Response to Dr. Clark, Part 2

Just to be clear, this post is part 2 of my response to this post. Dr. Clark has already responded to my post of yesterday. So, to make sure that we don’t get hopelessly mixed up, I won’t respond to his most recent post until later.

So, to pick up where I left off yesterday, we will consider the two questions of paraphrase and office that Dr. Clark has raised. First off, paraphrase. On this question, I’m not getting the feeling that Dr. Clark actually answered my query. My query is this: are not metrical renditions of the Psalms themselves paraphrases? I have yet to see a Psalter that did not include a fair amount of paraphrase in order to make the rhyme and meter fit the strophic melody. The best poets/linguists in the world cannot directly translate the Psalms from Hebrew strophe (or Greek prose, for that matter, since Dr. Clark believes in singing the texts of Scripture, not just the Psalms) into rhyme and meter without some measure of paraphrase. Maybe we are operating under different ideas of what constitutes paraphrase. I would say that a paraphrase is any attempt to convey the meaning of the text in any kind of different words than the original, or than a word-for-word translation would do. By this definition, all Psalters are nothing but paraphrases, given the necessary constraints on rhyme and meter (not to mention the considerable editing that is often done!). If Psalters are paraphrases, and so is everything else that is Scripture set to strophic music, then what biblical basis is there for forbidding one further step, and allowing the whole counsel of God to be paraphrased, as many hymns attempt to do? Have we not already taken the necessary steps?

This leads us to the second question, that of office. To quote Dr. Clark directly, we have this:

The congregation is called to respond to God’s Word with God’s Word. Again, I address this in chapter 7 of RRC. The congregation exercises their priesthood in taking upon their lips God’s Word in praise, adoration, and worship not in taking over the function and nature of the ministerial office. So, it is one thing for the minister to paraphrase God’s Word in the discharge of his God-ordained office and quite another for the congregation to do the same.

Now, there are two issues with this argument. The first is that what the congregation sings is not usually chosen by the congregation from week to week. Usually the pastor chooses it. That kind of messes up the normal division of office as Dr. Clark formulates it (I agree with the distinction of office as he phrases it here, just not with the application of it). Furthermore, as has been noted in some of the comments, although the pastor prays, the congregation is supposed to pray along with him in such a way that his words become their words. The parallel with praying becomes a bit more obvious once we note that in both praying and singing, both the pastor and the congregation are fully involved. The only difference is that, in praying, the pastor is the only one actually vocalizing. 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 difficult to sustain, it seems to me.

Secondly, what about creeds? If the congregation may never say anything in worship that is not the ipsissima verba of Scripture, then they can never recite creeds. If it is argued that creeds are in a different category (or element of worship) than singing in terms of the content of what is said/sung, I would ask what biblical basis does that distinction have? Or, maybe Dr. Clark does not believe that creeds should be spoken by the congregation in the worship service. Of course, that could have problems, too, like cutting ourselves off from the church of history.



  1. April 9, 2011 at 11:25 pm

    … If the congregation may never say anything in worship that is not the ipsissima verba of Scripture….

    Another consequence of this, Lane (which your point about creeds anticipates), is that this would have been pretty unworkable during the interim period between the death of the apostles and the NT canon being recognized as such. Did no one say the name of “Jesus” until the NT was written, recognized, and collected?

  2. April 10, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    […] Doxology Versus Cultus: Dr. R. Scott Clark on the Regulative Principal of Worship Filed under: Uncategorized — j.hansen @ 6:58 pm There is an interesting discussion taking place, regarding the Regulative Principal of Worship, between R. Scott Clark here and Lane Keister here. […]

  3. j.hansen said,

    April 10, 2011 at 2:26 pm

    In Dr. Clark makes a distinction between Christian instruction (catechesis) and praise/adoration (cultus). With this distinction I take it that Clark means to say that it is appropriate to impose congregational readings of paraphrases of Biblical truth (e.g., questions and answers from a catechism) in Lord’s Day worship when the main goal is didactic, but where the main goal is doxological, paraphrases of Biblical truth are forbidden. And all of this stems from Dr. Clark’s view of the sufficiency of Scripture? If so, then is Clark saying that Scriptures are sufficient to achieve doxological goals, but not to achieve didactic ones? Then there is the trickier part of the liturgy: confession of sins. Is confession of sins more doxological or more didactic? Isn’t it on the basis of this distinction that Clark determines whether to impose paraphrases or the ipsissima verba of Scripture alone? Even if we accept this distinction as the basis for determination, aren’t some hymns more didactic than doxological?

  4. April 10, 2011 at 7:23 pm

    […] More Dialogue on Worship and the RPW (pt 2) Posted on April 10, 2011 by R. Scott Clark First Part. Part Two Part Three Lane’s Latest Response […]

  5. Steven McCarthy said,

    April 10, 2011 at 9:31 pm

    Under your first definition of paraphrases, “I would say that a paraphrase is any attempt to convey the meaning of the text in any kind of different words than the original …”, every english translation of the Bible is a paraphrase. Your second definition — ” or than a word-for-word translation would do” — is even less helpful, because there is really no such thing as a true “word for word” translation. Translations fall on a scale of “literalness”, but true literal translation is actually impossible given the nature of the differences between one language and another. Attempts at true literalness can often lead to incoherence when thrown into the new language. Many metrical translations of the Psalms are much closer to the KJV and ESV side of the scale (assuming those qualify in your mind as “word for word” translations) than your post suggests.

  6. Steven McCarthy said,

    April 10, 2011 at 9:38 pm

    This discussion could really benefit from a decision as to whether we ought to distinguish between elements in these considerations. I would say, absolutely we should. Dr. Murray’s Minority Report is a good articulation of this. It’s really muddy thinking to be over drawing these analogies between praying and singing praise and preaching and singing praise. Even from a merely human perspective, very different things are going on when we are listening to a sermon vs. praying vs. singing. Are there analogies between praying and singing the Psalms. Absolutely. Are they the same element? Can we really not tell the difference, even just instinctively?

  7. Steven McCarthy said,

    April 10, 2011 at 9:50 pm

    Also, I don’t think I agree with a principle that congregants may only respond with the ipsisimma verba of Scripture. There is a place, at least, for occasional vows and professions of faith. I think reciting the creeds/catechisms would fall under vows/profession of faith. They may be used more or less regularly, but they should be understood as an actual reaffirming of our covenant with God, as analogous to occasional vows, not as analogous to Scripture reading.

    I would just say that when it comes to the element of singing praise, we simply have no warrant for uninspired compositions, nor any need. Again, God has given us explicit and implicit direction for each element he has instituted for our worship. We have a complete and sufficient (yes, for New Testament worship) hymnal, which God has authorized for our worship, sitting in the middle of our Bibles. Other SONGS from Scripture probably should be considered, but we shouldn’t be singing things that are not songs, and we shouldn’t rush to include songs that aren’t set forth in Scripture as given for use in regular worship. The safer position is to go with the canon of praise we’ve been given. In other words, I’d argue for EP, not for Scripture only. God didn’t give us the whole Bible to sing, but he did give us, as Luther understood it, a complete condensed Bible to sing. It’s analogous to the songs of Moses in Deuteronomy. God gave the Torah, and then he gave two songs that summarize the Torah for the people to sing in response.

  8. Scott Bauer said,

    April 10, 2011 at 10:29 pm

    This is over my head. But if the last comment is correct, which I barely comprehend, then I’m going to turn to Armenian blogs for instruction.

  9. Don said,

    April 11, 2011 at 12:01 am

    I’ve appreciated this conversation, but it seems to me that it’s going to go nowhere so long as the one side insists that “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” all in fact mean Psalms. Is there any actual evidence for this, other than by fiat? Specifically, is there evidence from, say, intertestamental or first-century Jewish writings that would indicate that the Collossian or Ephesian church would understand the phrase in only this way? Lacking that evidence, the RPW would in fact seem to specifically allow, if not call for, hymn singing.

  10. Lacie said,

    April 11, 2011 at 5:38 am

    In the Scottish Metrical Psalter, for instance, the tunes are listed under various headings such as, Prayerful, Cheerful, Restful and (!) Didactic.

  11. proregno said,

    April 11, 2011 at 7:18 am

    “Among the authorities upholding the foregoing interpretation of these passages [Col. 3:16; Eph. 5:19 as referring to the 150 biblical Psalms] may be mentioned the following: Clement, the celebrated Greek Father who presided over the Catechetical School at Alexandria (Paidagogos, book 3, chapter 4); Jerome, the most learned of the early fathers of the Latin Church (Com. on Eph.); Beza, the friend and ablest coadjutor of Calvin (Com. on Col.); John Owen, the prince of English divines in the seventeenth century (Preface to a metrical edition of the Psalms published in 1673 for use among the Independents and Dissenters of England); Jean Daille, d. 1670, a celebrated French Protestant minister (Expos. of Col.); Cotton Mather, d. 1728, the well-known New England author; Thomas Ridgley, a standard English writer on theology (Body of Divinity, edition of 1819, Vol. 4, p. 134); Jonathan Edwards, d. 1758, the noted American divine and metaphysician (Hist. of Redemption, Period 1, Part 5); John Gill, a learned Orientalist and Baptist theologian of the eighteenth century (Body of Divinity and Com. on Eph.); John Brown of Haddington, Scotland, professor of divinity in the Associate Synod of Scotland, d. 1787 (Dictionary of the Bible); William Romaine, an eminent author of the eighteenth century in the Church of England; Walter F. Hook, d. 1875, an Anglican dean and ecclesiastical historian (Church Dictionary); The Encyclopaedia Britannica, article on Hymns, by the Right Hon. The Earl of Selborne; William Binnie, of Scotland (The Psalms: Their History, Teachings and Use. London 1877); H. C. B. Bazely, of Oxford, England, d. 1883 (Biography); E. L. Hicks, Hon. Canon of Worcester, Church of England (Biography of Henry Bazely); Edmund Reuss, of Strasburg, the great Alsatian Protestant Theologian, d. 1891 (History of the New Testament); Taylor, for many years professor of Greek Language and Literature in Union College, Schenectady, N. Y. (The Bible Psalmody); Philip Schaff, of Union Theological Seminary, New York City, the distinguished Church historian, d. 1893 (Hist. of the Christian Church, Vol. 1, p. 463); and the late John A. Broadus, of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (Com. on Matt.).” – McNaughter

  12. April 11, 2011 at 7:38 am

    Per the Owen reference in #11.
    “Now though spiritual songs of mere human composure may have their use, yet our devotion is best secured, where the matter and words are of immediately divine inspiration; and to us David’s Psalms seem plainly intended by those terms of “psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,” which the apostle useth (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16).”
    List of 26 puritans who signed (incl. Owen):

  13. proregno said,

    April 11, 2011 at 7:45 am

    Why were my previous message deleted ?

  14. paigebritton said,

    April 11, 2011 at 8:22 am

    Hi, Slabbert –
    Your previous message wasn’t deleted, it was just hung up waiting for moderator approval. Sometimes that happens when there’s a lot of links embedded.
    Paige B.

  15. Jeffrey Brannen said,

    April 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

    If I’m understanding this debate properly, we have an impass on the definition and use of the RPW.

    The RPW was designed to keep the church from binding the consciences of congregations without warrent.

    Pro-EP/ES argue that for the congregation to be told to sing hymns is, at least, implicit requirement for people to sing something other than what God has personally authorized. On their side is the example of Jesus, Apostles, and the practice of the early church. As a weakness, they allow for some paraphrasing but not too much. They are especially opposed to restating biblical passages or ideas in song form. These are allowed in other contexts, just not in connection with music.

    In summary – God is only pleased in worship with lyrics drawn directly from the Psalms.

    Pro-Hymn/Praise Chorus see little substantive difference between paraphrasing psalms a little or a lot. They see a mandate for writing of non-inspired hymns as a means of declaring God’s work of redemption on the cross. They believe explicit references to Jesus and NT truths should complement and accompany the use of the Psalms. They are arguing that the warrent of Scripture does not forbid the use of non-canonical songs so long as they are faithful to Scripture. In their favor is the thousand plus years before the establishment of the Psalms as the music of the 2nd Temple.

    In summary, God is pleased with faithful and true expressions of his Word beyond just the Psalms.

  16. bsuden said,

    April 11, 2011 at 10:45 am

    I’m with Steve in #5 on translation/paraphrase.
    Not that paraphrase translations necessarily bother even the P&R. Vide the reformed popularity of the NIV before it got replaced by the NKJV, then the ESV and now the CEB?
    See also Martin’s criticism of the NIV’s sacrifice of verbal inspiration on the altar of “dynamic equivalency” in his Accuracy of Translation.

    But the Assembly did consider Rouse’s psalter a “translation” and better than Barton’s “in regard that it is so exactly framed to the original text” (fn. pp.221,222)

    WCF 1:8 tell us that the Word is to be translated so that all men may worship God in an acceptable fashion. Granted this primarily means that they may not worship the “Unknown God ” of Acts 17:23, but also how he is to be worshiped. Which is why a psalter many times was included in the Reformation era bibles, no?

    17 Jeff B
    In their favor is the thousand plus years before the establishment of the Psalms as the music of the 2nd Temple.

    Uh, this is an argument from silence, right? Can you prove or present some kind of evidence to support your conclusion?

    We do know there was no singing at all in the ceremonial tabernacle/temple worship until David introduced it under the inspiration and direction of God. 1Chr.15:16, 2 Chr. 25:1,6, 29:25,30

    On the other hand, Lefebvre (p.103) mentions that the Book of Jasher (Josh.10:13, 1Sam.1:18) could have been the hymnbook that preceded the psalter in Israel.

    An impasse, yes. Whether God is pleased with faithful and true expressions of his Word other than the Psalms remains to be proved.

    Thank you.

  17. proregno said,

    April 11, 2011 at 11:06 am

    16: thanks Page, I send a correction that has the correct links, which were not published. The current first link at #12 is wrong, so here is the correct one:

    – A Special Exegesis of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16
    Prof. John McNaugher, D. D., LL.D., Allegheny, Pennsylvania, USA

    Now a funny thing happened, when I first went to the following link, it worked fine (the last link at #12):

    But now suddenly I cannot access it, anyone else have the same problem ?

  18. paigebritton said,

    April 11, 2011 at 11:11 am

    Okay, I nixed the other one for you. (Sorry I chose the wrong one of your two attempts before!)

  19. bsuden said,

    April 11, 2011 at 11:49 am

    10 Jason
    I read yours over at CCC.
    The translation issue as above is a non starter/immaterial. We don’t read or preach in Greek or Hebrew. Neither do we sing or pray in the same.

    But I don’t get the second point.
    I always understood that the worship, government and offices of the early Christian church were taken over from the synagogue.

    So what’s not to like/is the deal breaker?
    The synagogue/early church preached from the OT and sang psalms – though granted the church considered Christ the fulfillment of the OT – which included the psalms.
    Either that or the synagogue didn’t sing psalms and the Christians started singing something. Your question is what then did they sing before the RPW showed up at the Reformation or something like that, no?

  20. April 11, 2011 at 1:26 pm


    Your question is what then did they sing before the RPW showed up at the Reformation or something like that, no?

    Let me give an example: Consider the Christ-hymns of Phil. 2 and I Tim. 3 that Paul cites, hymns that predate Paul himself. Now the proponent of the canonical-material-only (CMO) position would need to say that those early hymns were prohibited from the worship of the early church since (1) they were not a part of the OT canon, and (2) they either weren’t yet cited by Paul, or the Pauline citations were not yet recognized as canonical.

    So what I’m getting at is, How plausible is it that the early church actually followed the CMO practice?

  21. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    April 11, 2011 at 1:39 pm

    Regarding Phil 2, etc… There is no exegetical proof nor historical proof that those sections of the letters of Paul were “early hymn fragments” and there is even less scholarly consensus that they can be thought of as such. Even if I grant that they are such (which I do not believe to be the case) it is quite a logical leap to say that just because Paul may quote it proves the hymnody case any more than Paul’s quotation of a Pagan poet makes the rest of the poet’s writing canonical.

  22. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    April 11, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Gordon Fee has a good article on the subject of Phil 2 in the context of this question.

    Click to access philippians_fee.pdf

  23. April 11, 2011 at 1:42 pm

    So Benjamin, do you believe that no member in any of Paul’s congregations used the word “Jesus” in worship?

  24. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    April 11, 2011 at 1:47 pm

    Do the Scriptures require the name “Jesus” be sung? Because what we are discussing here is the content of sung praise.

  25. April 11, 2011 at 2:02 pm

    No, and I never said that they did. I am just asking you if you think that no lay person was allowed to use the name of Jesus in public worship until the canon issue was settled.

    Do you believe that or not?

  26. Don said,

    April 11, 2011 at 6:05 pm

    Dear Proregno,
    I appreciate the links you took time to share, especially McNaugher, who shows convincingly that PH&SS are more or less synonyms, and all are used in various situations to refer to certain Psalms or to the Psalter collectively. There is still, however, a jump to connect this phrase to the Psalter _exclusively_, a jump which McNaugher strains to show should be taken. Any examples of use of the phrase PH&SS, contemporary to the Pauline epistles +/- a century, would actually help clear things up.

  27. Steven McCarthy said,

    April 11, 2011 at 6:40 pm

    Scott, Sorry if I wasn’t clear. My point was that for each separate thing we do in worship (singing, preaching, praying, tithing?, etc.) God has given directions in the Bible. Because God has directed us to do one thing when we pray that does not mean God has directed us to do that same thing when we sing. Like, for example, we make specific requests in our own words when we pray, because God has commanded us to. This doesn’t mean we should do the same thing when we sing praise. For singing, God has given us the Psalms.

    Hope that’s a little more straightforward.

    Any ways, I don’t understand why if something is right then you would go somewhere else for advice. Wouldn’t you want advice that is right? Maybe I’ve misunderstood you.

    Also, Armenians deny the two natures of Christ (The Armenian church that is.) I’m guessing you’re thinking of Arminians (vs. Calvinists).


  28. April 11, 2011 at 8:28 pm

    […] Greenbaggins Part 3 Response to Dr. Clark Part 2 Greenbaggins Part 4 Response Roundup […]

  29. Benjamin P. Glaser said,

    April 11, 2011 at 9:20 pm

    Rev. Stellman,

    It may be helpful if you lay out exactly what you are getting at with your question. It depends on what you what you believe “lay” people were allowed to say during stated worship.

  30. bsuden said,

    April 12, 2011 at 12:21 am

    21 Thanks for your answer, Jason.

    If the early church took over the worship of the synagogue and the synagogue didn’t sing uninspired songs, then the canonical only applies.

    The argument for the NT “hymns” of Phil 2 and I Tim 3, I consider tenuous, if not unproven. How do you know they are a sure thing?

  31. Steven McCarthy said,

    April 12, 2011 at 6:20 am

    Jason, the early church you are referring to in your argument is one where the canon was still in development — thus, there were still new revelations. I haven’t heard any one advocate a canon-material-only position, but rather, an inspired song only position. In our day, that would mean canon only, but not in every age of the Church. Are you really advocating that we should do everything that a pre-closed canon church did? Any prophetesses in your confessionally reformed church Jason? Really, why not? The early church did it. This is, of course, if those passages are even hymns, which I’m happy to grant. It just doesn’t prove uninspired hymnody at all.

  32. Steven McCarthy said,

    April 12, 2011 at 6:27 am

    By the way, if it’s not obvious, I’m convinced of exclusive psalmody, or inspired psalmody at any rate. I wouldn’t, however, want to have to argue for Clark’s position of congregants only ever reciting Scripture. At the same time, it appears that Clark is not absolute on this, because Creeds (and, I assume other types of vows) may be according to prescription. This the question for anyone who calls themselves Reformed: what has God prescribed? The answer is: that we will do with faith. The question is not, what may we do?

  33. Richard said,

    April 12, 2011 at 6:33 am

    I think the main two problems with EP is that (1) it is debateable as to whether the Psalter was a hymnbook in the first place. (2) It is fairly clear that in the temple they sang songs other than the psalms, e.g. the Song of the Sea (cf. Old’s Worship Reformed According to Scripture).

    On the whole, I fear many in the Presbyterian and Reformed wing of the church are overly restrictive on how we apply the RPW – I was encouraged by R. C. Sproul’s A Taste of Heaven when he advocated practices that are, I believe, in line with biblical principles and which are currently frowned upon in most, if not all, Presbyterian and Reformed churches.

  34. Richard said,

    April 12, 2011 at 6:37 am

    I can really recommend Worship Matters: Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God. Its a bit ‘low’ for me in terms of where he is coming from but it is very helpful.

  35. bsuden said,

    April 15, 2011 at 12:32 am

    Neither Olds nor Kauflin are the last word on the confessional reformed regulative principle, though Olds is a much better scholar.
    FTM he has come around on psalmody in the lead off chapter for Sing A New Song: Recovering Psalm Singing For the Twenty First Century

  36. Cris Dickason said,

    April 15, 2011 at 5:13 am

    bsuden in 21:
    “If the early church took over the worship of the synagogue and the synagogue didn’t sing uninspired songs, then the canonical only applies.”

    I’m pretty sure we are not required by Scripture to automatically accept, import, and enforce in the New Testament Church any of the practices from the 1st Century synagogues. What little documentation we have of the post-apostolic period does not indicate that christian worship was a mirror of the synagogue with a Trinitarian or Christological focus added on.


  37. Cris Dickason said,

    April 15, 2011 at 5:22 am

    bsuden- RE #36 Can you clarify/confirm that Olds “has come around on psalmody”? Have you read the chapter in Sing a New Song?

    I will point out that the book mentioned is not a 100% advocating Exclusive Psalmody. Note that Terry Johnson is a contributor, pastor of Independent Presbyterian Church of Savannah. At IPC we find this:

    We sing the Word – We incorporate at least one metrical Psalm (the biblical Psalms translated and rhymed for singing) in each service. We also sing biblically rich hymns.

    That’s hardly exclusive. Which lets me say once again (hope I not harping on this): Us sideline, confessional Presbyterians (e.g. OPC) who are not Exclusive Psalmists are Not Excluding the Psalms.

    BTW, Independent Presbyterian Church in Savannah is a beautiful 19th century building. The congregation is beautiful too! My daughter is wrapping up college this spring in Savannah and has worshiped there for the past 3 years. I’m looking forward to 1 more Sunday AM there the day after graduation.


  38. Richard said,

    April 15, 2011 at 8:54 am

    bsuden: For the record, I used to hold to EP and have most of the ‘key texts’ on my book shelf. I mention Kauflin because he offers sage advise on how to decide what songs to sing, he doesn’t deal with the EP debate at all. I wonder what you make of singing new compositions of Psalms to contemporary music in worship (e.g. the Sons of Korah)?

  39. bsuden said,

    April 18, 2011 at 1:11 am

    37 Cris,
    Then where did the NT worship and practices come from? We know it didn’t come from the ceremonial worship of the temple. Ala American ahistorical anabaptist evangelicalism, was it enough that it was sincere and zealous to be approved for NT worship?

    My comments in favor of the synagogue were in light of SMiller in his Ruling Elder, chapters 2&3 on the origin of the office, much more the continuing church of Dabney might be interested in the same’s remarks in his review of Girardeau on musical instruments in public worship:

    God set up in the Hebrew Church two distinct forms of worship; the one moral, didactic, spiritual and universal, and therefore perpetual in all places and ages—that of the synagogues; the other peculiar, local, typical, foreshadowing in outward forms the more spiritual dispensation, and therefore destined to be utterly abrogate by Christ’s coming. . . . But the Christian churches were modelled upon the synagogues and inherited their form of government and worship because it was permanently didactic, moral and spiritual, and included nothing typical (Discussions, V:324.)

    Granted, neither Miller, Dabney or Girardeau were psalm singers, either predominantly or exclusively, but they do acknowledge the Christian debt to the synagogue.

    38. My comments re. Olds were not that he has necessarily become an advocate of EP, but rather it is nice to see that he gives some long overdue recognition to the predominance of psalmody in the early church and the return to it at the Reformation. No more, no less.

    While in the past, he has been no fan of the RPW, essentially denying it three times in his Shaping of the Reformed Baptismal Rite of the 16th Century (1992, pp.x, 102, 283), rather insisting on the more general and vague Worship: Reformed According to Scripture (2002), he might seem to be getting closer to the WCF position on psalms practically speaking.

    39 Richard,
    The fact that Kauflin is a “worship leader” and denies the RPW speaks volumes. In the negative.

    As for the Sons of Korah, in worship or out?
    As per Dabney on Girardeau above,
    instrumental music, like human priests and their vestments, showbread, incense, and bloody sacrifice, was limited to the local and temporary
    worship of the temple.


    when the Antitype has come the types must be abolished. For as the temple-priests and animal sacrifices typified Christ and his sacrifice on Calvary, so the musical instruments of David in the temple-service only typified the joy of the Holy
    Ghost in his pentecostal effusions (Discussions, V:324).

    Hence the original WCF position, in worship acapella psalmody only.

  40. Cris Dickason said,

    April 18, 2011 at 12:09 pm

    bsuden – #40

    “Ala American ahistorical anabaptist evangelicalism, was it enough that it was sincere and zealous to be approved for NT worship?”

    Innocent on all 3 charges, sir!. Anabaptist I ain’t. “American evangelical” I would rather not claim, as it has so many non-reformed components. As for ahistorical. My question concerning synagogue practices is directed to historical fact finding.

    What is needed is definitive description of the 1st century synagogue practices (and let us not assume it was monolithic). Also detailed historical documentation of the earliest of post-apostolic church practices.

    Back of any details about those 1st century synagogues would be exegetical requirements from the Old Testament Scriptures supporting the synagogue practices. Most particularly, since the OT doesn’t describe, much less prescribe ancient synagogue practices, I say, we are not required to import and adopt automatically the practices of the synagogue (as stated at end of #37).

    Anyone who can point us to detailed discussions of synagogue history and practice, and in particular, related to OT canon or exegesis, that would be more helpful than another round of Dabney or Girardeau, or whoever, including me – especially me!


  41. bsuden said,

    April 18, 2011 at 3:49 pm

    41 Cris,
    No charges, just that considering the synagogue to be the basis of a lot of Christian worship and government is not a novel idea in presbyterianism.

  42. Richard said,

    April 19, 2011 at 9:17 am

    @ bsuden – I am not sure whether Kauflin holds to the RPW or not. With respect to instrumental music, I think you would find it hard to defend from scripture that it was restricted to the local and temporary worship of the temple in that the Song of the Sea, the earliest piece of poetry in the OT, was accompanied with musical instruments, so we know that Israel praised God using instruments outside the temple hence we find psalms mentioning them. Could you demonsgtrate from scripture that “the musical instruments of David in the temple-service only typified the joy of the Holy Ghost in his pentecostal effusions”. In his A Taste of Heaven we find R. C. Sproul defending the use of incense in worship which is interesting in that he holds to the RPW but wildly differs from its traditional application. Personally, as an Anglican, I want our worship to be regulated by the word of God, but I also wanted our decisions to be formed by a biblical understanding of worship and a biblical anthropology…most of what you are objecting too are mere circumstances:

    1. the minister needs to wear clothes, why can’t they be colourful vestments?
    2. the church needs to be lighted, why can we use candles?
    3. human beings are embodied so why cannot incense be used to change the smell of the worship space?
    4. the congregation will be singing, why cannot musical instruments be used to facilitate that?

  43. bsuden said,

    April 25, 2011 at 12:51 am

    43 Richard,

    It’s been a busy week w. taxes and work.

    Searching Kauflin on the Amazon preview I came up with the negative on the RPW.

    IOW since this is site for reformed and confessional hobbits, ultimately Kauflin can’t cut the mustard on the question of worship compared to Girardeau’s Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church (IMPWC) on musical instruments, of which a hardcopy is available here, or electronic texts here, here or here.

    Likewise H Davies’s Worship of the English Puritans goes into the fundamental differences between Luther and the Anglicans and Calvin and the Puritan/Presbyterians. I think as an Anglican you will find his characterizations fair, though he is not an Anglican.

    Girardeau on the Song of Moses in Ex.15 argues that it was not public worship, but a national celebration (IMPWC, pp. 21,22). The men sang, the women played the instruments, danced and responded with a chorus. Therefore if this is an approved example for worship, then not only instruments, but also liturgical dancing, as well as choirs, choruses and part-singing, are lawful. “Nyet” is the reformed hobbitspeak answer.

    Again G notes that the typical aspects of the ceremonial worship represented Christ, the Spirit, if not both (Chapt. 2). But if the musical instruments only accompanied the burnt offering and the last signified Christ, the “good and necessary consequences” of scripture (WCF 1:6) give the nod to the Holy Spirit regarding the cymbals and trumpets.

    As a modern American presbyterian, albeit a conservative, RC Sproul would have his differences with the RPW and the original intent of the West. Stands. As in the lawfulness of holy days, uninspired songs, musical accompaniment. That he has no problem with incense I was not aware. Sadly, it does not surprise me.

    After all, we recently had a 3 volume series on the West. Confession in the 21st Century of which the longest, showcase and literally centerpiece article was special pleading from a calvinistic baptist that the “singing of psalms” in WCF 21:5 referred to uninspired songs. But when the WCF is wounded in the house of its friends after this fashion, who needs to worry about enemies and anglicans, eh?

    A couple of the money quotes from Dabney in his review (here or here of G on the principle and particular instances would be:

    . . . The framework of his arguments is this: it begins with that vital truth which no Presbyterian can discard without a square desertion of our principles. The man who contests this first premise had better set out at once for Rome: God is to be worshipped only in the ways appointed in his word. Every act of public cultus not positively enjoined by him is thereby forbidden. . . .

    Doubtless the objection in every opponent’s mind is this: That, after all, Dr. Girardeau is making a conscientious point on too trivial and non-essential a matter. I am not surprised to meet this impression in the popular mind, aware as I am that this age of universal education is really a very ignorant one. But it is a matter of grief to find ministers so oblivious of the first lessons of their church history. They seem totally blind to the historical fact that it was just thus every damnable corruption which has cursed the church took its beginning; in the addition to the modes of worship ordained by Christ for the New dispensation, of human devices, which seemed ever so pretty and appropriate, made by the best of men and women and ministers with the very best of motives, and borrowed mostly from the temple cultus of the Jews. Thus came vestments, pictures in churches, incense, the observances of the martyrs’ anniversary days in a word, that whole apparatus of will-worship and superstition which bloomed into popery and idolatry. “Why, all these pretty inventions were innocent. The very best of people used them. They were so appropriate, so aesthetic! Where could the harm be?” History answers the question: They disobeyed God and introduced popery, a result quite unforeseen by the good souls who began the mischief. (Discussions, V:323, 326,7)

    Even further, circumstances according to WCF 1:6 again, are those things which are ‘common to human actions and societies’. To borrow various aspects of the ceremonial worship of the temple and incorporate them into the worship, much more to insist that colorful vestments, candles, incense and instruments must be used or we cannot worship God properly, is to obliterate the distinction regarding the indifferent nature of circumstances and make them obligatory and commanded – though not by God.

  44. April 25, 2011 at 10:34 am

    RE: #44
    “After all, we recently had a 3 volume series on the West. Confession in the 21st Century of which the longest, showcase and literally centerpiece article was special pleading from a calvinistic baptist that the “singing of psalms” in WCF 21:5 referred to uninspired songs. ”

    FYI. The review (and rebuttal) of Nick Needham’s piece in WC21Cv2 by Matthew Winzer (published in The Confessional Presbyterian 4 [2008]) is available free here:

    Also, Joel Beeke seems to have found the Winzer more persuasive than the Needham as to the intent of Westminster with regard to psalmody.

    Psalm Singing in Calvin and the Puritans (2)-Dr. Joel R. Beeke

    Mike Bushell recent opined about Rev. Winzer’s review:
    “It is an historical fact that the Westminster Assembly deliberately limited worship song to the inspired Psalms. Matthew Winzer’s careful review of the historical evidence shows conclusively that claims to the contrary have no firm basis in fact. This review article needs to be placed in the hands of every person who would claim otherwise.”—Michael Bushell, author of Songs of Zion (new edition to be available from the author, May 2010).

  45. Darrell Todd Maurina said,

    April 25, 2011 at 11:24 am

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

  46. bsuden said,

    April 25, 2011 at 11:22 pm

    While I am a fan of the CP, another free review of Needham (and Kelly) can also be found here. (IOW what used to be called a vanity press, is sometimes called a blog these days.) It is perhaps, not so academic as Mr. Winzer’s review, but rather something for the ‘keep it simple’ crowd.

    As in, if the primary sources consist of one, the entire Westminster Standards, not just WCF 21:5 and two, the Minutes to the Assembly, an examination of those primary sources is in order before we go jumping to conclusions in the 21st century.

    FTM Chris, is Michael Bushell still planning on coming out with a new edition of Songs of Zion or . . . ? I know you said you had to back out of helping on it, but never heard anything else.

  47. bsuden said,

    April 25, 2011 at 11:26 pm

    45 Michael Bushell, author of Songs of Zion (new edition to be available from the author, May 2010).

    Or better yet Chris, are you saying we have to order the new edition from him?

  48. April 26, 2011 at 3:07 am

    RE 48.
    That is my understanding Bob.

  49. Richard said,

    April 26, 2011 at 5:39 am

    @bsuden – Thanks for clearing that up regarding Kauflin. I have read Girardeau and Dabney in the past, I think they are both well argued however I don’t find them to be persuasive. I have been meaning to buy the three volumes of The Westminster Confession into the 21st Century.

    As an Anglican I agree with you (Presbyterian?) that our worship should be biblical, that what we do should be regulated according to scripture. I am certainly not saying that we must borrow various aspects of the ceremonial worship of the temple and incorporate them into our worship, nor am I insisting that colorful vestments, candles, incense and instruments must be used or we cannot worship God properly, rather I would see them all as circumstances of worship (not elements) and so indifferent. Would you allow ministers to wear a Geneva gown? In my mind this is no different than colourful Eucharistic vestments.

    I suppose that I would also want to take into account a biblical anthropology and so ensure that any worship service (liturgy) was in accordance with seeing humans as embodied – taste, touch, smell, sight, and sound. I would also wish to ask what it is we are communicating non-verbally through the architecture of the worship space. I am a fan of the trajectory that Frame has taken and the work done my Sproul.

    As a brief aside, I have had no richer an experience when I received Holy Communion with the orchestra playing and the choir singing the Angus Dei.

  50. bsuden said,

    April 27, 2011 at 1:45 am

    49 Chris
    Would you have the contact info then?

    50. Richard,
    Yup, presbyterian, but all have to get back to yours later.

  51. Richard said,

    April 27, 2011 at 3:38 am

    @bsuden – no worries, FWIW, I have found Wright’s Freedom and Framework, Spirit and Truth: Recovering Biblical Worship and Worship and the Spirit in the New Testament to be helpful, well worth a read.

  52. April 27, 2011 at 6:56 am

    #51 Would you have the contact info then?
    No; but I asked for a link when an order site was available and I’ll update the Winzer page with it and put it on Facebook etc. when I get it.

  53. bsuden said,

    April 28, 2011 at 12:26 am

    50 Richard

    Historically the fundamental difference between anglicanism and presbyterianism has been worship and government, which are not indifferent for the latter. More to the point is the regualtive principle of worship or whatsoever is not commanded is forbidden in worship.

    Consequently, in that vestments, candles, incense and instruments are various aspects of the typical worship of the temple, they cannot be brought into the non typical worship of the NT under the guise or excuse of circumstance. The Genevan gown doesn’t quite fit in to the argument for ceremonial or sacrificial vestments.

    As for at least Frame, when you have folks over at Called To Transubstantiated Communion claiming him and Keller as inspiration for discarding the confessional POV and taking up with roman crucifixes well, enough said. All is not well in Zion.

    Regarding your experience with the orchestra, choir and communion, it sounds more aesthetic than spiritual. Which again, is just the point. One of the distinctions of Anglicanism is that it repudiates the biblical doctrine of worship, the RPW.

    53 Thanks Chris. I’ll be looking for it.

  54. May 23, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    Regarding above somewhere, Mike Bushell’s Songs of Zion is now in print in HB and PB.

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