Peculiar to the Infancy of the Church

Calvin on Psalm 149:

“The musical instruments he mentions [in verse 3] were peculiar to this infancy of the Church, nor should we foolishly imitate a practice which was intended only for God’s ancient people.”

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/history-of-instruments.93085/, Comment 12

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Organs in Presbyterian Churches

First Presbyterian, New York City:

“As early as 1855, the Session at First Church wanted to install a pipe organ to attract younger worshipers, but Elder James Lenox, who controlled the church’s finances, opposed “the sinister influences of such innovations.” After Lenox’s death, however, the way was opened, and in 1887 the first pipe organ was installed.”

http://www.fpcnyc.org/music/organs.html

First Presbyterian, Chattanooga:

“The church’s first organ was also the first organ in Chattanooga. It was built and installed in 1878 by a ruling elder of the church, John Fernquist.”

http://www.agochattanooga.org/regional-organs-database/chattanooga/first-presbyterian-church/

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/history-of-instruments.93085/, Comment 5

How Did Instruments Enter Into British And Scottish Worship?

A summary of points made by John Price in Old Light on New Worship:

-Organs rapidly proliferated during the 15th century and by the 1500s “an organ was found in nearly every important church.” In the 16th century there was continued introduction of other instruments and instrumentation became a distinguishing hallmark of the Roman liturgy.

-Many of the proto-Reformers like Wycliffe and Hus decried the use of instruments and encouraged unaccompanied congregational singing. Even Papists who wished for reform within the Roman church like Erasmus complained of the use of instruments

-Luther thought that the reform of worship was of secondary importance and allowed instrumentation. This was not unanimous among the Lutherans as both Melancthon and Carlstadt opposed the use of instruments. Nevertheless, the Lutheran church maintained their use for the most part.

-The Reformed almost universally opposed them. Not just Calvin, but Zwingli (despite being an accomplished musician himself), Bullinger, Beza, Knox, and Pareus too. Even men like Menno Simons (founder of the Mennonites) and prelatists like Robert Horne and John Marbeck opposed the organ and other instruments. In the Church of England, instruments were abolished in the second prayer book (1563)

-The Puritans were uniformly against it. The Westminster standards don’t directly address the issue since the Solemn League and Covenant of Scotland and acts of Parliament in England had already abolished them by law.

-This continues into the 17th century. Even Isaac Watts wrote against the use of instruments. The only dissenting voice appears to be of Richard Baxter who thought them indifferent. On this, as in other important matters, he is a poor guide for Reformed theology and practice, however.

-The uniformity begins to breakdown in the early 18th century. There was still widespread opposition but in some churches smaller orchestral instruments begin to be imported from the schoolhouse to the church. The first organ installed in a church of Puritan heritage was in 1770 in First Congregational Church in Providence, Rhode Island. While present in the Anglican churches too, many continued to voice opposition there as well.

-Scottish Presbyterianism finally succumbs in the late 19th century, seemingly under the influence of revivalists like Dwight Moody. Still, many prominent ministers and theologians continued opposing them on both sides of the Pacific such as Spurgeon, John L. Dagg, Dabney, Thornwell, Giradeau, etc.

– In the 20th century revivalism and the piano (and eventually the guitar) won out, as we all can see.

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/history-of-instruments.93085/, Comment 4

How Did Instruments Become Part of Christian Worship?

“The first recorded example of instruments in worship is the introduction of an organ into a Roman church by Pope Vitalianus in 670. The next example was in 812 when Charlemagne had a copy of a court organ made for a cathedral. They remained extremely uncommon for centuries. Aquinas said in the 13th century: “The Church does not use musical instruments such as the harp or lyre when praising God, in case she should seem to fall back into Judaism. … For musical instruments usually move the soul more to pleasure than create inner moral goodness. But in the Old Testament, they used instruments of this kind, both because the people were more coarse and carnal, so that they needed to be aroused by such instruments and with worldly promises, and also because these bodily instruments were symbolic of something.” It wasn’t until the 14th and 15th centuries that the organ gained more widespread prominence, so at the time of the Reformation instruments were still, relatively speaking, novelties in the church.”

Source: https://puritanboard.com/threads/history-of-instruments.93085/, Comment 2

Arminianism and the Lord’s Day

While Arminian converts usually manifest a strict and praise-worthy abstention in the life they lead from drink, smoking, gambling, cinemas, etc., and a self-denying zeal for propagating their gospel and winning converts, their attitude to the Lord’s day is not one of tenderness and love. “Ye are not under the law, but under grace,” is the Scripture which they wrest in order to justify themselves. True believers in Christ are not under the condemnation of the law—”for there is therefore no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus,” but they are ‘under the law to Christ’ as their rule of life. This the apostle states in 1 Cor. 9:21. Love to Christ is manifested and proved by love to His commandments. “If you love Me keep My commandments.” “He that saith, I know Him, and keepeth not His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.” (1 John 2:4). All who have no love for God’s holy day, who are not grieved over how far short they come in keeping the Sabbath holy to the Lord and who are not wounded and grieved in soul when they see the Lord’s day desecrated, whatever their profession, and whatever name they may have, they have but a name to live: they are still in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity. “This is the love of God that we keep His commandments, and His commandments are not grievous.” (1 John 5:3). When the Lord writes His law in the heart in regeneration there is love for the Fourth Commandment, as surely as for the other commandments. Love to the Lord, to His Word, to His Cause, to His people and to His commandments, the holy Sabbath included, cannot be separated.

Arminian church bodies of our day have removed the ancient landmarks set by the godly fathers in the past as safeguards and bulwarks of the sanctity of the sabbath. The result is obvious. The curse of the Popish or “continental Sunday” has overspread the land like a flood. Is it any wonder that Dr. Kennedy of Dingwall said that Voluntaryism and Arminianism must be pioneers of Rationalism, for they are both the off-spring of unbelief?

~Rev. William MacLean, M.A., “Arminiamism: Another Gospel” under “Saving Faith”

Source: http://www.truecovenanter.com/gospel/arminianism_another_gospel.html

Unscriptural Devices to Advance the Movement

Dr, Kennedy on the innovations Arminians brought into worship to advance their gospel:

In connection with unscriptural devices resorted to in order to advance the movement, Dr. Kennedy mentions first excessive hymn-singing as one of these. “The singing of uninspired hymns even in moderation, as part of public worship, no one can prove to be scriptural; but the excess and the misdirection of the singing in this movement were irrational as well. Singing ought to be to the Lord; for singing is worship. But singing the gospel to men has taken the place of singing praise to God…. Many professed to have been converted by the hymns.

“The use of instrumental music was an additional novelty, pleasing to the kind of feeling that finds pleasure in a concert. To introduce what is so gratifying there, into the service of the house of God, is to make the latter palatable to those to whom spiritual worship is an offence. The organ-sounds effectively touch chords which nothing else would thrill….

“And yet it is not difficult to prove that the use of instrumental music, in the worship of God, is unscriptural, and that therefore all, who have subscribed to the [Westminster] Confession of Faith, are under solemn vow against it. There was a thorough change, in the mode of worship, effected by the revolution, which introduced the New Testament dispensation. So thorough is this change, that no part of the old ritual can be a precedent to us. For all parts of the service of the house of God there must be New Testament precept or example. No one will pretend that for instrumental music, in the worship of God, there is any authority in New Testament Scripture. ‘The fruit of the lips’ issuing from hearts that make ‘melody to the Lord,’ is the only form of praise it sanctions….

“But we use the organ only as an aid, it is said. ‘It is right that we should do our best in serving the Lord; and if the vocal music is improved by the instrumental accompaniment, then surely the organ may be used.’ On the same ground you might argue for the use of crucifixes and pictures, and for all the paraphernalia of the Popish ritual. ‘These,’ you might say, ‘make an impression on minds that would not otherwise be at all affected. They vividly present before worshippers the scenes described in Scripture, and if, as aids, they serve to do so, they surely cannot be wrong.’ To this, there are three replies, equally good against the argument for instrumental music. (1) they are not prescribed in New Testament Scripture, and therefore they must not be introduced into New Testament worship. (2) They are incongruous with the spirituality of the New Testament dispensation. (3) These additions but help to excite a state of feeling which militates against, instead of aiding, that which is produced by the Word. An organ may make an impression, but what is it but such as may be made more thoroughly at the opera? It may help to regulate the singing, but does God require this improvement? And whence arises the taste for it? It cannot be from the desire to make the praise more fervent and spiritual, for it only tends to take attention away from the heart, whose melody the Lord requires. It is the craving for pleasurable aesthetics, for the gratification of mere carnal feeling, that desires the thrill of organ sounds, to touch pleasingly the heart, that yields no response to what is spiritual. If the argument, against the use of the organ, in the service of praise, is good, it is, at least equally so against its use in the service of preaching. If anything did ‘vanish away,’ it is surely the use of all such accessories in connection with the exhibition of Christ to men. [Hebrews 8.]

~Rev. William MacLean, M.A., “Arminiamism: Another Gospel”

Source: http://www.truecovenanter.com/gospel/arminianism_another_gospel.html

“Sundays Excepted?”

Via Apologetics Press:

“Sundays Excepted”?

by Dave Miller, Ph.D.

Did the Founders of American civilization believe in the God of the Bible? More specifically, did the vast majority of them embrace the Christian worldview? Even though they advocated freedom of worship, and opposed any persecution instigated against those who sought to practice divergent religious views, did they, themselves, approach life from the perspective of the Christian religion? A mountain of evidence exists to prove that they did. Consider just one.

Though the Founders intentionally omitted an extensive treatment of religion in the federal Constitution, since they intended for the federal government to stay out of the religious arena and leave such matters to the States and local communities, they nevertheless implied their religious orientation in that seminal document. Article 1, Section 7 of the Constitution reads:

If any Bill shall not be returned by the President within ten Days (Sundays excepted) after it shall have been presented to him, the Same shall be a Law, in like Manner as if he had signed it, unless the Congress by their Adjournment prevent its Return, in which Case it shall not be a Law (Constitution of the United…, emp. added).

“Sundays excepted”? Indeed, to this day, the U.S. government shuts down and does not transact business on Sunday? Why? If this provision had been made in respect of Jews, the Constitution would have read “Saturdays excepted.” If provision had been made for Muslims, the Constitution would have read “Fridays excepted.” If the Founders had intended to encourage a day of inactivity for the government without regard to any particular religion, they could have chosen Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, or Thursday. Instead, the federal Constitution reads “Sundays excepted”—proving that America was Christian in its orientation, that the Framers themselves shared the Christian worldview, and that they were determined to give political recognition to and accommodation of that fact by making allowance for the Christian day of worship. Their decision reflects a respect for Bible teaching on the matter (Acts 20:7; Revelation 1:10).

This respect for the Christian worship of God on Sunday has been perpetuated throughout American history. The vanishing “Blue Laws” verify this fact. For example, in the 1846 South Carolina court case City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin, the court declared:

The Lord’s day, the day of the Resurrection, is to us, who are called Christians, the day of rest after finishing a new creation. It is the day of the first visible triumph over death, hell and the grave! It was the birth day of the believer in Christ, to whom and through whom it opened up the way which, by repentance and faith, leads unto everlasting life and eternal happiness! On that day we rest, and to us it is the Sabbath of the Lord—its decent observance, in a Christian community, is that which ought to be expected (2 Strob. L. 508 [S. C. 1846], emp. added).

Many other examples exist (cf. Miller, 2006). America was founded on Christian principles. The future of the Republic is endangered in direct proportion as those principles are abandoned. “Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord” (Psalm 33:12).

REFERENCES

City Council of Charleston v. Benjamin (1846), 2 Strob. L. 508 (S. C. 1846).

Constitution of the United States, [On-line], URL: http://www.archives.gov/national-archives-experience/charters/ constitution.html.

Miller, Dave (2006), “America, Christianity, and the Culture War (Part I),” Reason & Revelation, June 2006 – 26[6]41-47, [On-line], URL: http://www.apologeticspress.org/articles/2942.

Original Source: http://www.apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=7&article=2405

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Known to the Whole Christian Church from the Beginning

“If anyone disapproved of the congregation singing, Father would say, “I am sure it is no secret to any Christian that it is a good thing and pleases God to sing spiritual songs.  The prophets and kings in the Old Testament praised God by singing songs to the accompaniment of cymbals and stringed instruments.  Psalm-singing has been known to the whole Christian church from the beginning.”

~Louise A. Vernon, Thunderstorm in Church, page 112

Is Baptizing Children Pointless?

Wilhelmus a Brakel:

Objection #2: Small children are baptized who do not as yet have understanding and are as yet unable to be believingly exercised with their baptism in order to be sealed by it. Baptism either has no efficacy—and is thus administered to them in vain—or by reason of inherent efficacy must beget grace in a natural sense. Since the first concept is absurd, the second is therefore confirmed.

Answer 1) The children in the Old Testament were circumcised and their circumcision was not in vain; it nevertheless had no inherent efficacy to circumcise the heart. It is thus evident that a child‟s reception of a sacrament can be of benefit, even though the sacrament has no inherent efficacy to beget grace. 2) Since baptism functions as a sign and a seal, a child can likewise be sealed. God, the congregation, and thus also the parents, view him as being sealed. The parents derive their comfort from this, and the baptized child, upon coming to the years of discretion, derives from his baptism its sealing efficacy to his comfort and sanctification. (TCRS, vol. 2, p. 502).

Read more on how baptism saves: http://thepresbyteryinn.com/2016/08/12/how-baptism-saves-you/

Wednesday is the New Sunday

Churches are now making up a new Christian Sabbath “day” where God gets a couple hours on a weekday while His ordained day is spent in amusement:

Some churches are even rescheduling their services on weekdays, like those churches in Minnesota that have appointed “Wednesday as the new Sunday,” according to StarTribune
Meanwhile in Minnesota, many families are reportedly abandoning Sunday services to accommodate children’s sports schedules, week-end work shifts or out-of-town travel.

Read more at http://www.christianpost.com/news/why-many-churches-are-dropping-the-11-a-m-sunday-service-and-looking-at-wednesday-as-the-new-sunday-182201/#FL84Lxii1i8XO6bA.99