Contemplating the Covenanters

A personal reflection on the RPCNA

The Reformed Presbyterian Churches of North America (RPCNA) have an absolutely incredible history of God’s faithfulness to His people.  Arising from the Covenanter movement in 16th century Scotland, the first American RP Church was founded in Pennsylvania in 1743, with the first presbytery (similar to the URCNA’s classis) being organized in 1774.  Although there have been some rough passages in their history since then, the RPCNA has remained almost unbelievably faithful to their principles and roots.

The RPCNA is a confessional Reformed denomination, faithfully holding to the Westminster Standards and upholding the infallibility and inerrancy of Scripture.  True to their Covenanter roots, they are identified by their well-known “For Christ’s Crown and Covenant” banner, which is also the origin of the name of their publishing house, Crown and Covenant Publications.  The RPCNA has a wonderful college, an excellent seminary, and very effective missions.

More Germaine to this blog is their consistent singing of the 150 biblical psalms.  The RPCNA is an exclusive psalmist denomination, believing that the correct application of the regulative principle of worship is that the church’s “musical praise employs God’s Word only, thus making use of the divinely inspired Book of Psalms.”  Also notable is their practice of singing the psalms a capella, without musical accompaniment.  They maintain this practice in order to encourage “keeping with the New Testament Church’s directive for heart worship,” that is, to remove any distraction from “singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart” (Ephesians 5:19).

In light of the URCNA’s Synod 2012’s recent discussion of entering “phase 2” of fraternal relations with the RPCNA, Michael asked me to take a few moments to reflect on my relationship with the RPCNA.  There are many nuances to Synod’s discussion which I do not intend to delve into.  This blog is about Psalmody, after all, so that is where we’ll stay.

We’ve discussed exclusive psalmody on this blog before (and can discuss it further in the future), but today, I’d just like to focus on the richness of the RPCNA’s heritage of singing the psalms.

To be honest, I never knew of the RPCNA’s existence until I went to college.  There, I became intimately familiar with the denomination; in fact, most of my best friends were (and are) members of the RPCNA.  Through my friends, and the experiences I had worshiping at various RPCNA churches, I came to love and appreciate that denomination.

Being Scottish in background, the RPCNA uses Psalters that are rich in the heritage of Scottish Psalmody.  From the historical roots of the Scottish Psalter (1564, revised by the Westminster Assembly in 1646 and approved for use by the Church of Scotland in 1650), the RPCNA enjoys a rich tradition of excellent Psalters.  The Scottish Psalter went through a few reprints and was completely overhauled into The Book of Psalms for Singing in 1973 and most recently The Book of Psalms for Worship in 2009.  All of these Psalters are rich and faithful to the biblical Psalms.  Although these Psalters are from a Scottish, rather than continental, background, readers familiar with the Blue Psalter Hymnal and its family tree would probably recognize many of the tunes and phrasings, as the Scottish Psalter was one of the sources for the Christian Reformed Psalter and Psalter Hymnal.  I personally found the English and Scottish tunes to be easy to learn, robust and rousing.

Although I found the a capella singing to be a bit unusual and surprising at first, I have never been to an RPCNA congregation that doesn’t sing (I mean really sing!).  These churches take their psalm-singing seriously, and some of the most musically beautiful and heartfelt praise I’ve ever been a part of has taken place in RPCNA churches.  From young to old, each member belts out the words of Scripture in time-honored harmonies.  Whether singing in a service or around a campfire, it’s clear that each member of the RPCNA is brought up to cherish and love the biblical psalms.  It was from RP church members that I really learned afresh to love the psalms and the singing thereof.

I’ll never forget a Sunday afternoon I spent with a handful of my Covenanter friends.  I was asked to close the meal with a Bible reading, and I chose to read a psalm.  For whatever reason, I neglected to announce which psalm I was reading.  But immediately following the reading, several of my friends chimed in with the reference.  Thinking it was a fluke and that I could stump my Scottish brethren, I started a little game.  I would read what I thought was an obscure passage from the psalms and make them guess from which psalm it came.  With alarming accuracy, my RP brothers and sisters nailed the psalm references.

Now I’ll lay my cards on the table: I enjoy singing hymns.  I think they are an appropriate and glorious way to express Christian joy, even within the worship service.  But seeing what such a solid tradition of church psalmody can do really impressed on me the importance, the crucial necessity, of singing the psalms in worship.  We’ve listed so many reasons to sing the biblical psalms on this blog.  Another reason (among many) that I learned from the RPCNA was that we must sing the psalms in order to foster a love of the psalms, in order to memorize the psalms, in order to think in the language of the psalms, as I’ve seen demonstrated time and again by my RP friends.

I benefited (and continue to benefit) so much from my acquaintance with the RPCNA.  If that benefit on a small, personal scale can be reflected on a federational scale (in whatever stage of fraternal relations) with the URCNA, then praise God!

Don’t get me wrong, the Dutch Reformed background of the URCNA contains its own rich heritage of psalm-singing.  But if we can catch the zeal and exuberance that the RPCNA has for the psalms, we will be richer for it.  I learned to love Christ more passionately through the psalms from my friends in the RPCNA.  Let’s be clear – the URCNA and the RPCNA are not identical twins.  But at least in the area of psalmody, let us celebrate and enjoy our fellowship with this rich and historic denomination, for they have much to teach us.

-JDO

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22 Responses to “Contemplating the Covenanters”


  1. 1 R. Scott Clark July 18, 2012 at 2:42 pm

    It wasn’t all that long ago that Dutch-Reformed practice was virtually identical to that of the RPCNA (and the Seceders, the ARP) and the rest of the Reformed world. I think the CRC first adopted a Psalter-*Hymnal* in 1934. Before that we sang Psalms and usually acapella.

    The church order of the Synod of Dort (1619) says:

    69. In the churches only the 150 Psalms of David, the Ten Commandments, the Lord’s Prayer, the 12 Articles of Faith, the Songs of Mary, Zacharias, and Simeon shall be sung. It is left to the option of the churches whether to use or omit the song, O God, who art our Father.

    The regional synods leading up to the Great Synod battled continually against the introduction of musical instruments into Reformed worship on the ground that they we inappropriate for new covenant worship, that they belonged to the period of types and shadows. In this they were following Calvin who wrote:

    The musical instruments he mentions pertained to the time of instruction [rsc- Calvin regarded the Mosaic covenant as a sort of “pedagogical tool” to lead the Israelites to Christ]. Nor should we stupidly imitate a practice which was proper only for God’s old [covenant] people.  [From his commentary on Ps 149:2 ]

    From his comments on Ps 150:3:

    They were for use under the legal cult.” (i.e. during the Mosaic-Davidic-prophetic epochs of redemption)

    For Calvin, they were fulfilled by the incarnation, obedience, and death of Jesus as the high priest, temple, sacrificial lamb, and true Israel of God.

    This was the view of the Westminster Assembly as reflected in the Directory of Publick Worship (1643) where only the psalms were to be sung and those a cappella. (that phrase, “a cappella” = “for the chapel” i.e., church music as distinct from secular music).

    The RPCNA has preserved the original Reformed practice. The Reformed churches in the British Isles and Europe (including the Netherlands) all had the same practice: singing God’s word without musical accompaniment.

    The question with which we all need to wrestle is this one: What changed? What did we learn since the 17th century that demonstrated to us that the original Reformed practice was wrong? When I began my research into this question I was surprised that I could not find any definitive work cited by those who affirm the RPW but have come to believe that the original Reformed practice was wrong.

    The history, as I sketched in Recovering the Reformed Confession was one of a gradual decline in which Reformed worship was modified not on the basis of biblical study or exegetical insight or deliberate ecclesiastical action but as part of a quest for (illegitimate) religious experience.

    Today, it seems that most of us do what I did: assume that contemporary practice (non-canonical songs and musical instruments) is historic Reformed practice. It’s not so.

    Our RP brothers and sisters are a shining testimony that it is possible to worship God joyfully without instruments. Their worship is a testimony to the sufficiency of God’s Word for public worship.

    I’m grateful for all that I’ve learned and continue to learn from our RP brothers and sisters.

    • 2 Priscilla Luther-Heft July 18, 2012 at 8:38 pm

      When RPs speak of our love of psalmsinging and the theological bases for it, it is often taken as pridefulness, though that is not the intention. That it is commanded makes it no less a blessing than the observance of the Lord’s Supper or the administration of the sacrament of baptism.

      Whenever I look at a new book about Reformed theology or practice, I first check the index and am often sadly disappointed that the subject of worship is virtually ignored. Go to your library and check your books. Singing to Him and about Him by His own Psalms in our combined voices unaccompanied by the instruments used only to cover the horror and din of the slaughter of imperfect repeated sacrifices is truly a blessed way to glorify God and enjoy Him in worship.

      Come and visit an RP church this week. Our international conference begins Saturday, and those of us not going would appreciate your presence to help swell our praise to God. (By the way, Scott Clark will be preaching for us twice in Los Angeles while our pastor is away.)

      • 3 Michael Kearney July 18, 2012 at 9:33 pm

        Your tradition of psalm-singing is something I would love to see our denomination attain. While the congregations of the URCNA are strongly unified on just about every key doctrinal issue, it seems that we sometimes suffer from a lack of consistency and clear principle in our music. That’s why I believe the URC/OPC Psalter Hymnal Project is so important–I hope it will provide us with an even more robust psalm-singing foundation. Even if we don’t agree on the propriety of hymns in worship, I’m thankful that we can agree on the immense value of the psalms.

        How I wish I could attend the RP international conference! It sounds like a glorious time of learning and fellowship. In my case, the conference is going to overlap with the yearly Reformed Youth Services convention, where 800 young people from the URCNA and other Reformed denominations gather for a week of instruction and recreation. And when all of them sing the psalms together…what an awe-inspiring sound!

        Thanks so much for commenting. Like James, I already have a deep respect for the members of the RPCNA, and I am sure that respect will only increase as time goes on.

        In the Lord,

        Michael Kearney
        West Sayville URC
        Long Island, New York

    • 4 James O July 19, 2012 at 1:00 am

      Dr. Clark,

      Thanks for your historical insights. I was largely ignorant of the richness and depth of our Dort-ian heritage of psalm singing until quite recently. In the last few years I’ve learned so much, partly due to your book, partly due to my own readings, and mostly due to the mentoring of a dear friend of mine (a retired OPC minister and staunch exclusive psalmist).

      I’m so thankful to be part of this tradition, and so glad to be part of a federation that regularly and faithfully sings the psalms. But as you were, I have become saddened and incredulous by seeing how quickly that tradition can fizzle out if not maintained.

      Although I’m comfortable singing hymns in worship, it does frighten me to see how easily they can eclipse the singing of the biblical psalms in our worship and also in the hearts of God’s people.

      So thank you for your historical reminders and for your shared love of singing the psalms faithfully and passionately.

      And thank you to the RPCNA for always reminding us what heartfelt singing of the psalms looks like. As you said, may we “continue to learn from our RP brothers and sisters.”

  2. 5 sarmishtavenkatesh July 19, 2012 at 2:21 am

    I can personally vouch for the zeal and vigor the RPCNA has the singing the Psalms and for Missions. Coming from India where, leave alone the RPW, Calvinism and Reformed Theology are largely categorized as “heretic” and often mistaken for hyper-calvinism, God sent a few elders and ministers from RPCNA for visit this spiritually famished land and build fraternal relationships with our local church. Through the last year, my family came to understand the depth of the Psalms, which can only be realized as they are sung -not merely read -and now we;ve decided to educate our brothers from various denominations, most of them not ever Reformed, on Psalm-singing, and teach them to sing them day by day. I believe that as our worship to God gets reformed, our system of theology and doctrine will also be shaped beginning with the study and singing of the Psalms.

    • 6 Michael Kearney July 19, 2012 at 10:45 am

      Absolutely! Congregations that actually sing the psalms are so scant these days…many fellow believers, when I tell them that we sing the psalms, give me a distant nod and say, “That’s nice,” or, “That must be really beautiful.” But once you actually get into the psalms and read (and sing) them in light of the entire Bible, you begin to really see the riches they contain. That’s probably why psalm-singing has always been a crucial component of the Reformed tradition.

      My ears perked up as soon as I saw the name of your blog–Reformed Christian Homeschooling. I’ve been homeschooled all my life, but here in New York, it’s nearly impossible to find other Reformed homeschoolers. Praise God for the powerful work he is accomplishing in India! I only wish there were more Christians with your level of enthusiasm here in the United States.

      –Michael Kearney

      • 7 sarmishtavenkatesh July 19, 2012 at 12:27 pm

        Michael – Amen to that! I must honestly confess – I’m not a mom yet, although God has blessed us with many spiritual children whom we have the privilege of discipling. But God has been stirring up in me a vision for the home as a tabernacle of our Lord, and part of that piece sure is home discipleship through homeschooling. Right now, I’m just writing and allowing the Lord to clarify my thinking. When i get the time I pick on my hubby’s brain since he is a pastor-in-the-making 🙂 But you are right – I believe building our theology is much like a pyramid: founded on the Gospel and structured on proper systematics, home-discipleship and schooling becomes a good superstructure. I often see many modern day movements getting this whole picture wrong, fundamentally building curriculum on faulty theology or on the Law-word instead of the Gospel. I do pray God’s Kingdom will come in this area visibly and greatly in my famished land.

      • 8 sarmishtavenkatesh July 20, 2012 at 4:50 am

        I tried to message you on your blog’s contact page but there seems to be an error. Could you email me your mail id? Would like to connect you with a young Reformed brother in New York who holds very similar convictions as yours.

  3. 10 R. Scott Clark July 19, 2012 at 11:41 am

    Michael,

    I appreciate your response. It was a long journey for me toward the historic position. It wasn’t easy. Bob Godfrey, David Hall, and I discussed the difficulty of reforming worship last fall on Office Hours.

    We need, however, to keep asking ourselves, “why was Calvin wrong?” We all act as if he was wrong so there must be a reason why he was wrong. What was it?

    One clue is in the preface to the first Psalter-Hymnal adopted by the CRC. Take a look at it. There one does not find the RPW as expressed by the Belgic or the Heidelberg Catechism.

    • 11 Michael Kearney July 19, 2012 at 1:56 pm

      Dr. Clark,

      Are you referring to the foreword to the 1934 Psalter Hymnal? I agree that I don’t see a clear statement of the RPW (Regulative Principle of Worship) here.

      But whether the RPW should be construed to forbid hymn-singing is another matter. From my perspective as an “outsider” to exclusive psalmody, it seems that the exclusive pslamist position depends heavily on some stipulations that aren’t directly present in the Bible–for instance, the abolishing of instruments along with the ceremonial law, or the interpretation of Eph. 5:19 to refer to “psalms, psalms, and psalms.” And while the Bible abounds with commands to praise God with instruments, I can’t think of any passage (Old or New Testament) that directs us not to use instruments. But I would love to learn more about this.

      Thanks for taking the time to discuss these matters!

      In Christ’s service,
      –Michael

  4. 12 R. Scott Clark July 19, 2012 at 9:25 pm

    Michael,

    Yes, exactly, that’s the document I had in mind.

    Consider this sentence:

    The reason, however, for depriving ourselves, for so many years, of such songs which reflect the light that the New Testament adds to the Old was not the theory that the Church should sing only the inspired Psalms of David.

    Notice that the committee used the word “theory.” Really? “Theory?” The Reformed churches of the 16th and 17th centuries would be shocked to learn that they held and confessed a mere theory!

    Of course that’s just a clever way of marginalizing 400 years of Reformed practice without actually addressing the issue. It was no mere theory but a heartfelt, intellectual conviction.

    The preface fails to articulate the RPW correctly. Consider HC 96:

    96. What does God require in the second Commandment?

    That we in no wise make any image of God,1 nor worship Him in any other way than He has commanded us in His Word.2

    Belgic 29:

    As for the false church, it assigns more authority to itself and its ordinances than to the Word of God; it does not want to subject itself to the yoke of Christ; it does not administer the sacraments as Christ commanded in his Word; it rather adds to them or subtracts from them as it pleases; it bases itself on men, more than on Jesus Christ; it persecutes those who live holy lives according to the Word of God and who rebuke it for its faults, greed, and idolatry.

    Art 32

    Therefore we reject all human innovations and all laws imposed on us, in our worship of God, which bind and force our consciences in any way.

    Notice how the catechism and confession want us to think about what we call the RPW. We’re to do only what God commands. We’re to ask “what must I do in worship?” Those are the Reformed questions. In distinction, the Lutheran/Anglican question was: “Is it forbidden?”

    The problem with the Lutheran/Anglican principle/question is that 1) it’s the wrong question and 2) it unleashes the human imagination in worship in ways that lead to trouble. Consider the case of Uzzah. Did the Lord say, “You may not carry the ark in a cart?” No. What he did say was, “When you carry the ark, use poles and rings.” At least twice, that I remember, the ark was transported on a cart. Once by pagans (sending it back) and once by the Israelites. Both times it was wrong and both times it cost lives, the first time indirectly and the second time directly (Uzzah). Had God’s people obeyed his command the ark wouldn’t have been knocked out of the cart thus prompting Uzzah’s great diving catch–for which he was promptly executed.

    So, there’s no need for a command to forbid the use of non-canonical hymns. They were never commanded in the first place!

    As you know might remember from RRC, I argue for exclusively canonical (inspired) texts to be used in singing responses to God’s Word. We should respond to his Word with his Word, as commanded (and thus authorized) in public worship but I would be happy to submit to exclusive psalmody.

    The argument from Colossians and Ephesians, “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” there are two plausible explanations:

    1) The titles of the Psalms in the Septuagint (LXX, the Greek translation of the OT used by the 1st century church and quoted/paraphrased in the NT) are as follows:

    Psalms (ψαλμος) (3-9, 11-15, 19-25, 29-31, 38-41, 43-44, 46-51, 62-68, 73, 75-77, 79-85, 87-88, 92, 94, 98-101, 108-110, 139-141, 143)

    Understanding (συνεσιν) (32, 42, 44-45, 52-55, 74, 78, 88-89, 142)

    Hymns (υμνοις) (6, 54-55, 61, 67, 76)

    Songs (ωδη) (4, 18, 30, 39, 45, 48, 65-68, 75-76, 83, 87-88, 91-93, 95-96, 108, 120-134)

    Paul’s terms for the Psalter are:

    In Colossians 3:16:
    1. (Psalms) ψαλμοις
    2. (Hymns) υμνοις
    3. (Spiritual Songs) ωδαις πνευματικαις

    In Ephesians 5:19:
    1. (Pslams) ψαλμοις
    2. (Hymns) υμνοις
    3. (Spiritual Songs) ωδαις πνευματικαις

    (This chart is not mine. Someone posted it on the Puritanboard and I modified it slightly for this use)

    Thus, when Paul writes of “Psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” he is most likely invoking the major categories of the Psalter.

    2) In any event there’s no evidence whatever that he’s giving license to congregations to use uninspired texts. The very adjective “Spiritual” in both verses (per Warfield) most likely refers to divinely inspired materials (the Psalms or some other not preserved for us in Scripture). “Hymns” in that context has no reference to what we think of as “hymns” today, which we not in use in the 1st century.

    As to instruments, in Scripture they are consistently associated with the Mosaic and typological eras of the history of redemption (e.g., Ps 150). There is no evidence that the apostolic church used musical instruments. We know what 1st century synagogic practice was, which was the model for early Christian worship, and they did not use instruments. We know that the earliest post-apostolic worship services used no instruments on principle.

    Instruments did not enter Christian worship until the high-medieval period and they were regarded even then by many as a corruption. Between the 12th and 16th centuries, during the same period when the medieval church adopted a great many corruptions (including the five false sacraments) they also adopted the use of musical instruments, which were promptly removed by most Reformed churches (over the objection of the people, in some cases who had become enamored of them).

    • 13 Larry Bump July 21, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      An important point about the Ephesians and the Colossians passages about “Psalms,hymns, and spiritual songs” that no one ever talks about is that they don’t deal with worship at all; the refer to encouraging a brother outside of worship. I do believe that the three terms refer to the three types of psalms as found in the superscription, but the reality is that the passages don’t address the main point; the context of worship.

      Elder Larry Bump, Belle Center Ohio RPCNA

      • 14 Michael Kearney July 21, 2012 at 10:22 pm

        This perhaps brings up another question. Maybe it’s easily answered, but I’ll present it anyway.

        If the Ephesians and Colossians passages don’t refer to worship, from where do we derive our practice of singing at all in worship? The commands to sing in the Old Testament (if I understand the EP reasoning correctly) were given under the old ceremonial law, which has now passed away. Assuming your point to be true, could someone make a legitimate argument that music in worship is no longer necessary, period?

        I’m just struggling to understand the ramifications of this view.

        –Michael

  5. 15 Joel July 20, 2012 at 8:43 am

    I have a couple good natured, rambling questions/thoughts. I don’t mean to open cans of worms with some heavy hitters here, but just thought I’d throw some things out there. I’ve wrestled with this issue many times over the years, and have a healthy respect and love for our exclusive psalm singing brothers and sisters. I, like others above, have experienced robust, joyful singing when worshiping in RPCNA churches.

    -Sincere question to which I have yet to receive a good answer and would benefit from hearing: Could someone explain the seeming inconsistency of old covenant/new covenant as pertains to the psalms? Namely, psalms originated in and are largely part of the old covenant, but are exclusively used by some of our new covenant brothers and sisters. There seems to be an inconsistency with insisting on no musical accompaniment because it was part of the old covenant, and yet singing the old covenant psalms that reference musical instruments. Bonus points for explaining presence of musical instruments in the worship of the saints in Revelation. That is, why would there be a gap in between using instruments: Old Covenant music accompaniment –> New Covenant a capella –> eternal musical accompaniment?

    -Tongue in cheek question: I, as a music-accompanied psalm singer, feel somewhat awkward when singing the psalms that reference praising God with timbrel, clashing cymbal, etc. What goes through our a capella brothers and sisters minds when singing these psalms?

    -Follow up tongue in cheek question: Does the pitch pipe used by the worship leader count as a musical instrument? Why or why not?

    In all seriousness, great blog, Michael (and James). You’re doing good work and starting important conversations.

    • 16 sarmishtavenkatesh July 20, 2012 at 9:02 am

      Great questions. I think there are long and short answers to all your questions. The long answer is not something I’m going to attempt 🙂 The short answer wont be satisfying enough, so I’ll give a short answer by pointing you to some extensive audio resources which I’ve listened to when I was wrestling with most of the questions you ask:-

      For an understanding of the old/new covenant confusion on worship, i.e on the continuity and discontinuity between the covenants w.r.t worship, Pastor Steven Dilday from Liberty and Grace Reformed Presbyterian Church has done some thorough research and presented his case in this series: http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=1020111958352
      It’s a 13 part series which is a subset of his expository teaching on the book of Revelation. Here, the question of symbolism and imagery in Revelation will also be covered.

      On the question of RPers singing Ps 150, the best person I can think of who has explained this well is Anthony Selvaggio in his series: A case for exclusive Psalmody http://www.sermonaudio.com/sermoninfo.asp?SID=129081546399

      The pitch pipe thing does seem like a joke, in fact John Frame brings up that valid argument in his book: Worship in Spirit and Truth. I’m not sure how many congregations do that, but I’ve often heard a song arranger hum the four parts to help the congregation fall in tune. Trust you find these links useful.

    • 17 Michael Kearney July 20, 2012 at 12:10 pm

      Thanks, Mr. Pearce–I’m so glad you’ve been able to join us! Your questions echo some of my own. While I, too, deeply respect the exclusive psalmody position (and, for that matter, wouldn’t mind worshipping in an EP church), I’ve come across several issues like this–things that the old Puritans would call “bugbears.” I suppose I’ll look into some of the resources listed here.

      –Michael

  6. 18 R. Scott Clark July 20, 2012 at 11:27 am

    Joel,

    I haven’t advocated exclusive Psalmody (EP) but rather that we use only canonical, inspired texts. See Recovering the Reformed Confession for an explanation and defense of this view.

    My EP friends, however, defend their position on the ground that the Psalms are the divinely inspired songbook. This is not an unreasonable position. The Psalms are a book of songs. They are divinely inspired and they are the only such collection in Scripture. Further, theirs in the historic Reformed practice and that should have some weight.

    I’m working on a more extensive response your questions.

    • 19 Michael Kearney July 21, 2012 at 11:29 am

      Dr. Clark,

      I’m actually inclined to support your own position on using only canonical, inspired texts, more than I would support EP. Even for merely practical reasons, this practice would eliminate so much of the quarreling over songs and hymns that is rampant in churches today. I think it may be more scripturally defensible too.

      At this point in my Christian walk, I don’t think hymns are unbiblical (although I suppose that could change). But I don’t mind going without them…nor would I mind attending an exclusive psalmody (or exclusive-scriptural-hymnody?) congregation. I like how the URCNA Church Order expresses our prioritization of psalms over hymns:

      The 150 Psalms shall have the principal place in the singing of the churches. Hymns which faithfully and fully reflect the teaching of the Scripture as expressed in the Three Forms of Unity may be sung, provided they are approved by the Consistory.

      Because of this prioritization, congregations within the URCNA can practice exclusive psalmody (and some do) without compromising our Church Order. Just for the sake of the discussion, I thought I’d reiterate our denominational position on the matter.

      –Michael

  7. 20 Tony Cowley July 22, 2012 at 12:09 am

    Wonderful Discussion and good post. Thanks!


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