The Correlation Between the 2nd Commandment and EP Only

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by OPC'n, Jul 12, 2019.

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  1. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm starting this post because I'm the one who hijacked Chris' post. He wants us to wait for comments until he can move the unrelated comments on his posts to this one.

    This post will be two-fold:

    1. How does the 2nd Commandment correlate with EP only?
    2. Can you stay in a church that violates your conscience concerning the EP?

    I'm not convinced of the EP only stance for reasons I'll list. I'm not against being EP only but I believe that is only because of my own personal preferences. I, therefore, cannot demand this of others.

    My reasons for not being convinced on this subject are

    1. that the psalms were not written during the time of Moses who wrote the commands for worship by God's authority. There are some people who believe that Moses wrote any where from 2 to 11 of the Psalms (ch. 90-100) but this cannot be proved. If God's people did not have the Psalms until much later to sing during worship, then I cannot say EP only is part of the RPW.

    2. Because of #1 I don't see a correlation between EP only and the 2nd Commandment.
    Moderator note: Old posts from the other thread are below; to skip to the new answers go to the repeat post of this OP here:
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 12, 2019
  2. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Of course I would agree. However, that's not always possible. In my case, I'd have to leave the country I'm in.
    And what if that worship is offensive to God? I would expect that you, too, would remain silent in some circumstances, such as if your church were singing a song that went against orthodoxy or was penned by a heretic.
    See the Second Commandment. There are certainly cases where it is quite right to remain silent. The disagreement is about when.
    These authorities are not ordained to bind men's consciences. I am grateful that, while my pastor does not like my opinions, he does not force me to sing the ridiculous worship songs my congregation sings.
    Which ones?
    Absolutely! If only it were as easy as you make it seem!
  3. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Tom, is your home country Korea or a different county? What is the full name of your denomination?
  4. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    Sarah, why would you want to force them to violate their conscience in what is such an important issue for them?

    As a non-EP pastor, I've had a number of EP folk in our church in the past, and I would encourage them to stand silently (or fit a psalm to the same tune under their breath) while we sing songs that they cannot. It doesn't need to be in the least disruptive. There are always good reasons why such people end up in churches that do not fit their convictions in such an important matter and as their pastor I want to come alongside them and help them, not force them out of my church.
  5. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    If you reread my post, there's nothing in it that says I wish to violate people's conscience. In fact, I did say they needed to find a church that believes in EP only so that they may worship God according to their conscience.

    I would never walk up to a pastor and say what I'm going to say because it sounds disrespectful, so I hope you take it as a response to your statement to me on a platform of discussion and not as me being disrespectful towards you.

    Encouraging a person to not worship God is unbiblical. No pastor should encourage a parishioner to stand silent while God's people worship him. To encourage that person to sing a different song under their breath, might not be disruptive to the congregation but it is disruptive to the unity of worship before God. The congregation is doing one thing while other people are doing another thing. This isn't unity in the sight of God and it's unbiblical. The encouragement for this person should be to find a church where they can fully worship God with like-minded brethren and be submissive to the authority of that church. You have a responsibility to God and his people to uphold godly, biblical church discipline and not your own version of church discipline. Ultimately, your parishioners are being submissive to God by being submissive to the authority of the church. Being lax on church order is wrong on your part, and does not dismiss their duty of having a submissive attitude and behavior toward the church which belongs to God.
  6. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Here’s the thing Sarah that took me a while to get: unity in the church is broken by disobedience to God in many things, but among them is disobedience to God’s commands for worship. He has prescribed what is to be done in worship- believers were never permitted to come before God in any other way than what he has expressly detailed through his prophets and apostles.

    That we are to come before God with singing only the songs he has “put in our mouths” to sing (as God said to Moses) was the understanding and practice of the church up until enlightenment times. Besides that, the singing of Psalms as our songs of praise is proved by good and necessary inference, though not everyone, obviously, is convinced.

    So there are very, very, very few churches that sing the Psalms at all, much less exclusively. It may not seem that way from PB, since there are relatively few of the members here who comment regularly (come on you guys in the shadows!) and of those, a good representation of vocal EP’ers are heard.

    So people become convinced of exclusive psalmody and it’s a top tier ordinance. You just don’t offer praise to God that you’ve become convinced he has not commanded- remember that we are to do nothing in worship that he has not commanded; everything always was, from Moses, and always shall be done according to his pattern and his command.

    So people who must remain silent when an uninspired song is raised to God are suffering (should be, because it’s a grievous thing all around); they generally sorrow that it must be so, for now, and I so appreciate Rev. Duguid’s practice with this.
  7. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I said “from Moses” but it was really that way from the beginning, and that assertion is derived from good and necessary inference in the same way as keeping the Sabbath. Prophetic song as a worship ordinance didn’t begin with Moses any more than Sabbath keeping did.
  8. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Elders forcing people to sing uninspired hymns against their conscience, on pain of church discipline, misunderstands both the limits of ecclesiastical authority and the purpose of church censures. If anything, it gives credence to John Milton's line about new presbyter being old priest writ large.

    In the church, we have the duty to "bear with one another in love" - coercing someone in the manner being proposed above is not congruous with that principle - especially if the person is not being disruptive and is not holding their principles in a schismatic fashion.
  9. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I fully agree!

    I am not convinced on the EP only stance, but this isn't my contention. I believe that one should be EP only if that is their conviction, but they should find a church of the same belief. I find it concerning that people are concerned about breaking the 2nd Commandment when singing hymns and feel they must break the 1st Commandment, and a NT command to not neglect the meeting together (meaning the gathering of people to worship God) and a NT command for there to be order in worship, and a NT command to be subject to the authority of the church in order to keep that 2nd Commandment.

    I understand the hardship you all must be enduring it can't be easy. But
    If I went to a church where I felt they were violating the 2nd Commandment by putting up pictures of Christ in the church, I would have to leave that church. For me, that would be too much against my conscience to stay. I would pack my mother and myself up and move to a different state in order to find a church that agreed with me in this area. Would it be hard to pack up everything and leave the rest of my family, home, and job? Yes, of course, it would. On the other hand, if my pastor and most of the people there didn't believe pictures of Christ were a violation of the 2nd Commandment and they had pictures of him in their own homes but not in the church, I would pray for God to reveal this truth to them but I would stay in the church. What's the difference? Their belief system in the second example doesn't interfere with my worshipping God whereas their belief system in the first example does.

    I agree!

    I believe they are suffering in many ways not just in the realm of EP only. They suffer also because they are violating a number of other commands which I referred to earlier in my reply. It's unhealthy to be in a church where you feel you are violating a Commandment and one shouldn't go against one's conscience. However, it's rebellion against God's other commands which are very clear about worship, church order, and the authority of the church when a person refuses to worship God through song. They are leaving parts of worship out of their worship to God which is a violation of several commands. We are called to suffer for Christ. If our suffering is to pack up and leave family, home, and job etc to find a church that isn't actively violating Commandments of God, then we should do so.
  10. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I am a Canadian resident of South Korea. My wife is Korean. My son is a dual citizen.
    My denomination is the Presbyterian Church of Korea (TongHap).
  11. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    So you chose to move to a country that had no churches with your belief system on the EP. This is your decision. Now you have to consider why you think it's God's will for you to be in a country that has no EP only church and why he would want you to break the 1st Commandment and numerous other NT commands in order to keep the 2nd Commandment.
  12. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I came to Korea a quasi-Pentecostal. My views have changed quite a lot in the past five years.

    And, believe me, I'm trying to move. I have many reasons to leave this country, foremost of which are religious.

    There's a lot of talk about Korea being a great "sending" country, meaning they ship out a lot of missionaries. Quite a few Korea missionaries are in fact attached to cults. The spiritual state of this country is very dark. For our family's sake, my wife and I want to leave. But if God has work for us here, then we will be glad to stay.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  13. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    God never wants a person to stay in a place where you are constantly violating his commands when it's within your power to move. If you were a citizen of South Korea and could not immigrate to another country, then staying to do his work would be within his will because he's not opening the doors of immigration to you. I'm not (and please hear me) saying he hasn't called you to be there to do his work. I'm just questioning your willingness to violate his other commands in order to be EP which you feel is the keeping of the 2nd Commandment. God never calls us to violate one commandment in order to keep another commandment.
  14. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    It should further be noted that the sort of purity spiralling being advocated in this thread is contrary to Reformed ecclesiology and is really a modern form of Brownism. The notion that an error in worship constitutes, in and of itself, a reason to separate is not one that our forefathers (for all their adherence to the regulative principle) ever countenanced. It would only become grounds for separation if you were forced to do something contrary to your conscience.

    Anyone who thinks it is inherently wrong to attend a particular church that does not share one's convictions concerning worship on each and every point has clearly not understood the Westminster Confession's statement about "public worship [being] performed more or less purely in them [particular churches]." (25.4)
  15. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    While I find myself in general agreement, I have to ask, what are these other commands you keep mentioning?
  16. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    The breaking of the 1st Commandment, and a NT command to not neglect the meeting together (meaning the gathering of people to worship God) and a NT command for there to be order in worship, and a NT command to be subject to the authority of the church.
  17. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    But what is worship?

    God has defined what our worship looks like. Not man.

    When in church worship is only so called, I abstain from participation.
  18. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    You're quite right. I'm living with the consequences of moving to Korea. One of those consequences is my introduction to Reformed theology. For that I praise God! And, truly, he is teaching me patience and charity towards my brethren in Christ.
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  19. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I agree that God defines what worship looks like. I'm not sure what your last sentence is saying. You haven't replied to my statement about violating numerous commands in order to keep one command. We know God never commands us to violate one of his commandments in order to keep another of his commandments. Do you believe you are not violating the commands I listed?
  20. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    Agreed that there are times when one must compromise on something because of one's circumstances (to a point). However my concern here is the suggestion- at least implicit- that an ordinary outworking of the Second Commandment would involve attending a church which sang uninspired hymns and just not participating. I don't think that reality is really in view in the Second Commandment. Non-participation in such praise is a consequence of the Second Commandment, but it clearly envisions a situation where such worship is avoided because it is prohibited.

    And I don't think terms like "purity spiralling" (which seems to be the buzz term at the moment, or maybe it's been around for a while) and "cage stage" (another favourite) are helpful.
  21. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    You are right that God does not command us to violate one commandment in order to keep another, but that is precisely why church elders cannot ask someone to break the second commandment (which demands that we only worship God in accordance with his commands) in order to observe the fifth commandment (obedience to superiors). The fifth commandment does not give them authority to compel people to worship God contrary to their conscience and in a manner that he has not prescribed. Consequently, one is not violating the biblical command to obey those that have the rule over you if they command you to sing an uninspired hymn because God has not delegated that authority to them.
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
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  22. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Perhaps you missed my point.

    Let's imagine you attend a church where, one Sunday, the worship leader announces that everyone should promptly form a conga line and dance around the room. That is to be the church's worship.

    Would you join in?

    (For clarity, this is based on the experience of a friend of mine in a CoE congregation. I have thankfully not been in such a situation.)
  23. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Sorry, I just now saw your comment. Do you believe that our spiritual forefathers would have approved of a person who never sang in church which is the offering up of worship to God? Do you think that it is good and right and spiritually wholesome for a person to neglect the worshipping of God through song? Do you think it is God's will for us to break several of God's commandments in order to keep another of his commandments?
  24. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Nadab and Abihu should have likely remained silent. Look at where blind leadership failed in the example of the golden cow being formed as an image of Yahweh. Should any members of the people of God in the community have refused to participate in forming the Golden Cow as Aaron certainly was leading in making it happen? Or Should they have refused? It was certainty done as act of worship to God and it was certainly not permissible in form. I am not defending EP here, but rather attempting to address a concept Sarah seems to be pushing that we should fully submit 100% to a the liturgy as laid out by the session or else leave. Rather than try to remain silent an reverent during some portions of the service. This concept I see no biblical grounds for as it neglects the place of Christian Conscience.:detective:
    Last edited: Jul 15, 2019
  25. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    Well in the case of the golden calf there was only one congregation: the nation of Israel. There was no alternative congregation down the road. This is part of what I was referring to in the other thread about the Second Commandment not having in view a situation where one routinely does not participate in a part of the worship. Obviously faithful Israelites should have refused to partake in that idolatrous display and many did and they were used by the Lord to exact His wrath upon the congregation of Israel. It should be noted that the golden calf was an aberration so it wasn't so much a situation of freely entering into a worship scenario at odds with Scriptual teaching but rather repudiating it as it arose.

    As I also said in the other thread there are circumstances where the most Biblical church one can attend is deficient in some aspects which one will just have to live with and in that case yes he should not participate. But what I take issue with is the suggestion that this is a normative outworking of the Second Commandment. Rather it is a far from ideal situation and I think a session would be within its rights to discipline a member who persisted in non-participation if they believed his practice was injurious to the peace and order of the congregation, which they have the authority to maintain.
  26. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    :agree:, but your stance is not alarming as Sarah's is, which is what I will try to interact with. You make some solid observations, but you also admit (rightly) as I will try to show that their ARE times to stay among some forms/types/degrees of corruption within worship.:detective:
    Last edited: Jul 12, 2019
  27. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior


    Your making a great point. The great sin of the church today is that we give lip service to the scripture and our confession of faith. We have become so effeminate that we no longer want to fight for what’s right we want peace and prosperity which is why we always say can’t we agree to disagree can’t we all just get along we seek unity for the sake of unity, compromise is both sin and cowardice.

    Warning warning warning a generalization was used but no children were harmed in the process.
  28. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    So my stance is somewhat alarming?
  29. G

    G Puritan Board Junior

    Not for me dear brother. Poor word choice for me, rewording. Give me 30 seconds.
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  30. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Okay; this went poorly to plain (as far as behind scenes). Sarah was going to start a thread and state her question and I was going to merge the posts from the other thread. Give this a rest until she can either post how she would state the matter or start her thread.
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