New Wineskins: Two More Articles Posted, by Clyde Symonette and Danny Corbitt

WineskinsbannerThe first six articles in the New Wineskins series on instrumental music have now been posted.

The complete list is —

Introduction — The Instrumental Music Issue, by Jay Guin

On God’s Salvation, Galatians, and the Instrument, by Jay Guin

“Thy Kingdom Come” and the Instrument, by Jay Guin

The Early Church on Christian Music, by Danny Corbitt

Reconsidering Ephesians 5:19, by Clyde Symonette

Psallo: Lost in the Translation, by Danny Corbitt

Reflective or Regulative, by Al Maxey

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 1

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 2

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 3

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 4

Reflections on My Interview with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, by Jay Guin

David’s Psalms in the New Testament Church, by Clyde Symonnette

Beyond the Pitch Pipe, by Ryan Christian

And so, In Conclusion, by Jay Guin

Clyde does a great job showing a better, more scriptural understanding of Eph 5:19, and Danny destroy the old psallo argument.

Please make a point of helping to spread the word about this series — among all factions of the Churches of Christ. These articles won’t do much good unless they’re widely read. Post notes in appropriate forums and on your own blogs and otherwise help be sure these articles are noticed. As the next few posts will show, this won’t be just a rehash of the old canned arguments.

Profile photo of Jay Guin

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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12 Responses to New Wineskins: Two More Articles Posted, by Clyde Symonette and Danny Corbitt

  1. Rich W says:

    Clyde's article sheds fresh light on the church father comments for me. Their reasoning to be acapella was to be different from the pagans (gentiles). It has previously been emphasized we have no record of they quoting Eph 5:19 to justify acapella singing but they consistently referred to the overall theme of the passage Eph 4:17. It seems to the patristics, singing acapella matched the overall big picture framework of Ephesians. At least, that's the reason they gave.

  2. Clyde Symonette says:

    Rich:

    Did you mean to say "Clyde's article"? My article addressed Eph 5:19? Are you referring to a comment I made perhaps?

  3. JMF says:

    I thought Clyde's article was great, and it was written it a very readable way that I found appealing. He is a very good writer, and I'm disturbed that this is the first time I've heard of the guy! The COC needs more guys like him at the forefront of our denomination/fellowship.

    His argument from Ephesians reminded me of a post your wrote quite awhile back, Jay. I was lurking through the archives…I was a post you wrote on a "supposed" dream you had. Essentially, you were saying that throwing a monkey wrench into a argument is not nearly enough; you must be able to take the strong parts of the argument (in this case, eph. 5:19) and show how that DOES in fact ALLOW for IM usage.

    You went on to make the "psalm" argument.

    Even though the IM stuff does get a little boring to me, I've got to say the articles thus far have been quite fascinating.

    Is anyone putting up any good arguments to the contrary? I've read the comments and it seems to be the Piney show. I appreciate anyone that is passionate about something, but his arguments are just not coherent. At least, for my brain.

    I mean, is it even possible to get pro-IM guys to read the articles? Guys that are smart and put forth good arguments? Has Prater read Corbitt's articles? He seems to be a reasonable guy that was big on the whole ECF thing… I'd be interested in his take.

    I'd also be interested to see how someone would argue the point Clyde made about the implication of "psalms."

  4. Rich W says:

    Clyde,

    Thank you for responding. Yes, I was referring to your article. Please let me know if I misunderstand what your wrote.

    In your opening, you call attention that Ephesians was mostly written for Christians with a strong pagan/gentile background. You indicate that Eph 5:19 calls for singing to God rather than (pagan) gods.

    Many have claimed the early church fathers support (and in some cases, demand) of acappela music was a reaction to pagan worship rather than an exegesis of scripture. Your tying of Eph 5:19 to Eph 4:17 put 2 and 2 together for me. The early church fathers were referring to scripture in advocating acapella. They were connecting with the bigger picture of Ephesians rather than a single verse.

    I assume you don't have same conclusion. However, the facts you presented helped me make this connection.

  5. Clyde Symonette says:

    Rich:

    I assume that you are not referring to my article. I made no mention of church fathers in the article, I did make a few comments about church fathers in the comments sections of wineskins and one here- yes.

    You wrote:
    "Many have claimed the early church fathers support (and in some cases, demand) of acappela music was a reaction to pagan worship rather than an exegesis of scripture"

    The above is correct.

    In a comment to HistoryGuy, I cited snippets of Chrysostom’s commentary of Colossians 3:16.

    He wrote:
    “Teaching,” he saith,” and admonishing one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Mark also the considerateness of Paul. Seeing that reading is toilsome, and its irksomeness great, he led them not to histories, but to psalms, that thou mightest at once delight thy soul with singing, and gently beguile thy labors. “Hymns,” he saith,” and spiritual songs.” But now your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians ; no one knoweth any psalm, but it seems a thing to be ashamed of even, and a mockery, and a joke. There is the treasury house of all these evils.

    When in these thou hast led him on from CHILDHOOD, by little and little thou wilt LEAD HIM FORWARD even to the HIGHER things. The Psalms contain all things, but the Hymns again have nothing human. When he has been INSTRUCTED OUT OF THE PSALMS, he will then know hymns also, AS A DIVINER THING. For the Powers above chant hymns, not psalms.

    What is the hymn of those above? The Faithful know. What say the cherubim above ? What say the Angels ? ” Glory to God in the highest.” (Ps. cxii. 5.) Therefore after the psalmody come the hymns, as a thing of more perfection. ” With psalms,” he saith, ” with hymns, with spiritual songs, with grace singing in your hearts to God.”
    Philip Schaff, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, , XIII:301-302

    Chrysostom appears to censure Paul’s instructions. He suggests that since the Apostle Paul understood that reading was laborious for his readers, he was being considerate to his readers by making reference to the instrumental psalm, thus making their reading more interesting. In Chrysostom’s words, Paul’s instructions to teach and admonish one another with psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

    “Mark also the considerateness of Paul. Seeing that reading is toilsome, and its irksomeness great”

    According to Chrysostom, Paul invoked the psalm so,

    “That thou mightest at once delight thy soul with singing, and gently beguile thy labors [i.e., reading].”

    He implied that if psalms were truly implemented,

    “Your children will utter songs and dances of Satan, like cooks, and caterers, and musicians.”

    “No one knoweth any psalm,” he exclaimed. And in a reference to the psalm, Chrysostom wrote,

    “It seems a thing to be ashamed of even, and a mockery, and a joke.

    Finally, in a statement that mirrors Origen’s commentary of Ephesians 5:19, Chrysostom presents a philosophical objection to Paul’s instructions. He continued:

    The Psalms contain all things, but the Hymns again have nothing human. When he [a person] has been instructed out of the Psalms, he will then know hymns also, as a diviner thing. For the POWERS ABOVE CHANT HYMNS, NOT PSALMS.

    The emphasized text is an intriguing statement; but the notion that the chanting of hymns is a “diviner thing” than a palm is contradicted by Scripture.

  6. Rich W says:

    Clyde,

    Thanks for the feedback.

    I was in the Bahamas once back in May, actually a couple of hours at a small airport, en route to Haiti. I was flying with Mission Flights International. From the air, it looked like you live in a very beautiful part of the world.

    Actually, I hadn't read any of your comments. I was referring to a portion of your article. I was the one making the connection with the early church fathers' reasons for acapella.

    I was mostly referring to my memory of the writings of Clement of Alexander, about 150 BC. By the time of Chrysostom (about 400 BC) many, many teachings of the NT had already been rejected.

  7. Clyde Symonette says:

    Hi Rich:

    Whenever you're coming to the Bahamas again let me know brother.

    You said: " By the time of Chrysostom (about 400 BC)many teachings of the NT had already been rejected"

    I don't reject that, but help me to understand your point.

  8. Rich W says:

    Hi Clyde:

    Perhaps I misunderstood the point you were making. I haven't studied much about Chrysostom. It sounded like you were saying Chrysostom rejected some of Paul's teachings based on Paul's usage of the word psalo. I'm sorry I'm just not up on this. How does that pertain to understanding Eph 5:19?

    Thanks for responding. I'm trying to understand.
    Rich.

  9. Clyde Symonette says:

    Hi Rich:

    You said that someone suggested eph 5:19 or col 3:16 was never used by church fathers to justify non-instrumental singing. I believe someone suggested that EARLY church fathers did not use those passages to exclude instruments from worship, and I believe what was suggested is correct. I proceed to give you an example of how Chrysostom used col 3:16. If you read it again, you’ll see that it was not used as a justification for NI singing.

    Rich, what if it was used to justify NI worship? The writings of the church fathers do not define the message of the gospel. Paul is an Apostle who gave God’s instructions to the church at Ephesus. Chrysostom, Clement and others – like you me or anyone else here, interpreted, commented on and applied the words of the Apostles best they knew how. What we have in their writings are Clement’s late 2nd-Century, Origen’s 3rd-century, Eusebius’ and John Chrysostom’s 4th-century views. As Jay has correctly indicated, “It’s not really about what the early Christian bishops wrote.” It’s about what Scriptures teach. No one disagrees that the teachings of the church fathers are riddled with errors; except on the matter non-instrumental worship of course!

    My point (admittedly shrouded in obfuscation as made clear in HistoryGuy’s response to me) in referencing the works of Chrysostom was simply was to show that he viewed the psalm as it was commonly define during the period, i.e., a pious song accompanied by instruments. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, while he encouraged the WORDS of the Psalms, he rejected its style by allegorizing the instruments of psalms. The allegorization indicates his need to have his readers understand that he was specifically precluding what was necessarily inferred in the psalm, i.e., an instrument. If he did NOT allegorize them, psalms would have been understood as BDAG defined it: “in accordance with OT usage”.

    Trench explains the etymology (or the origin and evolution) of the word psalmos. He says the word psalmos came from psa? (???)-to rub, to wipe off. He explained that psalmos was first used for:

    Touching,
    then touching the harp or other stringed instruments,

    then the instrument itself, namely, the psalterion—a ten stringed instrument,

    and finally it was used of a Song sung with the musical accompaniment.

    He notes that it was at this last stage that psalmos was adopted for use in the Septuagint.

    While I believe that the song of the early church was a cappella indeed (although as Danny has argue-not exclusively a cappella (Ritter agrees with him)), Scriptures infer that the song of the EARLIEST church is that of the Temple.

    And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24:53. I

    f you look at the Temple, you’d see that there were no private rooms for Christian meetings. It is hard to believe the church held Synagogal style worship (non-instrumental) in the instrumental Temple.

    In my view Chrysostom rejected psalms to which Paul gave apostolic authorization by redefining them.

    Hope this helps Rich

    Clyde

  10. Rich W says:

    Clyde,

    Certainly, the word, psalo, was a morphing word. An attempt to freeze it's meaning can possibly mislead us.

    My understanding of Paul's usage of the word does imply accompaniment. I say that because in all cases where he uses psalo he includes the accompaniment (in the heart, with grace in the heart, with the mind, with understanding). One exception is in Romans where he is directly quoting an OT passage.

    Paul's usage seems to transcend the morphed word. He uses the gist of the old (with accompaniment) but with the explanation of the new (does not imply a physical instrument accompaniment).

    Thoughts?

    Rich.

  11. Clyde Symonette says:

    Indeed, Scriptures refer to the Book of Psalms as “Psalms.” Jesus did so in Luke 24:44. He said:
    “This is what I told you while I was still with you: Everything must be fulfilled that is written about me in the Law of Moses, the Prophets and the Psalms.”

    However, “Psalms” in the sentence, “Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord,” (Ephesians 5:19) are not referring to the Book of Psalms. In other words, Paul is not limiting the content of spiritual songs to extracts from the Book of Psalms; he is authorizing FORMS of songs.

    As I stated in my article “Reconsidering Ephesians 5:19,”

    Begin Quote
    Thayer defines psalm (psalmos) as “a striking, twanging; specifically, a striking the chords of a musical instrument; hence a pious song [i.e., a song devoted to God].” 1 Further, in his definition of hymnos, Thayer described the psalm as “a song which took its general character from the O.T. ‘Psalms’ (although not restricted to them).” 2 And BDAG 3 says psalmos “in our literature” refers only to “songs of praise, psalms in accordance with OT usage.” 4 Accordingly, the NT psalm was a pious song that was accompanied by a musical instrument —like an OT psalm.
    End Quote

    And in a previously mentioned post to Rich W., I wrote the following:

    “Trench explains the etymology (or the origin and evolution) of the word psalmos. He says the word psalmos came from psa? (???)-to rub, to wipe off. He explained that psalmos was first used for:
    Touching,
    then touching the harp or other stringed instruments,
    then the instrument itself, namely, the psalterion—a ten stringed instrument,
    and finally it was used of a Song sung with the musical accompaniment.
    He notes that IT WAS AT THIS LAST STAGE THAT PSALMOS WAS ADOPTED FOR USE IN THE SEPTUAGINT”

    The psalm by its nature is historically connected to musical instruments (see Psalm 50). The connection is explained in the reading of 2 Chronicles 29:27-28, 30. Those verses read:
    When the burnt offering began, the song to the LORD also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; … Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and Asaph the seer.

    The “WORDS OF DAVID AND ASAPH” referred to in verse thirty of the text is what we know today as the book of Psalms. “THE SONG TO THE LORD” accompanied by trumpets and various “instruments of David” is what the Septuagint and consequently Paul refer to as “psalms.”

    Regarding psalmos (i.e., psalms) Everett Ferguson in “A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of The Church” writes the following:

    Begin Quote
    Josephus uses psalmos in its etymological sense of the tune played (the “plucking”) on a stringed instrument.
    End Quote

    Further he said,

    Begin quote
    It might be argued that some of the above could be rendered “psalms” or “songs of praise” (which is clearly correct for psalmos in most cases in late Jewish and Christian literature), but the association in Antiquities VII.iv.80 makes the instrumental meaning definite: “hymning God and singing every kind of native melody with the mingled sounds of stringed instruments, and dancing, and tunes of the harp (psalmon), as well as trumpet and cymbals
    End quote

    Gerhard Delling in an article in Theological dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) said the psalm was “[a] song accompanied by a stringed instrument.” 5

    It would not be wise to overlook the fact that the host of Psalms, 2 Chronicles and other passages illustrate the form of psalms. As Al Maxey has stated, “wouldn't it be rather odd for a believer to be able to acceptably sing [the words of] Psalm 150 in the assembly, but if that believer actually practiced what he sang he would be lost?”

    Thayer in his definition of hymnos describes a psalm as, “a song which took its general character from the O.T. ‘Psalms’ (although not restricted to them).”

    I said that I would do the following in this series of posts:

    1. Give a brief history of Zion’s Song in the Temple, i.e., the psalm.

    2. Demonstrate why and when Zion’s Song ceased.

    3. Show that it was God’s intent to restore psalms in the New Testament.

    4. Point to evidences of its use in the NT church, and its authorization.

    5. Show how PSALMS WERE DEFINED BY SCRIPTURES.

    Next, I will show how the words of church fathers indicate that psalms were commonly defined by their instruments.

    1 J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (New York: American Book Company, 1886), 675-676 (“Thayer”).
    2 Thayer, 637.
    3 Walter Bauer, Frederick W. Danker, William Arndt, & Wilbur Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000) (“BDAG”), 1096.

    5 Delling, “The Word Groups in Translations of Jewish Literature,” TDNT, 8:494.

  12. Clyde Symonette says:

    xcuse me folks, I posted the above in the wrong forum 🙂 Forgive me

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