Take the EP Challenge !!

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Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
I know there are other EP threads, but I have not found the answer to my question in them. If I missed it, point me to that thread and close this one.

Here goes.


Where does EP find justification for the majority of Psalters out there having metrical and rhyming versions that are worse in translation than the NIV.

Does not that violate the RPW ? Since many of them add words to the Psalms that are not in the hebrew or even implied by the hebrew.

Case in point:

Check this out from the Scottish Psalter:

Like as the hart doth pant and bray,
the well-springs to obtain;
So doth my soul desire alway,
with thee, Lord, to remain.
2 My soul doth thirst, and would draw near
the living God of might;
Oh, when shall I come and appear
in presence of his sight


The Real Psalm:

Psa 42:1 To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah. As a deer pants for flowing streams, so pants my soul for you, O God.
Psa 42:2 My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When shall I come and appear before God?

Note what was added:

BRAY ? ? ? God of MIGHT ?? (true but not in the text)
Presence of SIGHT ? ? (again, nice and can be found elsewhere, but not in the text)

If that is not paraphrase and translation liberty I do not know what is.

Note what was removed:

"To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah."

Is that part not inspired ? ? Why not sing it then ?



I challenge anyone to post a version of the Psalter that does not add or remove words from the sacred scriptures. In my understanding, in order for EP to be consistent, one needs to sing only as literal translation as possible. Adding or removing a single word (jot, tittle or iota as Christ said) violates the RPW as well.



[Edited on 10-19-2005 by Saiph]
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
I just read the whole thread carefully Jeff. I do not see my question answered.

Looks more like Kevin Easterday owned you guys:

Originally posted by kceaster
I am not critiquing per se that they are not faithful to the word as much as can be, so that we should throw them out. But what I am saying is that they are not inerrant nor are they wholly inspired. If I am correct with my statements previously, Psalm 1 in The Book of Psalms for Singing is paraphrase for the reasons I've already enumerated.

I am also in agreement that the Psalms should be put in metrical form in every language. I believe along with many others that the Psalms are to be sung in every language. They are the Lord's Songs (I Chron. 25:7.)

But where I differ on this issue is that the Psalms we have in English metre are inspired songs over against uninspired hymnody. I do not see the English Psalter as any different than biblical hymnody. Not all hymns are as good as others, so we must be cautious. But it does not go against the RPW or, more importantly, against the command of God for us to sing, "A Mighty Fortress is Our God," or "Praise to the Lord, the Almighty," or "Holy, Holy, Holy," or "Our God Our Help in Ages Past."

In Christ,

KC

I particularly love the all too common evasion to straitforward questions that goes "I do not need to repeat what has been discussed in other threads . . "

Bahnsen said that if you cannot explain what you believe in simple terms, then you do not know what you believe.

Show me in scripture where we have the liberty, by necessary consequence, not even a command, to add or remove words because it makes it easier to sing.

Then re-affirm that it is indeed NOT a command, and admit, that the RPW is not as easy as the advocates make it out to be.

Again, I prefer the RPW to nothing, but there are times when it is taken way too far.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Mark, the sanction to interpret the psalms into the vulgar comes from 1 Cor. 14. We are to sing with understanding. That requires translation of the text, just as it does in translating the rest of Scripture.

Your criticism of some psalters is completely justified though. There should be no paraphrases, only translations which do not compromise the true meaning of the text, at least no more than the normal translation process would allow in translating Scripture.

There are only a couple psalters I know of who attempted this method of translation straight from the Hebrew: The Bay Psalm Book, complied by the New England Puritans, and a couple of the Scottish psalters. All the others tend to paraphrase.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by puritansailor
Mark, the sanction to interpret the psalms into the vulgar comes from 1 Cor. 14. We are to sing with understanding. That requires translation of the text, just as it does in translating the rest of Scripture.
Then sing from the ESV or NASB or NKJV.

And brother, the Bay Psalm book ? Seriously ?


1 O blessed man, that in th'advice
of wicked doth not walk
Nor stand in sinners way nor sit
in chayre of scornfull folk.

2 But in the law of Jehova,
is his longing delight;
and in his law doth meditate
by day and ere by night.

3 And he shall be like to a tree
planted by water-rivers:
That in his season yields his fruit
And his leafe never withers.

4 And all he doth, shall prosper well,
the wicked are not so:
But they are like unto the chaffe
which winde drives to and fro.

5 Therefore shall not ungodly men,
rise to stand in the doome,
Nor shall the sinners with the just,
in their assemblie come.

6 For of the righteous men, the Lord
aknowledgeth the way:
but the way of ungodly men,
shall utterly decay.

Besides the fact that God's, holy inerrant and infallible word has been reduced to something resembling a Hallmark card, there are several grammatical errors, and word order re-arrangements that stray from the hebrew. For instance, is the Bay version addressing the godly man, or describing him ? ? The ehsher phrase is meant to be exclamatory.


1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers;
2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night.
3 He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.
4 The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away.
5 Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous;
6 for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish.


[Edited on 10-19-2005 by Saiph]
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by Saiph
Show me in scripture where we have the liberty, by necessary consequence, not even a command, to add or remove words because it makes it easier to sing.
We do not have the authority to paraphrase the scriptures in order to make them easier to sing. Whatever Psalter is used, it should be a faithful translation of the original Psalms, which were meant to be sung by God.

I don't understand your big deal, when one compares the Geneva Bible to the Scottish Psalter of 1650, the wording is almost identical:

Geneva Bible
As the harte brayeth for the riuers of water, so panteth my soule after thee, O God. My soule thirsteth for God, euen for the liuing God: when shall I come and appeare before the presence of God?
Scottish Psalter of 1650
Like as the hart for water-brooks in thirst doth pant and bray; So pants my longing soul, O God, that come to thee I may. My soul for God, the living God, doth thirst: when shall I near Unto thy countenance approach, and in God's sight appear?
or perhaps the King James 1611?
As the Hart panteth after the water brookes, so panteth my soule after thee, O God. My soule thirsteth for God, for the liuing God: when shall I come and appeare before God?
If old English is hard for you to read, welcome to the club. :handshake:

The way I see it, this only leaves one objection:
Originally posted by Saiph
"To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah."

Is that part not inspired ? ? Why not sing it then ?
Surely the title is inspired. Why isn't it sung? Was it meant to be sung? Just because it is inspired does not mean that it has to be sung. The entirety of Holy writ is God breathed, but God meant that his Psalms be sung to properly worship him.

Are the instructional titles actually part of the song itself? Do you honestly believe that God (in telling us the author and method of singing) meant us to sing that part?

Regardless of your answer to the question of the above, the amount of Psalm you sing is a consequence of worship, and not an element. God has never said "Thou shalt sing 5 Psalms every Sunday" or "1/2 Psalm next Sunday." The amount of singing is left to the discretion of the Session precisely because God has not commanded how much we sing.

The important thing is that we sing Psalms.
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
I think another great difficulty for EP is overcoming the historical and cultural gap between the ancient Hebrew/Semitic music (whatever that was!) which teh psalms were written to and Modern Western music. That's what makes translation so awkward and difficult. It just sounds weird to us because we don't have a Semitic mind.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Are the instructional titles actually part of the song itself? Do you honestly believe that God (in telling us the author and method of singing) meant us to sing that part?
No, I don't, but I do not subscribe to EP. Just curious.

Seems like you can get very selective of what to keep in those Psalms.
I am reading through my copy of The Psalter Hymnal by the Christian Reformed Church as I am thinking about it and underlining in pencil the several words not even hinted at in the hebrew.

Also, the KJV & Geneva translations you quoted are in error as well.
Bray is not in there:

Moreover, it is not with Luther (lxx, Vulgate and authorized version) to be rendered: as the (a) stag crieth, etc., K&D
"›aÌ‚rag
BDB Definition:
1) (Qal) to long for, pant after.

From:

ar-oo-gaw', ar-oo-gaw'
Feminine passive participle of H6165; something piled up (as if (figuratively) raised by mental aspiration), that is, a parterre: - bed, furrow.

Not to be really picky, but there are several mistranslations so far, that I have seen. Like I said, worse than the NIV.

So, does that not bother you at all ?
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Keep in mind, although the poetry is silly, I do believe most of the Psalter versions I have read thus far are theologically correct, just not literal translations of scripture.

[Edited on 10-19-2005 by Saiph]
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Wow, check out The Message,


Psa 42:1 A psalm of the sons of Korah. A white-tailed deer drinks from the creek; I want to drink God, deep draughts of God.
Psa 42:2 I'm thirsty for God-alive. I wonder, "Will I ever make it-- arrive and drink in God's presence?"
Psa 42:3 I'm on a diet of tears-- tears for breakfast, tears for supper. All day long people knock at my door, Pestering, "Where is this God of yours?"

No one on this board would disagree that this is total cheese. Yet, I do not see a difference between the message and most of the Psalter versions.
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
1) I have to add that I think it is arbitrary to sing only part of a Psalm, and not the whole thing, as we find in many Psalters, including the common RPCNA edition. Justify that. And if you do that, I have other questions:

2) What is a "normative" Psalm-portion, how is that defined/defended biblically? 12 verses? 6 verses? 3 verses? How about 1 verse? How about a piece of a verse?

3) Can you sing two Psalm-selections back to back, using the same tune? Many have common meter. The same tune is printed with many Psalm selections. I doubt if many will object to this...

But some might sing Ps. 40B (vv. 1-4) and 89F (vv. 30-37). Is that OK? Why or why not? What if I want to sing only verse 1 of 40B, and verses 3 & 4 of 89F? Suppose for some reason, I decided those verses really complemented my sermon. Isn't it OK to sing them? No? How do you decide where I've crossed the line into error?

4) But if all that is OK (according to EP--and I'm not claiming that it is, this is hypothetical) then in Psalm 40D, 11th stanza, I have 1/2 of verse 13. What if I sang only that. Is it wrong? Why or why not? Could I sing another 1/2 verse of another Psalm along with it? Why not? It's a Psalter selection! Who gets to decide how long these selections have to be?

5) What if I just want little phrases of my Psalms, self-contained thoughts, or even content-laden words? Why can't I do this? Just explain to me the biblical justification, that doesn't also compromise using a standard Psalter. String them together from several Psalms, and voila--"The God of Abram Praise!" (Trinity Hymnal, #34). I know this is possible, because I picked over the first verse of this hymn, and found the essence of the whole scattered through the Psalms, a verse here, a bit there. But, of course, this is just singing Biblical theology, and is illegitimate according to EP.

6) If I have made my point, then typical EP advocates are being arbitrary if they illegitimately break up Psalms to sing them. If I can't legitimately break up a Psalm, how will we ever sing the longer Psalms in our standard worship services?


As I have stated in some other thread, the real question (for my money) is:
How do I sing the Psalms (the foundation of all Christian music-making) in a New Testament context? We must sing the inspired Psalms. But we also need to sing faithful uninspired hymns and spiritual songs that accurately vocalize the biblical theology we believe.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Jonathan Edwards - Present Review of Religion in New England

"I am far from thinking that the book of Psalms should be thrown by in our public worship, but that it should always be used in the Christian church until the end of the world: but I know of no obligation we are under to confine ourselves to it. I can find no command or rule of God´s Word, that does any more confine us to the words of Scripture in our singing, than it does in our praying; we speak to God in both. And I can see no words, that we find in the Bible, in speaking to Him by way of praise, in metre, and with music than when we speak to Him in prose, by way of prayer and supplication. And it is really needful that we should have some other songs besides the Psalms of David. It is unreasonable to suppose that the Christian church should forever and even in times of her greatest light, in her praises of God and the Lamb, be confined only to the words of the Old Testament, wherein all the greatest and most glorious things of the gospel, that are infinitely the greatest subjects of her praise, are spoken of under a veil, and not so much as the name of our glorious Redeemer ever mentioned, but in some dark figure, or as hid under the name of some type. And as to our making use of the words of others, and not those that are conceived by ourselves, it is no more than we do in all our public prayers; the whole worshipping assembly, excepting one only, makes use of the words that are conceived by him who speaks for the rest."

F. F. Bruce, in his New International Commentary on the New Testament: The Epistles to the Colossians, to Philemon, and the Ephesians, says,

Regarding the Pauline usage of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs in Colossians 3:16: "It is unlikely that any sharply demarcated division is intended, although the "˜psalms´ might be drawn from the OT Psalter (which has supplied a chief [N.B.; not "the only," "“ WGC] vehicle for praise from primitive times), the "hymns" might be Christian canticles some of which are reproduced, in whole or in part, in the NT text, and the "˜spiritual songs´ might be unpremeditated words sung "˜in the Spirit,´ voicing holy aspirations."

Further, in a footnote concerning Colossians 3:16, Bruce claims that, "it is unlikely that the psalmoi [psalms] and humnoi [hymns] and odai pneumatikai [spiritual songs] should be confined to three types of composition specified in the Hebrew titles to the OT Psalter."



Some of the same exegetes claim that the adjective "spiritual" (pneumatikais), as used in Ephesians 5:19, modifies all three of the nouns. The verse would then read, "in psalms and hymns and songs spiritual." Not only, they say, are the psalms "Spirit-breathed," so also are the hymns and songs; they are all equally Scripture. (Actually, since pneumatikais is feminine, it modifies odai, which is also feminine; psalmois and hymnois are both masculine.) If one follows this theory of the exclusive Psalmodists, the syntax of the verse would require the Psalms and hymns to be specific kinds of "spiritual odes."
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Bruce, you raise some good questions, but the exact same questions could be asked of hymnody as well. How long should a song be? How many verses or theological truths should they contain? in my opinion, in either case EP or non-EP they would fall under circumstances.
 

Peter

Puritan Board Junior
Mark, I am satisified that the major psalter translations are largely faithful to the orignial language. These psalters were translated by Hebrew scholars whose aim was an accurate metrical translation. Another thing which we must guard against is falling to an Islamic theory of inspiration. That is, that there is one word for word revelation of God and anything which falls short of the least jot or tittle is not God's word. The christian understanding of inspiration is much different compare the septuagint to the original hebrew or even the loose way the NT scriptures quotes the OT.

Bruce you also bring up an interesting point, some thing which had troubled me before and I haven't yet been able to find an answer. One last thing which is applicable to both objections, assuming neither can be sufficiently resolved, this is not a problem to EP in principle, only contemporary practice of EP.
 

Arch2k

Puritan Board Graduate
Originally posted by puritansailor
Bruce, you raise some good questions, but the exact same questions could be asked of hymnody as well. How long should a song be? How many verses or theological truths should they contain? in my opinion, in either case EP or non-EP they would fall under circumstances.
Not to mention the same can be said of how long the sermon is, what text the sermon is based off of, and what scriptures are read during the public worship.

All of these are left up to the session to determine what is best for the congregation. Theoretically, one could preach from three chapters of the bible, but it probably wouldn't be the best idea. But still, God has commanded that preaching be done. Theoretically, the pastor could read the entire book of Matthew in one sitting, but it probably wouldn't be the best idea. In the same vein, theoretically, a congregation could sing the entirety of Psalm 119, but it would take a really, really, really long time.

:sing::sing::sing::sing:...........................................................
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Right Patrick,
But a hymnody advocate is not worried that in so doing, he may accidentally start singing "Amazing Grace," right? That's the point of my post. I'm saying that as I see it, anything less than a Psalm in tota opens up the position to the charge of arbitraryness. (Who would ever even think of such an objection to singing uninspired hymnody who wasn't guilty of raising a circumstance to the level of element?) If one states that he is "comfortable" singing 3 verses of a Psalm that has 30, then he is being arbitrary if he objects to someone else singing 1, or 1/2, or a single pregnant word from the Psalm. And in principle, what is the difference between singing 40B and 89F together, and singing "The God of Abram Praise"?

These are legitimate questions. I sincerely would like to see them addressed, they aren't mere "contentiousness". Mark has also raised an issue that I have also raised in the past, namely that unless an EPer is prepared to defend the logical extreme of the EP position, he is going to have to use essentially the same arguments as his non-EP opponents to justify his practice against the "purists" who condemn his Psalter choice. Because what he calls a circumstance, someone else will challenge as being not-necessary for expression and thus not adiaphora.
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
The context makes it clear that the Corinthian "singing of hymns" (psallo in v. 15; psalmos in v. 26) was spontaneous, inspired utterance. "This can hardly mean one of the Psalms of the Old Testament." Charles Hodge, A Commentary on 1 & 2 Corinthians (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 1974 reprint), p. 300.
In Col. 1:9 Paul is thinking "of the wisdom of the Spirit as the daily need of every Christian, not a gift of revelation to bring the Word of Christ." Edmund P. Clowney, The Church (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1995), p. 136.
The liberty of New Covenant believers is enlarged "in greater boldness of access to the throne of grace, and in fuller communications of the free Spirit of God, than believers under the law did ordinarily partake of" (WCF XX.1).



With the N.T. command to "teach and admonish one another" in the fullness of the mystery of Christ, how is that accomplished by EP ?
The Psalms speak of the mystery of Christ in a veiled form (2 Cor. 3:5-18). They look forward to the coming Christ (Luke 24:44), but do not celebrate the fact that Christ has come. So Col. 3:16 commands the church in any age, including past the so-called cessation of the sign gifts, to continue practicing that for edification, while striving to attain to the fullness of the stature of Christ (Col. 1:28; Eph. 4:13).

The aim of the EP arguments are indeed noble, and reverent, and have a high view of Scripture and worship of God alone, with as little man-centeredness as possible.


I would prefer the idea of predominant Psalmody to exclusive Psalmody.


[Edited on 10-19-2005 by Saiph]
 

Puritan Sailor

Puritan Board Doctor
Originally posted by Saiph
With the N.T. command to "teach and admonish one another" in the fullness of the mystery of Christ, how is that accomplished by EP ?
The Psalms speak of the mystery of Christ in a veiled form (2 Cor. 3:5-18). They look forward to the coming Christ (Luke 24:44), but do not celebrate the fact that Christ has come.
They do edify when interpreted correctly. Notice that the psalms are written in present tense. They address the same issues we all struggle with now, and praise the same redeeming God we praise now. But it is imperative that pastors in EP churches explain the christological meaning of the psalms so the people can sing with understanding. Otherwise they sing in vain.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mark, (a) you're comparing metrical Psalm versions, not to the Hebrew, but to other English translations, whereas we've seen that English translations themselves can differ widely. Just as no English prose version of the Psalms is going to be perfect, no English metrical version of the Psalms is going to be perfect. I believe that the same justification for translating the Psalms into prose English would apply for translating the Psalms into metrical English.

In fact, I remember being showed the Message's "translation" of a few Psalms when I was deployed to Iraq. My first objection was, "But how would you sing that?" If God gave the Psalms for the purpose of being sung, that is a consideration that should enter into our translation process (resulting in metrical versions of the Psalms).

(b.) If you want to quote authorities on this issue, EP'ers can do the same. Personally, I don't think Jonathan Edwards, F.F. Bruce or Charles Hodge hold a candle to John Owen and the other Puritans who signed the preface to the London edition of the Psalms of David in Metre.

Of course, I would point out that F.F. Bruce said, (1.) "It is unlikely that any sharply demarcated division is intended" by the words "psalms," "hymns," and "songs;" (2.) "the 'hymns' might be Christian canticles," and "the spiritual songs might be unpremeditated words sung 'in the Spirit.'"

(c.) The liberty of the New Covenant believer does not consist in an enlarged hymnbook.

Bruce, if you'll check Matthew Henry's Works, Vol. I, pp. 413-443, he wrote "Family Hymns, Gathered mostly out of the Translations of David's Psalms." Henry was not an EP'er, but he did seem to hold to singing only inspired songs (even if that meant putting other passages of Scripture to song). His "Family Hymns" mostly consisted of taking selections of various Psalms and putting them together to form one hymn.

The gathering of verses out of several psalms, and putting them together, may seem to be a violation of their own native coherence; but I hope it will not give offence to any, since it is no more so, than the joining of several passages of Scriptures remote from each other, and putting them together in our prayers and sermons, which is generally practised: besides that, it is a liberty which is often taken by the clerks who give out the psalms in public; and I think those who dislike it not there, will the rather allow it in private families.--The Complete Works of the Rev. Matthew Henry, Vol. I, p. 414.
I honestly don't have too much of a problem with that (especially since Henry designed his "Family Hymns" for family worship). I don't have a problem with reading one verse from Romans, and another from Isaiah, and another from John; why should there be a problem with doing the same thing with singing?

But just as the public reading of the Word should not be jumping around from text to text, but should instead be a reading of one portion of Scripture, like a whole chapter; so also the public singing of Psalms should not be the singing of hymns which consist of one verse of one Psalm, and another verse of another Psalm. There should be the same consistency as with the reading of the Word.

[Edited on 10-19-2005 by Kaalvenist]
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by puritansailor
They do edify when interpreted correctly. Notice that the psalms are written in present tense. They address the same issues we all struggle with now, and praise the same redeeming God we praise now. But it is imperative that pastors in EP churches explain the christological meaning of the psalms so the people can sing with understanding. Otherwise they sing in vain.
Of course they speak of Christ:


Christ's mediatorial offices in the Psalms:
as Prophet - Ps. 40:9-10
as Priest - Ps. 110:4
as King - Ps. 2:7-12; 22:28; 45:6; 72; 110:1

"Messianic Psalms" because of their focus on Christ:
Ps. 2, 8, 16, 22, 40, 45, 69, 72, 110

Christ's divinity - Ps. 45:6; 110:1
Christ's eternal Sonship - Ps. 2:7
Christ's incarnation - Ps. 8:5; 40:7-9
Christ's betrayal - Ps. 41:9
Christ's agony in the garden - Ps. 22:2
Christ's trial - Ps. 35:11
Christ's rejection - Ps. 22:6; 118:22
Christ's crucifixion - Ps. 22; 69
Christ's burial and resurrection - Ps. 16:9-11
Christ's ascension - Ps. 24:7-10; 47:5; 68:18
Christ's second coming and judgment - Ps. 50:3-4; 98:6-9
Christ's kingdom - Ps. 2:6-12; 45:6 ff.

But it is as St. Paul said, "veiled".
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
God didn't see fit to supplement the Old Testament Psalms with New Testament Psalms. Why should we?
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Originally posted by Kaalvenist
(a) you're comparing metrical Psalm versions, not to the Hebrew, but to other English translations, whereas we've seen that English translations themselves can differ widely. Just as no English prose version of the Psalms is going to be perfect, no English metrical version of the Psalms is going to be perfect. I believe that the same justification for translating the Psalms into prose English would apply for translating the Psalms into metrical English.
I showed one example where it did not interpret the hebrew correctly. Would you like more ?

Originally posted by Kaalvenist
(b.) If you want to quote authorities on this issue, EP'ers can do the same. Personally, I don't think Jonathan Edwards, F.F. Bruce or Charles Hodge hold a candle to John Owen and the other Puritans who signed the preface to the London edition of the Psalms of David in Metre.

Of course, I would point out that F.F. Bruce said, (1.) "It is unlikely that any sharply demarcated division is intended" by the words "psalms," "hymns," and "songs;" (2.) "the 'hymns' might be Christian canticles," and "the spiritual songs might be unpremeditated words sung 'in the Spirit.'"
True.
I just want to point out that godly men are also on the Non-EP side.


Originally posted by Kaalvenist
(c.) The liberty of the New Covenant believer does not consist in an enlarged hymnbook.

Bruce, if you'll check Matthew Henry's Works, Vol. I, pp. 413-443, he wrote "Family Hymns, Gathered mostly out of the Translations of David's Psalms." Henry was not an EP'er, but he did seem to hold to singing only inspired songs (even if that meant putting other passages of Scripture to song). His "Family Hymns" mostly consisted of taking selections of various Psalms and putting them together to form one hymn.

The gathering of verses out of several psalms, and putting them together, may seem to be a violation of their own native coherence; but I hope it will not give offence to any, since it is no more so, than the joining of several passages of Scriptures remote from each other, and putting them together in our prayers and sermons, which is generally practised: besides that, it is a liberty which is often taken by the clerks who give out the psalms in public; and I think those who dislike it not there, will the rather allow it in private families.--The Complete Works of the Rev. Matthew Henry, Vol. I, p. 414.
I honestly don't have too much of a problem with that (especially since Henry designed his "Family Hymns" for family worship). I don't have a problem with reading one verse from Romans, and another from Isaiah, and another from John; why should there be a problem with doing the same thing with singing?

But just as the public reading of the Word should not be jumping around from text to text, but should instead be a reading of one portion of Scripture, like a whole chapter; so also the public singing of Psalms should not be the singing of hymns which consist of one verse of one Psalm, and another verse of another Psalm. There should be the same consistency as with the reading of the Word.
So if we can do it with the Psalms, why not other scriptures ? ?
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
Even though I prefer predominant psalmody (PP) to exclusive psalmody (EP), here is a great example of the nobility and well meaning of the EP argument.

John Calvin wrote about Psalm Singing: - -

WHY THE CHOICE OF THE PSALMS: - - What is there now to do? It is to have songs not only honest, but also holy, which will be like spurs to incite us to pray to and praise God, and to meditate upon his works in order to love, fear, honor and glorify him. Moreover, that which St. Augustine has said is true, that no one is able to sing things worthy of God except that which he has received from him. Therefore, when we have looked thoroughly, and searched here and there, we shall not find better songs nor more fitting for the purpose, than the Psalms of David, which the Holy Spirit spoke and made through him. And moreover, when we sing them, we are certain that God puts in our mouths these, as if he himself were singing in us to exalt his glory. Wherefore Chrysostom exhorts, as well as the men, the women and the little children to accustom themselves to singing them, in order that this may be a sort of meditation to associate themselves with the company of the angels. - - SINGING WITH UNDERSTANDING REQUIRED: - - As for the rest, it is necessary to remember that which St. Paul hath said, the spiritual songs cannot be well sung save from the heart. But the heart requires the intelligence. And in that (says St. Augustine) lies the difference between the singing of men and that of the birds. For a linnet, a nightingale, a parrot may sing well; but it will be without understanding. But the unique gift of man is to sing knowing that which he sings. After the intelligence must follow the heart and the affection, a thing which is unable to be except if we have the hymn imprinted on our memory, in order never to cease from singing. For these reasons this present book, even for this cause, besides the rest which has been said, ought to be singular recommendation to each one who desires to enjoy himself honestly and according to God, for his own welfare and the profit of his neighbors: and so there is need of all of it being much recommended by me: seeing that it carries its value and its praise. But that the world may be so well advised, that in place of songs in part vain and frivolous, in part stupid and dull, in part foul and vile, and in consequence evil and harmful which it has used up to now, it may accustom itself hereafter to the singing of these divine and celestial hymns with the good king David. Touching the melody, it has seemed best that it be moderated in the manner we have adopted to carry the weight and majesty appropriate to the subject, and even to be proper for singing in the Church, according to that which has been said. --From Geneva, June, 1543 (Calvin's Preface to the Psalter) ----Published under the auspices of La Société des Concerts de la Cathédrale de Lausanne and edited, in French, by Pidoux, Pierre, and in German by Ameln, Konrad. (Baeroenreiter-Verlag, Kassel, 1935).
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
Mark,

1. You showed where the metrical version did not match up with a prose version. I don't recall seeing you examining the Hebrew (unless I missed it--this post is starting to fill up with comments).

2. Arguing that Psalters are imperfect is not an argument against EP; it is an argument that we need better Psalters.

3. I could show where English prose versions don't match up very well with the Hebrew or Greek. That would not be a valid argument against Sola Scriptura. Ergo, your showing imperfections in metrical versions is not a valid argument against EP.

4. Godly men are on both sides of this issue (as with a host of other issues). Fair enough, and it's sometimes good to be reminded of that fact.

5. The Psalms are not ordinary Scripture; they are songs, and were originally written with the intent that they be sung. The Epistle to the Ephesians, while inspired, was not written with that same intent.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
:ditto: the above. How much of a psalm to sing is not any more or less of a "problem" than how much scripture should be read in public worship. It doesn't go to the question of EP or nonEP.

Ya'll just like to tweak the moderators' don't you? One EP thread is killed and two more pop up?
 

Saiph

Puritan Board Junior
You are correct, the argument against bad psalters is not an argument against EP per se, but an argument using the RPW against how many EP advocates sing the most inane Hallmark paraphrases of God's holy word.

Maybe that was ad hominem, but the RPW does imply we should not add or remove words of Psalms.

And, I am seriously considering EP and RPW issues on this board. Why should we not discuss it more thoroughly, from different angles ?
Would you have us sit around and talk about everything we agree on like the virgin birth. Wow, how exciting and fun that would be.


So, a further question for you.
Does RPW take into account by necessary and good deduction the worship in heaven ? When Christ said "Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven", does that mean we can use the Apocalypse as a model for worship ? ?

The Book of Revelation contains a number of examples of worship song (e.g., 4:8, 11; 5:9-13; 7:10-12; 11:17-18; 14:2-3; 15:3-4; 19:1, 2, 5, 8). A question that needs to be answered regarding these songs is: "œDo these allusions to worship in heaven teach us anything regarding what we are to sing in public worship and how we are to conduct public worship at the present time?"

In light of the Lord's prayer, why or why not ?

[Edited on 10-19-2005 by Saiph]
 

Contra_Mundum

Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger
Staff member
Sean,
Thanks for the input. I still don't see how you can avoid the charge of arbitrariness if you do not Scripturally define how you are going to break a Psalm down. If three verses are OK, why not a single word or phrase?
I honestly don't have too much of a problem with that (especially since Henry designed his "Family Hymns" for family worship). I don't have a problem with reading one verse from Romans, and another from Isaiah, and another from John; why should there be a problem with doing the same thing with singing?

But just as the public reading of the Word should not be jumping around from text to text, but should instead be a reading of one portion of Scripture, like a whole chapter; so also the public singing of Psalms should not be the singing of hymns which consist of one verse of one Psalm, and another verse of another Psalm. There should be the same consistency as with the reading of the Word.
This is exactly the kind of assertion that I really want to see defended from Scripture. Those are dramatic claims. Without a specific warrant, they are arbitrary, if you make them normative. Our Scripture "divisions" are not insipred. They are mostly conventions, Psalms being a notable exception. A minister may have outstanding justification for reading a single Proverb and a single-verse from the Psalms and the NT, 3 verses total. That might not be our preference, but it is not wrong. When I pray publicly, I deliberately interweave Scripture language from every part of Scripture as it comes to my mind, phrases from all over (ala Matthew Henry ,A Method of Prayer). My point is, it is normative to put Scripture together all over our worship.

Your reference to Matthew Henry is exactly along the line of my argument. You think this work of his is fine, at least for family worship. Not every EPer is going to agree with you, probably not all on this board unless I miss my guess. That is a slippery slope to them. You have just justified 1/2 of "Watt's witicisms," derisively so-called. And there is still the matter of excluding Henry's or Watts' compositions that meet this criteria from public worship. Tell me the biblical basis for this exclusion, that does not undercut the normal practice in your own church.
 
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