What if EP is an impossibility?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by ReformedInSweden, Dec 22, 2016.

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  1. ReformedInSweden

    ReformedInSweden Puritan Board Freshman

    I've a question for you! I just read the thread "I'm EP", which wasn't a very big deal for the person who had come to the conviction of EP. Just skipping the hymns and singing only the psalms basically.
    But what would you do if you came to the conviction of being EP, while living in a country where metrical psalms simply do not exist at all? Where no one has ever heard of EP? Where no one has even ever heard of this phenomenon of singing the psalms from the Bible? Where the word "psalm" means "hymn"? Where the words "book of psalms" would be interpreted as "hymnal"?

    I myself namely became convicted that singing the psalms was the only right thing to do in worship years back. This, together with other Calvinist doctrines, made me end up entirely alone with no church at all for years, because there didn't exist any reformed church in Sweden back then. After some years I just had to go back to the Lutheran church because I was in a miserable spiritual state.
    Recently I found a tiny baptist congregation reasonably close to where I live, which I consider to be a true gift from heaven. It's the only one of it's kind in Sweden. Now I can hear the doctrines of grace in the sermons! I don't have to go to a Lutheran church any more! (There's also a Presbyterian congregation many hours away. That's the only one in Sweden. And that's it when it comes to reformed churches.)
    But singing the psalms? It just doesn't exist here....
  2. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    I don't know what I would do, but I might start asking the elders about LBC 22.5, "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs". It says we should be singing psalms, but I'm confused as to why we aren't doing that, would you explain please. Might be a good first step.
  3. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior


    Have you talked to the Baptist pastor about incorporating some Psalms into the worship?

    I don't know how much access you have to Swedish Psalms. From what I can tell, a number of them were put together by Johan Helmich roman.

    Here is an example: Psalm 148

    As far as translation and singability, they may not be ideal--but they would be a starting place, anyway. Maybe you could work his settings into a different tune so that they are better adapted to corporate worship.
  4. ReformedInSweden

    ReformedInSweden Puritan Board Freshman

    No, I have not, because I noticed that while in the WCF it says in 21.5 "singing of psalms with grace in the heart;" in the LBC 22.5 it says "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord". So I supposed they don't believe in singing the psalms exclusively. The psalms are read though, which could fall under the "teaching one another in psalms".

    No, there are no Swedish metrical psalms except for a few ones that are more or less based on psalms and you might recognize some part of a phrase of a psalm in them :think: ;). I hadn't heard that example of Ps. 148. It's very ancient language and could be hard to be sung in church though.

    However, that shouldn't be a problem as this congregation is international and the church services are done in both English and Swedish and both English and Swedish hymns are sung. Actually they put great effort in finding good gospel centred hymns, so why they don't use one of the psalters for singing out there I have no idea actually. I discovered this congregation only about two months ago and am not a member, so I don't think I'm in any position to be critical. I could ask the question though, and I will.
  5. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Yes, it doesn't seem like they do. However, it says teaching and admonishing on another in psalms, hymns, AND spiritual songs. Which implies hymns, spiritual songs, but also Psalms. That's what I gather. It's worth a shot, maybe you could get them to think about it more and get a Psalm or two in corporate worship. It's unlikely they'd go EP, and you shouldn't necessarily expect that, though pray for it. You could seek a Psalm in a worship service to be sung.
  6. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    It might just be me, but since you are so grateful to actually have Biblical sermons now, and since that seems to have been such a hard thing to find, I probably would not try to shake up a Baptist church over their worship. You're not (from your profile) a Baptist. I'm not even sure if you are a member. And you certainly aren't an officer. You aren't in any position to be dictating to the church how they should worship, or even implicitly criticizing their worship. I'd be thankful to the Lord for what He has provided, and not try to find another area to fight over - especially since it is very likely no one in the congregation would agree with you.
  7. ReformedInSweden

    ReformedInSweden Puritan Board Freshman

    Yes, that's what I thought as well. However, I could ask the question why not including psalms as well at an appropriate time some day. This is a very tiny congregation, only 20 members and some visitors. It hasn't existed very long, it's still sort of in development. They might simply not have given it a thought since psalm singing isn't done in Sweden.
  8. Reepicheep

    Reepicheep Puritan Board Freshman

    I suggest taking comfort for the majority of Church History Christians singing both the psalms and theologically sound hymns. As Crampton wrote a while back- "There is no Biblical warrant for us to eliminate altogether the use of other hymns and songs, as long as they are theologically sound. Neither is it non-confessional to do so. The witness of church history is far from convincing us of exclusive Psalmody, and the Biblical evidence overwhelming supports the use of “hymns and spiritual songs,” both inspired and otherwise, along with the singing of Psalms".

    I fully understand many here disagree, but you can rest in your church leadership's historically coherent practice on this.
  9. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    It's one thing to be consigned to worshipping in a church that is not EP because you have no real choice. The below is implicit faith. That's horrible advice; it's sin. And frankly my friend Gary Crampton's statement is simply historically confessionally, wrong.
  10. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Maria, If you have an avenue, find and suggest a psalm to sing one week like the 23rd and then after a while another. If they don't want to; wait and try again. But don't become shrill or obnoxious. Be very patient as if they have no history with singing psalms, this is a work of years. I'm EP and while I think he disparages his EP brethren too quickly, Rev. Greco is right. Absolutely do not compromise what you have over this issue, which is the preaching of the gospel in a desolate wasteland. My church is not EP but they sing psalms and they have gotten to the point they want a full psalter in the pew; all with out carping or complaining from their only EP member (moi). There are folks that raise ep to some mark of the church; those that do tend to be attracted to separatist ideals. Never embrace that kind of thinking.
  11. ReformedInSweden

    ReformedInSweden Puritan Board Freshman

    Thanks all for the advice. Actually there might be an entrance...last Sunday they actually asked the Lord in prayer to help them to praise him better with their congregational singing...
    And I have a friend in the congregation who is a member and who grew up in another country in a church which sings only the psalms, which she still visits now and then. So there's at least one who isn't unfamiliar with singing the psalms. So I'll start with talking it over with her and just making a little suggestion. And then there's always one or two hours of fellowship after the service, so there's much opportunity to raise the question without being critical, just over a cup of coffee.
  12. Reformed Covenanter

    Reformed Covenanter Puritanboard Commissioner

    Even though I am a hard-core EPer, I basically agree with what Fred has written. It would appear that you are a guest in this church, so starting a fight over EP is not a very good idea. As a member of the RPCI, I would have fought tooth-and-nail if someone had attempted to introduce uninspired songs into worship. In my current situation, although I am a member of the congregation,[1] I cannot reasonably expect the oversight to cater to my views. All I can do is remain silent during the hymn-singing and hope and pray for further reform.

    [1] One reason I go to an Anglican church is that I was not required to take any vows that would contradict my RPCI membership vows, to which I still adhere.
  13. johnny

    johnny Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hi Maria,

    EP is certainly not an impossibility in Sweden, its just never been done before, that's all :)

    I am a big fan of Swedish singing groups and I know you guys love singing acappella.
    There is "The Real Group" who are amazing and also "Ringmasters" whom I have met and seen live through our Barbershop association (and who also won the world championships) so although Sweden doesn't have any EP churches yet, it certainly has a history of unaccompanied singing and lots of really good choirs.

    If I were you, I would start my own SATB quartet and show your church just what you are talking about. I'm not saying put on a concert per say, but just to do some singing of the psalms on the Lords day after service plus a mid week rehearsal with the members of your group. If this works out well for you, then suggest how wonderful it would be if the Psalms were mandated in the service.

    To introduce the people of God to the joys of psalm singing is its own reward. Regardless of what you accomplish, you will at least be singing the psalms. Perhaps you have this desire for this very reason.
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