Enjoyed this post about Psalters from the Heidelblog


The Book of Psalms for Worship
The Book of Psalms for Worship

Psalters! from the Heidelblog.

Here are some selections:

“The Reformed and Presbyterian churches were Psalm singing churches from the beginning. We translated the Psalms into the language of the people and set them to tunes for use in public worship. For at least 150 years Psalms were virtually the only thing sung in public worship by the Reformed and Presbyterian churches.” here

“The bottom two Psalters are two of my favorites. Both are published by the RPCNA (Crown and Covenant). The red Psalter (The Book of Psalms for Singing) is the older and the blue (The Book of Psalms for Worship) is newer. We have the red Psalter in the chapel at WSC and I’ve used the blue Psalter worshipping with my RPCNA brothers and sisters with much joy and profit. Both are skillfully and carefully done. I commend them for your use.” here

“That we have this abundance of Psalters is a wonderful thing. My students were thrilled to see that they exist—that they aren’t just history or theory—and that they can be put to use in the corporate worship of God. I am encouraged and I hope you are also.” here


An interesting article on contemporary worship in Reformed churches…

From the Heidelblog: You Mean That There’s More Than “Shine, Jesus Shine”?

This selection from R. Scott Clark points us to the Psalms of David: “Dear Reformed friends, we’re not revivalists and we’re not Anglican and we’re not Pentecostal or Charismatic and we shouldn’t try to be. We have resources from which to draw. Yes, Virginia, there is more to worship than “Shine, Jesus Shine.” I suggest that we start with Ps 23 and Ps 100.” “

UPDATED: A good discussion between Dr. R. Scott Clark and Lane Keister

[The Heidelblog has recently closed so the links below are dead. I am working on securing permission to put the Heidelblog quotes here for future reference.]

[Permission denied! Oh well, there are some good comments worth reading at the Greenbaggins website. Rev. Keister, thank you for bringing this issue up for discussion.]

I am enjoying a good discussion on the use of the Psalms and the Psalter between Dr. R. Scott Clark and Lane Keister on the Heidelblog and Greenbaggins websites. Lots of good conversation.

Here are Greenbaggins Part 1 and Heidelblog Part 1  comments

Heidelblog Part 2 More Dialogue on Worship and the RPW
Greenbaggins Part 2 Response to Dr. Clark

Heidelblog Part 3 More Dialogue on Worship and the RPW part 2

Greenbaggins Part 3 Response to Dr. Clark Part 2
Greenbaggins Part 4 Response Roundup

If you join in the discussion, let us know your thoughts…

I must comment that the articles by Dr. Clark are excellent. He responds to some common misconceptions regarding the Psalter and encourages us to be both biblical and confessional in our worship. A few selections from Dr. Clark’s first post:

“I don’t accept the premise that, for the purposes of called, stated, public worship services to which God’s people are required to attend under pain of church discipline, there are such things as “good” non-canonical songs that might be imposed by a consistory or a session upon a congregation. Here’s an analogy. We would all admit that there are skilled artistic renderings that purport to represent God the Son incarnate, our Lord Jesus. Now, we know that no such representation is possible because such representations are necessarily a figment of the artist’s imagination. Confessional Reformed folk cannot tolerate even a “good” painting, i.e., an artistically skilled attempt to represent a first century Jewish male, because it violates the law of God. The same is true for ostensibly good hymns. However permissible it may be to sing well-written hymns with solid biblical content or even paraphrases (e.g., Luther’s paraphrase of Ps 46 is a personal favorite) in a private context their use in the context of public worship is something else altogether.”

“As I argued in RRC, the URCNA synod erred when it essentially codified the mistakes of the CRC from the 1930s. That’s why I distinguish between “conservatives” (e.g., the URCs on worship) and “confessionalists.” I’m not satisfied with mere conservatism especially since we’re conserving a mistake.”

“I have yet to see a single instance in which any of the paraphrases improves upon God’s Word. In services where the order of worship calls for hymn I am sometimes forced to find a psalm to sing or read quietly during the service (there should be no disruption of public worship). Almost without fail the psalm I’m reading/singing is more appropriate to the service than the hymn (or paraphrase) the congregation is singing. I’ve been in many services where it is evident the minister did not even consider a psalm. There are practical reasons for this. 1) Those ministers who, like me, come from non-Christian backgrounds are typically ignorant of the psalms. 2) Those ministers who, like me, come from broad evangelicalism are ignorant of the psalms. 3) Those ministers who were raised in most NAPARC churches are ignorant of the psalms. Our first instinct is to pick a hymn. If it’s a progressive setting it will be a favorite chorus. If it’s a “traditional” setting then it will be “The Church’s One Foundation. To the degree this is true it says more about the inadequacy of those planning the service than it does about the insufficiency of God’s Word.”

“…There is at least a difference of degrees and arguably a a difference in kind between paraphrases and translations. One is not the other. Historically, confessional Reformed churches have sought to make the most accurate translations possible. We produced the Geneva Bible not a paraphrase. Our solution to difficult passages was to teach via marginal notes not to make the problems go away via paraphrases.”

Again, the brief article by Dr. Clark is an excellent summary our our confessional beliefs regarding song in worship. Please give it a read.