Singing Uninspired songs--Non EP answers only

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

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  1. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    Amen to that Josh. I would hold to this, that a dispute over doctrine is not an opportunity for confrontation, but an opportunity for conversation. Heeding the biblical injunction, let your conversation be seasoned with all grace.
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  2. Edward

    Edward Puritanboard Commissioner

    Fair enough. I shouldn't generalize from those who have taken to the front lines. Indeed, if you will recall, I specifically excluded you upthread. I apologize for not doing so again in the post that gave offense.

    I toyed with the idea with being TR in my younger years, and while I felt I had the temperament to fit in with those that I knew, I couldn't ever get theologically in alignment with them, and find myself today still on the BR side of the spectrum.
  3. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    What Josh said. ;)
  4. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I also wanted to add that the fact that we discuss this issue is evidence that both sides take the RPW seriously. We disagree on some of the particulars, but we quite literally agree in principle.

    Thank you all for a great discussion!
  5. lynnie

    lynnie Puritan Board Graduate

    I was thinking about this thread on Sunday. I happen to like singing scripture and 40 years ago in the Charismatic movement often we had 40-60 minutes of just singing and every bit of it was bible verses (not just psalms).

    But anyway, we were singing hymns at church and it struck me that we are often singing systematic theology with hymns. Instead of having a one text with several verses, the hymns may have one topic and lines in the hymn are references to various scripture verses. I used to think hymns were sort if inferior to bible verse songs, but that is like saying teaching systematic theology is inferior to teaching through a text.

    One nice thing about (good) hymns is references to Jesus, the cross, the resurrection, and so much more. I would certainly never call them sin.....but I do wish there was also more singing of scripture as well.
  6. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    Some hymns like the Te Deum function as a creed. Some other hymns function, as you say, as a tool to teach systematic theology. Hymns may serve to provide orthodox teaching where that is lacking in what is heard from the pulpit
  7. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Here is the next installment on my objections answered to EP on my blog.



    The Psalms themselves command believers to sing a new song. “Sing to Him a new song; / Play skillfully with a shout of joy” (Ps. 33:3). “Sing to the Lord a new song; / Sing to the Lord, all the earth” (Ps. 96:1). “Praise the Lord! / Sing to the Lord a new song, / And His praise in the congregation of the godly ones” (Ps. 149:1). Coppes invokes Isaiah 42:1, 9, and 10 to make his case.

    Behold, My Servant, whom I uphold; / My chosen one in whom My soul delights. / I have put My Spirit upon Him; / He will bring forth justice to the nations … Behold, the former things have come to pass, / Now I declare new things; Before they spring forth I proclaim them to you. / Sing to the Lord a new song, / Sing His praise from the end of the earth! (italics added).

    Pointing to verse 9, Coppes says, “This verse defines ‘new’ as something that does not yet exist in the Old Testament period.”(9) He then maintains that the proper exegesis of Isaiah 42:10 is fixed by Revelation 5:9 where God tells us the saints in heaven are singing

    “a new song” And they sang a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the scroll, And to open its seals; For You were slain, And have redeemed us to God by Your blood Out of every tribe and tongue and people and nation …

    Thus we see that in heavenly worship, the saints gathered before the throne of God, and hence, within the heavenly holy of holies, are singing a new song as prophesied in Isaiah 42:10 and the words are new words, i.e., words not recorded as one of the Old Testament psalms (cf. Rev. 14:3).(10)

    This objection raises three important issues: the Biblical understanding of the term new, the interpretation of Isa. 42:10, and our relationship to the praise of God’s people portrayed in the Book of Revelation.

    What is the Biblical understanding of the terms new and newness? George Ladd teaches, “The idea of newness is distinctly eschatological … The idea of newness preserves its eschatological character in the New Testament.”(11) That is, believers live in an era in which the future has dawned. The age to come is pressing into this present age. “Thus,” as Vos puts it, “the other world, hitherto future, has become present.”(12) This is realized eschatology, the already but not yet. R. A. Harrisville adds that, “the ‘new covenant’ is an eschatological concept.”(13) Harrisville then rehearses four characteristics of this concept of newness. The first is that of contrast. “The new covenant exists in contrast to the old by the fact that the community founded upon it is no longer ruled by an external authority from without (i.e., the letter of the law), but is motivated by the Spirit of God from within.”(14) This distinctive of newness, contrast, or discontinuity, presupposes a second characteristic, “the element of continuity. continuity. The new covenant does not replace the old, but rather grows out of it and is related to it as fulfillment to promise.”(15) The new covenant is in essence one with the old; the new is a new administration of the same covenant of grace.

    A third “distinctive feature of the idea” of newness “is its dynamic element.”(16) This dynamic element is explained by the power of Jesus Christ and his redemptive activity.(17) Newness is seen and experienced in and through texts such a 2 Corinthians 5:17, “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come” (italics added). The Christian is a new creature or a new creation. Great change has occurred in the newly-converted person. There is discontinuity with the past. The newly-converted person, however, may be readily recognized. There is definite continuity with the past. This tension exists because of the dynamic element of the power of Christ introduced into the life of the Christian.

    The fourth distinctive feature of “new” is finality. “The renewal by faith is final; it cannot be repeated because the believer has been placed within the last and final period of God’s redemptive activity which hastens to its goal.”(18) There is finality to newness because as has been observed in the previous chapter, God’s eschatological plan will come to fruition. This fourfold distinctiveness of newness in Scripture—contrast, continuity, dynamic, and finality—fits well with both the subjective element and the eschatology of the Psalter.

    From this perspective, it is simplistic to hold that new refers to something that does not already exist. John 13:34 is a helpful example: “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” Harrisville comments, “The new commandment is thus the rule of the new eschatological community. It is an eschatological commandment … Thus though the commandment is not new from a purely historical point of view, it is new as given by Jesus.”(19)

    What is the proper interpretation of Isaiah 42:10? The text reads, “Sing to the Lord a new song, / Sing His praise from the end of the earth!” Isaiah’s words are a simple command. He exhorts God’s people to sing God’s praise. They must sing a new song. “New is here contrasted with what is Ordinary, and thus he extols the infinite mercy of God, which was to be revealed in Christ, and which ought therefore to be celebrated and sung with the highest praises.”(20) The new song is the song of future glory and blessing, sung as though that future glory and blessing were then present. How could believers sing such a song? Calvin answers, “It ought to be observed that this song cannot be sung but by renewed men; for it ought to proceed from the deepest feeling of the heart, and therefore[,] we need the direction of the Spirit, that we may sing those praises in a proper manner.”(21) Calvin refers to the subjective element, which has been discussed above. Calvin goes on to say, “Besides, he does not exhort one or a few nations to do this, but all nations in the world; for to all them Christ was sent.”(22) The eschatological element comes through strongly in Calvin’s exposition. In the case of Isaiah 42:10, the new song may be old songs sung from a new heart. If so, and if guided by the Spirit, the prophetic songs of David and Asaph, with their eschatological thrust and prominent subjective element, comport well with the command of God through Isaiah. Isaiah 42:10 does not command new and different songs with new and different words.

    What about the believer’s connection with the praise portrayed in Revelation? A more complete discussion of this question awaits analysis of the heavenly worship portrayed in the Book of Revelation and the use of musical instruments in worship. The basic premise is that God commands believers to hold to the principles of worship He sets forth for the age in which they live. When God commands the building of the tabernacle and institutes sacrifices in this specific location, He changes worship in Israel. The people are not permitted to use the standards of worship previously followed by Abraham. When David adds singing of the Psalms and additional musical instruments to worship in the tabernacle and in the temple by the command of God, the people are not permitted to revert to the more simplified worship under Moses. Similarly, the people living in the time of David and Solomon could not look ahead and adjust their worship to conform to the new age ushered in by Messiah. They were not permitted to forsake principles of worship ordained by God for their time. In like manner, believers today are required to maintain the standards of worship God gives them for this present age. It is not their prerogative to appropriate into the worship of today aspects of worship from another age, whether earlier or later. This argument is another way of stating the regulative principle of worship.

    9. Coppes, Exclusive Psalmody, 6.

    10. Ibid., 7.

    11. George Eldon Ladd, A New Testament Theology (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1993), 521-522.

    12. Geerhardus Vos, The Pauline Eschatology (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 38.

    13. R. A. Harrisville, “The Concept of Newness in the New Testament,” Journal of Biblical Literature 74:2 (June, 1955): 73.

    14. Ibid.

    15. Ibid., 74.

    16. Ibid.

    17. Ibid., 75.

    18. Ibid., 76-77.

    19. Ibid, 79.

    20. John Calvin, Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah, trans. William Pringle (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1979), 299.

    21. Ibid.

    22. Ibid.

    Used by permission from Dr. Dennis Prutow

    Prutow, Dennis. Public Worship 101: An Introduction to the Biblical Theology of Worship, the Elements of Worship, Exclusive Psalmody, and A Cappella Psalmody. Reformed Presbyterian Theological Seminary Press. Kindle Edition.
  8. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior


    Perhaps your last post would be better placed in the new thread dedicated to EP advocates?

    I'm wondering why so many EP advocates used this thread for their counter arguments.

    Just a thought...
  9. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Tim I should have titled the thread non-EP only, feel free to take a couple jabs at the other thread if you like
  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    I didn't know there was a new thread. I haven't stayed up on the board. Sorry. I posted the first blog on this thread and said I would post the next ones here also. I promised to do that. I was feeling like I was neglecting a promise so I got busy this morning and posted it. I am not trying to be argumentative. Just informative. This is a hard topic. There is a lot of emotion concerning the topic because it has to do with our affections and desiring to please the God we Love. Look, I understand that emotion. It is hurtful and hard to understand. The first murder took place because God didn't accept Cain's offering. That had to do with Worship. This was a hard topic for me to understand and listen to for many years as was the topic concerning pictures of Christ. I understand the frustration. I have no condemnation for anyone here. I just want to help be informative and encouraging.

    I didn't know that counter arguments were not invited here since the original poster changed inquiry for answers. Sorry.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  11. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Bill, You changed the rules here. It was kind of frustrating to the Moderators who worked at keeping the topic set to the OP parameters. You changed the OP rules.
  12. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    :) Thanks for the offer, but I'll probably leave it alone. I've been studying praise lately, and if I get around to writing some thoughts out as it relates to EP, I'll let you know.

    Thanks again for your questions in this thread and your non-combative approach.

    I get very tired of the caricatures made of non-EP advocates, many of which are promoted at times on this board.

    This board has helped me to understand the EP position much better, and even in my own church, I often defend EP advocates against caricatures from our side. I hope that some of the strongest advocates for EP on this website can do the same for our side, learning the position well enough to represent it accurately and according to our understanding of the RPW.
    Last edited: Aug 23, 2017
  13. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Randy, sorry about that I thought I started all of my posts in this thread by saying that the question was for those who were not EP sorry for the confusion

    I wish now that I had put it in the title of the thread, if you have time would you mind changing the title of that other thread to EP only answers,thanks in advance
  14. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    I like Denny personally, but his ideas about the new song are simply not exegetically defensible. As J.A. Alexander puts it "To sing a new song, according to Old Testament usage, is to praise God for some new manifestation of his power and goodness. It implies, therefore, not only fresh praise, but a fresh occasion for it." Or E.J. Young, "The song is new for it is to celebrate the new things God will accomplish." (Both with reference to Isaiah 42:10). That is, of course, exactly what the saints do whenever God accomplishes some new victory: they sing a new song (not a pre-existing psalm); see Exodus 15; Judges 5; 1 Samuel 2; and supremely, Revelation 5 and 14. And the heavenly song is not merely a future activity of the saints, it is their present occupation, which is what makes it a very fitting song for earthly saints as well.
  15. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Iain, I believe all of your objections and references above shall be answered in upcoming blogs. Denny quoted similar quotes you have made as an objection and why he was answering. His answers were very good as far as I see. There are many other guys who have answered this with a lot more reference and attention. But I am going to bow out of this thread as the rules have changed again. The thread has been retitled. Believe me, I understand the emotional responses and the desire to make strong defense as I posted above.
    Be Encouraged, I am glad you like Dr. Prutow. I like him too.
  16. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    This seems to be an argument against singing any psalms.

    Since God commands his New Covenant church to sing psalms, this tells us one thing for sure: the psalms are songs of the New Covenant and not essentially shadowy and typological, like the sacrifices were.
  17. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Reminder, per thread author's desires this thread is non EP answers only.
  18. Gforce9

    Gforce9 Puritan Board Junior

    I would never make the case against singing Psalms. In fact, our pastor seems to have us singing about 70% Psalms, for which I am glad. I'm wading through now whether we are to only sing such. I think I have a good 7th grade understanding, but wish to enter the college level at some point, at which juncture, am able to act upon conscience with great confidence..........
  19. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    The same with my congregation. But, at least in some people's minds it seems there are Psalms, and than there are Psalms. I know two brothers who feel that the renditions of the Psalms in the Trinity Hymnal are not authentic enough to qualify as 'Psalms.' Add to that our congregation sings with musical accompaniment. For them only metrical Psalms, as printed in the Scottish Hymnal, and sung a capella qualify as Psalms in accordance with the RPW.
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