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Re: Calvin's Preface to the Psalter (EP)

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  • Edgar A. Ibarra Jr.
    Whit, Do the Scriptures allow for man-made hymns? If so where? Scripture, not man or men, are our ONLY rule for faith and pratice (WSC #2, #3). If the Word of
    Message 1 of 15 , Jan 1, 2006
      Whit,

      Do the Scriptures allow for man-made hymns? If so where?

      Scripture, not man or men, are our ONLY rule for faith and pratice
      (WSC #2, #3). If the Word of God allows it in the public worship of
      God, then we can, if not, then we cannot.


      Sleepless in Albany typing
      away some Westminster Standards
      in Spanish,

      Edgar

      Your Reformed homie





      --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Whit Roberts"
      <covie_pres.1646@v...> wrote:
      >
      > I used to be EP until a few months ago and that from reading
      > Calvin's Preface to the Genevan Psalter. I don't see how Calvin in
      > that Preface concludes that the Psalms are to be sung exclusively
      > and the distinction between prayer and song. I am open to an
      > explanation since if EP is affirmed by Calvin and commanded by
      > Scripture, then I am willing to go back to EP.
      >
      > Whit
      >
    • Whit Roberts
      ... Then what? ... Then I will follow Scripture, which is alone infallible. Whit
      Message 2 of 15 , Jan 1, 2006
        --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, gmw
        <raging.calvinist@v...> wrote:
        >
        > What if it's commanded by Scripture, but not affirmed by Calvin?
        Then what?
        >
        > gmw.
        >

        Then I will follow Scripture, which is alone infallible.

        Whit
      • Whit Roberts
        ... of ... I don t have a Scriptural warrant for you. Your exhortation is wise. I need to consider whom I am following regarding this area, and if I am
        Message 3 of 15 , Jan 1, 2006
          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Edgar A. Ibarra
          Jr." <puritanpresbyterian@y...> wrote:
          >
          > Whit,
          >
          > Do the Scriptures allow for man-made hymns? If so where?
          >
          > Scripture, not man or men, are our ONLY rule for faith and pratice
          > (WSC #2, #3). If the Word of God allows it in the public worship
          of
          > God, then we can, if not, then we cannot.
          >
          >

          I don't have a Scriptural warrant for you.

          Your exhortation is wise. I need to consider whom I am following
          regarding this area, and if I am following man, then I need to
          repent.

          Whit
        • Don Nelson
          ... I am perplexed. It seems to me that if such hymns were included in the Scriptures, then that would make them inspired. There are many songs in the
          Message 4 of 15 , Jan 2, 2006
            > > Do the Scriptures allow for man-made hymns?

            I am perplexed. It seems to me that if such hymns were
            included in the Scriptures, then that would make them
            inspired. There are many songs in the Scriptures other
            than in the Book of Psalms, and singing is encouraged
            in places where specific content is not recorded.

            Consider an analogous situation: man-man speaking.
            Hours of sermons are included in our public worship. I
            do not understand how a comparatively few minutes of
            singing is such a problem. Logically then, the
            forbidden thing is the singing voice. Would it be OK
            to recite a hymn as long as we do not sing it?

            Don N



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          • Whit Roberts
            ... What of the other inspired hymns in Scripture such as Mary s canticle and the inspired songs of Israel during the time preceding the Psalms? Whit
            Message 5 of 15 , Jan 2, 2006
              --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, Don Nelson
              <donstudybible@y...> wrote:
              >
              >
              > > > Do the Scriptures allow for man-made hymns?
              >
              > I am perplexed. It seems to me that if such hymns were
              > included in the Scriptures, then that would make them
              > inspired. There are many songs in the Scriptures other
              > than in the Book of Psalms, and singing is encouraged
              > in places where specific content is not recorded.
              >
              > Consider an analogous situation: man-man speaking.
              > Hours of sermons are included in our public worship. I
              > do not understand how a comparatively few minutes of
              > singing is such a problem. Logically then, the
              > forbidden thing is the singing voice. Would it be OK
              > to recite a hymn as long as we do not sing it?
              >
              > Don N
              >

              What of the other inspired hymns in Scripture such as Mary's
              canticle and the inspired songs of Israel during the time preceding
              the Psalms?

              Whit
            • Nikolai
              ... Whit, attempting to argue for EP position by showing that it is commanded by Scripture will always end in a failure. There s simply no such command in
              Message 6 of 15 , Jan 2, 2006
                Whit Roberts wrote:
                > I am open to an
                > explanation since if EP is affirmed by Calvin and commanded by
                > Scripture, then I am willing to go back to EP.

                Whit,
                attempting to argue for EP position by showing that it is commanded by
                Scripture will always end in a failure. There's simply no such command
                in Scripture. This, however, does not mean we are left in the dark as to
                what do we sing in worship. For example, one can easily show that psalms
                were used in worship and therefore we use them in worship too. The
                burden is then entirely on those wishing to sing something else to show
                on what basis, scripturally speaking, are we to accept their innovation.
                If they wish to add un-inspired hymns to worship singing, let them
                provide a scriptural warrant for it, else all such innovations are
                nothing but will-worship, a worship driven by imaginations of men rather
                than God's will.

                Nikolai
                EPC of Australia, Brisbane
              • Nikolai
                ... Don, to sing anything but the Psalms, you would need to show that what you are referring to as songs (in Scripture) was used in worship in the same way you
                Message 7 of 15 , Jan 2, 2006
                  Don Nelson wrote:

                  > I am perplexed. It seems to me that if such hymns were
                  > included in the Scriptures, then that would make them
                  > inspired. There are many songs in the Scriptures other
                  > than in the Book of Psalms, and singing is encouraged
                  > in places where specific content is not recorded.


                  Don,
                  to sing anything but the Psalms, you would need to show that what you
                  are referring to as songs (in Scripture) was used in worship in the same
                  way you intend to use these songs in worship. Similarly, if you intend
                  to use un-inspired poetry in worship for singing, the burden once again
                  is entirely on you to provide a scriptural warrant for such worship
                  practice. It is no different if I were to propose to the session that in
                  addition to Scripture reading on the Lord's day, we are to read a
                  commentary, maybe some Christian poetry or even perhaps a newspaper. The
                  burden would be entirely on me to scripturally justify my proposals. For
                  reason one hardly can explain, there's a widespread belief in, as
                  strange as it may appear, reformed churches that singing is exempt from
                  the Regulative Principle of Worship. Maybe it is because singing is no
                  longer important?


                  > Consider an analogous situation: man-man speaking.
                  > Hours of sermons are included in our public worship. I
                  > do not understand how a comparatively few minutes of
                  > singing is such a problem.

                  I'm sure Nadab and Abihu didn't see any problem either offering a fire
                  to the Lord "which he commanded them not" (Leviticus 10:1). Please note
                  how such seemingly innocent offence was penalized by the Lord. Singing,
                  considering how much effect it can have on our minds, seems to me much
                  more serious matter than burning fire.



                  > Logically then, the
                  > forbidden thing is the singing voice. Would it be OK
                  > to recite a hymn as long as we do not sing it?


                  Don, if Regulative Principle of Worship has any meaning to you, then
                  logically as well as scripturally the burden is on you to provide a
                  warrant for singing or reciting poetry, prose or what not. We do have a
                  warrant for psalm singing, we do have a warrant for reading of
                  scripture, we do have a warrant for prayer as well for exposition and
                  teaching of scripture. If someone wishes to stage drama, a rock concert
                  or anything else they may fancy, let them provide a warrant. Until then,
                  all we need to remember is "the acceptable way of worshiping the true
                  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 the suggestions of Satan, under any visible representation,
                  or any other way not prescribed in the Holy Scripture."

                  It seems to me, the "not prescribed in the Holy Scripture" clause has
                  little bearing on Christian minds in modern reformed churches all the
                  while "the suggestions of Satan" have all the green light the evil one
                  wants.

                  Nikolai
                  EPC of Australia, Brisbane
                • Edgar A. Ibarra Jr.
                  ... Alas, the dilema for supporters of singing man-made hymns. They would not argue so anyways. If God allowed man to write their own songs to offer up as a
                  Message 8 of 15 , Jan 2, 2006
                    >Don Nelson <donstudybible@y...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    > > > Do the Scriptures allow for man-made hymns?
                    >
                    > I am perplexed. It seems to me that if such hymns were
                    > included in the Scriptures, then that would make them
                    > inspired. There are many songs in the Scriptures other
                    > than in the Book of Psalms, and singing is encouraged
                    > in places where specific content is not recorded.

                    Alas, the dilema for supporters of singing man-made hymns. They
                    would not argue so anyways. If God allowed man to write their own
                    songs to offer up as a sacrifice of praise in the public worship of
                    God we would have some form of indication of that in the NT, but we
                    do not. Do not mis-understand me, I believe there are many
                    beautiful and wonderful hymns, my favorite was "Christ shall have
                    dominion" which is a parapharse of a Psalm. Now for those who would
                    argue that we can sing the song of Mary, for example, then that line
                    of argumentation is still not an argument in favor of man-made
                    hymns, but of inspired hymnody and you are still limited as to the
                    number of hymns outside of the Psalms. Many in Geneva did sing
                    other songs besides the Psalms, but they were INSPIRED hymns. The
                    counter to singing such hymns is this, were those hymns intended for
                    public worship or just an expression of the people overtaken by the
                    Holy Spirit and the work of God that was upon them? The Psalms were
                    meant for worship, but the "inspired hymns" were not. As for the
                    hymns before the Psalter, that was allowed as God was still
                    revealing Himself (i.e. progressive revelation was occuring) to man
                    and until He settled things, there was some liberty in certain
                    areas. HOWEVER, when the Psalter was completed, that was it, no
                    more were to be added, like the closing of the canon of Scripture.
                    We see the Song of Moses for example incorporated into the Psalter.

                    >
                    > Consider an analogous situation: man-man speaking.
                    > Hours of sermons are included in our public worship. I
                    > do not understand how a comparatively few minutes of
                    > singing is such a problem. Logically then, the
                    > forbidden thing is the singing voice. Would it be OK
                    > to recite a hymn as long as we do not sing it?

                    Now man-made sermons are allowed in the public worship of God as God
                    states that His ministers are to teach and instruct and open the
                    Word of God unto His people. That is part and parcel of the office
                    of the Teaching Elder or Pastor. Examples of this are replete in
                    the NT, especially in the book of Acts, starting in Ch. 2. It would
                    not be ok to recite hymns as a means to get around the prohibition,
                    that is dishonest at best and blasphemous at worse. The only
                    elements of worship that are allowed to be man-made are prayer and
                    sermons. Just like we would not read a chapter out of Calvin's
                    Institutes followed by a chapter out of the Bible, we cannot sing a
                    man-made hymn followed by a Psalm (now even one wants to get cute
                    and reverse the order it is still not acceptable).

                    Keep it simple and stick to the Word of God and all will be well.

                    >
                    > Don N

                    Thank you Don & Whit for your questions and I hope they are
                    helpful. Although my answer(s) are short and therefore may not
                    totally satisfy I hope they aid in some way. If you want to study
                    the issue more there are great resources on this subject on
                    www.truecovenanter.com and sermons by Pastor Greg L. Price via
                    sermonaudio.

                    Sola Scriptura,

                    Edgar Ibarra
                    Albany, NY
                    RPNA-Covenanter in belief & practice
                  • Crazy Calvinist
                    Well as far as I can see, whether other songs from Scripture or the Psalms, the qualification for being able to write songs meant for worship was one had to
                    Message 9 of 15 , Jan 3, 2006
                      Well as far as I can see,  whether other songs from Scripture or the Psalms, the qualification for being able to write songs meant for worship was one had to be a prophet. or prophetess. I don't think Charles Wesley qualifies.
                       
                      ~Deejay

                      "Edgar A. Ibarra Jr." <puritanpresbyterian@...> wrote:
                      >Alas, the dilema for supporters of singing man-made hymns.  They
                      would not argue so anyways.  If God allowed man to write their own
                      songs to offer up as a sacrifice of praise in the public worship of
                      God we would have some form of indication of that in the NT, but we
                      do not.  Do not mis-understand me, I believe there are many
                      beautiful and wonderful hymns, my favorite was "Christ shall have
                      dominion" which is a parapharse of a Psalm.  Now for those who would
                      argue that we can sing the song of Mary, for example, then that line
                      of argumentation is still not an argument in favor of man-made
                      hymns, but of inspired hymnody and you are still limited as to the
                      number of hymns outside of the Psalms.  Many in Geneva did sing
                      other songs besides the Psalms, but they were INSPIRED hymns.  The
                      counter to singing such hymns is this, were those hymns intended for
                      public worship or just an expression of the people overtaken by the
                      Holy Spirit and the work of God that was upon them?  The Psalms were
                      meant for worship, but the "inspired hymns" were not.  As for the
                      hymns before the Psalter, that was allowed as God was still
                      revealing Himself (i.e. progressive revelation was occuring) to man
                      and until He settled things, there was some liberty in certain
                      areas.  HOWEVER, when the Psalter was completed, that was it, no
                      more were to be added, like the closing of the canon of Scripture. 
                      We see the Song of Moses for example incorporated into the Psalter.

                      >


                      Yahoo! Cars NEW - sell your car and browse thousands of new and used cars online search now

                    • Nikolai
                      ... Psalms, the qualification for being able to write songs meant for worship was one had to be a prophet. or prophetess. I don t think Charles Wesley
                      Message 10 of 15 , Jan 3, 2006
                        <crazy_calvinist@y...> wrote:


                        >>Well as far as I can see, whether other songs from Scripture or the
                        Psalms, the qualification for being able to write songs meant for
                        worship was one had to be a prophet. or prophetess. I don't think
                        Charles Wesley qualifies.<<


                        Deejay,
                        those wishing to sing Wesley's song deny there's such a requirement
                        and I agree with them, there's no such requirement found in Scripture.
                        Our position, IMO, rests entirely on the Regulative Principle (WCF
                        ch.XXI). Those who say they accept ch.XXI of the Confession as truly
                        reflecting scriptural view of worship and at the same engage in
                        un-scriptural worship practice such as hymn signing are either
                        confused or lying.

                        Nikolai
                        EPC od Australia, Brisbane
                      • gmw
                        I agree about the Regulative Principle of Worship, which of course is of great importance in the discussion of Exclusive Psalmody. However, I must agree with
                        Message 11 of 15 , Jan 3, 2006
                          I agree about the Regulative Principle of Worship, which of course is
                          of great importance in the discussion of Exclusive Psalmody. However,
                          I must agree with Deejay about the significance that the "psalm,
                          hymns, and spiritual song" composers spoken of in Scripture are
                          specifically said to be prophets or prophetesses.

                          From Brian Schwertley's work on Psalmody:

                          "A careful examination of the Scripture passages which discuss the
                          songs used in worship and how worship songs were composed reveals that
                          God only authorizes and accepts divinely inspired songs for the praise
                          of Himself. 'If when the Bible speaks of the source of worship song,
                          it portrays the text as one produced by divine inspiration, then
                          inspiration is a biblical norm for this ordinance as well.'

                          "There are so many examples in the Bible which show the connection
                          between writing songs of praise for the church and prophetic
                          inspiration that it is astounding that this point has been largely
                          ignored by those who claim to hold to the regulative principle. There
                          is the example of the prophetess Miriam who, by divine inspiration,
                          composed a song to celebrate God’s deliverance of Israel from Egypt
                          (Ex. 15:20-21). We also have the inspired song of Deborah the
                          prophetess (Jdg. 5). There are the Spirit-inspired songs of the
                          prophet Isaiah (e.g. 5:1, 26:1 ff., etc.) as well as the divinely
                          inspired song of Mary (Lk. 1:46 ff.). If 1 Corinthians 14:26 refers to
                          Christians composing songs for public worship, these songs were 'as is
                          universally admitted, charismatic songs and therefore products of the
                          immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit.' (The question of whether
                          the new covenant church should sing divinely inspired songs outside of
                          the book of Psalms is dealt with below.)

                          "The Old Testament saints whom God used to write the Psalter wrote by
                          the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Note once again that prophetic
                          inspiration and the writing of songs of praise go hand in hand. King
                          David, whom the Bible calls a prophet (2 Chr. 29:25-30), wrote his
                          songs by a special gift of the Holy Spirit (2 Sam. 23:1, 2; Ac. 1:16).
                          The New Testament repeatedly refers to David as a prophet when it
                          quotes his songs (cf. Mt. 22:43-44; Mk. 12:36; Ac. 1:16-17; 2:29-31;
                          4:24-25). The worship of the temple musicians and singers is referred
                          to as prophecy in Scripture (1 Chr. 25:1-7). This designation, when
                          applied to song content, obviously means that what they sang was the
                          product of divine inspiration. Thus, the temple musicians and singers
                          who were involved in writing songs for worship did so under the
                          special operation of the Spirit. Heman (who was appointed by David as
                          a worship leader of the sanctuary) is called a 'seer' (1 Chr. 25:5) in
                          Scripture; a term synonymous with the word 'prophet.' Bushell writes,
                          'Prophetic titles and roles are consistently attributed to the chief
                          temple musicians and singers. Asaph, for example, one of David’s
                          principle musicians (1 Chr. 6:39; 15:17; 16:5 ff.; 2 Chr. 5:12),
                          appointed by him over the service of song and by Solomon in the Temple
                          service, is also called a ‘seer’ and placed alongside David as far as
                          authority in Temple music is concerned (2 Chr. 29:30). Nor ought we to
                          miss the significance of the fact that some 12 of the Old Testament
                          Psalms (50, 73-83) are attributed to Asaph, thus confirming his role
                          as a writer of inspired worship song. Jeduthun, another chief temple
                          singer, is also called a "seer" (2 Chr. 35:15; cf. 25:1; and Pss. 39,
                          62, and 77 titles).' The writing of worship songs in the Old Testament
                          was so intimately connected with prophetic inspiration that 2 Kings
                          23:2 and 2 Chronicles 34:30 use the term 'Levite' and 'prophet'
                          interchangeably. The worship of Jehovah is so important that nothing
                          less than infallible Spirit-inspired lyrics are acceptable for praise
                          in the church."

                          -- see more on this subject, as well as the footnotes re: the
                          quotations, in point 5 of Chapter 2 at
                          http://www.reformed.com/pub/psalms.htm

                          gmw.

                          --- In covenantedreformationclub@yahoogroups.com, "Nikolai"
                          <psalmos@s...> wrote:

                          >
                          > Deejay,
                          > those wishing to sing Wesley's song deny there's such a requirement
                          > and I agree with them, there's no such requirement found in Scripture.
                          > Our position, IMO, rests entirely on the Regulative Principle (WCF
                          > ch.XXI). Those who say they accept ch.XXI of the Confession as truly
                          > reflecting scriptural view of worship and at the same engage in
                          > un-scriptural worship practice such as hymn signing are either
                          > confused or lying.
                          >
                          > Nikolai
                          > EPC od Australia, Brisbane
                          >
                        • Nikolai
                          ... All I can gather from Mr. Schwertley s quote is that the songs recorded in scripture are inspired. Nobody disputes that or at least no Bible believing
                          Message 12 of 15 , Jan 4, 2006
                            gmw wrote:

                            >>From Brian Schwertley's work on Psalmody:
                            >
                            > "A careful examination of the Scripture passages which discuss the
                            > songs used in worship and how worship songs were composed reveals that
                            > God only authorizes and accepts divinely inspired songs for the praise
                            > of Himself.


                            All I can gather from Mr. Schwertley's quote is that the songs recorded
                            in scripture are inspired. Nobody disputes that or at least no Bible
                            believing Christian does. The contention is not about whether or not the
                            songs in the Bible are inspired, the contention is about can we sing
                            uninspired songs in worship. I simply think insisting that Biblical song
                            writers were inspired prophets will not impress someone wishing to sing
                            hymns in worship. After all, we do listen to uninspired scripture
                            exposition and prayer every Lord's day. Analogically, there seems to be
                            nothing wrong with singing uninspired songs. The only way, in my
                            opinion, to actually defeat those wishing to sing uninspired songs is by
                            invoking the Regulative Principle, that is, *they* must, not us, to
                            produce a scriptural warrant for their practice. This is when the two
                            passages from Ephesians and Colossians are brought up but they are of no
                            help for them of course.

                            Obviously, with those denying the Regulative Principle altogether
                            different methods should be used but eventually, the goal is still to
                            show that God should not be worshiped according to imaginations of men
                            or suggestions of Satan no matter who we're speaking to, Reformed,
                            Baptists, Charismatics or whoever.

                            Nikolai
                            EPC of Australia, Brisbane
                          • gmw
                            Hi Nikolai, Some quick comments below: ... But the very quote you included in your response here says much more than simply songs recorded in Scripture are
                            Message 13 of 15 , Jan 4, 2006
                              Hi Nikolai,

                              Some quick comments below:

                              Nikolai wrote:

                              > gmw wrote:
                              >
                              > >>From Brian Schwertley's work on Psalmody:
                              > >
                              > > "A careful examination of the Scripture passages which discuss the
                              > > songs used in worship and how worship songs were composed reveals that
                              > > God only authorizes and accepts divinely inspired songs for the praise
                              > > of Himself.
                              >
                              >
                              > All I can gather from Mr. Schwertley's quote is that the songs recorded
                              > in scripture are inspired.


                              But the very quote you included in your response here says much more
                              than simply "songs recorded in Scripture are inspired." It's saying
                              that the songs which God provides and accepts of, to be used in worship,
                              are inspired. And so, Scripture only gives warrant for the use of
                              inspired songs in worship.

                              > Nobody disputes that or at least no Bible
                              > believing Christian does.

                              No Bible believing Christian disputes what you said, but obviously not
                              all Christians believe what Schwertley was actually saying -- that
                              Scripture only gives warrant for the use of divinely inspired songs in
                              worship.

                              > The contention is not about whether or not the
                              > songs in the Bible are inspired, the contention is about can we sing
                              > uninspired songs in worship.

                              Yes, agreed, of course. I've surely not denied this.

                              > I simply think insisting that Biblical song
                              > writers were inspired prophets will not impress someone wishing to sing
                              > hymns in worship.

                              Someone wishing to sing hymns in worship (hymns here meaning uninspired
                              songs as opposed to the inspired hymns commonly called the Psalms) will
                              not likely be impressed with anything we insist! Someone wishing to
                              worship God biblically, however, may very well be impressed with the
                              nature of the songs used in worship given by inspired prophets and
                              prophetesses. Now, no one is "simply" insisting that our worship songs
                              must be inspired without also having an eye to the Regulative Principle
                              of Worship. What I'm saying is this:

                              Given the Regulative Principle of Worship, we must have Scriptural
                              warrant for our acts of worship. Scripture gives warrant for the use of
                              inspired songs in worship, which songs were delivered by inspired men
                              and women. Scripture gives warrant for no other type of song.
                              Therefore, we only have warrant from Scripture to sing inspired songs
                              delivered by inspired people, in worship.

                              How we come to limit those songs to the 150 Psalms, is, of course,
                              another (yet related) issue.

                              > After all, we do listen to uninspired scripture
                              > exposition and prayer every Lord's day.

                              Of course, and both uninspired (strictly speaking) preaching and prayer
                              have Scriptural warrant.

                              > The only way, in my
                              > opinion, to actually defeat those wishing to sing uninspired songs is by
                              > invoking the Regulative Principle, that is, *they* must, not us, to
                              > produce a scriptural warrant for their practice. This is when the two
                              > passages from Ephesians and Colossians are brought up but they are of no
                              > help for them of course.


                              And I agree with this. If you are understanding anything I'm saying to
                              disagree with your statement of yours, then either I'm being unclear, or
                              you are misunderstanding me, friend.

                              The issue is not that God commands us to /sing only divinely inspired
                              Psalms/, but that God /only commands us to sing divinely inspired
                              Psalms/. Given the Regulative Principle, this is enough to warrant
                              Psalmody, and nothing else.

                              Good'ay.
                              gmw.

                              >
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