exclusive psalmody

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OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
I never called you ignorant, nor have I been condescending. Please stop lying about me. I noted your misunderstanding of EP, which others have noticed both in the thread and privately to me.


Again, I'm not sure where I've been "bossy." And I can assure you, with all due respect, that your misunderstanding of EP—which, again, I am virtually certain everyone else here has noticed—has indeed been harmful to this thread. I never said you are harmful. But a brother has come here looking for help regarding a serious matter of conscience, and all you have done is practically accuse him of rebellion. Do you consider that edifying?


This is unnecessary. Sister, if I may, might I suggest that perhaps you take pushback a little too personally? I have been extra, extra careful to ensure all my words are charitable and in order, as well as non-confrontational, yet your reaction to my attempt at this discussion has been...odd.
Yet it is only you and I that are having trouble while the rest are just imparting their facts to me and me to them. You called me ignorant by stating I do not understand the issue. A better way to say would be to say, "I'm wondering if you understand EP?". If you don't understand an issue, it's because you're ignorant... they mean the same. You continue to call me ignorant by claiming "everyone else here has noticed". You're being bossy when you tell people what to do as in, "Please reconsider your approach", and you were being and continue to be condescending by calling my posts harmful in order to shut me down. You haven't been cordial. You and I haven't been having a good dialogue full of facts. You're pleased only to put me in my place. I've asked that we stop.....
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
To return to the OP, I am in agreement with those who have advised remaining silent during the singing of uninspired praise.

Don't worry too much about what people think. The command is first to worship God. If they notice you not singing, be prepared to gently express your convictions. Some people will react positively, respecting your stand, and might even ask to hear more about exclusive psalmody. Others might think you a bit odd and will leave the matter alone. Still others will react more negatively and try to persuade you from your convictions. Whatever the case, we do not bow to the pleasure of men.

If you are a layman, do not attempt to reform your church. Pray sincerely for reformation according to the word of God. In the meantime, be humble and gentle, and maybe have one or two books available to recommend to anyone who thinks your views are novel or harmful.

Your conscience is in line with God's word. Follow it.
 

Stephen L Smith

Administrator
Staff member
the singing of uninspired praise.
Tom I think this language is a little loaded. In a service of worship a EP church has uninspired prayers and uninspired sermons.
Let me explain the key issue here. The esteemed Welsh pastor, the late Graham Harrison (a personal friend) made this comment in the preface to his hymnbook 'Christian Hymns' (1977 ed): "The progressive nature of biblical revelation imposes a necessary historical limitation upon the Psalmist". I agree with this. Obviously those of EP conviction differ.
The command is first to worship God.
Amen
Some people will react positively, respecting your stand
I am one of them. I think it is right that those of EP conviction refrain from singing hymns if their conscience binds them on this.
Pray sincerely for reformation according to the word of God.
Amen. For the record I am closer to my EP brethren than some modern forms of Reformed worship I see nowadays where reverence and awe in worship gives way to 'contemporary' styles of worship. In this regard Banner of Truths "Selected Practical Writings of Robert Traill" has an excellent sermon on reverence and awe in worship. It is worth a careful and prayerful read.
 

kodos

Puritan Board Junior
Anytime you mandate words to be put into the mouths of God's people - you must be very careful about conscience.
Uninspired sermons and prayers are not in the same league at all. As a matter of the Regulative Principle, they are regulated differently.

But this is not an argument about EP but of conscience. In that, I can reject what the minister says in the preaching. I can withold my 'amen' from his prayer if I disagree.

But you put my conscience in a bind when you force me to sing, "the little Lord Jesus no crying he makes". That is compulsion. It is ungodly and sinful.

This is Worship 101, or it should be. Especially for Presbyterians.
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
This is a key component of the reformation, namely liberty of conscience, and cannot be denied lest we fall into an antichrist/papist faith.

"2. God alone is Lord of the conscience, and hath left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men which are in anything contrary to his Word, or beside it, in matters of faith or worship. So that to believe such doctrines, or to obey such commands out of conscience, is to betray true liberty of conscience; and the requiring of an implicit faith, and an absolute and blind obedience, is to destroy liberty of conscience, and reason also."
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
Just a couple things as they relate back to the OP. Sarah (@OPC'n ), I don't know what your church officers have said to you, but it sounds to me from reading your posts that you believe EP/non-EP is unclear in scripture, though you lean EP (please let me know if I've misunderstood you). If I were asked as an elder by someone in your shoes, I would encourage them to sing uninspired hymns unless/until their conscience is convinced it is sin. In this case, I would encourage them to remain silent so as to not violate their conscience while of course offering to think through the issue with them. However, in the OP, @GillespieWestminster seems to be in a different circumstance than you, both in a) personal conviction and b) denomination. I really think that the thread has gone off course. Many here know that I am decidedly non-EP. Yet, I think we should all be able to agree that we do not desire that one violates their conscience. Since the OP is concerned with a matter of conscience, I think it would be wise to leave disagreements over EP and focus on the matter at hand, not only because it is the subject of the OP, but because it is a matter that I think we can all agree on. Let's save the debate for another day and focus on edifying one another where we can and may.

:2cents:
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
Just a couple things as they relate back to the OP. Sarah (@OPC'n ), I don't know what your church officers have said to you, but it sounds to me from reading your posts that you believe EP/non-EP is unclear in scripture, though you lean EP (please let me know if I've misunderstood you). If I were asked as an elder by someone in your shoes, I would encourage them to sing uninspired hymns unless/until their conscience is convinced it is sin. In this case, I would encourage them to remain silent so as to not violate their conscience while of course offering to think through the issue with them. However, in the OP, @GillespieWestminster seems to be in a different circumstance than you, both in a) personal conviction and b) denomination. I really think that the thread has gone off course. Many here know that I am decidedly non-EP. Yet, I think we should all be able to agree that we do not desire that one violates their conscience. Since the OP is concerned with a matter of conscience, I think it would be wise to leave disagreements over EP and focus on the matter at hand, not only because it is the subject of the OP, but because it is a matter that I think we can all agree on. Let's save the debate for another day and focus on edifying one another where we can and may.

:2cents:
I have multiples times said that I am not debating if EP is right or wrong and have also said that I wasn't doing that because I have no interest in changing anyone's mind about EP. So to tell me that I "would be wise to leave the disagreements over EP and focus on the matter at hand" is to tell me to do something that I have been doing all along which indicates to me that you haven't read my posts very well. The topic of my posts addresses the concern of abstaining from worshipping God through song if that song is a hymn. I've been very clear on my posts concerning this.

I realize that I am in the minority on my view here on PB (although I doubt I would be in the general reformed public), however, I disagree that one can claim conscience when one wants to disobey God especially on multiple levels. When God commands us to worship him corporately it's not a suggestion. Part of the call to worship is to sing. If God wasn't concerned about corporate worship, he wouldn't have issued a command for us to not forget the gathering of the brethren and we could stay home and do our own thing. But he is concerned about corporate worship. He wants us to worship him by gathering together and lifting our worship to him in unison. Corporate worship is about God it's not about individuals who have a statement to make on how reformed they are.

If EP is correct and the church leaders are not following EP, then they will answer to God in some fashion (i.e. God teaching them EP discipling them etc). Our duty is to obey God's command to worship him through song and to obey God's command to submit to church leadership. You can't have a unified body of Christ that worships him when individuals are doing whatever they want during service.

I feel like I have explained my position quite clearly on all sides and to continue is to just repeat myself multiple times to multiple people (because they aren't reading well what I'm writing) and to remind them that I'm not debating EP but touching on the subject of not obeying God's command to worship him/submit to church leadership. I leave you all to it.
 

Grant

Puritan Board Senior
I agree with much of the sentiment here. @OPC'n I think you have brought distraction by providing an assessment based on your opinion of just how “clear” the EP position is from scripture. You can find people that find it “very clear” from both perspectives. Your sense of clarity on the matter has zero bearing on the OP who cleary stated they are EP. One’s conviction of just how clear EP is in scripture was not asked for in the OP and likely unintentionally distracts readers into an unnecessary temptation to debate a separate topic. For the record, I do associate and practice EP, but it is largely still new for me and less clear.

Your post read as being overly defensive and also miresprensentative of @Taylor. Further, you have not really engaged in the major issue your logic implies, which is a destruction or at least a silencing of Liberty of Conscience for the saint, which doctrine get its own chapter in Westminster. You have also been unwilling to answer questions about other form’s of worship that in reality get imposed on the saints from time to time by crying “straw man”. You have also not engaged with the portions of Westminster that have been cited in opposition to your conclusion. In fact, I do believe your comments are riddled with straw-man type statement and claims. I think out of respect for the OP, the off-topic post should be deleted (including my own if necessary).

Sister Sarah, maybe it is time to pause and ponder because several wise and gracious members (myself excluded) have pointed out similar concerns in your post.
 
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Jeri Tanner

Administrator
Staff member
@OPC'n Sarah, moderating here: there are several points being made in the discussion that I can tell from your responses you’re not quite getting. I always appreciate your no-compromise stances but in this case, your comments are unintentionally derailing the thread. Better in this case to take a step back even if you disagree! Thanks. :)
 

Romans922

Puritan Board Professor
Put it in the perspective, if one is EP and the Session is not EP. And if EP is what God commands only, then 1) the Session will answer for it and 2) so will anyone who participates in non-EP for they are sinning against God. If one were singing, in this hypothetical, man-made hymns only and not psalms only then whoever is doing that is sin no matter if one's authority were calling them to it or not. Same with a child or a boss. If a parent tells the child to lie, and the child lies, both the parents and the child who is a liar has sinned - they will be held to account. If your boss tells you to steal from people, and you do it, you are in sin. If the Church says to recant of your errors (which are not errors) and you recanted, you are in sin and will be held to account. You are basically saying to Luther to recant. But Luther cannot go against his conscience, he must stand there and do no other but his conscience. To go against conscience is against reason and sense and is therefore sin as your own confession teaches.
 

OPC'n

Puritan Board Doctor
@OPC'n Sarah, moderating here: there are several points being made in the discussion that I can tell from your responses you’re not quite getting. I always appreciate your no-compromise stances but in this case, your comments are unintentionally derailing the thread. Better in this case to take a step back even if you disagree! Thanks
My last statement indicated my intentions of leaving the conversation but it seems it's just one of many that people didn't read since they continue to engage me in dialogue on how "I'm just not getting it". If people want me to stop talking, they should stop engaging me. Thanks. :)
 

timfost

Puritan Board Senior
So to tell me that I "would be wise to leave the disagreements over EP and focus on the matter at hand" is to tell me to do something that I have been doing all along which indicates to me that you haven't read my posts very well.
Sarah, I apologize if it wasn't clear that this statement in particular was a general admonition for the thread, not directed to you in particular. I tried to speak about the whole group by saying "I think we should all be able to agree" prior to writing the portion that you cited, but I definitely could have been more clear.
The topic of my posts addresses the concern of abstaining from worshipping God through song if that song is a hymn. I've been very clear on my posts concerning this.
I understand and hear your concern.

I realize that I am in the minority on my view here on PB (although I doubt I would be in the general reformed public), however, I disagree that one can claim conscience when one wants to disobey God especially on multiple levels.
I think this is where there is a disconnect. I don't believe that this representation is true or charitable, if I'm correctly understanding you. Nobody here "wants to disobey God." Rather, everyone here is seeking to obey Him.

When God commands us to worship him corporately it's not a suggestion. Part of the call to worship is to sing.
We all agree that the command to worship is not a suggestion. We all agree that part of our worship is to sing. Our EP brethren, to my knowledge, sing whenever Psalms are present in worship. They desire to sing even when they refrain. When I'm sick and I stay home from worship, I desire to be there, even though the circumstance prohibits me. In a very real way, an EP attending public worship with those who sing hymns desire to sing, though the circumstances of the worship service with their conscience would prohibit them from singing. This is not using conscience as a license to sin, but rather seeking to obey God in a circumstance where they believe part of the worship is not honoring to God.

If God wasn't concerned about corporate worship, he wouldn't have issued a command for us to not forget the gathering of the brethren and we could stay home and do our own thing.
I fear this is a straw man argument. EP proponents put themselves in a worship service that includes singing of hymns, not because they think they can "do [their] own thing" but because they believe that public worship is important enough that they attend even when their consciences do not allow them to participate in every aspect of the worship service.

But he is concerned about corporate worship. He wants us to worship him by gathering together and lifting our worship to him in unison. Corporate worship is about God it's not about individuals who have a statement to make on how reformed they are.
A matter of conscience is not necessarily a statement about "how reformed" one is. I really hope you can be more charitable towards those you are seeking to represent.

Our duty is to obey God's command to worship him through song and to obey God's command to submit to church leadership.
EP proponents worship publicly because they believe that public worship is commanded. If church leadership makes their singing/not singing a matter of obedience to church leadership, they bind the conscience and are not properly shepherding the flock. But even if those in church leadership commanded that members obey their mandate to sing against their conscience, the EP ought to say "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

You can't have a unified body of Christ that worships him when individuals are doing whatever they want during service.

I feel like I have explained my position quite clearly on all sides and to continue is to just repeat myself multiple times to multiple people (because they aren't reading well what I'm writing) and to remind them that I'm not debating EP but touching on the subject of not obeying God's command to worship him/submit to church leadership. I leave you all to it.
I appreciate that you are not trying to debate EP in this thread.

I hope that I have clarified things a little. Please let me know if I've misunderstood you.

Blessings,

Tim
 

brendanchatt

Puritan Board Freshman
Happy Lord's Day!

Brothers, I ask for help in an issue that left me thoughtful, I believe that uninspired hymns cannot be sung in public worship of the LORD, however in my church sings uninspired-hymns and psalms, what should I do when these hymns are sung?
My beloved Church does not reach 20 members and not always all go, so stop singing can cause some scandal, I ask for a sincere help in our common Lord Jesus Christ.
Just don't sing. That's what I do. Same church size. You can tell your pastor you can't sing em. He'll probably understand
 
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