Puritan Board Graduate
I agree with you here, Dr. Duguid. Neither exclusive Psalmody nor an inclusive practice can be proven from that passage alone. The terms admit of various usages.Jeri,
I'm glad you think the Scriptures must determine what we do in worship, not the later practices of the church. So do I. In fact, I teach an entire course on worship from that perspective at seminary! But I hope you also think it is important to have our beliefs about what the Bible teaches based on solid exegesis and hermeneutics. And of course the question of what God has commanded to be sung is precisely the issue at debate. I entirely understand how people reach your position based on the Scriptures, just as I understand how some people read the Bible and become convinced Baptists. I just happen to disagree with their exegesis and hermeneutics.
In this case, it is important that we don't base our understanding of Colossians 3 and Eph 5 on a faulty knowledge of the background material (i.e. that the psalms were being sung exclusively in the synagogue in the early first century and that no uninspired songs were being sung by any Jewish community in the Mediterranean world). You can still argue that Paul is using these terms for inspired songs on the basis of other factors. Just not that one.
To my mind the key question is whether God has commanded us to sing songs that he hasn't given us by inspiration. If it can be proven that he has, then the hymn-singer has his case. If it cannot be proven, then we are limited to inspired praise, for all sides (in our circles, anyway) admit that inspired praise is to be sung.
From that point, the question of which inspired songs God has prescribed can be dealt with (I'm quite fond of the old ditty With the Jaw Bone of an Ass, but I wouldn't suggest it be sung in worship).