Still Chewing on EP/Acapella ONLY

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by G, Nov 21, 2018.

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  1. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    Not trying to be picky, but in trying to listen to these sermons, the audio quality is very “echoey”. Almost sounds like it was recorded in a fish bowl. I still appreciate you sharing, but I likely will not be able to listen unless there is a link to a cleaner audio. For what it is worth I have listened to about 10 hours of Pro-EP/AO sermons so far from Todd Ruddell. Thanks again.
  2. Afterthought

    Afterthought Puritan Board Senior

    A Facebook comment I made a while back where I try to explain my own view concerning how the 2nd Commandment relates to uninspired hymns from an EP perspective (I agree with Chris about hymns like "Here I am to worship.").

    "I agree with your position that hymns ought not to be sung as a specific act of worship to God, even in private; and that the rule for worshipping God is the same in public and in private. However, the way I see it, outside of that setting, I would characterize hymn singing as "meditation" or "religious recreation" (John Brown of Haddington's phrase from his preface to the 1650 Psalter).

    The way I see it: Leviticus 10 shows us that the worship that is regulated by God's will is an action that involves "drawing nigh unto God" for the purposes of "worshipping" him (meaning, a "bowing down;" hence, involving a full and complete attention and submission to God's will). An action joined with this movement and with this intent is an attempt to worship by a specific act and must strictly be regulated by God's will. One could make a painting. If however one attempts to draw near to God to worship God either by making the painting or with the painting itself, they are acting against God's law.

    As for meditation, it is more inward focused, contemplative; a communing with one's heart; a turning over of one's thoughts; done especially with the intent of stirring one's heart up to worship God (perhaps by prayer or by singing a psalm or portion of a psalm). Meditation is to be performed on all sorts of subjects: God's nature, will, works of providence and works of creation, God's word. Meditation can take the form of a song, as seen, e.g., by Psalm 119. We can thereby also see that although meditation can be found (and ought to be found) in a specific act of worship of God (namely, singing the psalms), a meditation itself is not necessarily a specific act of worship, as it is not necessarily a drawing near to God to worship him.

    Some hymns are more meditative in nature rather than an inherent attempt to draw near to God to worship him. Indeed, if one is singing such a hymn while busy with something else, it cannot be viewed as worship: one is distracted by other things and cannot draw near to God with the purposes of worshipping him. Whatever else one might say, if one can find a hymn that is a mere meditation instead of an inherent attempt to worship God in a specific manner, singing or composing that hymn is lawful in that respect. (There may be other reasons to avoid singing hymns though or that might make singing them unlawful; I personally do not sing them.) Intent is also key here as to whether the hymn is being used meditatively or being used as an attempt to worship God by a specific action."
  3. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

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  4. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Every discernible type has an antetype: the thing it was signifying. Calvin claims with no scripture for a reference that instruments were a type. I ask only: a type of what? The sacrifices pointed to Christ; the physical washings to a spiritual washing, etc. But the instruments to what?
  5. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    The OT instruments were to produce a voice (qowl)and a sounding (shama). Check out 1 Chronicles 15:16 and 2 Chronicles 5:13. Also David praised by their ministry (2 Chronicles 7:6). I’d read these passages in a good translation other than the ESV (the KJV is the clearest translation I know because it makes it plainer that they were instruments set apart for use in worship, just like the other instruments I.e. furnishings of the temple).

    It might not seem satisfying to you that the instruments were typical of grace in the heart and being filled with the Spirit, but that’s the testimony that comes through in the Scripture.
  6. Ben Zartman

    Ben Zartman Puritan Board Sophomore

    Thanks, Jeri. I'll scope those texts out.
    BTW, I only use KJV--I agree that it's the clearest translation.
  7. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Two points. First, according to you the instruments are typical of "grace in the heart and being filled with the Spirit". According to Girardeau, they are typical of joy. Proper typology is typical of something specific, not anything and everything we want to make it typical of. Do you really want to say that OT believers didn't have grace in the heart? Or the Spirit? Did worshipers in the tabernacle have grace and the fullness of the Spirit and then somehow it was lost when the temple was built? If not, why add instruments if they are a backward step?

    1 Chronicles 15:16 specifically associates the instruments with joy in the Old Covenant (There is no substantive difference between KJV and ESV as far as I can see here). You can't have something present under the Old Covenant and then claim that something else is typological of it under the New Covenant. Surely the whole point of typology is that it points forward to something not yet present! Am I missing something?
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  8. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    I agree with your reasoning here. Could the Temple instruments have been a type of “complexities” of the ceremonial law? The instrument players were very skilled and playing an instrument well takes skill. So with the passing of ceremonial law could they not have pointed to the true precision needed to keep the law? Which Christ did perfectly. In other words in the NT our worship is now much more simple. I hope I am making a little sense and not rambling as I am just thinking out loud. What reality did the incense typify? Was that reality not still true in the OT in some ways? But we should not use incense now. In other words, in my opinion, many of the realities typified in the OT were still on some levels true even in the OT, but in the NT they receive more illumination and a refreshment.

    P.S. I agree that in comparing those verses between KJV and ESV there is virtually no difference.
  9. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    And yet, we have a great deal of typology and prophecy looking forward with respect to the Spirit in the Old Covenant, such that some, especially Dispensationalists, will, in fact, deny that OT saints had the Holy Spirit indwelling them. Irrespective of the a capella debate there is a great deal to wrestle with in that in many ways the New Covenant treats the working of the Spirit as a new thing. While the typology was fulfilled in the New Covenant and especially at Pentecost, nevertheless what occurred was a fuller, more extensive manifestation of the Spirit who was already working in the hearts and lives of OT saints.

    We don't normally have a problem allowing the OT Saints an experience of the reality behind the temple typology. Much of the OT typology points forward to the atonement and, while it was yet future in redemptive history, are we to gather that the OT saints did not have their sins atoned for because they were still under types and shadows?
  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Dr. Duguid,
    I recognize that you are in every way my superior in these things, but I can't let this statement go unchallenged. I don't think you believe it yourself.

    Was the Arc of the Covenant, and indeed the temple itself, typical of the presence of God with his people? Was the blood of cleansing typical of the cleansing from sin? Was the separation from unclean things typical of separation from sin?

    If I'm off in any way, please correct me. But if you do in fact agree with the examples of types that I gave, what is the problem with saying that the Levitical instruments of the temple worship were typical of something in the heart of the believer?
  11. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Dr. Duguid,

    I’m sure (as usual) my putting of things is often too inexact. I guess I’m roughly equating Paul’s “grace in the heart” with all the graces and fruits of the Spirit. I agree with the other comments following yours about the greater measure of the Spirit that was poured out after Christ’s ascension. (Again, put imprecisely I’m sure.) So that the instruments of music were keliy, helps, a type of the filling and fruits of the Spirit to come.

    As for the greater clarity between the KJV and other translations on the whole topic of instruments of music, I’m not just speaking of the one verse, but really how the KJV treats the translating of keily, especially, for our purposes, beginning with the pattern shown to Moses for the Tabernacle (Exodus 25:9). Its phrasing shows the link more clearly between all the vessels set apart for worship, including musical ones.
  12. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I'm still confused how some here are so adamantly trying to tie the use of instruments to temple worship. Psalm 149:1-3:

    "1 Praise the Lord!
    Sing to the Lord a new song,
    And His praise in the assembly of saints.
    2 Let Israel rejoice in their Maker;
    Let the children of Zion be joyful in their King.
    3 Let them praise His name with the dance;
    Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp."

    In this passage, a) praise is in the context of public worship ("assembly of saints"). b) Israel is supposed to "rejoice" and "be joyful." c) They ("Israel" or "the children of Zion," vs. 2) are the ones rejoicing and singing praises with instruments and dance (see Dr. Duguid's discussion about dance earlier in the thread before discounting this passage because of dance).

    Was it just the priests that were to rejoice? Was it just the priests that were allowed to praise or dance?

    The argument that discards instruments because of their tie to temple worship needs to prove that the use of instruments were used only among the priests. If they cannot, the connection to temple worhip is moot.

    Here is something to consider, Grant. The bible warns us against calling something good evil (Rom. 14:16). You've mentioned recently that your brain is like "scrambled eggs." Have you considered that this may be so difficult because the position you are taking on is so intensely speculative? Do you realize the implications of such speculation end in calling something good evil? Do you fear that you may be adding to what God commanded by prohibiting what God says is good?

    Lastly, why not throw away Sunday worship in favor of Saturday worship? I would submit that the arguments for necessary consequence relating to singing abound much more than changing the Sabbath to Sunday (and I fully support a Sunday Sabbath!).

    I do not question the sincerity of our brethren here that push for EP without instruments, but on a practical level, the result of this doctrine discourages many here to even participate in the corporate praise offered to God from their own churches.

    Again, I love the Psalms and we sing them weekly in public worship (and verbatim at that!). But praise is more spontaneous than simply singing Psalms. If we praise God for His works, shouldn't our praise be more than singing texts that could only look forward to God's most amazing work in His Son?
  13. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    The whole congregation benefited from the use of the instruments, Tim, but only the Levites were commanded to play upon them. It was definitely a Levitical (deleted the word "priestly" because of correction noted in comment below) service.

    Praise isn’t more spontaneous than singing Psalms. This is the praise that God has given his people to proclaim. If corporate praise were left up to us we’d make a big mess of it. (Wait a minute...)

    The Psalms are about the Person and finished work of Christ.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  14. TheOldCourse

    TheOldCourse Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm not sure why you believe that this is the case. Even if it is the case that everyone used instruments or even that they were used outside of temple worship it doesn't change things. It does seem exceedingly likely that it was just the Levites (as opposed to the Priests) who used them as there are numerous mentions of specially trained and skilled "professional" musicians among the levites who were to be a part of the temple worship. Regardless, however, all that's important, from an RPW perspective, is that they were particularly authorized for use in public temple worship. From the point of view of authorized worship in redemptive history, they were uniquely associated with temple worship whoever was playing them.

    Your argument about calling good evil cuts both ways. If you are wrong you are calling idolatry good and are regarding so many luminaries throughout church history--not just from the Reformed tradition--wicked on this point. You may be correct, but it's not as if there is danger only on one side. Indeed, most proponents would argue that instruments are not good in a sacred sense, but circumstantial or adiaphora since they do not regard the a capella worship characterizing most of church history as deficient. Thus it would be more akin to refraining from meat sacrificed to idols for conscience sake than "calling good evil." It is a sin to participate in a practice if one's conscience condemns one for it, even if the practice itself is lawful.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2018
  15. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Tim, to be transparent I am still not concluded in this matter. But to answer your above question:

    Yes, I have considered this, but my brain also felt scrambled after becoming convinced of Covenant Theology as well. Just like my muscles (or lack thereof) feel like "limp noodles" after a good work-out session.:detective:
  16. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    Do you view instrument use as an "element" of worship?
  17. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    See post #72
  18. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Okay. So if it is a circumstance (according to your post), then not using them for the sake of prudence cannot be in error right?
  19. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Correct, as long as it doesn't bind another's conscience. I sing songs unaccompanied often because I don't have an instrument handy! (Pianos are difficult to take along.) ;)
  20. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    This boils down to the view on what constitutes a circumstance of worship. I don't think we're to think in terms of binding the conscience re: circumstantial matters. Is that right?
  21. EvanVK

    EvanVK Puritan Board Freshman

    Not sure if anyone else brought this up, but this is the rest of Psalm 149:

    For the Lord taketh pleasure in his people: he will beautify the meek with salvation.

    5 Let the saints be joyful in glory: let them sing aloud upon their beds.

    6 Let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two-edged sword in their hand;

    7 To execute vengeance upon the heathen, and punishments upon the people;

    8 To bind their kings with chains, and their nobles with fetters of iron;

    9 To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the Lord."

    How do the instruments and dancing in the first 3 verses correspond with the "two-edged sword in their hand; to execute vengeance etc......"

    Are NT christians commanded to take vengeance on the heathen with the two-edged sword and bind their kings with chains etc..?
  22. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Laws bind consciences. Circumstances do not.
  23. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    That which was once an element cannot be then a circumstance.

    Also, Thomas Peck said concerning circumstances of worship, "A concomitant of an action, without which it can either not be done at all, or cannot be done with decency and decorum."
  24. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    You spoke of the non-use of musical instruments as being ok, as long as not using them doesn’t behind anyone’s conscience. This doesn’t make sense unless one were to consider musical instruments to be an element of worship; their being a circumstance (in your view), your statement might more accurately be something along the lines of “as long as it doesn’t anger/insult/bore anybody.”
  25. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    I'm sorry if I wasn't clear. I was speaking from the perspective of the one who doesn't use musical instruments. In other words, I'm fine with somebody not using musical instruments if they are not binding the consciences of those who do. They necessarily do bind the consciences of those who use instruments if they make it into a law.

    Does that clear it up? :)
  26. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Those who use instruments typically consider them a circumstance. Therefore it’s not their consciences that would be bound, but rather their preferences would be frustrated (in such a case).
  27. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    You're still not following... Probably my fault...

    I'm not speaking of those who use instruments catering to those who prefer not to use them. I'm speaking of those who do not use them for the sake of "prudence" alone. These people should not judge those who use them. It is another story when one group calls it idolatry...

    If we are still missing each other, could you please try to summarize what you think that I am saying?

    Thanks for your patience!
  28. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior

    Perhaps instead of nitpicking at the word "circumstance," we could simply refer to it as a liberty that we have as our worship is conducted decently and in order.
  29. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Ah, gotcha. I think! Close enough. :)
  30. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    So if one takes an AO position does it necessitate that those using any instruments are in idolatry? Or rather does it just show that they are using old types and shadows that are really indifferent? An example that comes to mind is like when Paul participated in a sacrifice or when Timothy was circumcised, something morally nuetral? I know these 2 examples are rare, but I at least hope I am being clear with my question.

    P.S. I guess the logic is that (from AO) that it is automatically “will-worship” if we worship God with something abrogated?
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