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Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by G, Nov 21, 2018.
You have to assume that because the New Testament never says or implies so.
Ben, thanks for typing this out. I think this is where I am currently if I had to reach a conclusion today. I am still a newbie in looking into much of this, so your explanation has helped me in my understanding.
What is it about musical instruments that they can change from an OT element of worship to a NT circumstance of worship, but incense cannot? Instruments don’t truly aid us in singing. They can certainly cover up off-key singing, but is that even desirable?
I can honestly say that an instrument (piano in my case) has greatly aided me and my family as we have been trying to learn singing the Psalms both publically and even as we use the 1650 psalter app at home. Especially since we came from a contemporary SBC upbringing.
I knew a total of zero psalter tunes when I first began to study the RPW and joined a PCA Church.
I thought it unnecessary to repeat what has already been said in this thread.
I appreciate your well-considered reply, even if our conclusions differ.
Grant, yes, a piano can shorten the curve on learning a new tune. I use Psalm apps also for that reason. But the fact that we don’t know Psalm tunes is a result of the sad loss of the singing of them, not of the lack of pianos in public worship.
But what I was saying is that in public worship where there is a precentor, a piano adds nothing needed and actually impedes our hearing one another (as we prophesy!) We’ve bought into a lie in believing that the use of musical instruments is a helpful circumstance. They were an element of OT public worship; I think there ought to be a bit of fear in the fact that we’re importing an element of OT worship into our services as a mere circumstance.
I think we may be getting mixed up over meanings. I draw distinctions between public worship and other, perhaps spontaneous, occasions.
There was special clothing in the OT that the priests wore. There is now no special clothing, but we still wear clothing when we assemble. The clothing that was elemental is done with. The clothing that is circumstantial remains. Some religions have special vestments that are elements of their worship. The Reformed reject that notion, but still wear clothes.
Exactly! We also wouldn't say that a pastor should wear the minimum amount of clothing possible. The idea that an instrument should only be used to keep a melody can also get just as ridiculous. Certainly I don't want to bring attention to the instrument against the singing (I've heard organs so loud that it's all you can hear), but neither do I find it necessary to play a minimum necessary for keeping the tune. When I play the piano in worship, I play skillfully and in a way that encourages people to sing out!
I couldn't resist making the 100th post and reply!
Is there such a divide between public and private worship? Certainly there are differences as one is corporate, but if instruments are not appropriate for public worship since they are ceremonial in nature, but they are in private, does this warrant sacrificing in private worship, which was also ceremonial?
Can you prove that Eph. 5 and Col. 3 are talking about corporate worship, and not simply their gathering together outside of the worship service? I would argue that the OT actually gives us more information about appropriate worship in singing than does the NT. And this is completely consistent with a Reformed hermeneutic. I've heard it said that some of the EP arguments are a kind of "liturgical dispensationalism." What can the OT teach us about worship? Nothing? Only the parts that are repeated in the NT? If we consistently apply the careful distinction you suggest between OT and NT worship, why not apply this also to baptism? We understand that the specific sign of circumcision was abrogated, but not the covenant itself. The Reformed see continuity between both dispensations. Certainly some things are done away with in Christ, but since there was also heart worship in the OT, we shouldn't expect that nearly every single part of it was done away with in Christ if Christ indeed desires heart worship from NT believers.
I believe I already dealt with this. NT believers worshipped on Sunday. Are the examples descriptive or prescriptive? They are descriptive and we understand that their description helps us understand they were prescribed.
However, I have argued this whole time that worship in song occured both with and without instruments. Prescriptive is irrelevent to my argument, since I argued they are circumstantial. You may disagree, but you are not interacting with my argument.
I have. Please re-read. I'd be happy to answer specific questions, but not inaccurate summaries.
This is not my argument. If you carefully re-read my argument, you will see this to be the case. If you have questions, I will gladly answer.
Tom, I'm being straightforward. I hope you understand that I'm trying to be frank with your arguments, not argumentative.
We’re to “make melody” (psallos, the Greek equivalent to the Hebrew zamar) in or with our hearts, according to the apostle. If one honestly looks at the whole testimony of the whole Bible, it’s hard to come away not seeing that the OT instruments were ceremonial and served as a type, and that NT worship is to retain a simplicity that is centered around the Word. The melody now comes from within hearts filled with the word of Christ. The things said in debate on this topic make me sad. Some good reading material has been suggested though, and I second especially John Price’s book Old Light on New Worship.
I was praying before posting yesterday that our conversations would promote unity and not division. Our disagreement is because of sin clouding the issue (either way). I'm thankful we can discuss these things and strive together to the goal of perfection. One day we will achieve this as we enter into glory. I'm comforted that even if we never agree in this life, we will be singing God's praises together one day, perfectly, without any conflict of conscience, confusion or sin.
Thanks everyone for your replies. This has been a really helpful thread thus far. I also feel like both sides have attempted to be understanding and respectful. Overall, I am still considering and praying through the EP/AO position and I hope to conclude sooner rather than later Lord Willing.
Steven Dilday had a number (a LOT) of sermons that covers psalmody and instruments from an historical point of view, in case you find them useful for your studies: https://www.sermonaudio.com/search....n=sermonsspeaker&keyword=Pastor_Steven_Dilday
Harp-Praise of the Saints (Instruments)
Service of Song (EP)
I misinterpreted your comments about the Levitical use of psalms. I thought you were saying psalm-singing itself is Levitical. Sorry for that.
If I have the time, I will try to reply further.
This thread has focussed mostly on a capella worship. What about exclusive psalmody? Do we need biblical warrant to compose new songs for worship? Is there any such biblical warrant?
We have one: sing Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs. I know, EPs believe these to be different categories of the 150 inspired Psalms, but the rest of us do not. We see it as a command to sing inspired psalms (which must not be be neglected), as well as songs of human composition. Certainly there are principles which guide the composition and selection of uninspired hymnody, but since the RPW requires that we do so, while we do it with carefulness and prayerful prudence, we must do it nonetheless.
Just so I understand your position, do you believe that these are three different categories of songs that we are to sing, one of which is inspired and two of which are not? What distinguishes a hymn from a spiritual song?
Also, where do you get your definitions of these terms?
The funny thing about Paul's "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" is that those exact terms were in use in the Book of Psalms in the Septuagint, the common Greek Bible of the day, and the one which the Christians to whom Paul was writing would necessarily have been familiar. The fact that the expression is given the same way in both Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19 leaves no doubt that Paul was not choosing his words randomly. The verbal formula "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" would have been immediately recognized as the psalter.
And of course, historically speaking, Paul himself could not have been speaking of any other sort of composition. Man-made hymns did not enter worship until centuries later. (There is some speculation that there are bits of "hymns" in the New Testament, but speculation is really all it amounts to.)
It must be proven that "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" can be taken to mean anything other than the songs of the psalter, since the evidence points to Paul meaning only the psalter. It is anachronistic to read only "psalms" as psalms, while reading "hymns and spiritual songs" as Amazing Grace and Oceans.
If it cannot be shown that "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" include human compositions, then some other biblical warrant for including such in worship must be given.
As a side note, "And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives." (Mat. 26:30).
It may be profitable to consider what that means. Was it inspired or uninspired?
Did Jesus sing an uninspired hymn?
Whose hymn was it?
Where is this "hymn book?"
What would the Jews have sung at Passover as a hymn?
What Rabbi in what book wrote some "hymns" to sing at Passover?
Would the Jews have sung a hymn (i.e. an uninspired song) at Passover? Why or why not?
Would the disciples be familiar with enough "hymns" to sing in unison while walking to the Mount of Olives that Christ could have chosen one for them all to sing?
What might they have sung before in their own families or at synagogue in like manner?
What would Christ be familiar with, or all his disciples, at the same time (i.e. "they" sung together) to sing a hymn?
How did they all know it to sing it after the Passover meal? Would that have been normal?
Where would fishermen, or tax collectors, or zealots, get a hymn (whatever that means)?
Where would Jesus' Jewish disciples have been familiar with a Rabbinically lead hymn?
What Rabbi would have lead them in singing uninspired hymns before Jesus ever came?
Would the Jews sing uninspired hymns at all? Did they?
Is Matthew's use of the term different than Paul's or James?
I believe that there can be uninspired psalms. Maybe Jesus and the disciples sang a psalm from the Book of Psalms, which the writer called a "Hymn." We really aren't told what they sang, other than that they did. Just because we have begun the use the word "Psalm" to denote one of the 150 inspired psalms, doesn't mean the word "psalm" is limited to that. We are to sing songs of praise: psalms! hymns! sprititual songs! Nothing requires that they be all inspired, or that some of the 150 may not be called something other than "psalm."
The burden of proof, I say, is on the EP to prove that the phrase in question is limited to inspired selections from the Psalter only.
Thats way too dismissive. That would be like an EP'er saying "Maybe Paul just meant the psalms in Eph and Col," and leave it that.
It's been shown already. (See post #112.) You might not agree with the conclusions, but you should at least deal with the arguments. You have so far only made conclusions based on assumptions, which is neither sound nor safe.
What is the Regulative Principle?
If there is no positive command, then we are not to do it. "Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" must be proven to include human compositions. That is the burden of the advocate of non-inspired songs in worship. If he cannot show that Paul is speaking of human compositions (in Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16) then he must produce some other biblical warrant.
These are some innovative views. It's known that the Hallel Psalms were sung as part of the Passover. Most commentators believe that "hymn" in Matthew certainly is referring to a Psalm of that collection.
And, the Psalms are mentioned as a collection, a book, in the NT including by Christ as he spoke to the Emmaus disciples. I think individual songs in the inspired collection are properly referred to as Psalms.
With respect, brother, isn't that precisely what they do? They say that the phrase in question means inspired psalms only.
I believe that Tim Foster has already given a far more detailed word-study of this than I am qualified to do.
But what do you think? We have a command to "Preach the Word." By your logic a preacher would have to limit himself to reading only the inspired word without any of his own words to explain unless there was a separate command somewhere telling him specifically to explain the text in his own words.
I fear that on this, as on several other salient issues, we are destined (predestined?) never to agree. I only we hope we can disagree with charity, and that you do not read hard feelings into hard sayings.