Sunday, August 03, 2008

Bentlism vs. Exclusive Psalmody

I ran across this post (link) which provides a useful pair of videos. If you are not already sick to death of Bentley's demonic anti-Christian "revival," you may want to watch the first clip in its entirety (especially the reminder at the end). Otherwise, for the point I am making, you need only to watch the first minute or so of each. The post is provided by the blog titled (in this case somewhat unexpectedly) Let My People Read, by someone who is more charismatic (in both senses) than I am.

Now, for the comparison, watch the video embedded in this post (link).

One form of worship shows us the imitation of the world: the other shows the transformation of the world. One video shows man-made worship: the other inspired worship. One is the logical conclusion of strange-fire innovations in worship: the other a restoration of Orthopraxy.

Thankfully most folks who reject the Regulative Principle of Worship (or who consider the lyrics of praise merely an element) do not take it to this absurd logical conclusion.

-TurretinFan

P.S. It's worth noting that the Psalms are still sung in "Orthodox" churches, normally (if not always) as the Apostles would have done in the synagogues, a capella. There have been some innovative additions in the song of EO worship as well (various Troparia, for example), but less addition is found there (in that regard) than one finds in a typical church that has innovated more freely. A post today by the Romanian Orthodox poster, Lvka provides some examples: (link - there may be some objectionable icons in some of the still images that accompany the audio in the clips Lvka has embedded).

10 comments:

natamllc said...

It seems on several blogs this has become the topic and for good reason.

I have for weeks now been pondering these matters. Yesterday morning in my morning devotional time with the Lord I came to these words and believe there can be seen in them what we are witnessing when we listen to and watch these youtube clips on this supposedly Holy Ghost filled revival. I wonder if you too can see what I see when reading this:

Psa 44:1 To the choirmaster. A Maskil of the Sons of Korah. O God, we have heard with our ears, our fathers have told us, what deeds you performed in their days, in the days of old:
Psa 44:2 you with your own hand drove out the nations, but them you planted; you afflicted the peoples, but them you set free;
Psa 44:3 for not by their own sword did they win the land, nor did their own arm save them, but your right hand and your arm, and the light of your face, for you delighted in them.
Psa 44:4 You are my King, O God; ordain salvation for Jacob!


When I listen to and watch these youtube broadcasts I get a sense that these are succumbing to their own fleshly wills and expecting God to receive it as True Worship and Delight in Him? I sense rather a stumbling going on as they breakthrough to a hardening of their very soul thinking this is what God wants?

This is not what God wants.

Here rather would be some of what God wants from our young people today:

Psa 46:1 To the choirmaster. Of the Sons of Korah. According to Alamoth. A Song. God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.
Psa 46:2 Therefore we will not fear though the earth gives way, though the mountains be moved into the heart of the sea,
Psa 46:3 though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains tremble at its swelling. Selah
Psa 46:4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy habitation of the Most High.
Psa 46:5 God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when morning dawns.
Psa 46:6 The nations rage, the kingdoms totter; he utters his voice, the earth melts.
Psa 46:7 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah
Psa 46:8 Come, behold the works of the LORD, how he has brought desolations on the earth.
Psa 46:9 He makes wars cease to the end of the earth; he breaks the bow and shatters the spear; he burns the chariots with fire.
Psa 46:10 "Be still, and know that I am God. I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth!"
Psa 46:11 The LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. Selah

It is as though they are poking their spiritual eyes out all the while shaming others for not seeing and understanding!

Hmmmmmmm

Oh well, onward True Believers, soldiers one and all!

Ben Douglass said...

Dear Francis,

One thing I've never understood about the exclusive Psalmody position is, even if you only want to sing songs from the Bible, what's to stop you from singing songs from other parts of the Bible besides the Psalter? Why not sing the Magnificat, the Benedictus Deus, the Nunc Dimittis, the Canticle of Jonas, the Canticle of Anna, etc?

Turretinfan said...

Dear Ben:

The basic argument is that we are not trying simply to sing songs from the Bible (to avoid doctrinal error). If we were, singing other Biblical passages (Handel's Messiah for example) would accomplish that goal (since the Bible does not contain doctrinal errors).

Instead, we are seeking to worship God by singing those psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs intended for the worship of God. Such songs are those collected in the Psalter (i.e. the Book of Psalms).

Some have asserted that additional inspired songs were created during the Apostolic age, but the Holy Spirit did not see fit either to inspire a second volume of the Psalter, or to preserve any such newly inspired songs.

Thus, we simply use what we have been given, in an effort to worship God as God wishes to be worshipped (which method of worship we deduce from Scripture).

-TurretinFan

John said...

How are a bunch of unmoving (except for their mouths) white folk more inspired than a bunch of white folk spinning socks? (I'm white, by the way. Actually, I'm not white, I'm pink.)

Is your main objection that the young worship leader was singing a secular song (with the injection of "Jesus" into the lyrics) and the Reformed Presbyterians were singing Psalms? Or is it the different styles? (I suspect the former, based on the title of your post.) Admittedly a bit cheesy, but I don't see the abomination you seem to see. What if the Lakeland people were spinning socks to the Psalms?

I attended a PCUSA church for a decade, and though PCUSA theology is a bit off (not that church, however), the worship style was similar to the one you linked to. Though it can be beautiful at times, it got a bit boring after a while, since that's basically the only style they can come up with. No wonder people want to spin socks. God gave us bodies as well as voices, and if people want to use them to worship Him, what's wrong with that? Can we find a way to worship in Spirit and in Truth? Can we find some modern day "Levites" to put a little pizzazz into the Psalms?

I know little of the Lakeland phenomenon, other that what you linked, but from what I saw, I'm not as alarmed as you.

John said...

"Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs." In your reply to Ben, you equated this with what was found in the Psalter. Does this mean the 150 Psalms? If so, then why did Paul use the terms "hymns" and "spiritual songs," in addition to "psalms?" Was he being redundant?

Turretinfan said...

The racial profiles of the group is a non-issue.

It is not just an uninspired song,
It is not just a secular song,
It is a song of confusion,
It is a song of mindlessness, and
It is a disrespectful song when applied to my Lord.

The Lakeland problems become more apparent in some of the other videos I've linked.

Yes, the socks swinging is another feature that adds to the irreverance of the situation.

I can tell you this, I looked at the video of the conference of men and women singing psalms and I didn't see boredom on their faces.

Perhaps that's because they've recognized that worship is not about self-amusement - it is about glorifying God. But the performance at Lakeland is about picking a popular song to stir up and entertain the crowd.

The temple worship is over, but the synagogue worship continues.

-TurretinFan

Turretinfan said...

"Psalms," "hymns," and "spiritual songs," are three categories of the songs found in the Psalter.

I had addressed that a while back, buried in miscellaneous criticisms of Exclusive Psalmody (link).

-TurretinFan

John said...

About the racial profiling: it was more of a cultural statement than racial. Sorry, I was being a little ornery. I'll try to restrain myself.

I'll have to look at the other videos. The "ecstasia" guy in the middle seemed creepy.

What did you mean by referring to the end of temple worship? That we're only to use our mouths, and not the rest of our bodies, to worship God (e.g., dancing)?

I'll read your link on the Exclusive Psalmody.

Turretinfan said...

We can and do worship God with our bodies by for example standing, kneeling, or prostrating ourselves before him (as well as generally by being present in the congregation of the saints, and further in the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's Supper).

What I was primarily referring to was the fact that the solemn worship of God in the synagogue is what continues on today, not the temple on the mount covered in gold and and filled with musicians.

Granted that we can praise God in both song and dance, but dance is not part of the formal and solemn worship of God, but is instead an informal mode. Thus, David danced in praise, but it was so unusual (for a man) that Michal was upset and thought it below David's dignity.

-TurretinFan

John said...

Just listened to some Bentley violence on James White's podcast from a couple months ago. Pretty crazy. So God is like the bad Sensei on The Karate Kid? "Sweep the leg..." Yikes!