Synagogue Worship, Musical Instruments, and the Regulative Principle

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Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
I haven't given up on the musical instruments in worship issue. Jeff Bartel posted in a previous thread about Musical Instruments in Worship the following:
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
I personally have benefited from Brian Schwertley's 3 part audio series on Musical Instruments in Worship. He is very zealous, but his arguments are very good.
Let me add to the word "zealous" to describe Schwertly's presentation: arrogant, uncharitable, and frenetic. If I was to get that kind of presentation to my face he'd get more than an earful. How many times must I hear that I'm Popish and idolatrous?!

I do appreciate the gentle tone of Andrew and Jeff in the previous thread on the subject and wish to continue in that vein. I think Brian Schwertley expresses precisely what Andrew stated in that thread that "...there is much emotion on the issue...." I learned much from the audio series but I might have learned more if Schwertly were not so obnoxious.

OK, now that I have that off my chest, between the previous thread and this I have learned much about the history of instrumental music in worship. I grant the following:

1. Early Church Fathers thought that the instruments were Jewish and ceremonial.
2. The Reformers thought they were Jewish and ceremonial (and Popish). I don't really hear anything new from most of the quotes following Calvin's but they seem to be variations on the theme. Once the early Reformers linked them to the Papal system, there's not much new introduced except language to the same.

That said, I'm still not convinced that the Scriptures link instruments completely to the Levitical sacrifices (specifically Temple sacrifices) and them only.

I had an epiphany when he started arguing about Synagogue worship: New Testament Worship is not patterned off of Temple Worship, it is patterned off of Synagogue Worship. This is something I knew but is very significant, in my estimation, to the debate at hand. He spends nearly all his time showing how we don't conduct Temple ceremonies any more. Duh. How does he deal with the fact that there were no instruments in Synagogue worship? Well, you see, the Rabbis rule them out of Synagogue worship so we shouldn't think they belong either. Say that again?

OK, Rabbis believed that instruments were ceremonial implements. They didn't introduce them into Synagogue worship because they believed them to be ceremonial. NT worship is patterned after Synagogue worship so we should do the same.

I have a slight problem: it seems that Synagogue worship itself is a violation of the Regulative Principle of Worship when one applies the same rigid application of the RPW as presented. Where is it anywhere commanded? Where is it prescribed what is appropriate and what is not in Synagogue worship? Schwertly doesn't spend any time developing why NT worship, patterned off of Synagogue worship and NOT temple worship, ought to be bound by either by Rabbinical tradition or a pattern that Synagogue worship itself is not bound by (namely Temple patterns and forms).

For instance, Schwertly mentions that a horn was used in Synagogue to announce the beggining of worship much like a Church Bell. That was the only instrument used and authorized. OK, so the implication is that we should get our ideas about what is proper in NT worship from the Talmud?! What kind of authority does Rabbinical teaching have for a pattern of NT worship?

Synagogue worship didn't even appear until the Babylonian exile. I think tradition credits Ezra with its creation. I just don't see any Biblical passages governing its elements and patterns. That which governed Temple Worship did not govern Synagogue Worship so what does the disappearance of a shadow that didn't inform Synagogue worship do to inform NT worship? Schwertly wastes so much energy telling us what we all know about the Temple and calling us Popish that he neglects to answer that issue.

It is useful to add that the only people explictly commanded in the OT Scriptures to sing the Psalms in the Temple were the Levites. The congregation did not sing them in Temple Worship. To demonstrate that only the Levites are shown playing instruments in narrative passages (as he does to show that only Levites are allowed to play instruments) reveals that they were commanded to do so but it is also true that they were the only folks trained in their use. There weren't too many music schools that Joe the Benjamite could attend to learn to play the lyre. Thinking out loud: we're commanded to sing Psalms in worship now and we're not Levites. Any distinction as to who is authorized to render "priestly praise" in NT worship is torn with the veil is it not? To use how a Jew would understand instruments in the Psalms only proves that a non-Levite Jew would understand that, in the Temple, they were not only prohibited from playing an instrument BUT ALSO FROM SINGING!!

So I guess I wonder this:
1. How was Synagogue worship acceptable when Scripture never commanded it?
2. Since the Scriptures don't govern it directly but it is governed by Rabbinical tradition, how much authority do we grant Synagogue patterns?
3. Rabbis certainly believed instruments to be ceremonial and only playable by Levites. They would have also believed that only Levites should sing the Psalms in the Temple. How does that inform us?
4. How does a Rabbis view of what is, and isn't, ceremonial inform us who know the reality from the type?

I'm still willing to learn on this but I would like to see some more thought put into this. I appreciate the historical appeals here but I see a common, accepted theme that instruments are ceremonial but don't really see the "support" to the idea except that it's been repeated so many times that it is accepted fact. I have a great deal of respect for the voices of the Saints but if NT worship is patterned from Synagogue worship, uninformed by Temple Worship, then what does that argument have to do with NT worship? Maybe if somebody can present the exegetical argument that forms the basis for the Historical theology it would be useful...

[Edited on 4-23-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
A brief outline of a case for the early establishment and divine appointment of the synagogue is here.
The extract is taken from Dr. Richard Bacon's dissertation A Pattern in the Heveans Part 1: Ecclesiology. In full under FPCR free ebooks here.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Rich,

I commend your studies. You are asking good questions. For reasons I have already stated, I will not re-enter this debate.

However, if you have not already done so, you may wish to consider reading the sections on worship in the synagogue as a model for Christian worship in the treatises on instrumental music by John Girardeau, Robert Nevin and G.I. Williamson. John Price's book also has a relevant section on the regulative principle applied to musical instruments. There are many other works on these subjects that are worth researching.

God bless your studies, Rich.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Thanks both Chris and Andrew!

To all: have a blessed Lord's Day. Mine is coming to a close and I have to go to bed. I'll be interested to read what appears here while I study the inside of my eyelids for a few hours.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by SemperFideles
Let me add to the word "zealous" to describe Schwertly's presentation: arrogant, uncharitable, and frenetic. If I was to get that kind of presentation to my face he'd get more than an earful. How many times must I hear that I'm Popish and idolatrous?!

Yeah...I was trying to be charitable toward the guy. If you can get past the tone, there is much to be learned (at least in certain areas) by Schwertly.

As for your questions on this thread, they are excellent questions to be asking. I wish I could provide the answers to them all. I have ideas, but instead of just throwing them out there, I would rather take my time and digest some good information to develop the doctrines before going public with them.

Keep studying friend...you're doing great!
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by NaphtaliPress
A brief outline of a case for the early establishment and divine appointment of the synagogue is here.
The extract is taken from Dr. Richard Bacon's dissertation A Pattern in the Heveans Part 1: Ecclesiology. In full under FPCR free ebooks here.
Great article!

A few quotes:

Lev 23:3 seems to be the command for synagogue worship
The word for convocation comes, as we might expect from the English translation, from the verb qara´, "œto call or convoke." Not only were the feast days of the annual Hebrew calendar regarded as holy convocations, so also was the weekly Sabbath regarded as a holy convocation or miqra´-qodesh. Given the context of Leviticus 23:3, it is difficult to agree with the interpretation of some that it refers only to holding worship services at home. Rather, the reason that the Sabbath in verse three is separated from the rest of the "œfeasts of Jehovah" beginning in verses four and following is that the people were not required to go to the sanctuary in Jerusalem week by week. It is here, rather than post-exilic times as D. Bannerman and others have speculated, that we find the origins of synagogue worship.[4] Further, the term "œdwellings" used in Leviticus 23:3 has reference not so much to houses as seats or even habitations. The Hebrew term "œmoshebh" and the particular form of Leviticus 23:3, moshbotheykem, can also be translated as "œyour cities" (as in Second Kings 2:19) or even as "œyour assemblies" (as at Psalm 1:1 and 107:32).[5]
We might reason as follows: If Christ partook of the synagogue worship, then the synagogue worship was lawful (Hebrews 7:26; First Peter 2:22). But Christ partook of the synagogue worship (Luke 4:16; Matthew 4:23). Therefore the synagogue worship was lawful (modus ponens).[14] At the same time, however, we must reason from Deuteronomy 12 and similar passages thus: If an institution of God´s worship is not commanded, then it is unlawful (Deuteronomy 12:5-6, 32; Ezekiel 20:28; Colossians 2:22-23; Matthew 15:6, 9).[15] But the synagogue is not unlawful (by double negation of our previous conclusion: q = not not q). Therefore the synagogue is a commanded institution (modus tollens).[16]
But if Leviticus 23:3 is not the command instituting the synagogue as the weekly miqra´-qodesh, then there is no such command.[17] This we prove reasoning modus tollens as above: If there is no Scriptural command instituting the Sabbath synagogue worship, then Leviticus 23:3 is not such a command. But Leviticus 23:3 does institute a weekly miqra´-qodesh. Therefore, there is a Scripture command instituting the Sabbath synagogue worship. We thus demonstrate apagogically that if Leviticus 23:3 does not institute the synagogue (or if there is no other passage in holy writ that institutes it), then at least one of our presuppositions of a consistent Scripture and a sinless Christ must be a false presupposition. If valid deductions from our axioms result in contradictions, then our axioms must be false. But we do not accept the contradiction that the synagogue is both lawful and unlawful at the same time and in the same way. We maintain that the synagogue must have originated in "œthe pattern in the heavens" and was revealed through Moses in Leviticus 23:3.
Seems to be an acknowledgement here that Synagogue worship transcends the ceremonial worship of the Temple:
The Jewish synagogue was, in conclusion, a place of study and teaching. It was, moreover, a place of covenantal or ecclesiastical government. And most of all, the synagogue was a place where God was worshipped not in the passing manner of the temple, but making use of the moral elements of worship that transcend the particulars of the Mosaic institutions. The Synagogue is a multifaceted institution, as Charles Lee Feinberg demonstrated nearly fifty years ago:
"The Jewish Synagogue is not only a house of prayer (beth tefillah), but a place of communal gathering (beth haknesseth) and a place of study (beth hamidrash). The synagogue contains the ark, the scrolls of the law, the perpetual light, the candelabra, and the bimah or pulpit. The ark containing the scroll is built into the eastern wall toward Palestine. The main scrolls in the ark are of the Pentateuch, but there are smaller scrolls also containing the former and latter prophets. The perpetual light stands for the light that burned continually in the tabernacle and the temple. The bimah is the pulpit in front of the synagogue. The reading desk for the reading of the law is in the center of the sanctuary. Synagogues, in keeping with the Jewish interpretation of Exodus 20:4"“6, have no paintings, statues, or carvings of any kind. Orthodox Jews forbid the use of an organ in the service, because rabbinical law set this prohibition as a token of mourning over the destruction of the Temple where the Levites played on musical instruments. All orthodox synagogues have a separate balcony or section for women. This had its origin in the Temple where there was a Court of Women. Each synagogue or temple has a rabbi who is the spiritual leader.[28]"
Surely we don't refrain from instruments because we're still mourning for the Temple? ;) That's an interesting note though: what does that imply about instruments prior to its destruction if that is the Rabbinical tradition? If they never played instruments then how would the Temple's destruction distinguish current worship from the former regarding instrumental use? Might just be a note that "...we've chosen not to introduce them because we're in mourning..." even though they believe they have the freedom to do so.

A very useful article. I agree with the author that Lev 23:3 institutes Synagogue Worship.

The nagging question remains however: What bounded propriety within Synagogue Worship? All of God's condemnations about high places, strange fire, and the like deal with false sanctuary worship. I can't think of a single verse that even obliquely refers to problems in Synagogue worship.

Perhaps what might be said is that neglect in the regularity of Synagogue Worship (ignoring the command of Lev 23:3) was prevalent as people forgot the Law regularly and the purpose of Synagogue was to teach the Law. Nevertheless, since the particulars of that were never spelled out it almost seems like everything within Synagogue worship is a circumstance of worship other than making sure that you are gathered every Sabbath. I'm trying to avoid that conclusion but there is no Biblical data to bound how the Law was exposited, whether Psalms were sung, or whether instruments were played in Synagogue.

[Edited on 4-24-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

C. Matthew McMahon

Christian Preacher
New Testament Worship is not patterned off of Temple Worship, it is patterned off of Synagogue Worship. This is something I knew but is very significant, in my estimation, to the debate at hand.

Yes, this is very significant.

Here is an interesting thought that I think plays into the question just a little. You can draw your own conclusions or thoughts.

When Jesus implemented the Lord's Supper, he did so by utilizing the cups of blessing which are nowhere to be outlined in any Temple Worship. It is however, heavily influenced by Rabbinical sources (Passover/Synagogue worship). Jesus implemented the Supper based on an extra-curricular "activity" used by Jews for Passover. He partook of the cups, then instituted them for us - a pattern of Synagogue worship regarding Passover for Jews (not mentioned previously), now instituted for the continuation of the Christian church.

I think much the same way, our local expressions of the church are also patterned after the Jewish Synagogue. Even the Apostle James reminds us of certain theological and practical things when we "synagogue together."

Interesting.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Perhaps we could ask this question from another angle too. NOTE*- this is purely conjecture and pondering out loud.*
How do we know that all elements of temple worship have ceased? Could we not say that they have actually expanded upon their typological fulfillment? The temple was God's picture of being present with His people. We are all priests now, not just the Levites. We all serve in the presence of God now. If musical instruments were commanded of those Levites gifted with it in the old temple, then why not allow those gifted with musical ability now to serve in God's fuller presence?
:detective:
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Is it true most Jews believe that the Rabbis received an oral tradition from Moses in addition to the written Torah? Does Jesus refute this notion in his dispute with the Pharisees? If so how do we justify the apparent borrowing from the Synagogue?
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by puritansailor
Perhaps we could ask this question from another angle too. NOTE*- this is purely conjecture and pondering out loud.*
How do we know that all elements of temple worship have ceased? Could we not say that they have actually expanded upon their typological fulfillment? The temple was God's picture of being present with His people. We are all priests now, not just the Levites. We all serve in the presence of God now. If musical instruments were commanded of those Levites gifted with it in the old temple, then why not allow those gifted with musical ability now to serve in God's fuller presence?
:detective:
Patrick, that is part of my question. This issue does not seem very clear to me at all. I really wish some of the historical refutations of instrumental music did more than keep repeating the refrain "this is ceremonial so we don't do it". I don't see the thought defended, just repeated. I also see in much of the talk about instrumental music during and around the Reformation a viscerally "violent" attitude toward organs as being Popish. Ever met a Roman Catholic who became Reformed and they tack hard in the opposite direction? It just doesn't "fit" historically anymore to run around quoting Puritans and saying that an organ in a Church is a clear sign that the Church wants to rush back into the arms of the Church of Rome. It just makes one sound like a petty name-caller.

Sometimes we need to remember that, though brilliant in their lives, and revered because they came before us, the Reformers were men like us. After hearing so many quotes that are nearly identical there is a real "me too" quality to the idea. I just don't feel the weight from the Scriptural evidence, combined with a historical vantage point, to jump on that bandwagon and say that instruments are the clear reason for theological decline today due to Divine displeasure.

Then again, maybe my attitude about instruments is a sign that traditions of men have so inculcated me that I can't bring myself to accept that God hates it. I have to admit, there is a part of me that would just love to be in an a capella Church because I'm so weary of all the baggage associated with instruments in this day and age (praise bands and banal choruses). Done rightly though, it seems like there is a place for it as a circumstance to aid in the praise of the Saints and I haven't been convinced in my conscience that it is displeasing to God. May God cover any ignorance or stubborness of heart with the blood of His Son.

For me, it seems, there is some problem with being as strident as Schwertley is against fellow brethren when you really break down this issue. Again, where is improper Synagogue worship EVER condemned in Scripture and can we extend God's concern about the location or elements in Sanctuary worship to NT worship? It seems that if one insists that the RPW is as rigid for NT Worship as it is for the elements of Temple Worship then, at a minimum, one must demonstrate that the rigidity was at least partly true for Synagogue worship. That seems pretty hard to do from the paucity of commands governing it as well as the silence in condemning "strange Synagogue worship...."

You also raise an excellent point about how "types" of Service might carry over into the NT community. I've seen some arguments that show that ministers of the Gospel have a NT type of Priestly role in the preaching of the Gospel as distinct from and in addition to the Kingly role of Elders in general. Preaching is also seen as prophetic. Is NT worship just synagogue worship or is it a little bit like Temple worship since we are the Temple of God? If so, then why was NT worship patterned after the Synagogue and where do the shadowy "rules" begin to apply where they did not before?

[Edited on 4-25-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Peter
Is it true most Jews believe that the Rabbis received an oral tradition from Moses in addition to the written Torah? Does Jesus refute this notion in his dispute with the Pharisees? If so how do we justify the apparent borrowing from the Synagogue?
I think it is the Mishnah that is the oral tradition. The written tradition and the various schools are primarily what Christ condemns in his polemics against their beliefs. The Sermon on the Mount is a virtual "your Rabbis are wrong" sermon but those are specific schools and specific strains of thought and not a sweeping condemnation of all study and "commentary" on the Scriptures theretofore (which what they are).

That said, there is some really, really insightful stuff in some of the Talmud (it's a collection of writings from many Rabbis over many years). The way the Synagogue worship is worked out is in there. If Christ had a problem with those portions he sure isn't clear about it because, as noted, He participated regularly in their worship.

[Edited on 4-25-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
The other issue as well, underlying this whole discussion in light of the Regulative principle is, where does Scripture command acapella singing? There are plenty of psalms commanded to be sung with instruments. But I don't recall any songs commanded to be sung specifically without instruments, either in the OT or the NT. I would think such a command would be required in order to make it part of the Regulative Principle.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by puritansailor
The other issue as well, underlying this whole discussion in light of the Regulative principle is, where does Scripture command acapella singing? There are plenty of psalms commanded to be sung with instruments. But I don't recall any songs commanded to be sung specifically without instruments, either in the OT or the NT. I would think such a command would be required in order to make it part of the Regulative Principle.
Perhaps Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19 like it would be the verses. It's really difficult to view those verses as prescribing a type of "rule" for NT worship, however, as they are contextually listed with other general admonishments (proverbial in charachter). They might just as well be commands of how we are to interact outside the Church as in it.

[Edited on 4-26-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by SemperFideles
Originally posted by puritansailor
The other issue as well, underlying this whole discussion in light of the Regulative principle is, where does Scripture command acapella singing? There are plenty of psalms commanded to be sung with instruments. But I don't recall any songs commanded to be sung specifically without instruments, either in the OT or the NT. I would think such a command would be required in order to make it part of the Regulative Principle.
Perhaps Col 3:16 and Eph 5:19 like it would be the verses. It's really difficult to view those verses as prescribing a type of "rule" for NT worship, however, as they are contextually listed with other general admonishments (proverbial in charachter). They might just as well be commands of how we are to interact outside the Church as in it.

[Edited on 4-26-2006 by SemperFideles]

Certainly the command to sing is there. But these commands do not specify the means. They do not specify with or without instruments. That's a pretty glaring omissionin. For some to argue that the RPW requires acapella singing when no such explicit command exists seems a rather difficult case to prove. But hey, I'm still learning.....
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
Certainly the command to sing is there. But these commands do not specify the means. They do not specify with or without instruments. That's a pretty glaring omissionin. For some to argue that the RPW requires acapella singing when no such explicit command exists seems a rather difficult case to prove. But hey, I'm still learning.....
Patrick,

I think that the point in question with both exclusive psalmody and instruments in worship is whether the regulative principle applies as particularly as we (unaccompanied exclusive psalm-singers) say it does. All conservative Presbyterians believe in the regulative principle; the question is how far it applies.

1. For the exclusive psalmody question, does the RPW apply only to the theological content of songs (like prayer, sermons, etc.), or does it apply to the question of which particular songs will be employed?

2. For the instruments question, does the RPW apply only to a vague sense of "decently and orderly," or does it apply to the use of particular instruments?

I believe that both of these questions are answered by 2 Chron. 29:25-30, where it is seen that both the use of particular instruments, and the use of particular songs ("the words of David, and of Asaph the seer"), depended upon the divine appointment and institution. If particular songs and particular instruments were appointed by God, then that shows that those particulars fall under the regulative principle.

That means that instruments are not "allowed" or "permitted": they are either commanded or forbidden. If that command still applies today, then it is only those particular instruments originally appointed which are to be used, and their use is absolutely mandatory; if it does not apply today (i.e., if it was part and parcel with the ceremonial institutions that existed in that dispensation), then they are just as forbidden from our worship as the slaughter of bulls, sheep, and goats.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Kaalvenist
That means that instruments are not "allowed" or "permitted": they are either commanded or forbidden. If that command still applies today, then it is only those particular instruments originally appointed which are to be used, and their use is absolutely mandatory; if it does not apply today (i.e., if it was part and parcel with the ceremonial institutions that existed in that dispensation), then they are just as forbidden from our worship as the slaughter of bulls, sheep, and goats.

I guess I'm going further back in the argument. In order to require something as an element of worship, according to the RPW, you must have a positive clear command. I see the postive clear command for singing. I don't see one regarding instruments. If we are to only go with what is commanded, then neither accapella nor instrumental music can be argued for on the basis of the RPW. Neither form is specifically commanded.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
Originally posted by Kaalvenist
That means that instruments are not "allowed" or "permitted": they are either commanded or forbidden. If that command still applies today, then it is only those particular instruments originally appointed which are to be used, and their use is absolutely mandatory; if it does not apply today (i.e., if it was part and parcel with the ceremonial institutions that existed in that dispensation), then they are just as forbidden from our worship as the slaughter of bulls, sheep, and goats.

I guess I'm going further back in the argument. In order to require something as an element of worship, according to the RPW, you must have a positive clear command. I see the postive clear command for singing. I don't see one regarding instruments. If we are to only go with what is commanded, then neither accapella nor instrumental music can be argued for on the basis of the RPW. Neither form is specifically commanded.
And he set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets.--2 Chron. 29:25.
As I said in my previous post, this shows that instruments were commanded (not permitted or allowed) under the former dispensation; they were not a mere circumstance of worship, but were a specifically and particularly appointed ordinance, which means that they fell under the regulative principle of worship. This means that musical instruments are either moral (and therefore still obligatory) or ceremonial (and therefore now forbidden under this dispensation) -- unless it can be shown that God has somehow, for some reason, relinquished His regulating authority over musical instruments in His worship.

Actually, this would reflect only upon the particularly appointed instruments of that dispensation (see 1 Chron. 15:16ff.), and not musical instruments in general, giving some kind of vague approval to organs, pianos, etc. Not only musical instruments in general were appointed, but particular instruments, played upon by particular families of Levites.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by puritansailor
How are instruments ceremonial? What do they signify?
There have been several different opinions in answer to this question, mostly centering around the greater outpouring and joy of the Holy Spirit of which believers in this dispensation partake (Dabney and Girardeau held to this position, as I recall). While I tend toward that opinion, I believe that John Price's position (as set forth in his Old Light on New Worship) is perhaps "simpler": that the musical instruments formed an integral part of the ceremonial system which was abolished in its entirety by Christ; so that if the ceremonial system was abrogated, so were the musical instruments. I don't believe that it is necessary for us to guess at the particular way in which each ceremonial element of Old Testament worship represented Christ or the benefits of the new covenant, in order to prove that they are abrogated under the New Testament.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Sean,

Once again, however, you are dealing with Temple worship and commands for Levites under that system. How do those rules spill over into Synagogue worship and, by extension, into NT worship which was modeled after Synagogue worship?

I think it's easy to get caught up in the particulars of Temple worship and spend so much time investigating that and showing that NT worship is not like it to assume that weight is being added to the argument. I don't think you've added any weight to the argument of what is appropriate in either Synagogue or NT worship by your punctilious examination of Temple worship.

The question stands unanswered as to what the bounds of Synagogue worship were.

[Edited on 4-26-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
At best you could argue that instruments were regulated for temple worship. But where is such a regulation given for synagog worship? And how were instruments regulated before Mosaic worship? And where is the express command for accapella songs in the NT?
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
At best you could argue that instruments were regulated for temple worship. But where is such a regulation given for synagog worship?

Exactly.

Originally posted by puritansailor
And how were instruments regulated before Mosaic worship?

Exactly.

Originally posted by puritansailor
And where is the express command for accapella songs in the NT?

By an absence of a command to use them. The RPW requires a command to include something as worship, and it follows that if there is no command in the new dispensation, it is forbidden.

I think it is crucial (at least in my understanding) to examine the relationship of instruments to temple worship. If it is shown that instruments were used only in ceremonial temple worship, and there is an absence of a command outside that, it follows that instruments in worship are inherantly tied to ceremonial worship only.

A lack of command in NTW would prove just that.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Jeff, you are assuming that the default position is accapella. Where is the command anywhere in Scripture that this is how to sing properly? Where is the command to sing without instruments. You need positive warrant from Scripture in order to make it an element of worship. Otherwise it's only a circumstance.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
Where is the command to sing without instruments. You need positive warrant from Scripture in order to make it an element of worship.

It looks to me as if you have slipped into the NPW here. The NPW requires a command to NOT allow an element, otherwise it is ok. I need not show you a command to "not use intruments", but simply show that there is no command "to use instruments" OR that "instruments are only ceremonial."

It is clear that in the O.T. instruments are not merely a circumstance, but a required element.

Given that, we have three options:

1) Instruments are a commanded element in the O.T. and the command still applies.

2) Instruments are a commanded element in the O.T. and the command does not still apply given it's ceremonial nature.

3) Instruments are a commanded element in the O.T. & N.T. and therefore case closed.

Which of these can we cross out? The strict RPW'ers cross out 1) and 3) by defeating their arguements. They support 2) by showing that instruments are ceremonial in the O.T.

I don't see how this is the "default" position. :chained:
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
But there is no command anywhere to sing accapella (at least not that I can recall).
This leaves the 4th option, that instruments are merely circumstantial in all other worship activity outside OT temple worship, because there is no method of song anywhere specified. There is no positive command to sing acapella only, therefore it can't be required as an element of worship. To say that it is a required element of worship without a clear command is a violation of the RPW.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
But there is no command anywhere to sing accapella (at least not that I can recall).

But the term "accapella" as it is commonly used simply means "without instruments." You are asking me to show you where God forbids the use of instruments, and I cannot do that. The problem is that this is the reasoning of the NPW, not the RPW.

Originally posted by puritansailor
This leaves the 4th option, that instruments are merely circumstantial in all other worship activity outside OT temple worship, because there is no method of song anywhere specified.

1) Who said that instruments are part of a "method of song"?

2) Can something that was an element of worship in the O.T. become circumstantial in the N.T.?

Originally posted by puritansailor
There is no positive command to sing acapella only, therefore it can't be required as an element of worship. To say that it is a required element of worship without a clear command is a violation of the RPW.

No, it is a violation of the NPW. I can't show you were God forbids instruments. I can't show you were God forbids plays, story time, kneeling, pizza, kickboxing or horsebeating ( :deadhorse: ), but then again, I don't have to, do I? :bigsmile:
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Jeff,

How was any element in Synagogue worship acceptable by the above standard?

Yet Christ participated in it.

You wrote:
2) Can something that was an element of worship in the O.T. become circumstantial in the N.T.?
Instruments were an element in Temple worship but were they an element in Synagogue worship?

This is the issue I'm wrestling with. Within the Sanctuary, it would be inappropriate for anyone but a Levite to be involved in any aspect attending to the sacrifice. Singing of the Psalms, in fact, was only performed by the Priests in the Temple. One could argue, as you seem to have, that Psalms are a commanded element in Temple worship thus they could not be sung in worship by any but the Priests in the Old Testament.

OK so that's one type of OT worship.

What about Synagogue worship however? That is another type of OT worship. It's elements, however, are not prescribed in the Old Testament but there is merely the command to assemble every Sabbath (as noted above). The congregation in Synagogue worship sang Psalms! This means that what was an element reserved solely to the Priests in Temple Worship was not restricted to a specific group in Synagogue worship!

It is logically fallacious to assume that an element in Sanctuary Worship is an element in Synagogue worship. Priests would have to superintend the former while a Rabbi superintended the latter. There are many other differences. An instrument might be a circumstance to Synagogue singing had the Rabbis decided it to be so. Given the lack of any clarity from the Word as to what constituted the elements of worship I wonder yet again whether its parts were all circumstances.

The logical extension you are making from Temple to NT worship (i.e. instruments are elements) is fallacious as well unless there is some sense in which NT worship is Temple worship and, therefore, instruments are an element because of the equivalency of the two.

[Edited on 4-27-2006 by SemperFideles]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Jeff_Bartel
Originally posted by puritansailor
But there is no command anywhere to sing accapella (at least not that I can recall).

But the term "accapella" as it is commonly used simply means "without instruments." You are asking me to show you where God forbids the use of instruments, and I cannot do that. The problem is that this is the reasoning of the NPW, not the RPW.

Originally posted by puritansailor
This leaves the 4th option, that instruments are merely circumstantial in all other worship activity outside OT temple worship, because there is no method of song anywhere specified.

1) Who said that instruments are part of a "method of song"?

2) Can something that was an element of worship in the O.T. become circumstantial in the N.T.?

Originally posted by puritansailor
There is no positive command to sing acapella only, therefore it can't be required as an element of worship. To say that it is a required element of worship without a clear command is a violation of the RPW.

No, it is a violation of the NPW. I can't show you were God forbids instruments. I can't show you were God forbids plays, story time, kneeling, pizza, kickboxing or horsebeating ( :deadhorse: ), but then again, I don't have to, do I? :bigsmile:

I'm not asking for you to show where they are forbidden. Acapella is a form of singing. Instrumental music is a form of singing. Neither is specified outside OT temple worship. In order to make something an element of worship you need a positive command to do so. Where is that command?
 
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