Singing Uninspired songs--Non EP answers only

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by BG, Aug 15, 2017.

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  1. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I just have one comment to this....
    Psalm 19:7
    the Inspired Word of God is what is used to revive or convert the soul. It is the best thing to use. If we are going to have a proper response we have to have a sound reviver / converter of the soul. The word of God is what is sharper and can expose and heal. Why would you not want the pure word over a much less substandard?
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  2. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    It's clear from the Septuagint that hymns and songs may include psalms but are not limited to psalms. For a hymn that is not a psalm, see Isaiah 42:10. For songs that are not psalms, see Exodus 15, Deut 31, Judg 5. For songs that are not canonical Scripture, see 1 kings 4:32 (LXX 5:12).

    However, this is a complex question that cannot be soled with a few "gotcha" questions, nor a few proof texts.There are huge assumptions about the nature and composition of the psalter, its function in the temple and synagogue, and indeed the relationship of OT and NT worship that cannot be simply addressed in an internet discussion (which is why I don't normally engage in these discussions). And there's nothing wrong with singing psalms in themselves, so I don't feel a need to labor to change people's convictions.
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  3. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    And this is part of the problem also. Three words do not mean the same thing. They are three classifications of songs that are found in the the book of Psalms.

    Again, I would encourage anyone who wants to gain a decent understanding to read Dr. Prutow's book which can be bought on Amazon as a Kindle or hardcover.
  4. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes it does. Thanks for entertaining my question. I respect those who hold to EP and only wish it wasn't a belief that divides us.
  5. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Did the Lord's people in the Old Covenant in the period between the close of the canon of scripture and the coming of our Lord sang only the Psalms or only Scripture, or did they sing extra canonical material?

    I am not sure. Their is some indication that they sang the so called 151st Psalm, which I take to extra canonical. The fact that it was included in early Greek copies of the Psalter may be an indication that people thought it was canonical. It may also be an indication that it was put their because that was the hymn book of the covenant community. This usage probably carried over to the early Church.
    Their is also some indication they same passages of Scripture other then the Psalter like Exodus 15, and some passages from Isaiah.

    Did the early Church sing something other then the Psalter

    The early liturgies of the Church would seem to indicate that, in addition to the Psalter, the Church sang as either a hymn or a liturgical response: the Ten Commandments, the Gospel of St. Luke 1:68-78, 2:14, 2:29-32, 7:6, and the Gospel of St. John 1:1-14
  6. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    It doesn't have to be. And it doesn't divide me from my brothers who are not. I am able to worship with my brothers when I visit their congregations. I might choose to remain silent during the singing of uninspired songs but they might appreciate that anyways. LOL I believe the Church should maintain a Unity but remain faithful to our denominational distinctions when they come from deep sound conviction.
  7. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Here is John Brown of Wamphray's comment on the meaning of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs translated from De Causa Dei contra Antisabbatarios from The Confessional Presbyterian 5 (2009; not vol 3 2007 as the typos say; I think that is the last time that sort of thing got through proof reading): 298-304.
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  8. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    We believe they are three words that mean three related things. We cannot understand what EP find lacking in this. The LXX may use these three terms, but this is no proof that Paul limited his Greek hearers to this. Further, to my knowledge, the LXX uses the term "odes," not "spiritual odes." The modifier was necessary because "odes" by itself would not have been a reference to scripture. If it was, the adjective would be redundant.

    Calvin taught:

    "Farther, under these three terms he includes all kinds of songs. They are commonly distinguished in this way -- that a psalm is that, in the singing of which some musical instrument besides the tongue is made use of: a hymn is properly a song of praise, whether it be sung simply with the voice or otherwise; while an ode contains not merely praises, but exhortations and other matters. He would have the songs of Christians, however, to be spiritual, not made up of frivolities and worthless trifles. For this has a connection with his argument."

    My understanding is that Psalms would refer at least to the book of Psalms, possibly to other biblical books as well. Hymns to scripture derived pieces, spiritual songs to any other song with godly content.

    Regardless, the categories encompass the whole gamut of God glorifying song, so the exact classification is somewhat irrelevant to our position.

    I haven't studied this question enough to answer...

    There are a number of possible hymn quotations in the NT Epistles. I would have to look them up if you're interested-- can't remember the references off the top of my head.

    Tertullian described agape feasts:

    "After manual ablution, and the bringing in of lights, each is asked to stand forth and sing, as he can, a hymn to God, either one from the holy Scriptures or one of his own composing..." (

    This reference at least proves that in the early church hymns did not only refer to scripture, though they sometimes did refer to scripture. The fact that Paul does not distinguish bolsters our arguments since we understand this to be comprehensive of all praise that is sung in worship.

    I would certainly not regard any EP congregation as a cult because of EP. I'm sorry to hear that these people made that accusation. I count my EP friends on this board and ones that I know in person as dear brothers in Christ.
  9. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    In my view, if this argument was legitimate, I could ask the same about preaching. Is scripture insufficient to convert souls or do you also use your uninspired understanding?

    For consistency's sake, why not just quote scripture to somebody when preaching the gospel? From our perspective, your own argument in conjunction with your practice is our best defense.
  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Good questions. That is why when we sing the Psalms we have a Psalm explanation. Preaching is an exposition of Scripture. We are encouraged to let the Word of Christ dwell in us as the Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs are what that is related to and what we we sing back to God as we meditate upon them in worship. Remember I noted that the practice has gone away because of men doing what? Redefining words, adding unlikely historical context, allowing cultural preference, and seeking to add things not required and regulated. It may be a difference of eisegesis compared to exegesis, personal feelings covering the truth, an uninspired unregulated addition to things that have been regulated and commanded.
  11. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Let me address why people need to get Dr. Prutow's book. It addresses some issues I have had through the years as a Reformed Baptist and Presbyterian. They were also things that Reverend Winzer answered for me by his comments on the Puritanboard. But they are summarily addressed in this book very well as far as I am concerned. Chris Coldwell has a wealth of information on this topic also. Other past guys who participated here are also but they have moved on evidently. I have stayed out of the debate. It is hard for me to be involved with it. The guys who addressed this issue with me in the 80's were not beneficial to me. It was too harsh and all of my worship was unacceptable to them and God hated it as far as they were concerned. Some people may have sound doctrine but turn us off.

    We have all seen that. I hope I have not done that here.

    One of the first big steps I had was reading Jeremiah Burroughs Gospel Worship. It is loved by all Regulative Principle guys so don't think it is an EP book. It should be read by all. It helped me understand that issue first. I suggest starting there first. But Dr. Prutow does that in his book too. Soooo... I recommend it.

    Later in the book Dr. Prutow addresses the singing of Psalms in history and now.

    He addresses objections in a small portion of the book in my estimation. Everyone can benefit from it.

    Here are a few of the topics after learning the the topic of Worship from a scriptural understanding.

    The book is about worship. Not just the EP position so many will gain good standing here whether EP or not.











    Those are the topics he addresses as opposition in the book. I think it would be beneficial if everyone reads these even if they don't agree. It will help in our understanding. I don't have this down totally just like I don't have a lot of things down. But I am willing to learn.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  12. Parmenas

    Parmenas Puritan Board Freshman

    I am EP.

    I am currently transcribing into HTML The True Psalmody. I am reading it as I transcribe it (I am only at the second preface right now), but from what others have written of it on this board, I can heartily recommend it.

    In the first of three prefaces, the Rev. Henry Cooke of Ireland writes:

  13. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior


    I am tempted to say more, but I'll refrain. I would like to keep to the questions posed by Bill.

    Feel free to PM me.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  14. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    For those of you who are non EP:

    Are any of you opposed to singing Psalms, and if so why?

    Do any of you wish that your church sang more Psalms?

    What are your thoughts on the resurgence of psalm singing in reformed churches?

    *****I really hate to ask this question but if it's any consolation I do plan on asking those on the other side of the issue the same question.******

    If your church session embraced an EP position would you stay or would you go?

    If anyone finds that question too over-the-top I will be glad to edit my post and delete it.
    Last edited: Aug 18, 2017
  15. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    I wish that my Church would sing/chant all of the Psalms, not just a few.
    If my Church adopted exclusive psalmody; I would not leave but would find it frustrating that we no longer sang the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments and the Te Deum.
  16. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I am not opposed.
    We do sing songs out of the Trinity Hymnal that are based on Psalms. I'm told this is not the same thing in terms of authenticity as metrical Psalms, and of course we do sing with musical accompaniment. I would like to see our congregation begin to sing Psalms in the approved method of the Scottish Metrical Psalter, but I don't expect to see it happen.
    I think it is a positive change.
    I can say without hesitation that I would most assuredly stay, whether EP, or remaining as we are.
  17. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is a helpful blog by Mark Jones which begins to answer the OP:

  18. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    It's worth noting that the Trinity Hymnal actually contains both. You'll find noted on the page whether it is a Psalm, or is merely based on one.

    By the way, I've been watching this thread with a great deal of interest. I want to commend Bill on his good questions and his desire to be charitable. The problem often arises in Reformed churches (which tend to be small enough anyway) that some people want to insist on singing songs that violate the consciences of others. It is lamentable that the imposition of such songs further divides the people of God.
  19. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    This is great news. One of the problems that may keep people from understanding exclusive Psalmody is a lack of understanding the mind of Christ in his humanity revealed in the Psalms. They are therefore the perfect prayers and praises for His members.

    Thank you for transcribing these great works. I pray for the success of your projects.
  20. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    This is hard to answer. I've come across hard-core people, kind of similar to what Martin described in one of his posts and others, well, more like Martin. :) It would be difficult to go to a church where you are considered an idolater by the members and especially the leadership.

    Leaving a church has many considerations. The hypothetical question you're asking has too many variables to answer.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2017
  21. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Three times in the past two years someone has come into my home sat down at my table and argued the following:

    The problem I have with psalm singing is that you do not sing about Jesus, the atonement, redemption, salvation or the trinity.

    Whenever I hear this argument there are two things that immediately come to mind.

    One. Is that they are lacking in their knowledge of the psalms.
    Two. It seems to me that this is a very Marcion view of Christ.

    Is this an argument that you have made,
    if so would you mind explaining it a little further ?

    Please note I am not accusing anyone on the PB of arguing this way nor am I accusing anyone of being Marcion.
  22. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Thanks Tim for your honesty I know it's a difficult question I wasn't sure whether I should even ask it.
  23. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I think you mean Randy (or Martin). William Symmington was an RP who is cited in his signature.
  24. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    So sorry! I'll edit.
  25. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Dr. Prutow has given me permission to publish some of his book on my blog and here. So here is the first installment.

    Prutow, Dennis. Public Worship 101: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Worship, the Elements of Worship, Exclusive Psalmody, and A Cappella Psalmody (Kindle Locations 6383-6393). Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Press. Kindle Edition.


    O sing to the LORD a new song, For He has done wonderful things Sing to the LORD a new song; Sing to the LORD, all the earth …. ~ PS. 96:1; 98:1


    THE OBJECTIONS TO EXCLUSIVE PSALMODY boil down to one basic complaint: The Psalter is insufficient for New Testament praise. When people exclaim, “But I want to sing about Jesus,” they mean, “Psalms are insufficient for my praise.” Some also take the position that the Psalms often speak about the Father, but have little reference to the Son. Others point out that the Psalms themselves teach that believers are to sing new songs, and therefore, instruct them not to confine their singing to those old songs. Then too, who wants to sing about Old Testament Types? It is of course far better to sing about the New Testament realities. There are many Scripture songs outside the Psalter, including hymn fragments imbedded in the New Testament. The presence of these hymn fragments shows that New Testament believers ought to sings songs outside the Psalter.

    Add to these objections, the fact that Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 have nothing to do with public corporate worship. Then too, texts like 1 Corinthians 14:15 and 26 speak about newly-inspired songs sung in the New Testament Church.

    Professor Scott Sanborn insists exclusive Psalmody is insufficient for New Testament praise. He writes that the mystery of Gentile inclusion in the church, specifically revealed to the Apostle Paul (Eph. 3:4-6), is not present in the Psalms. Dr. Vern Poythress and Dr. Leonard Coppes insist that the regulative principle is fulfilled in Christ along with other aspects of the ceremonial law. Confining praise to the Psalter is, therefore, outmoded and contrary to Scripture. Dr. T. David Gordon goes a step further. The Psalms themselves command believers to sing about all the deeds of God, which presumably includes the incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. Confining worship song to the Psalter is, therefore, positively sinful to Dr. Gordon.

    Each of these objections will be answered, seeking to show that the Psalter is sufficient for New Testament praise. Along the way, it will also be shown that these objections fail to appreciate the real beauty of Psalmody, that is, its subjective element meshed with its eschatology.


    This objection means, “I want to sing about Jesus like modern hymns and choruses do.” Of course, the implication is that Psalmody is insufficient. Furthermore, Dr. Leonard Coppes asserts, “The Old Testament psalms focus preeminently on the Father. While it is true that they also speak of the Son, they do not speak of him as pointedly and clearly as does the New Testament.”1 The response is twofold.

    Note how the Apostle Paul speaks about Christ. “God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord” (Phil. 2:9-11). Paul quotes Isaiah 45:23. In context, Yahweh declares every knee will bow to Him and every tongue will confess Him.

    Is it not I, the LORD [Yahweh]? / And there is no other God besides Me, / A righteous God and a Savior; / There is none except Me. / Turn to Me and be saved, all the ends of the earth; / For I am God, and there is no other. / I have sworn by Myself, / The word hasgone forth from My mouth in righteousness / And will not turn back, / That to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance [LXX confess] (Isa. 45:21-23).

    From the apostle’s perspective, Jesus is Yahweh; Jesus is Jehovah. He is God Incarnate. Paul brings out this truth with the confession that Jesus Christ is LORD. He also connects Jesus and Jehovah in Romans 10:9 and context, “If you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.” He goes on in verse 11, quoting from Isaiah 28:16, “For the Scripture says, ‘WHOEVER BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.’” Paul then quotes Joel 2:32, “WHOEVER WILL CALL ON THE NAME OF THE LORD WILL BE SAVED” (Rom. 10:13). The LORD to whom Paul points in Joel 2:32 is Yahweh. Paul calls his readers to confess that Jesus is Yahweh, that Jesus is Jehovah.

    From this perspective, when believers sing, “The Lord is King! Let all the earth be joyful,”2 they follow the Apostle Paul and make the confession that Jesus Christ is Lord. When Christians sing, “The Lord is my Shepherd,”3 they confess Jesus Christ to be the great and good Shepherd of the sheep (John 10:11, 14, 16). They sing to Him! In doing so, they follow the teaching of the New Testament. They follow the teaching of the Apostle Paul.

    Note that the New Testament frequently uses the Psalms to preach Christ. The New Testament quotes the Psalter 82 times.4 Consider Romans. To accentuate the depth of human depravity in Romans 3, Paul quotes from Psalm 51:4 and Psalm 14:1-3. He adds quotes from Psalms 5:9; 10:7; 36:1; and140:3. In chapter 4, Paul turns to the subject of justification by grace through faith in Christ and quotes Psalm 32:1-2. He also uses Psalm 117 as part of his rationale for preaching the gospel to the Gentiles (Rom. 15:11).

    Elsewhere in the New Testament, Psalm 22 is used to present the details of Christ’s crucifixion (Matt. 27:46; Mark 15:34; John 19:24). Psalm 16 is used to preach His resurrection (Acts 2:24-28, 31; 13:35). Psalm 2 is used to explain the opposition of Rome and Israel to Christ and His Kingdom (Acts 4:25-26). Psalm 110 is used to preach Christ’s ascension and heavenly reign (Acts 2:34-35). Psalm 68 is also used to proclaim Christ’s ascension (Eph. 4:7-8). Psalm 118:26 is used by our Lord to predict His coming again (Matt. 23:39). Hebrews 1 uses Psalms 2:7; 45:6-7; 102:25-27; and 110:1 to present Christ as God and Creator. Hebrews 10 uses Psalm 40:6-8 to present Christ as the once for all sacrifice saving us from our sins.

    When believers sing, “Therefore kings now heed this word: Earthly judges, come and hear. Rev’rent worship give the Lord,”5 they exhort earthly rulers to bow before King Jesus. When Christians sing, “The earth you founded long ago; Your mighty hand the heavens made,”6 they confess Christ as the Creator (Heb. 1:10). In singing the Psalms, believers do sing about Jesus. The Psalter is quite sufficient for the New Testament age.

    Granted, the traditional language of Western hymns is not used in singing the Psalms, nor is the popular language of modern gospel songs and choruses used. The language of Scripture is used, language said to be outmoded and designed for an earlier age. By what standard? A standard designed by those objecting to Psalmody, a standard foreign to Scripture. This objection argues that words “made by an act of human will” are superior to, or at least equal with, words not “made by an act of human will, but [by] men moved by the Holy Spirit [who] spoke from God” (2 Pet. 2:21). Words, it must be added, specifically set forth by the Spirit for singing the public praises of God. On this count, the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America stands with the venerable Geerhardus Vos with regard to the Psalms and recognizes that “a more perfect language for communion with God cannot be framed.”7

    This objection, settling, as it does, on the objective standard of a form of words or language, appears to ignore the subjective principle imbedded so deeply in the language of the Psalms. Vos again rightly states “that the Psalms reflect the experimental religion of the heart, which is unvarying at all times and under all circumstances …8 The Psalter is, therefore, sufficient for New Testament praise.

    . 1. Leonard J. Coppes, Exclusive Psalmody and Doing God’s Will as It Is Fulfilled in Christ (NP: The Author, n.d.), 23.

    2. The Book of Psalms for Worship (Pittsburgh: Crown and Covenant, 2009), 97A.

    3. Ibid., 23D.

    4. The Greek New Testament (Stuttgart: United Bible Societies, 1983), 897-898.

    5. The Book of Psalms for Worship, 2C.

    6. Ibid., 102D.

    7. Geerhardus Vos, “Songs from the Soul,” Grace and Glory (Carlisle: Banner of Truth, 1994), 170, italics added.

    8. Ibid., 171.

    Prutow, Dennis. Public Worship 101: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Worship, the Elements of Worship, Exclusive Psalmody, and A Cappella Psalmody (Kindle Locations 6383-6393). Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Press. Kindle Edition.
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  26. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    For non EP

    Not long ago I was part of a church where the session was split on the issue of EP, two EP, two not EP, the compromise they came up with was this: before the call to worship they would sing hymns and after the call to worship they would sing psalms. Does this seem to be a fair compromise? Do you have any objections to this? What are your thoughts?

    This will be my last question to non EP board members, I will now move across the aisle and question EP board members.
  27. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    I am not troubled by hymn singing before the invocation is pronounced. After the invocation the Church should sing only the Psalter. Again after the benediction I am not troubled by hymn singing.
  28. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    This will be the next post I make. But tomorrow Is a day I probably should focus on other things. I will probably give it a rest every few days. I probably won't respond much.
  29. Romans5eight

    Romans5eight Puritan Board Freshman

    I appreciate this conversation. I would probably fall into the camp that would think practicing EP would do far more good than harm and would be a huge improvement in most churches.

    I don't think it is a sin to sing non-psalm worship songs, but it is no secret that many modern worship songs aren't written from a reformed scriptural perspective and contain error. I don't choose the song list so it's not a hill to die on in my opinion. Refraining from singing "Great is thy faithfulness" doesn't make me holier than my brother who sings with a thankful heart (which is what God sees).
  30. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    The first thing that came to my mind when I read that post was Rev. 3:15-16.
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