Monthly Archives: April 2013

“What, then, should we sing to the praise of God? Our own edification and safety lie in singing only the Book of Psalms; not any “imitation,” but “the word of Christ” itself, in the most literal and correct version which can be obtained.”

From Alexander Blaikie’s Catechism of Praise:

“XXI. What, then, is the duty of Christian churches in this matter? In whatever manner governed, they ought, as Protestants, carefully to avoid all unauthorized worship, either in the matter or manner or praise; to abide by that which is commanded, recollecting that all the embellishments and meretricious ornaments, with which human skill invests the matter and manner or our praise, are similar to the armour or Saul when placed on David. 1 Sam. 17:39. They form no appointed part of the “armour of God” in the Christian “warfare,” Eph. 6:11, and they must be cast aside, or we will incur the displeasure of “a jealous God;” spread, under his disapprobation, spiritual death over the churches of Christ; cause his children to weep in secret places; the men of this world to rejoice, and the enemies of Christ to blaspheme.

XXII. What, then, should we sing to the praise of God? Our own edification and safety lie in singing only the Book of Psalms; not any “imitation,” but “the word of Christ” itself, in the most literal and correct version which can be obtained. Notwithstanding numerous minor defects, the Scotch or Presbyterian “version is, upon the whole, the best.” When using it, “we have the satisfaction to know, that we utter praise in the very words of inspiration;” and in the opinion of Boswell, “it is vain to think of having a better.” Of the version of Sternhold and Hopkins, the Rev. Wm. Romaine says, “It is generally the sentiment of the Holy Spirit. That is very rarely lost, and this should silence every objection—it is the word of God. Moreover, the version comes nearer to the original than any I have ever seen except the Scotch.” Some judicious verbal amendments, by the omission of antiquated words, would be truly desirable if Presbyterians could unanimously make them.

XXIII. In what manner, then, should we sing these sacred songs to the praise of Jehovah? Always as an act of divine worship, with the spirit and with the understanding, with our voice, and with grace in our hearts, making melody to the Lord—individually—in families—and in the house of God. Avoiding the decorations of a theatrical and sentimental taste, and delighting ourselves in the word of Christ after the inward man, we will grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ; we will come to an innumerable company of angels, to the spirits of just men made perfect, and daily join with them in singing the song of Moses and of the Lamb.”

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“What poetry is to be compared with the Psalms of God? … Singing of psalms is commanded by divine authority, and commanded as a part of divine worship; not left to man’s wisdom how to provide for it, but is expressly provided for in the good word of God … The Psalms are stolen out of the church, and thereby the members are deprived of the blessings promised to the singing of them; for God will not give you the end if you neglect the means.”

Alexander Blaikie quotes William Romaine:

“What poetry is to be compared with the Psalms of God? Who can make the singing of any human verses an ordinance, or give a blessing to them, such as is  promised, and is given to the singing of Psalms? For what reason, then, are they set aside in the church? Why are the words of man’s genius preferred to the words of inspiration? Singing of psalms is commanded by divine authority, and commanded as a part of divine worship; not left to man’s wisdom how to provide for it, but is expressly provided for in the good word of God. And is not great contempt put upon this infinitely wise provision, when it is quite disused in the church, and man’s word is preferred to it?

What would you think of them who should throw aside all the Scripture, and never read it all in the congregation? And is it not an offense of the like nature, totally to neglect a part, a chief part of it, which was recorded for the use of the church, and in which its members were to sing the high praises of their God? It is hereby treated as useless and good for nothing. A very gross affront is put upon the love and wisdom which revealed this divine collection of hymns, and the church is deprived of the blessing promised to the singing of them, whereby it is robbed of one of its choicest treasures. If any thing be sacrilege, this is. The Psalms are stolen out of the church, and thereby the members are deprived of the blessings promised to the singing of them; for God will not give you the end if you neglect the means. Frequent are his commands in the Old Testament to sing psalms, and we have several in the New. for instance, let the word (not something beside it, but the word) of Christ itself dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs. These are not different things, but different names for the same collection of Psalms, as they treat of different subjects.”

Alexander Blaikie, Catechism of Praise, 1849

Singing of Psalmes the duty of Christians under the New Testament : or, A vindication of that Gospel-ordinance in V. sermons upon Ephesians 5.19 .. (1653)

1653 Singing of Psalmes the duty of Christians under the New Testament : or, A vindication of that Gospel-ordinance in V. sermons upon Ephesians 5.19 .. by Thomas Ford

This work was recently added to the Internet Archive site.  I remember looking for a copy online last year, but it was unavailable for free. Thanks to Sean McDonald for bringing it to my attention!

Matthew McMahon has republished this work here if you would like a printed copy.

This is from the Lulu site concerning McMahon’s reprint: “Thomas Ford (1598–1674) was a Calvinistic, Reformed nonconformist divine, who sat on the Westminster Assembly. The Puritans believed in Exclusive Psalmody – and the Westminster Confession demonstrates their position. However, there are few works that were written as a whole explaining why this is so by a Westminster divine. This work by Thomas Ford does just that. His views demonstrate the majority view in Christendom up and until his era, and he sits in company with the best theologians and preachers through church history on the subject. He covers, 1. That we must sing. 2. What we must sing. 3. How we must sing. And, 4. Why we must sing. His main text is Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs…” This is an extremely valuable treatise on God’s form of instituted worship and the regulative principle. This is not a scan or facsimile, and has been updated in modern English for easy reading. It also has an active table of contents for electronic versions.”

A new book entitled Public Worship 101 by Dr. Dennis Prutow

Dr. Dennis Prutow

Dr. Dennis Prutow

Dr. Dennis Prutow has recently released a new book on Biblical Worship entitled Public Worship 101 available here or directly from the Amazon site. A previous post on the this website discussed the online course by Dr. Prutow called The Ministry of Worship (syllabus). This new book is part of the coursework for Ministry of Worship.

From the Westminster Evagelistic Ministries RPTS site:

“Public Worship 101 is an introduction to the Biblical theology of worship, the elements of worship, exclusive Psalmody, and a cappella Psalmody. It follows the basic outline of Dr. Prutow’s Ministry of Worship classes with much more detail, including the addition of important historical data. The purpose of the book is to demonstrate that, in Biblical worship, God renews His covenant with His people as they draw near to Him in the place He prescribes (the gathered congregation), on the day He prescribes, in the manner He prescribes, with the elements He prescribes, including the praise He prescribes both in content, exclusive Psalmody, and manner, a cappella Psalmody, using an order properly deduced from Scripture. Whether this purpose is accomplished is for you, the reader, to judge.”

A review of the book by Pastor Barry York from Amazon:

“5.0 out of 5 stars Pastor Barry York, Kokomo, Indiana March 19, 2013
By Dennis J. Prutow
Sadly, when it comes to worship, the Western, evangelical church has its thinking backwards. In both word and action, the modern church displays the common belief that New Testament worship is not as serious as in the days of Moses. Yet as the book of Hebrews testifies, this view is simply false. For unlike the days of old, the concern of worship now is not with the blood of goats and lambs, but with the precious blood of Christ as displayed in Word, sacrament, prayer, and praise. We are no longer dealing in shadows and types, but with the living reality of Jesus.That is why this work by Dennis Prutow is so timely and needed. With the precision of his military mind, the experience of his seminary teaching, and the warmth of his pastoral heart, Prutow offers this salvo into what many have called the “worship wars.” Public Worship 101 offers a solid Biblical, historical, and theological case for the principles of worship as outlined in the Westminster Confession of Faith, with special attention given to the neglected means of a cappella psalm singing. Whether or not you agree with the conclusions, every minister and those in training should wrestle with the case Prutow puts forth. As Jeremiah Burroughs said in Gospel Worship, “Those who enter into public places, and especially such places as concern the worship of God, need to have the fear of God much upon them when they first enter into those places.” Prutow’s work will help those preparing to enter into the sanctuary and the pulpit to develop this much needed fear once again.An endorsement written to the author December 12, 2012″

In addition, Dr. Prutow has authored Joyful Voices: A Capella Singing in Congregational Worship available from Crown and Covenant Publications.