Tag Archives: worship

Exploring Psalms by Tom Mann

Tom Mann Exploring PsalmsI received a copy of Exploring Psalms a few months ago by Tom Mann available here. I had intended to get it read before now, but it has been a busy summer this year! Here is a review by Amazon and some brief comments from me. Sorry for the long delay Tom!

From the Amazon site: “Exploring Psalms attempts to encourage an appreciation of the Book of Psalms in everyday Christians. The book covers the history of the writing of the Psalms, their usage through the times of the early church. Different genres of the psalms are discussed, including the imprecatory psalms. An emphasis is placed on the usage of the Psalms by Jesus, the Apostles and the early church. The book is suitable for both individual and group studies.” Amazon

This little book is a very helpful introduction to the Psalms. It has many facts and interesting observations along the way, including some useful charts that show the use of the Psalms in the New Testament. The book is divided into short lessons with discussion questions that would be well suited for a Sabbath School class or a small group of Christians who are becoming more familiar with the Psalms. Every chapter begins with an illustration that is always thought provoking, contemporary and applicable to the chapter at hand. Several of these illustrations are very powerful and stick with you! One in particular involved a very expensive painting that was hung in a prison and lost, always visible but rarely noticed. In addition to groups who want to learn more about the Psalms in general, I think this would be a good introduction for a group preparing to study the subject of exclusive Psalmody. It lays some of the foundation for the more difficult work of proving not only that we should sing the Psalms in worship, but that we should only sing the Psalms in worship.

Tom Mann

Tom Mann

“Tom Mann is a teacher, lawyer and mediator who has a love for the Book of Psalms. As a former English teacher who instilled an appreciation in literature to hundreds of students, he wants to share his passion for the jewel of the Scriptures, Yahweh’s songbook, in this little book. As a lawyer and mediator, he wants others to see how God’s law, love, mercy and grace are so beautifully unfolded in the Psalms as nowhere else in the Scriptures.”

Buy a copy! Lets support publications that promote the singing of Psalms. If you get a chance to read it, please post your thoughts below.

“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.”

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.

“It is, by being instrumental in the salvation of souls, that the church promotes the glory, and secures the worship, of Jehovah.”

William Symington 1795-1862

William Symington 1795-1862

“It is, by being instrumental in the salvation of souls, that the church promotes the glory, and secures the worship, of Jehovah. Divine worship can be celebrated, and the praise of the glory of divine grace can be shewn forth, only by those who are ‘saved and called with an holy calling, not according to their works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus, before the world began:’ and this work of salvation is carried on in and by the church. The church, by subjecting the conscience to the authority of Christ, by maintaining wholesome discipline, and by affording opportunity of communion with God and with his saints, tends powerfully to enlighten the understanding, to enliven the affections, to restrain the passions, to promote Gospel morality, and to advance the divine life in the soul. ‘The Lord added to the church such as should be saved.’ ‘He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.’

Such are the ends subserved by the existence of a church in the world. And it is carefully to be observed, that all these ends are brought about by the mediatorial administration of the Saviour. He it is who sends forth his light and his truth to gladden and direct an ignorant and benighted world; who prompts and enables men to celebrate the ordinances of God’s worship; and who carries forward the work of salvation in the souls of believers.”

William Symington, Messiah the Prince, p145-146

“If we would rise to true elevation of heart in the closet, we must ‘lift up our hands in the sanctuary.’ So necessary is the church to the proper worship of God.”

William SymingtonThis picture is listed on a few websites for Symington, can anyone confirm?

William Symington 1795-1862
This picture is listed on a few websites for Symington, can anyone confirm?

“By setting up a church in the world the Mediator has provided for the public celebration of Divine worship. It is every way proper that some acts of public homage should be paid to the God of the whole earth. The private adoration of individuals would seem not to be all the honour that is due to Him whose claims are so universal and transcendent. He is certainly entitled to acknowledgment in the most public and open manner possible. This is secured by the existence of a visible church, in which his being, perfections, purposes, and works, are publicly discussed; in which his praises are publicly sung, and in which united and public supplications are offered at his throne of grace. Even supposing that, for this end, secret acts of worship might suffice, it may fairly be questioned whether the spirit of such could be kept up, without the influence arising from public institutions. The devotions of the sanctuary, doubtless, exert, and are designed to exert, no small influence on those of the closet and the family. The lamp of personal or domestic piety will send forth but a dim and sickly ray, unless trimmed and replenished by frequent visits to the house of the Lord. When the believer feels those fervent emotions that are represented by his soul thirsting for God, and under the impulse of which he is stirred up to seek the Lord with great earnestness, it is that he may ‘see the power and glory of the Lord as he had seen them before in the sanctuary.’ If the psalmist David poured forth the sweetest and warmest strains of devotion in the wilderness of Judea and in the forest of Hareth, we must go back, for the secret of his high and holy inspiration, to the days when he trod the courts of the temple,—days which not merely exerted a reflex influence on his solitary exercises, but which, so far from making him contented with these, caused his soul still to long, yea even faint, for the courts of the Lord, and to count a day in God’s house better than a thousand. If we would rise to true elevation of heart in the closet, we must ‘lift up our hands in the sanctuary.’ So necessary is the church to the proper worship of God.”

William Symington, Messiah the Prince, p142-144

“For avoiding of idolatry you may fall in the hands of earthly tyrants; but obeyers, maintainers, and consenters to idolatry shall not escape the hands of the living God.”

John Knox

John Knox

“The only way to leave our children blessed and happy is to leave them rightly instructed in God’s true religion. For what avails all that is in the earth, if perpetual condemnation follows death – yea, and God’s vengeance also goes before the same? as of necessity they must where true knowledge of God is absent. And therefore God straitly commands the fathers to teach their sons the laws, ceremonies, and rites. And unto Abraham he opened the secret of his counsel touching the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah: “Because,” says the  Lord,“I know that Abraham will teach his children, that they fear my name.” [Gen. 18:19] Then God would that the life and conversation of the fathers should be a schoolmaster to the children. Plain it is, that the true knowledge of God is not born with man, neither yet comes it unto him by natural power, but he must have schoolmasters to train him up in that which he lacks. The chief schoolmasters (the Holy Ghost excepted) of the age following, are the works,  practices, and life of the forefathers. And experience does so teach us, that the  children are so bound and addicted to the works and practices of their fathers (and especially if it is in idolatry), that scarcely can the power of God, speaking by his own word (as the prophets oft complain), reave or pluck any back from their fathers’ footsteps.

Now, if you, altogether refusing God, stoop under idolatry, what schoolmasters are you to your posterity? Assuredly even such as the cruel and foolish fathers
that, consenting to Jeroboam and to his idolatry, left to their children a pattern of perdition. What image [do] you show to your children; yea, in what estate [do] you leave them, both touching body and soul? Blinded in idolatry (alas, I fear and tremble to pronounce it), and bound slaves to the devil, without hope of redemption, or light to be received, before God takes vengeance upon their disobedience!

I speak to you, O natural fathers: Behold your children with the eye of mercy, and consider the end of their creation. Cruelty it were to save yourselves, and damn them! But O, more than cruelty and madness that cannot be expressed, if,  for the pleasure of a moment, you deprive yourselves and your posterity of that eternal joy that is ordained for them that continue in confession of Christ’s name to the end, which assuredly you do if, without resistance altogether, you return to idolatry again. If natural love, fatherly affection, reverence of God, fear of torment, or yet hope of life move you, then will you gainstand that abominable idol; which if you do not, then, alas! the sun is gone down and the light is quite lost, the trumpet is ceased, and idolatry is placed in quietness and rest. But if God shall strengthen you (as unfeignedly I pray his Majesty may), then there is but a dark misty cloud overspread the sun for a moment, which shortly shall  vanish, so that the beams afterwards shall be sevenfold more bright and amiable nor [than] they were before. Your patience and constancy shall be a louder trumpet to your posterity, than were all the voices of the prophets that instructed you; and so is not the trumpet ceased so long as any boldly resist idolatry.

And, therefore, for the tender mercies of God, arm yourselves to stand with Christ in this his short battle. Flee from that abominable idol, the maintainers whereof shall not escape the vengeance of God. Let it be known to your posterity that you were Christians and not idolaters; that you learned Christ in time of rest, and boldly professed him in time of trouble. Think you these precepts are sharp and hard to be observed? And yet again, I affirm, that compared with the plagues that assuredly shall fall upon obstinate idolaters, they shall be found easy and light. For avoiding of idolatry you may perchance be compelled to leave your native country and realm; but obeyers of idolatry, without end, shall be compelled, body and soul, to burn in hell. For avoiding idolatry, your substance shall be spoiled; but for obeying idolatry, heavenly riches shall be lost. For avoiding of idolatry you may fall in the hands of earthly tyrants; but obeyers, maintainers, and consenters to idolatry shall not escape the hands of the living God. For avoiding idolatry, your children shall be deprived of father, of friends, riches, and of earthly rest; but by obeying of idolatry they shall be left without the knowledge of his word, and without hope of his kingdom.

Consider, dear brethren, how much more dolorous and fearful it is to be tormented in hell, than to suffer  trouble in earth; to be deprived of heavenly joy, than to be robbed of transitory riches; to fall into the hands of the living God, than to obey man’s vain and uncertain displeasure; to leave our children destitute of God, than to leave them unprovided before the world. So much more fearful is it to obey idolatry, or by dissembling to consent to the same, than by avoiding and fleeing from the abomination, to suffer what inconvenience may follow thereupon by man’s tyranny. For the extremity of the one is but transitory pain, and the most easy of the other is to suffer in the fire that never shall have end.” John Knox

Selected Writings, 1:185-86, 189-91

“…the Holy Ghost pronounces and gives warning unto us, that maintainers of idolatry, and provokers to the same, intend to draw us from God; and therefore he wills that we neither obey them, neither yet that we conceal their impiety…”

Knox,_John

John Knox

“In these words most evidently is expressed unto us, why God wills that we avoid all fellowship with idolatry, and with the maintainers of the same; in which are three things appertaining to our purpose chiefly to be noted. First, that the Holy Ghost pronounces and gives warning unto us, that maintainers of idolatry, and provokers to the same, intend to draw us from God; and therefore he wills that we neither obey them (be they kings or be they queens), neither yet that we conceal their impiety (were they son, daughter, or wife), if we will have the league to stand betwixt God and us [Deut. 13:6-18]. And here is the confirming of my first cause, why it is necessary that we avoid idolatry, because that otherwise we declare ourselves little to regard the league and covenant of God; for that  league requires that we declare ourselves enemies to all sorts of idolatry. Secondly, it is to be noted, that idolatry so incenses and kindles the wrath of God, that it is never quenched till the offenders, and all that they possess, are  destroyed from the earth; for he commanded them to be stoned to death, and their substance to be burnt; and if a city offended, that it shall be altogether destroyed without mercy. This may appear a severe and rigorous judgment. But if you shall consider the cause, God’s great mercy towards us shall be espied; for thereunto he declares himself [an] enemy unto our enemies. For all those that would draw us from God ( be they kings or queens), being of the devil’s nature, are enemies unto God, and therefore God wills that in such cases we declare ourselves enemies unto them; because he would that we should understand how odious is idolatry in his presence, and how that we cannot keep the league betwixt him and us inviolate if we favour, follow, or spare idolaters. ‘Lord, open our eyes that we may understand the great necessity of this thy precept. Amen.'”

Selected Writings, 1:172