Reformers and Congregation Singing


When the various movements of Reformation came the worship services of the churches were transformed. Out with the old form of singing by choirs and monks and other clergy and their musical instruments. Any thing that was only for entertainment and passive worship in Latin was to go or be transformed into the language of the people in a style that was easy to memorize and sing. Based on the principle that what the church did in the worship of God must be based on the Scripture alone two schools of thought emerged. One could do in the service what was glorifying to God and upbuilding to the church if it was not prohibited by Scripture. This normative principle was followed by Luther and later the Anglicans. Luther himself wrote 37 hymns many based on the Psalms but all containing truths of Scripture. This was a major way the Reformation truths were taught and spread.
The second principle followed by the Reformed such as Zwingli and Calvin is known as the regulative principle. Therefore one could only do in the congregational worship what was clearly authorized by the Scripture. So at first due to reaction to what was considered idolatrous no singing was done. Calvin however made the restoration of congregation singing a condition of his return to Geneva. He introduced the singing of psalms with the human voice only. He produced the Geneva Psalter.

The scripture authorizes and commands singing in the assembly gatherings. Colossians 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God.
addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritua

Sermon ID 111023416145124
Duration 18:03
Date Nov 9, 2023
Category Podcast
Bible Text 1 Corinthians 14:15; Colossians 3:16
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