Do We Sing Jesus Christ’s Name in the Psalter? Rev. Travis Fentiman of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) has posted a very thorough article to answer the question.
A recent article was published on the OPC website New Horizons entitled Do We Really Need a Psalter Hymnal? An exert from the beginning of the article sums up the position of Donald Poundstone:
“Our church’s Psalter-Hymnal Committee deserves credit for translating and versifying the book of Psalms and setting individual psalms to singable music. Sadly, this is the best that can be said for a radical and unnecessary project.”
From general contacts and friends, I have been assured that Mr. Poundstone’s comments reflect a minority opinion among other OPC ministers. Thankfully, the poorly presented material in this article does not reflect the overall position in that otherwise fine denomination.
Peter J. Wallace of Michiana Covenant PCA presents another response here, though not from the perspective of Exclusive Psalmody. Still, Mr. Wallace has very clearly pointed out a few of the mistakes in Mr. Poundstone’s article. Wallace also presents his view here in the same issue of New Horizons.
Eric B. Watkins writes the article entitled Singing the Psalms with the Psalmist in the New Horizons.
Question #19: What does the singing of Psalms exclusively have to do with the closing of the canon? Is the writing of new songs the same as writing new Scripture?
Or we might even ask, “Is the canon really closed?”
There have been some recent questions on the EP website regarding the Canon of Scripture itself. I think this is related to the question of EP because it seems to me that those who write new songs are taking upon themselves the mantle of the Prophets. The authorized songs to sing in Scripture (which we would identify as the Psalms) were only written by inspired Prophets, and no one else. Why would we think we could write songs to God today when there is no office of songwriter in our age? Ours is an age when we recognize the completion and finality of God’s Word. This certainly implies that whatever inspired songs were written are no longer being written. Just as we accept God’s Word as being complete, so we accept God’s songbook as being complete. Anyone who writes a worship song in our day is doing so in direct opposition to the Bible itself.
Please post here defenses of the completion of the canon and questions regarding the authority of songwriters in our day.
Question #18: Is it a good idea for an EP church to be a part of a denomination that does not practice EP? If there is no EP denomination that meets our approval, is it ok to be an independent church?
I got the following message recently, anyone know of some recordings like this?
“I have been trying for some time now to obtain a copy of the Psalms from the 1650 Psalter sung by a all male voice choir. Or, alternatively, a mixed choir where the voices are much lower than on most CDs. Basically, the Psalm singing, especially of choirs, that I have heard in the past all seems to me to be extremely high pitched for my ears, so I have been looking for an alternative, but have not been able to find one yet.”
John states the following under Question #15:
“I could produce *many* examples of where “reformed churches” cleave to the traditions of men, so please do not take it that I am making a mountain out of a molehill over the issue of hands (that was only an *example*). Since the topic is the Psalms, let me provide just one more example; one that, if you are not *truly* committed to the regulative principle of worship, you will likely never have even thought of before:
Please tell me, where is singing out of the Bible in scripture? The truth is, nobody ever sung out of the Bible in Bible times! They didn’t have enough Bibles to go around! They sang the Psalms from *memory*. They didn’t have personal Psalm books or hymn books or anything of the kind. They leaned the Psalms from the communal Bible and taught and sang them from memory. They also taught the other songs of the Lord (such as the song of Moses), and were to know them off by heart. This was even a command of the Lord. The Lord never said, “Sing the song of Moses from a prompt”. Rather, the Law states that men must *teach* the song to all the people: “: “teach it the children of Israel: put it in their mouths”. As we all know, after Jesus and his disciples had broken bread, they sang a Psalm, but they did so *from memory*! No mention of a Psalm book is made *at all*! Psalm books and hymn books in comunal worship are the inventions of men. The Lord has given all men a truly remarkable ability to remember words when put to a tune. Unfortunately, very few people in the church seem to want to worship God with it.
I hope this post has been challenging, and I pray that we will all learn more of the Lord.
“Make a joyful noise unto Jehovah, all ye lands. Serve Jehovah with gladness: come before his presence with singing.” (Psalm 100:1-2)”
John, thank you for the question, we’ll get to it very soon.
Why do so few Baptists practice exclusive Psalmody?
I would be interested in getting some feedback from any Baptists regarding your convictions on exclusive Psalmody. What are some of the reasons (theological, historical, etc.) why we don’t see many Baptist EP churches?
Question #13: Do the same rules that apply to public worship (RPW, the regulative principle of worship) also apply to private and family worship? Are the songs we sing in private/family worship considered to be praise songs?
In an earlier post Raymond raised the following questions that can be addressed here, “the question to raise is whether meditations or devotions are a part of worship? If not, then the only problem is what to do when musical meditations or devotions take the form of praise? Can they or should they?”
The full post includes a number of related questions: “…the question to raise is whether meditations or devotions are a part of worship? If not, then the only problem is what to do when musical meditations or devotions take the form of praise? Can they or should they? Nextly, the question must be raised whether it is possible to sing a song which was meant (whether rightly or wrongly) to be used in worship without offering it up as worship? What if the portion of Scripture to be memorized happens to be one of the songs of the Bible outside the Psalter? Are there some songs which, in and of themselves, when sung or listened to are seen by God to be offered up in worship to Him? If so, then we need to look at it from another end also. How about musical meditations which people offer up in worship that were never meant to be offered up in worship? Does authorial intent matter? If so, how could we tell authorial intent in some cases? Are there some songs which, in and of themselves, when sung or listened to are seen by God to **not** be offered up in worship to Him because they were merely meditational or devotional in nature and were never intended to be offered up as worship?
So the major question then is: Is it lawful to sing or listen to something that takes the form of praise (even inspired praise in the case of the Psalms and the setting to music of Scripture in order to aid in the memory of Scripture when such music happens to fall into the songs outside the Psalter in Scripture) without offering it up as worship to God? If yes, then the implication seems to be that the Psalms themselves could be used outside of worship–unless of course I’ve messed up in my reasoning somewhere or am forgetting certain portions of Scripture.”
Question #12: If Biblical worship excludes uninspired songs and musical instruments, can this [exclusion] have a negative effect on its adherents at all? Can, say, the children of EP practicing churches, who are interested in music (instruments implied) be drawn towards secular instrumental music since they have no opportunity to use their talents unto God in worship?
Question #11: Is it a sin to sing uninspired hymns in worship?
Question #10: Why do you put so much emphasis on exclusive Psalmody and create such a storm over a small issue? What’s all the fuss about?