Why did the post Apostolic Church sing hymns and not only psalms?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by SolaGratia, Feb 27, 2008.

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  1. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    The church I attend, we use for worshipping two books; The Book of Psalter For Singing and the Trinity Hymnal. The latter contains hymns that were written by several Church Fathers. For example;

    1.) Ambrose of Milan, who had a great influence upon Augustine, wrote hymns for the Church when he lived (340-397). One of those hymns Luther translated in 1524 for the German Church.

    2.) Gregory the Great (509-604).

    3.) Gregory Nazianzen (325-390).

    4.) Clemens (348-413).

    5.) Clement of Alexandria ( lived around AD200).


    Can someone help me with the below questions that I have as a result from the above information;

    Were these Church Fathers in error in writing these hymns by going against RWP according to EP's?

    It seems that EP's say that the church has always sang psalms, do they mean in addition to hymns or that the Church of the OT always sang psalms?

    If the church in the OT always sang psalms, why do Jews sing other songs that are not psalms?
  2. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    They were not hymns but poetry....

    The musical tunes were not set to them until the 1800s... Each Hymn as two dates.. When the Poetry or Lyrics were written and the other was when the tune was composed and set to it....

  3. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    A few examples...

    1) Let all mortal flesh keep silent..

    Words: Liturgy of St. James, 4th Century

    Music: Picardy, French carol melody; combined together in 1906

    2) O Sacred Head, Now Wounded

    Words: Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153 (Salve caput cruentatum)

    Music: Passion Chorale, Hans L. Hassler, Lustgarten neuer teutscher Gesäng, 1601

    3) Shepherd of Tender Youth

    Words: Attributed to Clement of Alexandria (Titus Flavius Clemens), circa 200

    Music: Olivet (Mason), Lowell Mason, 1831


    The Early church prohibited Hymns of uninspired composition... See the following...

    Const. Apost. ii. 57, speaks of chanting the Psalms of David.

    The Council of Laodicea (can. 59) prohibited the ecclesiastical use of "private hymns."
  4. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior


    The Jews in the OT only sang Psalms....

    "the words of David, and of Asaph the seer" in 2 Chronicles 29:30

    Today, Jews do not follow much of their scripture nor any of the Old Testament requirements in many cases.....
  5. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    So this poetry was not sang back then, but only compose for other spiritual matters besides being use for worshipping?
  6. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior


    But a few like "Let all mortal flesh keep silent" was a section that was spoken in a liturgy in the 4th century in worship and is part of a much larger work called the liturgy of Saint James.....

    Quote from Wikipedia:

    Many Western Christians, to their surprise, would know a small portion of the Liturgy through the hymn, Let all Mortal Flesh keep Silence. The tune to which it is sung in English today, however, is certainly not part of the original composition and is a French carol melody, Picardy, which first appeared in The English Hymnal in 1906.

  7. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    Luther sang and wrote uninspired songs, can we say that he was in error about this?
    While Calvin's Church in Geneva (St. Peters) only sang psalms, therefore returned to a biblical form of RWP ?
  8. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Correct... Luther Followed the Catholic view of worship i.e. Statues, Wood Craved Pictures, Candles, Incense, Musical Instruments, Uninspired Songs, Vestments, Crucifixes, etc....

    The Reformed, which include Geneva, Presbyterian, Baptist, Congregational followed EP and rejected the rest of the above listed catholic practices......

    Anglicans while keeping Incense, Candles, Images, Vestments, etc, rejected uninspired songs for the first couple hundred years.....

  9. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Some Anglicans rejected Incense, Candles, Images, Vestments, etc :p But you are correct to say that Anglicans sang only inspired songs, we even devised "Anglican Chant" ;)
  10. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    I stand corrected..... :detective:

    I believe ArchBishop Thomas Cranmer wanted to do away with incense, candles, images, etc...


  11. panta dokimazete

    panta dokimazete Panting Donkey Machete

    There is a historical account from a secular source - Pliny the Elder, I believe, that witnessed and testified that Christians sang hymns as the secular source understood the contemporary usage of the term.
  12. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    What about sang doxologies like Gloria Patri, should that be sang in the church?

    Also, why did some Christians like Isaac Watts, Augustus Toplady, Charles Wesley, H. Bonar, etc. wrote songs uninspired songs? I think because of them we sing uninspired songs in some of our Reformed Churches?
    Last edited: Feb 27, 2008
  13. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Pliny the Elder (a pagan) described to his boss what he saw going on using language he knew. I thought he called it the singig of anthems. He also said that the congregation was led by a president!
  14. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    Of course this can be circular yet again...

    But a Hymn in the first century was a Psalm and Pliny was referring to a Psalm.....

    Remember, Christ sung a Hymn after the Passover and it was a Psalm, I believe Psalm 116?
  15. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    :eek: Never knew Wesley was a respected Reformed Christian. But on a serious note, that is besides the issue. There is a difference between writing songs and singing them in the public worship of God. Ultimately they were wrong to do so.
  16. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Actually the Greek does not imply the singular as the English translation does. He sang Psalms 115-118 or possibly 116-118 (cant think off the top of my head).
  17. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    This has probably already been addressed elsewhere and might be appropriate to start a new thread, but what is the EP explanation for why Paul refers to singing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs if they are considered to be synonymous?
  18. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    As I said here:

    Both Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 speak of singing “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”. These all describe the Psalter. “Psalms” refer obviously to psalms; “hymns” refer to psalms for as John Gill wrote, "I take hymns to be but another name for the book of psalms; for the running title of that book may as well be, the book of hymns, as of psalms" but what of “spiritual songs”? A simple glance at the titles of a number of psalms will find them called songs as are Psalms 18, 30, 45, 46, 48, 65-68, 75, 76, 83, 87, 92, 108, and 120-134. They are called “spiritual” because they were written by the Spirit of God (2 Peter 1:21) and composed for spiritual edification. Do you find it odd that St. Paul would use three different words in one sentence to describe the same thing? I would point out that this is done in a number of places including Genesis 26:5, Exodus 34:7, Deuteronomy 8:11, 1 Kings 2:3, Nehemiah 1:7 and Acts 2:22.​
  19. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    If one wants to use the Gloria Patri in a Prayer or Benediction then I see no problem with it unless one is singing it.......

    The Psalms are full of singing Doxologies one can use for singing....

    respected reformed christians? Isaac Watts? a heretic who denied the trinity? and called the Psalms unfit for Christian worship and was a hyper dispensationalist?

    Charles Wesley who believed in Baptismal Regeneration and Prayers for the Dead? and was a Arminian?

    I think I can give you Toplady and Bonar, thought I have not studied them out enough to really say......

    Watts started uninspired Hymns in Reformed circles but not in a good way..... Toplady and Bonar were just a product of their time, when Uninspired Hymnody had already made great in roads in Reformed Churches.....

  20. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    :up: It is anachronistic to assume an ancient commentator's use of a certain word means how we use it in the 21 century West.

    I wonder if anyone wants to start posting "secular" sources and early Church Father's commentaries and thoughts on drum beating (and other instruments of localized pagan worship) in the Worship of God.

    Unfortunately, I am against the clock.
  21. SolaGratia

    SolaGratia Puritan Board Junior

    Regarding the OT Church, did not the Jews sang songs of melodies, uninspired poems, chants, etc. that were not the psalms?

    If so, was this not done during congregational worshipped?

    For example, David played the harp but not during worshipped?
  22. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    It is a Tradic Expression...

    Common in Hebrew Culture...

    Commandments, Statutes, and Judgments

    Signs, Wonders and Miracles

    Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs....

  23. CDM

    CDM Puritan Board Junior

    Psalm 119 has about 119 +/- examples of them. :)
  24. Coram Deo

    Coram Deo Puritan Board Junior

    In worship, the Jews sung only Psalms of inspired composition.....

    Outside of Worship they sang much more... Including Festive Songs during National celebrations......

    Mariam even played Cymbals and Danced during a National Celebration.... But not in Worship...

  25. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Synonomy of psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs

    This paper attached addresses the synonomy of psalms, hymns and spiritual songs at Col. 3:16 and Eph 3:19. See page 14ff.
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