Response to Dr. Clark

I am so excited about an EP debate that doesn’t have advocates of each position at each other’s throats (see the many excellent comments on the previous post), that I want to continue this discussion. Dr. Clark has favored me with an excellent response on his blog, with many weighty arguments that will require careful consideration. And, if he wishes to leave me with that word as a sufficient reply, I will not complain.

Dr. Clark’s first argument is to this effect: there is no such thing as a “good hymn” (contrary to my assertion otherwise) for worship, any more than there is a “good” rendition of Jesus Christ in art. Dr. Clark doesn’t say this, but I presume that it is implied that he regards both as equal violations of the second commandment. Furthermore, he argues that public worship and private worship are different things. He would agree with the use of “A Mighty Fortress,” for instance, in the context of private worship, but not in public worship. These are, of course, two distinct parts of his response. We can boil it down to these two assertions: 1. There is no such thing as a good hymn for public worship, and 2. Public worship and private worship are distinct categories. Now, I agree with Dr. Clark’s position on pictures of Jesus. Why is it, then, that I would not agree with his position on hymns? Does his analogy hold? I would argue that it does not hold, for the following reasons. The debate is not about the difference between modes of portrayal of Jesus (we follow the Word’s portrayal of Jesus, not a pictorial portrayal), but rather about the content of the one element of worship, namely, singing. So the question could be framed in this way: if a hymn’s content is a summary of some aspect of the Bible’s teaching, or of some particular Scripture passage, why would that be in a different category from a verbatim singing of that same Scripture? Although Dr. Clark could never be accused of being biblicistic, does his approach come close to what we might call “singing biblicism?”

Secondly, in answer to my question of whether singing hymns is a mark of liberalism, he responds by saying that singing hymns is a mark of indifference to God’s law, and is oppressive to the consciences of those who do not wish to be bound by the consistory/session to sing anything other than the ipsissima verba of Scripture. So my response would be this: if someone, in their conscience, believed that singing hymns was not only biblical but mandated by Scripture, would the consistory/session be binding their conscience by forbidding the singing of hymns in worship? Could this binding thing, in other words, go in reverse? My congregations, for instance, love hymns. We sing Psalms, too, but they can’t get enough of hymns. If I ever tried to restrict the singing to Scripture-only, there would be quite the resistance. They would claim that their consciences were being bound. In RRC, Dr. Clark claims that “Where those who would ask worshipers to sing uninspired songs might think that they are exercising Christian liberty, in fact, they are impinging on the liberty of Christians” (p. 243). Now, this would be true of people who believe in Scripture-only songs in public worship. But how exactly is that true if the whole congregation believes that singing hymns is biblical? He would probably answer that it is a question of “time, pastoral care, and patient instruction to help elders and laity to understand the RPW once again” (p. 265). Perhaps. I’m not sure that’s very workable in most cases. I have not yet seen why it is that the ipsissima verba is required in all circumstances for the congregation as their dialogical response to God speaking to them. A hymn that summarizes what the Bible says is, it seems to me, in the same category as the ipsissima verba. I will address the rest of his post tomorrow, Lord-willing.

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35 Comments

  1. Martin said,

    April 8, 2011 at 7:35 pm

    I would rarely have the temerity to disagree with Dr. Clark, from whom I learned and still learn a ton, and for whom I have immense respect.

    Here, though, I also think his analogy doesn’t work. What struck me about it is he compares making pictures of Jesus from pure imagination to writing hymns. The comparison doesn’t work. He is right that no one knows what Jesus looked like. Scripture doesn’t tell us. And so any picture is wrong from the get go, besides being a violation of the 2nd Commandment. But hymns are not made up purely from the imagination. Or at least not all of them. There are hymns, I believe, that are accurate reflections of biblical truth, of the Word of God, even if they are not verbatim from Scripture. These, I believe, are allowable – if not mandated. Finding hymns that fit that criterion of being accurate reflections of God’s Word is vitally important and best left to the session/consistory or the pastor himself, along with plenty of Psalms and Scripture songs.

    What makes me posit that hymns may be mandatory is Deut. 12:32. This verse is used, quite rightly, by proponents of the RPW to remind us that we should not add to what God has commanded. But when I did a semester long study of the RPW in seminary, including reading just about everything I could get my hands on by authors on all sides, one of the things that struck me was how the other part of that verse seems to be ignored: do not take away either. If it is a sin to add to God’s commandments, so also it is sin to take away from God’s commandments. So I guess this is meant to add to your thought about conscience: if I as a believer am convinced by God’s Word that singing hymns is not just OK but required (Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16) then is my conscience not violated by the EP or Scripture only mandate?

  2. Mark B said,

    April 8, 2011 at 8:46 pm

    I’m curious if anyone has some thoughts on if there were historical reasons for the psalm only view. For example, I’ve thought the king mandating sports on Sunday in England may have influenced the statement in the WCF on Sunday recreation. Were there any historical “goads” that may have stimulated the development of reformed thought on EP?

  3. mary kathryn said,

    April 8, 2011 at 9:02 pm

    Lane, this is an interesting and helpful discussion. I can say that from the EPers that I know, they do use hymnals in their worship at home. I stayed with an elder and his family, and was rather surprised to see a Trinity hymnal, on his piano. Clearly, at home he uses hymns and instruments. I don’t pretend to understand why there are such differences, but I imagine they have reasons why these things are desirable and helpful at home, while they are offensive and prohibited in public worship.

    (And if anyone can explain this apparent inconsistency to me, it would be helpful. B/c, although I’d never want to hurt or criticize my EP friends, I don’t understand their use of psalms and instruments at home. It makes it seem that they only use a cappella psalmody at church b/c they have to, not b/c they want to. Their practice at home seems to indicate their personal preference, and that’s why is really surprised me. Help on this one? And truly, no offense to my EP friends. I really just don’t understand.)

    Shouldn’t it be required, because it’s preferable? I.e., doesn’t God require it of us b/c it’s the very best?

    I also don’t see Dr. Clark’s parallel in his first response. Images of Christ are wrong, not just in public worship, but in all places (in my opinion). I wouldn’t want them in my classroom, or in my home. If his parallel remained consistent, we would also not be allowed to “paraphrase” Scripture in conversation, at any time whatsoever.

    On another avenue, I’ll add that if God does require us to use Scripture everytime we do music in worship, there’s one very good and practical reason for it — music helps us memorize. Thus, if we sing only Scripture, then we will be memorizing his word, and nothing else. It would not be an arbitrary requirement, but one for our own edification.

    Regarding Clark’s 2nd point, I’ll add that it may be a stretch to say that most hymn-singers feel that they sing hymns b/c Scripture specifically requires them to do so. Most folks I know believe that God has commanded them to SING, and sing praises, and sing joyfully — if they’ve thought about it at all. If you pressed them about what exactly they should sing, they would be stumped. They sing hymns b/c the hymnal is there, and they assume someone higher up than they, has determined it acceptable. The weight here falls on sessions and presbyteries, etc., to give the sheep what they need. If the sheep are eating bad food (i.e., hymnody instead of Scripture), it’s hardly fair to say, as a pastor, “It’s not my fault! It’s the junk food they want!” No, their leaders are responsible for what’s fed, in my opinion. I’d say that, if one type of singing is preferable, is spiritually superior, to the other, then shouldn’t the sheep have the better food? It does little good to bash them over the head with regulation, while they miss their Fanny Crosby or Winkworth. It is better to teach them lovingly that there is better fare.

    I hope you can tell that I’m not really fully on one side or the other, which is why this dialogue is nice to hear.

  4. April 8, 2011 at 10:57 pm

    [...] I’ve received a fair bit of response to the first two posts on the URCNA Psalter-Hymnal project and on the question of how Reformed worship should be conducted. Lane Keister has been interacting with these posts and he asks more interesting questions. [...]

  5. Nels Nelson said,

    April 8, 2011 at 11:07 pm

    I wonder if Dr. Clark proposes that we only pray ipsissima verba? If one examines the hymns that are sung in reformed churches, many if not most of them are prayers put to music. If one is going to be consistent in public worship, then the pastoral prayers would likewise have to be ipsissima verba for surely one wants to be consistent.

    Then there is the issue of what version of the Psalm should be used. Are Isaac Watt’s renderings ok because they are more metrical? From the post it appears that A Mighty Fortress is not ok, is that because it is a Lutheran version of Psalm 46? Is the OPC’s new work on the Psalter ok?

    It appears to me that the defining issue ultimately becomes the minister’s preference and in many cases it is because that it is they way it has always been done before.

    Now, the Westminster Confession says that “prayer, with thanksgiving, being one special part of religious worship, is by God required of all men: and, that it may be accepted, it is to be made in the name of the Son, by the help of his Spirit, according to his will, with understanding, reverence, humility, fervency, faith, love, and perseverance; and if vocal, in a known tongue.” Of course, these are the same marks of a good hymn that should be song in public worship. These hymns/prayers can be made for all things lawful and they should be solemn for the worship of God in public

  6. Zac Wyse said,

    April 8, 2011 at 11:54 pm

    Lane,

    In regard to your second point:
    Is there a lineage of Reformed theologians that you are aware of, who argue that the Bible positively commands (explicitly or implicitly) the composition and utilization of uninspired songs in public worship?

    The reason I ask is that one of my P.T. professors at seminary was unaware of a single scholar (Reformed or otherwise) that has done so. Therefore, it doesn’t seem that such a perspective is common in the Reformed tradition. Your hypothetical scenario, therefore, would not be in the same category as Dr. Clark’s. Obviously, he is not arguing that all convictions of conscience are on equal footing, e.g., no Reformed consistory would allow a man to dance around the pulpit during public worship simply because he was convicted that he must do so. Dr. Clark’s conviction is based upon the historic reflection upon Scripture by the Reformed tradition. I think you would need to demonstrate that there is a similar strain within the Reformed tradition, wherein Reformed theologians have argued that the Scripture commands the composition and singing of uninspired songs, for your second point to stand.

  7. April 9, 2011 at 5:49 am

    I just bogged a short review of Dr. Kenneth Gentry’s audio series on Exclusive Psalmody. He is very respectful of those who advocate EP, but does not advocate it for Scriptural reasons. Click on my name above to get to it.

    Carol

  8. Stuart said,

    April 9, 2011 at 8:02 am

    One of the problems I have had in discussing these issues is how the advocates of EP/ES seem to switch back and forth between the RPW as what God commands us to do as we worship him and the RPW as what we should do in order not to bind the consciences of God’s people in the worship service. I realize the RPW has both aspects, but it seems that if the principle is primarily concerned with offering only the worship which God has prescribed, the issue of what God desires/commands or forbids in worship is of the utmost importance. The binding of our consciences is an important issue, but not as important as understanding what God has prescribed as the correct way to worship him.

    With that in mind, (and with all due respect to Dr. Clark and others who hold the view he does) it seems to me the argument that “we can sing hymns in private worship but not public worship” fails. Either God has clearly commanded us to sing only Scripture or he hasn’t. If he has given such a command, it doesn’t matter if I am singing in a public worship service, a family gathering, or in my own private “devotional” time. I shouldn’t sing anything but Scripture. Period. If God’s commands to sing includes something other than only Scripture, then we would be wrong to forbid singing such songs in private or public. In either case, the binding of the conscience would be a secondary issue. What is primary is what God has commanded.

    Thus if the RPW rests too much on the binding of the conscience aspect, then we will have trouble applying it. What one believes he is free to do as an act of worship is different from others in the church. So we will have the binding of the conscience on singing hymns, reciting creeds and confessions, giving a tithe, use of musical instruments, etc., etc. Where would it end? The principle framed in such a way will either drive us to exclude too much from our worship (we can’t bind anyone’s conscience, so we can’t do x, y, or z), or it will drive people to despair of actually applying it correctly and thus become basically meaningless in our application.

  9. April 9, 2011 at 8:12 am

    I believe that the fact that the debate is taking place reflects a wrong understanding of why we gather in the name of Christ. God does not need our worthship. We gather to receive God’s good gifts. The Son of man did not come to be served but to serve. We gather to receive forgiveness of sins. We have nothing to give to God. We naturally respond to God in thanksgiving after receiving His good gifts but that is not why we gather. There is no New Testament Biblical Law of worship and historically speaking since the time of the Apostles some form of the historic liturgy has always been in use and I believe it is good to retain it since it does the best job of showing that we gather to receive and not to give God something or make God better. It is filled with sections from the Psalms and we chant an entire Psalm during the introit (which aids memorization and allows us to retain the original structure of the Psalms unlike many of the paraphrased metrical versions out there some of which don’t look anything like the Psalms). In the debate over exclusive psalmody both parties assume that the early Christians worshipped in pretty much the same way that they worship today with a sharp distinction between prayer and hymn and the liturgical service where only the hymn/psalm is sung. In reality, with the exception of the sermon almost everything was chanted because it helped aid memorization and it kept the reader from imposing an interpretation on the text.

    If we gather to give worship to God then the modern praise choruses would be the best way to go. We can all sing about how “We Bring the Sacrifice of Praise.” As for Biblical Laws of New Testament worship, they simply are not there. The person who says they are is trying to find something that is not there and creating laws where there are none much like the Pharisees or the papists. What Luther recognized is the great value in the historic liturgy in pointing us to Christ and showing us that it is all about Christ giving Himself for us. He removed those elements that crept into the liturgy over the years that distracted from Christ or made it seem like we were doing something for God. The Calvinists (not necessarily Calvin who retained many of the elements of the historic liturgy in Strassburg) ended up doing the exact opposite by tossing the liturgy and focusing on how to give glory to God. They may have thought in a superficial way that Luther did not go far enough. But in fact, they went in the opposite direction–they became super papists.

  10. rfwhite said,

    April 9, 2011 at 9:42 am

    Lane:

    Help me understand your position: is it your contention that songs permitted in our churches include not only the Psalms and other songs recorded in Scripture but also those that are faithful to the church’s confessional standards, provided they are approved by the church’s courts? Also, do you understand Dr. Clark to be saying that our churches ought not to be permitted to sing songs that are only confessionally faithful but not recorded in Scripture?

  11. Evan said,

    April 9, 2011 at 10:21 am

    Aside from the fact that EP just isn’t going to happen in today’s ecclesiastical context it seems to me that there’s another issue that no one has properly addressed. Does singing only the words of Scripture require that these words be taken from the same places? Is it necessary that we sing only chunks lifted from a specific book of the Bible or are we permitted to assemble songs made up of various passages? In doing so we would not be violating the command to worship God only through His own word but this would be tantamount to writing hymns. Can someone clarify why the Psalms are somehow more appropriate for singing than the rest of God’s word?

  12. Richard L. Lindberg said,

    April 9, 2011 at 12:11 pm

    If the only music in public worship must come from the Psalms, what about sermons? Must ministers of the word limit themselves to reading Scripture without exposition or comment?

  13. April 9, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    Dr. Clark has responded here.

    http://heidelblog.wordpress.com/2011/04/08/more-dialogue-on-worship-and-the-rpw/

    He does a good job, I think, of answering the objections.

  14. April 9, 2011 at 12:52 pm

    Each of the NT Epistles was originally intended as a sermon to be read during the service so when pastors preach their man-made sermons they show that they do not believe in the sufficiency of Scripture. And Scripture is full of prayers so when the pastor prays a non-canonical prayer then…

    But all of this is simply the result of Pagan beliefs that we need to feed our god. Christians meet to feed on God which is why when you read the Book of Acts you find that it does not say they met for a teaching lesson or for doxology. They met to “break bread” which is a pretty clear reference to the Lord’s Supper where we receive Christ’s body and blood.

  15. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2011 at 1:56 pm

    Lane: Although Dr. Clark could never be accused of being biblicistic, does his approach come close to what we might call “singing biblicism?”

    I got the same sense.

    RS Clark: Paraphrases add an element or layer of subjectivity that simply isn’t necessary and that, effectively changes the nature and content of God’s Word. There may be some use for paraphrases for private reading and devotion but we cannot simply assume that they may be used by God’s people as a substitute for God’s Word. The use of paraphrases in public worship by the laity assumes the insufficiency of Scripture as given for public worship. What is wrong with God’s Word that it won’t do for one of the principal reasons for its existence?

    What’s missing from Clark’s argument is a category for “degree of difference.”

    If ANY paraphrase, no matter how close, is a deviation from God’s word, then we must also rule out any common-language translation of the Scripture. Translation, no matter how careful, adds a layer of subjectivity that changes the nature and content of God’s word. But, we accept good translations as “God’s Word” because they are very close to the original meaning. But if good translations can be, then why can good hymns not be also?

    More telling, RSC has not responded to a crucial question: Why does the congregation say creeds in the service?

    The creeds are definitely (a) a paraphrase of Scriptural doctrine, that (b) the entire congregation says, and furthermore (c) says as a matter of confession of faith, which is a stronger binding of the conscience than singing any hymn!

  16. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    Actually, my criticism isn’t entirely fair. RSC does mention a difference between translation and paraphrase. But he doesn’t explain carefully what that difference is, except that defects in translations can be amended through liner notes (!!)

  17. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2011 at 2:38 pm

    On the other thread, Stuart hit the jackpot:

    1) Our different hermeneutics approaches to the Scripture . . . perhaps our approaches are not vastly different, but they vary enough that we have godly men who truly desire to follow Scripture but disagree with one another on whether we should sing Scripture only or sing songs that are Scripturally based but not necessarily straight from Scripture. Simply note the variations of interpretations of Colossians 3:16 within Reformedom.

    There are certain hermeneutical pitfalls that need watching out for.

    On the pro-hymn side, Col. 3 is sometimes cited as proof-positive. Hey look: Paul tells us to sing hymns!

    And Clark and Murray rightly point out that we cannot assume that Paul was speaking of generic hymns instead of the 17 Psalms called “hymns” in Psalms. IF we want to use Col 3 as our mandate, we need to give evidence that Paul is speaking more broadly.

    On the pro-excl.-psalm side, there is a tendency to put strained interpretations on contrary evidence. Two examples:

    * It is beyond reasonable doubt that God’s people sang non-Scriptural songs from the time of Moses to David.

    RSC handles this by saying, “I don’t know that we know exactly what they did prior to the revelation of the psalter but we can assume that God supplied them with songs as witnessed by the psalm of Moses.”

    Well … on what basis can we assume this? ONLY if we first assume that the only permissible songs are inspired songs.

    The only support for this reading is Clark’s own position, which is being challenged on the basis of that evidence.

    * The same thing happens with Murray. In his minority report, he says,

    “Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26. Here we are told that, on the occasion of the passover, Jesus and His disciples sang a hymn before going out to the Mount of Olives. The Greek is humnesantes, which literally means “having hymned.” The evidence available to us from other sources is to the effect of indicating that the hymn sung on this occasion was what is known as the Hallel, consisting of Psalms 113-118.”

    Remarkably, Murray is here appealing to *other sources* as support for the EP position. But leaving that aside, the hermeneutical point is this:

    The “hymn” of Matt 26 might have been the Hallel. But it might not.

    And because it is doubtful, it cannot be cited as evidence for the proposition that “in Scripture, hymn refers to Psalms.” That might or might not be the case.

    There’s an analogy that all us former Baptists can relate to. Baptists consider it a slam-dunk argument that “in the Scripture, all the clear instances of Baptisms are of adults.” But, say the Presbies, what about the household baptisms? Ah, they say, those are unclear. But in all the clear instances, only adults are baptized. Therefore, the regulative principle (yes indeed!) requires us to only baptize adults.

    Since we are no longer Baptists, we recognize the error in reasoning immediately. :) The unclear instances of household baptisms cast doubt on the thesis that “all baptisms in the NT are of adults.” The baptism of adults does not change the probability that household baptisms included infants.

    Likewise here: the fact that we do not *know* with any degree of certainty that Jesus sang a psalm, or that Paul is talking about the psalms, casts doubt on the thesis that “Scripture’s command to sing refers only to the book of Psalms.”

  18. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    April 9, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    There is not much doubt Christ and the Apostles would have been singing the Hallel. They were good Jews and that is what good Jews sang in that context.

  19. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2011 at 2:52 pm

    Benjamin, I hear you. But …

    On what ground do you know this? Is it from Scripture, or from extraScriptural information?

    Think again about how Baptists argue: “βαπτιζω always means to immerse.

    I’m not saying they *didn’t* sing the Hallel; I’m just saying that we can’t use Matt 26 as evidence one way or the other.

  20. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    April 9, 2011 at 3:09 pm

    I am not really following you here. I am unsure what the problem is with using extra-biblical sources to show Matt 26 teaches Jesus and the Apostles sung the Hallel. It shows that given the context of Matt 26 that “hymn” means the Hallel. It would make little to no sense to try and argue otherwise when the “plain meaning of the text” is the Hallel.

  21. April 9, 2011 at 4:49 pm

    [...] So prayer is another place where the ipsissima verba of Scripture are not a limitation. As my brother-in-law Nels noted, many hymns are prayers set to music. These distinctions between categories then become a bit [...]

  22. April 9, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    It seems to me that the problem with using the extra-biblical sources to demonstrate that the “hymn” mentioned in Matthew 26 is the Hallel is the following. Those extra-biblical sources are much later than Matthew 26. Thus they reflect what was the case in later Jewish practice. It is not at all clear that this practice went back to the pre-AD 70 era. It may have, but we have no way of determining that. As a result, the idea that the “hymn” was the Hallel is really unproven assumption, not fact.

  23. greenbaggins said,

    April 9, 2011 at 4:58 pm

    Dr. White, I believe that your assessment of my position and of Dr. Clark’s is accurate.

  24. greenbaggins said,

    April 9, 2011 at 5:01 pm

    Zac, that is a very good question, and is unfortunately not one that I can possibly answer at this time, as I have not done the necessary reading. After I get through my several-year stint of Scripture issues, I plan on tackling worship, and then I’ll see for myself what the Reformed tradition has to say on the topic.

  25. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2011 at 5:20 pm

    Zac, an interesting starting point might be Calvin’s take:

    Psalms, hymns. … In place of their obscene, or at least barely modest and decent, songs, it becomes you to make use of hymns and songs that sound forth God’s praise.” Farther, under these three terms he includes all kinds of songs. They are commonly distinguished in this way — that a psalm is that, in the singing of which some musical instrument besides the tongue is made use of: a hymn is properly a song of praise, whether it be sung simply with the voice or otherwise; while an ode contains not merely praises, but exhortations and other matters. He would have the songs of Christians, however, to be spiritual, not made up of frivolities and worthless trifles. For this has a connection with his argument. — Calv Comm Col 3.16.

    This is hardly definitive; Calvin doesn’t absolutely rule out the equivalence between hymns and specific psalms. But he seems to lean in the direction of greater latitude; this is also true of his terse comment on Eph 5:

    What may be the exact difference between psalms and hymns, or between hymns and songs, it is not easy to determine, though a few remarks on this subject shall be offered on a future occasion. The appellation spiritual, given to these songs, is strikingly appropriate; for the songs most frequently used are almost always on trifling subjects, and very far from being chaste.

  26. Jeff Cagle said,

    April 9, 2011 at 5:26 pm

    Benjamin (#20): What Benjamin said (#21).

    I mean, I hear the weight of your argument. There’s a good chance that it was the Hallel.

    But given our starting point, that only good and necessary inferences from Scripture ought to be the source of our commands and worship, it seems very odd to use non-Biblical sources as our ground!

    And that was the point. EPers may well be right; but I’m focusing here on how we use evidence. Arguing from non-Scriptural sources to defend and define the RPW is self-defeating, and therefore inadmissible. Take that away, and Matt 26 is neither a support for, nor evidence against, an EP position.

  27. April 9, 2011 at 5:39 pm

    I for one am pretty certain that the Hallel was sung at the Last Supper. I am equally certain that the Scriptures never command anyone to only sing from the Book of Psalms. Early Christians used the LXX which includes Psalm 151, would EP folks be okay with singing Psalm 151?

  28. bsuden said,

    April 10, 2011 at 8:39 pm

    #8 et all, while I generally agree with Dr. Clark on this, I would make an exception for the public/private distinction in worship.

    Bushell – sorry, he’s that good/thorough – argues that it was the use of revival hymns outside public worship that paved the way for them in worship.
    This, similar to GI Williamson’s remarks on the Shorter Catechism. The use of pictures of Christ in Sunday schools for the youth, led them, when older and as elders, to introduce or allow pictures in worship.

    Neither do the inconsistencies of acapella psalmsingers in allowing hymns and musical instruments in family worship prove anything other than just that: Christians can and often times are inconsistent. True, they may not think they are, particularly in this instance, but historically I don’t think their case can hold water.

    While there is no sermon, for instance in family worship, it is still worship and falls under the RPW.

    As for the charge that the Calvinists are super papists?! Davies’s Worship of the English Puritans is to be recommended. Luther and the Anglicans thought Scripture only decisive on doctrine, while Calvin and the Puritans thought it also applied to the worship and government of the church. Much more, if the RPW is the G&N consequences of the Second Commandment as the P&R confessions and catechisms teach, then Rom. 3:31 necessarily applies.

    Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law.

    While the ceremonial law and worship has passed away/been fulfilled in Christ, the moral law remains and abides as the rule of gratitude and obedience for the Christian.

    Thank you.

  29. April 10, 2011 at 9:34 pm

    If we supposedly cannot sing songs which are not contained in the book of Psalms because that supposedly violates the second commandment, does that mean when I sang this morning that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world that I was making a false image of God? Isn’t Christ the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world? What about when I sang about His crucifixion? Wasn’t He crucified for me? If somebody called the singing of these things breaking the 2nd commandment, wouldn’t they in fact be breaking the 2nd commandment since the true image of God is found in the crucified-Christ? I suggest you actually read Luther and see what his reforms really were. They were all designed to make the service Scriptural and to direct people to Jesus. Luther believed that we met primarily for the purpose of receiving God’s good gifts. The papists believed that we receive God’s good gifts but that we also are there to sacrifice something to God. As I read the posts the hardcore RPW folks all seem to be primarily concerned with the idea that we meet to give something to God. So I believe the super papist catagory sticks when considered from the perspective of why we meet together. I still fail to see how there is something inherently morally wrong with singing that Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world–it would seem morally wrong not to say that. But regardless the concern of the RPW folks seems to be born out of a belief that they really can fulfill God’s moral law and so Christ becomes unnecessary.

  30. bsuden said,

    April 10, 2011 at 11:37 pm

    29. Whatever Charles.
    I’ve read Luther and yes, there is a fundamental difference in outlook in worship between lutheranism and calvinism.

    Respectfully that you understand the latter remains to be demonstrated. Contra the Roman and Lutheran churches which combine the First and Second Commandment, the reformed distinctly understand the First to teach who we are to worship, while the Second teaches how we are to worship.

    Of course, as a Lutheran you disagree. But what else is new?

    And the reformed are super papists because they don’t divide the 10 commandments with Rome like Lutherans? Please.

    Rather the reformed churches are, on the basis of Scripture, re-formed in doctrine, worship and government out of the deformed Roman church.

    While I can appreciate that Lutheran churches preach the gospel, I don’t appreciate the rest of the Roman liturgical paraphernalia. It is superstitious, if not idolatrous, because it is only sanctioned by the imaginations of men, however hallowed in age, rather than instituted by God. Thus the reformed position.

  31. April 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    [...] Part 2 More Dialogue on Worship and the RPW Greenbaggins Part 2 Response to Dr. [...]

  32. More Dialogue on Worship and the RPW (via Heidelblog) « Pilgrimage to Geneva said,

    April 12, 2011 at 7:36 am

    [...] I’ve received a fair bit of response to the first two posts on the URCNA Psalter-Hymnal project and on the question of how Reformed worship should be conducted. Lane Keister has been interacting with these posts and he asks more interesting questions. [...]

  33. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 25, 2011 at 11:20 am

    Ignore this post. Being made to notify me of follow-up comments via email.

  34. May 15, 2011 at 5:10 pm

    [...] One of these is sung Psalms (normally a cappella) and no hymns.  (If you want to know more, read this general discussion on the topic, to which which Dr Clark [...]

  35. May 16, 2011 at 6:57 am

    [...] Response to Dr. Clark (greenbaggins.wordpress.com) [...]


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