(Redux) Exclusive Psalmody Debate

Status
Not open for further replies.

JohnOwen007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Dear Chris,

Marty,
:2cents:You are basically asking and will get the scriptures traditionally used to support the RPW; I'm not sure your casting the question of going back to first principles really changes anything. Please also note Miller's definition of the RPW.
Yes, I've read Miller's definition (thanks for posting it), and many others.

However, a definition is only as good as it's biblical foundation.

So much of the EP debate in this thread revolves around: doing what is not commanded, or what hangs over from the old into the new, or .... These are all presuppositions that people bring to Scripture. But the presuppositions must be provable from Scripture itself.

So, (I ask again) where does the Bible actually teach that we cannot do in "worship" (does the NT ever speak of the gathering as "worship"?) what is not directly commanded? It's a tough call to prove it from Scripture. I'm not saying it can't be done. I just want someone to show me. I'm not sure that Scriptures people have adduced from other threads actually prove the point.

If we can establish it from first principles, it will go a long way to solving the EP issue.

God bless,

Marty.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
If we can establish it from first principles, it will go a long way to solving the EP issue.

God bless,

Marty.
Marty, well, maybe, but I doubt it. I really think your topic is just going to get lost in this ever expanding EP thread. I really do think you should start a new thread with your specific purpose stated, clearly, and let it go from there. With your post as the OP it will get its own attention.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Matt 28:18-20.

1. Christ has all power.

2. Christ gives power to the apostles to make disciples.

3. In making disciples the apostles must baptise into the name of the Trinity and teach them to observe all things whatsoever Christ has commanded. That is as far as their commission goes.

4. As the apostles faithfully adhere to this commission they may expect the presence and blessing of Christ upon their labours to the world's end.

RPW, signed, sealed, and delivered.
 

KMK

Administrator
Staff member
This thread has proceeded apace since this was written, but I will try to provide an answer nonetheless since it was specifically directed to me. If I understand correctly, Pastor Klein, you would like to know what compels the inspired psalms interpretation of Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16. First, I would say the reason is to be found in the fact that the apostle is telling them to sing what already exists, not to create what does not exist. Secondly, the apostle uses these three terms in addressing two different churches, so the terms are specifically related to a concept which was common amongst the churches. Thirdly, the inspired Psalter already existed, and its compositions were designated by the three terms which the apostle uses. Fourthly, we know of no other compositions which were designated by the use of these terms within the context of NT church worship except for the extraordinary situation at Corinth where individuals engaged in "inspired" psalmody (1 Cor. 14), and it is not made clear how the apostle regarded such a practice. Given the absence of any other information in the NT relative to the practice of congregational singing, and given our commitment to only worship God in the way that He has appointed, I conclude that Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 provides compelling evidence that only inspired psalms should be sung in the public worship of God. The only wise God would not have given liberty to sing other songs in congregational worship without making some provision for their orderly composition and introduction. This is a particularly impressive fact when it is considered what lengths were taken towards the composing of songs fit to be sung in congregational worship under the OT, and the fact those compositions were tied to the prophetic function.
Thank you for such a thorough answer, Rev Winzer. I have never heard these arguments before and am blessed by them. They are to me a fresh outlook on the EP position. :handshake:

These questions are for EP elders:

How do your sheep feel about EP? Do they understand why you subscribe to it? I know that Australia has some very popular modern worship teams. Did your church already subscribe to EP before you got there? If so, how did you explain to them that they were no longer going to be able to sing the words "Jesus Christ" in worship? How did they take it?

Perhaps this should be a new thread. If the mods want to move it thats fine with me.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Another proposition:

p1] I will bring nothing to worship God does not directly command in Scripture

p2] We are commanded to sing, study and follow the precepts of the Psalms of David

p3] The Psalms command new songs to the Lord

c1] We should sing the Psalms of David as well as compose new songs guided by the model of the Psalms of David
 

CDM

Puritan Board Junior
Another proposition:

p1] I will bring nothing to worship God does not directly command in Scripture

p2] We are commanded to sing, study and follow the precepts of the Psalms of David

p3] The Psalms command new songs to the Lord

c1] We should sing the Psalms of David as well as compose new songs guided by the model of the Psalms of David
Sincere question: have your read the last few posts by Dr. McMahon?

Also, what hymns and contemporary songs do you sing at your church?

Thanks,
 

JM

Puritan Board Doctor
When did the Reformed Church add uninspired/human written hymns in worship? Is there a historical argument or historical record of this controversy?
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
c1]...as well as compose new songs guided by the model of the Psalms of David

What is a "new song"? When you buy a new used car, is it new, used or both? How new does the song have to be? Does every song have to be a new song, or just some? If you sang just ONE new song to the Lord, would you have fulfilled the command to sing a new song (singular)?

Can you please tell me which definition of "new" you believe the scriptures to be using and WHY?

From Noah Webster's 1828 Dictionary:

New
NEW, a.
1. Lately made, invented, produced or come into being; that has existed a short time only; recent in origin; novel; opposed to old, and used of things; as a new coat; a new house; a new book; a new fashion; a new theory; the new chimistry; a new discovery.
2. Lately introduced to our knowledge; not before known; recently discovered; as a new metal; a new species of animals or plants found in foreign countries; the new continent.
3. Modern; not ancient.
4. Recently produced by change; as a new life.
Put on the new man. Eph 4.
5. Not habituated; not familiar; unaccustomed.
Heretics and such as instill their poison into new minds.
New to the plough, unpracticed in the trace.
6. Renovated; repaired so as to recover the first state.
Men, after long emaciating diets, wax plump, fat and almost new.
7. Fresh after any event.
New from her sickness to that northern air.
8. Not of ancient extraction or a family of ancient distinction.
By superior capacity and extensive knowledge, a new man often mounts to favor.
9. Not before used; strange; unknown.
They shall speak with new tongues. Mark 16.
10. Recently commenced; as the new year.
11. Having passed the change or conjunction with the sun; as the new moon.
12. Not cleared and cultivated, or lately cleared; as new land.
13. That has lately appeared for the first time; as a new star.
New is much used in composition to qualify other words, and always bears its true sense of late, recent, novel, fresh; as in new-born, new-made, new-grown, new-formed, new-found. In this use, new may be considered as adverbial, or as a part of the compound.
NEW, v.t. To make new. [Not used.]
I believe in singing "new" songs as well, but just reiterating over and over the command to sing new songs in no way proves the command to compose/sing hymns of human origin in public worship.
 

Davidius

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
What is a "new song"? When you buy a new used car, is it new, used or both? How new does the song have to be? Does every song have to be a new song, or just some? If you sang just ONE new song to the Lord, would you have fulfilled the command to sing a new song (singular)?
It seems to me that if the command to "sing a new song" really means what some seem to think, then we would be breaking it unless we composed new songs for every single worship service.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
When did the Reformed Church add uninspired/human written hymns in worship? Is there a historical argument or historical record of this controversy?
A dated work but free online, is The True Psalmody, published in 1859 which reviews the history known at that time. Start around page 57 or 59 to see where they cover the history. I don't have my Bushell's Songs of Zion to hand and cannot recall if he covers the history or when hymns first came into the church. My apologies for typos in the below, but you will get the gist I think.
http://www.naphtali.com/pdf_files.htm
PS. This covers from the early church to the Reformation.
 
Last edited:

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
CarolinaCalvinist said:
It seems to me that if the command to "sing a new song" really means what some seem to think, then we would be breaking it unless we composed new songs for every single worship service.
I'm sure JD will come up with some reason why it's not. We'll see! :D
:D

There is no command or guidance on frequency that I have found - just to do it. so, non sequitur

(where is that "stick out my tongue" smiley?) :)
 

sotzo

Puritan Board Sophomore
This thread is prime stuff for the new debate forum that Rich and other moderators are considering. Complex issues like this are almost never going to lead to even a remote resolution on a thread. C'mon debate board!

In the meantime, from what I've read from very learned EP folks on this thread, I'm still not getting it. I understand the Scripture cited in support of EP, but I can't see how an EPer can interpret those passages without importing their own idea of what is contained in the public worship event.

For example, is it an EPers conention that Colossians 3:16 ("Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God.") is without question speaking of public worship?

I have the same question on Ephesians 5:19, 20 ("Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.")

It seems to me that the EPer must show that Paul is clearly speaking here of the public worship event, else these passages cannot be used to justify EP (or anything else about God's expectations of us, specifically in public worship).

While I agree that Paul is certainly not speaking of anything here other than the canonized Psalms, the context of these letters is living as believers in Jesus, whether in worship, at the dinner table, at work, etc. By limiting these passages to worship, insofar as they are seen to pertain to what is to be sung in worship, one ends up severely limiting the "full throttleness" of Paul's message: "You are a redeemed people...therefore live as a redeemed people." In short, the EPers view ends up making the surrounding context completely out of sync with a bullseye command, specifically targeted at worship.

I realize there may be OT considerations for the EPer position (I'm studying them now based on what I've read on this thread!), but for now I cannot see how these oft quoted NT passages help the cause.

Please let me know where I am not understanding. Since this issue was raised it has caused me to wonder whether I am sinning every Lord's day. I know alot of things I have done that have led to a heavy conscience, but I must say I never thought reciting the Apostles Creed or singing "A Mighty Fortress" in worship would add to the list!!

Peace to all.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
:D

There is no command or guidance on frequency that I have found - just to do it. so, non sequitur

(where is that "stick out my tongue" smiley?) :)
Oh, try not to avoid the counter-argument, JD. If the command "sing a new song" be taken to mean "sing a brand new song," how does the singing of 300 or 400 year old hymns -- or even 10 year old CCM compositions -- fulfill that command? They aren't "new" anymore. So, unless the command simply refers to singing of God's new work in us, the song of redemption (which is done just as easily if not better in the Psalms), you disobey this command as surely as we do. It's not a question of frequency... the Psalms were new when they were written, too.
 

Coram Deo

Puritan Board Junior
You could sing Psalm 46 to the tune of a mighty fortress and still get the same message...

God is our refuge and our strength,
A present help in our distress
We will not therefore be afraid
though all the earth should be removed,
though mountains great be hurled
Into the ocean's depths,
though seas may roar and foam
And billows shakes the shore,
though mountains tremble at their power.

Last Two Stanzas End with..

Our Fortress Strong is Jacob's God...


To me, it is much more powerful then luther's paraphrase of the psalm.. And no heavy conscience needed...


Please let me know where I am not understanding. Since this issue was raised it has caused me to wonder whether I am sinning every Lord's day. I know alot of things I have done that have led to a heavy conscience, but I must say I never thought reciting the Apostles Creed or singing "A Mighty Fortress" in worship would add to the list!!

Peace to all.
 

sotzo

Puritan Board Sophomore
You could sing Psalm 46 to the tune of a mighty fortress and still get the same message...

God is our refuge and our strength,
A present help in our distress
We will not therefore be afraid
though all the earth should be removed,
though mountains great be hurled
Into the ocean's depths,
though seas may roar and foam
And billows shakes the shore,
though mountains tremble at their power.

Last Two Stanzas End with..

Our Fortress Strong is Jacob's God...


To me, it is much more powerful then luther's paraphrase of the psalm.. And no heavy conscience needed...

What is your view on my questions in my post? How can we be sure Paul is referring to public worship in these texts?
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
David and the other Psalmists were prophets, writing under the direct inspiration of God. If that is an "example" does that mean that you have the same inspiration? Where did you find that description of the Psalms? The Book of Psalms is a hymnal given specifically by God to the entire Church; it's not just an example.
2 Timothy 3:16
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness;


The Scripture through the Psalms teach us the correct model for song - just as the Scriptures teach us the correct model for prayer, etc.

The "words of David and Asaph" were the Church's hymnal.
Why is the word "Moreover" used in v 30 after the singing in v 28?

Why did the order to sing the songs of David and Asaph occur after they had already done some singing?

How is my premise flawed, exactly? You said it was but didn't give any reason, then just made your own assertion.
please link to post that I said that, I can't find it to review...
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Tremper Longman (JETS 27; WTJ 44) has argued that each of the usages of "new song" is found in the context of the holy war concept, Old and New Testaments. Whether this is exclusively the case is uncertain, but the term undoubtedly points back to the "inspired" response of Israel to God's mighty act of war in overcoming Pharaoh's armies and delivering His covenant people. In Ps. 40:3, David states the Lord put the new song in his mouth. The referent is clearly to further word-revelation interpreting and applying the significance of God's act-revelation. It is crass literalism to insist the term is referring to a command to compose new songs to sing in public worship. But even if this were its meaning, it still begs the question as to qualifications necessary for the fulfilment of this command. It would require an extraordinary gift of the Spirit to create new songs which can exist side by side with the old songs.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Oh, try not to avoid the counter-argument, JD. If the command "sing a new song" be taken to mean "sing a brand new song," how does the singing of 300 or 400 year old hymns -- or even 10 year old CCM compositions -- fulfill that command? They aren't "new" anymore. So, unless the command simply refers to singing of God's new work in us, the song of redemption (which is done just as easily if not better in the Psalms), you disobey this command as surely as we do. It's not a question of frequency... the Psalms were new when they were written, too.
See below:

P1] song is a prescribed element of worship
P2] new song is prescribed in the OT (Psalms and Isaiah)

C1] new songs are prescribed for worship singing

I also know that:

P1] song is a prescribed element of worship
P2] the Psalms of David are to be sung in worship

C1] the Psalms of David are prescribed for worship singing

Bottom line:

It is a both/and - not an either/or.
Again - it is "both/and" - I think I also spoke to the transitory nature of non-Psalmic songs earlier in the thread. As musical styles change, so will the songs - not the modeled content, though - even the Psalms adapt to musical style changes - even though some would try to constrain that, too!
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
It is crass literalism to insist the term is referring to a command to compose new songs to sing in public worship.
I like how your arguments have that "just right" touch of ad hominem. :)

Some would say the same against a literal 6 days for creation.

But even if this were its meaning, it still begs the question as to qualifications necessary for the fulfillment of this command. It would require an extraordinary gift of the Spirit to create new songs which can exist side by side with the old songs.
Just as it would take an extraordinary gift of the Spirit to create new prayers which can exist side by side with the old prayers. Yet we do it.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I like how your arguments have that "just right" touch of ad hominem. :)
The sarcasm is not amusing.

Some would say the same against a literal 6 days for creation.
Six day creationism is the result of a reformed hermeneutic which insists on the literal sense of the Scripture. It does not involve taking every phrase in a literal manner, but recognises the use of figurative expressions.

Just as it would take an extraordinary gift of the Spirit to create new prayers which can exist side by side with the old prayers. Yet we do it.
This is irrelevant to your claim that "new song" means "compose new new songs."
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
The sarcasm is not amusing.
Neither is the ad hom, sir. I discuss, I do not belittle.

Six day creationism is the result of a reformed hermeneutic which insists on the literal sense of the Scripture. It does not involve taking every phrase in a literal manner, but recognises the use of figurative expressions.
I agree - day means day unless Scripturally proven otherwise - new means new, also.

This is irrelevant to your claim that "new song" means "compose new new songs."
Responding in like manner:

It is absolutely relevant.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
I like how your arguments have that "just right" touch of ad hominem. :)

Crass
CRASS, a. [L., the same as gross, which see.] Gross; thick; coarse; not thing, nor fine; applied to fluids and solids; as, crass and fumid exhalations. [Little used.]

Where is the ad hominem? His statement is in regards to the interpretation, not your person. I would be a little more careful before throwing around logical objections until they are truely warranted.
Some would say the same against a literal 6 days for creation.
We could also say "some would say the same thing about dispensationalism."

If you would like a detailed explanation of the psalmody positon, read New Songs by Michael S. Bushell.
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
Jeff Bartel said:
Where is the ad hominem? His statement is in regards to the interpretation, not your person. I would be a little more careful before throwing around logical objections until they are truely warranted.
crass: (of persons) so unrefined as to be lacking in discrimination and sensibility

wordnet.princeton.edu/perl/webwn

Words have power.

We could also say "some would say the same thing about dispensationalism."
What are you implying?

If you would like a detailed explanation of the psalmody positon, read New Songs by Michael S. Bushell.
I have. The premise is still flawed.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Neither is the ad hom, sir. I discuss, I do not belittle.
I provided argumentation to show what "new song" means in context. You chose to ignore this and make a belittling remark about a general statement I had made. Ad hominem means "TO the man." I did not address that statement TO you. You, however, directed your sarcasm AT me.

I agree - day means day unless Scripturally proven otherwise - new means new, also.
No competent exegete would be so simplistic as to assume the word "new" automatically refers to something that did not exist before. In the context of this particular discussion there is general agreement that "new song" refers to a new occasion of singing or a new revelation.

Leupold: "The thought of a 'new song' does not involve the idea of a new composition, but as we believe Briggs rightly claims, 'a new outburst of song because of a new event that evokes it.' The Lord is so great and His works so wonderful that it takes 'all the earth' to do justice to such a theme."

Alexander: "A new song implies fresh occasion to praise God, not for the mere repetition of his former favours, but for some new dispensation of his grace."

Keil and Delitzsch: "The new song is an echo of the approaching revelation of salvation and of glory, and this is also the inexhaustible material of the joyful tidings that go forth from day to day."
 

panta dokimazete

Panting Donkey Machete
I provided argumentation to show what "new song" means in context. You chose to ignore this and make a belittling remark about a general statement I had made. Ad hominem means "TO the man." I did not address that statement TO you. You, however, directed your sarcasm AT me.
whatever - you were implying that I was a crass literalist. Unless you have not been following the debate?

No competent exegete would be so simplistic as to assume the word "new" automatically refers to something that did not exist before.
But a competent exegete would start there, until and unless Scripture demanded a more expanded understanding in context. and in this case, it doesn't.

In the context of this particular discussion there is general agreement that "new song" refers to a new occasion of singing or a new revelation.
General agreement among whom? Exclusive Psalmody proponents?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
whatever - you were implying that I was a crass literalist. Unless you have not been following the debate?
I am not muddying myself in a slinging match, Mr. Longmire. The moderator has already shown you I was addressing an argument, not a person. If my general statement is pertinent to you then the way to absolve yourself is to make a counter-argument, not to belittle your interlocutor.

But a competent exegete would start there, until and unless Scripture demanded a more expanded understanding in context. and in this case, it doesn't.
Sir, no, exegesis does not start with assumptions, but with lexical definition. By a study of the adjective "new," even as it appears in English, but especially as it is used in the originals, it would be discovered that by far the majority of cases conveys the idea of "renewed." But that is something which can only be learned by study and exegesis as opposed to assumption and eisegesis.

General agreement among whom? Exclusive Psalmody proponents?
None of the men I quoted held to exclusive psalmody.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
whatever - you were implying that I was a crass literalist. Unless you have not been following the debate?
It is crass literalism to insist the term is referring to a command to compose new songs to sing in public worship
Mr. Winzer is addressing the argument, not your person. Since the debate is dealing with a "literal" vs. figurative interpretation of the term "new" in relation to song, I don't see how this is "Against the man".

But a competent exegete would start there,...
Surely you aren't calling Rev. Winzer an "incompetant exegete" and "calling the kettle black" by doing so? Either way, I would revisit the definition of ad hominem.

[/quote]

Let's keep the debate on the subject, not the persons. But let's also be careful before we blow the logical whistle.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top