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#16115 Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:21 PM
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Being a member of the RECUSA, and always being 'poked' for being a bit too catholic in my worship preferences, I decided to study up on this topic. I have read a little concerning this, as well as what the WCF has to say about it. I was told once that there are three basic views;

1) Extremely conservative. Only what is scriptural is allowed. If scripture doesn't mention it or command it, it isn't allowed.

2) Extremely liberal. Anything not forebidden may be allowed. We see this in many churches today.

3) The Via Media. Tradition allows for some practices not mentioned. Every tradition must be checked by scripture and not be against Holy Writ.

Am I wrong? Could somebody offer a better summary? Which is the proper view? I am only interested in the views themselves, as well as their scriptural support and historical understandings.


God bless,

william

#16116 Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:37 PM
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You forgot the I'm being lead by the Holy Spirit view? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/grin.gif" alt="" />


Reformed and Always Reforming,
J_Edwards #16117 Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:48 PM
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<img src="/forum/images/graemlins/excitedgrn.gif" alt="" /> You mean this kind of worship? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/puke.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/flee.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />


God bless,

william

#16118 Sat Jul 10, 2004 7:55 PM
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Well I guess that is close. [Linked Image]

I've seen it demonstrated as: [Linked Image]

But, seriously, I have heard of one charismatic church (Reformed Grudem style) here that "basically" uses the regulative principle, but the songs are selected as the worship proceeds and not prior to the beginning of the service, et. al.

J_Edwards #16119 Sat Jul 10, 2004 9:17 PM
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How about the category of the "Holy Ghost Bartender" <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/cheers2.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/rofl.gif" alt="" />

And his "Satan Shootin' Sidekicks"? <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/takethat.gif" alt="" /> <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/threaddevil.gif" alt="" />


True godliness is a sincere feeling which loves God as Father as much as it fears and reverences Him as Lord, embraces His righteousness, and dreads offending Him worse than death~ Calvin
#16120 Sat Jul 10, 2004 9:26 PM
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Holy laughter anyone? Last time I came home from Toronto I laughed for weeks!!!

All kidding aside... It seems that everything should be weighed in the light of scripture and doctrine. Orthodoxy is key and if, weighed against scripture, any worship song, style, or method is found wanting we should throw it out like yesterday's bath water.

I defer to Ephesians 5 as in my post on true worship.

J_Edwards #16121 Sat Jul 10, 2004 11:42 PM
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Seems most worship services these days are more like this:
[Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image] [Linked Image]

But I prefer this standard:
Q96: What does God require in the second Commandment?
A96: That we in no way make any image of God, nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded us in His Word. Heidelberg Catechism


[Linked Image]
RefDoc #16122 Sun Jul 11, 2004 12:20 AM
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I agree. One of my major problems moving was locating a church without all the "modern" music. I do agree in some worshipful instruments though. Orchestras, pipe organs, etc. sound great IMHO.


Reformed and Always Reforming,
RefDoc #16123 Sun Jul 11, 2004 7:43 AM
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I think that's the problem. Some label this as a bit extreme. Here's an example;

Where in scripture does it allow for each individual to bring his/her own Bible?


God bless,

william

MarieP #16124 Thu Jul 15, 2004 12:57 PM
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I am one of those strict types (Psalms only, no instruments).

Love those psalms!

Kind regards,
Octavius

#16125 Fri Jul 16, 2004 7:59 AM
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I love the Psalms. I read them in metre sometimes. I was hoping somebody could provide a passage (scripture alone) that required their use alone. I was also interested in the historical approaches to this situation. How did the early church worship? How about the reformers?


God bless,

william

#16126 Fri Jul 16, 2004 12:20 PM
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I'll do my very best to give you the short answer because the long answer tends to put people to sleep.

I should also say that the argument for exclusive psalmody is one of three expressions of the Regulative Principle of Worship (hereafter RPW) found in the Westminster Confession (21:1). There is the exclusive position; the combined psalm-hymn position, and the hymn only position. I have many friends who believe in the RPW who do not worship via exclusive psalmody (hereafter EP). In the Churches I have preached in that are not EP, each of them have selected only Psalms that Lord's Day for my conscience's sake. This is the charity we should expect in the family of God (No, I do not return the favour when they come to our pulpit. But I do let them preach). ;-)

I take it, by your post, that you are a believer in the RPW? Forgive me if I am mistaken but I will assume that you agree with this principle and forgo establishing the biblical foundation of that doctrine and move on to the fulcrum of your question- the biblical mandate to sing psalms only.

The most obvious reason for singing the Psalms is the Book of Psalms. It has rightly been called the Hymnbook of the Church, and since its delivery (piece by piece) to the Church, she has sang it. However this alone will not satisfy the serious inquirer who wants a more explicit command than simple inference.

There are direct commands to sing the Psalms in the Word,'Oh come, let us sing to the Lord!... Let us come before His presence with thanksgiving, Let us shout joyfully to Him with psalms.(Ps. 95:1-2; cf. 81:2; 98:5; 100:2; 105:2). Add to this the prefatory dedication to the individual psalms to be played or sung (To the chief musician, etc.) and you have the building of the foundation (out of the RPW for ES).

The Old testament is full of examples of the use of Psalms in corperate (cf. 1 Chr. 16; 2 Chr. 5:13; 20:21; 29:30; Ezra 3:11;Ex. 15:1; 2 Sam. 1:18; 2 Chr. 23:13; Ps. 30:4; 137:1 ff). I would imagine that you would have no problem with the use of the Psalms in the Old Testament as the outworking of the RPW, so I will jump to the New Testament.

Keeping in mind the RPW, that the only way of acceptable worship of God is 'instituted by himself, and so limited by his own revealed will, that he may not be worshiped according to the imaginations and devices of men, or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture' (WCF 21:1), let me show you our argument for EP in the New Testament.

To me, as I sift through the vast mountain of information on EP (some good, some bad), I have found that the Lord's own example a powerful illustration of EP. Aside from the normal and established synagogical practice of ES, we find the only place in the NT where Christ is said to be worshiping by song, singing a Psalm.

Matthew 26:30 'And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.'

Here the word 'hymn' as Easton's Bible Dictionary says was, 'the latter part of the Hallel, comprehending (Ps 113-118) It was thus a name given to a number of psalms taken together and forming a devotional exercise.' This seems to be a compelling argument for EP in my opinion. The word hymn is used in other places in the New Testament and we should take a moment to look at its use.

Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16

'Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord'(Eph. 5:18-19). 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord'(Col. 3:16).

Before we look at the complete text let's remember that Scripture interprets Scripture. We cannot import a definition onto a word that the bible has already established. The difference between the word 'hymn' in Matthew 26 and the word 'hymns' here in these two texts is the plural use 'humnos'in Eph, and Col. It is the same word as Matthew 26:30. This means if we let the Bible interpret itself, that in at least two of the 3 kinds of songs sung in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 are Psalms. However one would like to import a modern definition of hymn (Say, 'The Old Rugged Cross') is importing a non-biblical definition into the text. How do we in 2004 know what Paul meant by hymn in the 1st century? We don't. We do however know that the Word says hymn meant. It was a Psalm.

Now, regarding psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.

Paul was writing to Greek thinking Christians and so it makes sense that in his usage of the Scriptures he would quote from the Septuagint (The Greek translation of the Hebrew OT). In fact, when we read quotes from Paul from the OT we often find that the quote does not exactly match the TO text in our Bibles. This is because he was using the Septuagint text. This was the usual text that even out Lord used.

Now, I'll try and make this short.

As we look at the Septuagint, we find that the expressions psalm (psalmos), hymn (humnos), and song (odee) Paul used clearly refers to the Old Testament book of Psalms. 'Psalmos'occurs around 87 times in the Septuagint. 'Humnos'occurs 17 times in the Septuagint. In 2 Samuel, 1 &amp; 2 Chronicles and Nehemiah there over 15 examples in which the Psalms are called 'hymns'(humnoi) or 'songs'(odai) and the singing of them is called 'hymning'(humneo, humnodeo, humnesis) is used 80 times in the Septuagint, 45 of which are in the Psalms, 36 in the Psalm titles. The point being, all there terms used in Ephesians and Colossians are biblical terms for psalms in the book of psalms itself from the LXX. I think we should understand how Paul's audience would understand his words (without explanation or qualification) and use that definition in our own usage.

Believe it or not this is the short answer to your question of the Biblical reasons for EP. I realize that much of what I have written is inferential and consequential, but as the WCF says regarding the truth of God's Word it, 'is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture'(WCF 1:6). I believe EP is both, but I respect the right to disagree. But this is where I stand.

Regarding the historical use of the Psalms, both the early Church and the Reformers (not Lutherans) used the Psalms exclusively up until the 1700's with Keach &amp; Watts introducing paraphrased hymns.

I hope this helps a bit.

Kind regards,

Octavius :applause: :claphands: :claphands: :claphands:

Last edited by Octavius; Fri Jul 16, 2004 12:34 PM.
#16127 Fri Jul 16, 2004 11:49 PM
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Well said Octavius. If I may add my two cents...
I would also add a little more in general on the Regulative Principle. Some misunderstand this and hence reduce it to an absurdity. The RP regards the required elements of worship. That is, these elements are the only elements allowed. The Confession lists many of these required elements such as the reading, hearing, and preaching of the Word, prayers, singing of psalms, and the sacraments. But the RP also allows for the means which help to carry out these required elements. For instance, we are not told anywhere in Scripture to worship in a church building. Does that mean we aren't suppose too? No. It's a circumstantial means to carry out our required worship. It's much more condusive to worship in a church building than during a snow storm in an open field. It is the same with using a liturgy/bulletin to organize the worship service so that the required elements are fulfilled decently and in good order. We put the songs in music books to make them easier to sing. We encourage everyone to read and use their Bibles in English because that is conducive to those required elements of reading, hearing, and the preaching of the Word and our participation in them with understanding. We pray in English so that the congregation can fulfill that requirment of prayer, and do so with understanding.
Finally, the issue is not which view of the RP is too extremely conservative or liberal by today's standard, but which view is biblical. Just because many in even reformed churches today have departed from the Westminster view of the RP does not mean they are right to do so.

#16128 Sat Jul 17, 2004 10:51 AM
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Good point PuritanSailor. It is always good to delineate between circumstance and element in the RPW. I have found in my limited experience that those who use instruments say that they are a circumstance of worship, but when it comes to parting with them, they manifest themselves as an element. One Dutch Reformed Church in our area, when building their new building, almost had a church split over the organ. Should we go whole-hog and spend $50,000 on a grand pipe organ, or $5000 on a regular one with some good speakers. Guess which one they picked. <img src="/forum/images/graemlins/yep.gif" alt="" />

Kind regards,

Octavius,

www.apcvan.ca/Jerblog

#16129 Thu Jul 22, 2004 10:04 PM
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Quote
1) Extremely conservative. Only what is scriptural is allowed. If scripture doesn't mention it or command it, it isn't allowed.

2) Extremely liberal. Anything not forebidden may be allowed. We see this in many churches today.

3) The Via Media. Tradition allows for some practices not mentioned. Every tradition must be checked by scripture and not be against Holy Writ.

I have always heard there is regulative (like your conservative) and normative(similar to your liberal) and liturgical (similar to your Via Media). Churches that are regulative would say to worship God only as He has commanded, but differ among themselves concerning what the Bible says we should do. They are almost always conservative. Normative would say worship that is not forbidden is acceptable, but most restrain it in one way or another and are actually regulative (sort of) by some other standard than Scripture. In fact, I believe there are 'conservatives' and 'liberals' in this group. They usually put their own spin on what is allowed or not allowed. I don't know of a church that doesn't have any restraints, even if they are unspoken and unwritten. My former church had special singing, and even women speaking, but they would have freaked out if dancers came and performed.

Liturgical worship is kind of an expanded regulative that uses both tradition and Scripture as measures for what is allowed.

This is what I've understood since going to a regulative church. When I was going to a normative church, nobody even asked why we did things the way we did.

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