Re: Final Contribution to EP Discussion here
- 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
of Psalms , thus "Psalms (canonical psalms), Psalms (canonical
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
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
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.
not that between "worship in this mountain (Samaritan false worship)
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,
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
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
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
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
commend itself to bible translators even when Psalms, Psalms and
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
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
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
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
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
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
things specifically prohibited in Scripture, not things of which
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
high stakes theological discussion that I have yet seen on the web
fact have seen in my life. You are to be commended for the way in
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
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.