RPW "in worship" vs "as worship"

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VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Furthermore, in Eph 5:19, the phrase “making melody” is the Greek word, psallo which means, “1) to pluck off, pull out, 2) to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang, 2a) to touch or strike the chord, to twang the strings of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate, 2b) to play on a stringed instrument, to play, the harp, etc. 2c) to sing to the music of the harp 2d) in the NT to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.”1 We can see that the making melody to the Lord involves the use of musical instruments.
Except Eph. 5:19 speaks more along the lines of "pluck your heartstrings." Not pluck your harp.

Thanks for expanding on your view.
 

White Robe

Puritan Board Freshman
I don’t think you’re understanding me. I’m not pushing back against your position on musical instruments. I’m just refining what you said about hermeneutics, saying we can’t make theological statements from only one verse, which is not true, given that Scripture is the infallible and inerrant Word of God.
Taylor. My apologies for my misunderstanding. I appreciate your kind support.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
@Ryan&Amber2013,

Let's apply a consistent hermeneutic.

If in the Psalms there is abundant support for musical instruments in the worship of the church, then

1) there is also abundant support for other Old Covenant forms, such as animal sacrifice (ie. Ps. 118:27); also,

2) those elements are not left free, but are commanded (animal sacrifice too).
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
@Ryan&Amber2013,

Let's apply a consistent hermeneutic.

If in the Psalms there is abundant support for musical instruments in the worship of the church, then

1) there is also abundant support for other Old Covenant forms, such as animal sacrifice (ie. Ps. 118:27); also,

2) those elements are not left free, but are commanded (animal sacrifice too).
That is a nice thought, but I think the New testament is very clear that that system is done away with.

For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:14
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
That is a nice thought, but I think the New testament is very clear that that system is done away with.

For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:14
What about bowls, lamps, and incense? or are we being selective with the instruments? These discussions are always very thought provoking.


Do you not find it strange that we do not have a NT example of instrument use for the local church, especially coupled with the fact that the ceremonial has passed away?
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
What about bowls, lamps, and incense? or are we being selective with the instruments? These discussions are always very thought provoking.


Do you not find it strange that we do not have a NT example of instrument use for the local church, especially coupled with the fact that the ceremonial has passed away?
This is from got questions:

Since the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies has been removed (Matthew 27:50-51). The Law has been fulfilled (Matthew 5:17). It is no longer necessary to burn incense to approach God, as we read in Hebrews 9:11-14.

The Christian has freedom to burn incense or not to burn incense. It is a matter of conviction. However, there are some basic questions to be asked. What is our purpose for burning incense? God knows our motives (Proverbs 21:2). If our motivation is to increase the power of our prayers or to somehow be more pleasing to God, then we are falling into the trap of legalism or mysticism. We are not told to burn incense in Scripture. Hebrews 10:19-22 says we approach God with confidence and full assurance of faith.

Another question to ask is, will my actions cause a weaker brother in Christ to stumble? Because of the link between incense and pagan religions, Christians who were saved out of paganism may struggle with using incense. Biblically, we must consider those of a weak conscience who may construe our use of incense as an approval of idolatrous practices (see Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-33). We are “called to be free,” but we must use our freedom to “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
This is from got questions:

Since the death, burial and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ the veil between the Holy Place and the Holy of Holies has been removed (Matthew 27:50-51). The Law has been fulfilled (Matthew 5:17). It is no longer necessary to burn incense to approach God, as we read in Hebrews 9:11-14.

The Christian has freedom to burn incense or not to burn incense. It is a matter of conviction. However, there are some basic questions to be asked. What is our purpose for burning incense? God knows our motives (Proverbs 21:2). If our motivation is to increase the power of our prayers or to somehow be more pleasing to God, then we are falling into the trap of legalism or mysticism. We are not told to burn incense in Scripture. Hebrews 10:19-22 says we approach God with confidence and full assurance of faith.

Another question to ask is, will my actions cause a weaker brother in Christ to stumble? Because of the link between incense and pagan religions, Christians who were saved out of paganism may struggle with using incense. Biblically, we must consider those of a weak conscience who may construe our use of incense as an approval of idolatrous practices (see Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 10:23-33). We are “called to be free,” but we must use our freedom to “serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).
Ryan, no offense brother but GotQuestions is not going to be a reliable source for discussions on the RPW as you can tell from the quotation you copied. I would encourage more careful reading on this matter. This portion would lend support to a Normative Principle of Worship.

And I do treat my bow question:

Do you not find it strange that we do not have a NT example of instrument use for the local church, especially coupled with the fact that the ceremonial has passed away?
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Ryan, no offense brother but GotQuestions is not going to be a reliable source for discussions on the RPW as you can tell from the quotation you copied. I would encourage more careful reading on this matter. This portion would lend support to a Normative Principle of Worship.

And I do treat my bow question:

Do you not find it strange that we do not have a NT example of instrument use for the local church, especially coupled with the fact that the ceremonial has passed away?
Thanks brother. I use their website quite a bit with discernment. As they pointed out, I would agree that that seems to be something that was fulfilled, but there are still denominations that see the freedom in using them, as it seems to be a gray area.

I think the lack of seeing instruments in the early church probably was circumstantial and not theological. That would be my understanding anyway.

My views of infant baptism are mostly drawn from the Old testament principles as well, so there are similarities in my understanding with instruments.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
Thanks brother. I use their website quite a bit with discernment. As they pointed out, I would agree that that seems to be something that was fulfilled, but there are still denominations that see the freedom in using them, as it seems to be a gray area.

I think the lack of seeing instruments in the early church probably was circumstantial and not theological. That would be my understanding anyway.

My views of infant baptism are mostly drawn from the Old testament principles as well, so there are similarities in my understanding with instruments.
I too have found helpful summaries from the GotQuestions website as well. Thanks for answering.
 

VictorBravo

Administrator
Staff member
Ryan, reiterating what I said in post #20, what you are describing is not the regulative principle. I'm not going to say that if one does not follow the regulative principle they aren't a church. I recognize your concern about the spirit of pride in that kind of discussion.

But again, calling something a regulative principle when it is not is not helpful.

I get your argument: Psalms tell us to use instruments. Scripture says so, QED.

The RPW says anything having to do with temple worship is abolished. But you counter the argument by saying incense and sacrifices are prohibited in the NT (Hebrews), but not instruments.

Then you say because we have never been told not to use instruments, we are free to do so.

Unfortunately, that is exactly how the Normative Principle works, not the RPW.
 

Tom Hart

Puritan Board Senior
That is a nice thought, but I think the New testament is very clear that that system is done away with.

For by that one offering he forever made perfect those who are being made holy.
Hebrews 10:14
As I said before: be consistent. You can't pick and choose here.

The system of Old Covenant worship is done away with, and that system includes more than a robed priesthood and animal sacrifice - it includes musical instruments. Types and shadows.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
…musical instruments. Types and shadows.
I’ve been meaning to look into this idea that musical instruments are part of the types and shadows of old covenant worship. Can you or anyone else direct me to some helpful resources?
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Thanks for the good food for thought guys! I sure appreciate it, and I know you have good reasons for believing what you do. And thanks so much for the dialogue in a kind and caring way. Today at our church service at my job we actually just sung with only voices. There is definitely a beauty to that as well.
 

Afterthought

Puritan Board Senior
I’ve been meaning to look into this idea that musical instruments are part of the types and shadows of old covenant worship. Can you or anyone else direct me to some helpful resources?
I've been trying to find something that directly addresses this. I know of plenty of indirect sources, e.g., looking at the use of instruments by Levites.



James Glasgow's Heart and Voice tries to tie musical instruments to Aaron's bells.


Edit: Also, at the rest of the thread, strictly speaking, circumstances are things that are necessary for elements of worship to be performed. One then prudentially arranges the circumstances. Circumstances should not be thought of as aids to worship. Time and place are needed to worship. Meeting in a building at, say, 10:30am, is strictly speaking not a circumstance but a prudential arrangement of circumstances of time and place via the light of nature, the general rules of the Word, and Christian prudence. The only "aid" here is practical, having to do with the things surrounding worship, not to enhance the worship or make the worshippers more worshipful (unless one counts being awake and sheltered from heat and rain as that sort of thing)...
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
Giradeau's treatment (though not exclusive psalm singing) is the standard southern Presbyterian work on the subject, along with his stellar discretionary power of the church; see also Dabney's review of the work against musical instrumentation in public worship.
They say short term memory is the first to go (in which case it's been a-goin a long time now :hunter: ); see on the previous page my post on definitions of the rpw and circumstance and the previously referenced Girardeau and Dabney.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
We all know where this goes; why begin? I have said they are a circumstance, to aid in singing together, just as a light is an aid to reading the Scripture, or a table an aid to laying out the elements of the Supper. Your question would be relevant only if I was advocating for instruments as elements, which I am not.

You do not understand the purpose of instruments in O.T. worship. Please listen to this brief explanation of why they are no longer necessary in worship.

 

White Robe

Puritan Board Freshman
That is a very good explanation of why instruments are not needed in worship; however, there are other verses on which the LORD is manifesting His detestation for any superficial, outer, pretentious, and presumptuous sins when in reality He desires obedience and no sacrifice, humbleness and no empty words, affection not just performance. So here are a few verses that remind us that:
Amos 5:21-23
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
With the same intention, we could say that Isaiah 58 has the same view in mind about true worship (even though does not mention instruments); but here is a better explanation of what real Worship is expected from man:

James 1:26-27 "

The True Way to Worship God​

26 You might think you are a very religious person. But if your tongue is out of control, you are fooling yourself. Your careless talk makes your offerings to God worthless. 27 The worship that God wants is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. This is the kind of worship that God accepts as pure and good."

The Great Commission is to make disciples of all nations; why? because they are orphans and have not been adopted by the heavenly father through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore your instruments or acapella songs are just empty words till you actively, consistently, obediently, fervently, finally go into the streets and preach to the orphans of this lost world which are most of them. If we do that, then our songs and instruments will produce the sound of humble and sincere hearts that have no presumptuous sins. Matthew 28:18-20, 2Timothy 4:1-5, Luke 19:10
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
That is a very good explanation of why instruments are not needed in worship; however, there are other verses on which the LORD is manifesting His detestation for any superficial, outer, pretentious, and presumptuous sins when in reality He desires obedience and no sacrifice, humbleness and no empty words, affection not just performance. So here are a few verses that remind us that:
Amos 5:21-23
21 “I hate, I despise your feasts,
and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies.
22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings,
I will not accept them;
and the peace offerings of your fattened animals,
I will not look upon them.
23 Take away from me the noise of your songs;
to the melody of your harps I will not listen.
With the same intention, we could say that Isaiah 58 has the same view in mind about true worship (even though does not mention instruments); but here is a better explanation of what real Worship is expected from man:

James 1:26-27 "

The True Way to Worship God​

26 You might think you are a very religious person. But if your tongue is out of control, you are fooling yourself. Your careless talk makes your offerings to God worthless. 27 The worship that God wants is this: caring for orphans or widows who need help and keeping yourself free from the world’s evil influence. This is the kind of worship that God accepts as pure and good."

The Great Commission is to make disciples of all nations; why? because they are orphans and have not been adopted by the heavenly father through the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus Christ; therefore your instruments or acapella songs are just empty words till you actively, consistently, obediently, fervently, finally go into the streets and preach to the orphans of this lost world which are most of them. If we do that, then our songs and instruments will produce the sound of humble and sincere hearts that have no presumptuous sins. Matthew 28:18-20, 2Timothy 4:1-5, Luke 19:10
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Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
You do not understand the purpose of instruments in O.T. worship. Please listen to this brief explanation of why they are no longer necessary in worship.

I already know that they are not necessary. But tell me this: because special garments were required in OT worship, must we now not wear clothes to church? Surely, if the symbolism of ephods and what-all was fulfilled in Christ, then the same logic that forbids using instruments as a circumstance would forbid wearing any clothes at all.
Still, we wear clothes, and Paul thought it a good thing. But clothing is not in any way an element of worship--it is a circumstance, even as is an instrument properly used.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I already know that they are not necessary. But tell me this: because special garments were required in OT worship, must we now not wear clothes to church? Surely, if the symbolism of ephods and what-all was fulfilled in Christ, then the same logic that forbids using instruments as a circumstance would forbid wearing any clothes at all.
Still, we wear clothes, and Paul thought it a good thing. But clothing is not in any way an element of worship--it is a circumstance, even as is an instrument properly used.

Priestly garments were in no way equivalent to everyday clothing. Poor attempt at a comparable analogy. I'd be interested to hear your interactions with the video clip I posted though.
 

Smeagol

Puritan Board Graduate
If an instrument is just a circumstance, then how long do you allow your congregation to use them before expiring them, if they are truly not “required”? I would even grant using them to play through the first stanza. BUT if just a circumstance, why does the instrument play for all the stanzas and not just the first one?

But what about visitors you say? Well if a congregation holds the tune with their voices, it is extremely easy to follow along, especially after hearing 1 verse. I have found the reasoning of “they are just circumstance” to always work out as an excuse to appease conscious that practically never remains consistent with the supposed logic.

Not to mention the awkwardness of using an OT ceremonial worship form and dangling it before the congregation. Let’s face it, we are all tempted to return to the former shadows because to our eyes it appears to be more “satisfying”. So The fact that instruments have been widely incorporated as both an element and “circumstance” still leaves me scratching my head. Is it not already clear that the saints wrestle with will-worship in candles, incense, garments, choirs, mega bands, sing/orchestra teams, and making our own holy days to reflected back to OT ceremonies?

:detective::detective:

P.S. A comparison to attending worship clothed vs. naked is not fruitful and further their are obvious reasons from other commandments and direct NT examples of why we need to wear clothes in public. Further, we are commanded in the NT to dress modestly.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
If an instrument is just a circumstance, then how long do you allow your congregation to use them before expiring them, if they are truly not “required”? I would even grant using them to play through the first stanza. BUT if just a circumstance, why does the instrument play for all the stanzas and not just the first one?

But what about visitors you say? Well if a congregation holds the tune with their voices, it is extremely easy to follow along, especially after hearing 1 verse. I have found the reasoning of “they are just circumstance” to always work out as an excuse to appease conscious that practically never remains consistent with the supposed logic.

Not to mention the awkwardness of using an OT ceremonial worship form and dangling it before the congregation. Let’s face it, We are all tempted to return to the former shadows because to our eyes it appears to be more “showy”. So The fact that instruments have been widely Inc. as both an element and “circumstance” because still leaves me scratching my head.
In Presbyterianism at least, when musical instrument became affordable like an organ and later the piano, they were not introduced as a circumstance; their origin for our tradition at least was for illicit reasons (e.g., for the fashion, or as Dabney heard one fellow Presbyterian minister tell, to keep the young folk from going down the street to the Episcopal church). A strong precentor leads the congregation just fine; in fact, in our church which does have a piano for accompaniment, he leads it rather than vice versa. The only time it might be argued as useful in our use is for an unfamiliar tune to play through it once. But in the past the precentor simply la-la'd or sang through it, and in the evening when we don't have any accompaniment we do just fine with following him on less known tunes. As a circumstance the necessity of musical instruments seems pretty weak to me, just in my limited experience in a church for two decades that didn't use any piano and subsequently in a church for nearing 15 years that makes use of a piano in the morning service.
 

NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
In Presbyterianism at least, when musical instrument became affordable like an organ and later the piano, they were not introduced as a circumstance; their origin for our tradition at least was for illicit reasons (e.g., for the fashion, or as Dabney heard one fellow Presbyterian minister tell, to keep the young folk from going down the street to the Episcopal church). A strong precentor leads the congregation just fine; in fact, in our church which does have a piano for accompaniment, he leads it rather than vice versa. The only time it might be argued as useful in our use is for an unfamiliar tune to play through it once. But in the past the precentor simply la-la'd or sang through it, and in the evening when we don't have any accompaniment we do just fine with following him on less known tunes. As a circumstance the necessity of musical instruments seems pretty weak to me, just in my limited experience in a church for two decades that didn't use any piano and subsequently in a church for nearing 15 years that makes use of a piano in the morning service.
I will add, that though in my current church we likely made use of the piano more in learning new tunes in the full psalter we produced for use in the church's worship, in my old church we also had to learn to use a full book of different tunes and did so as folks went through them in their family devotions and or in sunday school, and likewise my current church will introduced or revisit difficult tunes in the singing time before SS before morning worship. Again, I speak to any necessity circumstantially for musical instruments in worship to aid the singing, and again, they were not introduced in Presbyterianism, and I suspect in the majority of nonconformist churches in the mid 19th century, for anything but the reason of aiding the singing.
 

Ben Zartman

Puritan Board Sophomore
Priestly garments were in no way equivalent to everyday clothing. Poor attempt at a comparable analogy. I'd be interested to hear your interactions with the video clip I posted though.
I'll be glad to interact when you show my why my analogy is unacceptable to you. There were special clothes and special instruments. Now you say there can be no instruments because they were commanded then, but somehow that doesn't apply to other elements of OT worship. Why is the principle not the same?
 

Scottish Presbyterian

Puritan Board Freshman
I'll be glad to interact when you show my why my analogy is unacceptable to you. There were special clothes and special instruments. Now you say there can be no instruments because they were commanded then, but somehow that doesn't apply to other elements of OT worship. Why is the principle not the same?
I would have thought it perfectly clear and scriptural that in public we wear clothes all the time. Therefore, since public worship is, well, public (and there is clear scriptural command to gather for worship), clothes must be worn. What clothes we wear may be circumstantial, but that we wear clothes is a necessary consequence of gathering for worship, which is elementary. The priestly garments are indeed a ceremonial element and done away, but clothing itself is not. Hence the analogy does not obtain, unless modesty forbids us to appear in public at all without a musical instrument, which I do not think is the case.
 

Andres

Puritan Board Doctor
I'll be glad to interact when you show my why my analogy is unacceptable to you. There were special clothes and special instruments. Now you say there can be no instruments because they were commanded then, but somehow that doesn't apply to other elements of OT worship. Why is the principle not the same?
I would have thought it perfectly clear and scriptural that in public we wear clothes all the time. Therefore, since public worship is, well, public (and there is clear scriptural command to gather for worship), clothes must be worn. What clothes we wear may be circumstantial, but that we wear clothes is a necessary consequence of gathering for worship, which is elementary. The priestly garments are indeed a ceremonial element and done away, but clothing itself is not. Hence the analogy does not obtain, unless modesty forbids us to appear in public at all without a musical instrument, which I do not think is the case.
:ditto: Neil above has answered well.
Your analogy was that the special clothes of the OT priests were equivalent to everyday clothing of common man. That's where I said the analogy didn't hold up. The priestly garments would fall into the same category as the instruments - done away with under the new covenant/dispensation where Christ Himself has fulfilled all types, shadows, and all things related specifically to ceremonial/temple worship and therefore they are unnecessary.
If you believe things like priestly garments and musical instruments are still needed then why do you no longer sacrifice animals upon the altar in worship today? I'm not attempting to be snarky or contentious with you, brother. I am genuinely hoping you will recognize the place of instruments in worship - not necessary and not commanded in modern corporate worship and therefore forbidden based on the regulative principle of worship.
Again, let us interact with the video clip I shared - what specifically in the clip do you disagree with and why? I would caution you to not fall into the trap of making reasoning for beliefs that you hold to by tradition or that your church holds to by tradition. For years, I didn't want to study or fully embrace a capella exclusive Psalm singing because my local church didn't practice such. I was only doing myself a disservice, not to mention rebelling against God, by refusing to humble myself to Him and His word. Once I fully studied the subject matter and removed my own personal bias from the topic and the Scriptures, the Lord pleased to direct me and convince me of a capella exclusive Psalmody. Blessings to you as you seek to know God and honor Him more in your life.
 
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NaphtaliPress

Administrator
Staff member
If musical instruments are retained as an element of worship, then I should think the argument holds that such have been done away with along with other ceremonial worship. The argument why they cannot now be introduced as a circumstantial matter to aid the singing or that preludes, postludes, interludes are somehow circumstantial, need to be answered on the bases that they do not meet the definition of circumstances of the worship of God for which the church has freedom to address per WCF 1.6. Girardeau does this in his two works already referenced in this thread (I won't do it a third time I promise!).
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
I guess one thing I would mention is whatever your conviction is, finding a church that is Psalm only and no instruments in some places is going to be borderline impossible. I don't think there is one in my state. PCA and OPC churches don't hold to that for the most part and they also celebrate Christmas and Easter. I see many of your defending the RPW and the conditions I mention above, go to PCA or OPC church. My question is what do you do in your worship services when they do hymns and play instruments? Do you not participate? Or, do you actually attend one that holds to the principle fully as you explain?
 
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