Second Helvetic Confession and singing in worship

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yeutter

Puritan Board Senior
The Second Helvetic Confession in Chapter 23 comments that "Singing. Likewise moderation is to be exercised where singing is used in a meeting for worship. That song which they call the Gregorian Chant has many foolish things in it, hence it iss rightly rejected by many of our Churches. If there are Churches which have a true and proper sermon but no singing; they out not to be condemned. For all Churches do not have the advantage of singing. And it is well known from the testimonies of antiquity, that the custom of singing was very old in the Eastern Churches, whereas it was late when it was at length accepted in the West
Was the plain song chant style of singing dropped because of the content of the Gregorian Chant in the Latin Mass, and not an objection to plain song chant in particular?
Are they historically correct that psalm singing was accepted in the East earlier then in the West?
Is the Helvetic Confession correct when it says that we should not be critical of Churches which do not have singing?
 

Prufrock

Arbitrary Moderation
Bullinger's Zurich was fairly unique among the Reformation churches in this respect. For a more full delineation of Bullinger's understanding of singing (both public and private) consult his Decades (Decade 5, sermon 5) where he discusses the matter at large. I would attempt to discuss the matter more fully, but I am pressed for time this evening. Suffice it to say that (particularly through Zwingli's influence) the Zurich reformers were very intent on ensuring that mindless, ornate, priestly singing was not conducted in the worship services, but that any singing which should occur would be done with understanding in spirit (in accordance with Paul's admonition in 1 Corinthians).

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It should quickly be noted that Bullinger's problems with the contemporary singing in the church were the following:
1.) The songs were not taken from canonical scripture;
2.) They were sung for profit and as meritorious works by monks and musicians, singing all day and all night, without ceasing.
3.) They were sung in a strange tongue.
4.) More focus was on the elaborate musical settings than upon the words, such that the words could not even be understood.
5.) The form of singing encouraged vanity and competition of voice.
 
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Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
Is singing required for Reformed Worship like preaching and praying?

The Directory of Publick Worship would seem to suggest so:

IT is the duty of Christians to praise God publickly, by singing of psalms together in the congregation, and also privately in the family.

In singing of psalms, the voice is to be tunably and gravely ordered; but the chief care must be to sing with understanding, and with grace in the heart, making melody unto the Lord.

That the whole congregation may join herein, every one that can read is to have a psalm book; and all others, not disabled by age or otherwise, are to be exhorted to learn to read. But for the present, where many in the congregation cannot read, it is convenient that the minister, or some other fit person appointed by him and the other ruling officers, do read the psalm, line by line, before the singing thereof.
 
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