Call To Die

Then [Jesus] said to them all, "If anyone wants to come with Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life because of Me will save it. (Luke 9:23-24, HCSB)

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Follower of Christ, husband of Abby, member of Kosmosdale Baptist Church, and tutor/staff member at Sayers Classical Academy.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

That To Understand Psalm 150 As Indicating a Multiplicity of Instruments in Worship Does Not Contradict Other Biblical Texts



How many women visited the tomb of Jesus following the resurrection? John 20:1 only mentions Mary Magdalene. Matthew 28:1 says, "Mary Magdalene and the other Mary." Mark 16:1 records, "Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome." Luke 24:10- "Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them." Critics of the Bible point to these accounts as examples of contradictions between the Gospels, but in doing so they are committing a logical fallacy. Mary Magdalene is present in each account, with the various Gospel authors giving more or less detail as to who else was with her; if John had written that ONLY Mary Magdalene has visited the tomb or that Magdalene AND NO ONE ELSE visited the tomb, then there would be a basis for positing a contradiction, but these limiting phrases are absent from the text.

(An additional example: if I were to write about how I visited the Metropolitan Tabernacle on June 21, and were to later write about how my wife and I visited MetTab on that occasion, it would obviously be irrational to charge me with contradiction just because my wife's presence was left unmentioned in the first account.)

In his sermon on June 21 of this year, Dr. Masters was emphatic that the use of Psalm 150 to establish a multiplicity of instruments in worship directly results in implying that the Bible contradicts itself. Dr. Masters claims that the Bible only allows four instruments for the use of worshiping God, and since Psalm 150 mentions more than these four, the Psalm must not be referring to instruments used in worship, or else we have a contradiction. In his sermon Dr. Masters does not provide proof for his claim about four instruments in worship, but elsewhere he has cited various passages from 1 Chronicles (1 Chronicles 15:16, 28; 16:5, 6, 42; 25:1, 6). The reader will note that none of these passages that mention four types of instruments include limiting phrases: NONE of the passages say ONLY these instruments or these AND NO OTHERS. If there were not additional evidence we may conclude that only these four types of instruments were allowed, but as God-inspired authors of the Psalms mention other instruments in worship (in places such as Psalm 149 and Psalm 150) we may conclude that a multiplicity of instruments were allowed, and we may reach this conclusion without a hint of contradiction.

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2 Comments:

Blogger Jon Parsons said...

Some good points but I think you are mistaken here. With the accounts of Mary, all of the accounts give extra details, so we are able to compare scripture with scripture to complete a fuller picture.

However, when the Lord gave the rules for instrument use, he gave the same ones every time. I concede, he doesn't say 'don't use x', but surely that's implied? And why would he not mention the other 'prescribed' instruments every time he gave the rules? It seems a strained argument to me.

As for Psalms 149 and 150 not being allegorical, isn't it too hard to take it literally? For example, worshiping with a double edged sword? It must be figurative at least in part. And if in part, how would you decide which bits are and which bits aren't?

2:14 PM  
Blogger ajlin said...

It is my position that the historical narrative passages are not prescriptive but descriptive and that the instruments mentioned in them are supplemented with other texts, such as Psalm 149 and 150.

I do not think it too hard to take any of Psalm 149 literally; the second stanza refers to worship in all of life, including when people are "on their beds" or when people are engaged in just warfare (in which literal swords would be used).

12:42 PM  

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