T. David Gordon against EP, Denny Prutow for

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Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Interesting that Denny Prutow responded to a recent Aquila Report post by T. David Gordon. Gordon argues that the OT saints were not EP and neither should we be, that it was a recent development. I get the impression, reading through Godon's post, that he isn't quite familiar with the arguments for EP.

Here is Gordon's article:


And Prutow's response:
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Agree with him or not, suggesting that TDGordon is unacquainted with the history of his ecclesiastic tradition is insulting.

I doubt that Dr. Prutow thinks so poorly of Dr. Gordon's intellect.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Can someone explain to me how T. David Gordon is not implicitly promoting a Dispensational reading of the OT?
Before I try to do that to any degree, can you humor me and explain how he IS promoting a dispensational reading of the OT? I'm not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree and I often need my hand held through these things.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
It just goes to show how very difficult it is, even for those with great intellect and love for God and the church, to see past the tradition of music that has prevailed in the churches. The thoughts of letting go not only of musical instruments but of all the lovely Watts and Wesley hymns in congregational worship is too much! Until one sees that without a truly regulative principle, anything goes (and has). Logan, since you're "here" I have an off-topic question, I hope it's okay—in the last discussion here about Psalters, I think someone mentioned one that is unrhymed...? Do you know of such a one? I'd like to have a discussion about that possibility one day. I've been enjoying Sing Psalms and learning more new tunes (new to me, at least!)
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Jeri,

I know the "Complete Book of Psalms for Singing (with study notes)" put out by Rowland Ward and the PCEA has probably 25--50% of the lines that don't rhyme. He said he was trying for accuracy more than anything else. I'm am unfamiliar with a singable prose psalter (as opposed to just the prose we find in our Bible translations).
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
I have seen others state if perhaps not defend so strongly the position TDG has staked out; but is it necessary for the anti EP position to do so? I don't think the historical claim is true that EP is relatively recent. At the very least it is as old as the Reformation (see the translation of the preface to the Constance hymn book which notes the position; The Confessional Presbyterian journal, vol. 7) and hymns were late coming into the worship of the church according to the EP arguments I've read it being the province of heretics at first to be the hymn composers.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
TDG concludes, “The evidence throughout the history of revelation is the same: Songs of lament, thanks, or praise are the ongoing response to divine acts and perfections. When God acts in judgment or deliverance, his people reply in lament, thanksgiving, or praise, as befits the situation.”

Geerhardus Vos taught in his Biblical Theology (which he preferred to call “the history of revelation”), act revelation requires word revelation to interpret it. Does the author of this article against EP suggest that God’s redemptive actions in Christ require something other than an inspired and infallible “response” from God’s people? Is he prepared to place the “responses” of God’s people now on the same footing as the “responses” which came forth in the history of redemptive revelation?

The article makes a good case for other songs within what it calls “the history of revelation.” It fails, however, to demonstrate that any provision has been made for other songs after the close of this history. One may as well expect new revelations of the Spirit as suppose that God’s people are equipped to give an “ongoing response to divine acts and perfections” which may in any sense be compared with the inspired Psalter. What composer of other songs can claim to be “raised up on high,” or say, “The Spirit of the Lord spake by me, and his word was in my tongue?” 2 Samuel 23:1-2. A new and better covenant cannot surely mean that we have something less in quality than the Old Testament saints enjoyed.

Call it what one will, amass all the lexical and historical evidence one pleases, and the fact remains that God has given us a song-book which is to be accounted the song-book of the Messiah (Hebrews 2:12) and the voice of the Holy Spirit which continues to be heard Today (Hebrews 3:7). The New Testament, while the history of revelation was in process of development and completion, has done nothing to supplant it or even to supplement it. Quite the opposite, its Messianic message confirms and commends the royal Psalter for the use of the church till the King Himself come to visibly and audibly sing in the midst of the congregation.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Thanks, Logan. It seems like letting go of the need to rhyme would help with accuracy and length. I'll check that one out.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
Jeri,
As a warning, I didn't really care for the psalter, but that was mainly an issue of format. I'd be happy to type up some samples if there are some specific things you'd like to look at (I still have it).

Rev Winzer,
Excellent points, and it highlights why I said initially that TDG didn't seem familiar with the arguments for EP, since he uses arguments an EP usually counters. I also think he would have to show that these songs of "lament" etc. were allowed in corporate worship, or even that "songs" such as Mary's Magnificat or Simeon's "song" were even intended to be sung, let alone corporately. There's a reason EP advocates talk about the Regulative Principle!
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I appreciate Prutow's response and his work in other areas too (and Rev. Winzer's response above). Perhaps I'm showing my ignorance of the latest EP arguments. I do appreciate that they seem to be getting more sophisticated in their defense of EP. But Prutow makes the assertion that "New Testament worship is to connect us to heaven rather than connect us to the culture around us." I agree with this statement in principle, but where are the biblical examples of exclusive Psalm singing in heaven?
 

John Lanier

Puritan Board Junior
But Prutow makes the assertion that "New Testament worship is to connect us to heaven rather than connect us to the culture around us." I agree with this statement in principle, but where are the biblical examples of exclusive Psalm singing in heaven?
I took it as culture should not determine our worship songs but God has determined them. Therefore, we are connected to heaven by using the songs authorized by our God in heaven instead of being connected to culture by using the songs that our culture chooses.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
Jeri,
As a warning, I didn't really care for the psalter, but that was mainly an issue of format. I'd be happy to type up some samples if there are some specific things you'd like to look at (I still have it).

Yes, I thought I remembered that you didn't care for it, so I went back and read your review last night. Thanks for your offer! I see the problems with the psalter as you describe and will pass on samples. I'm appreciating more and more what you've had to say about the need for a more accessible psalter. And I can't help thinking that getting rid of the need for rhyme could help in that way immensely.
 

Logan

Puritan Board Junior
And I can't help thinking that getting rid of the need for rhyme could help in that way immensely.
Possibly. I know some people (like myself) find it easier to remember the words when the stanzas rhyme and most of the lyrics in Western culture rhyme so there's good reason for it. But I don't see it as an absolute necessity.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
And I can't help thinking that getting rid of the need for rhyme could help in that way immensely.
Possibly. I know some people (like myself) find it easier to remember the words when the stanzas rhyme and most of the lyrics in Western culture rhyme so there's good reason for it. But I don't see it as an absolute necessity.
Right. It would be very different from what people are used to.
 

JP Wallace

Puritan Board Sophomore
The Psalms were poetry to be sung and I think it is legitmate and right and possibly even essential to versify them in ways that will fit in with the receptor culture's poetic forms i.e. in English at least rhyme. A Psalm without a poetic flavour is just prose not a psalm I guess.
 

ProtestantBankie

Puritan Board Freshman
The first argument seemed one of the weakest that I have come across.

In almost every defence of exclusive psalmody that point about the word "praises" rather than the word "psalms" is acknowledged so as not to take away from the argument. I didn't see any proof given to the negative position by this being outlined, I really didn't. It struck me as being put in to show a level of awareness on the subject - which was self-evident by the rest of the argument and therefore not useful to his claims.

I have not read the response yet.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Excellent points, and it highlights why I said initially that TDG didn't seem familiar with the arguments for EP, since he uses arguments an EP usually counters. I also think he would have to show that these songs of "lament" etc. were allowed in corporate worship, or even that "songs" such as Mary's Magnificat or Simeon's "song" were even intended to be sung, let alone corporately. There's a reason EP advocates talk about the Regulative Principle!
Logan, I have to agree that his response seems a little underdone, but it is possible he was deliberately keeping it short and simple for the particular format.

It disappoints me, too, that these other responses are always just assumed to be "songs." And, as you say, where is the regulative principle?
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
The Psalms were poetry to be sung and I think it is legitmate and right and possibly even essential to versify them in ways that will fit in with the receptor culture's poetic forms i.e. in English at least rhyme. A Psalm without a poetic flavour is just prose not a psalm I guess.
Yes, I agree that the poetic flavor must be preserved. I wonder though if the rhythm of the metered verse itself would help with that... and then there might be opportunity for other ways of rhyming internally in the text. Just thoughts.
 
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