"The only way to go forward is to go back. The answer to the widespread confusion and apostasy lies in the recovery of truths once heartily embraced - and, indeed, sworn to - but now largely abandoned and forgotten. It is the conviction of all who contribute to this book that the recovery of earnest, intelligent and spiritual unaccompanied singing of Psalms in the praise of the church is a major part of the repentance and renewal so badly needed in the church today.” Rev Kenneth Stewart, from the introduction
An Argument from Scripture for Exclusive Psalm Singing
Issues concerning the theology and practice of worship have become increasingly problematic in the life of the Christian church. This has been the case for some time but especially so since the growth of the more distinctively charismatic forms of worship from the mid-twentieth century onwards.
This charismatic emphasis has led to an increasing impetus for change in the more mainstream churches and the Presbyterian churches of Scotland are no exception – so much so that it is now becoming increasingly rare to find churches which practice the singing of hymns to the accompaniment of a single musical instrument such as a piano or an organ.
In the midst of such evolution, it is easily forgotten that the original Presbyterian form of worship had no room for hymns or instruments at all! For the original Presbyterians, the singing of God’s praise meant the singing of Psalms without musical accompaniment. Notably, with the exception of the Lutherans, this was also the practice of the Magisterial Reformation within the British Isles and on the continent. Furthermore, however surprising it may seem, they adopted this practice on the ground of biblical conviction rather than expediency, claiming that it was a return to apostolic as well as historic worship.
The decline of Presbyterian Scotland is a matter often discussed but the role played in that decline by alterations to the worship of the church is seldom mentioned if at all. However, God is a jealous God and if the singing of Psalms without the accompaniment of musical instruments is indeed the correct way for the church to approach God in worship and if this nation has been privileged enough to know that truth and enjoy its benefits, then it should not be a surprise if the abandonment of it has been a cause of God’s displeasure against the church and the nation.
The only way to go forward is to go back. The answer to the widespread confusion and apostasy lies in the recovery of truths once heartily embraced – and, indeed, sworn to – but now largely abandoned and forgotten. It is the conviction of all who contribute to this book that the recovery of earnest, intelligent and spiritual unaccompanied singing on Psalms in the praise of the church is a major part of the repentance and renewal so badly needed in the church today.
Of course, more is needed for repentance than that. And more needs to be said on worship itself than this. However, this issue needs to be addressed before unaccompanied Psalm singing disappears – in what would be another of God;s judgements upon our land.
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If you have never understood – or even heard – the biblical argument in favour of exclusive Psalm singing, this book will help.
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