Wretched video against Bethel and Hillsong

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Reformed Covenanter

Puritanboard Commissioner
Strictly speaking, it is not an EP thread but I did not know where else to put it. There is some special pleading in this video about singing songs by heretics from 200 years ago. They do nevertheless point out the danger of letting heretics and others with grossly erroneous theology to become our teachers via their songs. Pastors who endorse their music - no matter how good their intentions may be - are not protecting their flocks from wolves in sheep's clothing.

 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I think the EP forum is a fitting enough place to put it. The thing that eventually led me to exclusive a capella psalmody was the stark fact that there is no logical defense against music like this, other than to recognize the command to sing the psalms only. Men can talk all day about what’s proper and fitting among man-made songs and styles for worship, but at the end of the day that all boils down to individualistic subjective tastes and opinions; it’s non-authoritative. The church needs a word from God to know what and how to sing to him.
 

Rutherglen1794

Puritan Board Junior
The thing that eventually led me to exclusive a capella psalmody was the stark fact that there is no logical defense against music like this, other than to recognize the command to sing the psalms only. Men can talk all day about what’s proper and fitting among man-made songs and styles for worship, but at the end of the day that all boils down to individualistic subjective tastes and opinions; it’s non-authoritative. The church needs a word from God to know what and how to sing to him.
I haven’t watched the video yet.

Can you clarify? Are you saying that there is no logical defense against using uninspired songs that are heretical/untrue? Are you lumping those in together with uninspired, theologically true songs in this “no logical defense” category?

If so, I think it’s quite self-evident how one could argue for one and against the other.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
I haven’t watched the video yet.

Can you clarify? Are you saying that there is no logical defense against using uninspired songs that are heretical/untrue? Are you lumping those in together with uninspired, theologically true songs in this “no logical defense” category?

If so, I think it’s quite self-evident how one could argue for one and against the other.
I’ll give an example. When I used to believe in singing man-made hymns as a Pastor, the hymns we sang in worship were chosen by myself (on behalf of the elders). In other words, I as a man (and Pastor) had to decide what was and was not theologically true enough to be able to sing. With liberty in writing poetry (hymns) and discerning that poetry, it’s very difficult to determine. I’m sure if all the Pastors/elders came together on the PB alone to choose which ones were theologically pure enough, we’d disagree a lot. I was in the PCA and the PCA has a hymnal they publish, but there plenty of hymns in it that are not sound. But then again, who determines what is theologically pure enough? It must be God Himself not any man or elder. In my view, if you go down the rabbit hole there are a lot more holes you find, it’s inevitable.

More than this, on this subject there can be no unity in the songs the Church sings if we sing anything other than the Psalms.
 

Jeri Tanner

Moderator
Staff member
I accidentally deleted my reply a few minutes ago to you E but yes, sure, one can argue, and people do. But one Christian’s and one church’s definition of what is a proper song with which to worship God, and what musical instruments are suitable, and what styles are suitable, will differ from another’s. It will come down to preference.

As Rev. Barnes explained, spiritual unity is among the many wonderful things singing the Psalms accomplishes. The church speaks with the same mind and the same voice (the mind and voice of Christ).
 

BLM

Puritan Board Freshman
I was in the PCA and the PCA has a hymnal they publish, but there plenty of hymns in it that are not sound.
Rev. Barnes, could you provide a few examples of hymns in the Trinity Hymnal that are unsound? Hymn numbers will suffice. I've got a copy of the hymnal and am interested in seeing which ones you are referring to. Thanks in advance!
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Rev. Barnes, could you provide a few examples of hymns in the Trinity Hymnal that are unsound? Hymn numbers will suffice. I've got a copy of the hymnal and am interested in seeing which ones you are referring to. Thanks in advance!
Haven't looked at it in a long time, but all the advent ones come to mind.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Strictly speaking, it is not an EP thread but I did not know where else to put it. There is some special pleading in this video about singing songs by heretics from 200 years ago. They do nevertheless point out the danger of letting heretics and others with grossly erroneous theology to become our teachers via their songs. Pastors who endorse their music - no matter how good their intentions may be - are not protecting their flocks from wolves in sheep's clothing.

I finally got around to watching this, and I agree with everything that was said. These have been my thoughts for a long time. But now with EP eyes, I think of so many hymn writers who were heretics (e.g. Watts).
 

Ed Walsh

Puritan Board Junior
Men can talk all day about what’s proper and fitting among man-made songs and styles for worship, but at the end of the day that all boils down to individualistic subjective tastes and opinions; it’s non-authoritative. The church needs a word from God to know what and how to sing to him.
This thread and specifically your post inspired me to post a new thread called,

I hope it will be considered in good taste.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
I finally got around to watching this, and I agree with everything that was said. These have been my thoughts for a long time. But now with EP eyes, I think of so many hymn writers who were heretics (e.g. Watts).
Please forgive my ignorance, but how was Isaac Watts a heretic?
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Please forgive my ignorance, but how was Isaac Watts a heretic?
Here's a good place to start: https://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC07538713&id=5MYOAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA4-PA474&lpg=RA4-PA474&dq=isaac+watts+trinity+necessary+salvation&hl=en#v=onepage&q=isaac watts trinity necessary salvation&f=false


He voted against the Athanasian Creed - he thought Arians, Unitarians and Socinians were orthodox Christians. He believed one God eternally subsisting in three distinct persons was irrational and rejected the doctrine. He taught that the Holy Spirit was an attribute of God that merely functioned as a personality but was not really a personality.
 
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SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here's a good place to start: https://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC07538713&id=5MYOAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA4-PA474&lpg=RA4-PA474&dq=isaac+watts+trinity+necessary+salvation&hl=en#v=onepage&q=isaac watts trinity necessary salvation&f=false


He voted against the Athanasian Creed - he thought Arians, Unitarians and Socinians were orthodox Christians. He believed one God eternally subsisting in three distinct persons was irrational and rejected the doctrine. He taught that the Holy Spirit was an attribute of God that merely functioned as a personality but was not really a personality.
I'm scanning the link you supplied and I am not find a lot of support for any of the claims you made. Of course, it's hundreds of pages long, so I suppose it would take time.

Are you familiar enough with the work you linked to provide some more concrete quotes, so the sake of expediency?
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
An easier read, sure, but it's also someone else's opinion (and quite a bit of unsubstantiated hearsay) and not necessarily full of the man's own quotes.

I think to lay the appellation of "heretic" on a man requires a little higher standard.

But I digress. Thanks for pointing me in the right direction for further study.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
He voted against the Athanasian Creed - he thought Arians, Unitarians and Socinians were orthodox Christians. He believed one God eternally subsisting in three distinct persons was irrational and rejected the doctrine. He taught that the Holy Spirit was an attribute of God that merely functioned as a personality but was not really a personality.
Can you substantiate these claims with citations from Watts himself?
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
He believed one God eternally subsisting in three distinct persons was irrational and rejected the doctrine. He taught that the Holy Spirit was an attribute of God that merely functioned as a personality but was not really a personality.
False. Below is just one of dozens of Watts' hymns that speak with absolute fidelity to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

A song of praise to the blessed Trinity.

I give immortal praise
To God the Father's love,
For all my comforts here,
And better hopes above:
He sent his own
Eternal Son
To die for sins
That man had done.

To God the Son belongs
Immortal glory too,
Who bought us with his blood
From everlasting woe:
And now he lives,
And now he reigns,
And sees the fruit
Of all his pains.

To God the Spirit's name
Immortal worship give,
Whose new-creating power
Makes the dead sinner live:
His work completes
The great design,
And fills the soul
With joy divine.

Almighty God! to thee
Be endless honors done,
The undivided Three,
And the mysterious One:
Where reason fails
With all her powers,
There faith prevails
And love adores.


 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Another from Watts...

To our eternal God,
The Father, and the Son,
And Spirit, all divine,
Three mysteries in One,
Salvation, power,
And praise be giv'n,
By all on earth
And all in heav'n.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Can you substantiate these claims with citations from Watts himself?
Yes, I've given his whole work on the subject. To be more precise you could start on Pg. 375 and read from there: https://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC07538713&id=5MYOAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA4-PA474&lpg=RA4-PA474&dq=isaac+watts+trinity+necessary+salvation&hl=en#v=onepage&q=isaac watts trinity necessary salvation&f=false

If you want to be more thorough, you start at the beginning of his "The Arian Invited to the Orthodox Faith" on Pg. 207.

False. Below is just one of dozens of Watts' hymns that speak with absolute fidelity to the orthodox doctrine of the Trinity.

A song of praise to the blessed Trinity.

I give immortal praise
To God the Father's love,
For all my comforts here,
And better hopes above:
He sent his own
Eternal Son
To die for sins
That man had done.

To God the Son belongs
Immortal glory too,
Who bought us with his blood
From everlasting woe:
And now he lives,
And now he reigns,
And sees the fruit
Of all his pains.

To God the Spirit's name
Immortal worship give,
Whose new-creating power
Makes the dead sinner live:
His work completes
The great design,
And fills the soul
With joy divine.

Almighty God! to thee
Be endless honors done,
The undivided Three,
And the mysterious One:
Where reason fails
With all her powers,
There faith prevails
And love adores.


I'd encourage you to review the video above in the OP. What was the common theme, fairly legitimate songs in lyrics, but behind it is the heretical doctrine. When it has do with with the doctrine of the Trinity, you can say God, Son, Trinity, etc. The question is what is meant by those terms brother. That's where heresy or orthodoxy is found in the meanings of terms.
 
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Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
I had thought that Watts's views on the Trinity were fairly well documented. This has been discussed before on the Puritan Board.

Certainly, from the sources linked above, we ought to have grave concerns about what exactly Watts had in mind when he wrote "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross". (That used to be a favourite hymn of mine.) Just imagine if Watts was a member of your church and he expressed the view that Arians ought to be accepted as Christians. Would you then have him write the songs you sing in your worship?

Enough time has passed, though, and most people remember nothing of Watts except his name. Among many Christians his songs are taken for granted.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
There are other popular hymns that were undoubtedly written by heretics. Two that come to mind are "It is Well With My Soul" by the lunatic Horatio Spafford, and "Nearer, My God, to Thee" by Sarah Flower Adams, a Unitarian.

Both are sung in Christian churches today. Why? They pass a "smell test," I suppose. But what do the hymnwriters mean when they talk of God, Christ and the Holy Ghost, of faith, grace, salvation? They did not understand those things the same way that orthodox Christians do. We should not pretend they did.
 

Susan777

Puritan Board Sophomore
Here's a good place to start: https://books.google.com/books?vid=OCLC07538713&id=5MYOAAAAIAAJ&pg=RA4-PA474&lpg=RA4-PA474&dq=isaac+watts+trinity+necessary+salvation&hl=en#v=onepage&q=isaac watts trinity necessary salvation&f=false


He voted against the Athanasian Creed - he thought Arians, Unitarians and Socinians were orthodox Christians. He believed one God eternally subsisting in three distinct persons was irrational and rejected the doctrine. He taught that the Holy Spirit was an attribute of God that merely functioned as a personality but was not really a personality.
I read much of that excerpt but I did not come away with the understanding that you have about his theology. Nowhere did I see a denial of the Trinity, he affirmed it to my mind, but made the point that the understanding of the nature of the Godhead was beyond the ability of most men to understand but that simple men who believed in the Triune God and the work of Christ on their behalf were Christians nonetheless. But since I respect you as a knowledgeable contributor I looked for further evidence. What I did discover was that Watts is generally considered to be the “Father of English Hymnody”. Prior to Watts, the English Church sang psalms. I can imagine that EP brethren would be less than enthusiastic about him. I also found a book concerning him published by Banner of Truth , a very trustworthy source of things Puritan. I doubt they would publish the work of a heretic.
 

SeanPatrickCornell

Puritan Board Sophomore
I read much of that excerpt but I did not come away with the understanding that you have about his theology. Nowhere did I see a denial of the Trinity, he affirmed it to my mind, but made the point that the understanding of the nature of the Godhead was beyond the ability of most men to understand but that simple men who believed in the Triune God and the work of Christ on their behalf were Christians nonetheless. But since I respect you as a knowledgeable contributor I looked for further evidence. What I did discover was that Watts is generally considered to be the “Father of English Hymnody”. Prior to Watts, the English Church sang psalms. I can imagine that EP brethren would be less than enthusiastic about him. I also found a book concerning him published by Banner of Truth , a very trustworthy source of things Puritan. I doubt they would publish the work of a heretic.
That's pretty much been my takeaway as well.
 

JTB.SDG

Puritan Board Sophomore
We do well to not too quickly label people heretics. Especially when there isn't much (or any) clear evidence and they are men who have been a great blessing to the church.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Brothers, this was the 1700's no one is too quickly labeling anyone heretics. Just read Samuel Miller, the father of American Presbyterianism.
 

C. M. Sheffield

Puritan Board Senior
Yes, I've given his whole work on the subject. To be more precise you could start on Pg. 375 and read from there.
I read it, but fail to see the proof of your assertion. Would you be so kind as to identify the specific statements of Watts that prove...
He believed one God eternally subsisting in three distinct persons was irrational and rejected the doctrine. He taught that the Holy Spirit was an attribute of God that merely functioned as a personality but was not really a personality.
???
 

Seeking_Thy_Kingdom

Puritan Board Freshman
It is always interesting to notice that when non-EP pastors argue against contemporary music they inadvertently make arguments for EP, but never realize it themselves. The Psalms are the great unifier of the Church, all of this arguing and heresy can be simply avoided by singing the songs the Lord gave to us for His own worship.
 
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