FW: Answering Susan's questions
> First let me say that I am not a fixed opponent of EP. I am too new to the[Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
> subject. I am simply thinking aloud and pointing out problems I see in the
> arguments of those advocating it.
> Susan's questions
> 1. Is worship the same no matter where or when it is done? Do I have
> the same freedom of expression of praise/worship to God in church as I
> have in my car or my home?
> Tp -For the purposes of this discussion let's define the word worship to
> be those situations where one or more Christians are together since that
> is the context in which both the OT and the NT commands about worship
> (which create the problem we are discussing) were given. What we can do on
> our own is not the context of those commands. The specific context of the
> NT commands was either a church service or private fellowship, (the latter
> possibility I think the more likely based on how they fit in Paul's
> arguments in both Colossians and Ephesians.) Now I would say that the
> freedom we have in private fellowship cannot be more or less than a church
> service since in all cases NT worship must be "in Spirit and in truth" and
> if EP is God's mandated form of worship it is true for all settings, and
> if it is not biblically mandated it is not true for all settings.
> 2. Is singing a song a form of teaching? If so, what is our
> responsibility to the unchurched/unbelieving in corporate/public
> worship in assuring that what we teach and preach is accurate?
> Tp-Worshipping God in song is indeed a form of teaching (Col. 3:16), and,
> as God's ambassadors, we have the highest responsibility to unbelievers,
> believers, and to God, to ensure our teaching is absolutely accurate.
> Accurate teaching challenges unbelievers, feeds believers and glorifies
> God: inaccurate teaching misleads unbelievers, poisons believers, and robs
> God of His glory. We must follow the highest standards of accuracy at all
> times in all acts of public witness or worship.
> 3. If it is granted that we have a responsibility towards outsiders,
> and if we trust that God protects things like teaching, preaching,
> public prayer, etc. through His divinely established order
> in the appointing of teachers/preachers and equipping them by His
> Spirit, what similar assurance of protection do we have over the
> songs we sing and present to others as GOD'S TRUTH?
> Tp-We are promised that the Spirit will lead us into all truth, but we are
> also taught that one of the means by which He does so is that we ourselves
> must check everything taught by the Scriptures since He has not guaranteed
> that teachers in His church will never err from time to time, not to
> mention the problem of false teachers. (Acts 17:11, 1 Thess. 5:21, 2 Peter
> 1:19) So when we listen to teaching we must always be testing it against
> Scripture. The means of protection we have over the songs we sing and
> present to others is the same means we have when we hazard our souls in
> trusting to Christ alone for salvation and not Christ plus works of the
> law as the RC's teach, or risking our lives by joining a persecuted church
> for Christ's sake i.e. testing the teachings (songs) by Scripture.
> 4. If it is agreed (and it appears to be) that we are to sing the
> Psalms (the question is exclusively or not), how many churches today
> even have a small percentage of Psalms being sung? Does this qualify
> as neglecting the Word of God?
> Tp -Yes indeed. I use psalms in my private worship and my church uses them
> corporately, and churches that do not use them should be strongly
> encouraged to do so. However, if the EP position is not Scriptural two
> things will happen if delinquent churches are strongly exhorted to adopt
> EP. The Holy Spirit will certainly not witness to the testimony of the EP
> advocates and the devil almost certainly will encourage the delinquent
> churches to overreact and throw the baby of psalm use out with the
> bathwater of EP. Let us make very sure that EP is scripturally mandated.
> 5. Should history have anything to say about how we view this subject
> today, or even how we approach the arguing of it?
> Tp-Yes, the witness of the Spirit throughout the ages should, has, and
> does have much to say about how we should view this subject today. Yet it
> must not be placed above the Scriptures, and conclusions which are not
> supported by Scripture need to be rejected. And arguments of even the
> godliest men have been shown from time to time to be incorrect. A full
> testing of the arguments of opponents of EP as well as those of its
> proponents is required. BD has provided lists of EP proponents and
> arguments from time to time. It would be good to examine the responses
> that non EP's made to both the EP's initial arguments and their
> counterarguments. Recent experience with the doctrine of Theonomy has
> taught me that I can never take anything anybody says about another side
> of a theological controversy on trust. Both sides must be thoroughly
> checked out.
> 6. Are we collectively in such a wonderful place spiritually that we
> should trust the hymns of men to be accurately representing the
> Almighty? Particularly, should we be trusting these hymns and songs so
> much that we would offer then to God as our pure, holy, worship "in
> Spirit and in Truth"? Are we ~that~ sure of ourselves?
> Tp-No, we are not in such a wonderful place that we should blindly trust
> that men's words to accurately represent the Almighty. We should not
> blindly trust teachers when they do more than repeat Scripture We should
> not blindly trust churches when they ask us to risk our lives by signing
> confessions which, ultimately, are only their opinions of what Scripture
> is teaches. We follow the admonition of 1 Thess. 5:21 in such cases. But
> it is easier to test the lyrics of a song which you see before, during and
> after singing, for doctrinal accuracy than it is to test a a sermon's
> teaching which is given orally. Moreover once the lyrics are tested and
> found good you can sing the song with your whole heart.
> 7. And on a practical level... what ~do~ you do when you are in a
> worship service and a song is being sung that has something either
> potentially or necessarily blasphemous in it? Do you just sing through
> it anyway? Do you stand in silence? Do you ever go confront someone on
> the issue or does the same song rotate back into service eventually
> (often the next week)? If you ~do~ confront...practically speaking,
> how many people in the Body across this country are like you, able and
> willing to do that?
> Tp-I have never been asked to sing anything blashphemous because one of
> my church choosing criteria has been the presence of theologically
> competent choir directors where the choir director chooses the material
> used for worship. I do not sing anything that is false teaching and I
> point out any problems I see to the CD. I believe all believers should do
> likewise. If you are asked to sing anything blasphemous, do not sing it
> and afterward quietly point out the problem. If not corrected immediately,
> find another church that doesn't sing blasphemy. If false teaching of
> less degree occurs in a song, point it out; and if not corrected pray for
> the Lord's leading. Some false teachings are more serious than others:
> some are big enough to leave a church over, others may not be. Keep in
> mind though that although others in the body may fail in this duty by
> being unwilling to confront - no discerning believer is unable - those
> sins will not excuse the adoption of EP if EP is an unbiblical solution
> since it will be adding to God's word, something which we will equally be
> under His rebuke for
> Tim Cunningham
> Office Supplies Coordinator