Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Some footnote to the EP discussion

Expand Messages
  • Tim Cunningham
    This group seems to be having conversion teething troubles: post s are posted and vanish. This may appear twice In thinking over our discussions I have noticed
    Message 1 of 3 , Mar 30, 2002
    • 0 Attachment
      This group seems to be having conversion teething troubles: post's are
      posted and vanish. This may appear twice

      In thinking over our discussions I have noticed what appear to be a couple
      of logical errors which are bedeviling the discussion. In the interest of
      clarity let me point them out.

      The first seems to be an unwitting error of equivocation. EP's have
      suggested two possible meanings of the phrase "psalms, hymns and spiritual
      songs."
      Case 1. It was asserted somewhere in these postings that Paul's phrase
      "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" was a Hebraism, saying the same thing
      different ways three times as in Ex. 34:7 where God says he is
      "bearing iniquity rebellion and sin" (Fox translation). Now this argument
      is incorrect when applied to Ex. 34: God is there not saying the same thing
      three times; He is stating that he forgives three categories of wickedness:
      iniquity- the human condition of sinfulness, rebellion - active rebellion
      against Him, and sin-the breach of one of his commandments without thought
      of him i.e. sinning against a neighbour. But if it can be shown that there
      are other examples of such a Hebraism and that therefore this view of
      Paul's intent is correct, then the content of Paul's teaching in Col 3:16
      reduces to "Sing only canonical psalms in the church for instruction and
      worship" and then the non canonical psalms given charismatically by God to
      the early church creates the situation in which, on EP premises, God is at
      least the author of confusion since He is mandating through Paul that only
      canonical psalms are to be sung for instruction while instructing the
      church himself by noncanonical psalms which he has forbidden by Paul.
      Case 2. On the other hand some EP's have maintained that Paul referred to
      the canonical psalms by the terms psalms and hymns only, and used the term
      spiritual songs to mean the charismatic songs given in 1 Cor 14. This means
      that what Paul meant to teach was "sing canonical psalms and charismatic
      songs i.e. inspired songs that give teachings that would be inscripturated
      in the NT later." While this possibility solves the problem presented in
      case 1, it leads to its own problem: on this version of the EP premise the
      songs in Revelation must be permitted worship texts on the grounds of
      their inspiration, and any biblical text (because NT ones are inspired and
      OT by parity of reasoning since both are inspired and canonical) is
      available to be taught by means of song.
      It seems to me that EP's here have been using the premise from case one
      (nothing but canonical psalms) to rule out the conclusion from case two
      (songs from at least Revelation are OK) then turning around and using the
      premise from case two "Paul meant psalms and other inspired psalms" to
      solve the problem presented by case 1 (God the author of confusion.) This
      is illegitimate argumentation. If Paul's intent was to teach that only
      canonical psalms were to be used in worship he is ruling against the
      admissibility of any noncanonical psalm singing in Christian worship. Which
      seems to force the local EP's to concede that Paul's intent would have
      been case two. But when I point out that if Paul's permitted items were
      psalms and inspired songs that give teachings that would be inscripturated
      in the NT later, then the corollory is that any NT material may be used to
      worship God since it falls under the second class of inspired text and that
      the Revelation songs in particular are inspired songs sung to God, the
      response I understand folks to be making is that the Rev. songs are
      excluded because they are not the canonical psalms, which is case 1.
      Am I missing something, and if so what?

      The second error is a straw man argument. GMW mentioned the problem of Joe
      Sournotes ditties. Granted Joe's ditties are the worst example of the
      nonEP principle, but the strongest case of nonEP's is not Joe's babblings
      but the best work of people like H. F. Lyte (O love how deep, how broad,
      how high.) or Graham Kendrick (Meekness and Majesty) which are hymns of
      irreproachable biblical content. If we are going to question a doctrinal
      position, let us make a habit of questioning its best representatives, not
      its worst.

      If EP is not God's intent the proposed cure is no better than the disease.
      The answer is educate Joe biblically and sing doctrinally orthodox songs
      around him and watch what happens to the quality of his songs.

      Finally there is a problem of word meaning to consider. The Ephesian and
      Colossian letters were written to Greek speaking churches. The Greek word
      for "hymns" mentioned in those letters was commonly used in contemporary
      secular Greek to refer to humanly written hymns. Since that is so, we
      cannot, without a begging of the entire question, arbitrarily assume that
      Paul could not have meant the normal usage of the Greek word "hymnos" i.e.
      uninspired psalms in distinction from the canonical psalms. We must,
      therefore, give at least equal weight to the possibility that he meant to
      teach the use of canonical songs, new composed hymns and charismatic songs
      for worship and teaching in the church. Unless other texts clearly compel
      of the meanings as Paul's intent, we have to recognize that either might be
      valid.

      I will need a little time on the question of early church sung liturgies
      My music history course texts are in storage but I do think I remember
      seeing very early examples of sung elements in the services which were not
      psalms dating from the 5th to seventh century. What is certain is that the
      old Canadian Anglican hymnal has an entire section of "Ancient Office
      Hymns"
      -which are not canonical psalms- including five from Ambrose 340 -397 AD,
      and his contemporary, Prudentious.

      Meow

      Tp
    • raging_calvinist
      Tim, With all due respect (and I mean that… your kind and comforting words to me in my time of trouble a few months back are not forgotten, and I hold you
      Message 2 of 3 , Apr 1 6:17 AM
      • 0 Attachment
        Tim,

        With all due respect (and I mean that… your kind and comforting
        words to me in my time of trouble a few months back are not
        forgotten, and I hold you in high esteem), my brother, I do not find
        your objections to be quite weak. Let's look at them:

        1. The Unwitting Error of Equivocation

        You write, "EP's have suggested two possible meanings of the
        phrase "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs." I'm sure you will find
        more than just two suggested meanings if you look around enough.
        There are some Reformed folks who we know were very likely to have
        sung the Psalms exclusively in worship who do not deny definitions
        similar to yours, though they do not seem to think that Eph. 5:19 and
        Col. 3:16 are commands limited to worship (Calvin, for example,
        states clearly that the Psalms alone are suitable songs to be used in
        the worship of God [in his preface to the Genevan Psalter], and yet
        he does not limit these texts to speak only of Psalms. Rather, he
        seems to speak of morally upright songs which speak of God's praise,
        of all types, in all kinds of situations. Also, he allows that
        Psalms here refers to a song played with an instrument, which
        practice during worship Calvin elsewhere flatly condemns. I'll allow
        you to look up his commentary on these verses and conclude for
        yourself how he interprets this. Point being that Calvin didn't
        necessarily view these commands as worship ordinances in the strict
        sense). You will also find some arguing that the term "spiritual"
        refers to not simply "songs," but to all three terms (i.e. "spiritual
        psalms, hymns, and songs") meaning that all three are "of the
        Spirit." Look around, there are a various ways we can understand
        Eph. 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 which do not demand the use of
        uninspired hymns in the worship of God.

        You describe the first suggested EP meaning: "It was asserted
        somewhere in these postings that Paul's phrase `psalms, hymns and
        spiritual songs' was a Hebraism, saying the same thing different ways
        three times as in Ex. 34:7 where God says he is `bearing iniquity
        rebellion and sin' (Fox translation)." Now, I will allow you your
        interpretation of Exodus 34:7, as I do not deny that while the three
        words may denote the same thing, they may connote slightly different
        things (perhaps even the very things you say). However, that is
        nothing to the point. The fact is, that the Septuagint refers to
        various Psalms as humnos, ode, and or psalmos (see
        http://spindleworks.com/septuagint/lxx_psalm_titles.htm and
        http://members.aol.com/Puritanone/songs.html ). It is not disputed
        that the Septuagint was in wide use amongst the Greek speaking Jews,
        and it seems that the writers of the New Testament sometimes quote
        from it. And therefore, we need to appeal to no other Hebraisms to
        conclude that Paul is referring to the book of psalms, hymns, and
        spiritual songs with which the Church would already have been
        familiar. But if you wish, you can take a look at some other verses
        that say roughly the same thing multiple times: Lev. 16:21; Deut.
        30:16; 1 Kings 6:12; 1 Chron. 19:19; Ps. 19:7,8; Ps. 66:1,2; 1 Cor.
        2:9; 1 Cor. 13:13; 2 Cor. 12:12; 1 Tim. 2:1; Heb. 2:4; etc.

        You continue, " …then the content of Paul's teaching in Col 3:16
        reduces to "Sing only canonical psalms in the church for instruction
        and worship…". There are some problems with this conclusion:

        A. You continue to suggest that this verse teaches either 1) that we
        may only teach by using singing – this, however, cannot be true, as
        we are to take the whole of Scriptures as our rule, and we find in
        them many commands and examples of teaching which do not involve
        singing (Christ teaching in the temple by "asking questions" [i.e.
        catechizing] for example) – or, that this verse is teaching (not by
        singing, by the way!) that the ordinance of singing does not involve
        praise to God, but only the teaching of men, which also cannot be
        true.

        B. This is very important: *** EP'S DO NOT SING PSALMS ONLY BECAUSE
        WE BELIEVE PAUL HERE TEACHES "SING ONLY CANONICAL PSALMS," RATHER,
        WE SING ONLY PSALMS BECAUSE PAUL HERE GIVES US NOTHING ELSE TO SING.
        EP does not need Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 to find warrant for singing
        Psalms. We already have enough warrant from the rest of Scripture.

        C. And finally, you continue to misunderstand the EP position, by
        suggesting that all the songs any Christian at any time in redemptive
        history must be found among the 150 canonical Psalms. This simply
        isn't true. We believe that God must give us the songs to sing, and
        if He chooses to do that by way of charismatic inspiration or by way
        of a prophet, then He has the right to do that. But in the absence
        of those things, He's given us a book to use – the Psalter. Based on
        this error, you (while flirting with blasphemy) conclude, "and then
        the non canonical psalms given charismatically by God to the early
        church creates the situation in which, on EP premises, God is at
        least the author of confusion since He is mandating through Paul that
        only canonical psalms are to be sung for instruction while
        instructing the church himself by noncanonical psalms which he has
        forbidden by Paul." Talk about a straw man! You knocked that
        scarecrow right over with one doozy of a wallop! By stating the EP
        premise falsely, you've made God out to be contradictory.

        In your next example, you write, "Case 2. On the other hand some EP's
        have maintained that Paul referred to the canonical psalms by the
        terms psalms and hymns only, and used the term spiritual songs to
        mean the charismatic songs given in 1 Cor 14. This means that what
        Paul meant to teach was "sing canonical psalms and charismatic songs
        i.e. inspired songs that give teachings that would be inscripturated
        in the NT later." While this possibility solves the problem presented
        in case 1, it leads to its own problem: on this version of the EP
        premise the songs in Revelation must be permitted worship texts on
        the grounds of their inspiration, and any biblical text (because NT
        ones are inspired and OT by parity of reasoning since both are
        inspired and canonical) is available to be taught by means of
        song." As I'm not familiar with this position, I will pass it by
        with little comment. I will only state again that the EP position is
        not properly that Paul is in this verse limiting us to anything in
        particular, but that he is not giving us anything other than Psalms
        to sing. Given the biblical principle that God prescribes His own
        worship, we are left with only the songs God gave us to sing – in the
        absence of God providing directly inspired Psalms, this means we use
        the Psalter. I will also point out that the best arguments against
        exclusive Psalmody tend to still argue for inspired praise, something
        to which most Non-EP's DO NOT LIMIT THEMSELVES TOO, ANYWAY. Are you
        arguing that we should allow only inspired praise, Tim?

        "If Paul's intent was to teach that only canonical psalms were to be
        used in worship he is ruling against the admissibility of any
        noncanonical psalm singing in Christian worship."

        A wrong "if" will get you the wrong "then." Again, Paul's intent
        need not be to limit us to anything here. The point is that he gives
        us nothing else but Psalms to sing. No one denies that while God
        sets up rules, He Himself can make exceptions. You wish to take the
        rare exception (prophets giving inspired charismatic Psalms) and make
        it the rule, and then include in that new rule all kinds of
        uninspired hymns as well. Thus far you've been unable to demonstrate
        the use on any uninspired songs in the worship of God found anywhere
        in Scripture. Tim, believe me… if Non-EP's were arguing merely for
        inclusion of other Scripture songs, the whole debate would take on a
        different face, as both sides would grant something that YOU WILL
        NOT, which is that God will be worshiped in song only with inspired
        songs. The argument would then become "All inspired songs? Or are
        they limited only to the `Psalms of David'?"


        2. The Straw Man Argument

        "The second error is a straw man argument. GMW mentioned the problem
        of Joe Sournotes ditties. Granted Joe's ditties are the worst
        example of the nonEP principle, but the strongest case of nonEP's is
        not Joe's babblings but the best work of people like H. F. Lyte (O
        love how deep, how broad, how high.) or Graham Kendrick (Meekness and
        Majesty) which are hymns of irreproachable biblical content. If we
        are going to question a doctrinal position, let us make a habit of
        questioning its best representatives, not its worst."

        There are several problems here.

        First, you are making too many conclusions about Joe Sournote. You
        are concluding that he writes unbiblical or heretical hymns. I've
        made no such conclusion or suggestion. My problem with Joe Sournote
        is that he is not a prophet, nor a Levite, nor is he inspired by God
        or called by Him to deliver songs to His Church for use in worship.
        That alone is grounds for me to reject Joe's hymns as being fit for
        use in worship.

        Second, you bring up two men (Lyte and Kendrick) who may or not write
        beautiful and biblical hymns – honestly I'm not familiar with them by
        name. I have no idea offhand what their hymns are like, whether they
        are orthodox or not. They may very well be very well written,
        biblically solid, songs. If so, God blessed them with a rare talent
        because most hymns I've heard suck eggs. There's a reason churches
        tend to make great use of a handful of hymns while ignoring the other
        200 pages in their hymnals – it's quite rare to find a good one.
        Now, in the Baptist hymn-singing church I grew up in, we didn't sing
        too much of those two fellows: we sang more Fanny Crosby (who was a
        woman commanded to keep silent in the Churches, not to teach), the
        Wesley's (flaming Arminian Perfectionists), and Isaac Watts (who
        denied the orthodox understanding of the Trinity). Now, you may wish
        that I ignore those horrible hymn-writers in order to address the
        best ones. While I did not address EITHER, but only used the
        hypothetical example of one uninspired, non-prophetic Joe Sournote,
        even if I did address the worst hymn-writers rather than the best,
        that still would NOT be a straw man argument, as I would simply be
        addressing the scourge which is most widespread in the churches,
        rather than addressing the rare exceptions of great hymn-writers.
        Again, my objection is not regarding whether or not they are good or
        bad hymn-writers, but whether or not they are producing songs worthy
        to be placed next to the Psalms in our hymnals, and worthy enough to
        be song to God in worship, and even if they met the last two
        qualifications, the last qualification is the most important one: Do
        we have warrant to worship God with those songs?

        "If EP is not God's intent the proposed cure is no better than the
        disease."

        If EP is not God's intent, one might be able to find in Scripture
        commands to sing uninspired songs in worship, or perhaps even an
        example or two of God's people singing uninspired songs in worship.


        3. The Problem of Word Meaning

        "The Ephesian and Colossian letters were written to Greek speaking
        churches. The Greek word for "hymns" mentioned in those letters was
        commonly used in contemporary secular Greek to refer to humanly
        written hymns. Since that is so, we cannot, without a begging of the
        entire question, arbitrarily assume that Paul could not have meant
        the normal usage of the Greek word "hymnos" i.e. uninspired psalms in
        distinction from the canonical psalms."

        Oh, but Tim, why stop there? Continue your definition to more better
        match the common use of hymnos… add that they were sung to false
        gods! Then your rather arbitrary definition would read, "uninspired
        psalms sung to false gods in distinction from the canonical psalms."
        OR…

        We can simply recognize that the Septuagint was already calling the
        Psalms of David "psalms, hymns, and songs" and that we have no
        compelling reason to suppose that Paul was commanding the early
        church to forget that up until then the church had used only the
        inspired hymns of David, and that they were now to start writing
        hymns so they have something to sing when the show up for church, and
        that if they restricted themselves to the Psalms that they would be
        violating this new commandment.

        4. Searching for Liturgies

        "dating from the 5th to seventh century."

        Yes, somewhere around A.D. 666 (no, I'm not trying to imply anything
        by the date) the Romans added musical instruments as well. You are
        bound to find lots of innovations by then.

        gmw.
      • raging_calvinist
        Rather than waiting a half-hour to delete, correct, and repost the last post, I ll just point out a rather obvious error: I do not find your objections to be
        Message 3 of 3 , Apr 1 6:29 AM
        • 0 Attachment
          Rather than waiting a half-hour to delete, correct, and repost the
          last post, I'll just point out a rather obvious error:

          "I do not find your objections to be quite weak."

          I do! I do! I do find your ojbections to be quite weak."

          gmw.
        Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.