Monthly Archives: June 2012

Make a Joyful Noise: the Metrical Psalms, a Musical Traditions program by the BBC

This program looks very interesting, covering the history, translation and use of the Metrical Psalter. I have had several people recommend it to me but I can’t get the videos to play on my computer. (I have updated my browser and player, but still not working.)

First, what are your opinions of the portrayal of the Metrical Psalter by the BBC? Does anyone know if these videos are available anywhere else on the internet?

Volume 8 of “Worthy to Be Praised” is now available

Volume 8 of the Worthy to be Praised series is now available:

Of the twelve tunes featured, many are old favourites such as Stracathro, Crimond and Martyrs while some, like Shere and St James, may be an inspiration to learn new tunes for praise.

Volume 1 is back in stock now too, and there are new sample singings on the home page as well as discounts for CD bundles.

“It is our prayer that listening to the CDs will not only improve our family and congregational singing, but also prove a blessing as we hear the precious words of the psalms sung clearly and with expression”

From the Website for Worthy to Be Praised:

“Sing the Psalms with Worthy to be Praised

In this site we wish to share with you our enthusiasm for Psalm Singing and to tell you about the Worthy to be Praised  series of Psalmody CDs.  While many Psalmody CDs exist, these are unique, having one disc of beautiful Psalm Singing and one disc to teach the  harmonies for these tunes.

The discs, which have a distinctively Scottish flavour, are attractively produced and make ideal gifts.  With appeal to all ages, they have been used successfully in home education and in Church Psalmody Classes for both children and adults.

The words are all from the 1650 Scottish Metrical Version of the Psalms, which can be obtained by clicking on this link.  From Volume 4 onwards, Disc 1 also contains four extra tracks with Scottish Gaelic Psalm Singing and one extra track of children’s voices.

The Worthy to be Praised CDs are produced by the Psalmody Committee of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing).  All proceeds from sales on this website will be transferred to the church to cover the costs of production and finance future recordings.

The CDs are also now available at Blythswood Bookshops (Portree and Dingwall),  Stornoway Religious Bookshop, FP Bookroom (Glasgow) and CLC Bookshop (Inverness).”

New Presbyterian Reformed Church plant in Jasper, Indiana

Rev. Brad Freeman

We are a new fellowship of families growing in Reformed doctrines, worshiping according to Scripture, and looking forward to the Lord’s blessing upon us.

The Presbyterian Reformed Church is an indigenous North American group of churches continuing historic Scottish Presbyterian orthodoxy in doctrine, worship, government and discipline, on the basis of a conviction that these principles and practices are founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God.

We confess the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments to be the Word of God written, the only infallible rule of faith and life.

We declare the Westminster Confession of Faith and Catechisms to be founded upon and agreeable to the Word of God in setting forth the system of truth taught in Holy Scripture.

We affirm our adherence to and determination to continue the simplicity and purity of worship hitherto practiced in these congregations.

We accept the Westminster Directory for the Public Worship of God as a scriptural and suitable guide for the conduct of public worship.

We adopt the Presbyterian form of church government as the form of government instituted by Christ for the government of His church to the end of the age.

Presbyterian Reformed Church
303 Main Street
Jasper, IN  47546
Bradford C. Freeman, Minister

“We hold, whether rightly or wrongly, that to undertake to praise God with songs other than those which the Holy Spirit has inspired for that purpose is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should prevent a person from sitting down at the Lord’s table, either in our Church or in any other.”

W. J. McKnight makes the point below that people who are guilty of the sin of singing uninspired hymns in worship should not be allowed to the Lord’s Table. This is certainly a controversial opinion, any thoughts?

“IMPARTIALITY IN APPLICATION

Furthermore, as Christ Jesus is no respecter of persons, we ought not to be, either; for, to be a Christian, if it means anything, means to be like Christ. This, that passage from James, already quoted, settles in so many words. And this our Church has always recognized. When one of our own members violates this commandment in the way referred to, he lays himself open to discipline. A faithful Session will prohibit him from coming to the Lord’s table until he has confessed his sin, given evidence of repentance, and promised not to be guilty of it again. If, then. the Church prevents its own members from communing if they commit this sin, why should it not prevent outsiders from communing when they commit the same sin? Why should the Session practice “respect of persons”? It is the violation of the law of God that is in question, and surely it is as bad for one man to transgress a divine command as it is for another. Believing this we apply “the law of the house”, as Ezekiel calls it, to prospective communicants, no matter who they may be. In reality we go below the question of the Church to which a person belongs to the question as to whether or not he is obeying the Ten Commandments.

ADDITIONAL INTERPRETATIONS

The same line of reasoning lies at the basis of our position on Psalmody, and on Instrumental Music in divine worship, and on Secret Societies. And here again we are at one, fundamentally, with the whole Presbyterian body. We all accept the Westminster Standards. These declare that the Second Commandment forbids “all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and any wise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God Himself”, and anything and everything that would tend toward the corrupting of “the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it”, whether such devices are “invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever”. As for the Third Commandment, they declare that it forbids “the not using God’s name as is required; and the abuse of it in an ignorant, vain, irreverent, profane, superstitious, or wicked mentioning or otherwise using His titles, attributes, ordinances, or works”. It would be difficult to make language stronger or more explicit.

Now our Church holds that this interpretation of those Commandments binds the people of God to the exclusive use of the Psalms in divine worship, and puts them under solemn obligation to sing praises, as in apostolical times, without the use of musical instruments, and requires them to renounce the system of secretism as a system of darkness altogether unworthy of such as are called of God to be “the light of the world”.

Thus it is our interpretation of the first three Commandments—reinforced, of course, from the rest of the Bible—that gives us our distinctive position as a Church. If our interpretation is not right, we ought to disband. If it is right, our Sessions ought to see that it is honored in every particular by every person who proposes to come to the Lord’s table under their jurisdiction. The “whole limit” is to be “most holy”. To the officers has been committed the charge, by the Lord Jesus Himself, of keeping it so. If they are faithful, they will do it—and that, too, as the Word of God requires, “without respect of persons” This is one place where sentiment has no right to intrude; obedience to orders is what the occasion demands, and the demand is absolute.

All denominations have to reckon with the Ten Commandments. All alike have to assume some attitude toward the Moral Law. Some treat the matter very loosely and unsatisfactorily; some are more rigid, some are less. We, in common with all others are under the necessity of taking a stand. We have done it. We have interpreted the Law, and what constitutes its violation, to the very best of our ability. We have published our findings. The world knows our position. We pledge ourselves to be true to those findings and to that position every time we go to the communion table. We aim to be strictly impartial. We are no firmer with outsiders than we are with our own members. “Here is the law of the house”, we say; “Christ requires us to see that the law is observed; we have no option but to obey orders”.

BY WAY OF SUMMARIZING

What our findings are—I mean those findings which keep us distinct from other Churches—may be fairly, yet succinctly, set forth in four brief statements.

We hold, whether rightly or wrongly,—yet as a matter of fact we do hold,—that to support an unchristian Constitution in its unchristian condition is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should prevent a person from sitting down at the Lord’s table, either in our Church or in any other.

We hold, whether rightly or wrongly, that to undertake to praise God with songs other than those which the Holy Spirit has inspired for that purpose is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should prevent a person from sitting down at the Lord’s table, either in our Church or in any other.

We hold, whether rightly or wrongly, that to introduce instrumental music into the New Testament worship, when the Apostles organized that worship without it, is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should prevent a person from sitting down at the Lord’s table, either in our Church or in any other.

We hold, whether rightly or wrongly, that union with secret societies is a sin, and such a sin as, unrepented of, should prevent a person from sitting down at the Lord’s table, either in our Church or in any other.

The fact is that we find ourselves under obligation, in these respects, to bear a faithful testimony not only to the world, but to such other Churches also as differ with us on these intrinsically important questions. At the communion table our testimony comes to its climax. Shall we weaken where we should be firmest? Shall we waver where we should be immoveable? Shall we make it apparent on the Holy Mount that we are sincere in our conclusions and mean to maintain them to the end, or shall we choose the Holy Mount to make it apparent to other Churches and to the world, that we only half believe what we profess? Here, of all places, it would seem, we ought to aim to be perfect, even as our Father which is in heaven is perfect (Matt. 5:48).

Evidently this is not the place to defend our position as a Church, as it comes to light in our distinctive principles. All we needed to do here was to state the principles fully enough to bring the situation clearly into mind. And this, we assume, has been done.

A CASE IN POINT

An incident that happened a few years ago in my ministry might be cited in this connection, it seems to me, as an apt illustration. One of the ablest men I ever knew—the pastor of a neighboring congregation—accosted me on the street one day and said, “One thing about your Church I could never understand, that is, your position on Close Communion”. In reply I said, “In point of principle our views on that question are the same as yours”. “How is that?” he said. “Suppose”, said I, “that one of your members should strike a child down with an ax and kill it, would your Session allow him to go to the Lord’s table at the next communion?” “Well”, said he, “I should hope not”. “Why?” I asked. “Why, because he violated the Sixth Commandment”, he said. “But”, I protested, “he might hold that what he did was not murder”. “Oh”, said my friend, “we would not leave that to him; we would take that matter into our own hands”. “You mean to say”, I said, “that your Session would assume the responsibility of interpreting the Sixth Commandment and also of passing judgment on the man’s conduct, as to whether it was a violation of the Commandment thus interpreted”. “Precisely”, he said. “Well, then,” said I, “why should you object to our Sessions when they do the same thing with respect to the First Commandment, and the Second, and the Third? “Oh, I see”, he said, “and what is more I believe you are right; it never occurred to me in that light; with you Close Communion means that the Reformed Presbyterian Church intends to honor the Moral Law as the Church apprehends it, before anyone shall be permitted to take a seat at the Lord’s table under its jurisdiction and oversight”. “Yes”, said I, “that is the exact situation as we see it”; and the man was satisfied. After all, to any person who really stops to consider, it is only a question of clear thinking and a sincere purpose to follow orders.”

From CONCERNING CLOSE COMMUNION. AN INVESTIGATION. by W.J. MCKNIGHT, D.D., Pastor of the First Reformed Presbyterian Church of Boston found here Concerning Close Communion by WJ Mcnight.