Singing inspired songs-EP answers only

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by BG, Aug 22, 2017.

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  1. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    Singing inspired songs

    For those of you who are EP:

    Please explain how your understanding of the regulative principal differs from those who are non-EP?
  2. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    Regulative-what God commands and only that
    Normative-whatever is not prohibited in Scripture is permitted
  3. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    You can find their answers in the thread for the non-EP. ;)
  4. iainduguid

    iainduguid Puritan Board Sophomore

    I suspect that their understanding of the regulative principle doesn't differ at all. Scott's definition is clear enough. Some who are non EP would hold to a normative principle. Others (like myself) would strongly affirm the Regulative principle as he has stated it. Which underlines a common mistake people make about the regulative principle of worship (not by any means unique to EP): that the RPW in itself commands a particular form of worship. The RPW is simply a preliminary commitment: that every aspect of our worship must be according to Biblical commands (explicit or good and necessary inference). It does not in itself tell us the content of those scriptural commands. For that, exegesis of specific texts is necessary. Wide differences in worship among those who affirm the RPW are no more surprising than wide differences in theology among those who affirm the inerrancy of the Scriptures. The difference flows from the exegesis (and underlying hermeneutics), not from the preliminary principle.
  5. earl40

    earl40 Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    One group in my opinion is not correctly interpreting what psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are, and thus change a principle based on a faulty belief in what the bible is communicating.
  6. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    I guess this shows the weakness in thinking that referring to the RPW will be the clincher for Psalms-only. It's a good short-hand term among those who agree. But when defending EP, it seems to really come down to showing, by explicit and by good and necessary inference, the Trinitarian nature and Christology of the Psalms; and what Christ has said himself about singing in his church (Psalm 22:22 and Hebrews 2:12).

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  7. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    It's more surprising to me though that there would be such disagreement about exactly what is 'regulated' (restricted and prohibited) in the worship of God among those who hold to covenant theology. It seems to me to be a huge, illogical break to the continuity of the revelation of God's covenant. Almost a NCT thing, to think that God would suddenly allow man to introduce uninspired song into what had always been inspired song; because Christ has risen(?)

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  8. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    For those of you who are EP:

    What are your thoughts on the following argument: "My position is that we must sing only what is biblical. But by the term “biblical” I mean what is biblical in content. We do not need to sing only the very words of Scripture. Otherwise we would have to sing in Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic. We need to sing the content of Scripture."?
  9. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    I struggled with this sentiment at one time and it made perfect sense to me (singing in the original language). However, the goal of song in worship is singing that which is inspired which makes it fit for worship to God. The translations of God's word are acceptable as it carries the inspired words of God in it. Since God accepts the translations i.e. translated into the local, vulgar languages for our local churches, He accepts the same for worship to Himself.
  10. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Since the threads have become "Only" threads, I am going to repost links to the past few blogs I have made and a few new ones. They are responses to objections. But allow me to reiterate something here.

    Here are the blog Titles and Links.



    Psalmody is Typology?

    I skipped ahead and posted on the next topic out of the chronological order of the book.
    Why Regulate Singing, Praying, and Teaching Differently?.
  11. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    First, regarding the validity of translations, the Bible itself acknowledges that translations may properly be considered the Word of God when NT writers quote the Septuagint translation of the OT.

    Regarding the position put forward on "singing what is Biblical," I don't see much of an argument--merely an assertion. In other words, nothing has been done to attempt to prove the position.
  12. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Many who accept the RPW do not accept exclusive Psalmody. If they believe that God regulates his worship according to Scriptural prescription alone, then I wholeheartedly agree. The difference comes when seeking to ascertain what God has prescribed.
  13. Jake

    Jake Puritan Board Junior

    As I said in the previous thread, it doesn't have to differ. It depends on how the position is argued.

    For example, some arguments I think are consistent with the regulative principle. The clearest way to view is this the argument that the songs or hymns referred to in Col. 3:16 or Eph 5:19 are outside of the Psalter. I think Psalms, Hymns, and Songs all refer to Psalms of David, so I believe this commands to sing the Psalms, but I could see how if you think these are other songs you have a basis without changing the underlying principle. This is not to say there are not other problems brought up by this view.
  14. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    I'm someone who went from non-EP to EP while pastoring a non-EP church. While I was still singing hymns, I would have said I was in full agreement with the RPW. Now, I see that my previous conception of the RPW was deeply flawed, along a couple of lines.

    First, I had been allowing things God has not commanded in worship on the grounds they were circumstantial, even though they had spiritual significance. Musical instruments and preaching robes are examples.

    Second, I had been allowing elements in worship based upon patterns observed in Old Covenant worship, even when they did not have a New Covenant command to continue. I realized that I had been wiser than God in thinking I knew what could be transposed from Old to New Covenant worship. Confession of sin, assurance of pardon, and responsive readings are all examples.

    Third, in general I had been allowing fallible men and church history to take a very prominent role in my thinking. If I heard Christians had been doing something for a really long time, it carried a lot of weight. At one point, I considered adding in the sursum corda. Instead of actually searching the Scripture for God's commandments for worship, I took it upon faith that prominent ministers had done this for me. At times, I remember thinking, "I don't recall where God exactly commanded us to do _______ in worship, but Pastor _______ does it and I'm sure he has explored the matter thoroughly." In all of this, I had made fallible men into new apostles.

    Looking back, I would conclude what I previously held was actually a NPW.
  15. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Has your church become EP since your realization ? If the answer is affirmative, how did the transition from non-EP, to EP go ?
  16. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Dear brother, if only. My personal, gradual transition to EP only compounded a host of other issues already straining the relationship between myself and the session. We mutually agreed that I could no longer serve there as pastor and my call was dissolved (hence my current signature block).
  17. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    Sorry to hear that. I didn't notice the current status. Thanks for the clarification.
  18. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

  19. BG

    BG Puritan Board Junior

    What are your thoughts on the following argument?

    Does this argument correctly represent the EP position?

    Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 clearly point to singing in worship that is more than just only singing Psalms. I have yet to see any convincing exegetical treatment of this that can get around what the text is saying here, that we should sing songs of multiple genres, and not just psalm-only. It is three different words in the Greek here that get translated as psalms, hymns, spiritual songs. These words aren’t just strict synonyms. Paul isn’t saying, “Singing psalms, psalms, psalms.” Paul is thinking of worship of God that involves the psalms, but not just strictly and only singing the psalms.
  20. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Me: "Your position? Are you quite sure that it is also God's position? I admit that this would be a reasonable position if not for God's repeated assertions that he alone governs his worship. As for God's position on sung praise, how would we have any way of knowing God desires us to use some kind of 'sanctified common sense' in what we sing, without any passage in Scripture proving that he desires uninspired praise? Better to stick with what's proven, and that's Psalms."

    I think there are many that would say they hold to the RPW, but there is a germ of something within it. That germ is the notion that men may determine some portion of God's actual worship through the use of a "sanctified common sense" (a phrase one of my seminary professors used extensively). While this is actually true in matters that are circumstantial, it is idolatrous when applied to anything that has any religious significance. "Thou shalt not build it of hewn stone," says the Lord, "For if thou lift up thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it," (Exodus 20:25).

    What modern practitioners of the RPW would need to justify the range of ceremonies and flourishes they have added is a passage "dialing back" what God has revealed about his zeal to govern his own worship, and God expressing a willingness for men to deliberate along with him to determine what is most glorifying. Such a passage doesn't exist, nor can it.
  21. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    No, it doesn't. Anyone who argues that the three terms are strictly synonymous is weakening his case. The terms can be used in different ways. Here, I would argue, they function as synonyms, though they can be used to draw distinctions.

    If the terms were intended to draw distinctions in this context, we would be provided with a way to draw clear, distinct definitions for each term. We aren't, however, and everyone who has attempted the task has been left to speculation.
  22. Parakaleo

    Parakaleo Puritan Board Sophomore

    Only a modern reader could make this error. This is an excerpt from Rev. Roy Mohon's work, Make His Praise Glorious:

    The New Testament writers were thoroughly familiar with the Psalms because they were reading them and singing them. With respect to the knowledge of them in the Greek language they were thoroughly familiar with the Psalter in the Septuagint version. This would be the version resorted to for access to the Old Testament by those who could not read Hebrew, namely, the majority of the population of the Roman Empire. This was the translation that was used on a regular basis by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Paul, James and Peter. From this Greek Psalter the New Testament church could not but be familiar with the titles appearing at the head of the individual praises: Psalms, Hymns and Songs.
  23. PuritanCovenanter

    PuritanCovenanter Moderator Staff Member

    Will requote Jeri here.
    Also listen to this....
  24. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    I think the difference between the positions can be defined by this formula, Uninspired hymns = Inspired Psalms. Proof of this is seen as has happened in the U.K, in the production of a hymn book that includes the Psalms as well. Thereby putting the poetic productions of men on the same level as the Word of God. That fact alone grieves my soul, through the bringing down of the infallible word to equally compare with the fallible compositions of sinful men. Comparing the divine inspiration given to God ordained prophets, to the poetic licence of anybody who fancies to unleash their talents on the church without calling or authorisation.
    I truly believe that our present limp, placid and strengthless condition as the people of God will not be altered until we return to the prescribed and ordained worship of the Almighty. Who, commanded to do all things according to the pattern showed in the mount, which our Lord repeatedin the NT, "teaching them to do all things whatsoever I have commanded you." This He did by word and practise.
    The Waldenses, the Huguenots, Covenanters, and Cromwellians faced their enemies with resolve and backbone with Psalms in their mouths, and died with them on their lips. The eternal truth gave them the spiritual steel to defend the truth. But the majority of the present generation of Christians seem to side with Dr Watts who wrote, "Some of the Psalms are almost opposite the spirit of the gospel. There are a thousand lines in the book of Psalms which were not made for the church in our days to assume as its own. I shall rejoice to see David converted to a Christian. There are many hundreds of verses in the book of Psalms which the Christian cannot properly assume in singing." This from a man whose view of the Trinity was more akin to the JW interpretation, and yet his hymns are still sung in Reformed circles.
    Dearly beloved brethren and sisters, if we hold that the Psalms are not suitable to be sung in NT worship, then they are not suitable to be read or preached. Did not our blessed Master teach, "that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the Psalms, concerning ME." One has written , "that out of the Psalms we could create a biography of Jesus." Another said " a Christless book of praise would be but a censer without incense, and a harp where the noblest notes have been broken." There is a false division made by emphasising that there are Messianic Psalms and others. Whereas I would agree with the Rev Andrew Bonar who held that every Psalm is about Him. To whom be glory world without end.
    Last edited: Aug 25, 2017
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  25. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Just an aside; you had me until Cromwellians.
    Faced each other. Which goes to show that singing the psalms can be done in an unworthy cause.
  26. JimmyH

    JimmyH Puritan Board Junior

    I'm neutral in that the OPC congregation I belong to uses the Trinity Hymnal singing Psalms as they are interpreted in that edition, as well as hymns, but ..........

    Dr Henry Krabbendam, who preached there on August 13, when asked how he felt about EP equated the singing of uninspired hymns to a minister preaching out of Calvin's Institutes instead of Holy Scripture.

    Food for thought. He did lead us in the selected hymns for the two services, all of which were from the Psalms.
  27. Scott Bushey

    Scott Bushey Puritan Board Doctor

    It says much that the OPC is trashing the Trinity Hymnal for their own published work. If the Trinity is so iron-clad, why replace it? Because, it is problematic.
  28. Edward

    Edward Puritan Board Doctor

    Because the life cycle of a Hymnal is about 30 years. The OPC came out with the original Trinity in 1961 (although work began in 1949). They began formal work on the new Trinity in 1984 (although preliminary work may have begun earlier. The OPC released it for publication in 1987, or 26 years after the original. The OPC began work on the new Hymnal/Psalter a few years ago, with release approximately 30 years after the new Trinity was approved, and about 56 years after the original. Write it down - I predict they'll launch a new one in approximately 2045. (The Trinity Psalter is somewhat newer than the new Trinity Hymnal).
  29. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Junior

    Very much agreed.
  30. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Yes, you hear this all the time about the "Messianic Psalms," when in reality they are all about Him (and Andrew Bonar's comments on the Psalms are eye-opening!).
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