Revisiting Worship: It's Not All About the Music…

uc2200

I Love Hillsong!

Don’t get me wrong!  I love a good song service.  But the song service is not all there is to worship.  Some of us choose which church to join based on their song service.  And some churches knowing this, design their church-life around their music—that time just before the preacher preaches.  Right?

I say it’s time for our people to get worship right.  Pastors and worship leaders need to let our people know what worship really is.  Music is a part of it, but not all there’s to it.

As a side note, worship doesn’t end when we leave the church building at noon (Rom 12:1-3; 1 Cor 10:31).

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139 Responses to Revisiting Worship: It's Not All About the Music…

  1. tc robinson says:

    Hey, Bitsy! Yeah, we need to get it right. 😉

  2. Colin says:

    Yes, good on all counts.

    Music runs, or is it plays, heavily in my family. I met my wife in a typical English amateur choral socity. Music remains a major part of my persona. Many years ago, when a number in our church were suggesting we introduced musical settings of some of the Communion service – such as the Gloria – the reaction of one was that “all this music gets in the way of worship”.

    My own initial reaction was surprise. But when I later reflected on it, I found it challenging. And I come back to it whenever I am preparing to lead worship.

    We have the vocabulary of worship groups and worship leaders meaning music groups and their leaders. So when I hear those upfront say we will now have a(nother) time of worship – usually meaning an extended time of singing – the awkward part of me asks what we have been doing up till now and what we will be doing after the music stops.

  3. tc robinson says:

    Colin, yes, music is a gift from God, but it has a proper place in worship.

  4. Peter Kirk says:

    Colin, I would suggest that music gets in the way of worship when it becomes an end in itself rather than a channel for and expression of worship. Sadly too many churches, especially but not only in more liturgical traditions, put such emphasis on musical perfection of worship, of whatever style they choose, that they miss out on the intention of expressing love for God, and they certainly lose all spontaneity in such expressions. Would a bride express her love for her bridegroom only in perfectly executed renditions of well known love songs? Of course not, she will also express it spontaneous. In the same way there ought to be room for spontaneity in how the church worships God. Perhaps that is what the church member you mentioned had in mind.

  5. Colin says:

    Peter raises a useful point. As readers might deduce from my prior comment, I do not myself consider that music intinsically gets in the way of worship, even though it might on occaisions – it certainly need not do so.

    The individual I referred earlier was simply non musical. His preference, as regards our Anglican Communion at least, was for a simple said service (whether Common Prayer or Modern). And at that time the idea of spontaneity would have alarmed him!

    We certainly need to be wary of letting a desire for musical perfection take over from worship itself. I have seen it myself. I could be provocative and comment that I have also encountered the opposite view which seems to take almost perverse pride in the opposite. Even to the extent of almost taking pride in a low level of competence. I will unashamedly place my colours to the mast that whatever we do, we do to our best ability. And whatever our calling , in or out of church, we seek to maintain and develop those competencies. And in my own congregation we are light on up front musicians, but those we have all give of their best, and they are growing in confidence and ability. Well I did say I could be provocative!

    I do feel that there are times when the very presence of music can become obtrusive. And to go back to the post, is worship is more than music. Important and biblical though music clearly is .

    Always interesdting to see how discussion develops from whatever the initial post was about.

  6. Iris says:

    Music is either an instrument to empower worship, or a distraction. Worship is an action of the heart, a bowing, a loving, an interaction. It is stifled when music takes center stage. Trying to reproduce the latest worship CD in our services is a real problem in many churches.

  7. Peter Kirk says:

    Colin and Iris, I agree with both of you. The desire for musical perfection is equally dangerous with modern praise songs. And there is certainly also a danger in the attitude that a low level of competence doesn’t matter. I know this was discussed somewhere recently: what does one do with someone who, for example, insists on singing solos but can’t sing in tune? I think quite a lot of people wanted to let this man sing anyway. I would be for firmly but gently asking him to get singing lessons, or whatever he needed, before singing any more solos.

  8. petermlopez says:

    Preach it, my brother.

  9. Richard says:

    I’ll stick with acapella singing 😉

    Calvin on Psalm 92:3:

    In the fourth verse, he more immediately addresses the Levites, who were appointed to the office of singers, and calls upon them to employ their instruments of music — not as if this were in itself necessary, only it was useful as an elementary aid to the people of God in these ancient times. We are not to conceive that God enjoined the harp as feeling a delight like ourselves in mere melody of sounds; but the Jews, who were yet under age, were astricted to the use of such childish elements. The intention of them was to stimulate the worshippers, and stir them up more actively to the celebration of the praise of God with the heart. We are to remember that the worship of God was never understood to consist in such outward services, which were only necessary to help forward a people, as yet weak and rude in knowledge, in the spiritual worship of God. A difference is to be observed in this respect between his people under the Old and under the New Testament; for now that Christ has appeared, and the Church has reached full age, it were only to bury the light of the Gospel, should we introduce the shadows of a departed dispensation. From this, it appears that the Papists, as I shall have occasion to show elsewhere, in employing instrumental music, cannot be said so much to imitate the practice of God’s ancient people, as to ape it in a senseless and absurd manner, exhibiting a silly delight in that worship of the Old Testament which was figurative, and terminated with the Gospel.

  10. tc robinson says:

    Peter, thanks for raising the spontaneity element. We have so destroyed it. Wow! It’s almost shameful to admit it.

    Colin, I believe we need to let our music in worship exalt God and edify one another, not entertain.

    Iris, a lack of definition is at the core of the problem. Our people need it.

    Richard, I find it interesting that those who argue for acapella and are against the mechanical instruments, for get the glimpses of the celestial in the Apocalypse.

    Jeff, soli deo gloria. 😉

  11. TC – yes, though I do think there is something special about corporate worship.

  12. tc robinson says:

    Brian, What do you mean?

  13. Richard says:

    TC: We don’t forget the glimpses of the celestial in the Apocalypse, we just interpret them correctly as symbolism. 🙂

  14. TC – yes, worship encompasses all of life bu ti think it’s awesome when the body gets together for their special weekly “wroship” meetings – as to the service, I agree worship takes place throughout the service, not just during the song portion (music or no music) but we often sin before God when we limit that worship to just singing and limiting the edification to one person (the sermon). Sin, because it is not God’s will – God’s will is that we all encourage one another with Psalms hymns and spiritual songs, words of wisdom, knowledge, prophetic words, healings, prayers and the like – but since we don’t believe in all that – we just limit “worship” to just singing corporately and then the lecture.

  15. Richard says:

    Brian, the Reformed have a robust understanding of worship that the corporate worship service upon the Lord’s day should include (1) Word, (2) Sacrament and (3) Prayer. As a result there are some excellent books I would commend:

    A Better Way: Rediscovering the Drama of God-centered Worship by Michael Horton.

    With Reverence and Awe by D. G. Hart

    Worship by Hughes Oliphant Old

  16. Peter Kirk says:

    Brian, that’s great.

    Richard, I’m glad you mentioned sacrament and prayer as also important to worship. But it seems that your Reformed idea of worship is lacking in several biblical aspects, in fact all the ones Brian lists except for prayer. I’m amazed that even singing spiritual songs is omitted.

  17. Brian says:

    Was the side NOTE comment a pun! If so it sure struck a cord with me.

  18. Richard says:

    Peter, as a cessationist I would have to disagree that “Reformed idea of worship is lacking in several biblical aspects”, further singing would fall under prayer. Perhaps a parousal of this is in order. 😉

  19. Richard, how do you understand the Book of Acts? Is it historical only or could there be a theological message also? Is Luke a historian only or as I. Howard Marshall argues, could Luke be both historian and theologian?

    I wanted to note about my comment that I certainly would not expect all these things to happen in every service every week necessarily (I do not know if it is possible or necessary) – more important is an openness to the Lord and a willingness to be led by the Spirit. While I may not expect it every week, I would expect them to be normal in the sense that when they do occur, it is not out of the ordinary.

  20. tc robinson says:

    Brian, I have to also agree with your thoughts on the matter. I believe what you outlined also allow for the spontaneous.

    Richard, but even if we grant the symbolism of the aforementioned, Isn’t it awesome that they’re used in worship?

    So those of us who employ them are in good company. 😉

    Richard, What does cessationism have to do with music in worship to God?

  21. Richard says:

    TC: I think that you are missing the point, that St. John sees “the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people.” This is clearly symbolic based upon the ceremonialism of the Temple which is fulfilled in Jesus. Cf. Here

    My point regarding cessationism was directed to peter’s point that my outline of what is included in Reformed worship does not include all that Brian mentioned, i.e. “words of wisdom, knowledge, prophetic words, healings”.

  22. dvopilgrim says:

    I’ve watched a few episodes of American Idol the last few weeks, especially the Final 36 competition. The three songs that I remember most were “oldies”: one from the 80s and two from the 60s. Two of the songs, “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted” (1966) and “Bette Davis Eyes” (1981), were deemed “too old-fashioned.”

    These comments remind me of worship services in churches today. A song from one or two years ago would be judged too old, if people even remember it. This is fallen human nature, ever craving for new things, as when Paul was asked by the Athenians if he had any new teaching to introduce to them (Acts 17:19).

    The appetite for new songs in churches is never satisfied. Why not? The Bible even commands us to “sing a new song to the Lord” in many places. Taken at face value, this would seem to justify the weekly new song introduced by the worship team.

    But what does the Bible really say about “new songs”? Read more in “Doctrine Unites!” blog:

    “‘New Song’ and American Idol(atry)”

  23. Maybe this isn’t the place to ask, but what is a “word of knowledge”? I know that knowledge is a spiritual gift. Is that where word of knowledge comes from?
    Jeff

  24. tc robinson says:

    Richard, What about Rev 15:2? Are you saying that instrumental music was confined only to the OT Temple worship and should not be a part of the worship of the NT church life?

    Thanks for the clarification on the cessationism deal.

    Dvopilgrim, as the Spirit leads (1 Cor 14:26).

    Jeff, a Spirit-given word for the moment it’s needed.

    Here’s something from the NLT Study Bible:

    God’s Spirit gives supernatural wisdom or knowledge to some believers. • gives the ability to give wise advice: Or gives a word of wisdom; see 2:6-16. • gives a message of special knowledge: Or gives a word of knowledge; cp. 1:5; 8:1; 13:2, 8.

  25. dvopilgrim says:

    TC: The doctrine of man’s total depravity precludes “as the Spirit leads,” an attitude that has spawned all kinds of false teachings. Remember what Calvin said? The human mind is “a factory of idols.”

    “Supernatural wisdom” and “special knowledge”: do you mean “new revelations”?

    The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man’s salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men (Westminster Confession I:6).

    We believe that this Holy Scripture contains the will of God completely and that everything one must believe to be saved is sufficiently taught in it. For since the entire manner of service which God requires of us is described in it at great length, no one – even an apostle or an angel from heaven, as Paul says – ought to teach other than what the Holy Scriptures have already taught us. For since it is forbidden to add to or subtract from the Word of God, this plainly demonstrates that the teaching is perfect and complete in all respects.

    “‘New Song’ and American Idol(atry)”

  26. dvopilgrim says:

    Forgot the citation for the second quote: Belgic Confession Article 7.

  27. tc robinson says:

    Dvopilgrim, the believer has been regenerated by the Spirit and been given a new nature to desire God.

    Therefore, that total depravity stuff doesn’t apply. In fact, Paul speaks of sings songs derived from the Spirit (Eph 5:19, TNIV).

    I do not understand how your quotes from the Confessions fit.

  28. Richard says:

    Brian: I am certainly happy to see St. Luke as both historian and theologian, just look at the New Exodus theme of Acts! What I would be cautious about is saying to the effect “Because X happened in the apostolic church it therefore should be happening now.” The context of the apostolic church was extraordinary, i.e. it was at the overlap between the Old and the New, and prior to a settled canon.

    TC: Again, the context of Rev 15:2 is highly symbolic so I would be wary of saying, “Hey harps were used in heaven so we can use musical instruments”. Carry on reading to vv. 7-8, “Then one of the four living creatures gave to the seven angels seven golden bowls filled with the wrath of God, who lives for ever and ever. And the temple was filled with smoke from the glory of God and from his power, and no one could enter the temple until the seven plagues of the seven angels were completed.”

    I am saying that I can see now justifcation from the Book of Revelation for using musical instruments. It’s too symbolic to take it as a justification for such a practice. Now I certainly have my doubts about Calvin’s exegesis and I do see a good biblical theological case for using them founded upon the divine-warrior motif.

    In this whole type of debate I am far more concerned with what we are singing rather than how. I would like to see the primary source of our songs to be those we find within the canon.

  29. Peter Kirk says:

    as a cessationist I would have to disagree …

    Richard and DvoPilgrim, which has priority in your thinking, the human tradition of cessationism and Reformed theology (no doubt reflected in the book Richard linked to as well as in Dvo’s Westminster Confession extracts) or the biblical model of true worship? If you choose the former, you are going explicitly against the Westminster Confession which explicitly teaches that nothing may be added to Scripture by traditions of men (and women).

    But I can agree with you, Richard, that musical worship can be considered a form of prayer, addressed to God. I was afraid that you would count it as a form of teaching, which in my mind it certainly should not be. Of course uninterpreted tongues are also a form of prayer.

    But basically what is missing in your Reformed model is the opportunity for God to speak to us, through prophecy, interpreted tongues and words of wisdom and knowledge. These were a vital part of Paul’s model of corporate worship as expressed in 1 Corinthians 14. They are not new revelations of truth, but God’s guidance to individuals and churches within the limits of the timeless truth which he has revealed.

    DvoPilgrim, the apostles were also born with total depravity (whatever that means in detail), and saved out of it and filled with the Holy Spirit, just as we are. So were the leaders of the church at Corinth. So if it was OK for them to be led by the Holy Spirit as clearly recorded in the Bible, then it is OK for us.

  30. dvopilgrim says:

    Peter,

    This is where the Reformed and non-Reformed part ways completely. The Reformed say that the apostles and prophets built the foundation of the church and no other foundation is to be built (Eph 2:20; 1 Cor 3:10-11).

    And this is why the acts of the Apostles should not be considered normative for the church after the first century. Redemptive-historical landmarks are not repeatable. The Exodus, the exile in Babylon, the birth, death and resurrection of Christ, and the Pentecost are significant one-time events in progressive redemptive history which we know will never be repeated. They are typological with fulfillment in Christ (Luke 24:27,44).

    All the canonical writers were also sinners, but the big difference between them and us is that God’s revelation to them was inspired. We cannot claim to have the same inspiration by the Holy Spirit like them. And this is why Pentecostals/Charismatics still claim to have apostles and prophets, while we Reformed don’t.

    And this has significant implications in our worship. As in many other parts of doctrine, the Reformed doctrine of worship is exactly opposite that of other persuasions. The regulative principle is based, among other things, on the Second Commandment, Deut 4:2, and total depravity.

    The Bible is full of warnings against innovative, false worship: e.g., Abel and Cain, the golden calf, Nadab and Abihu, King Saul, King Uzziah, Uzzah.

    Church history too is replete with examples of the abuses of innovations and gimmicks in worship and claims of direct revelation: Montanism, medieval pomp and drama, Anabaptism, dispensationalism and Pentecostalism. The penalty is severe.

  31. Richard says:

    Hi Peter, I would base my views squarely upon the biblical witness whilst acknowledging that the Reformed tradition is the most faithful to that witness.

    In terms of God speaking to us, well I adhere to the dialogical model, so God speaks to us through the proclamation of the Word, that the canon is God’s witness to his people and forms the regula fidei.

    To draw a stright line from the worship of the Corinthian church to our current situation is, in my view, seriously misguided. If you wish to argue that they are “not new revelations of truth, but God’s guidance to individuals and churches within the limits of the timeless truth which he has revealed” then fine, but let’s see that demonstrated rather than simply asserted.

  32. Peter Kirk says:

    DvoPilgrim, so were the leaders of the church in Corinth wrong to follow apostolic instructions like “eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy” (1 Corinthians 14:1), because they were not themselves apostles and Scripture writers? I claim no higher level of inspiration than the apostle ascribed to them.

    If we are expected to disobey this apostolic instruction because it is written in a letter not to us, on what basis can we be expected to obey ANY apostolic command in the NT letters or indeed elsewhere? Here you are explicitly setting aside a command in the word of God for the sake of your Reformed tradition. You have a fine way of dismissing the direct teaching of the Word of God in favour of your human traditions based on supposedly logical deduction from it. Didn’t someone else say something like that to the Pharisees?

    Yes, “The Bible is full of warnings against innovative, false worship”, but surely it is yours that is innovative, at least it was in the 16th century, whereas what I have in mind is based on a biblical pattern. “The penalty is severe”, the withdrawal of God’s presence and blessing, and much of the church in the West has been paying it ever since the Reformation.

  33. dvopilgrim says:

    “On what basis can we be expected to obey ANY apostolic command in the NT letters or indeed elsewhere?”

    On the basis of discernment what is normative for them and what is not for us. Take for example OT sacrifices. Are we supposed to obey this command too? How about the command to sell everything and give the money to our church leaders? What about Paul preaching from morn till midnight or handling a snake unharmed?

    And what is innovative in following Eph 2:20, I Cor 3:10-11, Deut 4:2, Rev 22:18-19, and the whole of Scripture? Please read your Bible.

  34. Peter Kirk says:

    Richard, I see the Corinthian church as rather similar to some of more extreme charismatic and Pentecostal groups today. To churches like this 1 Corinthians is surely directly applicable. Paul does not tell them to stop using spiritual gifts and sit down to listen to one sermon from a trained pastor. Rather, he affirms much but not all of what they were doing, as long as it is done decently and in order – which does not exclude spontaneity. On what exegetical grounds are you forbidding what the apostle affirms?

    I accept that there is no explicit apostolic command for churches which do not practice spiritual gifts to do so. So I will not say that you are wrong to do as you do if that is what your church chooses to do. But you have even less grounds for implying that churches which prefer to do so are wrong to follow the model of 1 Corinthians 14.

  35. Peter Kirk says:

    DvoPilgrim, you are failing to distinguish between NT examples, e.g. “Paul preaching from morn till midnight or handling a snake unharmed”, and direct commands to the church such as 1 Corinthians 14:1. As for “the command to sell everything and give the money to our church leaders”, where do you find any such command in the Scriptures? The first part is Jesus’ command, yes, but the latter is only an example in Acts. OT sacrifices are a specific theological issue, but the commands about them were addressed to the people of Israel and not to the church, as 1 Corinthians 14:1 is.

  36. dvopilgrim says:

    Why do Pentecostals and Charismatics crave for signs and wonders such as speaking in tongues, “prophecies,” healings, etc.? Have they not heard of Jesus’ indictment of the Pharisees, ““An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah”? Even Paul indicts the Jews for always seeking signs (1 Cor 1:22).

    In 1 Corinthians, what Paul was saying to the church is that they should get their house in order, their worship be held in reverence and order, for God is not a God of chaos. He was not making commands with respect to speaking in tongues and prophecies. He was saying these things to them during those formative years in the church when the canon was not yet completed. And this was why they had direct revelations; it was necessary during their days, and God used his apostles and prophets for that purpose.

    What did Paul say about speaking in tongues, for example? That it was not a sign for believers, but for unbelievers! It was a sign for Jews to see of the coming final judgment on their nation in A.D. 70 (1 Cor 14:22). Speaking in tongues was used by God to warn Jews about the end of their era as God’s chosen people. If you had never heard of this, please read:

    “‘Tongues are a sign not for…’ (1 Cor 14:21-22)”
    http://www.twoagespilgrims.com/doctrine/?p=358

  37. dvopilgrim says:

    That’s precisely where Pentecostals err. They would read everything in the NT as normative, e.g., if they read that the early church sold everything and gave all the proceeds to the apostles (even without an explicit command), they would think it’s a command and will try to copy it. I know that this is an extreme example, but many of you do your exegesis based on that principle.

  38. Peter Kirk says:

    DvoPilgrim, charismatics and Pentecostals “eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy” because the apostle commands them to do so. And yes, some of us may have other motives as well, but is it wrong to have mixed motives in wanting to do what we are commanded to do?

    Strange that Paul said nothing about his apostolic command being only a temporary one. Would you suggest also that it is safe to consign his commands about avoiding sexual immorality, homosexuality etc to “those formative years in the church when the canon was not yet completed”, and ignore them because now we are mature Christians and don’t need to obey such rules?

    In your last paragraph you are mixing up what Paul said, “not a sign for believers, but for unbelievers”, and your own speculative interpretation that this is something to do with AD 70. I read your post, but your argument that tongues are a sign against apostate charismatic churches is contradicted by the very verse you rely on, “not a sign for believers”.

  39. Peter Kirk says:

    DvoPilgrim, some Pentecostals err in taking examples as normative, but that is no excuse for you making the same error. There certainly are more thoughtful Pentecostals and charismatics who carefully avoid this error. Try reading Gordon Fee in “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth”, and his position on charismatic gifts.

  40. dvopilgrim says:

    I’m amused by this discussion, because I see it as an eternal pendulum, swinging forever from one end to the other.

    As I said, there has to be discernment as to what is normative for the apostolic churches and for us. Some are for them AND for us. Some are for them ONLY.

    “I read your post, but your argument that tongues are a sign against apostate charismatic churches is contradicted by the very verse you rely on, ‘not a sign for believers’”.

    Contradiction?

  41. Richard says:

    Peter, you ask On what exegetical grounds are you forbidding what the apostle affirms?

    I suppose the best way to go about this is to begin by saying that I am not forbidding what St. Paul affirms rather I do not believe that what modern Charismatics practice is that which St. Paul affirms.

    Just look at the issue historically, we find Church Fathers stating categorically that the gifts we read about in Corinthians had ceased by their time. There is also no substantive evidence for their continuation as is evidenced by the commentaries on Corinthians right up until the 1800s.

    It is an historical fact that the gifts ceased, the question should really be rephrased to ask, “Did those gifts that Paul mentions re-start post-1800?”

    The situation of the apostolic churches was substantitatively different from our situation, not least because they were operating prior to the formation of the canon.

  42. Richard says:

    FWIW: This and this looks interesting.

  43. dvopilgrim says:

    Also, I’m not original and alone in my A. D. 70 “speculation.” Most Reformed scholars hold to this exegesis.

  44. Peter Kirk says:

    OK, Richard, so if you believe that God through Paul commanded churches to practice spiritual gifts, especially prophecy, but this is not what is being done in charismatic churches today, please can you enlighten us as to what we should do, how we should prophesy etc in the way Paul had in mind. Most charismatics and Pentecostals, apparently unlike some Reformed believers, are very open to correction on how to exercise these gifts, or to receive other gifts which they have not yet received. Presumably on your historical summary by the time of the church fathers (but in fact their accounts are very diverse on this matter) no one was obeying Paul’s command. Don’t you think it’s time for us to repent and start to obey? And if so, how?

    On what exegetical basis are you claiming that apostolic commands recorded before the closing of the canon, which of course means all commands in the Bible, are no longer valid after the closing of the canon?

    DVO, the contradiction is that you are simultaneously teaching that tongues are a sign only for unbelievers and that they are a sign against straying believers. Just because your error about A.D. 70 is a widespread one, that doesn’t stop it being an error – remember the broad road leads to destruction.

  45. dvopilgrim says:

    Peter, why do you say the Reformed exegesis about speaking in tongues in relation to A. D. 70 is in error, when Paul was the one who said so, based on his interpretation of OT prophecies?

  46. Richard says:

    Peter,

    You ask, “please can you enlighten us as to what we should do, how we should prophesy etc in the way Paul had in mind.”

    The gift of prophesy has ceased and so we are unable to perform that explicit command. We can however take lessons from the general principles Paul mentions.

    When we read the whole of the Bible we are to take into account the audience and the time in redemptive history. The answer to the question, “Now that the canon has been closed do I need the gift of prophesy?” is a resounding ‘No’. After all, if you were to say to me “Richard, God said X to me”, I would reach for my Bible and check what you said against it. If it contradicts the Bible I reject it, if it doesn’t well, I already have that in the Bible so it was somewhat pointless.

    The answer to the question, “Prior to the canon being closed was the gift of prophesy required?” is a resounding ‘Yes’. Hence Paul’s injunctions make perfect sense for the Corinthians owing to their place within God’s progressive revelation.

  47. Peter Kirk says:

    DVO, in what chapter and verse do you claim that Paul made an explicit reference to A.D. 70? Previously you cited 1 Corinthians 14:22, but this says nothing about that date or the events that happened then. All you have to go on is a very tenuous typological link between this verse and Isaiah 28:11-12, which might but probably does not refer to a previous destruction of Jerusalem. Or perhaps you actually are confused between the text of 1 Corinthians 14 and some Reformed study notes about it.

  48. dvopilgrim says:

    Are you saying that the inspired Paul was “tenuous” in linking speaking in tongues with Isaiah 28:11-12 and other prophets?

    No, I’m not confused. And so are several NT scholars, including G. K. Beale, R. Gromacki, R. Gaffin, R. Fowler White, among many others. I wouldn’t presume to be more knowledgeable than Beale and co.

  49. Richard says:

    Oh, and Peter, I decided to buy Fee’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth as it looks pretty good. Thanks for the recommendation! 🙂

  50. Peter Kirk says:

    DVO, the link with Isaiah 28 is not tenuous. But linking Isaiah 28 with any kind of destruction of Jerusalem is tenuous – as yourself write, it was originally about an Assyrian invasion which failed to destroy Jerusalem. If there is anything in your argument linking tongues with judgment on God’s people, the New Testament fulfilment of that is about judgment on the church, which it still deserves.

    I would presume the apostle Paul in his explicit command to practice prophecy is more knowledgeable, or at least more inspired, than Beale etc.

  51. Richard says:

    linking Isaiah 28 with any kind of destruction of Jerusalem is tenuous

    I quite like Ratzinger’s approach:

    b. There is a New Testament theology of the Old Testament, which does not coincide with the Old Testament’s own inner theology of the Old Testament, though it is certainly linked to it in the unity of the analogia fidei. We could perhaps on this basis even say in a new way what the analogia fidei between the testaments means. As we said, the New Testament theology of the Old Testament is not in fact identical with the Old Testament’s own inner theology of the Old Testament, as it can be historically discerned; rather, it is a new interpretation, in the light of the Christ-event, which is not produced by mere historical reflection on the Old Testament alone. By effecting such a change in interpretation, it is not however doing anything completely foreign to the nature of the Old Testament, approaching it only from the outside; rather, it is continuing the inner structure of the Old Testament, which itself lives and grows through such reinterpretations.

    Taken from: Ratzinger, J. (2005) God’s Word: Scripture, Tradition, Office. Ignatius Press. pp. 60-61

  52. dvopilgrim says:

    All sound exegetes agree that A. D. 70 was the next major turning point in redemptive history after Pentecost. There is no other event after 1 Corinthians that qualifies as judgment against Israel. Jesus says so in Matthew 24.

  53. Peter Kirk says:

    The gift of prophesy has ceased and so we are unable to perform that explicit command.

    Oh yes, Richard, I love this line of argument. If there is any command in Scripture which I don’t like, I can assert without the slightest biblical foundation that that situation has ceased and so I no longer need to perform that command. I’m quite sure the command to provide for the poor no longer applies because poverty has ceased, and the command not to commit adultery no longer applies because adultery has ceased, and because Jesus has completed love there is no longer any Christian requirement to love. Indeed, sin has ceased, so I can do whatever I like! 😉

    To be serious about your next point: suppose God wanted to call you to pastoral ministry or missionary service (or has he already?) On your understanding, how does he do that? You will not find anywhere in Scripture a command to yourself, or to everyone, to be a pastor or missionary. Do you accept that there is any need for God to speak to individuals with this kind of calling? Or is it purely a matter of each person deciding what they think they should do? Then apply this to decisions in the church, e.g. calling a new pastor or sending a missionary. If you allow that God can guide you and the church in ways like this, then you accept the essence of prophecy today. Of course this must always be within the limits of what is allowed in God’s word.

    Enjoy the book! But you then need to apply the principles in it to discerning the boundary between example and teaching.

  54. Peter Kirk says:

    DVO, you missed my point that the tongues in Corinth were about judgment against the church, not against Israel. And the failed Assyrian attack on Jerusalem, the original context of the Isaiah prophecy, was not a “major turning point in redemptive history”, so the NT fulfilment of this doesn’t have to be.

  55. Pingback: Gentle Wisdom » Worship, cessationism, and Steve Chalke

  56. Richard says:

    Peter, the instructions Paul gave concerning prophesy would become irrelevant whenever the gift ceased, and he himself admits that prophesy will cease (cf. 1 Cor. 13:8) hence I am working within the thought of Paul, i.e. Paul himself would have accepted that his instructions to the Corinthians concerning prophesy would not be relevant for all time.

    How does God call people to the ministry? (1) He will stirr up the desire in the person’s heart, so “Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task” (1 Tim. 3:1). (2) He will equip them with the relevant qualifications, cf. 1 Tim. 3:2-7. (3) The congregation that is looking for a minister will invite those who wish to be the minister and then test that applicant against those biblical criteria.

  57. Peter Kirk says:

    Thank you, Richard. Yes, prophecy will cease, but only at the final consummation following the church age, when prophecy will not be necessary because we will all see God face to face. In effect you admit to prophecy today, at least of a non-verbal kind, when you allow that God stirs up desires in people’s hearts – but I would hope that churches choose their ministers not just because they best meet a fixed set of criteria. Would you allow that God guides, or should guide, ministers in their preaching? That becomes very like verbal prophecy, and to me is what distinguishes a sermon from a lecture.

  58. Richard says:

    Peter, I understand your view that prophesy will cease at the final consummation but I would simply disagree, and suggest that the ceasing is at the close of the canon.

    I am not admitting to prophecy today because the biblical witness is revelatory and revelation ceased by the close of the canon, hence prophesy has ceased.

    In terms of God guiding ministers in preaching, I am not sure what you are getting at. Guiding in what way? Preaching in terms of what?

  59. Richard says:

    * “the biblical witness is revelatory” should read “the biblical witness is that prophesy is revelatory…”

  60. Richard says:

    Peter, the following is an interesting interview:

    Tongues! Signs! Wonders! An Interview with Dr. Sam Waldron

    Sam Waldron has written To Be Continued?: Are the Miraculous Gifts for Today?

    As I’ve tried to get inside, and I’m no expert on charismatics, but I’ve read them and tried to get inside their minds. I think there is, as I say in the book, the mentality that we ought to want to be exactly like the early church. In many senses that’s a very good thing and a very good mentality. They are supernaturalists and that’s a very positive thing as well. All I’m saying is that the assumption you have in many charismatics that the church ought to be just like the apostolic church – that’s a very attractive assumption in many respects – has a fatal flaw in it because the Bible is clear and most charismatics admit that there are not Apostles of Christ today.

  61. tc robinson says:

    Richard, I’m aware of the symbolism, but I do find it instructive that instruments are so used. But of course it doesn’t not all decide the validity of the practice altogether.

  62. Chris E says:

    This is interesting reading, specifically because of the approach taken – the comparison between the inspiration of Luke and Revelation is an apt one:

    http://www.frame-poythress.org/poythress_articles/1996Modern.htm

  63. tc robinson says:

    Richard, I thought that at one point you were arguing against instruments in the Temple itself? Have you modified your view somewhat?

  64. Richard says:

    TC, instruments were used in the Temple in Jerusalem. My opinion on that has never faltered. 🙂

  65. tc robinson says:

    So what really is the argument against instruments in worship today?

  66. Richard says:

    The best argument I have heard is that instruments were an integral part of the ceremonial worship under the Old Covenant but we now live under the New Covenant when all these types and shadows have passed away so now musical instruments should not be used. That is it in a nutshell. 🙂

  67. Richard – that doesn’t seem to work to well – a weak argument in my opinion. I think to argue that there are no instruments used in worship in the NT is arguing from silence – no way to know – Jewish culture is very musical and that is our background – there is nothing I know on in the NT that forbids music as a form of worship. Please give specific verses.

  68. Richard says:

    Brian, the instruments that were used under the Old Covenant had been explicitly commanded hence they were used. When some priests tried to invent some acceptable worship they played with fire and got burned (cf. Lev. 10:1-3). The Old Covenant has gone and the instruments belonging to it also, do we have any commands to use instruments in the New Testament? No, well then we shouldn’t start using them. The question is not “Where is it forbidden” but “Where is it commanded”.

  69. tc robinson says:

    Richard, So what are instruments in the OT ceremonial of? What make them like animal sacrifices?

    As long as the NT does not condemn the practice of using instruments in worship?

  70. Richard says:

    TC: The OT seems to explicitly link OC sacrifice and instruments, cf. 2 Chronicles 29: 27-18

    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.

    In terms of what the instruments typified, I wouldn’t want to be dogmatic (perhaps praise), after all what did the priestly vestments typify? Rather they belonged to the elements of OC worship which ceased once OC worship ceased to be replaced by the worship under the NC.

    When you say that the NT doesn’t condemn the practice of using instruments in worship you are quite correct, yet the apostolic and early church were instrument free and for theological as well as practical reasons. If memory serves me correctly the Church did not begin to use instruments until 1000 years after Christ and even then this was not without dissenting voices. Philip Schaff wrote:

    “The use of organs in churches is ascribed to Pope Vitalian (657-672). Constantine Copronymos sent an organ with other presents to King Pepin of France in 767. Charlemagne received one as a present from the Caliph Haroun al Rashid, and had it put up in the cathedral of Aixia-Chapelle… The attitude of the churches toward the organ varies. It shared, to some extent, the fate of images, except that it never was an object of worship… The Greek church disapproved the use of organs. The Latin church introduced it pretty generally, but not without the protest of eminent men, so that even in the Council of Trent a motion was made, though not carried, to prohibit the organ at least in the mass.”

    St Aquinas: “Our church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize.”

    St. Augustine: “musical instruments were not used. The pipe, tabret, and harp here associate so intimately with the sensual heathen cults, as well as with the wild revelries and shameless performances of the degenerate theater and circus, it is easy to understand the prejudices against their use in the worship.”

    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 arc 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.”

    St. 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.”

    My sentiment is perhaps the same as John Wesly’s, “I have no objection to instruments of music in our worship, provided they are neither seen nor heard.” 😉

  71. Peter Kirk says:

    Richard, to turn the clock back a couple of days (I have been busy), you say “the biblical witness is that prophesy is revelatory…”, but why? Surely you would not claim that the kind of prophecy which every church member at Corinth could practice, and they did every time they met (1C 14:29-31), was “revelatory” in the sense of contributing to the canon of Scripture. So if they could prophesy without contributing to the canon, on what grounds do you forbid people from doing so today? And how do you deal with 1 Thessalonians 5:20, unless you claim that this got into the final form of the canon by mistake because it was already irrelevant once that form was final?

  72. tc robinson says:

    TC: The OT seems to explicitly link OC sacrifice and instruments, cf. 2 Chronicles 29: 27-18

    Richard, that which proves too much really prove nothing. You’re simply relating a worship scene. It does not answer the questions that I’ve raised.

    As for the Fathers you’ve quoted, they are free to expound on what the Scripture is virtually silent on.

    Have they not read the Psalter?

    Peter, you’ve raised an important issue there: not every instance of prophesy was revelatory in its contribution to the canon of Scripture. Now that requires some reflection on my part! Thanks.

  73. Richard says:

    Peter: I think you are confusing the issue by failing to distinguish between revelation and canon. Not all revelation is contained within the canon, and prior to the canon being closed God would have communicated his will to his Church by means of prophets who spoke his revelation to the people of God.

    In terms of 1 Thess. 5:20, St. Paul was writing to the Thessalonians at an age when prophesy still existed.

    I am not forbidding prophesy, I am saying it no longer exists and hence is impossible. In a like manner, I would not forbid you to travel to Jerusalem to attend Temple worship but you may find it pretty difficult to do that.

    Ultimately, it depends on how we are defining the term “prophesy”. If you are arguing that the modern ‘gift’ is not revelatory and that the gift of prophesy in 1 Cor. was not revelatory then I have no major problem with that, i.e. if you are saying that preaching and prophesy are synonymous. The point I wish to maintain is to say that revelation has ceased, the canon is closed.

    TC: I am not following your logic.

  74. Colin says:

    This scope of the comments has now been covering a lot of ground.

    Richard appears to hold to at least a large part of the Regulatory Principle. This is what I deduce by his comment – The question is not “Where is it forbidden” but “Where is it commanded. Howeever that is surely an assertion, not a case for that assertion. In other words why is that the correct approach. Yes , like some others on thisds comment board, I lean to the permissive principle. If something is not explicityl forbidden and cannot reasonab;le by implied from the principles elsewhere, then I would see it as “OK”. Incidentally I have tried to follow the argument on this subject including as it is put on the Puritan’s Mind and Free Presbyterian church of Acotland websites and never found it at all convincing.

    On the 2 Chron 29 reference, if the use of instruments is intecticably linked to the Old Covenant and now defunct, then why not also the singing which went with it? What am I missing in the argument?

    As with much discussion on how we relate the OC to the NC, how do we apply Jesus teaching that not one dot or iota has been abolished, that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfil it? The sacrificial dimsension of the OC is clearly superseded by the once for all sacrifice of the Cross. Perhaps now we are a new priesthood of all believers should we not all join in the music which accompanies the praise for what God has done.

    Turning to the gifts of I Cor 14, and the latest response to Peter Kirk. I wonder if it is not just a question what we mean by prophecy but also what we mean by revelation. Are we saying God has stopped revealing himself to us, and never gives us guidance, correction etc today? To suggest that in no way diminishes or supersedes the specific unique and final authority of Scripture against which we test all we receive for compatability, and which alone contains all we need for salvation.

  75. tc robinson says:

    Richard, How does playing instruments alongside animal sacrifices make them ceremonial any more than singing alongside animal sacrifices make singing ceremonial?

    I don’t get you logic, either. 😉

    Colin, Richard is indeed operating from the Regulatory Principle (RP).

  76. Peter Kirk says:

    Not all revelation is contained within the canon

    I agree, Richard, if we include under “revelation” God’s everyday guidance, correction etc to his people, as mentioned by Colin. But then you are left with no argument that this kind of “revelation” ceased with the closing of the canon, and all kinds of arguments to the contrary. But it seems that you are trying to invent an entirely spurious and non-biblical category of revelation which occurred only between Pentecost (or would you allow revelatory but non-Scriptural prophecy in OT times?) and the closing of the canon. There is nothing in experience or in Scripture to distinguish what happened in Corinth from prophecy as practised in charismatic churches today (at least the more sober ones). So I think Occam’s Razor is enough to rule out the distinction you are trying to make.

    Colin, thanks for your contribution; indeed you get my point. But Richard is not following the Regulatory Principle, because prophecy in the local church is commanded, back in 1 Corinthians 14:1.

  77. tc robinson says:

    But according to Peter, Richard is not following the RP.

    Whatever happened to the prophesying of Philip’s daughters (Acts 21:8)? Are they lodged away somewhere within the canon?

  78. Chris E says:

    The Vern Poythress paper I linked to earlier is very much along this vein. He’s probably – along with John Frame – amongst the foremost modern Reformed scholars – presumably the tradition to which Richard adheres.

    He points out that the descriptions of how the book of Revelations and the book of Luke were arrived at differ hugely. One arrives as a vision, whereas Luke seems more akin to Sherlock Holmes, and yet we have no problems as Christians describing both as inspired.

  79. tc robinson says:

    Chris E, Are some of these biblical explorations really worth the effort?

  80. Chris E says:

    If they promote a more inclusivist attitude on the part of the Reformed who are then able to work with their charismatic brothers and learn from them as the same time as teach them, then I think they are worth it.

  81. tc robinson says:

    Chris E, I try to hold some positions loosely for that very reason.

  82. Colin says:

    To wind this one up again. Peter Kirk has opened a post on Toungues on his site.

    I link it here

    http://www.qaya.org/blog/?p=1112#comments

    Though you may prefer to link into one of your ealrier posts which explored this topic.

  83. Richard says:

    Just a quick note, I want to get back to the rugby!

    Colin: if the use of instruments is intecticably linked to the Old Covenant and now defunct, then why not also the singing which went with it

    Because singing has been commanded in the NT, so Eph. 5:19.

    how do we apply Jesus teaching that not one dot or iota has been abolished, that he came not to abolish the law but to fulfil it

    I would advance the three fold division of the law, ceremonial, civil and moral. The moral continues for all time, the civil only whilst Israel was a state, and the ceremonial was fulfilled in Christ.

    that is surely an assertion, not a case for that assertion

    Indeed, if you want proof for the assertion then check out Lev. 10:1-3 and the instance of Jeroboam in 1 Kings 12:25-33. What are the principles we find there?

  84. Richard says:

    TC: How does playing instruments alongside animal sacrifices make them ceremonial any more than singing alongside animal sacrifices make singing ceremonial

    (a) the point is that instruments were played as part of the Temple ceremonial law.
    (b) singing took place outside of the temple as well hence singing is not a part of the ceremonial law.

  85. Richard says:

    Peter: it seems that you are trying to invent an entirely spurious and non-biblical category of revelation which occurred only between Pentecost (or would you allow revelatory but non-Scriptural prophecy in OT times?) and the closing of the canon.

    Yes I would allow revelatory but non-Scriptural prophecy in OT times.

  86. Richard says:

    To add to my comment to Peter; i would take as my starting point the statement of St. Paul in Hebrews 1, “In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.”

    Check out Goodwin’s exposition of this here.

  87. Colin says:

    To pick up on richard’s points

    Point taken that Ephesians specifically expects singing.

    On the application of law, I would suggests that the 3 fold division, which I have used myself by the way, is soft at the edges. Some civil law expresses God’s good creative will and can usefully guide us today. No doubt you are farmiliar with David Phillips article in Crossway for spring 2008. And I recall printing an excellent more extended analysis of that elsewhere on the Church Society web site, but cannot immediately find it. He sugests that cultic and civil law has value for us, though they do not bind us and we are not expected to follow them.

    As for the examples to substantiate “forebidden unless allowed” assertion. Both are excellent examples of those who did what was specifically forbidden. They in no way support the argument that we cannot do what is not explicityly allowed, only that we don’t do what is forbidden. And then if we accept the thrust of, e.g. Galations, that we live under Grace, not law, then I suggest that a permissive principle fits that more readily than a regulatory principle.

  88. Are we allowed to urinate on Sundays?

  89. tc robinson says:

    (a) the point is that instruments were played as part of the Temple ceremonial law.
    (b) singing took place outside of the temple as well hence singing is not a part of the ceremonial law.

    A ceremonial law symbolizes something. I still can’t see instruments fitting this definition.

    And it does not follow that instruments alongside Temple ceremonial laws made instruments ceremonial, anymore than praying alongside the same, made it ceremonial.

    Both singing and music took place in the Temple (Ps 27:6; 150).

  90. Richard says:

    TC: A ceremonial law symbolizes something

    I think this is somewhat oversimplistic, assuming your logic is actually correct could you explain the symbolism of:
    1. The Table (Ex. 37)
    2. The Lampstand (Ex. 37)
    3. The Altar of Incense (Ex. 37)
    4. The Priestly Garments (Ex. 39)
    5. The Ephod (Ex. 39)
    6. The Breastpiece (Ex. 39)

    I think that it’s far more accurate to find the ceremonial law covering all that which regulates the worship of the Old Testament. When we read 1 Chron. 15 we find “David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals” and we are told that “Kenaniah the head Levite was in charge of the singing; that was his responsibility because he was skillful at it.” Then in 1 Chron. 16 we find that David “appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the LORD, to extol, thank, and praise the LORD, the God of Israel: Asaph was the chief, and next to him in rank were Zechariah, then Jaaziel, 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.”

    David is acting as the new Moses in establishing the new cult, cf. “Moses and David as Cult Founders in Chronicles” by Simon J. De Vries.

    Peter Leithart has noted in his From Silence to Song that the worship of Israel prior to the establishment of the Temple cultus was silent, ok there would have been prayer but within the Tabernacle there was no singing or instruments. David then inaugurated a liturgical revolution.

    Under David singing and music took place in the Temple and we should bear in mind that King Hezekiah reformed the worship back to the Davidic pattern, this pattern had been “prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet” and was thus “commanded by the LORD through his prophets.” The move by David from the silence of the Tabernacle to the song of the Temple was not an innovation in worship but had been expressly commanded by God.

    Colin: this will also hopefully answer TC’s point regarding the ceremonial law etc. The threefold division should be thought of not as three mutually exclusive sets of law but rather like a venn diagram wherein there are three circles each of which overlapp one another at some point. So some civil law was moral, some ceremonial law was moral and some ceremonial law was civil. Thus some civil law was not moral and some ceremonial law was not moral. So both prayer and praise is moral whilst musical instruments are not.

    David Dickson on the heading of Psalm 4:

    From the inscription of this Psalm, which is the first wherein mention is made of the chief musicians, or musical instruments: learn 1. The praise of God and the joy of his Spirit, allowed on his people, surpass all expression which the voice of words can make; for this was signified by the plurality, and diversity of musical instruments (some of them sounding by being beaten, some of them by being blown,) superadded to the voice of singing in the pedagogy of Moses. 2. Albeit the ceremonial, figurative, and religious use of musical instruments be gone, with the rest of the Levitical shadows, (the natural use of them still remaining:) yet the vocal singing of Psalms in the church is not taken away, as the practice and doctrine of Christ and his apostles make evident; and so the voice of a musician in the public worship still is useful. 3. The Psalms are to be made use of with discretion, as the matter of the Psalm, and edification of the worshippers may require. And in the public, it is the called minister of the congregation’s place, to order this part of the worship with the rest; for this, the direction of the Psalms to the chief musician giveth ground.

    David Dickson on Psalm 150:3-5:

    Here are other six exhortations, teaching the manner of praising God under the shadow of typical music, appointed in the ceremonial law. Whence learn,

    1. Albeit the typical ceremonies of musical instruments in God’s public worship, belonging to the pedagogy of the church, in her minority before Christ, be now abolished with the rest of the ceremonies; yet the moral duties shadowed forth by them, are still to be studied, because this duty of praising God, and praising him with all our mind, strength, and soul, is moral, whereunto we are perpetually obliged.

    2. The variety of musical instruments, some of them made use of in the camp, as trumpets; some of them sounding by lighter touching of them, as stringed instruments; some of them by beating on them more sharply, as tabrets, drums, and cymbals; some of them sounding by touching and blowing also, as organs: all of them giving some certain sound, some more quiet, and some making more noise: some of them having a harmony by themselves; some of them making a concert with other instruments, or with the motions of the body in dancing; some of them serving for one use, some of them serving for another, and all of them serving to set forth God’s glory, and to shadow forth the duty of worshippers, and the privileges of the saints; – the plurality and variety, I say, of these instruments, were fit to represent divers conditions of the spiritual man, and of the greatness of his joy to be found in God, and to teach what stirring up should be of the affections and powers of our soul, and one of another, unto God’s worship; what harmony should be among the worshippers of God, what melody each should make in himself, singing to God with grace in his heart, and to show the excellence of God’s praise, which no means nor instrument, nor any expression of the body joined thereunto, could sufficiently set forth: and thus much is figured forth in these exhortations to praise God with trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, stringed instruments, and organs, loud and high sounding cymbals.

  91. Richard says:

    Colin: Both Lev. 10:1-3 and 1 Kings 12:25-33 illustrate that we are unable to innovate in worship, i.e. we are to worship as God commands. The grounding of the Regulative Principle of Worship (RPW) is multifaceted resting not only on biblical witnesses but also biblical doctrine.

    The foundational biblical witnesses is the second commandment, it should be noted that the underlying principle upon which this commandment rests is that God alone has the right to determine how he is to be worshipped, but in case this is not immediately apparent it is also taught by the very words of the command – “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness”.

    The verb “to make” could also be translated as “to appoint” or “to constitute” and the phrase “unto thee” means “for yourself”. Therefore: “You shall not appoint for yourself…“ The meaning is quite clear, we are forbidden from devising worship of our own invention for by the terms “graven image” and “likeness” we find the forbidding of all contrary means of worship by means of a synecdoche. So we find Thomas Watson writing, “Idolatry is to worship a false god, or the true God in a false manner”.

    In Leviticus 10:1-3 we find two priests offering fire to Yahweh. Calvin notes well that “if we reflect how holy a thing God’s worship is, the enormity of the punishment will by no means offend us…Their crime is specified, viz., that they offered incense in a different way from that which God had prescribed…Let us learn, therefore, so to attend to God’s command as not to corrupt His worship by any strange inventions.”

    Now we can turn to Deuteronomy 12:32. The meaning of this text is self evident and so I will simply quote John Calvin who writes, “In this brief clause he [Moses] teaches that no other service of God is lawful, except that of which He has testified His approval in His word, and that obedience is as it were the mother of piety; as if he had said that all modes of devotion are absurd and infected with superstition, which are not directed by this rule…By forbidding the addition, or diminishing of anything, he plainly condemns as illegitimate whatever men invent of their own imagination; whence it follows that they, who in worshipping God are guided by any rule save that which He Himself has prescribed, make to themselves false gods…”

    We could also look at Jeremiah 19:6; 32:35; Mark 7:7; Matthew 15:9; Isaiah 29:13; John 4:22; and of course Colossians 2:22, 23.

    A summary of the relevant doctrines are:

    Anthropology – Humans have been created by God and as such there is an infinite gulf between the infinite God of heaven and earth and finite man, i.e. the creator / creature distinction.

    Theology – The sovereignty of God over man means that he is sovereign over his worship and he alone can rightly order his worship.

    Harmartiology – Because “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” means that man by nature is a creator of idols and so couldn’t be trusted to devise worship that is pure and holy.

    Bibliology – The doctrine of sola scriptura means that for the task of ordering the worship of God the Scripture is sufficient.

    Ecclesiology – The authority of the Church does not include binding the conscience of Christians in areas where Scripture does not speak, i.e. the Church may require of its members only that which Christ requires, that and no more. thus the people are free from the traditions and devices of mere men (cf. Matthew 28:19, 20).

  92. tc robinson says:

    I think this is somewhat oversimplistic, assuming your logic is actually correct could you explain the symbolism of:
    1. The Table (Ex. 37)
    2. The Lampstand (Ex. 37)
    3. The Altar of Incense (Ex. 37)
    4. The Priestly Garments (Ex. 39)
    5. The Ephod (Ex. 39)
    6. The Breastpiece (Ex. 39)

    Richard, I’m speaking of a ceremonial law, not every article in the Temple and so on.

    And we both know what was behind the levitical system.

    I do not see your point in using 1 Chron. 15 & 16.

    You still have not addressed Psalm 150 and so on.

  93. Colin says:

    Richard

    a day at home nursing a pulled back – des a grandson need to carry a health warning?

    In this comment I will pick up on your with the David dickson quotes. I will come back to the other later

    I like your Venn diagram analogy. It appeals too me (usually) ordered accountant’s mind! I had wondered if you were being selective in how you categorise things – to support your preferred theological view. But you could equally ask that of me – and reasonably so. However I come back to my comment on the excellent article in Crossway. Even cultic and civil law can contain elements wheich are helpful to our edification. to start sacrificing animals would clearly be wrong as it is superrseded by the Cross. But is it a different order to suggest that instrumental accompaniement has now been abolished, when it might well, and I would suggest does, express our heart to God.

    And David dickson’s comment on Psalm 4 is firstly about Psalm 4 and in any case states that the Psalm’s are to be used with discretion. Personally I refgret how little practical use is made of them in the C0E today. In my own minsitry as a Reader I have used them freely especia;;y when leading our informal evening service – and interestlingly my colleagues, clergy and Reader are doing so aw well. And I also use discretion to use musical instruments when this is avaiable.

    And in the quote on Ps 150 I see nothing to suggest that instrumental accompaniement is now superseded by the Cross.

    Of course they are not necessary or indeed mandatory. But they are not forbidden and they can help to lift our hearts heavenwards. I have no problem with the choice of the Wee Frees and the Wee Wee Frees to sing acapello, aslong as they accept it as their disctinctive choice.

    I will refelct further on your following post and come back on it later

  94. Colin,
    …as long as they accept it as their distinctive choice.

    Exactly. To go beyond that is to go beyond scripture and to become legalistic.

  95. Colin says:

    In the above post, written in a hurry, the comment on dickson in Ps 150 did not really come out quite as intended.

    In the opening of para 1 he makes an assertion, but without really supporting why he makes that assertion. We could even argue that worship with our mind soul and strength encompasses expression with isntruments as well as voices. I know a few instrumentalists who are capable with the instrument but feel weak in singing. The instrument becomes their offering and exxpression.

    That is what the words Dickson’s second para seem to say. along with a timely reminder that nothing we offer can ever fully match the worship which God’s Name is worthy to receive. Thankfully he accepts the offerings of a humble and contrite heart.

  96. Colin says:

    And now a few thoughts on the second stage of Richard’s detailed response.

    The 1 Kings 12 passage looks to me as if Jeraboam created sanctuaries in places other than where God had decreed. In other words he did what was specifically forbidden. The Exodus passage, it seems to me could be taken either way.

    As to Deut 12 v32, of course we must respect Calvin. BUT. The plain simple words in my NIV are self evidently saying to me we do not detract from anything God has commanded, and neither do we add requirements which God has not commanded. To my knowledge none of us are requiring instruments, we are simply suggesting it is good and permissable, and can be helpful to worship which honours God. And to draw on the clear sense of the excellent Crossway article, we are not bound to follow cultic and civil law, but can do so if it is appriate, honouring and does not flatly contradict the new covenant of Grace.

    to draw on the N/T references
    Those from Matthew, Mark and Collosians talk to me about rules laid down by men to be obeyed, not permissions. As above, instruments are part of God’s creative goodness to us, not a rule of man.
    John 4v22. spirit and truth. Only works in support of the RP if you have already predisposed yourself to that view.

    I will not make cheap comparisons with Jesus warnings to Pharisees . But adding new rules does not sit comfortably with Grace. “A broken and contrite heart he will not despise”.

  97. Richard says:

    Colin: I have read your posts and will get back to you when I have the time to write a response that isn’t a rush job.

    Article 7 reads, “Although the law given from God by Moses, as touching ceremonies and rites, do not bind Christian men, nor the civil precepts thereof ought of necessity to be received in any commonwealth; yet, notwithstanding, no Christian man whatsoever is free from the obedience of the commandments which are called moral.”

    Perhaps we could expand that with WCF chapter 19:

    19:3 Besides this law, commonly called moral, God was pleased to give to the people of Israel, as a church under age, ceremonial laws, containing several typical ordinances, partly of worship, prefiguring Christ, His graces, actions, sufferings, and benefits; and partly holding forth divers instructions of moral duties. All which ceremonial laws are now abrogated, under the new testament.
    19:4 To them also, as a body politic, He gave sundry judicial laws, which expired together with the State of that people; not obliging any other now, further than the general equity thereof may require.
    19:5 The moral law doth for ever bind all, as well justified persons as others, to the obedience thereof; and that, not only in regard of the matter contained in it, but also in respect of the authority of God the Creator, who gave it; neither doth Christ, in the Gospel, any way dissolve, but much strengthen this obligation.

    TC: Ps. 150 was dealt with in David Dickson on Psalm 150:3-5 which I quote again below:

    Here are other six exhortations, teaching the manner of praising God under the shadow of typical music, appointed in the ceremonial law. Whence learn,

    1. Albeit the typical ceremonies of musical instruments in God’s public worship, belonging to the pedagogy of the church, in her minority before Christ, be now abolished with the rest of the ceremonies; yet the moral duties shadowed forth by them, are still to be studied, because this duty of praising God, and praising him with all our mind, strength, and soul, is moral, whereunto we are perpetually obliged.

    2. The variety of musical instruments, some of them made use of in the camp, as trumpets; some of them sounding by lighter touching of them, as stringed instruments; some of them by beating on them more sharply, as tabrets, drums, and cymbals; some of them sounding by touching and blowing also, as organs: all of them giving some certain sound, some more quiet, and some making more noise: some of them having a harmony by themselves; some of them making a concert with other instruments, or with the motions of the body in dancing; some of them serving for one use, some of them serving for another, and all of them serving to set forth God’s glory, and to shadow forth the duty of worshippers, and the privileges of the saints; – the plurality and variety, I say, of these instruments, were fit to represent divers conditions of the spiritual man, and of the greatness of his joy to be found in God, and to teach what stirring up should be of the affections and powers of our soul, and one of another, unto God’s worship; what harmony should be among the worshippers of God, what melody each should make in himself, singing to God with grace in his heart, and to show the excellence of God’s praise, which no means nor instrument, nor any expression of the body joined thereunto, could sufficiently set forth: and thus much is figured forth in these exhortations to praise God with trumpet, psaltery, harp, timbrel, stringed instruments, and organs, loud and high sounding cymbals.

  98. tc robinson says:

    David Dickson has no scriptural basis for his contentions.

    Scripture abounds with praising and worshiping God with instruments, along with singing.

  99. Richard says:

    TC: Would you mind fleshing out what you mean by saying “David Dickson has no scriptural basis for his contentions.”

    Would you also mind giving the biblical examples of “praising and worshiping God with instruments, along with singing”?

  100. Richard says:

    Some reading material which goes into the details that I haven’t time to do:

    Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church by John L. Girardeau

    Dabney’s review of Girardeau’s book.

    Instrumental Music in Worship: Commanded or Not Commanded? by G. I. Williamson

    Further; Rev. Alexander Hislop in an appendix entitled “The Instrumental Music of Judaism” writes:

    THE scriptural argument in regard to the identification of the instrumental music in the Old Testament dispensation with the temple worship, stands thus:—We find an express appointment by Divine authority of the use of musical instruments for the temple service, and in connection with the offering of sacrifice; (Numbers 10:10; 1. Chronicles 15:16, and 16:4-6,) the very families being specifically named that could alone use these musical instruments. (1 Chronicles, 25. to the end.) We find no appointment, or the least hint of the appointment, of any such instrumental music in the service of God anywhere else. In accordance, therefore, with the principle of the text, “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it; thou shalt not add thereto,” the use of instrumental music in worship, except in the temple service was excluded. Hence the significant fact already adverted to, that since the period of the destruction of the Jewish Temple, till lately, instrumental music had been universally regarded by the Jews as unlawful in the worship of God. Since the ploughshare had passed over the ruins of that temple, it was universally felt by them, that there was no place where, in God’s worship, the loud cymbals, and cornets, and harps, could be lawfully used, any more than there was a place where an altar, for burnt offering could be reared, or sacrifice could be offered.

    Then, as to the special reason for the use of instrumental music in the temple service on high occasions a word may be said:—Besides the other reasons peculiar to that dispensation, as suited to the Church in its infant state, there was plainly a special reason for such music, in the very nature of the case, on the grand solemnities of Jewish worship. When the worship of God was celebrated at the tabernacle or the temple, on these occasions, it was the worship of a whole nation assembled by its representatives on one spot. All the males of all the tribes of Israel, capable of so doing, were required three times a-year to assemble in the place, where the Lord recorded his name. For such immense multitudes, congregated together in one place, to engage in united worship under the mere leadership of the human voice—or to have their devotional feeling excited, and their attention profitably kept up, while the different typical rites were performed, during the time they were assembled together, without some assistance of a peculiar nature, was plainly impossible. In the extraordinary circumstances therefore, there was need of extraordinary means for the edification of the people. These means were furnished according to the genius of that dispensation. Carrying these remarks along with him, if the reader now peruse the account of the revival of the temple worship by Hezekiah, after it had been allowed to fall into abeyance during the idolatry of his father’s reign, he will see in a very striking light, the intimate connection between the instrumental music and the sacrificial system, and peculiar typical ritual of Judaism. Chronicles 29:25-29. “And he (Hezekiah) set the Levites in the house of the Lord, with cymbals, with psalteries and with harps, according to the command of David, and Gad the king’s seer, and Nathan the prophet; for so was the commandment of the Lord by his prophet. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets; and Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also, with the trumpets, and the instruments ordained by David, king of Israel. And all the Congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded, and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed their heads and worshipped.” There was doubtless something sublime in this, and being appointed by God, the sublimity was not that of mere blind sentimental feeling. In the case of every true worshipper, through the blessing of God upon his own ordinance, it brought him into holy fellowship with the King Eternal. That divinely-appointed worship had its own glory; but it has now been done away; and the Church, instead of being a loser by its abrogation, has only risen to a higher glory. Let Christians then know wherein the real glory of the Christian Church consists, even its higher spirituality, and consequent independence of mere sensuous aids to devotion, and let them stand fast in the liberty from Jewish rites and observances, from which Christ has made them free.

  101. tc robinson says:

    Would you also mind giving the biblical examples of “praising and worshiping God with instruments, along with singing”?

    Richard, here’s one text:

    “I will sing a new song to you, my God;
    on the ten-stringed lyre I will make music to you” (Ps 144:9).

    Mr. Dickson is building his entire case on a few passages from Chronicles, while ignoring so many others.

    I cannot commend such handling of the text of Scripture.

    It is true that instruments accompanied animal sacrifices, but it’s worship.

    Now look at the Psalter and the use of instruments in worship to God without the mention of animal sacrifices.

  102. Richard says:

    Mr. Dickson is building his entire case on a few passages from Chronicles, while ignoring so many others.

    I think that is a misreading of Dickson, he is building his argument on the whole of the biblical witness. Where, prior to the institution of temple worship do we find musical instruments used in the worship of God? We are discussing an ‘historical’ question so we should really focus upon the historical witness rather than the Psalter which contains songs from many different settings.

    In terms of Ps 144:9, what is its original setting in life?

    It is true that instruments accompanied animal sacrifices, but it’s worship.

    And Dickson would not disagree, where he would disagree is that you can divorce the two and this was the witness of the Church for centuries.

  103. tc robinson says:

    Richard, then every text of the Psalter would fit into your grid of interpretation. What is the point, then?

    I think that is a misreading of Dickson, he is building his argument on the whole of the biblical witness. Where, prior to the institution of temple worship do we find musical instruments used in the worship of God? We are discussing an ‘historical’ question so we should really focus upon the historical witness rather than the Psalter which contains songs from many different settings.

    But the witness of Scripture does not forbid the use of instruments in the church. What am I missing?

  104. TC: I think it’s a grace/law thing. You’re understanding completely.

  105. tc robinson says:

    Yes, Stan. But I think Richard holds to the Regulative Principle – whatever that means?

  106. Colin says:

    TC

    have you seen this site.

    http://www.apuritansmind.com/PuritanWorship/PuritanWorshipMainPage.htm

    the page I have linked to has links on the regulative principle and exclusive psalmody. In the traditional groups in Scotland the 2 go together. The idea of exclusive psalmody is that it is (we would all accept?) the inspired word of God. But then why not include the songs of Moses, Simeon, Mary and others? And why not set other Scriptures to music. The English children’s evangelist Ishmael was excellent at that.

  107. TC: Regulative Principle, yes. Seems like a sub-category, namely Selective Regulative Principle.

  108. Peter Kirk says:

    Exclusive psalmody is surely explicitly non-scriptural, i.e. against New Testament teaching. In Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 we are told to sing “psalms, hymns and spiritual songs”. Exactly what “hymns and spiritual songs” are may be debatable, but they are clearly something distinct from psalms.

  109. Colin says:

    Peter and Stan

    We are thinking along similar lines here. I find the Puritan’s Mind is one of those sites which can sometimes be revealing and challenging, and which encourages me to try and be more rigorous and consistent in why I think and act as I do, and to better “explain the hope which is within me”.

    The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland site argues that “hymns and spiritual” songs ARE the Psalms. I don’t see where that comes from.

  110. The Free Presbyterian Church of Scotland are quite a bunch.

    In their FAQs they claim We do not accept the dishonest interpretation of scripture which only too often explains away the plain meaning.

    Yet that is exactly what they do in defending exclusive psalmody and insisting the Authorised Version is the best and most faithful translation of the Word of God to be found in the English language.

    The Apostle Peter calls it twisting the scripture (2 Peter 3:16).

  111. Richard says:

    the witness of Scripture does not forbid the use of instruments in the church

    Let’s try a different track shall we and approach this from a redemptive-historical approach. As I am sure you are aware we can divide up the OT into specific periods, so let’s try: (1) Adam in Eden, (2) Adam to Noah, (3) Noah to Abraham, (4) Abraham to Moses, (5) Moses to David, (6) David to Christ.

    (1) Adam in Eden – Little is known about Adam’s worship in paradise but it is perfectly certain that there were no musical instruments because the invention of musical instruments is attributed to one of his descendants (Gen. 4:21).

    (2) Adam to Moses – Looking at the biblical witness we find Scripture is totally silent concerning any use of musical instruments in the worship of God during the patriarchal period. Indeed, musical instruments were never introduced until God’s express command had been given of which there is no record in this period of time.

    (5) Moses to David – Under Moses the worship of God is ‘given’ to Israel and this forms the shadow of which Christ is the reality, ceremonial law begins here. But it’s not certain that musical instruments were used in worship in the period of time extending from Moses to David. Of course we read of timbrels and dances in Exodus 15 but was this public worship, or was it a patriotic celebration? The fact that men alone, and not women, were appointed to lead in the entire worship of the tabernacle service (Num. 3:5-11) would seem to require the second alternative.

    During this period of revelation we find but one thing that could be classified as an instrument of music. God commanded the making of two silver trumpets (Num. 10:1-10), and only the sons of Aaron were to use them (v. 8). They were to be used, furthermore, only for certain specified purposes: the calling of assembly (v. 2), sounding an alarm of war (v. 9), and as an accompaniment of the sacrifices in the tabernacle (v. 10). There is no indication that they were ever used to accompany congregational singing, so it may be doubted that these trumpets were intended as musical instruments.

    (6) David to Christ – Now under David the service of worship was made much more elaborate. However interms of musical instruments, when we observe that only the Levites played the instruments (1 Chron. 15:16) — and that sacrifices and offerings were made as they brought the ark back to its appointed place in the tent (1 Chron. 16:1) — it will soon become evident that this was still ceremonial worship.

    Keep in mind that we are told “David gave to Solomon his son the pattern” of that worship which he had received “by the Spirit” (1 Chron. 28:11-12). “All the work of the service of the house of the Lord” (v. 13) was given to David “in writing from the hand of the Lord” (v. 19) and by “commandment of the Lord by his prophets” (2 Chron. 29:24).

    In this more elaborate temple worship several things are to be noted. Only the Levites were allowed to play the musical instruments (1 Chron. 16:4-6). While so employed they were “arrayed in white linen” and “stood at the east end of the altar” with “cymbals and psalteries and harps” (2 Chron. 5:12). With them stood “an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets.” All told, there were “four thousand (who) praised the Lord with the instruments” of music (1 Chron. 23: 5), being divided into twenty-four courses, each consisting of one hundred sixty musicians. Most important of all, we note that “when the burnt-offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments” (2 Chron. 29:27). “All the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpets sounded,” we read, “until the burnt-offering was finished” (v. 28).

    We observe that all of this was heard only during the offering up of the burnt-sacrifice (2 Chron. 29:27). It was at the precise time of this offering that the singers, orchestra and trumpets were heard. Is it not evident, to the thoughtful reader, that there was something typical in this? Even the historical account informs us that these musicians were appointed to “prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals” (1 Chron. 25:1). And we know what “the sum” (Heb. 8:1) of this prophecy was. For the whole system of ceremonial worship served as a “shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5). It was “a figure for the time then present” (9:9), but a figure of something better in the future.

    Here was enacted symbolically the drama of redemption. We use the word drama because this Old Testament ceremonial worship was only a representation of the real redemption which was to be accomplished, not with the blood of bulls and goats, but with the precious blood of Christ. That is why this impressive assembly of musicians was needed. In a similar way, a motion picture depicting some great love story is a pale thing in comparison with our own experience of love. That is why sound effects, and a musical background, are so important: it helps us to feel a synthetic representation as if it were real. So God, under the Old Testament administration of the covenant of grace, was pleased to use such “weak and beggarly elements” to help his Old Testament people (as children under age — Galatians 4) feel something more in these animal sacrifices than was actually there. So, as the sacrifice was offered, the hearts of God’s people were stirred by this great cacophony of music. Yet all was strictly on a ceremonial level.

    (The above is adapted from G. I. Williamson)

    Peter: get your LXX and read the Psalm titles in the Greek, especially those of:
    1. Ps. 48, “A song. A psalm of the Sons of Korah.”
    2. Ps. 66, “A song. A psalm.”

    What did the Jews do at Passover? Sing the Egyptian Hallel. What did this constitute? Pss. 113-118. What did Jesus do at the Passover? “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30).

    Eph. 5:19 is simply Paul refering to the canonical Psalter.

  112. Richard says:

    why not include the songs of Moses, Simeon, Mary and others

    Simeon and Mary did not sing, so to be precise the Magnificat, Nunc Dimittis and Benedictus are not songs.

  113. Richard says:

    Colin: As an Anglican you may enjoy this.

  114. Peter Kirk says:

    OK, Richard, psalms are sometimes also referred to as songs. But the Greek grammar of Ephesians 5:19, literally translated “psalms AND hymns AND spiritual songs”, demands three separate categories of musical composition.

  115. Richard says:

    Peter,

    (1.) Check out the footnote here (pp. 174 n. 41).

    (2.) The triadic formula we find St. Paul using is characteristic of Hebrew writing, so:

    Genesis 26:5 – “because Abraham obeyed me and did everything I required of him, keeping my commands, my decrees and my instructions.

    Exodus 34:7 – “maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the parents to the third and fourth generation.”

    Deuteronomy 8:11 – “Be careful that you do not forget the LORD your God, failing to observe his commands, his laws and his decrees that I am giving you this day.”

    Nehemiah 1:7 – “We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.”

    Acts 2:22 – “People of Israel, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know.”

  116. Colin says:

    Richard

    Yes I did enjoy the article. I presume you are the author! From this and your comments on other posts I had thought you might be a Church Society supporter or member. Whatever the challenges in presenting them to a 21st century congregation, I appreciate the genius and discipline of Cranmer and his team in crafting the BCP Morning and Evening Prayer. Combined with his original lectionary, they are all so rooted in the whole counsel of God. And by the way, I was brought up in a Baptist church so have come to this in adulthood.

    I note that it contains your line on Eph 6 v19, though not spcifically plugging exclusive psalmody. I have always seen this verse in terms like Peter’s. I will sound our my Vicar, though my guess is that his take on the Greek will be similar to Peter as well.

  117. Peter Kirk says:

    OK, Richard, this is a common formula, but it is intended to indicate the totality. Thus the triad “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs” may be intended to indicate the totality of every kind of musical composition rather than restrict to just these three sub-categories. But it certainly cannot be taken to indicate one category among the three.

    I suppose you would understand Deuteronomy 8:11 as referring only to the Ten Commandments on the basis that that may be the specific referent of “commands” and that these commandments may also be considered “laws” or “decrees”.

    Since you quoted LXX to me, I will refer you back to it, to the book of Odes (Odai) which is included in printed editions (vol.2 p.164 of the Rahlfs edition, just after the 151 Psalms). Some of the individual songs are entitled “hymn” (humnos). Most of these are taken from the NT or elsewhere in the LXX (not the Psalms), and one, the Gloria, is clearly a Christian composition. I can’t be sure whether these are among the hymns and spiritual songs (humnois kai odais pneumatikais) that Paul had in mind when he wrote Ephesians, but I am sure that that was the thinking of the early church when they bound this collection of songs together with their Bible text.

  118. Richard says:

    Colin, the article was designed to encourage the singing of Psalms rather than to plug EP. Bearing in mind that most Reformed theologians would accept that Paul was refering to the Psalter alone in Eph. 5:19 I know many modern Reformed people who, whilst not advocating EP, recognise that Eph. 5:19 is not the place to go if one wishes to advocate the singing of songs other than the Psalms.

    In terms of the Greek construction of Eph. 5:19, I would keep in mind Professor John Murray’s argument:

    Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16. With respect to these two texts it should be noted, first of all, that Paul is not necessarily referring to the public worship of God. The context does not make clear that Paul is confining himself here to exhortation that concerns the behaviour of believers in relation to one another in the assemblies of worship. Paul may very well be giving general exhortation. Indeed, the context in both passages would appear to show that he is exhorting to a certain kind of exercise in which believers should engage in reference to one another in the discharge of that mutual instruction and edification requisite to concerted advancement of one another’s highest interests and of the glory of God.

    This consideration does not, however remove these texts from relevancy to the question of the public worship of God. For, if Paul specifies psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs as the media through which believers may mutually promote the glory of God and one another’s edification in those more generic Christian exercises, this fact has very close bearing upon the question of the apostolically sanctioned and authorized media of praise to God in the more specific worship of the sanctuary. In other words, if the apostolically enjoined media or materials of song in the more generic exercises of worship are psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs, then surely nothing inferior to psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs would be enjoined for use in the more specific exercises of worship in the assemblies of the church. If psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs are the limits of the materials of song in praise of God in less formal acts of worship, how much more are they the limits in more formal acts of worship. With respect to these two texts the following considerations are to be borne in mind.

    (1) We cannot determine the denotation or connotation of psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs by any modern usage of these same words. The meaning and reference must be determined by the usage of Scripture.

    (2) Some of the facts with reference to the usage of Scripture are very significant.

    The word psalmos (psalm) occurs some 94 times in the Greek Scriptures, that is to say, some 87 times in the Septuagint version of the Old Testament and 7 times in the New Testament. In the Septuagint some 78 of these instances are in the Book of Psalms. In the great majority of instances in the Book of Psalms, some 67 in all, it occurs in the titles of the Psalms. In three of the seven instances in the New Testament the word is unmistakably used with reference to the Psalms, in two instances in the phrase the “Book of Psalms” (biblos psalmon) and in the other instance with reference to the second Psalm. It is surely significant, therefore, that in some 70 of the 94 instances the reference is clearly to the Book of Psalms or to Psalms in the Book of Psalms.

    The word humnos (hymn) occurs some 19 times in the Greek Bible, 17 (?) times in the Old Testament and 2 times in the New (in the passages under consideration). Of the 17 Old Testament instances 13 occur in the Book of Psalms and 6 of these are in the titles. In the seven instances not occurring in the titles the reference is in each case to the praise of God, or to the songs of Sion. The other four instances in the other books of the Old Testament have likewise reference to the songs of praise to God.

    The word, odee (song) occurs some 86 times in the Greek Bible, some 80 times in the Old Testament and 6 times in the New. Apart from these two passages (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16), it occurs in the New Testament only in the Book of Revelation. Of the 80 occurrences in the Old Testament some 45 are in the Book of Psalms and 36 of these are in the titles of the Psalms.

    It is surely apparent, therefore, how large a proportion of the occurrences of these words is in the Book of Psalms. These facts of themselves do not prove that the reference here in Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16 is to the Book of Psalms exclusively. But these facts must not be forgotten as we proceed to determine the character of the lyrical compositions mentioned in these two texts.

    (3) In the New Testament the word psalmos occurs seven times, as was just stated. Two of these instances are in the texts we are considering. One of these instances is I Cor. 14:26, a text dealt with already. Two instances (Luke 20:42, Acts 1:20) refer to the Book of Psalms (biblos psalmon). Luke 24:44 clearly refers to Old Testament inspired Scripture and probably to the Book of Psalms. Acts 13:33 refers to the second Psalm. In none of these instances is there any warrant for supposing that “psalms” refer to uninspired human compositions. In the majority, without the least shadow of doubt, the reference is to inspired Scripture.

    In the New Testament the word humnos occurs only in these two passages. The verb humneo (to hymn) occurs four times (Matt. 26:30, Mark 14:26, Acts 16:25, Heb. 2:12). As we found already, the synoptic passages most probably refer to the singing of the Hallel by our Lord and His disciples. Acts 16:25 refers to the singing of Paul and Silas in prison. Hebrews 2:12 is a quotation from the Old Testament (Ps. 22:23) — en meso ekklesias humneso se.

    No evidence whatsoever can be adduced from the usage in support of the use of uninspired hymns.

    Apart from these two instances the word odee occurs in the New Testament only in Rev. 5:9, 14:3(2), 15:3.

    From the New Testament, then, no evidence can be derived to show that these words may be used here (Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16) with reference to uninspired songs. Even though odee is used in the Book of Revelation with reference to songs other than those in the Book of Psalms it is not used there with reference to uninspired human compositions but with reference to inspired songs.

    (4) We now come to the consideration of some facts which are even more significant than those already discussed. The Book of Psalms is composed of psalms, hymns and songs. We have already found that the overwhelming majority of the instances of these words in both Testaments has reference to the Book of Psalms. We now come to the discussion of the meaning of these words in the titles of the Psalms.

    In the Septuagint psalmos occurs some 67 times in the titles to the Psalms. In most cases it is the translation of the Hebrew mismor, but in a few cases it translates other Hebrew words. Psalmos means simply “song of praise.” The frequency with which the word psalmos occurs in the titles is probably the reason why the Book of Psalms is called in the LXX version simply psalmoi. In the Hebrew it is called tehillim.

    It is perfectly obvious, therefore, that the New Testament writers, familiar as they were with the Old .Testament in Greek, would necessarily have the Book of Psalms in mind when they used this word psalmos. There is no other piece of evidence that even begins to take on the significance for the meaning of the word “psalm” in the New Testament that this simple fact takes on, namely, that the Book of Psalms was called simply “Psalms” (psalmoi). The usage of the New Testament itself puts this beyond all doubt. There the Psalms are called the Book of Psalms.

    There is nothing in the context of these two passages requiring us to regard “psalms” as referring to uninspired compositions. On the other hand, there are abundant instances in the usage of Scripture elsewhere which show that the word “psalm” refers to an inspired composition. Furthermore, there is no instance in which the word “psalm,” as used with reference to a song of praise to God, can be shown to refer to an uninspired song. It is therefore quite unwarranted to regard “psalms” in these two passages as referring to uninspired songs, whereas there is abundant warrant for regarding them as denoting inspired compositions. Consequently, if we are to follow the line of the evidence provided by the Scripture, we are forced to find the ”psalms” here mentioned within the limits of inspiration.

    As we found, the word humnos appears some 17 times in the Septuagint version. In thirteen cases it appears in the Book of Psalms. In five or six cases it appears in the titles of the Psalms as the translation of the Hebrew neginoth or neginah. It is significant that on several occasions in the text of the Psalms humnos translates the Hebrew word tehillah which is the word used to designate the Book of Psalms in the Hebrew. This shows that psalms may be called hymns and hymns are psalms. Psalms and hymns are not exclusive of one another. A psalm may be not only a psalm but also a hymn.

    These facts show that when, in the usage of Scripture, we look for the type of composition meant by a “hymn,” we find it in the Psalms. And we have no evidence whatsoever that a hymn, in the usage of Scripture, ever designates an uninspired human composition.

    The word odee occurs much more frequently in the titles of the Psalms than does the word humnos, but not as frequently as does the word psalmos. There are some 36 instances. It usually translates the Hebrew word shir but not always. Occasionally it is the translation of mismor, the word generally translated by psalmos. Odee occurs so frequently in the titles of the psalms that its meaning would be definitely influenced by that usage.

    The conclusion to which we are driven then is that the frequency with which these words occur in that book of the Old Testament that is unique in this respect that it is a collection of songs composed at various times and by various inspired writers, the book that stands out distinctively and uniquely as composed of psalms, hymns and songs, would tend most definitely to fix the meaning of these words in the usage of the inspired writers. The case is simply this that beyond all dispute there is no other datum that compares with the significance of the language of the Septuagint in the resolution of this question. When taken in conjunction with the only positive evidence we have in the New Testament the evidence leads preponderantly to the conclusion that when Paul wrote “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs” he would expect the minds of his readers to think of what were in the terms of Scripture itself, “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs,” namely, the Book of Psalms.

    (5) The evidence does not warrant the conclusion that the apostle meant by “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs” to designate three distinct groups or types of lyrical compositions. It is significant in this connection that in a few cases in the titles of the Psalms all three of these words occur. In many cases the words “psalm” and “song” occur in the same title. This shows that a lyrical composition may be a psalm, hymn and song at the same time.

    The words, of course, have their own distinctive meanings and such distinctive meanings may intimate the variety and richness of the materials of song the apostle has in mind. Paul uses three words that in the established usage of Scripture designate the rich variety of such lyrical compositions as were suited for the worship of God in the service of song.

    (6) Paul specifies the character of the songs as “Spiritual” — odais pneumatikais. If anything should be obvious from the use of the word pneumatikos in the New Testament it is that it has reference to the Holy Spirit and means, in such contexts as the present, “given by the Spirit.” Its meaning is not at all, as Trench contends, “such as were composed by spiritual men, and moved in the sphere of spiritual things” (Synonyms, lxxviii). It rather means, as Meyer points out, “proceeding from the Holy Spirit, as theopneustos” (Com. on Eph. 5:19). In this context the word would mean “indited by the Spirit,” just as in I Corinthians 2:13 logois . . . pneumatikois are “words inspired by the Spirit” and “taught by the Spirit” (didaktois pneumatos).

    The question, of course, arises: why does the word pneumatikos qualify odais and not psalmois and humnois? A reasonable answer to this question is that pneumatikais qualifies all three datives and that its gender (fem.) is due to attraction to the gender of the noun that is closest to it. Another distinct, possibility, made particularly plausible by the omission of the copulative in Colossians 3:16, is that “Spiritual songs” are the genus of which “psalms” and “hymns” are the species. This is the view of Meyer, for example.

    On either of these assumptions the psalms, hymns and songs are all “Spiritual” and therefore all inspired by the Holy Spirit. The bearing of this upon the question at issue is perfectly apparent. Uninspired hymns are immediately excluded.

    But we shall have to allow for the distinct possibility that the word “Spiritual,” in the grammatical structure of the clause, is confined to the word “songs.” On this hypothesis the “songs” are characterized as “Spiritual,” and therefore characterized as inspired or indited by the Holy Spirit. This, at least, should be abundantly clear.

    The question would arise then: is it merely the “songs” that need to be inspired while the “psalms” and “hymns” may be uninspired? The asking of the question shows the unreasonableness of such an hypothesis, especially when we bear in mind all that has already been shown with reference to the use of these words. On what conceivable ground would Paul have insisted that the “songs” needed to be divinely inspired while the “psalms” and “hymns” did not need to be? In the usage of Scripture there was no hard and fast line of distinction between psalms and hymns, on the one hand, and songs on the other. It would be quite impossible to find any good ground for such discrimination in the apostolic prescription.

    The unreasonableness of such a supposition appears all the more conclusive when we remember the Scripture usage with respect to the word “psalms.” There is not the least bit of evidence to suppose that in such usage on the part of the apostle “psalm” could mean an uninspired human composition. All the evidence, rather, goes to establish the opposite conclusion.

    We see then that psalms are inspired. Songs are inspired because they are characterized as “Spiritual.” What then about the hymns? May they be uninspired? As already indicated, it would be an utterly unreasonable hypothesis to maintain that the apostle would require that songs be inspired while psalms and hymns might not. This becomes all the more cogent when we recognize as we have established, that the psalms and songs were inspired. It would indeed be strange discrimination if hymns might be uninspired and psalms and songs inspired. But it would be strange to the point of absurdity if Paul should be supposed to insist that songs had to be inspired but hymns not. For what distinction can be drawn between a hymn and a song that would make it requisite for the latter to be inspired while the former might not be? We, indeed, cannot be sure that there is any distinction so far as actual denotation is concerned. Even if we do maintain the distinct colour of each word there is no discoverable reason why so radical a distinction as that between inspiration and non-inspiration could be maintained.

    The only conclusion we can arrive at then is that “hymns” in Eph 5:19, Col. 3:16 must be accorded the same “Spiritual” quality as is accorded to “psalms” by obvious implication and to “songs” by express qualification, and that this was taken for granted by the apostle, either because the word “Spiritual” would be regarded as qualifying all three words, or because “Spiritual songs” were the genus of which “psalms” and “hymns” were the species, or because in the usage of the church “hymns” like “psalms” would be recognized in their own right and because of the context in which they are mentioned to be in no other category, as respects their “Spiritual” quality, than the category occupied by psalms and songs.

    In reference to these two passages, then, we are compelled to conclude:

    (a) There is no warrant for thinking that “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs” can refer to uninspired human compositions. These texts provide us with no authorization whatsoever for the singing of uninspired songs in the worship of God.

    (b) There is warrant for concluding that “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs” refer to inspired compositions. These texts provide us, therefore, with warrant for the singing of inspired songs in the worship of God.

    (c) The Book of Psalms provides us with psalms, hymns and songs that are inspired and therefore with the kind of compositions referred to in Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16.

  119. Peter Kirk says:

    So, then, this guy admits that ode includes the scriptural songs not from the Psalms referred to in Revelation:

    Even though odee is used in the Book of Revelation with reference to songs other than those in the Book of Psalms it is not used there with reference to uninspired human compositions but with reference to inspired songs.

    So what is his justification for refusing the church the right to use such odai in its worship, i.e. the whole range of “inspired songs” including OT songs outside the Psalms, the traditional Canticles, and the songs recorded in Revelation?

    the evidence leads preponderantly to the conclusion that when Paul wrote “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs” he would expect the minds of his readers to think of what were in the terms of Scripture itself, “psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs,” namely, the Book of Psalms.

    Is there any evidence from ancient commentators etc that the book of Psalms was ever referred to by such a compound title, or that Paul’s words were given such a narrow interpretation?

    But actually I am most concerned with the beginning of this article:

    Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16. With respect to these two texts it should be noted, first of all, that Paul is not necessarily referring to the public worship of God.

    Maybe, but in this case what in the New Testament is “necessarily referring to the public worship of God”, in the sense of a Sunday gathering of Christians? Nothing, as far as I can see, except perhaps the command in 1 Corinthians 16:2 to take a collection! There are of course the detailed instructions in 1 Corinthians 14, but you, Richard, have already found excuses in your tradition to lay aside these apostolic commands. So there is nothing. Or where do you find the command to sing anything at all, psalms or otherwise, unaccompanied or accompanied? Or the command to have a Sunday sermon? If you really take your Regulative Principle consistently and allow on Sundays only what is explicitly commanded in the New Testament for that time, then the only thing that you should allow in your churches is the collection!

  120. Richard says:

    Peter, Prof. Murray’s point regarding the public worship of God is quite a simple one, 1 Corinthians concerns the corporate worship of the Church in Corinth but the letter to the Ephesians does not really deal with corporate worship and so it is possible that Ephesians 5:19 does not refer to corporate worship.

    In terms of EP, I don’t really subscribe to it, provided that the content is biblical then songs outside of the psalter are fine and dandy IMO. A good site is Worship Matters.

  121. tc robinson says:

    Colin and Stan, I knew what the Regulative Principle was when I asked the question. I was just being, you know, because I really don’t understand how they use it.

    But saying the Regulative Principle is a sub-category of the selective principle is more like it, Stan.

    Richard, I’m aware of the various dispensations of Scripture, if you will, but a new dispensation by itself does not nullify the previous, unless it is explicitly stated.

    Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16. With respect to these two texts it should be noted, first of all, that Paul is not necessarily referring to the public worship of God. The context does not make clear that Paul is confining himself here to exhortation that concerns the behaviour of believers in relation to one another in the assemblies of worship.

    Richard, but how best to execute the commands of these texts. Should they just sing to each other as they encounter one another in the marketplace of Palestine, or on the streets? Your objection doesn’t really make sense.

    Besides, Paul expected his Letter to the Colossians to be read in Laodicea assembly (Col. 4). This warrants a public setting to me.

  122. Richard says:

    I’m aware of the various dispensations of Scripture, if you will, but a new dispensation by itself does not nullify the previous, unless it is explicitly stated.

    Re-read my post, I demonstrated that musical instruments were part and parcel of the ceremonial law which was a type and shadow.

    Should they just sing to each other as they encounter one another in the marketplace of Palestine, or on the streets? Your objection doesn’t really make sense.

    Look at chapter 5, where is Paul addressing issues of corporate worship? Of course the epistles were read in the corporate setting, but it does not follow from that Paul is writing concerning song. It is quite easy to read it as ‘poetic’ language.

    Erasmus notes:

    This is a pleasant kind of drunkenness, which stimulates you, not to wanton dances or foolish songs, by which the Gentiles render homage to their deities, but to psalms, to hymns, to spiritual songs, by which you rejoice, and sing, and offer praise to the Lord, not with indecent roaring, as is the custom of drunk people, but inwardly in your minds and hearts.

    See also the comments by St. Chrysostom and Calvin.

  123. tc robinson says:

    Re-read my post, I demonstrated that musical instruments were part and parcel of the ceremonial law which was a type and shadow.

    Richard, Where does Scripture say that musical instruments were ceremonial, and therefore were a type and shadow?

    Look at chapter 5, where is Paul addressing issues of corporate worship? Of course the epistles were read in the corporate setting, but it does not follow from that Paul is writing concerning song. It is quite easy to read it as ‘poetic’ language.

    Paul says to “one another,” so it’s reciprocal. Of course in every epistle there are things to be done individual as well as corporately.

    But your objections do not follow.

  124. Richard says:

    Where does Scripture say that musical instruments were ceremonial, and therefore were a type and shadow?

    We can say it by as it may be deduced from the witness of Scripture. Let’s look again at instruments. None were used before David, then under David the temple order was being laid and instruments were introduced. Who played these instruments? Levites. When were they played? During the burned offering. Seems ceremonial does it not?

    As I noted before,

    under David the service of worship was made much more elaborate. However in terms of musical instruments, when we observe that only the Levites played the instruments (1 Chron. 15:16) — and that sacrifices and offerings were made as they brought the ark back to its appointed place in the tent (1 Chron. 16:1) — it will soon become evident that this was still ceremonial worship.

    Keep in mind that we are told “David gave to Solomon his son the pattern” of that worship which he had received “by the Spirit” (1 Chron. 28:11-12). “All the work of the service of the house of the Lord” (v. 13) was given to David “in writing from the hand of the Lord” (v. 19) and by “commandment of the Lord by his prophets” (2 Chron. 29:24).

    In this more elaborate temple worship several things are to be noted. Only the Levites were allowed to play the musical instruments (1 Chron. 16:4-6). While so employed they were “arrayed in white linen” and “stood at the east end of the altar” with “cymbals and psalteries and harps” (2 Chron. 5:12). With them stood “an hundred and twenty priests sounding with trumpets.” All told, there were “four thousand (who) praised the Lord with the instruments” of music (1 Chron. 23: 5), being divided into twenty-four courses, each consisting of one hundred sixty musicians. Most important of all, we note that “when the burnt-offering began, the song to the Lord also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments” (2 Chron. 29:27). “All the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpets sounded,” we read, “until the burnt-offering was finished” (v. 28).

    We observe that all of this was heard only during the offering up of the burnt-sacrifice (2 Chron. 29:27). It was at the precise time of this offering that the singers, orchestra and trumpets were heard. Is it not evident, to the thoughtful reader, that there was something typical in this? Even the historical account informs us that these musicians were appointed to “prophesy with harps, with psalteries, and with cymbals” (1 Chron. 25:1). And we know what “the sum” (Heb. 8:1) of this prophecy was. For the whole system of ceremonial worship served as a “shadow of heavenly things” (Heb. 8:5). It was “a figure for the time then present” (9:9), but a figure of something better in the future.

  125. Peter Kirk says:

    Yes, Richard, OT worship is not to be copied literally but is a type of something. So let’s look at the typology here.

    Who played these instruments? Levites.

    The OT Levites are a type of the ordinary believers in the NT who are all to serve the Lord in the way the Levites did. This is not to say that every believer should play instruments, as only some of the Levites did, but typologically the way is open for any believer to play and instrument.

    When were they played? During the burned offering.

    And of what is the burnt offering a type? Not I think so much of the offering of Christ, although an argument could be made here for instrumental worship during communion, but of Christians’ offering of their bodies as a living sacrifice (Romans 12:1). So this implies that instruments should be used when Christians offer a sacrifice of praise (Hebrews 13:15) during corporate worship, and also throughout our Christian lives as we serve God.

  126. Richard says:

    Peter,

    Yes we are priest’s yet our priesthood is analogous to that of Israel’s corporately (1 Peter 2:9 and Exodus 19:6) and yet within that the Levites were the priestly group set aside for the worship at the temple. Further, the Levitical priesthood was temporary hence the whole of the argument in Hebrews, also the prieshood of Jesus is Melchizedekian not Levitical. Now, the burned offering was a type of Christ and this obviously ceased with the Christ’s coming. Yes, we are to present our bodies as a living sacrifice yet in Rom 12:1-2 Paul is not talking about corporate worship but everyday life, so are we to walk down the street playing the drums? Of course not.

    Ultimately your typology is fine, your applications of what it implies is off somewhat.

  127. Peter Kirk says:

    are we to walk down the street playing the drums?

    Why not, if that’s the implication of the biblical teaching? Of course a full drumkit is inconvenient, but listening to drums accompanying praise music on an MP3 player seems a fine biblical thing to do while walking down the street.

  128. tc robinson says:

    Richard, let me get back to you when I have more time.

  129. Richard says:

    TC: Sure, no worries.

    Peter: I don’t believe that it’s the implication we should draw, that said feel free to listen to praise music on your MP3, I can suggest Valley of Vision esp. Let Your Kingdom Come.

  130. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader.

  131. tc robinson says:

    Richard, What do we do with Miriam and her timbrels in worship to God (Exod. 15)?

    Then we also find women doing the same in the congregation of worshipers (Ps 68:25-26).

  132. Duane says:

    This looked like a good topic until too many theologians got into an argument over instruments.

    I like Ephesians 2:6 as a corporate worship model. “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus.”

    As we meet together and sing, pray, declare together, we unite around a theme. We are raised up out of our individual issues and become a corporate unit. Next we quiet our voices and are seated with Him in the heavenly realms. Once the things of this world grow strangely dim then 1 Corinthians 14 gifts can and should occur.

  133. Colin says:

    Duane

    nice one. And I confess to being one of the guilty parties! I am flattered, I think, if I am thought of as a thologian.

    In our defence, the post started as inviting reflection on what is worship and what is the place of music within it. Since we can make music with our voices and with instruments, it was perhaps inevitable that the place of each should enter the discussion.

    To pick up on your own comment, I remember an old chorus:
    “Fix your eyes upon Jesus
    Look full in His wonderful face,
    And the things of earth will go stragely dim
    In the light of His glory and grace”
    I think that’s right.

  134. Richard says:

    TC: I’ve already dealt with Ex. 15 when I pointed out, “Of course we read of timbrels and dances in Exodus 15 but was this public worship, or was it a patriotic celebration? The fact that men alone, and not women, were appointed to lead in the entire worship of the tabernacle service (Num. 3:5-11) would seem to require the second alternative.”

    Again, what is the original Sitz im Leben of Ps 68:25-26?

    Dr Peter Masters writes,

    Advocates of new-style worship point to passages such as Psalm 68.25 where David mentions ‘the damsels playing with timbrels’, and insist that this justifies the use of a tambourine….We should not forget that the Israelites were a nation-state as well as a church. There were many things they were permitted to do as a state, which had no place in their formal, direct worship. Special processions, victory parades and thanksgiving days were open-air, civic activities. The little girls would lead these processions dancing and shaking their tambourines. But these were never allowed in the Temple. The timbrel-tambourine of Psalm 68 is obviously part of a civic activity. The psalm, though predictive and messianic, is based on a notable military victory. It refers to the chariots of God, and how a conqueror led a host of captives after the battle. It speaks of future victories. God’s power as learned about in the sanctuary—is now remembered in the streets, and ‘the singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; among them were the damsels playing with timbrels.’ The psalm includes reference to both aspects of Jewish life—civic festivity and direct worship. There is no contradiction of the Temple rules.

    Read the rest here.

  135. tc robinson says:

    Duane and Colin, once we start thinking and reflecting on the text of Scripture, we are all theologians. Who of what sort? 🙂

    Richard, Does Peter Masters adhere to the Regulative Principle?

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