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

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  • 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 1 of 15 , Jan 3, 2006
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      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 2 of 15 , Jan 4, 2006
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        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 3 of 15 , Jan 4, 2006
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          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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