60 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 7-18-18

  1. Morning, Chas. Now tell me, and us all, who this is.
    Or, do I have to go back several days where I vaguely remember you mentioning someone???

    First day went well, but I am oh so tired .I got up early and got to school early to finish something. Because Day care is now on our campus, we are opening the gates early at 8am, when they used to open at 8:15. So… everyone came at 8, but not all the teachers were even there. This is a recess time. A parent popped her head in my room at 8:15 to ask if they could come in and I said no. That would have meant an extra half hour of school for both myself and for the students. I did open the doors at 8:30 though. I actually wasn’t ready until then. And the bell rings at 8:38 and school begins at 8:45.
    Now I am baking a cake for another teacher’s birthday, which is tomorrow. So can’t go to bed yet. I was too tired to bake the cake earlier.

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  2. Chas,

    I edited the screenshot pic because it contained some personally identifiable info. I wasn’t sure about sharing that, so I removed it. She’s a cutie! 🙂

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  3. Good afternoon Jo. That is Collins Lea. Becky’s youngest.
    I was surprised to see his. I sent it to Aj with a story go with it and hoped it might get in as a post, which I couldn’t do.
    As I said, it has a story. But I need to feed breakfast to TSWITW.
    Will do it later.
    Thanks Aj. I think everyone will like it when I get it up.

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  4. This came to me over an i-phone and I couldn’t copy. I couldn’t do anything but fwd. So, I sent the entire thing to Aj. He wisely didn’t include some other stuff.
    But Becky sent this out. Her words in italic. This is retyped so there may be typos, they are mine.

    I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. 3 John 1:4

    During the week of VBS our sweet Collins Lea accepted Jesus as her Lord and Savior. After a few weeks of talking it through and meeting with our pastor, Daniel Dickard, we are confident in her decision. Brian and I have continually prayed that all of our children would be Christ followers We are so overjoyed and excited to see the Lord work through our girl.

    I don’t need to tell you how I feel.

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  5. That is so exciting! It will be neat to see how God continues to work in her life and the lives of those she will touch over the years. But we probably won’t hear the rest of the story until much later.

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  6. What a blessed way to be greeted on the blog!! Good Morning little sunshine…she is precious!! Oh so thankful for her decision to follow after Christ her Saviour! ❤️. ❤️

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  7. Bible Study went well last night, nobody melted. Only had about five folk, but that is okay. We were looking at God and His promises. Like that He will never leave us or forsake us. That is pretty big and really nice to know.

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  8. Roscuro, from last night: for the record, nowhere can you find me arguing only for “songs of the past” or songs with complicated instrumentation, etc. I am arguing that if the BEST you can do in music is “Father, I adore You, lay my life before You, how I love You” followed by the same verse to Jesus and then to the Spirit, then you probably need better music. If ALL you can do is sentimental lyrics with poor music, then the music is really only filler in the service, and you probably will do the people a favor in either getting rid of it altogether, or, better, having better music.

    One of my own favorite hymns (not mentioned in any of this discussion, I don’t think) is “Immortal, Invisible, God Only Wise.” It has a lot of big words in it, but a lot of good words. And it’s one of the ones I know by heart because I learned it by heart as a child. I doubt it is “beyond the reach” of most people. Others have mentioned “Amazing Grace.” But quality music has been written in our own generation, too. “As the deer” is scriptural lyrics, straightforward words and music. Music doesn’t need to be complicated. But if you are asking 150 or 500 people (or even 25 people) to sing something in a worship service, then it needs to be something worth singing.

    One of the sad things to me, in the two churches I have attended as an adult that started out singing hymns and GOOD choruses, but ended up singing mostly / only trivial choruses and few hymns or solid choruses, is that I found myself not singing around the house anymore. I asked myself why, and I realized it was because I wasn’t hearing anything worth singing. In one church, for years we went through a thing of singing mostly new songs–we would sing them one to three times (one to three separate services), which is barely long enough to learn a song, then we’d move on to other new ones. The few songs we did repeat for years were largely not worth singing, so when they did happen to come to mind during the week, I chose NOT to sing them, but cast around in my mind for something else, and discovered I wasn’t coming across anything better–it had just been too many years since I had sung anything of better quality than “Father, I Adore You” and while that one isn’t actively “bad,” it also isn’t worth singing.

    As I’ve reported this conversation to my husband, he keeps quoting part of this verse: Does the music pass this test from Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God”? Is the singing helping the Word of Christ dwell within us richly, or is it simply filler or something that gets our emotions pumped up?

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  9. Chas – Rejoicing with you! What a cute, precious little girl!

    As I was looking at the photo, trying to figure out who she could be, somehow it occurred to me that she must be one of your great-grandchildren. I don’t know how I knew, but it felt right.

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  10. I’ve spent the last eons working my way through Ezekiel using Pastor David Guzik’s study which was on the Blue Bible website.

    He takes apart every line and explains, which appeals to me.

    Today I reached the chapter of the dry bones: https://www.blueletterbible.org/Comm/guzik_david/StudyGuide2017-Eze/Eze-37.cfm

    I’ve never read this chapter quite like this before and the image of the pile of dry bones hit me–reminding me of photos we’ve all seen of the Holocaust.

    As I thought about all this, and reflected on a relative challenging Christians about migrants (I prefer to take my admonitions from other believers about how Christians should live, but its important to know how much disdain many of my relatives feel about my faith, sigh), several thoughts flit through my mind.

    * We’ve killed 60 million fetuses in this country during my adulthood. Could we qualify, too, for those dry bone images?

    * I’ve just read Nujeen, a gripping memoir of a girl who was pushed in her wheelchair from Syria to Germany as a refugee.

    *Could it be possible that God is “backfilling” those 60 million murdered fetuses with the refugees coming across our borders? Do we need them for a balance?

    * On a lighter note, this chapter always reminds me of zombies–whom it feels like we have among us. You know, the walking dead without souls?

    Random thoughts. Time to go dance!

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  11. Cheryl, you are saying the songs should be more intellectually stimulating, or they are not worth singing. While I enjoy varied phrases and good poetry in my hymns (none of my favorites even have choruses), I firmly disagree that repetition and simple phrases are unworthy of singing. After Christ’s triumphal entry into Jerusalem and casting out the money changers, the children in the temple don’t stop shouting the words that were shouted by the adults during the procession, which seemed to get on certain people’s nerves:
    But when the chief priests and the scribes saw the wonderful things that he did, and the children crying out in the temple, “Hosanna to the Son of David!” they were indignant,
    and they said to him, “Do you hear what these are saying?”
    And Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read,
    “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies
    you have prepared praise’?”
    (Matthew 21:15-16)
    If children repeating ‘Hosanna’ is worthy praise for the King of kings, then perhaps we are being too intellectual to insist that congregational hymns must be be full of different words to be meaningful. There are 29 verses in Psalm 118, and all of them end with the phrase, “For His mercy endures forever.” This phrase was the theme of the musicians of the temple, and it is repeated over and over again at pinnacles during the history of Israel, at the return of the Ark of the Covenant by David (I Chronicles 16:34, 41), at the dedication of Solomon’s temple (II Chronicles 5:13, 7:3,6), before the army of Jehoshaphat (II Chronicles 20:21), and at the relaying of the foundation of the temple when the exiles returned from Babylon (Ezra 3:11). Repetition is not always meaningless, sometimes it is used, as the Wolof do, for emphasis. The four beasts never cease to say: “Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come” before the throne of God (Revelation 4:8).

    ‘Father, I adore You’ is not my most favorite of choruses, but it makes a wonderful round, and songs have to be simple to be sung in rounds. When it is sung in round, as it was originally intended to be (it was first recorded by Maranatha Music as such) it’s simple phrases become layered and the chorus becomes an intricate praise to the Triune God. Rounds, which are actually a simple, lay version of the classical form called a canon (yes, like Pachelbel’s Canon) sometimes, when they are songs about God, remind me of the the four beasts or seraphim of Scripture, as Isaiah 6:5 describes them as saying the words to one another. Rounds, like the call and response of Psalm 118, are very much speaking to one another, as Paul instructed us to do with our worship music.

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  12. HaHa, only over the irony, Michelle, but I have been reading about plot skeletons this a.m.

    My friend, Karen, called around 7 a.m. to say she had cancelled her appointment I was suppose to take her to. Now I will take her to a different doctor tomorrow. I sure am learning flexibility as a continuing way of life. Karen probably has gout on top of everything else.

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  13. Chas, I saw Elvera’s adorable smile mingled in that sweet girl’s face. So thankful for your wonderful news. Some years back I had a girl approach me at VBS to let me know of her decision. I got to tell her mother who was a co-teacher, and it was such a gift to be a part of that. Smiles bubble up from the Jesus joy well inside to hear such news.

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  14. There are some beautiful new songs and hymns being written, we sing a mix of older and new. But they are all first vetted by the elders before they are added to the Sunday worship service. We’ve sung newer choruses and responses (though never endlessly) as well as ancient hymns. Each piece needs to be evaluated separately so singing “only” old ore “only” new … or “only” meaty or “only” simple songs … or “only” stringed classical or “only” guitar-and-drums pieces aren’t really helpful categories for sweeping generalizations.

    And I think that’s what most were saying yesterday, but maybe I’m wrong.

    Michael Card was a one the rare contemporary Christian artists who always submitted the songs he wrote to his elder board for review (at least I remember reading that somewhere eons ago, I suppose he was a contemporary Christian singer in the 1980s, ’90s, maybe not so much now, obviously, but I still always liked him and his music).

    Very cute little one 🙂

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  15. Yes, Roscuro, I have usually sung “Father, I Adore You” as a round, and as I said above, I wasn’t objecting to the song per se. I am objecting to music that has that as its “best” offering. And I care nothing about its level of “intellectual stimulation.” When I speak of “repetition,” I do not mean only that it repeats a phrase (as, say, a chorus).

    Maybe you “had to be there” to get what I’m saying. Have you ever attended a church that chooses a simple chorus, one to four lines, and repeats it at least seven times? I have used this example on here before, but I think it bears repeating now. I once sat in a service where a “praise team” sang, “The Spirit and the bride, the Spirit and the bride, the Spirit and the bride say, ‘Come Lord Jesus.'” That is straight out of Scripture, and as far as it goes, it isn’t at all bad. Had it been repeated once or twice, it still would have been OK. Had it been followed by a verse or two of additional content (let’s say we added “Even so, come Lord Jesus” and a text about the Second Coming from Ephesians), that would have been even better. But the team sang that one verse–which you will note already repeats the same phrase three times–over and over. If I said they sang it 20 times, it would sound like an exaggeration, but I think it was probably more than 20. By the time they had sung it seven or eight times, I dug out my bulletin and read all the announcements, and then I opened my hymnal and read a couple of hymns, every verse, before they finally finished. Congregational singing never took it to that extreme, but eight or ten or twelve repetitions of the same sentence wasn’t unusual. We might sing something to the Father eight times, and then the leader would say, “Let’s sing to Jesus now!” and we’d sing the same words again, then do the Holy Spirit. (In my opinion that suggests the Trinity is interchangeable, by the way.) Then we would go on to another song and sing it five or six times. Sometimes we would sing a hymn and stop with the first verse and sing it multiple times and never sing the second verse. We might sing only the first verse of “Amazing Grace” and then sing the same tune again but with multiple repetitions of the phrase “Praise God” standing in as that second verse.

    Singing doesn’t have to be intellectually rigorous, certainly not all the time, but does this come even close to qualifying for loving God with all our soul, mind, heart, strength, etc.?

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  16. It is so weird when you are signed in and yet you become anonymous when you post.

    Pachelbel’s Canon in D, like a round, has each of the three melodic instruments pick up the melody in turn. But to make things more complicate, the melody continues on into different variations, each of which is in turn played by the trio, while the lower instruments accompany the trio in what is called a ground bass, a series of chords which supply the harmony to the overarching melody. When the Canon is played as it was originally intended to be played, this overplayed piece, which many now consider trite, becomes once again the masterpiece it originally was:

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  17. Well said Cheryl.

    Yes, I remember singing a chorus phrase in a church I was visiting once and it probably was repeated 20 times as well. I still remember thinking “this must be the last time” when it right away began repeating again causing me (almost!) to roll my eyes. I really wanted to sit down, but I think the idea behind that in some churches is to put us almost into an emotional trans. It’s repeated (they think) until we all get there. Oy. My feet were hurting and I felt really distanced from the entire experience the ‘worship team’ was trying so hard to evoke. It really just had the opposite of the intended response in me, I suppose. Some of us just wind up feeling very “unspiritual.”

    Gardener is coming today to do a couple extra jobs — clearing out some gnarly roots that are blocking part of the south side of the house where we need to get in to paint and building a new gate (with a small attached portion of new fence) on the south side of the house. The gate has always been a problem and not really functional so it’s just remained closed all these years. At some point, a tree limb began poking in between some of the boards, pretty much sealing its doom.

    When the painters tried to free the limb, the entire gate just fell apart so now we have had to board up that side so the dogs don’t get out.

    It will be nice to have a working gate there. The gardener (and his cousins) were the ones who did such a nice job on my back fence so I know it’ll be done well and for a reasonable price (which we’ve already agreed upon).

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  18. A benign side effect of exclusive psalmody is that it makes it easy to address many of the questions raised about what singing in worship should look (sound) like.

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  19. Michelle, @ 10:20
    I read that article a few minutes ago, What struck me was the comment the writer (forgot his name) made abourt the author’s attitude. She defended the practice of human sacrifice. It was the culture of the day.

    “I don’t need to tell you how I feel.
    The problem is Wade doesn’t seem to believe it herself. Her tweets are peppered with remarks about “colonial oppression and destruction,” giving the impression that she won’t judge Mesoamerican human sacrifice, but she’s perfectly willing to judge the Europeans who put an end to it.”

    There’s a lot of that going on today. Maybe this belongs on the “politics” thread, but it’s appropriate.

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  20. Cheryl, Psalm 188’s 29 times exceeds the 20 in your anecdote. Look, I don’t like the emotive repetition that sometimes occurs in worship, as it leaves me cold and I really just want to move on to the next song. I have found, however, that it depends on the song leader – some people are more likely to pull that kind of repetition than others. I do not always encounter it in churches that use contemporary music. Also, it is something that could be corrected by some loving input. If all those who gripe about modern music made an effort to get to know and be friends with those who are playing the music, perhaps they might have more of an impact. Priscilla and Aquila actively discipled Apollos when they saw the inadequacies of his preaching. I have read many negative articles on the subject of modern church music and listened to many who are discontented with the style even in my own church. Many of the musicians who didn’t like simply packed up and moved on to other churches when the city church stopped having their traditional service, even though the preaching and statement of faith remained the same; only I and a couple of other traditional musicians have actually been willing to join the worship team, and by the feedback I received from both complainers and non-complainers on my last Sunday there, I am beginning to make a difference. The worship pastor’s training is in contemporary styles (I think he said he began his music career in a jazz ensemble), he doesn’t really know that much about classical music, but he is willing to learn from others if they will take the time to share.

    Exclusive psalmnody isn’t practiced in the Scripture. There are many songs of worship in both the Old and New Testament that are not in the Psalms: Hannah’s song, Jeremiah’s Lamentations, Habbakuk’s entire prophecy and numerous poems in almost all the prophets, Zechariah, Mary, and Simeon’s songs in Luke’s Gospel, while Philippians 2:5-11, Colossians 1:15-20, I Timothy 3:16, Hebrews 1:1-3, and I Peter 2:21-25 all are written in poetic form and are thought to be early hymns about Christ, as early Christians are known to have sung such hymns [Pliny the Younger, among his accusations towards Christians, complains that: “they sang in alternate verses a hymn to Christ, as to a god”: http://www.vroma.org/~hwalker/Pliny/Pliny10-096-E.html%5D.

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  21. Solar Pancake, it depends on the psalter whether translations are good, and even good material can be “ruined” in the wrong hands–bad translations or a music minister who decides only to sing the first verse, and sing it multiple times, or who only uses a very small portion of his favorite Psalms. And a serious side effect of Psalms only is that it is limited to the revelation up to that point. That is part of the reason my husband is not “Psalms only” but “sacred text only.” The song of Simeon and the Magnificat are songs, as well, and so are some additional Old and New Testament texts. Romans 8:28 isn’t written as a song, but there is no reason it cannot be sung. “And Can It Be” translates Peter’s freedom from prison into our own salvation experience with “My chains fell off, my heart was free, I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.”

    I don’t see anything in Scripture that says we have to pray, sing, or preach using only the words of Scripture. But most certainly we should be using only biblical truth in all that we do in the service. (That “prayer wheel” stuff has got to go.) And all of it needs to be under the oversight of one or more elders.

    However, we have strayed so far from the idea that all of it must be biblically based, edifying and worshipful, and under the direct oversight of elders (not some 22-year-old “worship leader”), that it seems like it might very well be safer for a board of elders to say, “From now on, we are only going to sing Scripture texts. That might mean setting Scripture to new tunes, but we’re going to step outside the controversy and the ‘worship wars’ by taking our texts straight from Scripture, whether those texts are in the Psalter, in hymns that come straight from Scripture, or in new renditions that we write and teach the congregation.”

    Here is a brand-new Psalter Hymnal (the Psalter is the first half, and then carefully vetted hymns–including some new ones, I understand–in the back half). https://www.gcp.org/ProductDetail.aspx?Item=TPH1010 I have only been able to see it one time, and wasn’t able to look at all of it, but a tool like this might do well in keeping a congregation on track. The old “Trinity Hymnal” was supposed to be vetted, but it had some doozies here and there. (And the “Trinity Psalter” as some really weird translating/wording.) This is supposed to be a better option for congregations that care about sound doctrine in their music.

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  22. Roscuro, there is no Psalm 188 in my Bible, so maybe that’s the problem. 😉 Whichever Psalm you mean, I assume that it uses the same phrase repeatedly, perhaps as a call and response: “the mercies of the Lord are new every morning” or something of that sort. The verse I mentioned that was sung more than 20 times in succession, that same sentence was sung 20-plus times, including one phrase that would have been sung three times as often. So if they sang it 25 times, they sang that phrase 75 times. Singing something about God’s mercies and then repeating that His mercies are ever new is not at all the same thing as singing the exact same sentence dozens of times with no additions, changes, or even musical changes.

    But I think that having all a church’s music under the oversight of an elder who has at least some musical training and some theological training would do away with the problem, assuming the church is theologically sound and takes care as it chooses its elders.

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  23. Cheryl, Psalm 118, just repeated the wrong number while typing. In both churches I have played in, the music has been under the oversight of an elder. The worship pastor of the city church is a trained pastor who was called by the church board of elders for that position, and in the family church, hymns were always chosen by the pastor.

    Update on my father. He went to have an X-ray and see the surgeon at the fracture clinic today. He got what for. The doctor said if it wasn’t healed in 6 weeks, he would have to amputate the whole front of my father’s foot, while the nurse forbade him from driving or working around outside, i.e. in the garden, during that time.

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  24. True, Cheryl, translations and good tunes, etc., are an issue, but that’s true whether one holds to exclusive psalmody or not. Translations are an issue in the very choosing of a *Bible,* but we don’t argue from that that non-canonical text is Scripture.

    I don’t think the objection that the Psalms contains limited revelation is persuasive against singing only Psalms in worship. It begs the question whether God has instructed us to sing only Psalms, which I believe He has, but beyond that, the Psalms actually encompass all of history, from beginning to end, from Christ’s creation of the world, care for Israel, His coming in bodily form, His resurrection, His exaltation in heaven, His eschatological victory and eternal reign; it’s all there! Hebrews 1 is intensely Christ-centered; it also quotes extensively from the Psalms. The Psalms depict not only the events, but the *mind* of Christ as a suffering servant.

    The song of Simeon and the Magnificat weren’t sung as part of worship services. The exclusive psalmody argument doesn’t hold that *no* songs may be written or sung apart from the Psalms; only that the Psalms provided by God are those, and those only, are what He has provided for such constituted times.

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  25. But Roscuro, what do Hannah’s song, Jeremiah’s Lamentations, Habbakuk’s prophecies, songs of Zechariah, Mary, Simeon, passages from Philippians, Colossians, Timothy, Hebrews, Peter, have in common? They’re inspired. Cheryl quoted Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” What uninspired songs can we rightfully call “the word of Christ”? At the very least, I would wonder how we can assume from any of these Scriptures that God has prescribed for us uninspired songs to sing.

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  26. Solar Pancake, no, in those original forms, those scriptural songs weren’t used in corporate worship–but I don’t see the relevance of that point. Most of the Psalms probably weren’t initially used in public worship, either–they were David strumming his harp and privately praising God, or Moses publicly rejoicing in some event. Nothing in Scripture commands us to sing “only Psalms, no other Scripture,” and certainly by no possible standard is it “lesser” to sing other Scripture, even in public worship. Let’s say, for instance, that a pastor would like the congregation corporately to sing the Lord’s prayer rather than simply reciting it–under what possible standard could that be a violation? Prayers might be said or sung; either is a prayer.

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  27. Cheryl, sure, most songs are written in private. I don’t see the relevance of that point. We have commands in Scripture to sing the Psalms. Do we have commands to sing the Lord’s Prayer?

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  28. Just parenthetically, related to the Psalms and their insufficiency for singing due to lack of revelation, this passage from Luke, quoting Jesus, is such a weighty endorsement of the Psalms for study in the New Testament age, regardless of one’s position on exclusive psalmody (KJV):

    Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.

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  29. SP, I have no question that the Psalms testify of Jesus. I have no problem with singing the Psalms. I wasn’t pointing out that Psalms are written in private, but that their “first use” might have been either private (David singing as he watched his sheep) or public but not in corporate worship (psalms sung during the wilderness wanderings, for instance). That the song of Simeon was sung in the temple but not in corporate worship, or the Magnificat sung with no one but Mary and an angel present, does not make them different.

    Would you be OK with a pastor leading his congregation in saying the Lord’s prayer? If so, what makes singing it somehow out of bounds?

    The command to sing psalms, hymns, and sacred songs simply does not say “only if they are found within the book of Psalms.” It’s adding to Scripture.

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  30. Hi Cheryl. I guess I’m not following the point about Psalms being written in private, and their first use. We do have instruction to sing them. We don’t have instruction to sing the Magnifcat. We do have instruction from Jesus to say the Lord’s Prayer, but not to sing it.

    Psalms, hymns, and sacred songs refer to the Psalms. Each of those terms were used as references to Psalms.

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  31. The fact that the Magnificat was a private song does not in itself make it inappropriate for public singing any more than it makes it inappropriate for a public sermon. Many of the Psalms also initially had a private use, but they were songs and thus could be sung in other places.

    The word “psalm” doesn’t necessarily refer only to a chapter within the book of Psalms. I just put “psalm” into Bible Gateway to see where else in the Old Testament the word shows up, and I see that 2 Samuel 22:1 is labeled “David’s Psalm of Deliverance” and 1 Chronicles 16:8 “Psalm of Thanksgiving.” Without doing further research I don’t know if these chapters are repeated within the Psalms. Let’s say for the sake of argument that they are not–would the command to sing “psalms, hymns, and sacred songs” somehow forbid us to sing them unless they made it into the Book of Psalms?

    We could do the same with the words “hymn” and “sacred song.” Even granting the argument that these words specifically refer to types of songs within the psalter and that they specifically mean divisions of the psalter . . . it is an argument from silence to say that they can only mean that, and that other songs within Scripture cannot be sung and obey this command.

    Let’s look at it a different way. Let’s say that someone takes a verse from Scripture, “Honor your father and mother,” to try to prove that a Christian must never honor a human being other than one’s father and mother. I’d have to say, “The verse doesn’t say that. It says to honor these people, but it doesn’t forbid honor to other people.” Let’s take it a step further and pretend that the word “father” in this verse actually means “a male elder,” basically anyone who is a generation older than you who is male. So I say, “Not only does this verse not forbid me to honor my grandfather and my pastor, it actually commands me to do so.” If the word means “older male, especially one’s father” then the burden is on you to prove that in this verse: (1) it can only mean “father” and (2) it forbids honor of a man other than one’s father.

    This verse commands singing to God in worship, and the words used are (apparently) divisions of the psalter, so we should sing the Psalms as part of our corporate worship. I’ll grant you all of that so far. Now . . . the burden is on you to show on what grounds neither songs, nor psalms, nor hymns can possibly include songs outside the psalter. I will even grant you, for the sake of argument, that this verse forbids use of songs that are not directly from Scripture (though I do not think that it does, any more than commands to pray are limited to praying prayers that are given in Scripture). But by what interpretation can we say that “psalm” here cannot include 2 Samuel 22 unless it is repeated within the psalter? And how can we insist that “sacred song” or “hymn” cannot possibly include the Song of Simeon? Asked another way, what are the other songs in Scripture if they are not psalms and are not hymns and are not sacred songs?

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  32. Hi Cheryl. I’ll be happy to answer that question, but since you imply (and your conversation with Roscuro seems to confirm) you’re fine with singing songs not prescribed in Scripture during formally constituted worship services, I’m curious about your hermeneutic on the issue of worship of God. We see over and over how jealous God is of His worship; He says so directly. When directing Moses and the priests how they and the people are too worship him, Moses repeatedly recounts how they must do things “as the Lord commanded.” Look at Exodus 39 as one example of *many.” No fewer than ten times, Moses recounts how they carried out this or that aspect of worship “as the Lord commanded.” God is remarkably particular about how He is worshipped. *He* tells *us* how to do it. We should tread very carefully. But it’s not as structured with prayer. He doesn’t limit prayer in nearly the same way as corporate worship. Or do you suggest he does? If so, where?

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  33. Honor your father and your mother doesn’t stand alone as a single verse in the Bible. Its application is expounded on throughout. The WCF and Larger Catechism demonstrate this. No proponent of exclusive psalmody or the regulative principle suggests that the command applies only to one’s mom and dad, and they acknowledge how other *Scripture* makes that expanded application.

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  34. I like singing hymns. I like singing Scripture choruses. I like singing some praise choruses. But I don’t like singing “As the deer” in it’s original form, as the writer (Eddie James according to one source I found) mixes KJV English with modern usage.

    “As the deer panteth for the water
    So my soul longeth after thee
    You alone are my heart’s desire
    And I long to worship you.”
    (https://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/eddiejames/asthedeer.html)

    Maranatha! Singers sing the last part as “You alone are my heart’s desire And I long to worship Thee.”

    Another problem is the verse added by someone else along the way that calls Jesus “the apple of my eye.” Sure, those words are from Scripture, but it is God saying that of us, not the other way around,
    (https://www.lyricsfreak.com/r/religious+music/as+the+deer_20887248.html)

    If someone wants to write a tune for Scripture, great. Just don’t mix up the context of the original.

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  35. Solar Pancake – Just to be clear, are you suggesting we need to go back to burned offerings, since that is worshiping God “as the Lord commanded”?

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  36. SP, the short answer is that Old Testament worship was regulated very precisely, down to the clothing the priests wore. The New Testament is nowhere near as precise. We aren’t even told how to baptize, and thus we have proponents of sprinkling, pouring, and full immersion!

    What we are told we need to obey. We are told, for instance, to have both elders and deacons, and therefore I think it is error when churches have only deacons (but those deacons function as elders). (I think a young, small church might be able to function without deacons, but not without elders.) We are told to partake of the Lord’s supper. We are told to worship Christ correctly in reverence and awe. We are told that services should be done in an orderly fashion. We know that churches have a clear membership, not just people who show up, and discipline of members who are in sin.

    But nowhere are we commanded (that I know of) that a church service consists of this and this and this, but not this. So we have, for instance, clear commands to encourage one another and to speak words of encouragement–but we have real disagreement among denominations as to whether that “speaking” by the laity is part of a church service. We differ on whether the Lord’s supper is part of a meal or stands alone, just the wine and the bread. We differ on how formal the service should be, whether it is better or worse if it takes place in a house. We differ on the centrality of preaching, and even the purpose of preaching. We differ even on whether instruments should be used.

    I honestly wish it were clearer, and I’ve wondered sometimes why it is not. My tentative answer (I’m not a theologian and I’ve never heard anyone else say this, so I’m on shaky ground) is that the rules and regulations of the Old Testament had a specific purpose, fulfilled in Christ, and those rules and regulations have been done away with. We deliberately have more “freedom” in worship today . . . but under the careful watch of elders, who will give account for how they shepherd the flock. They have all sorts of commands about watching out for wolves, worshiping in reverence and awe, and so forth. So there are very clear things that do not belong in a worship service. Puppet shows are a very clear disconnect from reverent worship, for instance. But whether a specific congregation uses drums, pianos, or a cappella singing is simply never spelled out–it will naturally vary from one culture to another. If one culture has women sitting on one side of the room and men on the other, and another culture has them sitting in family groups, those are acceptable differences. Trivializing the service, or having it led by men who are not elders (or are biblically unqualified to be elders), or led by women, is clearly spelled out.

    I think it’s pretty clear that a worship service led by wise elders is not going to have the youth group in the first and second rows singing “Spring up oh well / within my soul” and have teenagers jumping up and down with the words “spring up,” and some of them saying “Goosh goosh” as sound effects for the water (an actual example from when I was about 21). But are the elders given freedom to set the Lord’s Prayer to reverent music and have the congregation sing it? I’ve never heard anything from Scripture that says otherwise. Can a pastor who is preaching through the Ten Commandments take individual commandments and write (reverent) songs as to what they mean, using fully biblical themes but not word for word quotations? Personally I believe that elders do have that authority–but I believe the authority of an elder comes with a grave responsibility, and an elder who is not fully convinced of that authority is far better off sticking with the actual words of Scripture.

    But I have heard nothing whatsoever from Scripture that says it is OK to sing some words from Scripture in public worship, but wrong to sing others. My husband (who has studied the issue far more than I, and who was an elder in our previous church) is fully convinced of the “Scripture only” position, and I’ve never heard the beginnings of an argument for any limit more narrow than that.

    Is that enough that you can answer my question?

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  37. Solar – I believe we are to worship God as Jesus suggested to the woman at the well in John 4: “Those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth”. No specifics are given in how that means, though.

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  38. Cheryl, aren’t we commanded to sing Psalms in worship? We have both the direct command and apostolic example. What other songs are we commanded to sing in corporate worship?

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  39. Peter L, I agree we’re not given all specifics, but we are told, as the aforementioned Col 3:16-17 instructs, to sing Psalms. Could we have read the “as the Lord commanded” passages in the OT and then concluded, Yes, He commanded that stuff, but He didn’t say we *shouldn’t* do this other stuff, too, so I’ll add those things? Why do we do that now?

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  40. You people are much too high brow for me. Of course I am from the South where we have call and response and spirituals.
    As I have said before “make a joyful noise”. That’s good because as I have said before two husbands have asked me not to sing.

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  41. Solar,

    We are commanded to sing praise to God in corporate worship. YOU are the one who is insisting that such praise is limited to the book of Psalms only, and I am asking you to back that up. I have pointed out that the word “psalm” is not limited to poetry in one book of the Bible, and that I strongly suspect “sacred song” and “hymn” are not, either. You have not proven that the apostles led the churches in singing only Psalms (or only scriptural texts, for that matter).

    Not being commanded to sing songs other than Psalms is different from being forbidden to do so. And before you pull out the regulative principle, that’s a circular argument. You have to prove that “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” means ONLY the book of Psalms before that applies here.

    Liked by 1 person

  42. The command to “preach the word” means that only the words of Scripture can be repeated in a sermon, since there is no new revelation and the preacher is uninspired by the Holy Spirit. Since all Scripture is adequate for reproof, for doctrine, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, there is no need to add extra words that are uninspired when preaching a sermon, and only inspired words should be spoken in public sermons. Furthermore, since the Scriptures are only inspired in their original texts, we need to only use the Hebrew and Greek texts for preaching in the corporate worship service, since translations are made by uninspired men.

    The above, of course, is a reductio ad absurdum. Hymns and spiritual songs written by uninspired writers are like the sermons of uninspired preachers, neither perfect nor infallible, but they expound on the Bible, combining Scriptural concepts to draw out an aspect of Scriptural truth. Christian hymns such as the fourth century ‘Let all mortal flesh keep silence’ make extensive use of concepts from various parts of Scripture to meditate on an aspect of theology or doctrine, in this case, the Advent of Christ: https://travellerunknownblog.wordpress.com/2017/12/02/advent-season-december-2nd-2017/.

    The words instructing us to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs are words referring to various poetic forms. Strong’s says this in the entry for oide, the Greek word for song in used in the phrase ‘spiritual song’:
    a chant or “ode” (the general term for any words sung; while G5215 [hymnos, meaning hymn] denotes especially a religious metrical composition, and G5568 [psalmos, meaning psalm] still more specially, a Hebrew cantillation).
    So, according to Greek scholars, only the word ‘psalms’ in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 is a specific reference to the Psalms of the Hebrew Bible, the other two words for ‘hymn’ and ‘songs’ are more general terms used in both the Bible and secular literature to refer to chants and religious songs. In fact, the Greek word hymnos (hymn) was used in secular Greek literature to refer to hymns to pagan gods, which is the historical and linguistic context for Pliny the Younger’s complaint to the Emperor Trajan that Christians sang hymns to Christ as if he were a god, which I referenced earlier.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. I always find it striking to read of David’s additions to the worship of the temple in I Chronicles 15:16-22 and 16:4-6, 37-42. Only trumpets were actually commanded for worship in the law of Moses, but David had many different instruments made and added for worship. He also appointed certain of the Levites to be temple musicians, another thing never mentioned in the law of Moses. David’s innovation of using an ox-cart to carry the Ark of the Covenant was wrong, but his innovations on how to praise the Lord with music were acceptable and commendable.

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  44. Solar – Paul says to sing “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs.” What are those hymns and songs? Most likely lyrics inspired by Scripture that aren’t necessarily verbatim.

    Oh, and this is 57 for those who wanted it.

    Liked by 3 people

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