The hermeneutic of EPism?

Status
Not open for further replies.

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Folks -

I'm not interested in having rehashed at me the arguments for or against EPism.
But I am interested in looking deeper - at the hermeneutic of EPism.

For example, as I've read, it seems to me that one hermeneutic principle is that the only thing that is allowed to be given consideration for how any word associated with a song-type idea (pslam, hymn, etc) is to be defined is Scripture itself.

Others?
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
If God gives you his own inspired, infallible and inerrant "Hymnbook", you'd better take it seriously and make good use of it.

I don't know if that is a hermeneutic as such, or an important consideration, that all Christians should give weight to.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
If God gives you his own inspired, infallible and inerrant "Hymnbook", you'd better take it seriously and make good use of it.

I don't know if that is a hermeneutic as such, or an important consideration, that all Christians should give weight to.
Actually, it isn't a hermeneutic principle at all. It is an argument, not an interpretive principle. I'm wanting to know principles.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Well the basic idea is that the Regulative Principle of Worship only allows for what is commanded in Scripture to be an element of worship, unlike Lutheranism where what is not forbidden is allowed. The writing and singing of post-canonical hymns isn't commanded whereas the singing of the Psalms is. Ergo EP.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Matthew 28:19, "Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you."

1 Corinthians 11:23, "For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you."

Regrettably, many approach the subject with a desire merely to find justification for a particular practice in the Word of God, as if worship were nothing more than a moral duty. Divine worship is founded on the moral order (WCF 21.1), but all its parts are "positive" in nature, that is, they exclusively depend upon the specific command of God for their obliging force. In worship, as with faith itself, what God has not commanded is forbidden (WCF 20.2). This is the limiting principle (WCF 21.1). The question is, What has God instituted in His word (Larger Catechism 108)? What has He prescribed to be sung in public worship?
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Ok, so two principles so far:

1. Only what God has commanded is permissible.
2. When trying to ascertain meaning of song-type words, only Scriptural usage/examples can inform our understanding of those words.

Others?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
1. Only what God has commanded is permissible.
2. When trying to ascertain meaning of song-type words, only Scriptural usage/examples can inform our understanding of those words.
This is incorrect on both points.

1. What God has commanded is required, not permissible. We are to receive it, observe it, and keep it pure and entire.

2. We are dependent on linguistic insight for the meaning of terms in all fields of biblical interpretation, particularly because it is a language which belongs to another time and place. At the end of the day, the denotation or connotation of "song" is quite beside the point. The only question we have to ask ourselves is this: What songs has God prescribed to be sung in public worship?
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
3. The word "commanded" gets used quite loosely when the discussion concerns infant baptism.
 

Wayne

Tempus faciendi, Domine.
Another way to construct your principles, stated in terms of the Westminster Standards:

WCF 21.1 - ....But the acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture.
Thus, 1. God is sovereign over His worship and He has revealed in His Word how He is to be worshiped [this much should be incontrovertible!]:

WCF 1.6
6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. Nevertheless, we acknowledge the inward illumination of the Spirit of God to be necessary for the saving understanding of such things as are revealed in the Word: and that there are some circumstances concerning the worship of God, and government of the Church, common to human actions and societies, which are to be ordered by the light of nature, and Christian prudence, according to the general rules of the Word, which are always to be observed.
Corollary: 1A. then take care to note an important "modification" in the above, namely that in the work of understanding God's self-revelation, He expects us to use the brains He gave us--thus there is an appropriate place for "good and necessary consequence" or the use of a sanctified logical inference [perhaps in the same way that the Westminster Divines did not see fit to reiterate in 21.1 this principle from 1.6; it had already been stated, and thus it was not necessary to state it again] :
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
It is noteworthy that Jeremiah Burroughs restricts consequences relative to worship to "some command wherein God manifests His will." (See Gospel Worship, p. 13, of the SDG edition.) Then, as now, there were people who used all kinds of sophisticated arguments to draw deductions from the Scriptures to justify virtually anything. Burroughs is careful to restrict the "premises" out of which the conclusion is to be drawn. Since a divine command is necessary for every action of worship it follows that the consequence must be drawn from a command. We find a similar restriction in George Gillespie's Miscellany Questions (pp. 100-103 of the Presbyterian's Armoury edition). He confines a "good" consequence to that which is agreeable to the word, a "necessary" consequence to that which is a logically valid inference from the premises, and requires that both be demonstrated together "because it is the truth and will of God," and not simply because it is the "strength of reason."
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
1. Only what God has commanded is permissible.
2. When trying to ascertain meaning of song-type words, only Scriptural usage/examples can inform our understanding of those words.
This is incorrect on both points.

1. What God has commanded is required, not permissible. We are to receive it, observe it, and keep it pure and entire.
Yawn. Actually, I know what I meant to say, and YOU, sir, misconstrued it. Something can be required, but that speaks nothing of what else may be allowed or restricted. (If I say - You are required to pay taxes, that says nothing else about what you may want to pay more.) On the other hand, if I say, "You are only permitted to do what I say" That means you can't do anything else. Don't try to out semanticize me. Though, as an olive branch, I'll grant that by including the word "required" that indicates the necessity of doing what God commands. But I will insist that proper articulation requires the phrase about only what God commands is permissible/allowed.
 

kvanlaan

Puritan Board Doctor
Don't mean to hijack here, but does this then also apply to how they are sung? That is, does this leave us with acapella-only as well, or is an organ permissable, and if so, why?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Yawn. Actually, I know what I meant to say, and YOU, sir, misconstrued it. Something can be required, but that speaks nothing of what else may be allowed or restricted. (If I say - You are required to pay taxes, that says nothing else about what you may want to pay more.) On the other hand, if I say, "You are only permitted to do what I say" That means you can't do anything else. Don't try to out semanticize me. Though, as an olive branch, I'll grant that by including the word "required" that indicates the necessity of doing what God commands. But I will insist that proper articulation requires the phrase about only what God commands is permissible/allowed.
I'm sorry to see that taking care to speak circumspectly in matters pertaining to God is something which causes you to yawn.
 

TheElk

Puritan Board Freshman
Since the Psalms are given in Hebrew, or I suppose Greek in the LXX, would it be required that the Psalms be sung in Hebrew or Greek? What melody or tune is required as well?

Edited to add: I am genuinely curious, I'm new to the EP non-EP issue.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Since the Psalms are given in Hebrew, or I suppose Greek in the LXX, would it be required that the Psalms be sung in Hebrew or Greek? What melody or tune is required as well?

Edited to add: I am genuinely curious, I'm new to the EP non-EP issue.
This is probably more suited to another thread. The short answer is, The rationale which calls for the translation of Scriptures in order that they might be read in the vulgar tongue requires also that the Psalms be translated into the vulgar tongue so that they might be sung with understanding, according to the rules of edification taught in 1 Corinthians 14.
 

TheElk

Puritan Board Freshman
Since the Psalms are given in Hebrew, or I suppose Greek in the LXX, would it be required that the Psalms be sung in Hebrew or Greek? What melody or tune is required as well?

Edited to add: I am genuinely curious, I'm new to the EP non-EP issue.
This is probably more suited to another thread. The short answer is, The rationale which calls for the translation of Scriptures in order that they might be read in the vulgar tongue requires also that the Psalms be translated into the vulgar tongue so that they might be sung with understanding, according to the rules of edification taught in 1 Corinthians 14.
I see. So the content is more important than the manor in which it is conveyed? The important part is the idea or thought? In regards to transmission of Scripture?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
I see. So the content is more important than the manor in which it is conveyed? The important part is the idea or thought? In regards to transmission of Scripture?
Please consult WCF 1:8. The aim of translation is that the word of God might dwell plentifully in all. That being the case, the reformed philosophy of translation aims towards verbal equivalence as much as possible.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
Yawn. Actually, I know what I meant to say, and YOU, sir, misconstrued it. Something can be required, but that speaks nothing of what else may be allowed or restricted. (If I say - You are required to pay taxes, that says nothing else about what you may want to pay more.) On the other hand, if I say, "You are only permitted to do what I say" That means you can't do anything else. Don't try to out semanticize me. Though, as an olive branch, I'll grant that by including the word "required" that indicates the necessity of doing what God commands. But I will insist that proper articulation requires the phrase about only what God commands is permissible/allowed.
I'm sorry to see that taking care to speak circumspectly in matters pertaining to God is something which causes you to yawn.
Nope, the things of God don't cause me to yawn. What causes me to yawn is when people try to tell me to be more precise by themselves using lack of precision. Though it says a lot, to me, for how highly you estimate the clarity of your own thought that in your mind for me to question your words is to essentially question matters pertaining to God.

---------- Post added at 06:53 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:45 AM ----------

I started this thread wanting hermeneutic principles, not advocacy for the position.

The closest to an actual hermeneutic principle I've received is I've been pointed to the regulative principle. Ok, I've got that. But in case you've missed it, folks like me argue that the regulative principle leads me to say that we must include the singing of songs from sources other than the book of Psalms. So just pointing to the regulative principle as if that alone naturally, and obviously, leads to EPism seems to me to display a remarkable lack of thoughtfulness.

What hermeneutic principles need to be employed within an overarching profession of commitment to the RPW to wind up at the EP position?

I'm still very comfortable, based upon the number of times I've seen this argued on this Board, asserting that I think it is a hermeneutic principle of EPism that only Scriptural uses can influence our understanding of the words involved. Other principles?

Is one maybe that we should only do what we have clear evidence that Jesus or the apostles did?
 

seajayrice

Puritan Board Sophomore
When in doubt, cast it out. Very conservative (narrow) interpretation of biblical warrants pertaining to worship. Worship preeminence in corporate conduct as compared to preaching or other ministerial actions within the body.
 

SolaScriptura

Puritanboard Snowflake
When in doubt, cast it out. Very conservative (narrow) interpretation of biblical warrants pertaining to worship. Worship preeminence in corporate conduct as compared to preaching or other ministerial actions within the body.
Ok, that's a principle. Thanks!
 

CharlieJ

Puritan Board Junior
Ben, I'd like to throw out the idea that theological systems are less hermeneutically driven than people make them out to be. Throughout most of history, there has been discussion concerning how to interpret the Bible - rules have been laid down, objectives expressed. However, it seems that it's not until the 19th century when hermeneutics really blows up. All of a sudden, there are tons of books claiming to show how to get to the right interpretation of every single passage. Hermeneutics in some circles, particularly Dispensationalism, seems to be pre-theological. In other words, they get all their hermeneutics together first, then go to the Bible. The result is a system in which the Bible can't speak meaningfully to hermeneutics. In 19th-century historical theology, a similar reigned. Interpreters of Luther and Calvin looked for the "seed doctrine" or centraldogma from which their thought mechanically unfolded. It's a mixture of German idealism and an evolutionary mindset.

So, all that to say, I don't think that people actually build their theological systems by first sitting down and hammering out their principles, then straightaway applying them to the text. Some might try to do that, but they always end up with kinks in their program. Rather, theological positions are built by hundreds of little points of influence: exegeting particular passages, reflecting on individual themes, consulting other authorities, interacting with culture, etc. Now, once the system is in place, perhaps you can backtrack the finished product to see how someone else could get there in a logical fashion. I'm not sure, though, that you'll be able to establish an actual hermeneutic for EPism distinct from what you believe.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Though it says a lot, to me, for how highly you estimate the clarity of your own thought that in your mind for me to question your words is to essentially question matters pertaining to God.
I don't mind people challenging what I say but welcome the opportunity to be clearer. The fact is that you yawned at my attempt to be more precise on matter pertaining to the worship of God. And now, in the process of justifying yourself, you are casting aspersions on the conviction that men can actually know and teach things which pertain to God. You should quit while you are behind.
 

Peairtach

Puritan Board Doctor
Isn't there some sort of hermeneutic to have an acapella belief?
Strictly speaking, why instruments are eschewed in New Covenant worship is a slightly different topic to the Q of EP, although related by the RPW. It would merit another thread to prevent confusion of the two topics of

a. Why Psalms alone are sung.

b. Why musical instruments are avoided.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top