O. T. Allis: Are the Psalms fossils?

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Reformed Covenanter

Cancelled Commissioner
... Yet according to Dr. Snowden the Psalms passed centuries ago “into the museum of fossilized religion and extinct theology.” A more grievous misrepresentation, it would be hard to find. “If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone?” Either the ministers of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. are calling upon their congregations once or twice every Sunday to resurrect some of the “fossils” of an all but forgotten past, to feed on “stones,” or else Dr. Snowden has traduced and defamed some of the most precious possessions of the Christian believer of today.

The Old Testament Psalms are pre-eminently the book of devotion of the Christian Church. They are not “fossils”; they are not “dead and turned to stone.” They are full of living truth because they are the words of the living God. They have brought blessing and comfort and life to countless generations of believers. They were the solace of the persecuted saints on the desolate moors of Scotland and in the mountain fastnesses of the Waldenses. Martyrs went to the stake with psalms on their lips. They have been read and chanted and sung in every part of the Christian Church; and will continue to be so used while time shall last. “Fossils”! Every Christian who is loyal to God’s word will emphatically repudiate such an outrageous metaphor. ...

For more, see:

Amen Amen Daniel

139 O lord, thou hast searched me, and known me.

2 Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising, thou understandest my thought afar off.

3 Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways.

4 For there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether.

5 Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.

6 Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it.

7 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?

8 If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there.

9 If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea;

10 Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me.

11 If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me.

12 Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

13 For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother's womb.

14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.

15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.

16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.

17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!

18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.

19 Surely thou wilt slay the wicked, O God: depart from me therefore, ye bloody men.

20 For they speak against thee wickedly, and thine enemies take thy name in vain.

21 Do not I hate them, O Lord, that hate thee? and am not I grieved with those that rise up against thee?

22 I hate them with perfect hatred: I count them mine enemies.

23 Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:

24 And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.
This is right up there with your George Lewis excerpt on uninspired hymns supplanting the Psalms.
Another comment from the same article:

Yet the Psalter is not merely “the hymn book of the Second Temple,” it is today the great treasure house of Christian devotion.

Oswald Thompson Allis, ‘Was Jesus a Modernist?’, Princeton Theological Review (January 1929), p. 104.
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