Take the EP Challenge !!

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Saiph, Oct 18, 2005.

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  1. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    St. Jerome wrestled with this problem I suspect. He translated the Psalter out of both the Septuagint and the Hebrew. Probably because the Septuagint had become the hymn book of the Chruch he fealt obligated to translate it even though it was not in Greek in the original.

    Am I correct in saying the practice of the early Church was the reader sang a verse of the Psalter and the the congregation responded with the antiphon.
  2. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    It is said to have originated with Pope Celestine I (432) who ordained that the Psalms of David be sung antiphonally before the beginning of the Mass.
  3. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    But Chris, I got challenged on something and I never got to give my reply. It got closed down. Rightfully so, though; I support the mods in their action. If they think that our toes are a bit sensitive lately, then they're doing the right thing by trying to cool things down.

    What I see as the biggest challenge to EP, still, and not to be repetitive, but yet to repeat, 1. necessity must be shown for it to be part of the RPW. If it rests on the light of nature, OK, but it has to be necessary. That is, it can be no other. 2. imposing EP implies the principles of hymnology, but the "Psalms only" part is and additional proviso.

    ( Actually, the two should be turned around in order of logic, but I put them in this order to show order of importance. )
  4. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    If I may, I'd like to address this post to the moderators.

    I believe we are progressing. Sure, it appears that its the same old arguments over and over, but they are getting better and better. And some of us have a right to shout at each other a bit, because we're good buddies. I can take it if someone is a bit more than sharp with me; I know my friends on this Board mean it for my good, and our mutual benefit. This is, after all, a contentious issue, and one that could go either way and both still be right.

    I think we are progressing in three areas that I just mentioned:

    1. We're honing our arguments, trimming off the poorer parts, and refining the good parts.

    2. We're getting serious about it, and so the contention may be a bit sharper.

    3. We're growing with each other in it, so that we know that the sharpness is not at the person, but at the argument.

    For myself, I would add a fourth, which is that I can see the underlying principles becoming more understood. I haven't been arguing non-EP so much as I have been trying to get us all to the underlying principles. For example, every church must, by definition, have a RPW, whether they say so or not: proclaiming to not have one is to say that that is the RPW which is held to; yet on the other hand, no church enforces a RPW as they claim to hold to: each applying it more to secondary issues more than the main point of it. I see some churches claiming to hold to the RPW slapping the wrists of their members for infractions while they themselves are worshipping their golden calf, whatever ism is going at that time. The RPW itself is nebulous in practice, whatever it may be in principle. So I see a progress toward a proper ordering of the arguments in light of present circumstances; i.e., the arguments both for and against are beginning to deal more specifically with the necessity of EP itself, and then as to whether the RPW applies, as opposed to standing EP on the shoulders of the RPW. In other words, the RPW is being addressed more in terms of what it really is, and so is EP, but each in their proper order, moreso than before. That, as I see it, is quite a progression from where we started this issue.

    But my point is this: we would not have gotten this far without the give and take, and sometimes pointed give and take. We've got the people on Board who can find, colate, interpret, reason, and encourage. We just have to keep in mind not to get out of hand; we are a discussion Board, not the judges of others. The Moderators have done a good job of moderating, and that has allowed us to progress.

    I will continue to pray that broken relationships over such issues can and will be healed.

    [edit] afterthought:
    When I refer to churches worshipping their golden calf, I am referring to those churches who claim to hold to Scripture and then sway way off into their own "perspective". Claiming to hold to Scripture is a tacit RPW, and then to add their own slant, with or without apology, is a repudiation of that same principle.

    [Edited on 10-19-2005 by JohnV]
  5. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    It is the role of elders I think to bring the church in line with the RPW.

    I am trying to discern what RPW Christ followed, and Paul, and James . . .

    In another thread it appears that Jesus did not follow the same RPW as the WCF presents. He celebrated Purim (maybe), Hannukah, and Jewish traditions at Passover making one of those traditions a new element of worship.

    Now I have read how Mordecai was supposely a prophet and could establish Purim ad hoc but that seems to be conjecture and does not answer the issues in II Chr. 29 either.

    And Exodus 30:9, " You shall not offer unauthorized incense on it, or a burnt offering, or a grain offering, and you shall not pour a drink offering on it.", makes the argument from Nadab and Abihu null.

    There is good reason to believe the brothers might have been drunk on this occasion also, Lev 10:9-10.
  6. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    This is of interest to me as well. More, particularly, I want to know if there was different music to the pslams between the Hebrew and Greek speaking Christians. Synagog worship was done in Hebrew. I imagine the early church may have been the same? Maybe not. But what music did the greek speaking churches use to sing the psalms in Greek? The traditional Hebrew tunes? Or greco-roman tunes?

    I don't think the feast of Purim etc. apply to worship. I think they were cultural or ethinic celebrations not official worship ceremonies. Jesus partook in them because He was Jewish too.
  7. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    Question for those who hold to EP:

    From reading the comments of this thread it appears that what is being said is that sing the Psalms exclusively is an element of worship and how we go about singing those Psalms, ie; using metrical Psalms, no direct translations, only one, two or three verses of a Psalm, is a circumstance of the element?
  8. Puritan Sailor

    Puritan Sailor Puritan Board Doctor

    That is probably a good assessment, except for "no direct translations." The translations must be accurate, not paraphrases.
  9. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Lev 10 says the sin of Nadab amd Abihu was offering strange fire not unauthorized incense and the sin was "that He commanded them not", (notice in the narration Moses does not reference Ex 30).
  10. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Peter, no offense but I am going to trust Delitzsch and Kiel on this one.

    The RPW idea is forced upon the text. AND, this is also strictly referring to Sacrificial Worship, which Christ has fulfilled anyway.

    Unless of course you believe in the Mass. :bigsmile:
  11. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    I believe Christ did away with expiatial sacrifice however not eucharistical, which I believe, all worship is.

    Hebrews 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name.

    Respectfully, I believe Delitzch, Kiel et al force the Anglican/ Lutheran principle of worship on the text. The text clearly says their sin was "that He commanded them not"
  12. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    So is wearing clothing of mixed fabrics eucharistical or expiatial ? It was commanded, so does RPW include it ? Why or why not ?

    Wearing mixed fabrics would be in violation of the RPW. We should not come before God in clothing he has forbidden. Seems like if the strange fire idea still stands today then that would have to as well.
  13. Arch2k

    Arch2k Puritan Board Graduate

    You guys are all over the place! :p
  14. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    As I understand it the prohibition on wearing mixed fabrics was a type of the holy seperateness from heathens Israel was required to keep. With the inclusion of the gentiles in the New Covenant the ceremonial aspect of holiness is abolished, however, we are of course to retain the substance of the commandment. I really dont see what this has to do with the RPW.
  15. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Because of the insistence upon Nadab and Abihu. The whole Levitical priesthood and sacrificial worship is fulfilled.

    RPW needs to find a more relevant example. The sacrificial worship of Israel had to be pure because it portrayed the gospel.
    We now worship under the gospel, not the Levitical system.
  16. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    But this in no way loosens the jealous regard God has for his image Ex 20:4,5. Notice God still has the same hatred for "will worship" under the NT Col 2:23. Where does scripture say God required the RPW only temporarily during the levitical order and then abolished it now under the gospel?
  17. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Brother, we can keep worship reverent and directed to God alone (Ex 20:4,5) without the RPW as it is forulated by the WCF. I am not arguing for no RPW, just the Anglican/Lutheran RPW.

    And I would also agree that they (Anglican/Lutheran) do not follow theirs very well in many instances.

    I see no good and necessary consequence for only doing what God commands, and I see no command to do that either.

    We should do what He commands, abstain from what He forbids, and use both of those principles to judge the areas that are not clearly defined.

    [Edited on 10-19-2005 by Saiph]
  18. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Mark, I will only say for now I disagree. And it is no small matter of disagreement. The difference, I believe, is having Christ the King of His Church or having the vain imaginations of man. It is the sole right of Christ to institute worship and any man who presumes to share that right is a usurper.
  19. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior


    And I am still seriously studying it. For now, I am not convinced that the command only argument is biblical. Still anxious to hear from you guys and read about it.

    Many man-made and man-centered ideas do creep in with a more liberal view. May the Lord keep me from those and show me where I am failing.
  20. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Well, God bless your studies and I honestly appreciate the challenge to my beliefs (which come in a courteous and respectful manner), it is under fire that they are honed or abandoned. in either case truth advances.
  21. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    I agree.

    It is just important to remember that the argument cuts both ways. After all, if God has sovereignly ordained that He *should* be worshipped freely by His people, and *not* merely according to that which He has explicitly commanded, then the WCF form of the RPW would actually be the usurper, because it would be an (ironic) example of men going past that which the Scriptures command.

    This makes for an interesting question. Does the strict WCF form of the RPW *itself* violate the WCF form of the RPW? I think it does. God nowhere commands that He may only be worshipped according to explicit command.

    Rather, He accepted much worship before any Scriptures even existed, before Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob had *any* Scriptures to go by. And how about the synagogue (not the Temple) in Israel? What commands are given by Scripture regulating the worship there? There is virtually none that I know of. So was everybody utterly still and silent in the synagogue? If not, they violated the strict WCF form of the RPW, because doing *anything* there would be an example of doing that which had not been commanded.

    I think everyone needs to really seriously consider some of Mark's excellent points in the posts above.
  22. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Well, actually, if God does give us the liberty to worship him however we please excepting those thing explicitly forbidden, even then I dont think the RPWer would be a usurper b.c. the RPW itself, even if not in scripture, is no where expressly forbidden by scripture. That is, given the Anglican willy-nilly principle of worship one could willy-nilly without command from scripture institute the RPW. You see, under the anglican view Christ has no exclusive perogatives therefore there can be no usurper.

    To address some of your objections to the RPW, first of all, assuming we have no scripture directing the OT saints how to worship does not mean they did not have some revelation from God instituting a form of worship. Not all of God's verbal revelation in Redemptive history has been inscripturated. 2nd we do see God instituting blood sacrifice for sin immediately after the fall. In gen 3:21 God kills animals and clothes Adam and Eve in their skin representing Christ as a propitiation and the need for sacrifice. In Gen 4 we see the 1st violation of the RPW. Abel by faith offers God the animal sacrifice which he had commanded but Cain in unbelief offers him plants which he had not. In Ex 12:16 God institutes synagouge worship by commanding a holy convocation on the Sabbath.
  23. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate


    I understand what you're saying, but I think you might be making a mistake here. It is not the WCF per se, that is being represented as the RPW, but a particular take on the WCF. It is significant that the men of Westminster did not add more to the part on the Psalms than they did, given what they are reported to have held to. Just like some want to portray the WA as predominantly, if not exclusicely, Postmillennial, and that it is therefore significant that they tried their best to keep a respectful distance between their opinions and what God gives out in Scripture; so it is important to us that, if the WA was predominantly, if not exclusively EP, they don't come right out and say it. That part in the Confessions that deals with it can be taken both ways, taking us just as far as the NT texts do, and no further. That is significant.
  24. wsw201

    wsw201 Puritan Board Senior

    In another thread I mentioned that we should take a look at why a number of Reformed churches are not EP.

    Here is a link from the OPC web site on the issue of Song in Worship. It includes a discussion of the RPW. The report goes back to 1946-47 and it is interesting to note some of the heavy weights who were involved.

    Songs in Worship
  25. Saiph

    Saiph Puritan Board Junior

    Isn't that private worship according to your distinction ? And, didn't God give him the chance to repent ?
  26. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Peter, you are not addressing what I said. You are arguing against a strawman.

    I did not say that the strict version of the RPW is a usurper against the Anglican view of worship.

    Rather, I said that the strict version of the RPW is a usurper against itself.

    In other words, it is self-inconsistent. The ultra strict version of the RPW is *never* commanded in Scripture. Thus, according to the strict version of the RPW, the strict version of the RPW is invalid.

    Thus, the strict version of the RPW is a self-defeating proposition.

    I am aware of that. But what did God command people to do during that convocation? Nothing is explicitly commanded!

    So they got together for a holy convocation. But were they still and silent? Of course not. And yet, if they did anything at all in that synagogue convocation, then they were violating the strict form of the RPW, because God didn't tell them to do anything during that worship time. Apparently He was perfectly happy for His people to worship Him in a not so regulated manner, when they were in the synagogue. They probably sang, read Scripture, and who knows what else. They worshipped God. But God did not regulate *how* they were to worship him when in the synagogue.
  27. JohnV

    JohnV Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    This is, again, standing EP on the shoulders of RPW, which will not work. The RPW relates to things commanded and not commanded by God, and not to things concerning which we do not know with certainty one way or the other. To decide one way or the other without approval from either Scripture or the light of nature falls to the ground, and is a tacit breaking of the RPW.

    Look at it this way: you lay out the field, with fences and all; and then you put a fence inside the fence and say, "So far, and no further" without direction from either Scripture or light of reason. That doesn't exclude or preclude the fact that the whole field has been laid out in order to establish that fence within a fence. In plain language, you have to establish the norms of song in music before you can establish the limit of Psalms only; so the argument that "at least we know the Psalms are commanded, but we don't know for sure that hymns are commanded" is a false dilemma. You have to have the field before you have the limits; so EP is an add-on to the RPW, and not hymns. The best we can say is that the language as to acceptable praise, in reference to what particular songs may be sung, is general, specific only as to holiness, acceptable, and out of a pure heart. To assert that such cannot be done in composition of song includes by direct implication that it cannot be done in prayer and sermon either. And these latter are much more under the RPW than the response of the congregation. For the congregation is responding out of their own heart, but the spiritual leaders are responding to God on behalf of the congregation or speaking to the congregation on behalf of God. There is no room for opinion in those tasks and responsibilities, but there is room for personal belief in the congregation's response to God. It cannot be helped, because people of every level come to worship, and are welcome; and no restraint, constraint, or burden is put upon them beyond the integrity to the Word that they are personally gifted with by God Himself.

    [Edited on 10-19-2005 by JohnV]
  28. Peter

    Peter Puritan Board Junior

    Joseph, I see what you're saying now., my apologies. Of course your conclusion is based on a false premise, that is, the RPW is not commanded in scripture but otherwise you are right. I should note that you are also making a strawman, the WCF RPW does not say an explicit command is the only thing which constitutes divine approbation for a worship practice, good and necessary consequence is also a command.
  29. biblelighthouse

    biblelighthouse Puritan Board Junior

    Regarding necessary consequence, I understand and agree . . . otherwise I would be a credobaptist.

    So, you are telling me that the strict version of the RPW is actually commanded in Scripture, correct? Where is that?

    Please keep in mind Mark's note above that the Nadab and Abihu example is very weak, if that's all you have to hang your hat on. It is not at all clear that their sin was "doing what had not been commanded" (in the RPW sense of the phrase). The passage has been taken by many scholars to mean "doing what was commanded not" (i.e. that which God commanded them not to do). For example, the prohibition against strange incense may apply here . . . perhaps God expected them to use "good and necessary inference" in this case. But, perhaps even more likely, they should have gotten the hint when God Himself sent fire down just a few verses earlier (see the end of chapter 9) . . . He had *already* provided fire. But Nadab and Abihu supplied their fire rather than using that which God had just provided. I think this needs to be figured into the equation as well. Furthermore, even if God held 2 particular Levitical priests to a particular standard, it does not follow that God has applied that across the board, and into the NT. They were OT Levitical priests, and we are not.

    Honestly: If you didn't have the Biblical account of Nadab and Abihu (which is itself a weak support for the strict RPW), would you have a Scripture to stand on? Can you convincingly demonstrate the strict RPW to me without using that text?

    I am not trying to be argumentive or combative. I'm just sharing my honest thoughts on this subject. I have thought about the strict RPW, and I just do not think it can be supported Biblically.

    I still challenge you (or anyone else) to show me how Israelite synagogue worship was regulated. If it wasn't regulated according to the strict RPW, then the strict RPW falls flat, and EP falls along with it.
  30. Contra_Mundum

    Contra_Mundum Pilgrim, Alien, Stranger Staff Member

    Mark is studying the issue.
    Joseph, are you?
    I suggest understanding the RPW from within it, so to speak. Read Gospel Worship. Read some recent synopses (Morecraft's book, GPTS's book of conference lectures, etc.). After you have thouroughly understood the position, then critique it if you still have objections. This is the only way you are going to avoid straw-men like the one Peter pointed out.
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