The playing of instruments during the collection of tithes/offerings and the Regulative Principle of

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Me Died Blue

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer
Let's take your reduction as valid: where are these human societies that sing, and from which you derive a precedent for ordering the circumstances of the worship of God according to them?
In essentially every society of which I am aware, and certainly ours in the 21st century, it is common action to almost always accompany vocals with instrumentation in one form or another.

Originally posted by armourbearer
If your analogy is OK, then the fact that some societies have patriarchal heads could provide a vindication of the papacy.
But we're not talking about basing our general practices, policies and system after the society's standard - we're talking about common, everyday actions that may or may not have other actions regularly tied to them (e.g. microphones tied to speech, instruments tied to music, etc.); and in that regard I honestly fail to see how the papacy example relates in any way.

Furthermore, what I was wondering when I made the analogy is how it can not be "OK" - for why can the legitimate aids for preaching a sermon and staying through a sermon be determined simply by asking about common culture's practices of speaking and sitting in general, but the legitimate aids for singing praise to God cannot be determined simply by asking about common culture's practice of singing in general (since you seem to be saying it can only be determined if singing specifically to God was a common cultural practice)?
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by SemperFideles
:handshake:

It's nice to have somebody to interact with at this time of day. All the other PB'ers are too concerned with sleep to talk to us in the middle of the day. Satz is from Australia too I believe but he's been scarce lately.

I'm glad you're on the board. You write very well and have excellent command of the Scriptures and theology. You're posts have been a blessing to me.
The pleasure is mutual. :handshake: I would have thought an American board would have a high five smiley. Obviously some British oppression continues. ;)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by Me Died Blue
In essentially every society of which I am aware, and certainly ours in the 21st century, it is common action to almost always accompany vocals with instrumentation in one form or another.
This is not the point. The action has to be common to a society as a society. A society may or may not sing. If the WCF allows for circumstances as long as they can be found in a majority of societies, then it denies the RPW which it avows in 21:2.

But we're not talking about basing our general practices, policies and system after the society's standard - we're talking about common, everyday actions that may or may not have other actions regularly tied to them (e.g. microphones tied to speech, instruments tied to music, etc.); and in that regard I honestly fail to see how the papacy example relates in any way.
The point of raising the papacy was to indicate that your understanding of actions common to societies cannot be right, for otherwise it would let in all sorts of things. Remember that the Confession speaks of government as well as worship.

Furthermore, what I was wondering when I made the analogy is how it can not be "OK" - for why can the legitimate aids for preaching a sermon and staying through a sermon be determined simply by asking about common culture's practices of speaking and sitting in general, but the legitimate aids for singing praise to God cannot be determined simply by asking about common culture's practice of singing in general (since you seem to be saying it can only be determined if singing specifically to God was a common cultural practice)?
Cultural practice? I see now that this is the root of the problem. The Confession isn't referring to things that are cultural. It is speaking of what pertains to a society of people, namely, how they organise themselves as a society.
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
First a question for the non-instrumentalists:
In the quotations that Andrew provided, John L. Girardeau said the following:

Fourthly, These circumstances are conditions necessary to the actions of all societies,"”necessary either to the performance of the actions, or to their decorous performance. Let it be observed, that they are necessary not to the performance or the decorous performance of some peculiar actions of particular societies, but to all the actions of all societies.
What does he mean by the "decorous performance?" Is not singing with instrumentation a "decorous performance"?


Girardeau quotes Thornwell concerning decorum:

Dr. Thornwell puts the case so clearly, and yet so concisely, that we quote a portion of his words in answer to this very question: "Circumstances are those concomitants of an action without which it either cannot be done at all, or cannot be done with decency and decorum. Public worship, for example, requires public assemblies, and in public assemblies people must appear in some costume and assume some posture . . . . Public assemblies, moreover, cannot be held without fixing the time and place of meeting: these are circumstances which the church is at liberty to regulate . . . . We must distinguish between those circumstances which attend actions as actions -- that is, without which the actions cannot be -- and those circumstances which, though not essential, are added as appendages. These last do not fall within the jurisdiction of the church. She has no right to appoint them. They are circumstances in the sense that they do not belong to the substance of the act. They are not circumstances in the sense that they so surround it that they cannot be separated from it. A liturgy is a circumstance of this kind . . . . In public worship, indeed in all commanded external actions, there are two elements -- a fixed and a variable. The fixed element, involving the essence of the thing, is beyond the discretion of the church. The variable, involving only the circumstances of the action, its separable accidents, may be changed, modified or altered, according to the exigencies of the case."
What does Thornwell mean by, "Circumstances are those concomitants of an action without which it either cannot be done at all, or cannot be done with decency and decorum."?


Now for the instrumentalists:

A quote from Girardeau for the instrumentalists to work through:

If of two acts, which might be performed under given circumstances, one only is commanded in a statute to be done, the other is excluded"”it is not commanded. And so, if of two acts which might be done under given circumstances, one only is by statute permitted, the other is excluded from the permission"”it is forbidden. To apply the principle to the case in hand: the singing of psalms or hymns and the performance of instrumental music are two distinct acts which may be done at one and the same time. The ecclesiastical law commands only one of these acts to be done in public worship. It follows that the other is excluded"”it is not commanded.
For one to hold to the RPW while at the same time allowing for instrumental accompaniment while singing, one must either prove that the singing of psalms/hymns and the performance of instrumental music are not two distinct acts, or prove that the express command for the one act is necessarily accompanied with the allowance of the other act.

This seems to be the crux of the situation. If we cannot show that singing and instrumental accompaniment are the same act, nor if we can show how the one act is circumstantial (i.e., without which the other cannot be performed) to the other, then we cannot allow for the use of the non-commanded act.

[Edited on 7-11-2006 by Dan....]
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by Dan....
If of two acts, which might be performed under given circumstances, one only is commanded in a statute to be done, the other is excluded"”it is not commanded. And so, if of two acts which might be done under given circumstances, one only is by statute permitted, the other is excluded from the permission"”it is forbidden. To apply the principle to the case in hand: the singing of psalms or hymns and the performance of instrumental music are two distinct acts which may be done at one and the same time. The ecclesiastical law commands only one of these acts to be done in public worship. It follows that the other is excluded"”it is not commanded.
For one to hold to the RPW while at the same time allowing for instrumental accompaniment while singing, one must either prove that the singing of psalms/hymns and the performance of instrumental music are not two distinct acts, or prove that the express command for the one act is necessarily accompanied with the allowance of the other act.

This seems to be the crux of the situation. If we cannot show that singing and instrumental accompaniment are the same act, nor if we can show how the one act is circumstantial (i.e., without which the other cannot be performed) to the other, then we cannot allow for the use of the non-commanded act.

[Edited on 7-11-2006 by Dan....]
Dan,

I don't accept that they are two distinct acts. He is not treating instrumental music in that quote as a circumstance but, rather, an element in worship.

If "action" is the thing that excludes a circumstance from being performed with an element then all circumstances that involved any action while the element was being performed would be excluded. The distribution of the elements is distinct from the Lord's Supper so does that mean it is mutually excluded?

It's also only true if he presents Scripture to support his assertion. He provides none.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Dan,

I would imagine Girardeau is referring to a necessary action being done in a decent and orderly way, e.g., dress.

Rich,

Can I test the thesis that they are not two different actions? Does the person who plays the mechanical instrument sing? Do you believe, if they are able to sing, that they can do so with the same degree of concentration on what is being sung than the person who is not playing an instrument? If not, then they are not singing with the understanding as per the requirement of the commandment. They may as well not be singing, and perhaps it would be better if they didn't. In which case, there are two distinct actions taking place. In order to play the instrument, the duty of singing is being left undone.

Thoughts?
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
30 posts overnight!:eek: I wasn't keeping up as it was.


I still think splitting the thread was a good idea as the general subject is more important than this one specific and one good thread to point to in future I think would have been profitable. In any event, I hope the conversation stays on track and much that is profitable is covered.
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by NaphtaliPress
30 posts overnight!:eek: I wasn't keeping up as it was.


I still think splitting the thread was a good idea as the general subject is more important than this one specific and one good thread to point to in future I think would have been profitable. In any event, I hope the conversation stays on track and much that is profitable is covered.
Overnight for you. Sleep is for the weak. Pastor Winzer and I were very much awake while you were sleeping. ;)
 

Semper Fidelis

2 Timothy 2:24-25
Staff member
Originally posted by armourbearer
Dan,

I would imagine Girardeau is referring to a necessary action being done in a decent and orderly way, e.g., dress.

Rich,

Can I test the thesis that they are not two different actions? Does the person who plays the mechanical instrument sing? Do you believe, if they are able to sing, that they can do so with the same degree of concentration on what is being sung than the person who is not playing an instrument? If not, then they are not singing with the understanding as per the requirement of the commandment. They may as well not be singing, and perhaps it would be better if they didn't. In which case, there are two distinct actions taking place. In order to play the instrument, the duty of singing is being left undone.

Thoughts?
I'm a semi-experienced guitar player. I can sing and play guitar with an equal (if not more) focus on the words sung.

I'm not sure how profitable my comments are from this point. I'm going to bow out for a while. I really do appreciate the give and take here. I know this issue can be emotional for some and I appreciate the grace offered for the proponents of a classic RPW. It helps me understand the historic position.
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Does the person who plays the mechanical instrument sing? Do you believe, if they are able to sing, that they can do so with the same degree of concentration on what is being sung than the person who is not playing an instrument?
I asked my wife this question. She has a Masters in Music and teaches piano for a profession (in other words, she has been playing piano all her life and, in my opinion, is very good at it). She says that the norm is that a pianist does not sing while playing. She only sings when she knows the music and the words very well, and then without the same concentration on the words as she would when not playing. I'll concede you this point. The accompanist probably isn't focusing as much on singing as he/she is on playing.

[Edited on 7-11-2006 by Dan....]
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
This would seem to me to be a pretty serious concession then, as far as the appropriateness of choosing to use musical accompaniment to "aid" the singing in worship over other means that at least don't negate everyone participating to their fullest (as they should) in the worship of God. Granting for the sake of argument they are not ruled out by other factors as already noted (which we have been asked not to discuss...;)).
Originally posted by Dan....
Does the person who plays the mechanical instrument sing? Do you believe, if they are able to sing, that they can do so with the same degree of concentration on what is being sung than the person who is not playing an instrument?
I asked my wife this question. She has a Masters in Music and teaches piano for a profession (in other words, she has been playing piano all her life and, in my opinion, is very good at it). She says that the norm is that a pianist does not sing while playing. She only sings when she knows the music and the words very well, and then without the same concentration on the words as she would when not playing. I'll concede you this point. The accompanist probably isn't focusing as much on singing as he/she is on playing.

[Edited on 7-11-2006 by Dan....]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I used to play the piano for services. When I was being instructed in this many years ago I was told, "Play the words, not just the music!" As such, I would contend, I knew the words and meant them every bit as much as those who sang the words, even though I was not so accomplished that I could sing along. As a matter of fact, it would be my job to know the words better than the congregation. And I made it my business to do just that.

It is still my habit, even though I do not play an instrument during the worship service anymore, to look up all the stanzas of the songs we are scheduled to sing during a service, to read them carefully, and to meditate upon them. I am going to be singing them in worship, so I had better know the words that I will be singing.

Because we usually sing several verses to one particular song setting, the words of each stanza plays differently with the same melody line, and the harmony sometimes also comes out in different flavours. This too adds to the the expressing of them. These also provide for meditation. I can learn from these and attend to how I may employ these "flavours" in my personal practice in music at home. Sometimes it is helpful to the words to use a different chord, changed ever so slightly by augmenting or suspending a note, or just changing from a major chord to a minor chord. In short, an instrument is itself a very involved study in music, following the mandate to bring it too into subjection to the glory of God.

It seems to me that Augustine also has something to say concerning "things", how they are used. The difference that he points to (in his On Christian Doctrine) is that one may use a thing to serve God, or one may use a thing to serve himself. This distinguishes how a Christian uses a thing and how a non-Christian uses that same thing. For all men have all things in common. This, as I think, is a bigger problem in the churches concerning instruments than the problem of whether or not the playing of them is prohibited. We could go on for years at this discussion, and still not resolve the issue; but on the frivolous and unthoughtful, an unworshipful use of instruments, we may be quite agreed. I would suggest that some forms of music, whether with or without instrumentation, are in themselves very narrow-minded, and focused upon ourselves rather than upon God. When it comes to present-day problems with music in the churches, I think this is the over-riding one in our time. Augustine's comparison seems fitting to me.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by Dan....
Does the person who plays the mechanical instrument sing? Do you believe, if they are able to sing, that they can do so with the same degree of concentration on what is being sung than the person who is not playing an instrument?
I asked my wife this question. She has a Masters in Music and teaches piano for a profession (in other words, she has been playing piano all her life and, in my opinion, is very good at it). She says that the norm is that a pianist does not sing while playing. She only sings when she knows the music and the words very well, and then without the same concentration on the words as she would when not playing. I'll concede you this point. The accompanist probably isn't focusing as much on singing as he/she is on playing.
I agree with Chris that this is fairly significant. What do you think, Dan? Hopefully we're all awake. :)
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by JohnV
It seems to me that Augustine also has something to say concerning "things", how they are used. The difference that he points to (in his On Christian Doctrine) is that one may use a thing to serve God, or one may use a thing to serve himself. This distinguishes how a Christian uses a thing and how a non-Christian uses that same thing. For all men have all things in common. This, as I think, is a bigger problem in the churches concerning instruments than the problem of whether or not the playing of them is prohibited. We could go on for years at this discussion, and still not resolve the issue; but on the frivolous and unthoughtful, an unworshipful use of instruments, we may be quite agreed. I would suggest that some forms of music, whether with or without instrumentation, are in themselves very narrow-minded, and focused upon ourselves rather than upon God. When it comes to present-day problems with music in the churches, I think this is the over-riding one in our time. Augustine's comparison seems fitting to me.
John,

To date folk have been arguing for the circumstantial use of mechanical instruments in worship. I wonder if your statement, "the unworshipful use of instruments," does'nt incorporate that. By making the instrument worshipful, doesn't it enter into the essence of worship?
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer

John,

To date folk have been arguing for the circumstantial use of mechanical instruments in worship. I wonder if your statement, "the unworshipful use of instruments," does'nt incorporate that. By making the instrument worshipful, doesn't it enter into the essence of worship?
Matthew:

People don't bring in their own piano or organ to play during the offertory. They use the one that's already there. So the question, it seems to me, is not the instrument, but rather the person playing it. Someone may surely like to play the piece that he has down pat, and that he can play with all his heart; and another may do the same. But it is the heart that can be different in these cases. One may play worshipfully, and unmistakably be taken as being worshipful; while another's playing may be taken as less than worshipful.

There are two things, at least, to think about in each case: the player's attitude; and the congregation's attitude. A lack in either one's worshipful approach may lead an observer to think that something is amiss in worship. It is not the instrument's fault in either case. But it certainly can be the case that an instrument may be played worshipfully. Yet it is still a thing, a circumstance: a Biblically undefined particular of the essence of worship. A piano or organ is merely a recognized and traditionally established circumstance in that respect, defined by practice and policy and indirect commandment rather than by direct commandment.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by JohnV
People don't bring in their own piano or organ to play during the offertory. They use the one that's already there. So the question, it seems to me, is not the instrument, but rather the person playing it. Someone may surely like to play the piece that he has down pat, and that he can play with all his heart; and another may do the same. But it is the heart that can be different in these cases. One may play worshipfully, and unmistakably be taken as being worshipful; while another's playing may be taken as less than worshipful.

There are two things, at least, to think about in each case: the player's attitude; and the congregation's attitude. A lack in either one's worshipful approach may lead an observer to think that something is amiss in worship. It is not the instrument's fault in either case. But it certainly can be the case that an instrument may be played worshipfully. Yet it is still a thing, a circumstance: a Biblically undefined particular of the essence of worship. A piano or organ is merely a recognized and traditionally established circumstance in that respect, defined by practice and policy and indirect commandment rather than by direct commandment.
John, thankyou for your reply. I am wondering what "worshipful" is. Is it possible to show worship in something that is not an act of worship? In other words, are you saying that a person can worship by playing a mechanical instrument? Please note, I am not speaking about generic all-of-life worship, but specific acts-of-devotion worship. Thankyou for your time.
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by NaphtaliPress
This would seem to me to be a pretty serious concession then, as far as the appropriateness of choosing to use musical accompaniment to "aid" the singing in worship over other means that at least don't negate everyone participating to their fullest (as they should) in the worship of God. Granting for the sake of argument they are not ruled out by other factors as already noted (which we have been asked not to discuss...;)).
Originally posted by Dan....
Does the person who plays the mechanical instrument sing? Do you believe, if they are able to sing, that they can do so with the same degree of concentration on what is being sung than the person who is not playing an instrument?
I asked my wife this question. She has a Masters in Music and teaches piano for a profession (in other words, she has been playing piano all her life and, in my opinion, is very good at it). She says that the norm is that a pianist does not sing while playing. She only sings when she knows the music and the words very well, and then without the same concentration on the words as she would when not playing. I'll concede you this point. The accompanist probably isn't focusing as much on singing as he/she is on playing.

[Edited on 7-11-2006 by Dan....]

I agree with Chris that this is fairly significant. What do you think, Dan? Hopefully we're all awake. :)
Actually, I might be willing to concede a whole lot more, but at this time it might be wiser for me to bow out until I've discuss this doctrine more with my elders.

Let's just say that this discussion has been eye opening for myself.

Thanks to all who have posted.

[Edited on 7-12-2006 by Dan....]
 

JohnV

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Originally posted by armourbearer
John, thankyou for your reply. I am wondering what "worshipful" is. Is it possible to show worship in something that is not an act of worship? In other words, are you saying that a person can worship by playing a mechanical instrument? Please note, I am not speaking about generic all-of-life worship, but specific acts-of-devotion worship. Thankyou for your time.
Matthew:

I'm with Andrew & Dan here, in that I'm also not that willing to get mixed up in the discussion. But a fair question is a fair question. So I hope you don't mind if I answer in a way that evades getting involved in the discussion.

In the vein of Abraham Kuyper, it is a Calvinistic endeavour to not only make instruments, but to make them very well. For whatever one does, one does it to the glory of God. It is a worship in the vocation of everyday life. In the same way, a beautifully made instrument ought to be played as well as possible, bringing the most of it out in the music made from it. Kuyper would call that the Calvinistic way to do it. Schaeffer would agree.

In worship the singing of songs are clearly a commanded element. Instruments are a necessary circumstance to that. It can be done well, or it can be done poorly. There is a difference in the worshipful attitude of the player. Of course an instrument can be played worshipfully or unworshipfully, in any place that it is played. Those, in fact, are the only two options; for the only thing that is indifferent is the instrument. The Calvinistic way (to go back to Kuyper's use of the term) is to do it with all one's heart to the glory of God. That not only applies to "generic all-of-life worship" but also to " specific acts-of-devotion worship"; but clearly it would apply to the latter that much more if it applied to the former at all. To Kuyper it would be unthinkable that it would not apply to the former.

Remember, the instrument is indifferent all by itself. A fine instrument in my hands is not as well played as the same fine instrument in the hands of someone more skilled than myself. But I do my best to play it worshipfully at all times. It is unthinkable for me not to do so. I cannot be indifferent to music when it comes to singing or playing music, for I do it before the Lord in my home; therefore that much more before His throne of grace in public worship. In my view of things, I would question whether there is ever a time when music is neither worshipful nor unworshipful, but indifferent to it. I cannot fathom that concept. Yes, the instrument itself is indifferent, for it does not play itself; but put a person onto that instrument, and that makes all the difference, the excellence of the instrument, whether good or bad, notwithstanding.

So, is it possible to show worship in something that is not an act of worship? Can a person worship by playing a mechanical instrument? I can see no other way open to consideration. One is either deliberately worshipful or one is deliberately unworshipful; but the use of music in the hands and heart of the musician is hardly indifferent to worship. He can be for it or against it, but he cannot be neither.

(I am appealing to Kuyper because of his use of the term, and because he was a champion of taking everything into subjection to the kingship of Christ; not because I agree with everything he taught on the matter. I myself would be much more sparing in my use of the term "Calvinism" than he was, especially in matters of church doctrine. But the times and circumstances were different back then, so that may make up for the difference. Here I use it as he would have, not as I would like to, just to make a point more readily understandable.)



[Edited on 7-12-2006 by JohnV]
 

kevin.carroll

Puritan Board Junior
I have not waded through the whole thread so I'm sure someone has suggested this. Still, it seems that the OT especially gives warrant to the playing of instruments without singing as an expression of praise to the Lord. Some would argue that this was linked to Temple worship and, therefore, abolished in Christ. Nevertheless, one could just as easily point out that the singing of Psalms was linked to Old Covenant/Temple worship and should be abolished. It seems to me you can't have it both ways.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Well opinions are like noses--everybody has them. I like these:;)

You [God´s saints] are "œtrumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, choir, strings, and organ, cymbals of jubilation sounding well," because sounding in harmony. All these are you: let not that which is vile, not that which is transitory, not that which is ludicrous, be thought of here. "”Augustine, Commentary on Psalm 150.
It would be nothing but mimicry if we followed David today in singing with cymbals, flutes, tambourines and psalteries. In fact, the papists were seriously deceived in their desire to worship God with their pompous inclusion of organs, trumpets, oboes and similar instruments. That has only served to amuse the people in their vanity, and to turn them away from the true institution which God has ordained.... In a word, the musical instruments were in the same class as sacrifices, candelabra, lamps and similar things.... Those who take this approach are reverting to a sort of Jewishness, as if they wanted to mingle the Law and the Gospel, and thus bury our Lord Jesus Christ. When we are told that David sang with a musical instrument, let us carefully remember that we are not to make a rule of it. Rather, we are to recognise today that we must sing the praises of God in simplicity, since the shadows of the Law are past, and since in our Lord Jesus Christ we have the truth and embodiment of all these things which were given to the ancient fathers in the time of their ignorance or smallness of faith. "”John Calvin (Reformer, Geneva), Sermons on Second Samuel.
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. Calvin's Preface to the Psalter, http://www.fpcr.org/blue_banner_articles/calvinps.htm.
 

Dan....

Puritan Board Sophomore
Andrew, (or anyone else):

I appreciate the quotes you listed concerning the unlawfulness instrumental music.

I was wondering if you might have more handy, and especially from men who were not exclusive psalmody. (I know, it shouldn't matter, but hearing it from non-EP's of the Reformed tradition might be considered a stronger argument amongst non-EP'ers).

Also, if someone could list some non-EP/non-instrumentalists (and a source), it would helpful.

I'll start the list with Charles Spurgeon:

Sermons from the Book of Job http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/spurgeon/SermonFrom Job1.pdf


Our Protestant friends have their milder predilections. Organs and
orchestras serve them for snow water. In measured accents let me speak of
music. For psalms and spiritual songs you all know I have an ardent
passion. My spirit wings its way to the very portals of heaven in the words
and tunes of our hymns. But for your instrumental melodies I have no
mind, when you substitute mere sound for heartfelt prayer and praise. The
obvious simplicity of the gospel is the only outward voucher I know of for
its inward sincerity. Praise is none the better because of the difficulty of the
music; say rather that the more simple and congregational it is the better by
far. Forms of worship which are expensive and difficult are greatly affected
by many, as snow water was thought in Job´s day to be a bath for kings;
but, after all, it is an idle fashion, likely to mislead.
 

VirginiaHuguenot

Puritanboard Librarian
Originally posted by Dan....
Andrew, (or anyone else):

I appreciate the quotes you listed concerning the unlawfulness instrumental music.

I was wondering if you might have more handy, and especially from men who were not exclusive psalmody. (I know, it shouldn't matter, but hearing it from non-EP's of the Reformed tradition might be considered a stronger argument amongst non-EP'ers).

Also, if someone could list some non-EP/non-instrumentalists (and a source), it would helpful.

I'll start the list with Charles Spurgeon:

Sermons from the Book of Job http://www.monergism.com/thethreshold/articles/spurgeon/SermonFrom Job1.pdf


Our Protestant friends have their milder predilections. Organs and
orchestras serve them for snow water. In measured accents let me speak of
music. For psalms and spiritual songs you all know I have an ardent
passion. My spirit wings its way to the very portals of heaven in the words
and tunes of our hymns. But for your instrumental melodies I have no
mind, when you substitute mere sound for heartfelt prayer and praise. The
obvious simplicity of the gospel is the only outward voucher I know of for
its inward sincerity. Praise is none the better because of the difficulty of the
music; say rather that the more simple and congregational it is the better by
far. Forms of worship which are expensive and difficult are greatly affected
by many, as snow water was thought in Job´s day to be a bath for kings;
but, after all, it is an idle fashion, likely to mislead.
Dan -- You may be interested to see my comments on this previous thread. I cited a compilation of early Christian views contra instruments in worship, as well as a several quotes from the book Old Light on New Worship by John Price, a Baptist, and a variety of other sources. Brian Schwertley's article on the subject has a lot of quotes too. John Girardeau quotes from many eminent sources and is quotable, on musical instruments, as I have cited already, and Robert Dabney wrote in support of him.

As an aside, there is an ancedote of interest at the Hampden-Sidney college website concerning the fact that Dabney built the chapel there according to specifications designed to keep out a church organ. The chapel was later modified to let an organ in after his death.

It's also worth looking at Robert Nevin's classic treatment on Instrumental Music in Christian Worship, John Kennedy on The Introduction of Instrumental Music, Alexander Blaikie's Catechism on Praise (see the thread cited above) and James Begg's Anarchy in Worship.

[Edited on 7-12-2006 by VirginiaHuguenot]
 

BaptistCanuk

Puritan Board Sophomore
Originally posted by C. Matthew McMahon
Its distracting.

See Burroughs' "Gospel Worship."
I don't find it distracting during preparation for offerings and communion. I prefer no music during communion but in the preparation process, I find it to be a good thing.
 

MW

Puritanboard Amanuensis
Originally posted by kevin.carroll
16th century anti-catholic polemics. I remain unimpressed.
How about early church anti-heathen polemic. Now that is impressive! :)

Clement denounces the pagan use of instruments in their festivals:

"The Spirit, distinguishing from such revelry the divine service, sings: "˜Praise him with the sound of trumpet,´ for with sound of trumpet he shall raise the dead. "˜Praise him on the psaltery,´ for the tongue is the psaltery of the Lord; "˜And praise him with the timbrel and the dance,´ refers to the church meditating on the resurrection of the dead. "˜Praise him on the chords and organ.´ Our body he calls an organ, and its nerves are the strings by which it has received harmonious tension, and when struck by the Spirit, it gives forth human voices. "˜Praise him on the clashing cymbals.´ He calls the tongue the cymbal of the mouth, which resounds with the pulsation of the lips... The one instrument of peace, the word alone by which we honour God, is what we employ. We no longer employ the ancient psaltery and trumpet, and timbrel, and flute."

Origen:
"Formerly when those of the circumcision worshipped God in ordinances which were symbols and figures of things to come, it was not out of place to sing hymns to God with the psaltery and lyre, and to do this on the sabbath day... But we in an inward manner keep the part of the Jew, according to the saying of the Apostle (Rom. 3:28)... We render our hymn with a living psaltery, a living lyre, in our spiritual songs. For the unison song of the people of Christ is more pleasing to God than any musical instrument. Thereby in all the churches of God with one mind and heart, with unity and agreement in faith and worship we offer to God a unison melody in our singing of Psalms. Such psalmodies and spiritual lyres we are wont to use, since the Apostle teaches this, saying, "˜In psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.´ By another interpretation the lyre might be the whole body, by whose movements and deeds the soul offers its appropriate hymn to God."

Chrysostom:
"œIf you enter into the sacred chorus of God you will be able to stand by David himself. There is no need of lyre there, nor of stretched strings nor plectrum, nor of musical skill, nor of any instruments. But if you choose, you will make yourself the lyre, putting to death the members of the flesh, and making a great harmony of the body with the soul."

On Psalm 144:
"œ"˜Upon a psaltery of ten strings will I sing praise to thee,´ that is, I will give thanks to thee. Then there were instruments with which they offered up their songs, but now instead of instruments the body is to be used. For now we sing also with the eyes, not with the tongue alone, and with the hands, and the feet, and the ears. For when each one of these members does that which brings God glory and praise ... the members of the body become a psaltery and lyre, and sing a new song, not with words, but with deeds."

On Psalm 149:
"œMany people take the mention of these instruments allegorically and say that the timbrel requires the putting to death of our flesh, and that the psaltery requires us to look up to heaven (for this instrument resounds from above, not from below like the lyre). But I would say this, that in olden times they were thus led by these instruments because of the dullness of their understanding and their recent deliverance from idols. Just as God allowed animal sacrifices, so also he let them have these instruments, condescending to help their weakness."

On Psalm 150:
"œTherefore, just as the Jews are commanded to praise God with all musical instruments, so we are commanded to praise him with all our members "“ the eye, the tongue, the ear, the hand. Paul makes this clear when he says, "˜Present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your spiritual service.´ The eye praises when it does not gaze licentiously, the tongue when it sings, the ear when it does not listen to wicked songs and accusations against a neighbour, the mind when it does not devise treachery, but abounds in love, the feet when they do not run to do evil, but to carry out good works, the hands when they are stretched out, not for robbery and grasping and blows, but to give alms and to protect those who are wronged. Then man becomes a tuneful lyre, offering up to God a harmonious and spiritual melody. Those instruments were then allowed because of the weakness of the people, to train them to love and harmony, and to stir up their mind to do with pleasure the things that bring profit, for God wished through this sort of persuasion to bring them to a great zeal for him. For knowing their base and careless and indolent nature, God employed craft to arouse them from sleep, mixing the sweetness of melody with the toil of service."

"œQuestions and Answers to the Orthodox:"

"œQuestion: If songs were invented by unbelievers to seduce men, but were allowed to those under the law on account of their childish state, why do those who have received the perfect teaching of grace in their churches still use songs, just like the children under the law?
Answer: It is not simple singing that belongs to the childish state, but singing with lifeless instruments, with dancing, and with clappers. Hence the use of such instruments and the others that belong to the childish state is excluded from the singing in the churches, and simple singing is left. For it awakens the soul to a fervent desire for that which is described in the songs, it quiets the passions that arise from the flesh, it removes the evil thoughts that are implanted in us by invisible foes, it waters the soul to make it fruitful in the good things of God, it makes the soldiers of piety strong to endure hardships, it becomes for the pious a medicine to cure all the pains of life. Paul calls this "˜the sword of the spirit,´ with which he arms the soldiers of piety against their unseen foes. For it is the word of God, and when it is pondered and sung and proclaimed it has the power to drive out demons."

Theodoret:
"œ"˜Praise him with psaltery and harp...´ These instruments the Levites formerly used when praising God in the temple. It was not because God enjoyed their sound, but because he accepted the purpose of their worship. For to show that God does not find pleasure in songs nor in the notes of instruments we hear him saying to the Jews: "˜Take thou away from me the noise of thy songs, for I will not hear the melody of thy instruments.´ He allowed these things to be done for the reason that he wished to free them from the deception of idols. For since some of them were fond of play and laughter, and all these things were done in the temples of idols, he allowed these things in order to entice them. He used the lesser evil in order to forbid the greater, and used what was imperfect to teach what was perfect."

"œOn the Healing of Greek Afflictions:"
"œSo it was not in any need of victims or craving odours that God commanded them to sacrifice, but that he might heal the sufferings of those who were sick. So he also allowed the use of instrumental music, not that he was delighted by the harmony, but that he might little by little end the deception of idols. For if he had offered them perfect laws immediately after their deliverance from Egypt, they would have been rebellious and thrust away from the bridle, and would have hastened back to their former ruin."

Augustine, Sermon on Psalm 33:2:
"œ"˜Confess to the Lord with the harp,´ that is, confess to the Lord presenting your bodies to him as a living sacrifice. "˜Sing praises to him with the psaltery of ten strings,´ that is, let your members be subject to the love of God and love of your neighbor, in which the three and seven commandments are kept."
"œ"˜Confess to the Lord with the harp, sing praises to him with the psaltery of ten strings´ "“ these are the words we were just now singing, expressing them with one voice, and teaching your hearts. Has not a rule been established in the name of Christ with reference to those "˜vigils´ of yours, that harps (citharae, that is, lyres) should be excluded from this place? And here the order is given to play those instruments "“ "˜Confess to the Lord with the harp, sing praises to him with the psaltery of ten strings.´ But let no one turn his heart to the instruments of the theatre. Each one has in himself the instruments which are commanded, as it is elsewhere said: "˜In me, O Lord, are the vows of praise which I shall return to thee.´"

On Psalm 150:
"œ"˜Praise the Lord in his saints.´ These very saints are thereafter meant in all the musical instruments. "˜Praise him with the sound of the trumpet,´ on account of its surpassing clearness. "˜Praise him with psaltery and harp.´ The psaltery is one praising God for things above, the harp one praising him for things below; that is, for heavenly and earthly things, seeing that God made heaven and earth. On another psalm we have already explained that the psaltery has its sounding wood above, to which the series of strings is attached in order to give a better sound, while the harp (cithara) has the wod beneath."
 
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