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27Re: Psalmody

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  • raging_calvinist
    May 24, 2001
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      DataRat,<br><br>You wrote, " 'SINGING OF PSALMS
      with grace in the heart... are all parts of ordinary
      religious worship' ...is inclusive, NOT exclusive. This
      section of the Westminister ~doesn't~ exclude
      non-Psalmody as a 'part' of worship."<br><br>Well, I believe
      it does. We can't isolate this passage with the rest
      of the chapter in the WCF, or from the general
      understanding of the Confession at the time of it's writing.
      Some things to consider:<br><br>1). "But the
      acceptable way of worshipping the true God is instituted by
      Himself, and so limited by His own revealed will, that He
      may not be worshipped according to the imaginations
      and devices of men, or the suggestions of Satan,
      under any visible representations, or any other way not
      prescribed in the holy Scripture" (WCF 21:1). THEN they go
      on to list the singing of Psalms as one of the
      things that IS prescribed in Scripture. So, in the
      context of Chapter 21, psalmody appears on a list which
      IS meant to be exclusive. It is not merely a list of
      suggested methods of worship.<br><br>2). James Dick, in
      1883 wrote, "Hymns of human composition are used so
      commonly now in public worship by Presbyterian churches
      that it is difficult to believe that the practice is
      not a hundred years old, and that in some of the
      churches it is of very recent date. On the supposition
      that it is good and dutiful and wise to sing such
      hymns in worship, it is equally difficult to account
      for the neglect of the churches at the time of the
      Reformation, and for generations afterwards. What could have
      so blinded the reformers as to make them reject
      hymns and sing the Psalms alone? How could the
      Westminster Divines, in framing their Confession of Faith and
      Directory for Worship, have been so unanimous in the
      blunder that the service of praise is to consist of the
      'singing of Psalms?' And apart from the aspect of duty,
      how could the Presbyterian churches, for about a
      hundred and fifty or two hundred years after the
      Westminster Assembly, have been so insensible to the power of
      hymns as an attractive addition to their public
      services? We cannot by any means understand how it was
      that, if it was dutiful to use hymns in worship, the
      reformers did not discover the Scriptural warrant for the
      duty, especially as hymns had been used for centuries
      by the Church of Rome. Nor can we understand how
      they rejected the hymns and used the Psalms alone,
      unless on the supposition that they believed the use of
      hymns to be part of the will-worship of Rome. If they
      were wrong on this point, then Rome and our modern
      Presbyterian churches are right. In that case, the Puritans
      and Covenanters were fanatics, and Romanists were
      truly enlightened! And most of our Presbyterian
      churches of the present day were fanatical too, and did
      not become truly enlightened and liberal till they
      got back to the Romish practice!"<br><br>3) In 1650,
      the General Assembly authorized the use of the
      Scottish Psalter. It had no non-canonical hymns in it. No
      other hymn-book was authorized for use. <br><br>So, I
      believe that the intent of the Westminster Assembly was
      indeed to exclude uninspired hymns in the worship of
      God, as is evidenced by the documents themselves which
      do not include humanly composed hymns as what is
      proper for worship, and instead list only the Psalms;
      and as is evidenced by the history of the
      Presbyterian Churches which were absent of humanly written
      hymns for hundreds of years after the Westminster
      Standards were forged; and as is evidenced by the fact the
      only hymnal authorized by the General Assembly for use
      in worship included only the Psalter.<br><br>Do you
      sing Psalms in worship, DataRat? I'm curious, what is
      the Psalm to hymn ratio? It's my experience that most
      Churches, if the sing Psalms at all, have maybe one Psalm
      thrown in among 3-5 uninspired hymns. Is this the case
      at your Church?<br><br>Peace to you, DR.<br>gmw.
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