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Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by deyvid.vilela, Nov 20, 2017.
Could you list works written by Puritans on Exclusive Psalmody?
Here u go:
Thank you, Mr. Bushey. A Brazilian pastor (Presbyterian Church of Brazil) stated that the Puritans did not write many works on Exclusive Psalmody, since many Puritans advocated the use of uninspired hymns. He used this article to prove the thesis: https://calvinistinternational.com/2017/05/31/17th-century-exclusive-psalmody-hymnody/
Ford was dealing with a hypothetical since when he wrote just a few years after the Westminster assembly, of which he was a member, hymn singing was a minority practice if at all a practice in most of the English churches at the time. When John Brown of Wamphray wrote his magnum opus in Latin defending the Christian Sabbath or Lord's Day about 20 years later, in detailing the ordinances of public worship, he mainly has in mind Quaker practice when defending psalmody against hymnody. It would be another 30 years or more before the practice started to take off with the work of Watts.
Why doesn't the Westminster Confession of Faith mention exclusive psalmody in its part on worship (maybe it does and I don't recall it)? Was it because those who wrote it weren't agreeing with each other even back then?
You don't rule out a problem that didn't exist. The Westminster Assembly was in agreement that the element of worship involving song, was the singing of psalms (hymns singing was an aberrant and scarce practice more associated with the sects at the time), and set about to create a new psalter purged of anything but the psalms (other things of a minor nature had customarily been included). This is confirmed in their directory for worship when it is confirmed that everyone that can read should have a "psalm book", the one they were tasked to create and that the parliament was to authorize.
I'm pretty sure that OPC ministers have to agree with the whole WCF. Why isn't the OPC obliged to sing only Psalms....how has this fallen through the cracks?
Well, while I wish they still were, it is the case that OPC ministers don't vow to uphold the Westminster Confession, but the confession of faith of the OPC (that is what it is called officially) which has been changed both actually in words in places (not in this regard) but also via adopting intent (versus original intent), which does affect this matter because the PCUSA from which the OPC sprung historically changed how they understood the matter via adopting a directory of worship that including hymns explicitly. Dr. Alan Strange has written on the distinction of original intent and adopting intent and its importance.
Are there denominations that hold to the whole of the WCF? And do they sing only Psalms? Or do all denominations take parts of what they want from the WCF?
There a some Scottish and derivative denominations and some micro groups in this country that hold the original WCF and hold to psalm singing.
The WCF lists as part of worship "singing of Psalms with grace in the heart" whereas the LBCF lists "teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord" -- perhaps the Baptists understood the former phrase as being exclusive psalmody whereas there was less agreement on the issue among Baptists. Of course, EP'ers would be fine with the phrase in the LBCF but it's less interpretative and more just a quotation from Scripture.
5. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear; the sound preaching, and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, and reverence; singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as, also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ; are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: besides religious oaths, and vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasion; which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.
5. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, singing of psalms; as also the administration of baptism and the Lord's Supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience unto God with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear. Solemn humiliations, with fastings and thanksgivings upon special occasions, are in their several times and seasons to be used in a holy and religious manner.
5. The reading of the Scriptures, preaching, and hearing the Word of God, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in our hearts to the Lord; as also the administration of baptism, and the Lord's supper, are all parts of religious worship of God, to be performed in obedience to him, with understanding, faith, reverence, and godly fear; moreover, solemn humiliation, with fastings, and thanksgivings, upon special occasions, ought to be used in an holy and religious manner.
XXI. Of Religious Worship, and the Sabbath Day
V. The reading of the Scriptures with godly fear, the sound preaching and conscionable hearing of the Word, in obedience unto God, with understanding, faith and reverence, singing of psalms with grace in the heart; as also, the due administration and worthy receiving of the sacraments instituted by Christ, are all parts of the ordinary religious worship of God: beside religious oaths, vows, solemn fastings, and thanksgivings upon special occasions, which are, in their several times and seasons, to be used in an holy and religious manner.
I find it very likely that just as the EP folk believe "Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" to mean only inspired Psalms, so also a person could choose take the WCF's "psalms" to mean "any song of praise, inspired or not." Perhaps it depends on what the word "psalm" was taken to mean in the English of the 1600s.
They would probably mean what they knew. Since they (according to Chris) knew nothing about uninspired hymns, they would obviously define psalms to mean Psalms. You can't define something according to something you don't know anything about.
Exactly. The attempts by some to make this more obscure and to leave room that the Westminster assembly was open to what it had absolutely no experience with and in fact found problematic, is wishful thinking colored by modern prejudice reading back into history. Theonomists try to read their understanding of the OT judicial law back into the assembly, lovers of images of Christ and non literal creation week insist their views are accommodated in the assembly's, and this is just another example of that self serving kind of dealing with history and with the original confessional documents. The assembly talked about, worked on, refined over and over and produced nothing but a collection to sing of the 150 Psalms. Period, end of paragraph. I frankly don't get it. The assembly clearly believed certain things now minority held (the establishment principle, the pope is antichrist) and folks bat not an eye in being okay with simply disagreeing with them on those things. Here, for some odd reason, some folks feel compelled to force a-historical facts upon the case in regard to worship song.
The Westminster Standard(s) are (an) exclusive psalmody document(s). They can't be read in any other light based not only on the Assembly's purpose for instituting a common worship for England, Ireland and Scotland, but their writings also expose the same. Psalms were the psalms, hymns and songs of the Psalter. Thomas Ford, one of the assembly members, was the only one to write a book on EP from the assembly, not because it wasn't important, but because EP was not a contested issue. Everyone was in agreement.
Other complete works were:
Gospel Music: or the Singing of David’s Psalms by Nathaniel Holmes (or Homes) D.D. (1599–1678)
A Gospel-Ordinance Concerning the Singing of Scripture Psalms, Hymns and Spiritual Songs – by Cuthbert Sydenham (1622–1654)
Singing of Psalms a Gospel Ordinance – by John Cotton (1585-1662)
And Ford's, Singing of Psalms the Duty of Christians – by Thomas Ford (1598–1674)
They are listed here.
^^^I was not saying that I did so personally--I was offering a theory of how people could take the WCF's wording and ascribe different meanings to it.
Being a Baptist, I don't have a horse in this race: as has been pointed out, the LBCF has different language in that section.
Being a Baptist does not relieve one to a principle.
A minister of the RPCNA told me that more than 500 works on Exclusive Psalmody were written by Puritans. Does anyone have this information?
That sounds a bit high; if you know the minister that said it, why can't he provide the list?
What are the names of these denominations?
You can see the various individual (OPC etc.) and denominational affiliations here; I don't know how up to date it is. https://exclusivepsalmody.com/churches/
Free Church of Scotland (Continuing), Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland, and Associated Presbyterian Churches all have churches in North America, but are from Scotland and hold to the original Westminster Standards.
The best example of an indigenous denomination that holds to the original Westminster Standards and exclusive Psalmody is the Presbyterian Reformed Church. It's also part of NAPARC.
The RPCNA holds to the original plus its testimony which essentially makes a few modifications/qualifications to the original Westminster Standards.
There are also a few very small groups that fit these criteria. The only one I know of that still exists and is not Steelite is Reformation Presbytery of the Midwest.
If I can boast for a minute without getting into too much trouble...I'm pretty well acquainted (and widely read) with most of the writings of the Assembly and most of the good puritans, in physically reading much of their material, works and sermons. On EP with the Puritans, I have done quite a bit of study, and that has been in the last 10 years specifically (keep in mind, the 4 most famous works we published as books). It may very well be that there are 500 passages in various commentaries, or other works by the Puritans on the subject EP. There are unpublished works I have that deal with this in some short forms and such from the time period. Some are:
Lewis Awdeley, "The Axe at the Root of innovation of Singing in the Worship of God."
Jonathan Clapham, "A Short and Full Vindication of that Sweet and Comfortable Ordinance of Singing of Psalms"
John Clarke, "Holy Incense...Choice Places taken out of singing psalms digested into a method of prayer and praises."
E.H., (Possibly Ezekiel Hopkins) "Scripture Proof for Singing of Scripture Psalms"
Commentaries and such that mention EP are numerous, some are:
Nicholas Byfield, Robert Rollock, Edward Elton, Thomas Cartwright, Paul Bayne(s) and many others on Colossians.
James Ferguson, Paul Bayne, Richard Vines, William Perkins and many others, on Ephesians.
Much less all the commentaries on the Psalms themselves.
But 500 books on the subject of Exclusive Psalmody - I know not where. Don't get me wrong, if you know where, I'd love to see them. It would be great to have more published works on that subject from that time period. See if you can get this fellow who told you this to get you even a partial bibliography. That would be awesome.
What is a Steelite?
You can find plenty of old threads here, and it's not worth having the conversation again in my view. Suffice to say, they're extremely small in number. Here is an example thread:
Of course not: but since I believe we are enjoined by the RPW to sing hymns as well as psalms, I do not have to wonder whether it's within the bounds of the confession.
Wrong beliefs do not either.
This has been my contention with hymn singers-that being, if u cannot, without any shadow of doubt, believe that hymn singing meets the RPW, one should not sing hymns for that fact alone. Consider strange fire. For prudence sake alone, the church should stick with God's word-the same words that Christ used. it would seem much safer.
In Soviet Russia, hymns sing you!