Instrumental Music: The Regulative Principle of Worship

HistoryGuy wrote,

Sometimes it seems that you are torn between two hermeneutics, which is my observation and not an attack. The normative principle of worship (NPW) teaches that worship must consist of that which is commanded by God and may also include that which is not specifically prohibited by Scripture.

On one hand you want to apply the normative principle of worship (NPW) cautiously and conservatively, in the name of “expedient missional theology,” but on the other hand, you seem at war with the conservative side of the RPW, even though there is a liberal side of the RPW you never mention.

The RPW is not always as cut and dry as you would like to present. Not everyone who holds to the RPW believes the same thing or applies it the same way. Have you considered that maybe your solution lies in the struggle with how the RPW applies? After all, this is a debate that good folks in many denominations outside the COC continue to participate in, while taking a less strict form of the RPW.

History of the Regulative Principle

The “Regulative Principle” (silences are prohibitions) was originally the “Regulative Principle of Worship” and was applied only as to worship practices, on the theory that God has a particular concern about how he is worshiped. This continues to be the teaching in most denominations that teach the Regulative Principle.

The Regulative Principle of Worship traces back to Zwingli (pictured above) and was adopted by Calvinists as the two movements merged.

Thus, the Regulative Principle of Worship is found among the Puritans (who have a highly elaborated understanding of it), the Baptists, and others with Zwinglian or Puritan roots, including many brands of Presbyterianism, such as the Scottish Free Church. Many conservative Calvinists and Reformed denominations teach the Regulative Principle of Worship. And as you can imagine, they have their own debates, divisions, and interpretations. For example, the Scottish Free Church historically has insisted not only on being a cappella but singing only psalms, and there are no other “authorized” hymn texts in the Bible — leading to corollary debates over paraphrasing the psalms to make them more metrical (and easier to sing).

It’s surprising, therefore, that the 20th Century Churches of Christ adopted the Regulative Principle of Worship, because they’d rejected Calvinism in very strenuous terms. But Church of Christ roots run deep in Calvinism, with Stone and the Campbells being Presbyterians originally and most of their converts coming out of various Baptist denominations. Moreover, the 20th Century Churches of Christ were hugely influenced by Landmarkism (a movement within the Baptist Church centered in Nashville), which was heavily into the Regulative Principle of Worship.

In fact, the 20th Century Churches of Christ expanded the Regulative Principle of Worship to become the Regulative Principle of Everything. I’ve literally heard prominent preachers in the Churches argue that the Regulative Principle is the centerpiece of hermeneutics.

The history of the Churches demonstrates that many agree. We’ve applied the Regulative Principle of Worship to church organization, the use of the church treasury, the founding of extra-church organizations, the construction of fellowship halls and gymnasiums, kitchens in the building, hymnals, instrumental music, multiple cups, the Herald of Truth, colleges, buses, bake sales, located ministers … you name it. It’s become an all-purpose device for opposing all sorts of things. And, therefore, very nearly every division in the 20th Century Churches of Christ can be traced back to the Regulative Principle. And this is why I so oppose it. It divides the body of Christ. I’ve seen the fruit. It’s poisonous.

Yes, there are versions of the Regulative Principle that are less all-encompassing, but I’ve not run across one that’s more biblical. It’s just wrong, even if applied more generously and sensibly than we’ve historically done. Indeed, the poison of the Principle is seen in how many other denominations have divided and fought over its application, struggling with finding its limits, just as we have.

But I also dispute the Normative Principle (silences are permissions) — at least as that principle is presented in Church of Christ polemics.The Episcopalians and Lutherans, for example, would make a more nuanced argument. But both the Regulative and Normative Principles are logically flawed.

You see, both proceed from the assumption that we should discuss worship etc. in terms of what is or isn’t authorized. And that’s just not true. It’s simply the wrong question to ask. You see, the scriptures provide not only the answers but the questions. If we approach the text asking: “What is authorized?” we’re asking a question foreign to the text.

Now, it helps to realize that the Regulative Principle was born in the heat of the Reformation where the leaders were trying to find ways to eliminate certain Catholic practices while preserving the ancient core practices of Christianity. They were looking for a rhetorical tool to eliminate practices they considered abusive. And this is one reason that so many of our arguments in favor of the Regulative Principle seek to prove the foolishness of the Normative Principle by citing Catholic worship practices — incense, the veneration of Mary — as horrors that can only be excluded by use of the Regulative Principle. Yes, the arguments we use are 500 years old. But they aren’t 2,000 years old.

As I’ve noted countless times, the scriptures don’t point us to authority as the tipping point on worship (or other) issues. Rather, 1 Corinthians 14 points us toward encouragement, edification, comfort, strengthening, and teaching of the members and bringing visitors to see the presence of God within the congregation. Hebrews 10:24-25 points us toward encouragement toward love and good works. If we must insist on speaking in terms of authority, I guess we should say that edifying things are authorized and non-edifying things are not. But adding authority to the mix only makes the sentences longer. It’s really about edification, understood in Christian terms, which necessarily includes (but isn’t limited to) missional terms.

Of course, Jesus says that Christian worship will be “in Spirit and in truth.” I’ve explained many times that “Spirit” is a reference to the Holy Spirit, which is plainly in context. “Truth” is a reference to the truth about Jesus, the gospel of truth.

In other words, John 4:23 is not a passage that gives a magic formula for correct worship. Rather, it gives the formula for correct worshippers!

And it tells us the content of our worship. You can teach a 13-part lesson on 5 acts of worship and not once mention Jesus! Or grace! Or the Spirit! But Jesus is telling us that it’s all about Jesus – the truth – and the Spirit, who testifies about Jesus.

True worship is Jesus-centered and Spirit-prompted.

Now, there’s something peculiar about the Church of Christ mindset that sends our imaginations to extremes. When I point out what the scriptures actually say on the subject, the response is always something like: “You mean that anything goes?!!” coupled with horror and maybe a story about snakes on the communion table or snake handling or something. But, of course, the scriptures are entirely sufficient and they place serious constraints on what can be done. After all, when Paul spoke of “edification” in 1 Corinthians 14, he meant edification in Christian terms. The practice being considered has to really be calculated to help people be better Christians — more Christ-like. Thus, we don’t need to worry about ridiculous possibilities.

Does this give us considerable freedom?

(Gal 5:1a NIV) It is for freedom that Christ has set us free.

Well, why would we expect a different result?

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.
This entry was posted in Instrumental Music, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Instrumental Music: The Regulative Principle of Worship

  1. HistoryGuy says:

    I was only trying to make an observation. Thank you for reflecting on it. I empathize with your thoughts. John MacArthur has a Baptist background, which you mention above, but perhaps some of his thoughts will be beneficial. I hope we can agree that he is mission focused, grace centered, uses IM, and is not a legalist. I pray you will give some consideration to what he says.

    www. biblebb. com /files/ MAC/howshallweworship. htm

    – HG

  2. Anonymous says:

    I remain amazed and often disappointed that my brethren in the churches of Christ find it so difficult to actually rely only upon what the Scriptures say.

    Many seem committed to adding something wherever they find the actual text inadequate to their personal predilections.

  3. Jay Guin says:


    I grant that John MacArthur's approach to the RPW is much better than the approach historically taken by most. But he's using the wrong tool to solve the problem that concerns him.

    He takes issue with some of the excesses of the church growth movement and seeks to solve them by a return to the RPW. He then dismisses the historical application of the RPW and urges an approach focused on the heart of worship as described in scripture.

    When he's done, there's really no RPW left (which is good), but he's preserved the rhetoric of RPW. He even cites Calvin as saying,

    "We may not adopt any device [in our worship] which seems fit to ourselves, but look to the injunctions of him who alone is entitled to prescribe. Therefore, if we would have Him approve our worship, this rule, which he everywhere enforces with the utmost strictness, must be carefully observed. . . . God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by his word."

    In short, he wants to have his cake and eat it, too. He wants to be free from the narrowness and arbitrariness resulting from the RPW and yet wants to be able to claim adherence to it — surely because he's part of a denomination in which rejection of the RPW would be unthinkable.

    The results he argues for can be more easily and better achieved without resort to RPW at all. He argues (as I just did) —

    "A new understanding of sola Scriptura—the sufficiency of Scripture—ought to spur us to keep reforming our churches, to regulate our worship according to biblical guidelines, and to desire passionately to be those who worship God in spirit and truth."

    Yes, the Bible is sufficient! But that means I don't need to enhance the Bible with Calvin to make my case.

    He then argues from what the text actually says (not silence!) that we should preach the word, edify the flock, honor the Lord, and put no confidence in the flesh — all of which he argues without resort to an argument from silence! The RPW adds NOTHING to his argument.

    Rather than arguing whether the abuses he complains about are authorized, we do better to ask whether they are true to the scriptures, and he asks the right sorts of questions.

    I don't endorse all his interpretations, but he ultimately doesn't use the RPW at all and instead investigates the heart of the scriptures — which is exactly the right approach.

  4. "But I also dispute the Normative Principle (silences are permissions)"

    Jay – can you share your definition of silence? Many people get exclusion and silence mixed up in my opinion. True silence is not an exclusion, but rather where God has given no instructions at all. Without going into all the reasons why, it seems reasonable to me that silences are permissive (see… for a good explanation).

    I would find it helpful if you could provide an example of when a silence isn't permissive.

    Thanks in advance.

  5. Bruce Morton says:

    I am having difficulty posting.

    In Christ, Bruce

  6. Bruce Morton says:

    This seems the right webchain to 1) answer the question you asked me last week regarding the Regulative Principle and IM, and 2) again raise the question you have elected to not answer over this past week (and I know you saw my question because you asked me a question based on the same note). As a little history for all:

    First, to answer regarding silence and IM. Jay, I do not base my conclusions regarding IM on the Regulative Principle. You keep hammering at me, suggesting I do, and you are incorrect. I believe the background and context of Ephesians 4:17-5:21 tells us more than you have allowed it to say. Over the past week I have been stepping back to think about all of this — giving it another look. It seems to me that you have sounded more like the "legalist" than you may have seen. I.e. If Scripture says it, okay; if Scripture is silent, then we are free." If we are not careful with that approach, then both sides end up reading the Word with almost a "rule book" mentality. I believe you have done just that relative to IM and Ephesians 4:17-5:21. The parallels and contrasts in the text lead to a clear understanding re why the early Christians did not use IM in their worship assemblies. Now our task is to take that forward into our day and see what applications — and why.

    I will offer that the overarching application is that the Spirit is leading us to an uncommon worship experience: His power seen in the humanity and unity of congregational song. A new expression for spreading the Word in a Gentile world.

    Now, Jay, you shared that "It's tiresome for the a cappella advocates to argue: If a cappella isn't required, then anything goes! It's silly. It's just as silly as: If we can support orphans homes from the church treasury, we can support anything! Just plain silly." But that misses the point that I was raising for you to consider.

    So, let me be clear again. I was not arguing about "anything goes", I was asking you if you disagreed with a young missionary who argued that based on the feelings of people, we need to recognize change and consider preaching "dead" and move to theatrical performances and dramas? Given what you have argued — that the feelings of people would guide you regarding "proper IM" — what would you say to challenge the young missionary? Or would you agree with him, i.e. preaching is "dead" (and he means all of it — stop using it)? Indeed, he sounded to me a good bit like you have sounded in the past two months regarding IM, missional efforts, and enlarging a congregation's "front porch." So, how about enlarging the front porch by doing away with preaching and replacing it with dramas and theatrical productions? Any issues? And yes, to confirm I believe there are significant issues in a dark world with what he suggested.

    And as to you question, "Are you seriously arguing that people's feelings don't matter? Is that what the Bible says?" Jay, to be clear, I do indeed care about the feelings of others, However, I do not believe feelings represent the guide for determining what will spiritually benefit people in a worship assembly. Indeed, Paul's "fragrance of life" to some and "smell of death" to others makes clear that he did not let peoples' feelings provide the final judgment of his work. Paul knew that their feelings would be an avenue of spiritual deception — even to the point of dismissing the authority of Jesus and His redemptive work. I am convinced that in a dark world the argument you have made about being guided by the feelings of others as you craft IM for a Christian assembly represents naivete.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  7. Price says:

    Al Maxey presents excellent teaching on the use of the"specificity" hermeneutical which if accepted pretty much ends this never ending, often hypocritical and always divisive meandering around silence, expedience, etc…Fortunately, RPW seems to be dying out. Surely, it has caused enough damage.

  8. Jay Guin says:


    I'll try to oblige. It is, of course, true that a command excludes anything that makes obedience to the command impossible. If I'm to build an ark with gopherwood, and I use balsa instead, obviously, I can't actually build it with gopherwood because the balsa is going to be in the way. It's impossible to do both as a matter of logical necessity. But the logic goes no further.

    If I tell my wife to buy Oreo cookies at the grocery store, I guarantee you that she'll not only buy Oreos but the kids' favorite cookies, too — and other foods. She's not so foolish as to make a trip to the store for just Oreos! And she can certainly buy vanilla cremes and yet also buy Oreos. There is not remotely a suggestion that she disobeyed just because she took the opportunity to buy other things at the store, even things of the same type as what I asked for.

    The great flaw of "The Law of Silence" or the Regulative Principle is to artificially and unnaturally insist that "Oreos" means Oreos and nothing else, no matter what, because the person giving the order gives no discretion to others, insisting on prescribing every single detail.

    Thus, a command to "sing" only prohibits those things that would prevent singing. As a rule, an organ or band does not. But, of course, if these are played in a way so that the church can't sing, then they'd become a problem.

    The command to sing does not prohibit preaching, even though you really can't sing while the preacher is preaching. Obviously, we can structure a service to permit both to occur, just not at the same time. Therefore, "sing" doesn't prohibit preaching. Nor does it prohibit clapping, because you can do both at once.

    And, obviously enough, "sing" doesn't prohibit an instrument because it's entirely possible to do both. You can even do both at once.

    Therefore, as a matter of logic and language, the Regulative Principle is entirely unjustified. No, to support the RP, you have to argue it from scripture, and we've covered the alleged proof texts in earlier posts. /index-under-construction/t… The texts don't come close to supporting the RP.

    Now, the whole discussion gets confused when the language of "authority" is used. If we insist on speaking in terms of authority, then "please, buy some Oreos" sounds like only Oreos are authorized. But, of course, my wife does the grocery shopping and she has authority to buy whatever we need. I'm just telling her one thing we need. That conversation wasn't about authority.

    Just so, when Paul speaks in Eph 5:19 and Col 3:16, he's not intending to give authority! It's just not what he's saying. You really can't interpret those verses as "I hereby authorize you to sing." Authority is not the issue!

    You see, we import authority as the deciding question from our church squabbles, rather than seeking God's will from his word on his own terms. No, we start with our own questions and go looking in the concordances for proof that we're right. And that is the exactly wrong approach to the problem.

    Do silences grant permission? No. Do they deny permission? No. Silences aren't about authority. Wrong question. Here's the right question: how can we throw ourselves headlong into obeying the commands that are really there? Rather than seeking to damn others over silences, we should be busy obeying what's actually been said. If we'd just do that, God would be much more pleased with us than he is now.

  9. Jay Guin says:


    You recently argued that the reason you oppose instrumental music is that it constitutes "sensuality" as used in Eph 4:19 —

    (Eph 4:19 ESV) hey have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

    I pointed out that the Greek word translated "sensuality" means, according to Thayer,

    "unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence."

    Instrumental music can certainly be used in sensuality (as can light bulbs and singing with four-part harmony), but none of these are necessarily sensual — and I've linked dozens of YouTube videos here that demonstrate that point.

    You have not responded, and I continue to wonder just where you find an objection to instrumental music in Ephesians. It's just not there.

    You are now arguing,

    "Given what you have argued — that the feelings of people would guide you regarding "proper IM" — what would you say to challenge the young missionary? Or would you agree with him, i.e. preaching is "dead" (and he means all of it — stop using it)? Indeed, he sounded to me a good bit like you have sounded in the past two months regarding IM, missional efforts, and enlarging a congregation's "front porch." So, how about enlarging the front porch by doing away with preaching and replacing it with dramas and theatrical productions? Any issues?"

    You unfairly characterize my arguments as "the feelings of people would guide [me]" — as though I care about nothing but the feelings of the membership — which I have never said or implied. It is just not a true accusation.

    No. I don't believe that preaching should stop. Paul's injunction to Timothy remains a good description of the role of the minister —

    (2Ti 4:1-2 ESV) I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching.

    Now, "preach" means, according to Thayer,

    "to proclaim after the manner of a herald; always with a suggestion of formality, gravity, and an authority which must be listened to and obeyed; a. univ to publish, proclaim openly: something which has been done."

    I believe the scriptures use "preach" especially with regard to the announcement of the gospel — and so I don't believe the command to preach is limited to preachers! We should all preach.

    But that hardly contradicts the idea of using drama to communicate God's word. The old passion plays of the Middle Ages and more modern theatrical presentations can be extremely powerful — and may certainly serve to announce the gospel.

    Oh, and the first part of Habakkuk is written as a drama. It's a biblical literary form.

    Surely you've been in a VBS where the children were taught Jesus through plays and skits. There is no sin in this.

    Would I agree that we should replace preaching with drama? No.

    What if the people's feelings demanded such? Well, I've never argued that the final decider of anything is the feelings of people.

    In the assembly, God himself has told us, through the apostle Paul, that we should be concerned about whether what we do edifies, encourages, strengthens, teaches, and comforts the membership. So, yes, their feelings matter — but only insofar as we are speaking of meeting God's own standards for feelings.

    What does "edify" mean in context? Well, literally, to build up. How do we test that? Well, by God's own standards.

    (Eph 4:15-16 ESV) 15 Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, 16 from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

    We are edified as we grow into Christ and are built up in love. That limits what we can do, but not as much as some imagine and not as little as some imagine. Edification is necessarily Christ-centered ("in truth").

    Might a drama or skit help bring people closer to Jesus? Of course. (Remember the "Passion of the Christ"?) Some have been converted this way.

    Would I object to the use of scriptural, Christ-centered skits in a church, done in a way that comports with God's purposes for the assembly? No, I would not. Do I think we need to do more plays in church?

    Actually, no, but solely on grounds of expedience. Years ago, my home church tried some dramatic presentations, and they are really, really hard to do well. Good scripts, acting, and direction are very hard to come by. My church likely had 400+ members at the time, and we couldn't make it work and, despite some very persistent efforts, abandoned the whole project as outside our gifts.

    Those who argue for the use of skits in church likely haven't tried to put any together. Great in theory. Very hard in practice.

    But if a church has the gifts and other resources to do it, go for it. Just do it for scriptural purposes. And, of course, to state the obvious, don't forget to preach, sing, etc. as well.

  10. Bruce Morton says:

    You write, "You have not responded, and I continue to wonder just where you find an objection to instrumental music in Ephesians. It's just not there."

    I genuinely do not know what you mean when you say "you have not responded." It surprises me. I am not trying to play an evasion game. I dislike such. So let me clarify again for you/

    1) Paul is indeed using "sensuality" as an overarching generality for all that he deals with in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. But you are trying too hard to pin down all that he means by "sensuality." Back away a bit; there is more….
    2) He also parallels Ephesians 5:18-21 with 5:11 and "expose darkness."
    3) He also contrasts "debauchery" with "singing." The "debauchery", another generality, had specific meaning and in Aristophanes The Frogs it was closely associated with the instrumental music that was part of the ancient Asian cults.
    4) You have documentation in your possession that details Paul's use of ancient language that points to his referring to Asian mystery religions in what he writes.
    5) Two of the most powerful factors in Asian mystery religion were wine (but probably less than we think) and IM — that was used to guide people into powerful religious experiences within the cults.

    So, yes, the evidence is there that Paul is addressing the instrumentation in the Asian cults as he directs the Christians in Ephesus to sing. And his use of the Psalms represent a clear focus on song. He is purposely avoiding quoting all of the two LXX Psalms he refers to.

    I hope this puts to rest the suggestion that I have not answered your question. The ancient evidence is listed above, and I have also mentioned in numerous previous posts.

    You write, "I've never argued that the final decider of anything is the feelings of people." What? On 12/4, you wrote concerning "proper IM":
    "Of course, we will have planned a service that's entirely consistent with and in furtherance of the gospel and the scriptural purposes of the assembly. That won't be an issue! How well it works will be a matter of experience and wisdom.

    It's not as though it's impossible to know whether a church service touches the members' and visitors' hearts. You can see it — and even if not, they will tell you."

    Feelings, right? Touching members hearts, right? Isn't that what you argued would determine "proper IM." If people tell you it touches them? Right? How else should I/we understand your writing? You are depending on people ultimately to tell you when something is "proper" or not. Correct?

    Jay, isn't it enough to hear Paul talk about the importance of the unity of congregational song, or do you want more than song? Isn't that the question you and many more do not want to answer? You want more, right? And yet the Spirit is guiding us to see the power of unified congregational song. And you of all people should latch onto that message, given how much of this weblog has been allocated to talking about how the Spirit works. How about putting those dialogs into action. Depend on the Spirit to work through the unity of congregational song. Act on wondrous counsel.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  11. Rich W says:


    I guess you really don't like snakes. Ha.

    Ridiculous possibilities are all around us whether snake handling in Appalachia, or Voodoo in the Caribbean or Gnosticism during the first century. All contain enough of Christianity to seem plausible unless we take the way God told us to do it as THE way to honor him.

  12. Allsammar2 says:

    Bruce, seems to me that every church of Christ that I have ever attended in my 40 years have always used the the very same approach that you accuse Jay of using for determining a proper service IM or singing only. The sermon was too long, the song leader was flat, the song leader didn't lead my favorite song, too many new songs, too many old songs, on and on and on. I have have been a song leader since I was 10 years old in more that one congregation all very traditional (conservative). All of them pretty much the same, The old want it to stay the same, the young want it to change, and the one with the most $ to give get their way.

  13. guy says:


    You wrote:
    "The old want it to stay the same, the young want it to change, and the one with the most $ to give get their way."

    Unfortunately, this has been my majority experience as well. Majority preference (what we like regardless of what's right) and largest contributors typically struggle for control, contributors usually winning out. And when the two groups agree, there's typically no fighting it.


  14. Bruce Morton says:

    If any doubt, I agree. Both sides of the "IM-a cappella discussion" have missed crucial aspects of Ephesians 4:17-5:21. That has been my contention over months of posts in this weblog — and writing beyond this weblog. Paul's teaching is clear in its focus on "one another" (thinking about others) and the importance of Scripture. We need to hear that counsel as well in a world drenched in a spiritual war where "I wants" can consume us.

    I am glad to share that I know of two song writers who have seen the same situation and are working to address. They are busy at present writing some new songs where the lyrics are Scripture. It is exciting.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  15. Blituri says:

    The Regulative Principle of Worship traces back to Zwingli (pictured above) and was adopted by Calvinists as the two movements merged.

    That the Words of God is the only resource for teaching DISCIPLES in what the Campbells called A School of Christ is absolutely defined in the Bible from beginning to the end. All historic scholars and founders of denominations such as Calvin wanted to 'Restore the Church of Christ' which like all historic scholars means that it is APOSTOLIC. We are built on the foundation of the PROPHETS (through Christ) and the prophecies made more perfect by Jesus of Nazareth Whom God the Father made to be both Lord and Christ. Peter's MEMORY was to mark those who did not teach that eye and ear witness of the risen Christ.

    Zwingli rejected SINGING as an ACT of liturgy because NO ONE engaged in "congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment" in recorded history.

    When the organs were imposed in major cathedrals (not by the priests) there were not used to accompany congregational singing for two reasons:

    The Congregation did not SING: Singing was imposed in the year 373 so that an unwashed Syric church bishop could have his own compositions sung or chanted since "melody as tunefulness belongs to the 19th century." We would call that SPEAK which is what Paul commanded.

    Even if you could hallucinate music in BIBLE CLASS when Jesus comes to teach, Paul in Romans 15 prescribed "that which is written for our learning" or Scripture.

    NONE of the Bible is metrical and you could not sing it if your life depended on it: a first heresy was human compositions to replace the Word of God. Not even church councils could stop it.

    This is proven by the experience of Calvin who harassed by protestants now able to attend musical performances in the NOW-state owned Cathedrals (only) clamoring for singing in church. The FACT that the prescribes Biblical Text could not have been sung prior to that time is that Calvin allowed some of the Psalms (only) to be radically rewritten to make singing (unison only Rom 15) and set to a simple melody.

    So, until the 1500s it SEEMS that none of those scholars saw any authority OR rationale for singing: both the ekklesia and synagogue (Paul's word) was a WORD ONLY assembly for READING and discussing the evidence provided by a higher authority.

    Both Jew and Gentile were prepared for Christ because they attended synagogue (church of Christ in the wilderness) which excluded "vocal or instrumental rejoicing." Simple: if you grasp that church is A School of Christ. This is the eternal patternism still defined by Paul

    Acts 15:21 For Moses
    of old time hath
    in every city them that PREACH him,</b?
    READ in the synagogues every sabbath day.

    Jesus EXAMPLED the patternism by reading and then decently sitting down. The Jews in Corinth had been blinded by musical idolatry at Mount Sinai and would not be able to understood the READ word or able to READ it until they converted to Christ: That is paralleled to Baptism by Jesus and also Luke in Acts. Then they would know that the LORD is the only SPIRIT named Jesus Christ the Righteous.

  16. Blituri says:

    Paul says that God gave gifted leaders (no preachers or singers in the group) in Ephesians 4 SPECIFICIALLY to stop all of what Christ in Ezek 33 called hypocrites.

    Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
    and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
    by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness
    whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    -Panourg-êma A. knavish trick, villainy, S.El.1387 (lyr.), LXX Si.1.6 (v.l.); sophistry, Gal.5.251; cf. panourgeuma.

    -Sophia A. cleverness or skill in handicraft and art, in music
    and singing, poetry

    Jesus said that God hides Himself from the WISE. No mediators in song or sermons could go into the Holy Place or Most Holy place without getting executed-quickly by his brethren.

    The Wise Sophos A. skilled in any handicraft or art, clever, mostly of poets and musicians, Pi.O.1.9, P.1.42, 3.113; en kithara s. E.IT1238

    THEN, as always Paul defines the sole role of church or synagogue as teaching ONE ANOTHER thatwhich has been taught.

  17. Doug says:

    Merry Christmas, Piney!

  18. Doug says:

    Piney said:"NONE of the Bible is metrical and you could not sing it if your life depended on it:".

    Hmmmm… I guess those two CD's I own from the Reformed Presbyterian Church with acappella Psalms being sung are just my imagination.

    Merry Christmas, Piney!

  19. Blituri says:

    No, Doug: the "Sangable" (hills dialect) Psalms are in the BOOK of Psalms: there are only 57 which Paul would have recognized as Mizmor. 7 of these are dedicated to special purposes and the other 50 do not name an instrument.

    The "commanded" Psalms were radically REwritten and that is what the Psalmody Only Presbyterians use.

    Campbell would probably been fairly pure Psalmody-only but then Alexander had a SONG BOOK to sell. Early Calvinists would have done Lining Out: that would be something like responsive which intended, as SPEAKING one to another in Romans 15 was Purpose Driven to teach, admonish and comfort: that's what we growed-ups do in what the Campbells called A School of Christ.

    DICKINSON "While the Greek and Roman songs were metrical, the Christian psalms were anitphons, prayers, responses, etc., were unmetrical;and while the pagan melodies were always sung to an instrumental accompaniment, the church chant was exclusively vocal" (Edward Dickinson, History of Music, p. 54)

    "The chant of ancient Hebrews was rhythmical, but probably free of fixed meter. Perhaps the only exceptions were the dancing songs of women, usually accompanied by percussion instruments." (Interpreters Dictionary of the Bible, p. 466).

    "One of the developments in which Beza was of great assistance was in Reformed psalmody. Zwingli had opposed music in public worship and it was a century or so after his death before the Reformed Churches in which his influence was strong departed from that precedent. Calvin did not go as far as Zwingli, but confined the use of music to congregational singing in unison of metrical versions of the Psalms and Canticles." (Kenneth Latourette, p. 760).

    Yes: Christmas: kids, spouses, boyfriends, grandkids, granddogs. This is my last Survival Outing for the year. Then to coast past the big 80 at the end of the year.

  20. Jay Guin says:


    I have no idea what you're trying to say.

    Please take the time to carefully lay out the points and explain them. If you don't have time to explain yourself more clearly, please refrain from posting.

    Before I converted to DISQUS commenting software, I pre-approved your comments and only allowed through the ones that I could understand (regardless of whether I agreed). The new software doesn't allow me to pre-approve your posts. I have to either block you altogether or let all your posts through.

    Please don't fill the comment box with hard-to-follow comments or I'll have to block all comments.

  21. Blituri says:

    That was all commentary of scholars to prove that NO ONE sang and obeyed the Biblical direct commands. So the "can't comprehend" is a ploy: I gave references and no OPINIONS.

    You just hop to it: I didn't expect that I would be tolerated very long. It's your sandbox. I think people will understand.

  22. Blituri says:

    I will assume that I am blocked: I probably will have to have another pot of coffee to get over it. :–)

Comments are closed.