Well, another Hoagies & Stogies has come and gone. The unanimous verdict of those 29 hardy men (is that what Hardy Boys grow up to be?) who braved the cold and risk of rain was, “that was a lot better than I expected!” So kudos to our two debaters (Pr. Mark England of SDRPC, and Jonathan Goundry, Gene Cook’s right-hand-man at Great Oak Church and The Narrow Mind) for their excellent preparation and presentation.
Mark England opened with a case for exclusive psalmody. One direction he went early on was to explain Col 3:16: “singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs.” Those three greek words, psalmos, hymnos, and ode, show up most frequently in the Septuagint (greek old testament) in the titles of the Psalms (I hope I got those right — I couldn’t find any online Septuagint search utilities with psalm titles). Conceding that Psalm titles are not necessarily inspired, and that a statistic is not exegesis, he argued that the original hearers would have heard that triple-iteration as meaning “the three things you Christians need to know about singin’, are Psalms, Psalms, and Psalms!” (As other examples of emphasis by triple-iteration, he gave Lev 16:21 (iniquities, transgressions, sins), and the very common triplet commandments, rules, statutes).
Jonathan Goundry took us on a whirlwind tour of redemptive history, showing how the regulative principle has had varying applications throughout scripture (Adam and the Sacramental Trees, Cain & Abel’s sacrifices, Noah’s clean animals, etc.). Is 42:9-10 shows how, every time God does a new redemptive work, his people are supposed to respond with a new song. In the same way, he argued that “in all wisdom” in Col 3:16 relates to to the whole emphasis of earlier Colossians, that Christians are the recipients of the “Mysterium,” the greater revelation of Christ that the Jews did not have fully, and our worship should reflect the greater body of New Testament truth. And even if “psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs” refers to the book of Psalms, it cannot be an exclusive command, because in the context of interpersonal relations (not public worship), it would mean that Psalms are the only thing Christians can sing in their whole lives — not just in church!
Anyways, this is just a nutshell of a recap — if you are interested at all, you should listen to the whole thing. If you’ve already heard it, you can drop comments here about your impressions.