Mandated use of The Scottish Metric Psalter (1650): A Public Request for Clarification From The Reformed Presbytery in North America (RPNA), General Meeting

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NOTE: The following email, subject, "Troubled over RPNAs slow growth," was sent on July 9, 2005 to Greg Price and Edgar Ibarra. There was no response. July 23, 2005, a slightly revised version as sent by email to Greg Price, Reg Barrow, Lyndon Dohms, Edgar Ibarra of the RPNA, seven other members of the Covenanted Reformation Club Forum who are quoted in the message, and several others. To date, February 1, 2006, there have been no responses from leaders of the RPNA.

July 9, 2005 (Revised, July 23, 2005, December 15, 2005, January 16, 2006, January 18, 2006, and February 4, 2006)

Dear Pastor Price:

Thanks for your work in bringing the Covenanted Reformation to light, BIBLICAL CIVIL GOVERNMENT VERSUS THE BEAST AND THE BASIS FOR CIVIL RESISTANCE, other publications, your sermons on, and now the Reformed Presbytery in North America (RPNA) (General Meeting). All of this has blessed my soul.

I see your work as fulfilling the second part of The Great Commission, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you," the harder part of the Great Commission, and the part being ignored by most of the church today.

My hope is that the Reformed Presbytery in North America (RPNA) (General Meeting) will be blessed and will grow in size. But it is troubling to me, and I am sure to other members of the Covenanted Reformation Club forum, now numbering over 300, and to other comtemporary Covenanters -- troubling that most of us have seen fit to not join with the newly constituted RPNA.

Covenanter leadership, both past and present, can not abandon logic in their pronouncements. "The Bible alone is the Word of God," (The Trinity Foundation) and that includes The Book of Psalms. The text of The Scottish Metric Psalter is not the Word of God.

The claims of some contemporary Covenanters for the Scottish Metric Psalter (1650) are a huge issue. The metric psalter is inferior text, it violates Sola Scriptura, (The Bible alone) it violates the Regulative Principle of Worship, its use does not constitute Exclusive Psalmody, and it was never mandated by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland. Could the current position of the RPNA on mandated use of the metric psalter be a cause of many Covenanters not joining in fellowship with the RPNA?

It has been difficulty deciding on what approach to take in this discussion. Briefly addressing unsound points raised on the forum and at seems to be the best starting point. However, the work of Louis Gaussen, GOD-BREATHED: THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF THE BIBLE, alone is probably sufficient to warrant rejection of the Scottish Metric Psalter. Because it is being mandated for exclusive use in worship to fulfill the doctrines of Exclusive Psalmondy and the Regulative Principle of Worship, it becomes an exceedingly egregious violation of Sola Scriptura and should be frankly and explicitly rejected.

Has not departing from the Infallible Word of God, and departing from the Authority of Christ as the Head of the Church, been the downfall of every divisive denomination that ever existed?

The RPNA and Still Waters Revival Books are working to usher in a Third Reformation. I respectfully suggest that this work will fail, if we do not first prepare by conducting a thorough self-reformation. "For the time has come for judgment to begin at the house of God." (1 Peter 4:17a) Leaders can not take the most beloved book of the Bible away from the elect and expect a church or denomination to grow. And it seems that is what we are seeing. The metric psalter is a corruption of the most used and most beloved book of the Bible, and the key book in public and private worship.

It seems that at least four serious errors are being promoted by some contemporary Covenanters in regards to the metric psalter.

1. Misrepresenting the actions and intent of the General Assembly (GA) of 1649 in mandating the metric psalter (1650) for use in worship, an inferior text of The Book of Psalms. Then further compounding that error by elevating the authority of both The General Assembly and The Westminster Assembly above the Authority of Christ.

2. Violation of the Doctrine of Revelation. The Scottish Metric Psalter is a paraphrase, not a translation, and amounts to adding to Divinely Inspired Scripture. (See Gaussen)

3. Violation of Sola Scriptura and the Regulative Principle of Worship, and the doctrine of Exclusive Psalmody by adamantly insisting on the exclusive use of metric psalms in worship in place of The Book of Psalms.

4. Ignoring this immediate, pressing need for self-reform in the absence of any duly constituted General Assembly for the RPNA (General Meeting).

I humbly submit that these errors have already been addressed in Scripture. It remains for human authority to fall in line with The Word of God.

I have noticed that a foundational truth tends to bear relationship to a wide range of other subjects. This seems to be the case with the subject of the "mandated exclusive use of the Scottish Metric Psalter." Since joining the Covenant Reformation Club forum June 15, 2004 it seems that much of the discussion, both before and after my post 11808 on November 27, 2004, has had a peripheral connection to claims of mandated use of the metric psalter in worship. I prefaced the post with the comment "Amid the recent discussion of questions of textual criticism, of the best translation of the Bible, of the Regulative Principle of Worship, of the singing of the Psalms, of lining out Psalms, and of obedience to the truest General Assembly, perhaps now is the right time to ask questions about THE SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER."

In this first post I asked the question "Why don't contemporary Covenanters use THE SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER?" I felt none of the answers given were sound.

Following are some responses with my replies. (emphasis added)

1. The General Assembly of the Church of Scotland mandated its use on November 23, 1649. See the GA document at

But, as "Riley" (Dan Fraas) stated "No GA ever mandated one Bible translation. Neither did a GA ever mandate one psalter, or one liturgy."

In post 11483 Riley further stated "Authorized doesn't = mandated. To make your point you'll have to provide evidence that the churches in Scotland were required to use the 1650 psalter, not merely authorized to do so. (See post 11493 by Glen Ferrell below.) Something more than a quote from the SWRB catalogue." This was in response to Chris Taylor quoting the Reg Barrow annotation that follows.

Reg Barrow and others come across as fanatic about exclusive use of the metric psalter. They mistakenly equating the demands of Exclusive Psalmody with a mandate to use metric psalms in worship. Exclusive Psalmody cannot be interpreted to be exclusive use of the Scottish Metric Psalter, nor was that the intention of the GA's act.

Reg states, "This is the Psalter. . . mandated,

No General Assembly, Synod, Presbytery, or Church in all of history has ever mandated exclusive use of the Scottish Metric Psalter in worship. [See Riley's post 11483. Apparently the General Assembly never mandated any particular translation of the Bible. Can anyone demonstrate from the Word of God that Psalms are to be paraphrased to fit the tune in some musician's head? Most persons are thrilled to hear Steve Green sing "A Mighty Fortress is Our God" acappella before a crowd of 4,000. But is not a congregation of 4,000 reciting (or chanting) Psalm 46 (KJV) in a public worship service more glorifying to God? It is the words, not the music, that make the worship effective. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 4:24) and The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and life. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:63b) In Scripture we have the Mind of Christ. Individuals delight in music, but in worship music should be subservient to the Word of God, not visa versa. Approving use of the Scottish Metric Psalter (1650) only had the effect of halting the variation in lyrics set to developing popular musical. To mandate use of the metric psalter is to chose music above the Word of God. -- sk]

approved and used (for public and private worship) by the Westminster Assembly and all those who covenanted to uphold the Biblical Reformation that these Divines proclaimed. The text of the Scottish Metrical Psalms was authorized by the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland in 1650. . . .

[Did they not try to do the impossible, to create a metrical psalter from Hebrew prose that was written before musical notation was developed? The text simply could not be adapted to the music without a loss in meaning. See below, "Linguistics and the Bible" by Marla Perkins Bevin -- sk]

"Maybe not the delight of the accomplished musician,

[The question here is, should the music serve the text, or should the text serve the music? When the KJV of the Psalms is chanted, then the music serves the Word of God. When the metric psalter is sung, then the Word of God is paraphrased to serve the music. This does nothing more than coddle the aesthetic preferences of the worshiper, which serves no spiritual purpose (See Clark below.) And is a "blunting of the Sword of the Spirit" -- analogous to what pop Christian music does today. -- sk]

but certainly calculated to make the Psalms

[Correctly, a corrupted text of the Psalms -- sk]

easily accessible to young and old alike (an attainment surely pleasing to the Lord Jesus Christ)

[How could He be pleased? He has told us specifically not to change His Word. -- sk]

-- as this Psalter was purposely produced to foster international (and covenanted) Reformation.

[An invalid deduction upon careful examination of the GA documents referred to above. Their accomplishment was to put an end to and endless number of inferior paraphrased metric psalms. Again, could the motive here be to set Covenanters apart by giving them a special psalter, different from that of other psalm singers, say the RPCNA?
If we look at the dissention arising over traditional verses contemporary music in the modern church, then we may get a hint of a major cause of the General Assembly preparing and authorizing the Scottish Metric Psalter in the mid-1600s. It is not unusual for the majority of the music used in the worship services of Protestant churchs to be contemporary Christian music. Some churchs even hold separate "contemporary services" attract young people who favor contemporary Christian musicians. Yet the older generation favors traditional hymns.
The question of the suitability of the use of contemporary Christian music in worship services is widely debated today, and the dissention adversely affects unity in the church. Nobody wants to give up their favorite hymns or their favorite contemporary Christian music. A large congregation of the Presbyterian Church in America lost both its Music Director, and then its Founding Pastor of 18 years over a "disagreement over pastoral philosophy" that apparently centered largely on the selection of music for the worship service.
"Except for the sculpting of Adam's body and the surgical procedure to create Eve's, God created everything by means of language. God also uses written language; the Scriptures were given in written form (not in a jazz trio, for example), and God directly wrote the originals of the laws given at Sinai (Exodus 31:18)." (Bevin)
Most of us can remember some sharp divisions among peers in High School over favorite music. Music stires our emotions and caputes memories. "The Music of Your Life" is important to us. Hearing familiar music reminds us of past life experiences. Those memories are all the more cherished when worship music reminds us of our spiritual lives in the church. It is not hard to imagine that this also was the case in Scotland and England in the mid-1600s. So unity within the church probably was a major cause for the creation and authorization of the Scottish Metric Psalter. -- sk]

"The Scottish Metrical Psalter is a faithful translation

[The GA rightly calls it a paraphrase, and it is an inferior text. -- sk]

and without a doubt remains the best Psalter in existence today

[An incredible claim! The Scottish Prose Psalters of 1610 and the improved edition of 1906, both approved by the GA of the Church of Scotland, using the KJV with accompanying chants, is a superior text in the eyes of the elect. Again, God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 4:24) and the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and life. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:63b) -- sk].

"This is a primary source document of Reformation;

[An intellectually honest group of Reformed scholar would not agree. Louise Gaussen would not agree. Gordon S. Clark would not agree. The statement does not stand up to logic. The Bible is the primary source document of the Protestant Reformation. The Scottish Metric Psalter is a corruption of The Book of Psalms.] When the Psalms were first "sung" they were chanted, because the musical scale and music notation had not yet been developed. The metric psalter was not used by most of the Protestant Reformation. Early Scottish Covenanters chanted the Prose Psalter of 1610, Anglican's chanted The Book of Psalms, there are men alive today who can remember the use of improvisation in chanting the KJV of the Psalms in churches in the British Isles. The metric psalter comes across to the outsider and newcomer as a 'pet distinctive,' used to set Covenanters apart from the rest of the Reformed community. It brings to mind John Wesley's use of the "doctrine of sinless perfection" as a distinctive to carve out a spiritual empire from George Whitefield's following -- all to the exclusion of The Word of God, Christ's Authority, Christ's Crown and Covenant, His Majesty, and His Redemption of mankind. Outsiders and newcomers see the Covenanter fixation on the metric psalter as very strange, and hard to explain in logical terms. What is with this determination to worship with the Scottish Metric Psalter (1650) while at the same time preaching Sola Scriptura and The Regulative Principle of Worship? Why is chanting tacitly excluded from Covenanter worship today? Why the fear of improving on worship by chanting the KJV of Psalms? Again, could it's real purpose today be to separate Covenanters from the RPCNA and other psalm singing Reformed churches? -- sk]

not to be missed by those serious about the Reformed faith

[I am very serious about the Reformed faith and I do not miss the metric psalter in the least. It is an inferior text, a violation of Sola Scriptura and the Regulative Principle of Worship, and a major handicap to Covenanted Reformation. -- sk]

-- and worshipping God in spirit and in truth.

[Again, Christ said God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 4:24) and the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and life. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:63b) not my words corrupted by man, or my paraphrased words set to meter. The metric psalter might be a major factor in the faltering of Covenanted Reformation in the past and in the present -- sk]

There are few things in life as pleasing and enjoyable as communing with Christ through the singing of His Psalms. --

[Why would anyone take a literal translation of Psalms from the elect? My plea is that we use God's Word and not man's paraphrasing! -- sk]

Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ. (2 Corinthians 10:4, 5, The Trinity Foundation)

Scripture, including The Book of Psalms, is the Mind of Christ, the second person of The Trinity. "The Old Testament, including the Psalms, looked forward to Christ's coming, His suffering, and His glory. Jesus and the New Testament writers use psalm after psalm to express His suffering (Matt. 27:46) and His glorification (Matt. 22:41-46). In addition, Jesus was revealed as the object of the worship of the psalms. Since Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the hymns and laments of the psalms are directed to Him as to the Father and the Spirit. Jesus is both a singer of the psalms (Heb. 2:12) and the focus of their interest. We can sing to Him our praise, tell Him our complaints and petitions, and thank Him for His goodness. We extol Him as our King, rest our confidence in Him, and look to Him as the embodiment of God's wisdom." -- "The Book of Psalms," The Reformation Study Bible, pp. 754,755.

Luther said . . . "One is all the poorer spiritually for ignoring the Divinely inspired writing of David, 'The Poet of God....' as a guide in praising God and in praying to God." Furthermore, "Martin Luther called the Psalms `a little Bible, and the summary of the Old Testament'."

Louis Gaussen would not agree with juggling "accurate translation" with "paraphrasing" in describing the metric psalter. And he would not "buy it" as a superior text. "He [Gaussen] advocates what has come to be called the 'organic' view of inspiration, a word that unfortunately conveys little information to the reader's mind. His view, based firmly and completely on Scripture itself, is that God not only controlled which words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs were to be set down as Scripture, but also controlled all human history so that at the exact time chosen, the author of those words would be properly prepared and available to write the words that God dictated to him. The result is an exact statement of God's thoughts in human language, language perfectly adequate to express divine thoughts." -- John W. Robbins in the Foreword to God-Breathed: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible by Louis Gaussen, p. 9

Notice that the Scottish Prose Psalter has never been ruled out by the GA.

Glenn Ferrell brought up an interesting point in post 11493 on October 15, 2004. The approval of the GA apparently did not even have the approval of the various presbyteries at the time. He stated, "In the Scottish situation, general assemblies do seem to have more power, not limited by written, subordinate, constitutional documents. However, there, I think they would argue one may have greater latitude than what one finds in the books of practice. These are provided as guidance. Scripture, the confessions, and original Directory for the Public Worship of God and Form of Church Government would still have authority. However, I believe the Westminster documents were originally ratified by the Scottish General Assembly, without any concurrent approval by presbyteries. Someone more knowledgeable of Scottish Church history and practice may correct me here. Their general assemblies speak with greater authority."

The top priority of the Protestant Reformation was the Word of God. So it should be in the Third Reformation. Worship as a top priority follows the ultimate priority of the Word of God. And this fact is the basis of the Regulative Principle of Worship.

Which of the following is true?

A. Today faithful Covenanters practicing Exclusive Psalmody use only THE SCOTTISH METRIC PSALTER (1650) because it alone was mandated by act of the General Assembly of Scotland, and by the Westminster Assembly, and to use THE SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER (1906) in worship is disobedience to the GA of 1649 even though it was approved by a later GA in 1906.


B. A faithful Covenanter today can use THE SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER in worship. It is a superior text to THE SCOTTISH METRIC PSALTER, because it uses the Inspired Word of God as found in the KJV of The Book of Psalms, in keeping with the Reformation principles of Sola Scriptura and the Regulative Principle of Worship. And it was approved by the GA of 1610 and 1906.

"The Regulative Principle of Worship states that the LORD God may only be worshipped according to what He has commanded as acceptable to Him

[God says, do "not add to the word which I command you, nor take from it." He says do not "diminish a word,' and "no one annuls or adds to it." (Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2, and Galatians 3:15) -- sk]

and that if He has not commanded it, it is prohibited to be offered up to Him as a sacrifice of praise."

2. "Chant the Psalms if you want to. But the Westminster Assembly of Divines, in effort to achieve the uniformity covenanted unto in the Solemn League and Covenant, deemed it best to revise the Psalter to be used in worship, and the General Assembly, after having reviewed it carefully, comparing it with other Psalters, did also find it to be acceptable for worship, and ruled that it should be the only Psalter used in worship. We agree, you disagree." -- gmw

How could chanting the Psalms of David possibly interfere with uniformity in the church?

I DO NOT DISAGREE with the action of the GA on the Scottish Metric Psalter in 1650!

I DO DISAGREE strongly with present day Covenanters substituting their authority for the authority of the GA of 1610, 1649, and 1906. See Riley's post 11483. It is being claimed that the GA of 1649 mandated the metric psalter. But both the GA of 1610 and 1906 approved the use of a Prose Psalter. Mandating an inferior text, which the GA in fact did not do, and would never do, has the effect of taking the Words of Christ from the elect, by taking a superior text of Psalms from worship, in effect silencing Christ by corrupting his word.

I DO DISAGREE with present day Covenanters giving the appearance that they consider the authority of the GA of Scotland as a superior to the Authority of Christ. God alone has the authority to mandate text for worship and he has mandated His Inspired Word revealed in Scripture. Who would be foolish enough to think that the GA would mandate a paraphrasing of the Word of God for worship? Modern day Covenanters falsely state that the GA mandated the metric psalter, and then, after having misrepresented the GA, expect us to believe the GA is a superior Authority to Christ! This could be elaborated upon at great length, but I think the point is clear.

I am arguing that the preponderance of evidence is that the GA only authorized a metrical psalter for the sake of uniformity in metric psalms. But in so doing they did not rule out the use of the KJV for recitation in worship or for chanting, which is "like recitation and like music, but neither fully recitation, nor fully music."

The SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER is nothing like the SCOTTISH METRIC PSALTER (1650), music-wise or text-wise. The word "psalter" just happens to be used in both titles. The GA authorized one of the first Prose Psalters in 1610, and an improved version in 1906. To take one phrase, "and ruled that it should be the only Psalter used in worship" out of context from the acts of a GA, a phrase that contradicts previous and future acts of other GAs, and use it as the justification to force an inferior text exclusively into public and private worship 350 years later, to the detriment of the souls of the elect, is highly questionable, to say the least.

There are parallels between the spurious arguments mandating exclusive use of the metric psalter in the RPNA, and the Current Justification Controversy. In both cases leaders are "trying to change everything." After two millennium it is being said that Paul was wrong about justification. It is not by faith alone, but rather faith plus obedience. Therefore, if we are a member of a church, then we are in the family of God. After 1651 years of textual criticism and translation that gave us the most accurate modified literal translation of The Book of Psalms for worship, translation is given up for paraphrasing, Sola Scriptura is spurned, and it was declared that we should have been worshipping God exclusively with a metric psalter paraphrased to match the meter of modern music but corrupting the Word of God. The Justification Controversy gang are robbing the elect of salvation. The Scottish Metric Psalter gang are robbing the elect of the Word of God, the elects' connection to The Holy Trinity in worship. Just as Shepherd, Gaffin, Wilkins, Frame, Wilson, Schlissel, Sproul Junior, Lillback, Leithart, Jordan, Sanders, Wright, and many others have unseated themselves in the eyes of the elect who know better, so also the handful of modern Covenanter leaders will unseat themselves in the eyes of the elect unless they officially reject the corrupted text of the metric psalter.

Again, has not departing from the Infallible Word of God, and departing from the Authority of Christ as the Head of the Church, been the downfall of every divisive denomination that ever existed?

The elect, if given a choice, will choose the Word of God every time over the music of the metric psalter. So who is being pleased my choosing music over the Word of God, man or God? God does not give us a choice in this weighty matter. God is to be obeyed and He is to be pleased.

Is it more glorifying to God to chant The Book of Psalms, King James Version (KJV) using the SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER (1906) or to sing the inferior text of the SCOTTISH METRIC PSALTER (1650)?

Is it more glorifying to God for a congregation to recite The Book of Psalms in the KJV or to recite the paraphrased metric psalter? Who would care to recite the inferior text of the metric psalter in place of the KJV?

3. "I must admit that I have not given the difference between metrical verse and using the KJV much thought. I have always assumed that metrical verse was just a form of translation. . . . [Today there are over 200 "translations" of the Bible on the market. "All modern translations [interpretations -- sk] except the AKJV, NKJV, and MKJV (each modified literal translations), attack the 'most basic doctrine of all, divine inspiration of the text,' and put at risk or weaken other cardinal Christian doctrine such as Eternal Judgment, The Ascension, and The Deity of Christ. All this has been done contrary to the Word of God found in Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2, and Galatians 3:15. -- sk] "The development of the Psalms in Meter was a very grueling process, with much detail given to the accuracy of the translation." -- gmw

The Westminster Assembly, and the General Assembly of Scotland chose to standardize a proliferating body of metric paraphrases of the Psalms for the sake of uniformity of metric psalms in public worship. They did NOT mandate the use of paraphrased metric psalms in worship, and they did NOT mandate a new translation of Scripture. Psalms is the most important book of the Bible for worship, God's very instruction on worship. The idea that a General Assembly would mandate paraphrasing The Book of Psalms (KJV), which provides instruction on worship, and also provides the words we use in worship is preposterous!

What happens to logical deduction? The paraphrasing of The Book of Psalms is not the King James Version. A paraphrasing is an inferior text and it will never match the modified literal translation of the KJV. (See the comparison of Psalm 2 in YLT, KJV, and the Scottish Metric Psalter below.) Again, "All modern translations except the AKJV, NKJV, and MKJV (each modified literal translations), attack the 'most basic doctrine of all, divine inspiration of the text,' and put at risk or weaken other cardinal Christian doctrine such as Eternal Judgment, The Ascension, and The Deity of Christ. All this has been done contrary to the Word of God found in Deuteronomy 4:2, 12:32; Proverbs 30:6; Jeremiah 26:2, and Galatians 3:15."

Psalm 2 compared in: Young's Literal Translation (YLT) The King James Version (Authorized) (KJV) Scottish Metric Psalter (1650) (SMP)

1 Why have nations tumultuously assembled? And do peoples meditate vanity? (YLT)

1 Why do the heathen rage, and the people imagine a vain thing? (KJV)

1 Why rage the heathen? and vain things why do the people mind? (SMP)

2 Station themselves do kings of the earth, And princes have been united together, Against Jehovah, and against His Messiah: (YLT)

2 The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD, and against his anointed, saying, (KJV)

2 Kings of the earth do set themselves, and princes are combin'd, To plot against the Lord, and his Anointed, saying thus, (SMP)

3 `Let us draw off Their cords, And cast from us Their thick bands.' (YLT)

3 Let us break their bands asunder, and cast away their cords from us. (KJV)

3 Let us asunder break their bands, and cast their cords from us. (SMP)

4 He who is sitting in the heavens doth laugh, The Lord doth mock at them. (YLT)

4 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. (KJV)

4 He that in heaven sits shall laugh; the Lord shall scorn them all. (SMP)

5 Then doth He speak unto them in His anger, And in His wrath He doth trouble them: (YLT)

5 Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. (KJV)

5 Then shall he speak to them in wrath, in rage he vex them shall. (SMP)

6 `And I -- I have anointed My King, Upon Zion -- My holy hill.' (YLT)

6 Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion. (KJV)

6 Yet, notwithstanding, I have him to be my King appointed; And over Sion, my holy hill, I have him King anointed. (SMP)

7 I declare concerning a statute: Jehovah said unto me, `My Son Thou [art], I to-day have brought thee forth. (YLT)

7 I will declare the decree: the LORD hath said unto me, Thou art my Son; this day have I begotten thee. (KJV)

7 The sure decree I will declare: The Lord hath said to me, Thou art mine only Son; this day I have begotten thee. (SMP)

8 Ask of Me and I give nations -- thy inheritance, And thy possession -- the ends of earth. (YLT)

8 Ask of me, and I shall give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for thy possession. (KJV)

8 Ask of me, and for heritage the heathen I'll make thine; And, for possession, I to thee will give earth's utmost line. (SMP)

9 Thou dost rule them with a sceptre of iron, As a vessel of a potter Thou dost crush them.' (YLT)

9 Thou shalt break them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces like a potter's vessel. (KJV)

9 Thou shalt, as with a weighty rod of iron, break them all; And, as a potter's sherd, thou shalt them dash in pieces small. (SMP)

10 And now, O kings, act wisely, Be instructed, O judges of earth, (YLT)

10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. (KJV)

10 Now therefore, kings, be wise; be taught, ye judges of the earth: (SMP)

11 Serve ye Jehovah with fear, And rejoice with trembling. (YLT)

11 Serve the LORD with fear, and rejoice with trembling. (KJV)

11 Serve God in fear, and see that ye join trembling with your mirth. (SMP)

12 Kiss the Chosen One, lest He be angry, And ye lose the way, When His anger burneth but a little, O the happiness of all trusting in Him! (YLT)

12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him. (KJV)

12 Kiss ye the Son, lest in his ire ye perish from the way, If once his wrath begin to burn: bless'd all that on him stay. (SMP)

Scripture contains the Mind of Christ. The Psalms were never the same again after they were paraphrased to make them metric.

We are admonished to hide Scripture away in our hearts. The Book of Psalms is the most beloved book in the Bible for many. Some have memorized the entire Book of Psalms. Others have memorized large portions of The Book of Psalms. Repetition is one technique for memorization. Use of the Scottish Prose Psalter in worship services would be an aid to memorization. Use of the metric psalter interferes with memorizing The Book of Psalms. Who wants the corrupted metric psalter drummed into their heads weekly when they love the Psalms enough to memorize them? Who would memorize the Scottish metric psalter when they could memorize the KJV?

Neil, a member of the [SongsofZion] Singing the Psalms with Understanding forum in Message 173 stated the following: (emphasis added)

"In moving the Psalms from Hebrew to English, we already lose some of their poetic power. (Poetry always suffers more than prose in translation.) But look what happens when our Scots friends get a hold of them. They impose a system of rhyme and meter totally alien to anything David knew. Syntax is stretched and twisted to the breaking point. As long as the words at the end of the lines rhyme, the rest of the words are arranged apparently at random. The result is nearly incomprehensible:

The Lord's my Shepherd; I'll not want He makes me down to lie In pastures green He leadeth me the quiet waters by.

[Who wants to give up "He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside still waters?" -- sk]

"Does anybody really talk that way? And this is one of the easier ones. I taught English for eight years, and even I have to re-read some of these a time or two to make sense of them.

"The writers of the metrical psalms had impossible obstacles to overcome. They had to stay as close as possible to the original words of Scripture. They had to make them fit a specific syllable count . . . according to an arbitrary scheme. I have written hymns myself, and I know how hard it is to make that work when the words are your own. I cannot imagine doing it with somebody else's. . . .

[Singing KJV Psalms exposes] "people to the beauty of God's character and attributes, and give them a hunger for true worship. For such a goal, I am willing to set aside my personal tastes, that my brethren might partake of the Psalter's rich spiritual feast. . . ." -- Neil

4. "The decision for metrical rather than a chanted psalter was a practical rather than theological one. The reason for metrical psalmody and its popularity through the ages (for there were metrical psalters in existence centuries before the reformation, though mainly for private use) is that metrical songs are easier to sing than chants, and many of the chants in use were regarded complex for congregational singing. Some also believed that they were more expressive and took more to the heart, though to me that is a matter of opinion." -- bishopsdoom

Yes, but the GA in no way prohibited worship using the KJV of Psalms. Again, the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and life. -- The Lord Jesus Christ (John 6:63b)

All the GA did was exclude the plethora of inferior metric psalms previously in use. If they had excluded the Scottish Prose Psalter, which uses the KJV, then they would have been excluding the Word of God from worship!

A choice has been made for music above the Word of God. Music is an art form. It is not truth. Hear what Gordon Clark has to say about art as a source of truth. This Clark quotation was post by Jim,, post 11884 on December 29, 2004. (emphasis added)

"In the United States, both within and without the churches, Christianity has many enemies. There are the scientific and not-so-scientific atheists who have tremendous influence in public education. There are the murderous abortionists, and criminals of all types. But none of these is the subject of this article. Within the churches, neo-orthodoxy, more neo than orthodox, reduces the Bible to the level of Aesop's fables. Also within the churches is another group, some of whom have been influenced by Dooyeweerd and Rookmacher, some whose background is too diverse to trace, who wish to substitute art for the Gospel. Perhaps they are not technically existentialists, but they dislike intellect and truth just as much. The exact views of these people vary considerably. Some see further into the implications than others. Since this diversity makes it awkward to speak of the group as a whole, the present article will select one particular member. The selection is defensible because the gentleman, Leland Ryken, has edited and written a preface for an anthology entitled THE CHRISTIAN IMAGINATION (Baker Book House, 1981). Consider now this quotation from the Preface:

" 'The imagination is what enables us to produce and enjoy the arts . . . . The imagination is one way we know the truth. For truth, including religious truth, is not solely the province of the reason or intellect. For example, one can experience the truth about God and salvation while listening to Handel's Messiah. But how? Not primarily through reason, but through the senses (hearing), emotions, and the combination of mind, senses, and emotions that I call the imagination.

'A pastor friend of mine ... first knew that Jesus rose from the grave ... not during the sermon, but with the sound of the trumpets that concluded the service [one Easter morning]... Not surely with the intellect, but with the senses ... Truth, I repeat, does not come to us solely through the reason and intellect.

'Consider the way truth comes to us in the Bible. If you asked an adult Sunday School class what topics are covered in the Old Testament Psalms, the list would look something like this: God, providence, guilt, ... Such a list leans decidedly toward the abstract.... But consider an equally valid list of topics ... dogs, honey, grass, thunder, ... It touches our emotions far more vividly than the first list does. In the Bible truth does not address only the rational intellect.... Handel's Messiah is as important to us as a Christmas sermon.'

"Because the ideas expressed in these paragraphs attract the adherence of many who profess Christianity, they should be scrutinized with care. One good thing can be said: The author tries to define his term imagination: It is what enables us to enjoy the arts. Later he more explicitly defines it as the combination of mind, senses, and emotions. That no major philosopher had ever used the term in that sense is irrelevant, for every author has the right to define his terms as he pleases. He must, however, adhere to his own definition, and the definition must be suitable to the development of the subject. Yet, though the stated definition includes mind, the general tenor of the passage is inimical to mind. Furthermore, if imagination is the complex of all these factors, including the mind, what can the author mean by saying that the imagination is one way to know the truth. What other way could there be? The definition as given includes one's entire consciousness. It fails to distinguish imagination from any other conscious action. Without using one's mind, senses, or emotions, what truths could possibly be learned, and what would the learning process be? The definition is so all-inclusive that it is utterly useless indistinguishing between any two methods of learning. Because of this vacuity, because the author obviously wants to find at least two ways to truth -- one without the intellect, and because of the next-to-last sentence in the quotation, it seems that the author wishes to learn some things through the emotions alone.

"One must ask whether or not even the enjoyment of the arts depends more on the mind than on the emotions. Critics of painting examine the brushwork, they evaluate the relation between light and dark areas (e.g. Rembrandt's drawing of the beggar, his daughter, her baby son, and the householder), and they analyze the composition. Composition requires careful thought on the part of both artist and critic. Such analyses are intellectual, not emotional; and I can hardly imagine that Rembrandt's drawing arouses much emotion in anyone. If the biographer of Leonardo da Vinci had his facts right, it would seem that this prince of painters was completely non- emotional; or if not completely, his emotion was one of continuing anger. Then too, Milton Nahm's book on THE AESTHETIC RESPONSE sharply distinguishes it from emotion.

"However, aesthetics is neither the main difficulty with the quoted passage nor of much importance to Christianity. A more, a much more serious difficulty is the author's view of truth. Maybe he has no view of truth, at least no clear view; but he certainly seems to be talking about two kinds of truth. He says, "Religious truth is not solely the province of reason." Presumably the truths of physics and zoology are truths of reason. Even this is doubtful, for he says that truth -- presumably all truth, and therefore religious truths as well, but also the laws of physics -- is not solely intellectual. I doubt that many physicists would agree, and it would be interesting to see how Ryken would answer their disclaimer. Our trouble here is to discover what he means by truth. Statements, propositions, predicates attached to subjects are true (or false). But how could a nocturne or one of Rodin's sculptures be true? The sculpture might resemble its model, and the proposition "the sculpture resembles its model" would be a truth; but how could a bronze or marble statute be a truth? Only propositions can be true. If I merely pronounce a word -- cat, college, collage -- it is neither true nor false: it does not say anything. But if I say "the cat is black" or "the collage is abominable," I speak the truth (or falsehood as the case may be). But cat, all by itself and without previous context, is neither true nor false. Note that the Psalms, which the author tries to use as a support, do not simply say dogs, honey, grass, and thunder: they say that the grass withers, the honey is sweet, and so on, all of which are propositions. And if the words grass and thunder touch one's emotions "far more vividly" than the words God and guilt there is something radically wrong with that person's emotions. Better to have no emotions at all. Emotions are hard to control; they are not only distressing to the one who has them, they are also disconcerting to his friends.

"If the author's peculiar aesthetics is relatively unimportant, and if his undefined view of truth is a more serious flaw, the implications of such a defective view of truth are disastrous for the preaching of the Gospel.

"It is undoubtedly true that "one can experience the truth about God and salvation while listening to Handel's Messiah." The reason is that The Messiah gives the words of Scripture. Of course, one can have the experience of boredom, or a bright idea on investment policy, or a decision as to which restaurant one will take his girl friend afterward while listening to The Messiah. But if one has thoughts of God and salvation while and because of the oratorio, they come by reason of the Scriptural words. The music adds little or nothing. In fact, the reason why many people do not have thoughts about God while listening, is that the music distracts them.

"The use of the word while is a propaganda device: Literally the sentence is true, but the writer means something else. Fortunately, after inducing a favorable response on the part of the reader by the word while, he actually says what he means, twice. First, a pastor first believed Jesus rose from the dead, not during a sermon which told him so, but with (of course with is ambiguous too) the sound of the concluding fanfare. At any rate, the pastor did not believe in the resurrection with his mind or intellect: He sensed it. One might grant that he sensed the noise of the trumpets; but how can anyone today sense Christ's resurrection? This is utter nonsense, and the final line of the quotation show anti-Christian the whole viewpoint is.

"He says, 'Handel's Messiah is as important to us as a Christmas sermon.' Naturally, if the Christmas sermon in a liberal church centers on Santa Claus, and not on the incarnation of the Second Person of the Trinity, Handel's music might be as important, the equal importance being about zero. But of course the writer means that the music is as important as the words. If this were so, there would be no necessity to preach the Gospel and ask people to believe the good news.

"But art is no substitute for Gospel information. In Clowes Hall at Butler University in Indianapolis there hangs a gigantic tapestry which depicts the miraculous draft of fishes. It is supposed to be a great work of art. Now, on one occasion, I accompanied a group of Japanese professors through the place, and one of them asked me, "What is the story?" No amount of art appreciation could give him the information the Bible gives. That Christ was God and that he worked miracles during his incarnation is understood only through the intellectual understanding of words. Nor would a blast of trumpets help.

"If the writer's views were true, the work of missionaries would be enormously easier. They would not have to learn a difficult language. They could just put on a recording of Handel and conversions would follow. Why didn't Paul think of that? Don't preach the Gospel, don't give information, just play some music! Poor Paul; he said, Faith cometh by hearing the word of God. No tapestry, no sculpture, no fanfare. But it is Paul who defines what Christianity is. Anything else is something else." -- Gordon H. Clark, Art and the Gospel

Elsewhere Clark states (This Clark quote also came from Jim,, post 11886 on December 29, 2004.):

"No claim is made here that music expresses nothing. The music favored by hairy left-wing hippies expresses the animistic savagery of the jungle. Rock cannot appropriately express worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Bach and Handel can. But even in these cases what music expresses, by itself without words, is very little. . . .

"The Bible explicitly commands music, vocal and instrumental. Therefore some people must take time to learn composition, other people must achieve the skill to manufacture instruments, and all people no doubt should improve their voices -- circular green notes instead of rectangular red. The requirement of vocal music emphasizes the fact that music is an accompaniment for words. By itself music is not very expressive. Note that hymnbooks sometimes use the same music for two or three hymns. If music had a definite meaning, one tune could not fit two hymns, nor even two stanzas of one hymn. But defective as music is in this respect, the Bible commands instrumental music.

"Music is the lowest form of art; literature is the highest. Musicians will raise their eyebrows and no doubt their voices against this proposition. But there is a reason for such a hierarchical arrangement. It depends on a presupposition relative to the nature of man and on an assumption concerning the purpose of art.

"The purpose of art is expression. Of course this short sentence raises many questions. By itself it is uninformative. One should specify what art can and cannot express. One should specify what art should and should not express. These questions cannot be answered without having some notion of the nature of man. Here it is presupposed that God created man as essentially a rational being. This implies that man's most valuable expressions are rational and intellectual. Therefore, although man can express emotion, by screaming "Ouch," art becomes more human and valuable in proportion to its intellectual content. This does not deny that excellent technique may express triviality, evil, and insanity. It asserts, however, that what should be expressed is rational and intelligent.

"Therefore the highest form of art is literature because only words have the full and clearest range of expression. The cliche, "one picture is worth a thousand words," is basically false, though it may be true enough in a blueprint. But, as suggested above, how many pictures would be required to express the Lord's Prayer or the doctrine of justification by faith? In comparison with these the importance of painting and music pales. . . .

"I say sometimes poetry because, although prose can also be nonsense, nonsense seems to be an occupational disease of poets. . . .

"Further, it is better to have unembellished truth than embellished falsehood. . . .

"Paul Cret, told his students, 'Ornament construction, do not construct ornament.' This is a good view of art, not only for a great architect, but particularly for a Christian. . . .

"For a Christian, art is subordinate to a higher purpose, and only insofar as it serves that purpose is it justified." -- Gordon H. Clark in Christian Aesthetics

4. "In a word: no.

[In answer to my question "Isn't use of the metric psalter actually a violation of the Regulative Principle of Worship? Is not the lyricist's rewriting of the Psalms into metric form an illogical departure from Regulative Principle of Worship?" -- sk]

No more than any Bible translation can not be 100% exact identical word for word correspondence from the Hebrew. The question is whether it is an accurate enough translation to be suitable for use." -- bishopsdoom

[YOUNG'S LITERAL TRANSLATION OF THE HOLY BIBLE comes closer to being a "100% exact identical word for word correspondence from the Hebrew." The metric psalter is an inferior text. Therefore, its use is a violation of the Regulative Principle of Worship. See Louis Gaussen, GOD-BREATHED: THE DIVINE INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE. -- sk]

5. In answer to my question "What in the world is stopping Covenanters from chanting the Psalms of David in agreement with the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland approval of prose psalters in 1610 and 1906, and in agreement with the Regulative Principle of Worship, and to their own spiritual well-being?"

Bishopsdoom altogether ducked out of addressing the option of chanting and referred me to the following:

A. Psalmody Objections Answered: Paraphrases, by Richard Bacon (Copyright 1999, The Blue Banner (from v. 3 #5-6, May-June 1994) at

I have read this and it treats the translation process.

B. A Reply to Morton on Psalmody: To Which is Added a Condensed Argument for the Exclusive use of an Inspired Psalmody at

This was irrelevant to my questions. Exclusive Psalmody is not the question here.

C. Preface to the "Bay Psalm Book" (1640) at

Nothing relevant or helpful here either.

"Chanting is the singing of a prose text to a simple, repeated melody. Good chanting is essentially good reading aloud; it uses the rhythms and stresses of natural speech.

"The ancient Hebrews never used metrical `tunes' in the modern sense. In the synagogue, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (including the Psalms), were read in a sing-song recitation which was half speech, half song. Originally chanting involved only a single line (that is, no part-singing), and only two or three pitches. The early Christian church retained this practice, adapting it to the recitation of the Psalms in Latin translation. Our present system of chanting in four parts is called Anglican Chant, and dates from sixteenth-century England.

"Chanting has several advantages over metrical Psalmody, stemming from the fact that in chanting, the music completely serves the text. The music is not difficult or interesting in itself, but has character and meaning only in conjunction with words. The meaning of the text is thus more immediate, and the parallel structure of the Hebrew poetry is more apparent. The difficulties of translating ancient non-metrical poems into sensible English rhyme are rendered unnecessary. Chanting encourages the use of entire Psalms rather than selections." -- "An Introduction to Chanting," The Book of Psalms for Singing, Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, 1995, p. 440

I will end with post 11503 from Edgar Ibarra. This was in reply to Dr. Theodore Letis who had trivialized the Regulative Principle of Worship in an earlier post. It is one of Edgar's excellent posts. Ironically it also addresses questions relating to the metric psalter. (emphasis added)

"Dr. Letis and Brethren,

"I once heard a group of pagans declare in a song, 'When ignorance reigns life is lost!' As we know this is a reflection of the verse that states that 'my people perish for a lack of knowledge.' Ignorance about what God requires is no excuse to cover our sins. Sure God is merciful, thankfully, yet He is not to be mocked nor spurned.

[The metric psalter is a spurning of God's Word. -- sk]

For when one has much knowledge of His Truth much will be required of him. Many will elevate certain pet doctrines above other ones, that is a reality.

[Outsiders and newcomers can not understand Covenanters claiming the metric psalter was mandated as anything other than a "pet" doctrinal distinctive. -- sk]

Yet when one elevates a doctrine that is a consequence, higher than one that is foundational, that gave rise to the end, and relegates that foundational doctrine to the trivial, intellectual dishonesty has occurred at best, spurning of God's Truth at worse.

[Again, I sense that elevating the metric psalter above the Word of God is in part responsible for the failure of Covenanted Reformation and the RPNA so far. -- sk]

"For example, God created man. Man elevates the creation and relegates God to the secondary, not to accuse anyone in the forum of this,

[Edgar is being tactful here. To put words in the mouth of the GA is to play God. -- sk]

just a more graphic example to illustrate my point. I'm not great with syllogisms, so bear with me, but I think I am clear here...

"Which brings me to something Dr. Letis wrote and I quote: 'I will not address that. What I will say is that the reality of those early divisions within the apostolic church, and the reality of the divisions that have always existed amongst confessional Protestants, have been with us from the beginning. Hence, I have no doubt that these secondary differences will be with us to the end of time...' (emphasis added)

[This is a fatalistic attitude. God is all about unending progress, both in time and in eternity. Therefore, why get hung-up on the inferior text of the metric psalter? -- sk]

"He is responding to an earlier post of mine that addressed the importance of the proper way to worship God, i.e. the Regulative Principle of Worship. Here he relegates worship as a secondary principle. I wonder if Nadab and Abihu, Uzzah and others that God smote dead on the spot for worshiping God their way would charge God with being too severe if worship were so secondary?

[Covenanters dare not relegate the Divinely Inspired Word of God to a secondary position in worship by spuriously mandating an inferior text. -- sk]

Yes the ceremonial law has been abrogated, but the holiness of God has not. The New Testament no where abrogates the way we are to approach God, He is still Sovereign in all areas including worship. We know that God does not need to restate all that He commands and continues to require from the OT into the NT. If that were the case, why did he not specifically prohibit bestiality in the NT, as Greg Bahnsen wrote in his books as he stated the case for the continuation of certain judicial laws from the OT into the NT.

"For an Independent, Lutheran, Anglican, and a Papist, will-worship is the staple of those communities, ignoring the holiness of God when it comes to His worship.

[Do not Covenanters who spuriously mandate exclusive use of the metric psalter fall into the same category? -- sk]

They cry out for free Christian expressions of love and rejoicing towards God in song, for example. Nothing wrong with expressing love, joy, and thankfulness that Christ has saved us and released us from the bondage to the Law, but God still regulates how we are to offer up our sacrifice of praise. Do we dare take the crown rights and royal prerogatives of the King and Head of the Church and exercise them ourselves? Who are we to do such a thing . . . it amounts to mutiny and treachery. Christ is King, no? If King then He has laws and He rules, He has a protocol on how we are to approach Him. Grace is no excuse to sin and to do our will, the Ten Commandments are still in effect. Do we approach His majesty on our terms or His? The Lutherans and Anglicans will have us believe that it is on our terms.

[Do we elevate music above the Word of God in the metric psalter? -- sk]

As the Armenians will have us believe that salvation is in our hands and that we can choose or reject the Gospel on our own prerogative. No, my brother and brethren, God is a holy God a consuming fire and He reigns, it is we who are to approach Him on His terms, not ours. Here is where the Lutherans and Anglicans, et al usurp the throne of Christ. Rightly do you say that the Papacy is the Anti-Christ, yet why is that? It is because he assumes to himself the crown and throne of Christ.

As King Jeroboam did, the Papacy has set up a rival worship and protocol to approach the Lord God. The foundational principle of Rome is will-worship. They pretend to do this with good intentions. While, I am sure the Lutherans and Anglicans worship God with their own innovations, not commanded, out of true sincerity to render God faithful worship as opposed to Rome's intentions, this yet does not excuse their sin. Uzzah desired to prevent the Ark of the Covenant from falling and he was slain. The best intentions are not always the right and godly intentions.

" 'Yes, I agree when the latitudinarianism has to do with substantive issues, not when it has to do with subjects as I just mentioned above...' -- Letis

"What are substantive issues, Dr. Letis? The KJV only? The Papacy is the Anti-Christ? Are these not necessary consequences from more foundational doctrines, like Sola Scriptura -> the Sovereignty of God -> the Regulative Principle of Worship which then gives rise to man's traditions vs. God's Word and will-worship (the Papacy's foundation) vs. submission to God? So we can give broad latitude to the worship of God, because it is not important . . . how that can be a Protestant mind-set in the face of so numerous examples from the Word of God, is almost beyond my comprehension.

[It is incredible that Covenanters would try to elevate an inferior text of The Book of Psalms above the Word of God! -- sk]

Decrying the Papacy yet following his principle when it comes to worship is just about contradictory when one recognizes the foundational issues involved here.

[I contend that the errors discussed in this email bear a resemblance to the tactics of papists, whether unconsciously or consciously practiced. It is painful to observe that the papists: 1) fight against the Doctrine of Revelation, the foundational doctrine of Christianity, 2) claim the church is the interpreter of Scripture, and have their own "translation," the LATIN VULGATE, 3) claim infallibility, an attribute that belongs to Christ only, 4) have kept the Word of God from the common man by the Latin Mass, 5) mix the sacred with the secular (are syncretistic and synergistic), and so forth, and so on. -- sk]

The following quote was sent to The Trinity Foundation (February 2006, directed at the current Justification Controversy) by a friend:

In the same establishment may be found believers in nearly every dogma of the Popish creed, who nevertheless have declared their faith in articles which are distinctly Calvinistic; and now last, and, to our minds, most sorrowful of all, it comes out that there are men to be found among Caledonia's once sternly truthful sons who can occupy the pulpits and the manses of an orthodox Presbyterian church, and yet oppose her ancient confession of faith. Our complaint is in each case, not that the men changed their views, and threw up their former creeds, but that having done so they did not at once quit the office of minister to the community whose faith they could no longer uphold; their fault is not that they differed, but that, differing, they sought an office of which the prime necessity is agreement. All the elements of the lowest kind of knavery meet in the evil which we now denounce. Treachery is never more treacherous than when it leads a man to stab at a doctrine which he has solemnly engaged to uphold, and for the maintenance of which he receives a livelihood. The office of minister would never wittingly be entrusted by any community to a person who would use it for the overthrow of the principles upon which the community was founded. Such conduct would be suicidal. A sincere belief of the church's creed was avowedly or by implication a part of the qualification which helped the preacher to his stipend, and when that qualification ceases the most vital point of the compact between him and his church is infringed, and he is bound in honor to relinquish an office which he can no longer honestly fulfill. -- Charles Haddon Spurgeon in "Ministers Sailing Under False Colours," Sword and Trowel, February 1870
"It is not enough to say that division exists in the Church and that is how it has always been and will be.

[It is fatalistic to stubbornly continue to wrongly "mandate" an inferior text of The Book of Psalms. -- sk]

That is to contradict Christ's prayer in John 17. The division between Calvinists and Lutherans is sinful. Yes, sinful. How else can one explain it? Lutherans desire to worship God their way, faithful Calvinists (a rare creature nowadays) desire to worship God as He has commanded in the Word

[Except, apparently, with respect to fanatic, spurious claims that the metric psalter with its inferior text, was mandated for universal use. -- sk]

It cannot be written off as simple differences. One is against Scripture and the other is not.

[Well said, Edgar. -- sk]

Calvin states this very plainly, and to the shame of Presbyterians such as the PCA, the OPC, and others that follow the Lutheran and Anglican example, I quote Calvin: " 'Moreover, the rule which distinguishes between pure and vitiated worship is of universal application, in order that we may not adopt any device which seems fit to ourselves,

[Like paraphrasing the Word of God so it will fit the meter of modern music. -- sk]

but look to the injunctions of Him who alone is entitled to prescribe. Therefore, if we would have Him to approve our worship, this rule, which He everywhere enforces with the utmost strictness, must be carefully observed. For there is a twofold reason why the Lord, in condemning and prohibiting all fictitious worship, requires us to give obedience only to His own voice... And then when once we have turned aside from the right path, there is no end to our wanderings, until we get buried under a multitude of superstitions. Justly, therefore, does the Lord, in order to assert His full right of dominion, strictly enjoin what He wishes us to do, and at once reject all human devices which are at variance with His command. Justly, too, does He, in express terms, define our limits, that we may not, by fabricating perverse modes of worship, provoke His anger against us.'

[Let us exercise some self-reform, and let us put the metric psalter in its proper place. -- sk]

" 'I know how difficult it is to persuade the world that God disapproves of all modes of worship not expressly sanctioned by His Word (true practice of Sola Scriptura -- EAI)...."But since God not only regards as fruitless, but also plainly abominates, whatever we undertake from zeal to His worship, if at variance with His command, what do we gain by a contrary course? The words of God are clear and distinct, 'Obedience is better than sacrifice.' 'In vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men,' (1 Sam 15:22; Matt 15:9). Every addition to His Word, especially in this matter, is a lie. Mere 'will-worship' is vanity. This is the decision, and when once the judge has decided, it is no longer time to debate.....Let our adversaries use what evasions they may, and defame us for exaggerating what they pretend to be trivial errors...' " -- John Calvin in THE NECESSITY OF REFORMING THE CHURCH, pp.128-129, vol. One of Calvin's Tracts.

"John Knox, Calvin's disciple and reformer of the Church of Scotland, echoes this. Here is an example:

" 'All worshipping, honouring, or service invented by the brain of man in the religion of God, without his own express commandment, is idolatry. The Mass is invented by the brain of man, without any commandment of God; therefore it is idolatry'." -- John Knox, THE MASS IS IDOLATRY, of His Selected Writings, p.23

"Dr. Letis, what you call secondary differences, Calvin, Knox, and paleo-Presbyterians call vanities, will-worship, idolatry, and in a word SIN.

The Second Reformation Presbyterian divines further expanded and clarified what had been laid down at the First Reformation as can be clearly seen in the Westminster Larger Catechism:

Q. 108. What are the duties required in the second commandment? A. The duties required in the second commandment are, the receiving, observing, and keeping pure and entire, all such religious worship and ordinances as God hath instituted in his Word;

[For example, The Book of Psalms. -- sk]

particularly prayer and thanksgiving in the name of Christ; the reading, preaching, and hearing of the Word; the administration and receiving of the sacraments; church government and discipline; the ministry and maintenance thereof; religious fasting; swearing by the name of God; and vowing unto him; as also the disapproving, detesting, opposing all false worship; and, according to each one's place and calling, removing it, and all monuments of idolatry.

Q. 109. What are the sins forbidden in the second commandment? A. The sins forbidden in the second commandment are, all devising, counselling, commanding, using, and anywise approving, any religious worship not instituted by God himself; tolerating a false religion; the making any representation of God, of all or of any of the three persons, either inwardly in our mind, or outwardly in any kind of image or likeness of any creature whatsoever; all worshipping of it, or God in it or by it; the making of any representation of feigned deities, and all worship of them, or service belonging to them, all superstitious devices, corrupting the worship of God, adding to it, or taking from it, whether invented and taken up of ourselves, or received by tradition from others, though under the title of antiquity, custom, devotion, good intent, or any other pretense whatsoever;

[Outsiders and newcomers consider the mandated use of the metric psalter as a strange Covenanter tradition. -- sk]

simony; sacrilege; all neglect, contempt, hindering, and opposing the worship and ordinances which God hath appointed.

Q. 110. What are the reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it? A. The reasons annexed to the second commandment, the more to enforce it, contained in these words, For I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me;

[Some of us think substituting the metric psalter for the Word of God in worship may be a cause of the failure of Covenanted Reformation. -- sk]

and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments; are, besides God's sovereignty over us, and propriety in us, his fervent zeal for his own worship, and his revengeful indignation against all false worship, as being a spiritual whoredom; accounting the breakers of this commandment such as hate him, and threatening to punish them unto divers generations; and esteeming the observers of it such as love him and keep his commandments, and promising mercy to them unto many generations.

"Yes, the principle that Independents, Lutherans, Anglicans, and Papists exercise in their worship of God IS a VIOLATION of the Second Commandment and hence a transgression and sin. This is not some secondary doctrine, something trivial, but has everything to do on how we approach the King of kings and Lord of lords who is a consuming fire (from the NT not the OT for those who cavil between the two).

"For it is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the Living God.

"How will YOU approach the throne of the King and Head of the Church, on your terms or HIS?

"Humbly yours in Christ our King, Edgar Ibarra Albany, NY RPNA

Interestingly, though my post 11808 was addressed to Edgar, among others, Edgar never responded to it. Jerry (gmw) and BishopsDoom replied directly, several others indirectly.

Are we not united under one confession of faith?

Just a reminder:

The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit, or traditions of men. (WCF 1:6)

The supreme judge by which all controversies of religion are to be determined, and all decrees of councils, opinions of ancient writers, doctrines of men, and private spirits, are to be examined, and in whose sentence we are to rest, can be no other but the Holy Spirit speaking in the Scripture. (WCF 1:10)

It seems fitting to end with Greg Barrow's quote at the end of his work:
The Covenanted Reformation Defended Against Contemporary Schismatics, Misrepresentation #4: The Puritan Reformed Church of Edmonton (PRCE) is guilty of imposing the traditions of men upon the conscience by requiring terms of communion that are unscriptural.

"George Gillespie has spoken so wisely and appropriately to the opponents of his day that I wish to apply his godly and judicious words to our current controversy with Mr. Bacon.

I shall leave every man to his Judge, and shall judge nothing before the time; and I wish every man to consider sadly and seriously, by what spirit and principles he is led, and whether he be seeking the things of Christ, or his own things; whether he be pleasing Christ; whether sin be more shamed and holiness more advanced, this way or that way; which way is the most agreeable to the Word of God, to the example of the best reformed churches, and so to the Solemn League and Covenant. The controversy is now hot: every faithful servant of Christ will be careful to deliver his own soul by his faithfulness, and let the Lord do what seemeth him good. The cause is not ours, but Christ's; it stands him upon his honour, his crown, his laws, his kingdom. Our eyes are towards the Lord, and we will wait for a divine decision of the business: "For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king, he will save us" (George Gillespie, Aaron's Rod Blossoming, 1646, reprinted by Sprinkle Publications, 1985, p. 78).
"Finally, I close this response with the sobering words of John Calvin:
These things which I set before you are not those which I have meditated with myself in my shady nook, but those which the invincible martyrs of God realized amid gibbets, and flames, and ravenous beasts! Had not their courage been thus whetted, they would in an instant have perfidiously abjured the eternal truth, which they intrepidly sealed with their blood. They did not set us an example of constancy in asserting the truth that we should now desert it, when handed down to us so signed and sealed; but they taught us the art by which, trusting in the Divine protection, we stand invincible by all powers of death, hell, the world, and Satan! Farewell ("On Shunning the Unlawful Rites of the Ungodly,"Calvin's Selected Works, SWRB reprint, 1997, vol. 3, p. 411; also in booklet form as published by Presbyterian Heritage Publications).

THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED, that the RPNA declare the Scottish Metric Psalter an inferior text for Covenanter worship, and frankly and explicitly reject it.

THEREFORE, IT IS RESOLVED that the RPNA declare the Scottish Prose Psalter (1906) as the superior text, and approve it for Covenanter worship.

AND FURTHERMORE, IT IS RESOLVED that the RPNA create and maintain a website for the Scottish Prose Psalter (1906) containing two documents, paginated .PDF files for the chant music with NoteWorth music files attached, and paginated .PDF files for the text, that may be viewed together as cascaded or tiled windows, so that any Covenanter with access to the World Wide Web may chant the Psalms of David in front of the computer with musical accompaniment.


God and Logic, Gordon H. Clark
"In thinking about God, Calvinists almost immediately repeat the Shorter Catechism and say, 'God is a spirit, infinite, eternal, and unchangeable.' Perhaps we do not pause to clarify our ideas of spirit, but hurry on to the attributes of 'wisdom, holiness, justice, goodness, and truth.' But pause: Spirit, Wisdom, Truth. Psalm 31:5 addresses God as 'O Lord God of truth.' John 17:3 says,' This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God....' 1 John 5:6 says, 'the Spirit is truth.' Such verses as these indicate that God is a rational, thinking being whose thought exhibits the structure of Aristotelian logic."

Linguistics and the Bible, Marla Perkins Bevin
"Language was not created and did not evolve from animal grunts or mews. God eternally has language as part of His rationality. Human beings have language because it is part of the image of God. Thus, God's use of language is an exemplar for human use of language, and it can be used to provide information about human language. . . .
"Scripture gives us all the major components of linguistics and patterns for analyzing them. It also shows that the order in which linguists usually introduce these com-ponents, largely because of an evolutionary assumption, is un-Biblical. In the beginning was the Logos: the Discourse." (Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Review, Number 262, December 2006).


Logical Fallacies

Inspiration, Revelation and Infallibility of Scripture


The Regulative Principle of Worship

Gaussen, Louis, David Scott (translator), John W. Robbins (editor) God-Breathed: The Divine Inspiration of the Bible. Other title: THEOPNEUSTIA: THE PLENARY INSPIRATION OF THE HOLY SCRIPTURES, 1854 (Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Foundation, 2001). Also available on Reformation Bookshelf CD #15.
"The fundamental doctrine of Christianity is the reliability of Scripture. Through the centuries, Christianity's enemies have concentrated their attacks on the inerrancy [infallibility -- sk] the sufficiency, and the clarity of the Bible, alleging that it contains errors, is inadequate, or is in need of an interpreter. These attacks come from the Roman Catholic Church, zealots, modernists, and unbelievers of various other sorts. God has used these attacks as goads to prod Christian thinkers into defending his Word, and one of the greatest defenses of Scripture ever penned is the book you hold in your hands. Louis Gaussen was a 19th-century Swiss Reformed pastor, defrocked for his fidelity to God's Word. Christians in the 21st century will also face persecution, but they can answer their opponents using Gaussens's arguments." -- Publisher's Annotation
"The turning-point of the battle between those who hold 'the faith once delivered to the saints' and their opponents lies in the true and real inspiration of the Holy Scriptures. This is the Thermopylae of Christendom. . . . In this work the author proves himself a master of holy argument. Gaussen charms us as he proclaims the Divine veracity of Scripture. His testimony is clear as a bell." -- C.H. Spurgeon

Church of Scotland, General Assembly, The Scottish Prose Psalter Being The Authorized Version of the Psalms with Selected Passages of Scripture, and Ancient Hymns, Pointed for Chanting, With Accompanying Chants. For Use in Churches, by Authority of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, 2nd edition (London: T. Nelson and Sons, Paternoster Row, Edinburgh and New York, 1906) and (Crown Rights Book Company, 2003).
"Since Christ is the Second Person of the Trinity, the hymns and laments of the psalms are directed to Him as to the Father and the Spirit. Jesus is both a singer of the psalms (Heb. 2:12 [Psalm 22:22]) and the focus of their interest. We can sing to Him our praise, tell Him our complaints and petitions, and thank Him for His goodness. We extol Him as our King, rest our confidence in Him, and look to Him as the embodiment of God's wisdom." -- "The Book of Psalms," The Reformation Study Bible, pp. 754, 755
Have you ever planned to sing through The Book of Psalms with your spouse or with your family? Here is your psalter: The Scottish Prose Psalter.
The writer knows of no psalter truer to the literal translation of the Word of God, short of pointing The Book of Psalms from Young's Literal Translation of the Holy Bible, which preserves the Hebrew and Greek grammatical structure, or short of taking 15 years out of one's life to learn the original Hebrew and Greek, which, of course, is not necessary.
This is a split-page psalter. The top set of pages are the music, the bottom set of pages are the psalms. This format allows the worshiper to match any melody with any particular psalm.
The preface contains instruction on how to chant. Select chants are recommended for each psalm.
"Chanting is the singing of a prose text to a simple, repeated melody. Good chanting is essentially good reading aloud; it uses the rhythms and stresses of natural speech.
"The ancient Hebrews never used metrical `tunes' in the modern sense. In the synagogue, the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings (including the Psalms), were read in a sing-song recitation which was half speech, half song. Originally chanting involved only a single line (that is, no part-singing), and only two or three pitches. The early Christian church retained this practice, adapting it to the recitation of the Psalms in Latin translation. Our present system of chanting in four parts is called Anglican Chant, and dates from sixteenth-century England.
"Chanting has several advantages over metrical Psalmody, stemming from the fact that in chanting, the music completely serves the text. The music is not difficult or interesting in itself, but has character and meaning only in conjunction with words. The meaning of the text is thus more immediate, and the parallel structure of the Hebrew poetry is more apparent. The difficulties of translating ancient non-metrical poems into sensible English rhyme are rendered unnecessary. Chanting encourages the use of entire Psalms rather than selections." -- "An Introduction to Chanting," The Book of Psalms for Singing, Synod of the Reformed Presbyterian Church of North America, 1995, p. 440
A prose psalter was nothing new for The Church of Scotland. They published The Psalms of David in prose and metre: with the whole forme of Discipline, and prayers, according to the Church of Scotland; the Psalms in prose being of the last translation; translated by the speciall commandment of King James the sixt, 1610 (Aberdene: Printed by Edward Raban for David Melvill, 1633).
The Bible Psalter (London: J. Nisbet, 1880), 142 pp., Presbyterian Church of England, "the music arranged and partly composed by Sir Herbert S. Oakeley" (1830-1903) and The Psalter (T. Nelson and Sons, 1888), 303 pp., by Authority of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland, "pointed for chanting, and with chants adapted thereto or specially composed for this work by Sir Herbert Stanley Oakeley" preceded this work.
"The Musical portion of this work is identical with that in "The Psalter, and Selected Passages of Scripture," etc., published in 1888; but advantage has been taken of a new issue to revise and improve the pointing of the words. To mark the Revised Edition the title of the work has been changed to THE SCOTTISH PROSE PSALTER, etc.. . . ." -- Note to Preface, May, 1897.
Publication of The Psalter, under the new title, The Scottish Prose Psalter, could have been a consequence of the awakening of 1905, "part of a worldwide movement and apparently especially inspired by British revivals. . ."
Any concordance to the Authorized King James Version and any index to the Psalms of David (AKJV) may be used with this Psalter.
Psalms are an essential part of personal devotions. There is a sincerity and beautiful simplicity about The Scottish Prose Psalter. Everyone should own a copy, especially fathers who lead family worship.

Murray, Iain, The Psalter -- the Only Hymnal? (Banner of Truth; September, 2001).
Murray aruges against Exclusive Psalmody.
"It [The Psalms in Hebrew] is in prose not metre and, if keeping as close as possible to the exact words is required of us, then there has to be a strong case for saying that the Churches which chanted the psalms were more correct."

The Commandments of Jesus, J.S. McConnell (1925)

*Elliott, Paul M., Christianity and Neo-Liberalism: The Spiritual Crisis in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church and Beyond (Unicoi, TN: The Trinity Foundation; October, 2005).
"Paul M. Elliott, a former Ruling Elder in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church, carefully traces the origin of the spiritual crisis in the OPC and similar denominations to the pernicious teaching of Westminster Theological Seminary. That teaching is that God is unknowable, that Scripture is contradictory, and that salvation is by faith-plus-works. Elliott provides copious quotations from faculty members, from the Westminster Theological Journal, and from pastors in OPC congregations to document his analysis. This book is must reading for all Presbyterians.
"Elliott's book is a massive documentation of Liberalism at Westminster Seminary (Philadelphia) and in the OPC on the doctrines of Scripture, God, salvation, and hermeneutics. Officers of the OPC should not even begin to think, 'We are the children of Machen,' for if they were, they would do the deeds of Machen." -- The Trinity Foundation
"In this chapter Mr. Elliot lists the marks of Neo-Liberalism -- they are the principles of the Liberalism that Machen opposed -- and shows how the OPC displays those marks, even while claiming that 'there's no one here but us Reformed folks.'
The Marks of Neo-Liberalism, Paul M. Elliott
"I would like to recommend Paul Elliot's new book, CHRISTIANITY AND NEO-LIBERALISM. This is a book that everyone who loves Jesus Christ, loves the truth, and loves the Gospel must read.
"It is a riveting and horrifying story. Elliot explains in great detail how the enemies of the faith have been able to surreptitiously supplant the true Gospel with a clever fraud and, more importantly, how they were able to succeed in the OPC. The track Elliot outlines in the OPC is mirrored in many respects in the PCA as well. Further, the politics involved and how these enemies of Christ have positioned themselves in places of power and influence over the years and their success in neutralizing their opposition is a lesson all of us need to learn, but I'm afraid few of us have. The incredible gullibility and complacency of countless churchmen recounted in this book is frightening. The comparison to Machen's CHRISTIANITY AND LIBERALISM is more than fitting. I would argue Elliot's book is considerably better on a number of counts. His account of the Kinnaird affair alone is worth the price of the book. Yet, there is so much I haven't even considered, like the "hermeneutic of trust" which has supplanted the Reformed hermeneutic yin many circles is an eye-opener. This is simply an amazing book." -- Sean Gerety
Part One: Liberalism and Neo-Liberalism: A Little Leaven; The Marks of Neo-Liberalism.
Part Two: Historical Background: Those Who Ignore the Errors of History; Embracing the Principles of the Auburn Affirmation.
Part Three: The Growth of Neo-Liberalism: The Shepherd Controversy: Entry of Another Gospel; Richard Gaffin's New Perspective on Paul; The Kinnaird Case and Its Aftermath; The Hermeneutic of Trust: Prescription for Doctrinal Anarchy; How Did It Happen?
Part Four: How Shall We Respond?: The Biblical Imperative.
Appendices: The Auburn Affirmation; Kinnaird Memorandum; Proposed (Rejected) Overture to the 2004 OPC General Assembly; Scripture Index; Index.

Reformed Presbytery in North America (RPNA) (General Meeting)

Email Contacts

E-mail: Greg L. Price (Pastor) at, New York, U.S.A.

E-mail: Greg K. Barrow (Elder) at, Alberta, Canada

E-mail: Lyndon W. Dohms (Elder) at, Alberta, Canada

E-mail: Reg Barrow, President, Still Waters Revival Books at, Alberta, Canada

Very respectfully,

Steven C. Kettler

E-mail: Steve Kettler at


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