Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Reformation and Revival
Volume: RAR 02:1 (Winter 1993)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

The Psalms in Worship, John McNaughter. Editor, Edmonton, Alberta: Still Waters Revival Books, (1992 reprint of 1907 edition). 590 pages, hardbound, $19.95.

This is one of several dozen reprints that have been done by a new publishing venture in Canada. In this series a number of important books on subjects germane to both reformation and revival have already appeared. These books, and the editorial commendations added by the reprinter, reflect what has come to be known as a Reconstructionist position. A catalog of other books is available from the publisher.

McNaughter was professor of New Testament literature and criticism in Allegheny Seminary in the early part of this century. This book, originally published as an outgrowth of two Presbyterian conventions held in Pittsburgh and Chicago in 1905, addresses the matter of public worship and particularly the use of the psalter. The volume consists of papers read before large gatherings. It is grounded in the doctrine of the Westminster Confession of Faith, and follows the belief that the only divinely ordained hymnbook in existence is the inspired Psalms of the Bible.

A Reformed Presbyterian minister offers a contemporary introduction to this edition. He writes:

What is urgent for us today is not simply to return to the divinely inspired hymnbook of the Bible for our worship, needful as that is. It is to return to the religion and idea of worship inherent in the Psalms. Theoretically, the “Regulative Principle” of worship, to which all Reformed Christians subscribe in principle, should persuade us to return to the divinely inspired manual of praise. After all, the singing of

the inspired Psalms has been shown conclusively from the Scriptures to be approved for public worship.

With such an insightful comment this reviewer is in essential agreement, even though the same introduction goes on to argue, consistent with the thesis of this volume, that only the Psalms should be sung in worship and that all other singing should, therefore, be excluded. Human compositions, even those based faithfully on biblical truths, are to be excluded because they are not warranted by Scripture. This thesis, still held by a minority of godly and earnest Presbyterians in this country and elsewhere, is ably defended by this volume but, in my mind, serious problems still exist with it.

In an attempt not to create disjunction between the Old and New Testaments this view tends toward a denial of the New Covenant’s distinctive theology and practice.

It also fails to exegete Ephesians 5:19 and

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