Tag Archives: Exclusive Psalmody

“A Most Important Text” by Rowan Murphy

IMG_3964A Most Important Text by Rowan Murphy is available here (for Europe here).

I received a copy this week for review. This work is a good reminder of the role of Scripture in worship. Murphy structures this pamphlet around his central text, 2 Timothy 3:16-17,

“All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

Murphy begins by discussing two reformations that are recorded in God’s Word, that of King Hezekiah (2 Chronicles 29:30) and King Josiah (2 Kings 22-23). These reformations are of worship and the things pertaining to worship, and so they are rightly compared to the presumptuous worship of Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-2). Murphy says, “this passage should cause us all to examine our doctrines and practices, and in particular, our offerings of worship. Is every single element of your offerings of worship definitively and specifically commanded in Scripture? Is it fire from heaven? Is it directly according to His commands, and of His wisdom, and so defined by Him as to contain only what He has specifically called for?” I appreciate this direct challenge to me and to all who worship God. May we issue this same challenge to our dear friends and loved ones who have been distracted by modern theories of worship. May we call them back to a worship that is regulated by God’s Word.

Amazingly, the modern church rarely even acknowledges this clear Biblical warning that reveals just how much God cares about the way we worship Him. But the problem extends beyond worship, as Murphy notes, because 2 Timothy 3:16-17 also applies to “every good work”. The Bible is then sufficient to direct our preaching, our marriages, our families, and to show us how to love our neighbor. Worship, though severely neglected, is but a part of the eternal wisdom that is given to us in the Word of God.

On a personal level, this particular line of reasoning, that the Scriptures are sufficient for worship, was the final convincing argument that won me over to Exclusive Psalmody. I am reminded here of the central place that this “most important text” should have, to show us in part that the Psalms are sufficient for our worship. This argument is presented as a pamphlet, so the only negative is that it’s very brief. Readers may be left with additional questions about the details of how to structure worship with only the Bible as a source or perhaps some counterarguments might be left unanswered. The particulars, of course, can be found in an abundance of resources that are available in defense of EP, but perhaps the author will expand in future editions.

Though short, this work provides us with a direct reminder that we need not look beyond the Word of God for direction in worship. Certainly the inspired Psalms are superior in every possible way to the uninspired poems of mere men, and of this wonderful truth we can’t be reminded often enough.

Enjoy!

Rowan Murphy is a member of Arann Reformed Baptist Church, which is an exclusive psalmody church in Dublin pastored by Mark Fitzpatrick. More information can be found on their Youtube page and on Sermonaudio

Do We Sing Jesus Christ’s Name in the Psalter?

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.

An impressive list of online Psalters…

Travis Fentiman of the Free Church of Scotland (Continuing) has compiled an impressive list of 56 [and growing] online Psalters at Reformed Books Online.

Is God jealous in the matters of his worship? Yes

From Matthew Henry’s A Scripture Catechism in the Method of the Assembly’s 

Matthew henryQ. 52. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment?
A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, are God’s sovereignty over us, his property in us, and the zeal he has to his own worship.

1. Is there good reason why we should take heed of idolatry? Yes: Turn ye not to idols, neither make to yourselves molten gods, I am the Lord your God, Lev. 19:4. Has God a sovereignty over us? Yes: for he is a great God, and a great King above all gods, Ps. 95:3. Ought we therefore to worship him, as he has appointed us? Yes: O come let us worship, and bow down, and kneel before the Lord our Maker, Ps. 95:6. And not to worship idols? Yes: for they can do neither good nor evil, Isa. 41:23.

2. Has God a property in us? Yes: for we are the people of his pasture, Ps. 95:7. Ought we therefore to worship him? Yes: He is thy Lord, and worship thou him, Ps. 45:11. And not to worship other gods? Yes: for hath a nation changed their gods? Jer. 2:11.

3. Is God jealous in the matters of his worship? Yes: The Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God, Exod. 34:14. Is he much displeased with those who corrupt it? Yes: They provoked the Lord God of Israel to anger with their vanities, 1 Kings 16:13. Do those who do so hate him? Yes: Idolaters are haters of God, Rom. 1:25, 30. Will he visit their iniquity? Yes: In the day m when I visit, I will visit their sin upon them, Exod. 32:34. Will he visit it upon the children? Yes: Our fathers sinned, and are not, and we have borne their iniquities, Lam. 5:7. And is it just with him to do so? Yes: for they are the children of whoredoms, Hos. 2:4. But will he visit it for ever? No: but to the third and fourth generation, Exod. 34:7.

4. Will those who love God keep his commandments? Yes: If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love, John 15:10. Will he show mercy to such? Yes: for he hath said, I love them that love me, Prov. 8:17. Will he show mercy to thousands of such ? Yes: for the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting, Ps. 103:17.

For thou shalt worship no other god; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God. Exodus 34:14

From John Flavel’s An Exposition of the Assembly’s Shorter Catechism:

John_flavelQ. 6. What is the first reason annexed to the second commandment?
A. The first reason annexed is God’s sovereignty, I the Lord; which shews that it belongs to God only to institute his own worship, and make it effectual; and therefore to do that in his worship which he never commanded, is sinful and dangerous; Jeremiah 7:31. And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire, which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart.

Q. 7. What is the second reason annexed to the second commandment?
A. The second reason is God’s propriety in us: He is our God, and we belong to him; and therefore to corrupt his worship, greatly aggravates our sins; Hosea 9:1. Rejoice not, O Israel, for joy, as other people; for thou hast gone a whoring from thy God, &c.

Q. 8. What is the third reason annexed to the second commandment?
A. The jealousy of God over his worship and worshippers; so that this sin of corrupting his worship will dreadfully incense his wrath, as it did, Leviticus 10:1-2. And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire thereon, and offered strange fire, before the Lord, which he commanded them not. And there went out fire from the Lord, and devoured them, and they died before the Lord.

Q. 9. What is the first instruction from the second commandment?
A. That it is an heinous sin to neglect the worship of God in that manner he hath appointed us to worship him, as in prayer; Jeremiah 10:25. Pour out thy fury upon the heathen that know thee not, and upon the families that call not on thy name. Hearing the word; Proverbs 28:9. He that turneth away his ear from hearing the law, even his prayer shall be abomination.

Q. 10. What is the second instruction from the second commandment?
A. That those who suffer for endeavouring to preserve the purity of God’s ordinances, and nonconformity to the contrary injunctions of men, have a good warrant to bear them out in all such sufferings; Deuteronomy 4:2. Ye shall not add unto the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish ought from it, that ye may keep the commandments of the Lord your God, which I command you.

Q. 11. What is the third instruction from the second commandment?
A. That it is highly sinful and dangerous to innovate and prescribe by human authority such symbolical rites in the worship of God, as he never appointed or allowed in his word; Matthew 15:9. But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.

Q. 12. What is the fourth instruction hence?
A. Hence we learn how much parents and children are obliged to worship God constantly, spiritually, and agreeably to his will revealed in his word; otherwise the jealousy of God will visit them both in the way of judgment: For as obedience entails a blessing, so disobedience entails a curse on posterity; Exodus 34:14. For thou shalt worship no other god; for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.

God’s Songs, and the Singer. Four Sermons. by John M. Bain

A Book Review from The Reformed Presbyterian and Covenanter, 1870, Volume 8 Edited by John W. Sproull and Thomas Sproull, p 319

Prom the United Presbyterian Board of Publication, 93 Third avenue, Pittsburgh:

God’s Songs, And The Singer. Four Sermons. By Rev. John M. Bain, Pastor of the U. P. Church of New Castle, Pa. 40 cts.

In the first discourse, the author, after a few introductory remarks, states the question, Should we use the Scripture Psalms exclusively in the worship of God, and proceeds to give his reasons for taking the affirmative. The sum of the argument is—God has prepared these songs for use in his worship. This is equivalent to a command. “They have never,” either by an express repeal, by limitation in their appointment, or by a substitute “been abrogated, but are continued with authority, in the church.” In our using them, we but do as did Christ and the Apostles.

In the second discourse, he shows that the Psalms have been in uninterrupted use in the church for 2,800 years, and are most admirably adapted for matter of praise. Examples are adduced to show that in heavenly language are praised the divine attributes—majesty, sovereignty, wisdom, justice, holiness, mercy, grace—that the living God, subsisting in three persons, is worshipped—that fallen man’s natural state and character are exhibited in a manner fitted to awaken deep conviction of sin and deep humility—and that Christ is everywhere to be found—Christ as Prophet, Priest and King—’ Christ the ” man of sorrows,” the Saviour of his people, the enthroned Medi-, ator. The testimony of some of the most eminent Christians and Christian teachers, ancient and modern, is produced to show that in their opinion the Psalms contain the richest treasures of Christian experience ever given to the world.

In the third discourse, objections to the Psalms are answered—” they contain malevolent and vengeful imprecations,” “speak of a Saviour to come,” are “encumbered with Jewish images,” “not suited to days of revivals,” “hard to be understood,” and ” unsuitable for children.” The arguments offered for the use of hymns are next examined, and then are presented objections to the use of uninspired songs in divine worship.
The fourth discourse is founded on 1 Kings 15: 5, and is entitled “The Shame and Glory of David.”

From the above synopsis may be seen the course mapped out by the author. We most cheerfully recommend his work to our readers, as well calculated to increase their love and admiration for the “book of Psalms,” and to strengthen their resolution to use it, and it alone, in the worship of God.

Songs of the Spirit, The Place of the Psalms in the Worship of God, edited by Kenneth Stewart

Songs of the Spirit coverSongs of the Spirit can be purchased from Peter and Rachel Reynolds Books. It is £5 and the proceeds go to hospices in Scotland. Estimated postage costs are: USA (0-7): £1.80; USA (8-9) & Rest of World including EU: £3.30

A sample chapter is here. View Sample

Songs of the Spirit is an important study on the subject of praise. We need sound teaching on biblical worship. The worship that God commands from us, rather than that which we choose to give to Him. A variety of authors from various Churches have contributed to this volume. They share a common conviction that we must worship God in the songs that He Himself has inspired. “It is the conviction of all who contribute to this book that the recovery of earnest, intelligent and spiritual unaccompanied singing of Psalms in the praise of the church is a major part of the repentance and renewal so badly needed in the church today.”

Another publication called Reformed Worship may also be of interest. It is £1. View Sample

Reformed Worship is a vital guide to Reformed Worship Coverworship. Nothing is more sacred and more important than the worship of God. The Bible must have the pre-eminent place in our worship services. But how should a service of public worship feel and sound when the Word of God has central place and reverence for God governs everything? This booklet describes a service of reverent worship grounded upon Scripture principles. It will be helpful for those who conduct public worship as well as those seeking for worship that truly honours God. It will have a hearty reception where there is a sincere desire to know how to worship God in spirit and in truth. It is extracted and updated from an older publication called The Directory of Public Worship. This updated extract is in no way meant to replace the original authoritative document. Instead, it shows its abiding relevance and may encourage many to read the original for themselves.

Thanks to Matthew Vogan for sending this information along!