T. David Gordon's arguments against Exclusive Psalmody

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by monoergon, Apr 22, 2019.

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  1. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    Dear brothers,
    I created this thread so those of you who believe in Exclusive Psalmody may cooperate in writing a refutation to T. David Gordon's objections to Exclusive Psalmody in his article entitled "Some Thoughts on Exclusive Psalmody" (http://www.tdgordon.net/theology/ecclesiology_worship_polity/exclusive.pdf).

    I found an outline of Gordon's arguments with a brief response to his arguments: "Theological Foundations Afternoon (Lesson 8) – A Response to T. David Gordon’s Critique of Exclusive Psalmody" (https://media-cloud.sermonaudio.com/text/715141914390.pdf), written by Adam Kuehner.

    Thus, as a matter of organization, I would suggest that as you post a refutation/response to any of Gordon's objections, please use the outline made by Adam Kuehner for the sake of organization. For example, let's suppose you have written a refutation to an argument located on IV. A. 1 and 2. Then, simply mention Refutation/Response to IV. A. 1 and 2 in the beginning of your response. I believe this organization will benefit all of us.

    Feel free to invite your EP friends to participate in this joint-task.

    Given that the purpose of this thread is to gather refutations to particular arguments, I would like to ask non-EP brothers to not post objections here to the eventual replies from EP brothers in responsive to Gordon's article. Thank you.

    UPDATE: If a specific argument put forth by T. David Gordon has been thoroughly refuted in a particular book, please share source and, if possible, please mention the chapter and/or the page.
    Last edited: Apr 22, 2019
  2. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I've just had a look at the beginning of the paper and I have to say it hardly appears to offer any new or hard-hitting arguments.
  3. J.L. Allen

    J.L. Allen Puritan Board Freshman

  4. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I already talked to him via PM today about it. :)

    I told him Michael Bushnell in his book "Songs of Zion" does a good job refuting all of Gordon's arguments.
  5. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

  6. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    I need to read this. It was just recommended to me as EP keeps coming up on my radar.
  7. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Sophomore

    From Gordon's article: "Following this is a brief analysis and critique of Michael Bushell’s Songs of Zion."

    Argument A cannot be said to refute Argument B if Argument B is put forth in response to Argument A. Just sayin'!

    EDIT: Please note that I say this without having any knowledge (yet) of what Mr. Gordon's or Mr. Bushell's actual arguments are, although I am eager to learn.
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Depends on the date of Gordon's article and if a later edition of Bushel interacts (I don't recall either way).
  9. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    What do you plan to do with these gathered refutations? Are they just for this thread? Is it for your own benefit? (Don’t know if you’re ep or not.)
  10. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Bushnell published 4th edition in 2011. There he quotes Gordon's article linked in the OP.
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  11. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    I will share the knowledge with the brethren in my church, especially the ones who agree with Gordon. And I'll share it on social media.
  12. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Sophomore

    That certainly clears up that quandary, then.
  13. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    The question was posed to you if you hold to EP. I am curious as well. Do you hold to Exclusive Psalmody?
  14. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    I'm sorry, I forgot to answer that. Yes, I hold to acappella EP. I even translated Girardeau's instrumental music in the public worship of the church, plus some EP articles from purelypresbyterian.com
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  15. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    Thanks. I just pulled up "A Concise Case for Exclusive Psalmody." I will try to read it tomorrow.
  16. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    My question is, do we really need another refutation. I am thinking these things get hashed over and over and over, but I don't think another argument is going to make the case any more convincing.

    It wasn't arguments for EP that did it for me. There are plenty of cage-stagers out there who obsess over fine Presbyterian distinctives and labor to lay out every possible argument for their position (not saying this is you). What gets in the way of many to accepting this doctrine is, 1) they believe the Psalms alone are not suited to a Christian, or 2) they in the judgment of charity have more vibrant and healthy spiritual lives than many that they see propogating such doctrines.

    I am not saying that those who want to labor in the spirit of this thread to make good sound arguments are cage-stagers, but I think many have beaten us to the punch and did damage, and I think another approach is needed.

    I would think the best arguments for the complete sufficiency of the Psalter (a less antagonistic label than Exclusive Psalmody) for the New Testament Christian would lie within Christian experience. When lines like this sink in:

    "Truly thou are not a God
    That in sin doth take delight
    Evil shall not dwell with thee
    Nor the proud stand in thy sight"

    When in prayer you feel full freedom to vent your trials as in Psalm 4

    "Give thou an answer when I call
    God of my righteousness
    Have mercy, hear my prayer
    Thou hast enlarged me in distress"

    And then pray joyfully

    "Within my heart bestowed by thee
    More gladness I have found
    Than they even then when corn and wine
    Did most with them abound"

    When you feel in yourself the searching inquiries of Psalm 15

    "Whose tongue doth not defame nor harm his friend
    Who to his neighbor's shame no ear doth lend...
    When to his hurt he swears nought changes he...
    Lo he who thus doth live unmoved shall be"

    When you can barely contain thoughts of Christ, His love, greatness, His Majesty, and sing out:

    "My heart doth overflow
    A noble them I sing
    My tongue's a skillful writer's pen
    To speak about the King"

    When you feel the misery and depths of your sin, knowing the anger of God against your sin, and while fleeing to Jesus you believingly sing:"

    "Lord who shall stand if thou my Lord
    Shouldst mark iniquity
    But yet with thee forgiveness is
    That men may reverence thee"

    Brother, I encourage you to do what is most edifying for you if that's what this project is. I think another thread and publication will be white noise though. If we believe that these are the songs God would have us to sing, Priority One is to sing them and live them like we believe them. That will be most convincing to those who don't accept EP.
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  17. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you for your contribution. I believe what you are saying makes more sense in the context of the USA, Canada and Europe. You mentioned much has already been written. However, in other countries where there is little written about a particular subject, arguments for and against could easily become the standard reference. In Brazil, there are more books promoting will-worship (I'm taking in consideration the protestant and evangelical books from different denominations) than books promoting a Reformed biblical view of worship. Within this context, I believe this thread makes more sense.
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  18. Reformed Bookworm

    Reformed Bookworm Puritanboard Colporteur

    That is a beautiful way to put it, brother. Speaking of the Psalter, it was a blessing singing Psalms with you this last Lord's Day.
  19. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    In the USA, Canada and Europe, psalmody remains obscure. Much of the world, meanwhile, has yet to be even reached with it. In Korea, the idea of singing psalms almost unknown, although in recent years a Korean psalter, though incomplete, has been published and I know of one small Reformed denomination that practices psalm-singing mixed with man-made hymns.

    What @monoergon seeks to do -- to make more people consider psalmody -- is something I can definitely support. We need to be able to present the arguments for psalmody in Asian, African and South American contexts. More people need to hear about the Regulative Principle. There is plenty of will-worship that ought to be rooted out. ("Body worship", bizarre liturgical dancing, is all the rage around here.)
  20. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior


    As much as I would like to go over this paper with you, at the moment I don't have the time. I will try to get back to it.

    I'm somewhat familiar with the situation in Brazilian churches. I know there is a desperate need for a reformation of worship.
  21. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    Thank you brother for your support. You may contact me anytime.
  22. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    I admit I'm ignorant about anything outside the US, or anything before the US. So I'm a real American :) So long as the word of Christ dwells richly in the people, and the Psalms are sung with melody in the heart and in the mouth, then praise to God!

    It was wonderful to have you join us :)

    EP is still a good term. The Word of God is sufficient, which by nature excludes any other authoritative guide to faith and obedience; same with the Psalms--if they are sufficient, they are exclusive. Leviticus 10, the worship became fearful when a substitute for God's worship was introduced. Up until that time it was joyful and wonderful, which is what worship should be. Two sides of the same coin I now see.
  23. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    (Edited: because I couldn’t think of anything nice to say about the article.)

    I did interact with a portion of it in the comments section of a blog a few years ago; I’ll try to rewrite that and post it here in the next couple of days. But really, I still think positive teaching on the Psalms rather than defensive teaching is the way to go. People need to see that the Psalms are strongly Trinitarian and are all about Christ, and that they were what he sang and now sings with his church. God will have to work by his Spirit, as spiritual forces are against the singing of Psalms by God’s people.
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2019
  24. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    There is much wisdom in what you say in this post. In my experience, the best way to overcome objections to exclusive psalmody is for people to start singing the psalms on a regular basis - even in their own private devotions. One way to encourage people to do so is through sharing YouTube videos of psalm singing (in my day, it was listening to tapes and CDs by the RPCI's Northern Presbytery choir that helped, but I am showing my age).
  25. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Amen. This is how I started based on some advice from @Logan that has been beneficial. Then I transitioned it to our family worship, which has been a great blessing. Of course I have been studying the matter, but actually singing them more only has helped to further concrete my stance and helped me find the deep richness of Christ in them.
    Last edited: Apr 24, 2019
  26. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I agree that positive arguments are the place to start. We need to show people what a good and blessed thing it is to sing psalms. But we also need to have our defences ready, because many will not take kindly to views of worship at odds with their own.
  27. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    Credit to the first quote in this post, from the Easter thread.

    @monoergon are you translating materials or authoring them in other languages? Or are you counting on much of the non-US audience knowing English? If language isn't a barrier, a few rich resources to spread abroad:

    From https://shawnanderson.wordpress.com/tag/edward-donnelly/
    - Ted Donnelly's messages on the Psalms
    - Anthony Selvaggio on the Psalms

    Not a freebie, but a wonderful resource:
    - "Singing the Songs of Jesus" by Michael LeFebvre
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  28. monoergon

    monoergon Puritan Board Freshman

    Hi Jake, most of the Brazilian layman does not read in English. I have translated into Portuguese many different articles, most of which are from Reformed Theology, hoping to spread sound theology and to combat heresies and doctrinal errors. For example, I translated these articles related to EP:

    KOK, Daniel. Os salmodistas exclusivos cantam os salmos?. <https://monoergon.files.wordpress.c...clusivos-cantam-os-salmos_-rev-daniel-kok.pdf>.

    BARTH, Paul J. Salmos, Hinos, e Cânticos Espirituais. <https://monoergon.files.wordpress.c...c3a2nticos-espirituais-purelypresbyterian.pdf>.

    BARTH, Paul J. Uma defesa concisa para a Salmodia Exclusiva. <https://monoergon.files.wordpress.c...almodia-exclusiva-purelypresbyterian-com2.pdf>.

    I just finished translating Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church, by John L. Girardeau. Now I need to find a publisher interested in publishing it.

    I will read the sources you suggested. Thank you.
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