Why Exclusive Psalmody?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by David Taylor, Feb 10, 2020.

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  1. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    I am not arguing that he is making them up, nor am I arguing that he is not following his conscience or anyone else who follows EP (or infant baptism for that matter). But the inconsistency is there. Even if I held to the Infant Baptism position I would still say it is logically inconsistent since there is no explicit command for Infant Baptism in Scripture, which those who hold that view readily admit, yet they keep Infant Baptism and throw out any song (and in some cases instruments) other than the 150 Psalms of Scripture.
  2. alexandermsmith

    alexandermsmith Puritan Board Sophomore

    But I believe Baptism replaces Circumcision so that is the obvious conclusion I would draw. The two subjects are different as well as similar. Not all the circumstances perfectly align. With Baptism we have a replacement of one rite with another to represent the same thing; with worship we have the discontinuation of one aspect of worship (Temple worship) and a continuation of what one might call regular worship.
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  3. G

    G Puritan Board Junior


    The Westminster Standards state it better than I, but we look for express commands (sing psalms) OR good & necessary consequence (part of infant baptism):

    Portion of Westminster 1.6

    Again, I am not looking to debate. Just trying to say be careful with your assertions as they move the conversation nowhere.:detective:
  4. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    I understand, but I don't hold to Westminster as you do, but the London.
  5. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    This bit about baptism is going off topic, but I think you ought to have a look at Matthew 28:19.

    And I second @G's suggestion to give this a rest. Take some time to study this. There are plenty of threads on the PB that you can look through (this one's mostly turned into a repeat of those). And of course there are lots of other resources available.
  6. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    @David Taylor,
    God's prescription for his worship can be found three different ways:
    1. Explicit command. This is self-explanatory.

    2. Deduction by good and necessary consequence. This is when two or more Scriptural facts, taken together, logically necessitate a certain doctrine or practice.

    3. Approved example. This, too, is self-explanatory.

    There is no explicit command to write uninspired songs or use them in worship.

    There is also no approved example of someone composing or using uninspired worship songs. Instead, all the songwriters in Scripture are prophets.

    The only possible way to conclude that God prescribes the composition and use of uninspired songs in worship is to make a deductive case for it. The strongest case one can make is the view that God prescribes the composition of new songs in response to every act of redemptive history. The problem with this view is that God didn't inspire anyone to write new songs for the New Testament church. Again, only prophets write worship songs in Scripture. There are other problems with this view, but that's the most glaring issue with it.
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  7. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Is this actually true?
  8. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Absolutely. Can you give a counterexample?

    By the way this brings to mind the beautiful way in which David describes his prophetic songwriting office in 2 Sam 23:
    1Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said,

    2The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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  9. SeanPatrickCornell

    SeanPatrickCornell Puritan Board Sophomore

    Do you consider Mary to be a Prophet?
  10. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    I definitely believe she spoke the Magnificat by inspiration. Whether it is a song, and whether it was composed for singing in public worship, is another matter altogether. But, yes, she was prophesying when she spoke those words.
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  11. Scottish Presbyterian

    Scottish Presbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    Isnt LBC 4.6 virtually word for word WCF 1.6?
  12. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    It is similar yes, but I was referring to Infant Baptism specifically. However, the LBCF is worded differently in 1.6 enough to where Baptists and Presbyterians would come to very different conclusions on some things, such as baptism.
  13. Scottish Presbyterian

    Scottish Presbyterian Puritan Board Freshman

    WCF 1.6 - "either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture"

    LBC 4.6 - "either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture"

    That aside its word for word - I dont think these paragraphs have scope for explaining the disagreements between paedobaptists and anti-paedobaptists.

    To come back to topic though (because I think the baptism thing is a rabbit trail), nobody bases their belief in exclusive psalmody on the passages in Ephesians 5 and Colossians 3. The reason these come up regularly are that they are to my knowledge the only passages of Scripture which, if interpreted a certain way, can be used to make the case for non-exclusive psalmody within the framework of the RPW. I'm open to correction if there is any other Scripture that you can think of?
  14. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

  15. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    The Psalms themselves refute exclusive Psalmody. Ps. 105:2 says we should sing praises that tell of all his wondrous works. You cannot actually do that by singing the Psalms only.

    Yes, you can say that was written in a specific time and the wondrous works are written in that Psalm. That is true, yes, but there have been wondrous works SINCE the writing of that Psalm. Is it not good and necessary that we should sing of those things as well? Why not sing to the rooftops of the Resurrection? Why not sing of the greatness of the miracles performed in the New Testament? Why not sing the glories of John 1 or Colossians?
  16. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    I recommend an in-depth study of the psalms themselves. Every psalm is focussed on Christ. Calvin's commentaries are available for free online, as is, I think, Spurgeon's Treasury of David.

    Do you ever sing the psalms? Try singing through the whole psalter. You'll discover things you've never seen before.
  17. TylerRay

    TylerRay Puritan Board Senior

    Three thoughts:

    1. Do you sing of all of God's wonderful works? All of them? Each and every one, particularly? Of course not. It's as impossible for you as it is for the exclusive psalmodist.

    2. In singing the Psalms, we do sing of all God's wonderful works--not particularly, but collectively. The Psalm you quoted is an excellent example. These psalms are adaptable to the praise of God for any and all of his works in any situation.

    3. There's more in the Book of Psalms than you suppose. Psalm 16 and Psalm 71, for example, speak of the resurrection of Christ (interesting fact--Psalms 69 and 70 are Psalms of the cross; Psalm 71 is a Psalm of the resurrection; and Psalm 72 is a Psalm of the ascension and session of Christ--very fitting for Chrst-centered, New Testament worship!).
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  18. Jeri Tanner

    Jeri Tanner Moderator Staff Member

    Hi David, what do you think it means when Christ says in Psalm 22:22, “I will declare thy name unto my brethren: in the midst of the congregation will I praise Thee”; and then the author of Hebrews quotes it in Hebrews 2:12: “Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.”?

    Would you take these verses to mean that Christ is the song leader of the church?
  19. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    @David Taylor

    A deep study of Psalm 2, 16, 22, 23, 24, 45, 110, among others, will bring the conclusion that greater hymns about Christ cannot possibly be written.

    There are many wonderful hymns about Christ, my favorite uninspired one being The Sands of Time, an adaptation of the letters of Rutherford, of whom some said his writings are as close to inspired as any writing since the New Testament era church could be. Stanza after stanza of magnificent Christological richness, worthy of memorization and private singing. I will still put these psalms in glory, majesty, beauty and power far above that one.

    As I am ever sure Rutherford himself would do.

    Why not give a go at that study?
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  20. Goodcheer68

    Goodcheer68 Puritan Board Freshman

  21. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    Unless, of course, they are using New Testament passages.
  22. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Are you saying that man-made hymns are superior to the inspired word of God?

    Also, we Reformed hold that the body of Scripture is unified. One passage is not better than another. The New Testament is not more inspired than the Old.

    Mr. Taylor, you are operating upon a heap of assumptions.
  23. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    I said no such thing.
    No, but I would say a direct account of the Resurrection is superior in discussing the Resurrection than the prophetic words that serve dual purposes. That is not making one part of Scripture greater than another, rather, it is saying that different parts of Scripture better deal with certain items than other parts of Scripture. Surely you agree.
    I think you misunderstood me.
  24. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    You replied,
    I asked,
    You said,
    "Greater hymns than the psalms cannot possibly be written, unless the hymn-writers use NT passages."

    Is that not what you have said?
  25. RPEphesian

    RPEphesian Puritan Board Junior

    I speak as a former Reformed Baptist who held that psalmody was inferior to New Covenant uninspired hymnody :) Teaching Sabbath school on the psalms in my Baptist days I could not deny that despite the absence of the letters J E S U S that I was looking right at Him. In fact I taught on Psalm 45 for its clear Christology.

    Go and study, and you will see that even Rutherford is resting downstream.

    In fact, go to the New Testament, particularly Hebrews, and be amazed at how much dependence there is on the Psalms to prove its doctrines and teachings. The NT does not impose a new meaning on them: it is bringing out the meaning that was always there.

    I speak wkth some conviction, but I trust lovingly. If you will at least be amazed at Christ in them, my joy will be complete.
  26. Tom Hart

    Tom Hart Puritan Board Senior

    Not at all. I am speaking generally of your engagement in this thread.
  27. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    That is what I said, but that is not a man-made hymn. That is Scripture.
  28. David Taylor

    David Taylor Puritan Board Freshman

    Well honestly there have been a lot of assumptions made about me in this thread that are not fair. Example, it seems that some assume that I do not see Christ in the Psalms. I've never asserted such nor have I given anyone reason to believe that.
  29. timfost

    timfost Puritan Board Senior


    I think this is obnoxious. Part of the turn-off for me on many of these EP threads are comments like these. @RPEphesian has a much more charitable tone in his comments. I think you could be a much better proponent of your position without comments like these.

    I simple, "I'm sorry, I misunderstood" or "it seemed like you were saying this, could you please clarify" would go a long way.

    I would have PMed you, but I don't see that option in your profile.

    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
  30. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    Folks, there is always the option to SAY NOTHING. But that's maybe the hardest if perhaps the most edifying thing to do, to just walk away. And if you have trouble contacting a member privately, if it is preferable, enlist the aid of a moderator to convey the message.

    Please recall the PB rule below. Or consider this exhortation by James Durham (directed to ministers but there is no doubt a general application):
    "Use Two. For exhortation, whether in doctrine, discipline or carriage. And it is in the apostle’s words, “for as much as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church” (1 Cor. 14:12), we had need to take the exhortation in all things to aim mainly at the edifying of the body of Christ. In every sermon, in every exercise of discipline, in every meeting together, in every word we speak in our meeting, in all the steps of our carriage, look to edify. " James Durham, “A Sermon on Ephesians 4:11–12,” Collected Sermons of James Durham: Sixty-one Sermons (Naphtali Press and Reformation Heritage Books, August 2017), 925.

    PB Rules:
    3. Pause Before You Post​

    This is something that everyone can benefit from. Before you send the latest jab, punch, tweak, etc into cyberspace, take a minute (or two, or five) to make sure that you are doing so in a spirit of Christian maturity (cf. #4 below). Study first, pray, post after. https://www.puritanboard.com/help/terms

    Give this one a rest, particularly since the appeal to see old threads was made more than once, and this one has become unedifying in tone.
    Last edited: Feb 14, 2020
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