Showing posts with label Psalmody. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Psalmody. Show all posts

Saturday 18 May 2024

No to thous and thees but yes to Hillsong??

I understand that there are modern Evangelical Christians in England who hate the Authorised Version (KJV) so much that they ban the singing of hymns that contain the Biblical English of the KJV during worship in their church. After all, the Praise! hymn book used by many English Evangelicals unnecessarily modernised many traditional hymns to remove the 'thou', 'thee', and other Biblical English words.

However, these same English Evangelicals are happy to sing songs from Hillsong, Bethel Music (not related to this website!!), Stuart Townend, and other Charismatics during worship.

This makes me conclude that these English Evangelicals are walking according to their feelings. They oppose traditional hymns because they hate the KJV while they sing questionable and even forbidden songs because these songs make them feel good and happy. I am inclined to think that the same English Evangelicals have turned worship into an occasion of self-entertainment.

Worship is solemn and is regulated by the Word of God. It is my position that we should sing only the biblical Psalms during worship. 

Even if the English Evangelicals do not believe in Exclusive Psalmody, surely they should know that songs from Hillsong, Bethel Music, and other Charismatics should not and must not be sung at any time??

Friday 23 February 2024

Why are modern Evangelicals becoming more liberal?

In my view, there are two main reasons.

1. Many modern Evangelicals are reading false bibles

Many modern Evangelicals have abandoned the Authorised Version (KJV) in favour of modern English versions because they unreasonably and illogically complain ‘old English of KJV too difficult to understand’.

The most popular versions among modern Evangelicals appear to be the ESV and the NIV. However, many of them are not aware that the ESV, NIV, NASB, CSB, and many modern English versions are actually false bibles.

The New Testament of the KJV was translated from the Textus Receptus (TR) - the traditional text faithfully handed down by Christians from generation to generation throughout the centuries. In contrast, many modern versions were translated from the Modern Critical Text (MCT) - the text constructed and promoted by unbelievers and heretics and that is generally based on two supposedly ancient manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) that do not even agree with each other. The MCT is clearly Arian and is significantly different from and shorter than the TR. Since the MCT is a false Arian text, all versions that were translated from the MCT such as the ESV, NIV, NASB, and CSB are in reality, false bibles. This is why you see statements and footnotes in the false bibles that cast doubt on parts of the Bible.

2. Modern Evangelicals are increasingly egocentric

The complain about the old English of the KJV very clearly shows the egocentrism of the Evangelical opponents of the KJV. In their opinion, instead of upgrading and changing themselves for the Bible, the Bible must be adjusted to suit them. 

The egocentrism is also clear in their worship services. Instead of singing the biblical Psalms, modern Evangelicals sing all kinds of songs even songs written by Charismatics and heretics. The most likely reason for this observation is that modern Evangelicals have added ‘self-entertainment’ to worship, in a very simple description: ‘I want to sing what I like and the songs that make me feel happy’.

Therefore, without the Word of God and with increasing egocentrism, it is not surprising that many Evangelicals are becoming increasingly liberal.

Thursday 15 February 2024

Stuart Townend's version of Psalm 23

    I uphold Exclusive Psalmody - the practice of singing only the biblical Psalms during personal and congregational worship. Therefore, I do not participate when uninspired songs are sung during any church Service.

    The Evangelical Church which I normally attend on Sundays has a strong preference for modernised traditional songs (usually known as hymns) and modern songs. I have noticed that songs written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend are sung in almost every services. This probably shows that the pastors and others in the church love them and their songs.

    However, I am writing this article to protest against Stuart Townend's version of Psalm 23 that was sung during Services in the Evangelical Church I normally attend. My anger was kindled because Townend added his own chorus 'I will trust in You alone......' to his version of Psalm 23.

    Why can't Townend sing the Psalm faithfully and properly? Why must he add his own chorus? In my view, with the addition of the 'I will trust in You alone......' chorus, Townend's version of Psalm 23 is no longer Psalm 23 and is certainly not a Psalm that can be sung during Services. 

    Therefore, I disapprove of and would refuse to sing Townend's version of Psalm 23.    

Wednesday 7 February 2024

The true reason traditional hymns were modernised

I uphold Exclusive Psalmody - the practice of singing only the biblical Psalms during personal and congregational worship. Therefore, I do not participate when uninspired songs are sung during worship services.

However, I am not completely against the singing of uninspired songs. They can be sung during Sunday School or during other occasions. They are only not to be sung during worship. My position is consistent with the Regulative Principle of Worship.

I have noticed a trend in modern Evangelical churches across England where the modernised versions of traditional uninspired songs (commonly called hymns) are increasingly being sung. The editors of new hymn books such as Praise! actively modernised traditional hymns by removing all second person singular pronouns (thou, thee, thy, thine), often claiming that they are making the hymns more suitable for modern English speakers. My observation is that in reality, the whole modernisation project is actually driven by some modern Evangelicals’ extreme antipathy towards the use of the old English second person singular pronouns.

Why is this extreme antipathy? Well the old English second person singular pronouns are the main representatives of the English of the Authorised Version (KJV). Their use in hymns reminds the singer of the KJV. Therefore, the extreme antipathy mentioned earlier in reality, originated from the extreme antipathy towards the KJV - the most accurate and a faithful translation of the Word of God in the English language. 

You can read my article Bethel: Is the old English of KJV too difficult for modern readers? ( to understand the reason for the extreme antipathy towards the KJV shown by some modern Evangelicals.

In my view, the so-called ‘modernisation of traditional hymns’ is effectively vandalism. The well known hymn normally sung on Easter Sunday ‘Thine be the Glory’ has been changed to ‘Glory to Jesus’, and clearly the meaning has been changed.

In conclusion, I absolutely reject the vandalism (modernisation) of traditional hymns. I also reject hymn books such as Praise! that actively vandalise (modernise) traditional hymns.

Thursday 1 February 2024

Let us sing the Psalms again!

        Do you know that the biblical Psalms can be sung? Have you witnessed congregational Psalm singing before? Do you know that there are Christians (myself included) who practice Exclusive Psalmody - the practice of singing only the biblical Psalms during personal and congregational worship? Do you know that Exclusive Psalmody is the most traditional and continuous form of worship practice within the visible Church? Do you know that Psalm singing is the biblical way to worship the Almighty God? 

        If your answer is ‘no’ to any or even all the questions above, you are certainly not alone. Biblical Psalm singing during congregational worship is now very rare and generally absent among Evangelical Christians both within and outside the United Kingdom. In England, the total number of churches that practice Exclusive Psalmody may even be less than the total number of fingers on our two hands. Some churches in England such as those belonging to the Evangelical Presbyterian Church of England and Wales, and the Free Church of Scotland, sing a mixture of biblical Psalms and non-biblical songs. However, the vast majority of churches within mainstream Evangelical Christianity both within and outside England, simply do not sing any Psalm at all during their congregational worship services. This leads to the modern phenomenon where Exclusive Psalmody and even Psalm singing appearing foreign and unheard of to many British Evangelical Christians. 

        In response to the general absence of Psalm singing during modern Evangelical Christian congregational worship services, I believe there is a need to write this article to promote Psalm singing to fellow Christians. The following are four reasons why we should sing the biblical Psalms during personal and congregational worship. 

  1. 1. The Psalms are commanded to be sung 

        The Holy Scriptures commands us to sing the Psalms (Psalm 81:2, 95:2, 98:5, 105:2; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16 and James 5:13). 

        The two verses of Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 are often quoted to justify support and usage of non-biblical songs during worship. However, the ‘hymns’ and ‘spiritual songs’ in the same verses actually refer to the biblical Psalms and not to the non-biblical songs we understand today. 

        Firstly, the words ‘hymn’ and ‘song’ are part of the titles of some Psalms in the ancient Greek translation of the Old Testament that the ancient Greek-speaking Ephesians and Colossians had read. We must also remember that Saint Paul wrote his Epistles to the Ephesians and Colossians in Greek.  

        Secondly, there were no non-biblical songs two thousand years ago and therefore, it is impossible that St. Paul was referring to them in his Epistles. Given that the early Gentile Christians were generally converted to the faith by Jewish Christian missionaries such as St. Paul, the early Christians both Jews and Gentiles, would have continued the ancient Israelite practice of singing the biblical Psalms during worship. 

        Thirdly, the earlier part of Colossians 3:16 is about letting the word of Christ dwell in you in all wisdom. Therefore, the ‘psalms and hymns and spiritual songs’ in the later part of the same verse must be related to the ‘word of Christ’. What is the ‘word of Christ’ but the biblical Psalms? 

        Therefore, Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 actually command us to sing the biblical Psalms. Contrary to the views of the supporters of non-biblical songs, the two verses do not give us the permission to sing non-biblical songs during personal and congregational worship. The same two verses cannot and should not be quoted to justify support and usage of non-biblical songs during worship. 

  1. 2. The Psalms are the words of Christ 

        While the Book of Psalms is in the Old Testament, we must understand from Luke 24:44 that the Psalms are about our Lord Jesus Christ. 

        Our Lord is the perfectly righteous man of Psalms 15 and 24. His office of king, prophet, and priest can be very clearly seen for example, in Psalms 2, 22, and 110 respectively. The resurrection of Christ is prophesied in Psalm 16.  

        The first person pronouns used in many occasions in the Psalms refer to Christ. Two of the seven sayings of our Lord on the cross are from the Psalms (Psalm 22:1 and 31:5). Saint Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews, showed the words of Christ from the Psalms when he quoted Psalms 22:22 and 40:6-8 in Hebrews 2:12 and 10:5-7 respectively. According to John 2:17, the disciples of our Lord remembered Psalm 69:9 after our Lord drove out from the Temple all them that sold and bought.  

        Considering that the first person pronouns refer to Christ, we may be able to see directly in the Psalms, for example, the Passion of Christ prophesied in Psalms 22 and 38, the ministry of Christ in Psalm 40, Christ speaking in parables in Psalm 78:2, false witnesses rising against Christ in Psalm 27:12 and 35:11, Christ’s victory over death in Psalm 16:10 and 118:18, and Judas’ betrayal in Psalm 41:9. 

  1. 3. Christ is leading us during congregational worship 

        It is very important to have a correct understanding of Christian congregational worship. In truth, Christ is leading us when we worship God as a church. As written in Matthew 18:20, Christ is in the midst of us when we gather together in His name. The twenty-second and twenty-fifth verses of Psalm 22 show Christ praising God in the midst of the congregation. 

        Christ is the perfectly righteous man of Psalms 15 and 24, who alone and whose works alone are accepted by God. With the exception of Christ, all men are sinners (Romans 3:23) and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags (Isaiah 64:6). Unless our sins are purged and the righteousness of Christ is imputed to us through our faith, we ourselves and all our works will never be accepted by our holy God.  

        Therefore, when we sing the Psalms during congregational worship, we are singing the words of Christ and in union with Christ our Head. Such worship would certainly be accepted by God. 

  1. 4. Psalm singing shows communion of saints 

        The ancient Israelites sang the Psalms during their worship of the Almighty God. For example, part of Psalm 105 was sung after the ark of the covenant was brought into the tent that King David had pitched for it in Jerusalem (1 Chronicles 16:1-36). Psalms 113 to 118 are known as Passover Psalms because they are sung during the Passover. It is very likely that the hymn sang by our Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles after the Last Supper as recorded in Matthew 26:30 and Mark 14:26, was a Passover Psalm. The words of Psalm 118 would have added significance coming from the lips of our Lord on that night given that the twenty-second to twenty-fourth verses (about the cornerstone and the new day) were about to be fulfilled. Meanwhile, Psalms 120 to 134, known as the Songs of degrees, were sung by ancient Israelite men when they ascended the hills of Jerusalem during their pilgrimage to the Temple on Mount Zion.  

        According to 2 Chronicles 29:30, the Levites were commanded by King Hezekiah and the princes to sing praise unto God with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. The words of David and of Asaph very clearly refer to the biblical Psalms. Acts 16:25 recorded Saints Paul and Silas prayed at midnight and sang praises unto God. Very clearly, the saints were singing the biblical Psalms because firstly, both Saints Paul and Silas are Jews and secondly, there were no non-biblical songs two thousand years ago as pointed out in the first reason above. 

        By singing the same biblical Psalms, we are showing our unity with the ancient Israelites and Christians over the centuries. The Psalms are also ecumenical and can be sung by all Christians. Therefore, Psalm singing is a very visible form of the communion of saints. The same cannot be said when we sing non-biblical songs. 


     Having now read my four reasons for singing the biblical Psalms during personal and congregational worship, you may ask how we should sing the Psalms. The answer is we can either sing them directly from our Bibles or from a Psalter. As a traditional Presbyterian, I personally sing from the 1650 Scottish Psalter that arranges the words of the Psalms in metre, allowing the Psalms to be sung using tunes such as St. Paul, All Saints New, and Winchester. We can also sing a part of a Psalm if the Psalm is long. For example, instead of singing the whole of Psalm 119, we can sing only from the first to the eighth verse. 

        Brethren, because God is holy, our worship of Him must be perfect, and we must worship Him only in the way that He has ordained and established in His Word. Psalm singing is the biblical way to worship God and would certainly be accepted by Him. The Psalms, being the Word of God, are absolutely and infinitely greater than and superior to all works of man. 

        Therefore, with this article, I sincerely appeal to Christians to sing the Psalms again. Let us sing the words of Christ and in union with Christ our Head to worship our Almighty God!