I appreciate all of the responses to my post earlier this week. Here are some follow-up comments:
1. I do not deny that there is a time to change. There is also a time not to change. There is a season for everything. It takes wisdom to know which season it is. My main concern in the previous post was to question the wisdom of frequently changing the psalter. I believe that it will prove to be counter-productive and that it will ultimately undermine psalmody. When we regularly revise our translations of God’s Word, we shouldn’t be surprised when we begin to handle it recklessly. Hence, the introduction of hallelujah choruses into Psalms 24 and 150. This is a radical development for our new psalter. A quick survey of older psalters in the presbyterian tradition will show that this is not how the psalter has been handled by our forbears.
2. With regard to Psalm 8, in particular, I find Rev. King’s observation to be very interesting. I think he may be on to something. The only English translation I could find that used “just less than divine” was the JPS Tanakh of 1985. We’re not Jews; we are Christians. Shouldn’t we consult the NT in our translation and interpretation of the Psalms? “Next to God” or “lower than the angels” are sound translations. Doesn’t “just less than one divine” sound like a [heretical] theological statement? I’m almost ready to dub this new psalter “The Arian Psalter”. Tear out that page!
3. I’m reminded of something said by William Willimon, I believe. Becoming a Christian is like learning a new language. New Christians have hurdles to jump; that’s not a bad thing. Rev. Eshelman: Should we remove the hurdles of theological language, too? Should we stop using words like “propitiation”? If we try to reach the lost by watering down (or, vulgarizing) our language, I fear we may lose the reached. It’s not as if language is either vulgar or not. There are degrees of vulgarity. How vulgar is too vulgar? When do you lose something by vulgarizing?
4. The triumphalistic assertion that we now have singable tunes is debatable. I would give examples, but I don’t want to offend the composers.
5. I’m willing to grant, I suppose, that the King James English must eventually die out. However, I lament its departure, and I’m still not sure that we must abandon the name “Jehovah”.
6. The comments by Rev. Rockhill on tradition trouble me. If the traditions surrounding the use of Psalm 24 are good traditions, then why break them? Why must we end these traditions at this time? Just because a particular church committee tells us to?
7. I agree with Rev. Chellis in the mea culpa. I’m guilty of the same thing.
That’s all I have time for right now. I don’t necessarily want this discussion to dominate the DRC blog. Perhaps we need a separate blog where we can critique the 2009 RP psalter more thoroughly. Or perhaps we should do that here. I think this could be a very fruitful discussion. Thoughts?