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FW: Answering Susan's questions

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  • Tim Cunningham
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    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 28, 2002
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      > First let me say that I am not a fixed opponent of EP. I am too new to the
      > 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
      > Meow
      > Tp
      > Regards
      > Tim Cunningham
      > AMEC
      > Office Supplies Coordinator
      > 604-664-4894
      > 604-664-3017
      > tim.cunningham@...

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