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Exclusive Psalmody

I recently stumbled across a practice that I had not previously known about before; that of exclusive psalmody. Quite simply, it is the notion that the only music acceptable in Christian worship is that which has lyrics taken from the book of Psalms. This was once the practice of many protestant denominations, but today it is mainly held only by the Reformed Presbyterian Church.

Upon a simple examination of scripture one can know that exclusive psalmody is not biblical, for we are also authorized to use hymns and other spiritual songs in our worship (Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16). Moreover, it is not entirely practical because of certain things that are not expressed in the psalms, as well as themes from the Old Covenant found in the psalms which are not applicable to the Christian dispensation (e.g. musical instruments, sacrifices, etc.). However, I do not believe that the Psalms should be neglected altogether, since they are included in the command for Christian singing. They are also desirable because they are inspired scripture and convey many wonderful thoughts.

Since I found out about exclusive psalmody, I have become more aware of the spiritual songs we sing that are from the Psalms. Accordingly, in the upcoming Hymn of the Week posts I will be featuring hymns that have lyrics taken mainly from the Psalms.

Although originally intended for Jewish worship under the Old Covenant, the Psalms are wonderful poetry, and many of them are also suitable for Christians today.

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