The Psalter--The Only Hymnal?

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ReadBavinck

Puritan Board Freshman
I have a historical question about Iain Murray's little booklet "The Psalter--The Only Hymnal?"

Through a variety of quotes he made a case for the thesis that
Calvin and the Puritans didn't base their nearly-exclusive psalmody on
the RPW, seen by the fact that they allowed and even encouraged hymns to be sung. If this is true, why is it that they worshiped by-and-large exclusively with the Psalms?
 

ADKing

Puritan Board Junior
I have a historical question about Iain Murray's little booklet "The Psalter--The Only Hymnal?"

Through a variety of quotes he made a case for the thesis that
Calvin and the Puritans didn't base their nearly-exclusive psalmody on
the RPW, seen by the fact that they allowed and even encouraged hymns to be sung. If this is true, why is it that they worshiped by-and-large exclusively with the Psalms?
Several writers will dispute that this is true. See Rev. Brian Schwertley's review of Murray's book in the latest issue of the Westminster Guardian pages 11-13 as well as Michael Bushell's excellent historical survey in his Songs of Zion.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Matthew Winzer had a 22 page review in the old CredoQuarterly:
Winzer, Matthew. “Singing The Lord’s Song In A Strange Land. A Review of Iain Murray’s The Psalter, The Only Hymnal?” Credo Quarterly (March 2002).
Credo is no longer online; perhaps Matthew could make it available on PB in the PB theological journal forum?
 

Beth Ellen Nagle

Puritan Board Senior
That would be great. Would love to read it. :book2:

Matthew Winzer had a 22 page review in the old CredoQuarterly:
Winzer, Matthew. “Singing The Lord’s Song In A Strange Land. A Review of Iain Murray’s The Psalter, The Only Hymnal?” Credo Quarterly (March 2002).
Credo is no longer online; perhaps Matthew could make it available on PB in the PB theological journal forum?
 

JohnOwen007

Puritan Board Sophomore
Also, Brian Schwertley has 2 sermons at http://sermonaudio.com specifically dealing with Murray's aforementioned track. Our very own Rev. Winzer has written concerning Murray's work as well. If he gives permission, I can email copies.
Thanks for the tip about Brian Schwertley's sermons. It was a fascinating perspective on the debate listening to them. However, I must confess I was a bit put off by his manner of disagreement.

It's critical to listen sympathetically to the other side, and use gracious language. Moreover, one must be very careful to attribute negative motives to the other side.

I'm trying to understand the EP perspective, as yet I remained unconvinced. But I'm enjoying learning what the other side has to say.

God bless.
 

russelljohnson

Puritan Board Freshman
There's a double review -- of Iain Murray's booklet "The Psalter--The Only Hymnal?" and of Rev. Malcolm Watts' booklet "God's Hymnbook for the Christian Church" -- at http://www.britishreformedfellowship.org.uk/articles/debate over exclusive psalmody.pdf. The review is favorable to (and in agreement with) Rev. Watts' booklet -- apparently a 64-page rebuttal of Iain Murray's. A summary of Rev. Watts' position can be read in his "Psalm Singing" article at his church's Website (http://www.salisburyemmanuel.org.uk/index.html?/articles/psalm_singing.htm), or heard in his "Singing Psalms" message available at SermonAudio.

If the name Malcolm Watts sounds familiar, it may be because he (a reformed Baptist pastor) is the Chairman of the General Committe of the Trinitarian Bible Society.
 

Kevin

Puritan Board Doctor
I have a historical question about Iain Murray's little booklet "The Psalter--The Only Hymnal?"

Through a variety of quotes he made a case for the thesis that
Calvin and the Puritans didn't base their nearly-exclusive psalmody on
the RPW, seen by the fact that they allowed and even encouraged hymns to be sung. If this is true, why is it that they worshiped by-and-large exclusively with the Psalms?
Have you read Needhams essay on this subject? He is the leading (in my opinion) historian writing today on Presbyterian history. He develops this theme very well.
 

x.spasitel

Puritan Board Freshman
Thanks for the tip about Brian Schwertley's sermons. It was a fascinating perspective on the debate listening to them. However, I must confess I was a bit put off by his manner of disagreement.

It's critical to listen sympathetically to the other side, and use gracious language. Moreover, one must be very careful to attribute negative motives to the other side.

I'm trying to understand the EP perspective, as yet I remained unconvinced. But I'm enjoying learning what the other side has to say.

God bless.
From somebody who knows Mr. Schwertley personally...it's part of his personality, really. I would attribute the offending remarks he is prone to make less to insensitivity than a sort of feistiness let run too far. Also, he's calmed down quite a bit since his younger days. All in all, if you have a thin skin, better to read Schwertley than listen to Schwertley.
 

JohnOwen007

Puritan Board Sophomore
From somebody who knows Mr. Schwertley personally...it's part of his personality, really. I would attribute the offending remarks he is prone to make less to insensitivity than a sort of feistiness let run too far. Also, he's calmed down quite a bit since his younger days. All in all, if you have a thin skin, better to read Schwertley than listen to Schwertley.
Cool, and thanks. It's not so much a thin skin (I'm an aussie, our sense of humour is to insult each other). It's rather the awesome responsibility we preachers have:

In your teaching [Titus] show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8).

Words are powerful stuff and must be used in the pulpit with great self-control.

God bless.
 

Kaalvenist

Puritan Board Sophomore
There's a double review -- of Iain Murray's booklet "The Psalter--The Only Hymnal?" and of Rev. Malcolm Watts' booklet "God's Hymnbook for the Christian Church" -- at http://www.britishreformedfellowship.org.uk/articles/debate over exclusive psalmody.pdf. The review is favorable to (and in agreement with) Rev. Watts' booklet -- apparently a 64-page rebuttal of Iain Murray's. A summary of Rev. Watts' position can be read in his "Psalm Singing" article at his church's Website (http://www.salisburyemmanuel.org.uk/index.html?/articles/psalm_singing.htm), or heard in his "Singing Psalms" message available at SermonAudio.

If the name Malcolm Watts sounds familiar, it may be because he (a reformed Baptist pastor) is the Chairman of the General Committe of the Trinitarian Bible Society.
The booklet itself is available for purchase from Reformation Heritage. It's definitely worth it.
 

russelljohnson

Puritan Board Freshman
"...Lest thou learn his ways..."

...the awesome responsibility we preachers have:

In your teaching [Titus] show integrity, seriousness 8 and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us (Titus 2:7-8).

Words are powerful stuff and must be used in the pulpit with great self-control....
Coming from the other side of the pulpit -- Something which I have noticed about myself is the applicability of Proverbs 22:23-25

For the LORD will plead their cause, and spoil the soul of those that spoiled them. Make no friendship with an angry man; and with a furious man thou shalt not go: Lest thou learn his ways, and get a snare to thy soul.

in regard to who I listen to and read.

My attititude towards those I disagree with is already too often not as loving as it should be.

And I have observed that when I listen to or read too much of an "angry" or "furious" man, I too often find myself "learning his ways".
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
And I have observed that when I listen to or read too much of an "angry" or "furious" man, I too often find myself "learning his ways".
An important thing to learn early in the Christian life In my humble opinion; I usually do not direct newbies to Schwertley for this reason.
 
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