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Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Confessor, Oct 24, 2008.
God has blessed you with extraordinary ability of debating the truth.
I'm not sure if you're trying to refer to Revelation giving a model for our worship, but if so, I would say it is a false notion. First off, what about singing during the eschaton positively implies that we are to sing uninspired songs in worship? JD answered "praxis" earlier, but I find that wanting because the New Covenant church is not the church being described singing during the apocalypse.
Further, the same book speaks of altars, incense, trumpets, harps, and the ark of the covenant in the worship. I think it is safe to say that the book of Revelation, with all its figurative language and elaborate liturgical details, represents something wholly different from our current New Covenant church, and for that reason we cannot them as a pattern for our worship.
actually, it is begging the question. It is assuming the thing that is in question, namely that "no uninspired song is recorded in Scripture" if the controlling assumption is that all the songs in scripture are inspired.
Second, do you really want to say that the fact that songs are sung in scripture outside of one of the 150 psalms is in dispute? I don't think anyone would dispute that, it is so evidently clear. Ex 15, Dt 32 - the song of moses, num 21:17ff. There are plenty of examples. Plus there are examples of different compilations of psalms, where multiple psalms are meshed together, and sung in corporate worship, but it is not directly one of the 150 psalms. So does this mean that we are allowed to sing the other songs of Scripture, or to simply use the vocabulary or phrases from the psalms, and compile them in different ways?
You were arguing that any song in Scripture is by definition inspired and therefore there can be no Scriptural instances of uninspired singing, right? If so, no question-begging has occurred. If not, I have simply misunderstood you.
You're right; I shouldn't have said that. The point in dispute is whether the songs outside the Psalms are within the purview of the RPW.
First, I don't think the point is that we are to ignore all figurative language in revelation and form our liturgy from it, but that doesn't mean that there aren't lessons to be learned. The altar of revelation is directly identified in Ch. 8 as that which holds the prayers of the saints, the incense are the prayers, etc. that does not mean that you can then give a blanket statement saying that nothing in the book of revelation can be used for the new covenant church. Especially when what is being described in those chapters is occurring during the new covenant era.
Second, the argument was simply that they sang a new song, not one of the 150 psalms. What is figurative or typological about that?
You can't limit all possible evidence to whatever supports your theses. If they were allowed to sing songs outside the 150 psalms, then it is obviously allowed.
On another note, would it be wrong to take the various statements or phrases from the 150 psalms and re-arrange them into different compilations?
If you want to take the "new song" in Revelation as allowing (and therefore commanding) uninspired songs to be sung in worship, then I suggest you take the interpretation to its logical conclusion and include incense, altars, etc.
That is why I said the point is whether they are within the purview of the RPW. You obviously think that that is what entails.
That's a good question.
my point is that we can't just dismiss them as outside the purview of the RPW. That is tampering with the evidence. We can't dismiss any contrary evidence as irrelevant, simply because it doesn't fit the desired conclusion. If they are going to be excluded it is necessary to defend why they are being excluded as "outside the purview of the RPW" - stating it is not enough.
Why would that be it's logical conclusion? The altars and incense are obviously figurative, because the text tells us that they describe the prayer of the saints. I can explain the figures behind those items. Can you tell me how in the world you can interpret the song as a figure? What did it represent? What does it mean? If you are going to claim it as figurative, you need to answer these questions. Furthermore, however, it is simply mistaken to say that if we take one thing as literal we have to take it all as literal. These things have to be dealt with on a case by case, verse by verse basis. And I do think that we should have Revelation's altar and incense in our worship, in fact I think that every genuine church has them, it's called the prayers of the saints.
I'm not dismissing them. I am saying that that is the next point of discussion -- whether or not they are in the purview of the RPW.
So when we see obvious figurative stories, the parts which we don't understand we must interpret as literal, and what is more: those non-understood parts are definitely understood to be literally referring to the worship of the New Covenant church?
Brother, that seems to be a faulty hermeneutic.
I forgot to mention in my last post that I have not thus far argued that the "new song" in Revelation allows for "uninspired songs to be sung in worship" (although I do think they ought to be) but rather to establish the fact that other things outside of the 150 psalms can be sung (be they inspired or not).
First, I don't understand what is so difficult to understand about the new song that is sung in revelation, other than the fact that it is hard to square with your thesis.
Second, I never said that which is not understood is literal. I simply asked for you to even begin to explain how it could possibly be figurative. I can give explanations for various figures in Revelation, but I know of no respectable (or un-respectable for that matter) commentator on Revelation that would hold that song to be figurative; meaning that it isn't really a song.
Third, you say"what is more: those non-understood parts are definitely understood to be literally referring to the worship of the New Covenant church?" It is not my contention that they are "non-understood" that is your claim. Plus, I don't know how you could deduce this sort of logic from what I said, I simply said that what they were singing wasn't from the psalter. I really don't understand what is so difficult about this.
Rev. 14:3, Greek -- 'ws -- must be important for considering the new song; I'm not sure why modern translations do not provide an equivalent in English, but it certainly indicates a figurative sense.
There is no hos particle in Rev 5:9-10. It is clearly a new song, outside of the psalter; John gives the lyrics.
What is the difference between allowing for uninspired songs to be sung in worship and establishing the fact that other things outside the Psalms (inspired or not) can be sung in worship?
The difficulty lies in trying to determine how it relates to NT worship. It obviously is not mandating elements of the worship, because it also gives examples of incense and altars which are not in our worship.
You have a peculiar take on the "figurative" nature of the song. I'm not saying the song itself is some isolated metaphor not referring to an actual vision, but rather that the vision as a whole, including the song, is just that -- a vision -- and just like all the other visions in Revelation it is likely symbolic, especially considering the absurd logical implications if we took it as literal.
You said that you can explain the figures behind the incense and altars, but not behind the songs, and then you went on to claim that in order to say the song is figurative, I need to say exactly what it represents. That is clearly not how interpretation works.
well all too often the exclusive psalmist argument degenerates into the "only inspired songs" argument. I do believe that we can sing things that aren't inspired in worship, but for now, I just want to know why I can't sing an inspired song recorded in Scripture, just because it is outside the 150 psalms.
To your first response: You keep bringing up the incense and altars. It is clear that we must have those in our worship, because John makes clear that they represent the prayers of the saints. You keep referencing them as if they are a complete mystery. John will usually tell you what is figurative, and he usually explains it as well.
Your 2nd: Your begging the question. Only if you already accept your conclusion can you exclude the psalm as evidence because of the "absurd logical implications" that will result. In other words if you accept it as a real song then it goes against exlcusive psalmody, and that it illogical and absurd. hmmm................... What I have been saying is that Revelation is no so figurative that it's meaning is incomprehensible. I want to know if you think that was a real song. or does it represent something else that has nothing to do with singing? If so can I engage in such figurative action? It is not enough just to wave the "figurative" magic wand, and expect the verses to go poof
Your 3rd: What I actually said was not that you have to tell me all the details of its meaning, but just begin to give some justification for thinking it's not a real "literal" song. John records the words of the song, do you want to say that is "figurative" as well, and not to be taken literally because it is in the book of revelation, I'll concede that the first phrase is tied to a figure in Revleation, but what about the rest?
That is a good question, and not one that I'm prepared to fully answer.
Though, to give it a shot, I'm assuming it has something to do with the songs not being part of or mandated to be in worship. Also, God made the Psalms to be our worship book, and He did not give an intention that other songs were to be included as well.
If these are taken to be the prayers of the saints, then tell me what the new song is figuratively representing, with exegetical evidence, before saying that it is to be taken literally.
Incense and altars are part of the ceremonial law and therefore explicitly forbidden in the New Covenant. Thus it is a logical absurdity because it would contradict earlier Scripture (if taken literally), not because it would contradict EP.
My justification is that the rest of the passage is clearly figurative (and it's in Revelation), and therefore it is likely that the song is figurative too, unless strong evidence to the contrary is presented. What is more, if the song were literal, then that would be a new song that we are commanded to sing in worship; it wouldn't follow that all new songs are permitted.
I'm not taking up the "sing a new song" cause, but I just really don't get the argument that you've been pushing against it: the argument which goes thus:
Person 1 -- We are commanded by the psalms to sing a new song
You -- Then we can only sing new songs, and we can no longer sing old songs; further, then our warrant is gone, because we don't have the old songs any more that tell us to sing new songs.
What? I can't figure that one out, man.
We are commanded to worship Jesus Christ. So we do. This doesn't mean we stop worshipping the Father or the Spirit: why? We still have that command, too.
We are commanded to help the poor. So we do. This doesn't mean we stop helping the rich as well. Why? See above.
We are commanded to do good to our fellow christians. That doesn't mean we stop doing good to those outside the faith. Why? See above.
Thus, just because someone says we are commanded to sing new songs, I cannot see for the life of me how that requires that we stop singing old songs. Why? We still have that command, too.
Can you please explain this argument? Again, I'm not taking up the "sing a new song" cause--I just cannot figure out what how to make sense of what you're saying; but I'm sure it does, so I'd like to hear.
this makes no sense, how do you prove that something is to be taken as literal, by showing that it is figurative? Either you are using words in different senses, or are just confused. And btw who ever has argued that all songs are permitted, I don't know anyone who would believe that. And by your hermeneutic I guess we shouldn't literally believe that Christ was slain, and didst purchase unto God with his blood men of every tribe, and tongue, and people, and nation. After all, it is said/sung in the midst of a bunch of figurative stuff.
But, I don't think this is going anywhere, let me try another approach.
Is a pastor allowed to speak in Church the words: "A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing"?
If yes, then is he allowed to speak them musically, in other words, in such a way that his voice follows a melody?
The question has to do with the nature of singing as a type of speech act.
The real question for me remains, why would God allow worship with music at all times except the the Church Age?
New to the RPW
I am relatively new to the whole Regulative Principal of Worship thing, and have some questions and thoughts myself.
I for months now, agreed with the idea that Psalms alone should be used unaccompanied by instruments. Now after reading some of the thread, someone was nice enough to throw in Psalm 150, and quoted from the Geneva Bible Notes, that this has been done away in Christ. ????
How was it done away in Christ? In that it was to be done in the sanctuary or Temple Worship? Was the sanctuary ONLY in the Temple? or had they synagogues at the time of David? I don't know that one (and I'm pretty learned on a lot of stuff).
Was it a command of Moses to use instruments for worship? Is that why they have "been done away with"? I would think those involved in the worship "team" in the Temple had the best time of all the priests, no?
David played the harp when he "composed" the Psalms...does that mean, since instruments have been "done away with" that we can't use them?
I agree with many of my brothers in other chats, that drums are NOT mentioned in Scripture, and I think if used as they do in MODERN "churches" that it leads to a carnal mind set, in what is to be a spiritual mind set, being prepared for the gospel and OTHER solid doctrines of Scripture.
Is it wrong to sing DOCTRINE? I mean, as many hymns such as Amazing Grace, and Rock of Ages etc.?
I don't consider this matter salvific in nature, yet I want to please the LORD as much as possible with the gift(s) He has given.
To be safe, I am sure sticking with the Psalms alone is comfortable for many, but I would say that the Song of Moses is not a Psalm...and which of the Psalms are Hymns and Spiritual songs anyway?
One last thing...when participating in a cappella services, it takes me two or more verses before I get the melody...when other services that use an instrument or more, I can catch on much more quickly and comfortably as well...
Any help? Thoughts?
Where did I do this? You agreed that many parts were figurative and then somewhat randomly claimed that one section was literal. I said you have to evidence this change.
Are you seriously comparing those two passages? Besides, I said that it is okay to deem something as literal provided there is sufficient evidence. You have already agreed that much of the Revelation passage is figurative, so I'm not sure why you cling to the songs being literal.
Even if it were literal, that would add one song to the arsenal that God commanded -- it would not for one second allow uninspired and newly composed content. Whatever God does not command is forbidden.
If as part of a sermon, or prayer, I would think this is fine.
If he is intending to use the spoken melody as a song in God's worship (which I don't see how he couldn't be), then no, he cannot.
Intentional combining of lyrics and tunes = a song. There is no loophole.
My friend, musical instruments were ordained by God be used in worship, it is definitely recorded in the Bible, but the usage of instruments in worship are all ceremonial, tied to the priest, a certain family of the levites, to the temple, to the ark and to the sacrifice. That is why it is already abrogated.
Singing psalms as an element of worship is still binding to us, because it is not ceremonial. God ordained the content of the singing of praises. Uninspired material is never recorded in the Bible as being used.
And who are the four beasts and four and twenty elders who sing this new song? are they the equivalent of the church on earth?
It is not an argument, but a criticism to an argument. The nonsense is in the original argument; the rebuttal merely seeks to show the nonsensical nature of it.
The argument has been made, (1) The psalms are prescriptive of worship; (2) the psalms prescribe new songs; ergo, we are to sing new songs, whereby it is implied that new songs means new compositions. My refutation of this argument consists in showing that prescription is not opening the door to new possibilities, but laying down a requirement which must be met. If it were true that the Psalms were prescriptive, and that new songs ipso facto entailed new compositions, then the conclusion would not be the permission to sing new compositions, but the obligation to do so.