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Re: Final Contribution to EP Discussion here

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  • raging_calvinist
    As I do not expect you to answer this, I will try my best to deal with this fairly (i.e., by not slamming what you wrote knowing you will not respond with a
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 4, 2002
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      As I do not expect you to answer this, I will try my best to deal
      with this fairly (i.e., by not slamming what you wrote knowing you
      will not respond with a defense, but while not allowing your
      statements to go unanswered).

      Also, by the end of this post, I realized that there is something
      underlying our disagreement of which I will post on shortly. I touch
      on it early, and continue to do so throughout the post, but I see the
      need for further explanation.

      Seeing as it appears this informal debate is coming to a close, I
      will not bother to continue with part two of "Last thoughts on EP

      Tp-I do not point to just those two verses. We can demonstrate the
      possibility that uninspired hymns may be meant there which robs us of
      certainty that only inspired Psalms are meant there.

      As I explained, we ought to be certain that we have warrant for our
      worship practices, lest we fall into the error of Nadab and Abihu
      (offering to God what He "commanded not."). It is not necessary for
      the Scriptures to run down a list of every single thing which we may
      not do in the worship of God. What we do have are positive commands
      regarding worship, along with commands to neither add to or take away
      from those commands. So, rather than approaching Eph. and Col. with
      the question "Can we be positive that this verse beyond any doubt
      FORBIDS the singing of non-canonical psalms," we need to approach it
      with the question, "Do we have clear warrant from these verses that
      God requires the singing of non-canonical psalms in worship?" If the
      argument against EP from these verses is that the verses are not
      clear as to what is being commanded/forbidden, then EP still stands,
      because we still only have clear warrant to sing the Psalms.

      Tp-The term of course should have been capitalized as in the
      canonical book
      of Psalms , thus "Psalms (canonical psalms), Psalms (canonical
      psalms), and
      Psalms (canonical psalms) for that is what the terms reduce to.

      I'm not sure what you're asserting here, but let me be clear as to my
      position on this verse:

      Paul is not saying sing Psalms, Psalms, Psalms. He is saying sing
      psalms, hymns, and songs. Now, the canonical book of Psalms (or, in
      Hebrew, Book of Praises) is full of psalms, hymns and songs, and this
      is what I believe Paul meant for us to sing… the psalms, hymns and
      songs contained in the book of Praises. The three terms need not
      mean exactly the same thing – they may have different connotations.
      But, all three terms are referring to the corresponding praises found
      in the Book of Praises. But again, let it be known that EP's have
      differing views on these verses. The only point being that we do not
      have clear warrant for singing anything other than the psalms, hymns
      and songs contained in the Psalter in these verses, which is what we
      need in order to worship in spirit and in truth.

      Tp-I am sure your analogies don't apply. Blasphemy is no less
      blasphemy for
      being committed outside a formal worship service.

      Blasphemy is always blasphemy, yes. But this does not mean that
      everything that can be done for the glory and general praise of God
      in everyday life ought to be introduced into formal worship, which is
      what we are talking about here. Songs and musical instruments can be
      used to glorify God in everyday life, but we still need warrant from
      the Scriptures to introduce them into worship.

      Tp-While the "Teaching" is early it is not canonical. Also note that
      contrast throughout is Bible/Heathen, not Bible/non canonical
      Christian/Heathen which renders this quote valueless for your side of

      If you would please go back and read what I wrote within it's
      context, you will notice that I neither suggested that the "Teaching"
      is canonical (or even genuine), nor did I suggest that this verse
      supports any supposed "argument." I merely granted your point that
      some EP's may eventually come to the conclusion that nothing but
      Psalms should ever be sung. This is what the "Teaching" was getting
      at. "Wanna sing? You have the Psalms to sing, seek no other
      songs." Do with it what you wish.

      Tp-We are indeed to worship God as He has commanded: the question is:
      what has He commanded?

      Indeed, which is why I keep asking for clear biblical command to sing
      uninspired songs along with or instead of inspired song.

      Tp-Here we reach the nub of the matter. I believe John 4:24 to be
      the command which regulates the content of songs sung in worship….
      I would like to here more about this interpretation of John 4. If
      you do not care to comment further, that's fine. But I'm wondering
      what exactly you believe John 4 abrogated.

      TP - "The criteria now becomes the truth of a song not its

      This CANNOT be the only criterion for worship song. Baseballs are
      round. This is true. Shall we build a song around the roundness of
      baseballs and worship God with that song, true as it may be? You
      must have more criteria than this.

      Tp-- And I also believe that if the Lord commands something we do not
      need an example before we obey the command. Shall we disobey the
      Lord's command not to commit murder because we do not have an
      explicit example in the NT of a Christian so restraining himself? You
      will rightly say "God forbid"! and note that this is not an exact
      parallel since you are only
      doing what is commanded in Scripture, and I am making a change which
      you ask
      me to justify.

      I honestly don't know what your getting at here. Did I say we need
      an example along with a command? Command is warrant enough. We have
      both command and example of "thou shalt not murder" in the
      Scriptures. And yet we look in vain to find command OR example to
      sing uninspired songs in worship.

      But in the previous post you are the one who said "God can do
      what he wants to do", and one thing He does do between the Old and New
      Covenants is change how He is to be worshiped. We do not, for
      offer animal sacrifices today. So with that principle established, I
      that we do not need an example to obey His command....

      What command? I'm still looking for that.

      Tp- ...since we know that the primary reference of John 4;24 is to the
      future new Covenant since the future opposition Jesus sets up in v.
      21 is
      not that between "worship in this mountain (Samaritan false worship)
      or in
      Jerusalem (OT mandated worship in all its details) but the opposition
      both to worship "in Spirit and in truth."

      What does in spirit and in truth mean? It cannot mean that we may
      now worship God according to the traditions of men rather than the
      commandments of God. So where's your support for uninspired hymns
      here? We only have clear commands to sing Psalms.

      I'm skipping over much of what was said regarding John 4, only noting
      that I am not in agreement with the interpretation given.

      Tp --"All details of OT worship must be assumed to have expired with
      that covenant unless renewed in the New. That includes both animal
      sacrifices and the command (if it was a command) to sing psalms only.

      1. So you sing acapella in worship? Or do you use instruments like
      the Levitical priests?

      2. We are not making any contention that there is command to sing
      only Psalms. We are contending that there are only commands to sing
      Psalms. Until this is properly understood, you will continue to
      misunderstand the entire concept of Exclusive Psalmody.

      Tp- Only what is instituted in the NT is operative for us.

      While I was Baptist for most of my life, I know believe that the
      whole Bible is our rule for faith and practice.

      But, even with your hermeneutical principle, where in the NT is
      uninspired song "certainly" instituted?

      Tp-I am saying that Jesus is announcing that the Holy "Spirit and
      are the criteria BY WHICH God regulates worship in the New Covenant,
      and not
      by instructions carried over from the OT.

      To the contrary, if the instructions are carried over, they still
      apply. Otherwise, they wouldn't be "carried over."

      Tp-The psalms were written in the context of the Old Covenant and the
      commands to sing them would have expired with it had not Paul
      mandated their
      use in at least the first word of the phrase "psalms, hymns, and
      songs". But since he does so teach, the church is under commandment
      to use
      them as at least part of its worship.

      Ok, so all of your argumentation above is a washout. You here grant
      that we are required, under commandment, to go to the Psalms. Where
      are we clearly commanded to go to uninspired hymns? You can't say
      Eph. 5 and Col. 3, unless you are prepared to drop your previous
      argument that something must be clearly and certainly taught before
      it can be considered required by God.

      I'm skipping over your dispensational idea of the Law.

      Tp-Eph 5:18 and Col. 3:16 are more likely that warrant than not.

      While I deny that it is more likely that Paul was commanding all
      Christians to compose and sing their own songs along with the Psalms,
      as opposed to his commanding them to sing the songs they already had
      in their Hymnals, I find it strange that you are now willing to
      settle for that which is "likely" when you demanded from me that I
      demonstrate "certainty" in these verses!

      When one considers that John 4:24 is giving the criteria for
      acceptable worship, the
      continuing EP failure to demonstrate how why biblical truth is
      when offered to God in worship becomes decisive.

      Again, I deny that John 4:24 allows us to introduce our own
      innovations in worship. I also deny that all things that are "true"
      and all things that are done by men "filled with the spirit" are
      things that are therefore automatically permissible to be done in

      Tp-By which you mean the psalms? Indeed we do and I use them. The
      is do we have NT warrant to limit ourselves to just the Canonical
      John 4:24 seems to say no and so do the Eph and Col passages.

      You cannot prove anything from the Eph. and Col. passages, and
      therefore I deny you've found any warrant for singing uninspired
      hymns. Nor do I agree with you that John 4:24 releases the believer
      from the commandments of God in worship, making them free to practice
      the traditions of men.

      Do we have warrant to limit ourselves to the Canonical Psalms? Of
      course, as I've said, He's not command us to sing anything else.

      Tp-The Ephesian believers knew that Paul by using "psalms" meant
      Psalms which were by definition inspired by the Spirit hence, by
      spiritual. The same thing is true of the EP understanding of "hymns"
      "ode's" If Paul meant to list the three types of canonical psalms, he
      had no
      need to specifically describe them as "spiritual." Hence using the
      there, on EP premises, is indeed redundant.

      It most certainly is not redundant. You've still missed his point,
      haven't you? ;-)
      Hymns and Psalms already carry the connotation of being intended for
      religious worship. The more generic "ode" does not necessarily carry
      such a connotation, and it would be proper to therefore tie it to the
      word "spiritual" so that no mistake was made. However, I am not
      adverse to the idea that "spiritual" applied to all three terms,
      which also does not help the uninspired hymn-singer much.

      Yes, the Ephesians would have known what Paul meant by psalms. Why?
      Because some of the songs in the book of Praises carry the title
      of "psalm." Others are called "hymns". Others are called "odes"
      or "songs". At least one is called by all three titles. Yes, the
      Ephesians would have known what he was talking about. If only
      Christians today would also know.

      Tp-not likely since the grammatical argument that it refers to all 3
      did not
      commend itself to bible translators even when Psalms, Psalms and
      Psalms was
      the common understanding of Paul's intent..

      May I suggest that you discontinue your Psalms, Psalms and Psalms
      usage, as they way you use it repeatedly demonstrates that you are
      not understanding the position you are opposed to. There is a hymnal
      in the Bible, it contains psalms, hymns and songs. We've named that
      book after one of the names – Psalms.

      Tp-I have never disputed that Paul specifically refers to the book of
      by the term psalms. I am questioning whether he used the other terms
      refer to the canonical Psalms. Whatever he meant, I don't think
      Paul "dared"
      anything. He either meant one meaning or the other and our job is to
      out as best we can, which meaning he meant.

      Very true. And if we search the Scriptures to find out what he
      meant, we do so finding no other command or example of singing
      uninspired psalms, hymns or odes. What we do find is either 1) a
      prophet delivering an inspired song, 2) otherwise charismatically
      inspired songs, and 3) use of the Psalter.

      Tp- I believe Paul is teaching the churches to sing canonical psalms,
      composed hymns (where such hymns are controlled by the criteria of
      truth), and allow for charismatic song. This best explains all the New
      Testament evidence.

      How so? I see evidence for Psalms, and for charismatic song, but
      where in the NT do we see evidence for free composed hymns?

      Tp-Probability is not certainty….
      Good point. Show with certainty that Eph. 5 and Col. 3 command (or
      even simply allow) the composition of uninspired hymns, please.

      Tp- a begging of the question. The question under dispute is whether
      we are
      limited to singing psalms only.

      The question is whether God told us to sing anything else besides
      Psalms. We sing Psalms exclusively not because God commands us to
      exclusively sing Psalms, but because we are commanded to exclude from
      worship that which is not commanded, and God only commands us to sing

      If God did not intend to so limit us, such a
      limitation is an imposition. John 4:24 gives His criteria for
      worship, and
      if EP's continue to fail to demonstrate that human song cannot be of
      biblical truth EP is a violation of His criteria.

      Because we have no warrant to offer it in worship. Let's take
      another example.

      We have biblical warrant to read the Scriptures in worship (I assume
      you agree, so I will not argue this point further).

      Suppose a church that has traditionally read a portion from both the
      Old and New Testaments during the worship service, discontinues the
      reading of the Old Testament, and replaces it with reading portions
      from great theologians. Suppose this week they read a section from
      Book 3 of Calvin's Institutes, and then read John 4. Certainly, Book
      3 of Calvin's Institutes is biblically correct (truth), and it is
      also very spiritual (spirit). By reading Calvin in place of or next
      to the Bible in worship, are they doing what God commanded them to
      do? Suppose over time they begin reading at 3/1 in favor of Calvin's
      Institutes ratio, some weeks not reading from the Scriptures at all.
      Is this ok with God? Is this "spirit and truth" worship?

      Tp-On this argument Schissel has the right of it. All these examples
      were of
      things specifically prohibited in Scripture, not things of which
      those who
      did them were uncertain.
      Here's the problem. I'm afraid we will make no progress beyond
      this. I'll post more regarding this problem in a subsequent post.

      Let me conclude by saying that this has been the most irenic example
      of a
      high stakes theological discussion that I have yet seen on the web
      and in
      fact have seen in my life. You are to be commended for the way in
      which you
      have conducted yourself during it and the Christ likeness you have
      which has brought glory to God as it encouraged me to attempt to rise
      your level as far as manner is concerned even though we disagree
      about the

      I appreciate your saying this, Tim. I've been in and witnessed far
      to many discussions (especially regarding this topic), where the
      parties go away angry, accusing one another of horrible things. Let
      this be an example to others that we can fiercely disagree on
      something and yet conduct ourselves… well… like Christians.

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