Question #16: How can Psalm singers do a better job of passing on their beliefs to the next generation?

Question #16: How can Psalm singers do a better job of passing on their beliefs to the next generation?


5 thoughts on “Question #16: How can Psalm singers do a better job of passing on their beliefs to the next generation?”

  1. This is an issue that I have a particular concern about. I want to pass on my belief in exclusive Psalmody to my children, but I don’t think they could ever appreciate the battles that I have gone through in my own life on the issues of music and worship. From my perspective, they live a life of ease. They never had to experience Praise and Worship Bands or fireside singings of “You’ve Been Left Behind”. It would be good to hear suggestions on how to give our children a love for Psalmody, especially since they’ve not arrived at the position as many of us have. In our family the practice is dictated to my children because it is my belief as the head of the family.

    The cold facts of history tell us that reformations are always short-lived. Rarely do convictions survive to the third and fourth generation. The things that are important to me are not likely to be the things important to them. We can’t make them look at the world through our eyes. They haven’t been on the same battlefields as we have. Another difficulty lies in the fact that they see me everyday and they know my weaknesses and inconsistencies. Its hard to be a good salesman when the customer can see behind the counter. From my children’s perspective, Psalmody can be just another rant instead of a divine truth. I must see that it does little good for me to spout the Reformation to them if I don’t live it. I try to live it, but I live it imperfectly, far short of the mark for which I aim. Unfortunately, children sometimes perceive imperfection as hypocrisy. Hmmm, there is a fine line there, no doubt. Psalm singing could fall in the next generation simply because its connected to us. Our children may see it as an old tradition perpetuated by their parents, a tradition they’ve not had the occasion to fight for. We need to labor to show that Psalm singing is not connected to us or our generation. Psalm singing is commanded by God and its connection lies in Scripture, not human traditions.

    The best advice I suppose I could give is to love the Psalms yourself and show your children how committed you are to their use in worship. Teach them the truths of Scripture and how Christ is present in every Psalm. I want my children to love the Psalms. If that goal is to be reached I have to prove to them my own love for the Psalms. If I love other forms/kinds of music more, my insistence on the Psalms will be confusing to say the least.

    Another suggestion would be to give priority and emphasis to the Psalter. Listen to the Psalms at home, in the car and sing them in family worship. If they learn the Psalms by heart, it will be more difficult to reject them in the future. Psalm singing needs to become natural, not forced or uncomfortable.

    A warning I could give is to avoid singing hymns in family worship. Avoid contemporary Christian music (CCM). These may seem to be innocent enough, but they have a certain attraction to them that the Psalms do not. CCM seems more modern, applicable, fresh and trendy. It hangs in the mind and could someday become an enemy to our goal of passing on the Psalms to the next generation. It has been said here before, but it needs to be repeated that hymns are always a threat to find their way into public worship. It may start out innocently, but it happens.

    I am looking forward to hearing your input.

  2. First and foremost we must instill into our children the concept of what true worship is. That takes us back a step to the Regulative Principle and Sola Scriptura- thinking God’s thoughts after Him, being in direct personal fellowship with our Creator through His Spoken Word now recorded in the Written Word. This is what makes us properly human and distinguishes us from the animals.
    Then we have to show the distinction between our’ everyday’ service , glorifying God in fulfilling the cultural mandate and the special Service, the recreative provisions or Ordinances or Means of Grace which by definition can only originate with God.
    From there we must instruct in the constituent elements of the ordinances which will then get us on to the Psalms. We must take our children into them deeply so that they can see hoe deeply embedded in them the N.T. is and how the exude Christ.
    We also have to clarify the difference between Song worship and Prayer and Preaching. I think it is at this point that many people stumble who have come thus far through the previous steps. The ‘analogy of prayer’ has to be dealt with.
    Finally we must show them how to deal graciously but firmly with hymn singing. The history of the struggle for purity of worship should be outlined so that our children appreciate the high price that must repeatedly paid to give the canonical song Truth its rightful place in worship. The tendency to lose the Psalms through the cuckoo like pressure of the uninspired songs should be impressed upon our youngsters and they should be asked to consider just why this should be. As for the concept of ‘improving upon the psalms’ to reveal Christ we must also stress the implications this has for our professed adherance to Sola Scriptura and its supreme authority and superiority.
    Hymns ofen have very dubious origins and contain suspect ‘truth’, and even a little leaven can leaven the whole lump.
    The loss of the psalms is a relatively recent phenomenon in the Church of the last two hundred and fifty odd years. To say that psalm singing ‘impoverishes’ the church is an outrageous insult to the Biblical Truth contained in the Psalms.
    I think EP is often lost simply because we neglect to TEACH our people, young and old, of this vitally important matter or nurture a love for the psalms in youth. If we also fail to practise EP in private and family life we cannot be surprised if our children learn by example to see hymns as more enriching and to be desired!

  3. I think it is important to help children understand and engage in “the battles that I have gone through in my own life on the issues of music and worship.” A rusty unused sword is not much good when the battle finally comes so we had best seek to engage the enemy before the rust sets in.

    In other words, we need to teach our children about Biblical worship and then strategically put them into the battlefield while we are still able to be at their side. If a child is already a veteran of battles for true worship when they leave home, then they will not easily depart from the Biblical standard.

    In practice, this may start with a form of confrontational catechesis, playing “devil’s advocate” in regards to a particular error. In this “safe” setting, a child may learn the opposing arguments and how to combat them under your watchful eye. Progressing forward, children should not be shielded from your own confrontations with error, but rather brought to witness them as teaching moments. Finally, children should be encouraged to engage in their own defense of God’s truth with your coaching, whether this takes place in peer relationships, public settings, or educational assignments. The battle must begin long, long before they leave the safety of home.

  4. I am new, but have an intense interest in Psalm singing. I’ve been thinking about this for months myself. I have concluded the best thing I can do is sing the Psalms and sing the Psalms in such joy thankfulness alligns our lives with God’s word and welcomes Him in our gatherings. In this way our children will associate the singing of the Psalms with home, hearth and most of all a peaceful abiding presence of Gods Holy Spirit!

  5. Sarah,

    Great suggestions. It is easy for us to fall into being so defensive about our Psalm singing that the whole experience is negative. It is much better to take a positive approach and connect the Psalms to things that are positive.

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