Praise and Worship Postures: Regulated or Spontaneous?

Well, we’ve all heard of the different worship styles wars: contemporary versus traditional, or charismatic versus non-charismatic, and so on.  And then one can throw the Regulative Principle in the mix.

Now if I’m able to get a voice in in all this worship commotion, I’ll say that we need to let all of Scripture, both the Old and New Testaments, inform our worship, through the move of the Holy Spirit of worship.

We find lifting hands, kneeling, bowing, clapping, dancing, and so on, in praise and worship to God.  But only a few churches engage in all of these today.

Is it possible that we might be putting out the Spirit’s fire in our worship gatherings because of our church cultures?  Why were lifting hands and so on, present in praise and worship in the early days, but woefully missing in most of our churches today?

My vision of a worship service is so radically biblical!

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51 Responses to Praise and Worship Postures: Regulated or Spontaneous?

  1. Damian says:

    T.C.,

    Why do you think that simply because a church is not worshipping in all the forms that are biblical, it means they are stifling the holy spirit’s action in worship?

    I think you’d be hard-pressed to find all of those forms of worship in the one time, place, or person (perhaps David? But even then, I’m not entirely sure).

    I commented earlier on the problems I’ve experienced in churches where these actions (which I agree, are valid forms of worship) were raised up as ideals. It results in a situation where those who don’t do such things – or all such things – are criticised for it.

    But more to the point, I think these find expression in different forms of worship. I’ve recently moved in the direction of liturgical worship from a more pentecostal worship. In the pentecostal-style worship, there was raising of hands, clapping, dancing in abundance, and sometimes kneeling. In the liturgical style worship, there’s more kneeling, bowing, etc. But I moved in the direction because there is a different type of worship – and I think both need to be expressed in one’s worship life.

    So, if one is in a church with more – I dare say uplifting – worship, with dancing, clapping, raising of hands, their personal worship time would be more reverent, full of bowing, kneeling, and deference to God’s glory. And if one is in a church with a more reverent, deferential corporate worship, personal worship should be more uplifting.

    For myself, because of the problems I expressed earlier, the latter is my preference. But that doesn’t mean it is the best, for others another way might be best. I don’t think that by not having all of the biblical examples of worship in a single service or church, you are doing God a disservice or stifling the holy spirit (if such a thing is possible).

  2. Nick Norelli says:

    TC:

    Is it possible that we might be putting out the Spirit’s fire in our worship gatherings because of our church cultures?

    Not only is it possible, but it’s a matter of fact. Some churches are dead, plain and simple. I don’t know that there’s any single reason for it, or that it could be placed on the form and function of worship alone, but I don’t doubt that such a thing factors in.

  3. tc robinson says:

    Damian, again, it all boils down to church culture on worship. Sometimes, you visit some churches and all the members look at you funny for saying, “Amen,” as if you’ve done something wrong.

    Sometimes I have to wonder. Look at the worship scenes in heaven that we find in Revelation and compare them to some of our churches today.

    Nick, we need to realize that some church traditions are simply bad. And as you said about some churches, they are “dead, plain and simple.”

    I don’t know why we find ourselves fighting this reality. If we’re not convinced by the OT, we just need to read Revelation. Wow!

  4. Iris says:

    Worship is a heart release. The form, or lack of form, really doesn’t matter as long as we allow our (dare I really write this?) emotions to become engaged. Worship involves the mental, but if that is all that is engaged the expression is stilted at best.

    It is a total expression of me loving, adoring, and enjoying my precious Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit rides on wings of emotion connection to release from us love to our Father and love from our Father as well. Without some emotional engagement, it is a religious occurrence, but not an experience.

    Yes, I am pentecostal, but I wasn’t raised that way. I have been the Lord’s since a very young child in a very “legal” system. I have found in my very reserved English way, that unless I willingly engage emotionally (which means for me — a very subdued expression) the Spirit does not have His freedom in and through me.

    These things are not control-able; they simply happen or not. It can’t be programed but it can be planned on. It cannot be manipulated but it can be expected.

  5. tc robinson says:

    It is a total expression of me loving, adoring, and enjoying my precious Lord Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit rides on wings of emotion connection to release from us love to our Father and love from our Father as well. Without some emotional engagement, it is a religious occurrence, but not an experience.

    Thanks, Iris. I’m so glad that you were freed from a “legal system,” or we wouldn’t have gotten this comment out of you. I’m in essential agreement with you take on the matter. 🙂

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  7. Richard says:

    We find lifting hands, kneeling, bowing, clapping, dancing, and so on, in praise and worship to God.

    Lifting hands was a Jewish custom.

    Kneeling is a universal sign of humbleness.

    Bowing is, if I recall correctly, a synonym for kneeling.

    Clapping and dancing, I would like to see your references. These were not at times of stated worship but at celebrations of victory over Israel’s enemies. A bit like VE day or July 4th.

  8. Damian says:

    T.C.,

    I agree this is a culture thing, but I refer you to my comment on the other post on lifting hands, as there’s no need to repeat myself – these two are blending somewhat.

    But I object to what you implied in your reply to Nick – if some churches are ‘dead’ or ‘bad’, it’s not because they’re worshipping in correctly, it’s because of something far deeper than that, that is, it’s a faith or theology issue.

    As I’ve said before, I’m from a full-blown pentecostal, raising hands/dancing/clapping background and I’ve moved into a more liturgical worship, not because I don’t feel the first was worshipful, but because it’s a different kind of worship.

    As someone who has experienced and still enjoys an ongoing relationship of worship in both traditions, I think you do a disservice to those who worship differently, by implying that they’re worshipping wrongly.

  9. Colin Heath says:

    I thought this tread would raise interesting comments.

    I have not, yet anyway, been convinced by the Regulative Principle in worship. Either as a concept, or in the exegisis which results in capella plsalmody as the only musical expression. And to pick up on a view I think I expressed in another thread, I am sure it is right to look at the revelation of the Old covenant, provided we apply to it the fulfilment of the New.

    So I agree with your sentiments TC. I would also recognise that cultural leanings, whether national or denominational can quench the Spirit. A question is whether that is happening and to what extent. Damian’s reply suggests to me perhaps not as much as we might think/fear.

    My own, ongoing, spriritual journey has taken in a very wide range of expressions, 60’s hymn sandwhich, liturgical from rigid to relaxed, independent charismatic, with a very occaisional Anglo Catholic solemn Eucharist as well.

    Jesus told the woman at the well (John 4) that worship is to be in sprit and in truth. No doubt so we grow up, not dry up or blow up. And the Puritans were surely right in one aspect of the Regulative Principle. God looks to the worship of our heart. What has the Hly Spirit put on my heart – today? It may well be different to yesterday or tomorrow. It mat be different to what is on your heart. There may be seasons. For myself, in the last year or so, I have greatly valued times of silence, contemplation and meditation on the Word, which sometimes feature in our own Sunday evening service.

    I think I am saying that if we focues on the Spirit and Truth, the rest will follow if it follows, and not if it does not. But this is very much a pilgrimage of exploration for me.

  10. Ferg says:

    Just because some people don’t express their love for God in an outward way does that mean it’s wrong?
    I actually think it is. It is about the heart, but it’s also about our selfishness and WHY we don’t express our worship. It is 99% down to us not wanting other people to judge us. Like David’s wife Michal in 2 Samuel 6. We should be free to worship God how we like. I was at a gig on Wednesday night and I was shouting and singing at the top of my lungs, jumping up and down and even resorted to fist pumping :o)
    Why do we not carry this into a Sunday morning, considering we are worshiping the King and creator of the universe. Yes we have to respect those around us and not do cartwheels down the aisles BUT we are called to be an example and are actually commanded to worship with all that we are. Therefore, if no one around me lifts their hands but I feel that it would be right for me to do that in my worship to Jesus, I will do it. Not to prove a point, not to be a rebel, but to reflect what Jesus means to me and to encourage others to do the same. If I get a talking to from the leaders, I am called to respect them so I’ll take my heart elsewhere.

  11. Richard says:

    We should be free to worship God how we like.

    Tell that to Nadab and Abihu (Lev. 10:1-3). Calvin’s comments are worth taking to heart:

    “A memorable circumstance is here recorded, from whence it appears how greatly God abominates all the sins whereby the purity of religion is corrupted. Apparently it was a light transgression to use strange fire for burning incense; and again their thoughtlessness would seem excusable, for certainly Nadab and Abihu did not wantonly or intentionally desire to pollute the sacred things, but, as is often the case in matters of novelty, when they were setting about them too eagerly, their precipitancy led them into error. The severity of the punishment, therefore, would not please those arrogant people, who do not hesitate superciliously to criticise God’s judgments; but if we reflect how holy a thing God’s worship is, the enormity of the punishment will by no means offend us. Besides, it was necessary that their religion should be sanctioned at its very commencement; for if God had suffered the sons of Aaron to transgress with impunity, they would have afterwards carelessly neglected the whole Law. This, therefore, was the reason of such great severity, that the priests should anxiously watch against all profanation. Their crime is specified, viz., that they offered incense in a different way from that which God had prescribed, and consequently, although they may have erred from ignorance, still they were convicted by God’s commandment of having negligently set about what was worthy of greater attention. The “strange fire” is distinguished from the sacred fire which was always burning upon the altar: not miraculously, as some pretend, but by the constant watchfulness of the priests. Now, God had forbidden any other fire to be used in the ordinances, in order to exclude all extraneous rites, and to shew His detestation of whatever might be derived from elsewhere. Let us learn, therefore, so to attend to God’s command as not to corrupt His worship by any strange inventions.”

  12. Peter Kirk says:

    Richard, for dancing see Psalm 150:4 as well as 2 Samuel 6:14, and for clapping see Psalm 47:1. Psalm 150 seems to me to give a picture of regular worship rather than “celebrations of victory over Israel’s enemies”.

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  14. Martin says:

    TC,

    I agree with your post, you make some very good points.

    Martin.

  15. Richard says:

    Peter,

    What is the Sitz im Leben of 2 Samuel 6:14?

    What is the Sitz im Leben of Pss. 47 & 150?

  16. tc robinson says:

    Damian, when no emotions are seen in one’s worship to God, something has to be wrong, in my opinion. Look at Scripture and the range of emotions seen in worship to God. Again, it all boils down to our church cultures, whether we like to admit that fact or not.

    Colin, I admire your worship pilgrimage. Continue to explore it. I’m sure you’ll be taken places you never dreamed of, or just maybe you have. 🙂

    Ferg, that’s what I’m talking about. When I see the celestial worship leaders calling on everyone else to shout hallelujah, I know the feeling. Again, we need to address our church cultures in light of Scripture and the move of the Spirit of worship.

    Peter, thanks for those texts.

  17. Peter Kirk says:

    Richard, the verses I quote are of course not about contemporary church worship. But then nothing in the Bible is. We have to take general principles from the Scriptures and apply them to our worship today. The general principle I take is that God is quite happy to be worshipped in dancing, in appropriate circumstances. That doesn’t mean that we must dance in worship today, but it does make it hard to maintain a position that this is wrong and should not be allowed in churches.

  18. Richard says:

    Peter,

    My point was simply that we can’t take a verse out of its immediate context and use it for a prooftext for Church worship. Even in the OT, David’s actions were extra-ordinary. So it would be illegitimate exegesis to take a very specific extra-ordinary event in the live of King David and try to make it a norm for every NT believer.

    It is interesting to note that whilst the Psalter was the songbook for the second Temple, some of the Psalms mention instruments that were not allowed to be played in the temple.

    Below are two of the four times that the historical books mention dancing:

    1 Samuel 18:6 “And it came to pass as they came, when David was returned from the slaughter of the Philistine, that the women came out of all cities of Israel, singing and dancing, to meet king Saul, with tabrets, with joy, and with instruments of musick.”

    1 Samuel 30:16 “And when he had brought him down, behold, they were spread abroad upon all the earth, eating and drinking, and dancing, because of all the great spoil that they had taken out of the land of the Philistines, and out of the land of Judah.”

    This context is imortant. It is at times like these that Israel’s poets would write psalms and so inevitable mention activities suitable to such an occasion but that, whilst sung in the temple, would not have been done in the temple.

    God bless!

  19. Peter Kirk says:

    Well, Richard, I do not consider traditional Jewish, but apparently non-biblical, rules about what musical instruments should be played in the Temple to have a greater authority for Christian worship than the Psalms.

  20. Richard says:

    Peter,

    The rules are set out in Scripture:

    1 Chronicles 15:16 “David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their brothers as singers to sing joyful songs, accompanied by musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals.”

    1 Chronicles 16:5, 6, 42 “Asaph was the chief, Zechariah second, then Jeiel, Shemiramoth, Jehiel, Mattithiah, Eliab, Benaiah, Obed-Edom and Jeiel. They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. Heman and Jeduthun were responsible for the sounding of the trumpets and cymbals and for the playing of the other instruments for sacred song. The sons of Jeduthun were stationed at the gate.”

    1 Chronicles 25:1, 6 “David, together with the commanders of the army, set apart some of the sons of Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun for the ministry of prophesying, accompanied by harps, lyres and cymbals. Here is the list of the men who performed this service: All these men were under the supervision of their fathers for the music of the temple of the LORD, with cymbals, lyres and harps, for the ministry at the house of God. Asaph, Jeduthun and Heman were under the supervision of the king.”

    These rules were then reaffirmed under Hezekiah, now note the words emboldened:

    2 Chronicles 29:25-30 “He stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the LORD through his prophets. So the Levites stood ready with David’s instruments, and the priests with their trumpets. Hezekiah gave the order to sacrifice the burnt offering on the altar. As the offering began, singing to the LORD began also, accompanied by trumpets and the instruments of David king of Israel. The whole assembly bowed in worship, while the singers sang and the trumpeters played. All this continued until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed. When the offerings were finished, the king and everyone present with him knelt down and worshiped. King Hezekiah and his officials ordered the Levites to praise the LORD with the words of David and of Asaph the seer. So they sang praises with gladness and bowed their heads and worshiped.”

    The temple instruments were the psaltery, harp and cymbals and only Levites could play them.

  21. Peter Kirk says:

    So, Richard, do you use psaltery, harp and cymbals and no other instruments in worship in your church? If by any chance you use organs, or guitars, or even if you disobey these commands to use instruments by using no instruments at all, you are being hypocritical in quoting these rules for Temple worship as forbidding dance in worship. So perhaps we need to agree that these rules for Temple worship do not apply in detail, although perhaps as general principles, to Christian worship today. And the same is true of Psalm 150.

  22. tc robinson says:

    Peter, I believe you have raised some important questions here.

    Richard, since we don’t have the levitalical system and the Temple anymore, How should we regard these “rules”? Or we simply don’t?

  23. Damian says:

    T.C.,

    As I said, it’s clearly cultural. I just think you are being hasty in disregarding worship that isn’t personally to your liking; to put it another way, cultures that aren’t your own are simply different cultures, not less worshipful.

  24. tc robinson says:

    Damian, I really just can’t understand how a worship can be so liturgical and not allow for the expression of emotions in praise and worship of God.

    I do not accept arguments that lifting hands and so on, are distractions. They are only deemed “distraction” because of particular church cultures.

    When I read a text like Ps 63:4, “I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands,” (TNIV) my spirit within me desire more.

  25. Richard says:

    Peter & TC,

    Once we understand the context of the Psalms we can begin to understand how to apply them in NT worship. It is important that we engage with the text and not simply run to Ps. 150:4 as a proof-text especially when the Jews themselves never used the specific verse to allow what you (Peter) want it to say and the Church for 2000 years never understood it in the same way you want it to be understood.

    You can say that they were wrong, fine, but you need to construct a solid argument.

    Dancing
    The worship of Israel was “Word and Sacrament”. Israel gathered to worship YHWH in two places, the Temple and the synagogue. Church worship is the continuation of these and is “Word and Sacrament”. Dancing falls outside of this and so should not be done.

    Instruments
    If the commands in the Psalter to use musical instruments still bind then we should still be sacrificing animals:

    Psalm 20:3 “Remember all thy offerings, and accept thy burnt sacrifice”

    Psalm 66:15 “I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats.”

    Simple prooftexting is not enough.

    In terms of how those rules should be understood. A few pointers, musical instruments were not used by the Jews outside of the temple for worship. When the temple was destroyed the old order went with it. The early church did not use musical instruments.

    Note also that musical instruments were only played “until the sacrifice of the burnt offering was completed”. Instruments in the temple were not really used to accompany singing.

    Question: Can we construct an argument for using instruments that takes the above into account?
    Question: Why is it so important to use instruments?

  26. tc robinson says:

    Once we understand the context of the Psalms we can begin to understand how to apply them in NT worship.

    Richard, What is the context of the Psalter that forbids dancing and instruments in worship to God.?

    If the commands in the Psalter to use musical instruments still bind then we should still be sacrificing animals:

    Come on, Richard, you can do better than that! Instruments and sacrifices are different in nature. Sacrifices were ceremonial and so on. Do I need to add more?

    I don’t believe the NT documents were meant to be handbooks on worship.

  27. Damian says:

    T.C.,

    But it does allow for emotions during worship; it just leans toward reverence and humility in worship, rather than the joy and exuberance that is commonly expressed in contemporary worship.

    I wouldn’t call lifting hands etc. distractions. I think there’s a place for them. I simply come from a charismatic tradition where it’s a symbol of ‘devoutness’. Now, I’m sure this occurs in all traditions – it’s just my experience in the contemporary worship moreso.

    All I can really do is to quote Philip speaking to Nathaniel – “Come and see”. I’ve done this with a few of my friends from earlier, more contemporary worshipful churches, and they’ve realised that there is worship in a liturgy; once you’ve attended, you cannot deny it. It may not be your cup of tea, but you cannot deny that it is, nonetheless, valid and blessed worship.

  28. Richard says:

    Instruments and sacrifices are different in nature. Sacrifices were ceremonial and so on.

    Indeed in one sense they are different, we need to understand the differences, and similarities, not just randomly name a text as proof of something.

    Note how the playing of instruments was tied to the sacrifices and to the levitical priesthood. This was understood to mean that instruments were also a part of the ceremonial.

    What is the context of the Psalter that forbids dancing and instruments in worship to God
    For example, in Psalm 24 we read

    “Lift up your heads, O you gates;
    be lifted up, you ancient doors,
    that the King of glory may come in.”

    Now it is great to sing that Psalm in NT worship, but we should not reconstruct the Sitz im Leben.

    Those psalms that mention dancing stemmed from a celebration of Israel’s victory over its enemies. The redactor deemed those psalms relevant to be in the Psalter but no Second Temple Jew understood the exhortations to dance to mean they should start dancing in the Temple.

  29. Peter Kirk says:

    Richard, you keep appealing to what Second Temple Jews understood. But why is that relevant? For them worship was all about animal sacrifice. We agree that Christian worship is not about that. I might suggest that for us as Christians worship is all about celebrating Jesus’ victory over his enemies, compare 2 Corinthians 2:14, and so instrumental music and dancing are appropriate.

    You claim that “The early church did not use musical instruments”, but what about 1 Corinthians 14:7? Admittedly the pipe and harp here are not clearly for use in worship, but they are not condemned as wrong things. The principle of 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 suggests that if musical instruments and dance in worship are not condemned in the Bible as wrong, and they are certainly not, it is right to use them in church worship as culturally appropriate.

  30. Richard says:

    Peter,

    The reason why how the Second Temple Jews understood the verses is very important. Why? Because it shows what those verses meant in their original context. If you want to say that these verses justify our using instruments because they are in the Psalms, and yet no-one ever (including those that sung the in the temple for hundreds of years) understood them to mean that, then you don’t really have an argument.

    Yes we are celebrating Jesus’ victory over his enemies and this is where you will have to go and this is, IMO, the only (half) decent argument in favour of musical instruments. But I could use the same methodology of exegesis and argue for incense in worship. If you want to go down this road just make sure you note what precedent you are setting. 🙂

    1 Corinthians 14:7 proves nothing, it is simple Pauline hyperbole. Note the context of Paul’s statement. In terms of the historical position check out the Early Church Fathers and their exegesis of Psalm 150.

    1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is also not really relevant. The issue is not whether if musical instruments and dance in worship are not condemned in the Bible as wrong but whether they are right in the context of the church meeting. No-where in Scripture do we find dancing in a worship context.

  31. Peter Kirk says:

    Richard, I have no problem with incense in worship if you want to use it, except that it is a danger to health. I am serious, my vicar told me recently that the one time he used incense in worship at my church one congregation member had to leave because they couldn’t breathe because of some kind of allergy.

    No-where in Scripture do we find dancing in a worship context.

    I disagree. This brings us back to psalms 149 and 150. I accept that these were not necessarily in the context of formal regular Temple or synagogue worship. But they were certainly in the context of praising the Lord, as both psalms begin and end “Praise the Lord!” And they were about praising God “in the assembly of his faithful people” (149:2) and “in his sanctuary” (150:1). If this isn’t worship, what is it?

  32. Richard says:

    Peter,

    Psalms 149 and 150 were sung in regular Second Temple worship, but the Jews did not start dancing in the Temple as a part of worship.

    If we read on in Psalm 149 we will come across “Let the saints rejoice in this honour, and sing for joy on their beds.” Now do you take your bed to church with you? I ask, of course, in jest. 🙂

    The Church, in terms of its worship grew out from the synagogues and you accept “that these were not necessarily in the context of formal…synagogue worship”. So we now have a problem in transferring the imperative from the Old Covenant to the New.

    Then of course it is contested as to whether the term translated “dance” is not better rendered “pipe”. It is interesting to note that the “dancings” of Exodus 15:20 is rendered sistrums by the Syriac and Arabic versions, which were musical instruments much used by the Egyptians, and from whom the Israelitish women had them.

    In terms of Pss. 149 and 150 there is no place in the Bible where מחול machol and מחלת machalath mean dance of any kind but rather they constantly signify some kind of pipe. Something to think about eh?

  33. tc robinson says:

    I wouldn’t call lifting hands etc. distractions. I think there’s a place for them. I simply come from a charismatic tradition where it’s a symbol of ‘devoutness’. Now, I’m sure this occurs in all traditions – it’s just my experience in the contemporary worship more so.

    Damian consider: Ps 63:4: “I will praise you as long as I live,
    and in your name I will lift up my hands”

    Scripture refers to the lifting our hand as an expression of praise to God.

    Richard: “Note how the playing of instruments was tied to the sacrifices and to the levitical priesthood. This was understood to mean that instruments were also a part of the ceremonial.”

    In 2 Chron 7 I see both instruments and singing but no sacrifices. Certainly this reference goes against your contentions of.

    1. No instruments and singing together

    2. Instruments only with sacrifices.

    Those psalms that mention dancing stemmed from a celebration of Israel’s victory over its enemies. The redactor deemed those psalms relevant to be in the Psalter but no Second Temple Jew understood the exhortations to dance to mean they should start dancing in the Temple.

    Even if we were to grant your Sitz im Leben that doesn’t forbid other dancing in praise to God and even for today. In fact, Peter makes a great argument for the same today.

    Every expression of worship as been occasioned by one thing or the other in our walk with God. I don’t think you’ll doubt that.

  34. Richard says:

    TC,

    There were certainly sacrifices taking place:

    2 Chron. 7:1 When Solomon finished praying, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the LORD filled the temple.

    2 Chron. 7: 4-5 “Then the king and all the people offered sacrifices before the LORD. And King Solomon offered a sacrifice of twenty-two thousand head of cattle and a hundred and twenty thousand sheep and goats. So the king and all the people dedicated the temple of God.”

    However I may need to relook at musical accompanyment (spl?) owing to verse 6:

    In the KJV we find it:

    “And the priests waited on their offices: the Levites also with instruments of musick of the LORD, which David the king had made to praise the LORD, because his mercy endureth for ever, when David praised by their ministry; and the priests sounded trumpets before them, and all Israel stood.”

    But the NLT renders it:

    “The priests took their assigned positions, and so did the Levites who were singing, “His faithful love endures forever!” They accompanied the singing with music from the instruments King David had made for praising the Lord. Across from the Levites, the priests blew the trumpets, while all Israel stood.”

    This changes the meaning somewhat, so watch this space. 😉

    that doesn’t forbid other dancing in praise to God and even for today
    True, but it certainly means that those texts do not justify it, which is my point 😉

  35. tc robinson says:

    Richard, true, and precisely because animal sacrifices were part of the worship encounter and experience. Now we present our bodies as “living sacrifices” (Rom 12:1).

    True, but it certainly means that those texts do not justify it, which is my point.

    Why not? Your logic puzzles me at times. 🙂

  36. Richard says:

    Why not?
    Because, even if they are speaking of dancing, they are not speaking about dancing that took place in the worship of YHWH (temple or synagogue).

  37. tc robinson says:

    So what is this sanctuary of Ps 150:1?

  38. Richard says:

    It can be read in one of two ways owing to the parallelism, it could either be the temple or it could be heaven with the second cola explaining the first.

    If it refers to the Temple then we have a problem because the psalm mentions instruments that were not appointed to be used in the Temple.

  39. tc robinson says:

    It could simply be a climatic parallelism.

    2 Chron 20:27 locates instruments in the Temple.

  40. Richard says:

    I think you mean v. 28 😉

    I agree that instruments were played in the temple, but only three were allowed, psaltries, harps and cymbals (and trumpets but these were those of Numbers 10:1-10). As you see, Ps. 150 mentions more than just these.

  41. tc robinson says:

    What Scripture(s) are you basing this on?

  42. Richard says:

    See comment 19 🙂

  43. tc robinson says:

    Richard, comment #19 was made by Peter.

  44. Richard says:

    Oops, comment 20. 🙂

    PS: I have invested in Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God to see these issues from the “other side” so to speak. 😉

  45. tc robinson says:

    Here’s how I see it: according to your use of Scripture, we need those prescribed instruments in worship. But that wouldn’t work, because we’ll need a Jewish temple too. I don’t know about your use of Scripture on the matter. 🙂

  46. Richard says:

    I would say that we don’t need those instruments in worship because they belonged to Temple worship and the Temple has been destroyed therefore we ought worship without musical instruments.

    St. Chrysostom “David formerly sang songs, also today we sing hymns. He had a lyre with lifeless strings, the church has a lyre with living strings. Our tongues are the strings of the lyre with a different tone indeed but much more in accordance with piety. Here there is no need for the cithara, or for stretched strings, or for the plectrum, or for art, or for any instrument; but, if you like, you may yourself become a cithara, mortifying the members of the flesh and making a full harmony of mind and body. For when the flesh no longer lusts against the Spirit, but has submitted to its orders and has been led at length into the best and most admirable path, then will you create a spiritual melody.”

    St. Clement “Leave the pipe to the shepherd, the flute to the men who are in fear of gods and intent on their idol worshipping. Such musical instruments must be excluded from our wingless feasts, for they are more suited for beasts and for the class of men that is least capable of reason than for men. The Spirit, to purify the divine liturgy from any such unrestrained revelry chants: ‘Praise Him with sound of trumpet,” for, in fact, at the sound of the trumpet the dead will rise again; praise Him with harp,’ for the tongue is a harp of the Lord; ‘and with the lute. praise Him.’ understanding the mouth as a lute moved by the Spirit as the lute is by the plectrum; ‘praise Him with timbal and choir,’ that is, the Church awaiting the resurrection of the body in the flesh which is its echo; ‘praise Him with strings and organ,’ calling our bodies an organ and its sinews strings, for front them the body derives its Coordinated movement, and when touched by the Spirit, gives forth human sounds; ‘praise Him on high-sounding cymbals,’ which mean the tongue of the mouth which with the movement of the lips, produces words. Then to all mankind He calls out, ‘Let every spirit praise the Lord,’ because He rules over every spirit He has made. In reality, man is an instrument arc for peace, but these other things, if anyone concerns himself overmuch with them, become instruments of conflict, for inflame the passions. The Etruscans, for example, use the trumpet for war; the Arcadians, the horn; the Sicels, the flute; the Cretans, the lyre; the Lacedemonians, the pipe; the Thracians, the bugle; the Egyptians, the drum; and the Arabs, the cymbal. But as for us, we make use of one instrument alone: only the Word of peace by whom we a homage to God, no longer with ancient harp or trumpet or drum or flute which those trained for war employ.”

    Eusebius: “Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshipping with symbols and types it was not inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and cithara and to do this on Sabbath days… We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living cithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms.”

    I would have to say with Rev. John Wesley “I have no objections to instruments of music in our chapels, provided they are neither heard nor seen.” 😉

    Spurgeon:Praise the Lord with the harp. Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her to learn; but in these days when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes. We do not need them. They would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto him. This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument like the human voice.”

  47. tc robinson says:

    Again, I maintain that the NT was not written as a handbook on Christian worship. I believe the Psalter serves that purpose today.

    I find it interesting that we have so many references to instruments in celestial worship in the Apocalypse.

  48. Richard says:

    I believe the Psalter serves that purpose today.
    Would you like to prove that? 🙂

    I find it interesting that we have so many references to instruments in celestial worship in the Apocalypse.
    Yes and no, it is not surprising that a Jew, writing to Jews mentions worship that is temple-like. God’s revelations come to people where they are at.

    You may find New World, New Temple, New Worship interesting.

  49. tc robinson says:

    Would you like to prove that?

    Since, the NT is mostly missional in its thrust and the NT writers encouraged the church to look to the OT for instructions and so (2 Tim 3:16-17), the OT must have served this purpose, esp. the Psalter.

    Yes and no, it is not surprising that a Jew, writing to Jews mentions worship that is temple-like. God’s revelations come to people where they are at.

    Can you demonstrate that the Apocalypse was only written to Jews?

  50. Richard says:

    I am not saying that it was written only to Jews but surely it can’t have escaped your notice that of all the NT books it is the most Jewish in character? In the first three chapters alone we have Jewish apocalypic language, synagogues, and lampstands from memory alone. The book of revelation has a distinctly Jewish flavour.

    We are of course to look to the OT for instructions but we need to ensure that we interpret those instructions in light of the historical-redemptive period we are in, otherwise we will be off to make a mercy-seat and altar. 🙂

  51. tc robinson says:

    If it wasn’t written to Jewish only, then we must give Gentiles some credit for knowing the Jewish Scripture and terminologies. The same way we exert the energy to learn Jewish and ANE customs I believe they were capable of the same.

    Richard, we don’t have to slip with the slippery slope argument on this one. As we argued before, lifting hands, instruments and mercy-seat and altar are all different in nature and function. 😉

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