to this is the description of David found in 2 Sam. 23:1, 2: "Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue." Although it is certainly interesting to point out the obvious testimony to the inspiration of his words (most notably the Psalms), I am particularly focusing on the phrase "the sweet psalmist of Israel."

(1.) The title "psalmist" appears only here in the entire Bible. David alone is distinguished with this title or office. Although others also served in this capacity, as Asaph, Jeduthun, etc., David wrote the largest number of the Psalms; whereas 2 Chron. 29:30 focused on the two most prolific authors of the Psalter, this text mentions only the most prolific author. (It is because of texts like these that English Psalters have borne titles like "The Psalms of David," or "The Psalms of David and Asaph.") Psalmists were therefore given only to write the Old Testament Psalms; there is no similar office given under the New Testament (Eph. 4:11).

(2.) He was the psalmist of "Israel." The Psalms constituted the manual of praise for all Israel, which was the church at that time. They still constitute the manual of praise for the spiritual Israel today, the church.

The preceding shows the clear appointment of the Psalms to be sung in the worship of God (not under the entire Old Testament, but certainly from the Davidic period onward). This means that the particular songs, or songbook, employed in singing God's praise falls under the regulative principle of worship; it is not enough to say that our songs are theologically accurate: they must be appointed by God to be sung in His worship, or we violate the RPW. And only the Psalms have been so appointed.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Let's ask the OT question in another way. Why does EP assume that "appointed" means "inspired." That is an assumption I've run across in Bushell's book and he hasn't explained it, at least not in the first few chapters. He acknowledges that the commanded "psalms" in the OT refers to a broader category of music than the Book of Psalms as we have it today, but he also assumes these other psalms were inspired.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
Let's ask the OT question in another way. Why does EP assume that "appointed" means "inspired." That is an assumption I've run across in Bushell's book and he hasn't explained it, at least not in the first few chapters. He acknowledges that the commanded "psalms" in the OT refers to a broader category of music than the Book of Psalms as we have it today, but he also assumes these other psalms were inspired.
I don't. The only songs that have been sung in God's worship in the Bible (including the songs outside the Psalter) were inspired utterances. The only songs authorized by God for regular worship are Psalms (which are also inspired). I don't believe that, when the Old Testament says, "Sing unto him, sing psalms unto him" (Ps. 105:2), it is referring to any songs outside of the Psalter. If Bushell said that, let me know the page number; I would want to see it (I've read the book, but it's been a while).

I don't believe that exclusive psalmody maintains that "appointed" means "inspired," but that all inspired songs are approved by God to serve in whatever capacity He intends for them. (This includes the extraordinary songs occurring outside the Psalter in the Old Testament.) The Psalms, being inspired, and more fit than any other songs to serve as the matter of praise in ordinary worship, have been appointed by God to serve in that capacity. Calvin seemed to maintain this position when he said in the Preface to the Genevan Psalter (1543), "Now what Saint Augustine says is true, that no one is able to sing things worthy of God unless he has received them from Him. Wherefore, when we have looked thoroughly everywhere and searched high and low, we shall find no better songs nor more appropriate to the purpose than the Psalms of David which the Holy Spirit made and spoke through him. And furthermore, when we sing them, we are certain that God puts the words in our mouths, as if He Himself were singing in us to exalt His glory."
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I'll find that page # in Bushell. I think it was chapter 2. Anyhow, Calvin, despite his high view of the psalms, was not EP. Neither were most of the continental Reformers. We could even argue they thought the psalms were the best songs. But they never made the jump to exclusivity. Only the Church of Scotland and the New England Puritans did that.

Perhaps some could explain Bushell's assumption as well about the "sufficiency" of the psalms. He basically says the psalms are sufficient for worship, therefore we don't need any others. But he never explains how he gets from "sufficiency" or "adequate" to all-sufficient. I know I still got a ways to go in the book, but perhaps those of you more familiar with it could answer that.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
I'll find that page # in Bushell. I think it was chapter 2. Anyhow, Calvin, despite his high view of the psalms, was not EP. Neither were most of the continental Reformers. We could even argue they thought the psalms were the best songs. But they never made the jump to exclusivity. Only the Church of Scotland and the New England Puritans did that.

Perhaps some could explain Bushell's assumption as well about the "sufficiency" of the psalms. He basically says the psalms are sufficient for worship, therefore we don't need any others. But he never explains how he gets from "sufficiency" or "adequate" to all-sufficient. I know I still got a ways to go in the book, but perhaps those of you more familiar with it could answer that.
That is true about Calvin; but the quote seems to indicate that he at least opposed the use of uninspired hymns (in the vein of Article 69 of the Dordt Church Order); this, despite the fact that many try to claim him as author of the Strasbourg hymn, "I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art." The other Continental Reformers (with the exception of Zwingli, who banned all singing) at the very least held to inspired songs only -- the majority of which of course being the Psalms. The only real argument between exclusive psalmody and the "inspired songs only" position is whether those songs outside the Psalter were meant for the continual use of the church (and, in the case of Luke 1, whether or not they are songs at all).

The argument of the "sufficiency" of the Psalter has frequently been in opposition to those who argue that the Psalms are insufficient for our present dispensation. I don't know that Bushell simply makes the automatic leap from "sufficient" to "exclusive use"; the discussion of the sufficiency of the Psalter appears within a rather heated polemical context. However, the concept of the sufficiency of the Psalms is related to the arguments for Sola Scriptura and the RPW. It is part of the larger concept that Scripture is sufficient for whatever purpose God has given it. The law is sufficient to tell us our duty; the gospel is sufficient to tell us the way of salvation; the Scripture as a whole is sufficient to tell us how to worship God; and the Psalms are sufficient as the songs given us with which to praise God. If we will not add extra books, or chapters, or verses to the Scripture; if we will not add new duties to the law, or new requirements for salvation to the gospel; if we will not add to God's worship what we do not find in the Word; why will we add our own compositions to the songs of the inspired Psalter? All of these things are sufficient for the purposes for which God gave them; and therefore it would be wrong to add to any of them, or take away from any of them.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Kaalvenist
Originally posted by puritansailor
I'll find that page # in Bushell. I think it was chapter 2. Anyhow, Calvin, despite his high view of the psalms, was not EP. Neither were most of the continental Reformers. We could even argue they thought the psalms were the best songs. But they never made the jump to exclusivity. Only the Church of Scotland and the New England Puritans did that.

Perhaps some could explain Bushell's assumption as well about the "sufficiency" of the psalms. He basically says the psalms are sufficient for worship, therefore we don't need any others. But he never explains how he gets from "sufficiency" or "adequate" to all-sufficient. I know I still got a ways to go in the book, but perhaps those of you more familiar with it could answer that.
That is true about Calvin; but the quote seems to indicate that he at least opposed the use of uninspired hymns (in the vein of Article 69 of the Dordt Church Order); this, despite the fact that many try to claim him as author of the Strasbourg hymn, "I Greet Thee, Who My Sure Redeemer Art." The other Continental Reformers (with the exception of Zwingli, who banned all singing) at the very least held to inspired songs only -- the majority of which of course being the Psalms. The only real argument between exclusive psalmody and the "inspired songs only" position is whether those songs outside the Psalter were meant for the continual use of the church (and, in the case of Luke 1, whether or not they are songs at all).
Would the Apostle's Creed be considered an inspired song? If not then Calvin didn't hold to "inspired only" either. In the Genevan liturgy the Apostle's Creed was sung.

The argument of the "sufficiency" of the Psalter has frequently been in opposition to those who argue that the Psalms are insufficient for our present dispensation. I don't know that Bushell simply makes the automatic leap from "sufficient" to "exclusive use"; the discussion of the sufficiency of the Psalter appears within a rather heated polemical context. However, the concept of the sufficiency of the Psalms is related to the arguments for Sola Scriptura and the RPW. It is part of the larger concept that Scripture is sufficient for whatever purpose God has given it. The law is sufficient to tell us our duty; the gospel is sufficient to tell us the way of salvation; the Scripture as a whole is sufficient to tell us how to worship God; and the Psalms are sufficient as the songs given us with which to praise God. If we will not add extra books, or chapters, or verses to the Scripture; if we will not add new duties to the law, or new requirements for salvation to the gospel; if we will not add to God's worship what we do not find in the Word; why will we add our own compositions to the songs of the inspired Psalter? All of these things are sufficient for the purposes for which God gave them; and therefore it would be wrong to add to any of them, or take away from any of them.

It was page 14 by the way where Bushell acknowledges that "psalms" may refer to compositions outside the Book of Psalms as we have it. He then assumes in the next sentence or two that these compositions were inspired. His reasoning of course was that only inspired songs were approved for worship, the point he is suppose to be proving....

As to "sufficiency" I have no disagreement with him that the Psalms are adequate and sufficient for worship. But where is the connection to all-sufficient for worship? I think that link is lacking in the argument. He basically concludes the chapter saying, because the psalms are so great for worship, why do we need anything else? But that is not an argument. That is an assumption. Just because the psalms are adequate for worship doesn't exlude the possibility for new compositions. The Continental Reformers and several of the British Reformers, though having high views of the psalms, never made the leap to exclusivity.

And how is a theologically correct (though uninspired) song a product of human imagination?

[Edited on 5-2-2006 by puritansailor]
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
Would the Apostle's Creed be considered an inspired song? If not then Calvin didn't hold to "inspired only" either. In the Genevan liturgy the Apostle's Creed was sung.
As I recall, Bushell explained that in the last chapter of his book. At that time, many still regarded the Apostles Creed as having been actually written by the Apostles (the "Twelve Articles" having been each written by the Twelve). Hence, being authored by the Apostles would give it Apostolic authority.

Originally posted by puritansailor
It was page 14 by the way where Bushell acknowledges that "psalms" may refer to compositions outside the Book of Psalms as we have it. He then assumes in the next sentence or two that these compositions were inspired. His reasoning of course was that only inspired songs were approved for worship, the point he is suppose to be proving....

As to "sufficiency" I have no disagreement with him that the Psalms are adequate and sufficient for worship. But where is the connection to all-sufficient for worship? I think that link is lacking in the argument. He basically concludes the chapter saying, because the psalms are so great for worship, why do we need anything else? But that is not an argument. That is an assumption. Just because the psalms are adequate for worship doesn't exlude the possibility for new compositions. The Continental Reformers and several of the British Reformers, though having high views of the psalms, never made the leap to exclusivity.

And how is a theologically correct (though uninspired) song a product of human imagination?

[Edited on 5-2-2006 by puritansailor]
But the singing of Psalms has been regarded as parallel to the reading of Scripture (by the historic Reformed, anyway), since they were singing from the inspired text. You may as well ask, "Where do you make the leap of 'sufficiency' of Scripture to the 'sole sufficiency' of Scripture? This doesn't exclude the possibility of new books." I'm not trying to present a straw-man, or belittle your position; but you should understand that this is how it looks from the exclusive psalmody position. If the Bible-songs are not sufficient, and may be supplemented by uninspired compositions; why should we conclude that the Bible itself is sufficient, and not to be supplemented by uninspired books?

The Westminster Confession of Faith, being a creed written by men, and not by God Himself, is uninspired. It is the "product of human imagination." It does not matter how theologically correct it is. It is not to be placed on the same level with the Word of God. Likewise, the hymns of men are written by men, and not by God Himself. They are not inspired. They are the "product of human imagination." I have read several theologically correct hymns, as well as theologically flawed hymns. But none of them can be placed on the same level with the Psalms that were written under the inspiration of the Holy Ghost. And for men to sing uninspired hymns in Church, along with the inspired Psalms, is no better than to read, in the time allotted for "Scripture reading," sometimes the Word of God, sometimes the words of fallible men.

And that, gentlemen, is my 100th post.
 
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