Article #1 - December 22, 1993 Instrumental Music in Worship Before reading ANYTHING that
Article #1 - December 22, 1993
Instrumental Music in Worship
Before reading ANYTHING that I say you must realize that while
I am a member of the Church of Christ denomination I do not claim to be
speaking for all of the members of my congregation or denomination. In
fact, what I say regarding this topic if probably FAR from what the
majority of my fellow members believe, but I pray daily that their eyes
will be opened to God's Word and His Will instead of their own blind
traditions. Furthermore, I apologize for not making the first article
about something more positive and encouraging, but there have been many
questions put to me on this topic which I felt this might be a good medium
for attempting to shine God's Light on the answers. - J.D.
First of all, let's take a moment to clarify something that is
vital to understanding my basic interpretation. I hope to the belief that
the Word of God (Bible) is the source from which we should get our answers,
not preachers, teachers, and any other man. God took the time to write
(author, inspire) the scriptures and everything that we need for salvation
is in there (or the instruction we need anyway, much takes place in our
own hearts but the Bible instructs us on how we should do that).
I believe that God is perfect, and that Christ also is perfect.
I believe that the Bible teaches us that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday,
today, and forever. I believe that God never changes and is the single
consistent factor in life since the beginning.
2 Timothy 3:16 tells us that all scripture is God-breathed and is
useful for instruction, correction, rebuke, etc. Interesting is this verse,
I think, because it doesn't say that the Bible shows us the wrong way to do
things so that we can know not to do things that way, it shows us the CORRECT
way, a perfect way. The Secret Service trains its officers to spot
counterfeit money not by showing them counterfeit money, but by having them
study the REAL THING and knowing it so well that when a bad dollar passes
by them they can spot it in a heartbeat. That's how we should view our
study of the Bible. We are studying the Perfect Way. In doing so, we can
learn the RIGHT way to do things. We can learn the truth and in doing so
when a 'false prophet' or a bogus tradition or doctrine come along we can
spot it in a heartbeat because we've studied the REAL THING and we know
what the whole truth is.
Okay, I guess I've given my 'background' so I can get on with the
topic at hand... (you'll see how all of this fits together later)...
Instrumental Music. This is a long-debated topic which, quite
frankly, I don't see all the hoopla about personally. I personally believe
that men who say that it is wrong are wrong and misusing the Bible because
the Bible says NOWHERE that it is forbidden. I believe that men who say
it is absolutely CORRECT and NECESSARY are wrong also because it is nowhere
commanded for Christians (or Jews). I personally have studied this
objectively and come to the conclusion after much prayer and study that it
is simply a 'disputable matter' (Paul warns us about arguing over these
matters in Romans 14, as well as other scriptures). Kind of like 'eating
meat,' I personally believe that if it is wrong for me then it would be a
sin for me to take part in it. Likewise, if it is not wrong for me then
it would not be a sin for me to participate. But regardless, any and all
judgement of souls or Christian walks should be made ONLY by Jehovah God.
Instrumental music was utilized IN WORSHIP in the Old Testament and
God found it pleasing. In fact, it was SO pleasing to God in one story that
His Spirit filled the temple in the form of a cloud (2 Chronicles 5:14).
I encourage you to pray and read this story for yourself and see how this
speaks to you. Then I ask you to consider: Since God is the same God,
Jehovah God, God of Abraham, Isaac, David, Joseph and Mary, then why would
he suddenly find it displeasing after years and years of finding it to be
acceptable form of praise to Him?
David was considered a man 'after God's own heart.' David played
his harp (and other instruments) to the Master in praise. God found this
pleasing and David found favor in God's eyes. Again, consider this.
One "Church of Christ" answer for not having instrumental music in
worship is that Eph. 5:19,20 and Col 3:16,17 both state that we are to
"speak to one another in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs... making melody
in our hearts" unto God. Well, in my understanding of the Word of God, this
is an highly flawed interpretation of these scriptures. By Biblical example
(and Hebrew traditional definition) a Psalm can have instruments played along
with them. In fact, many scholars believe that some of the notations in
the book of Psalms are where instrumentals were performed (Selah, Ashta,
etc.). David's example, as the master psalmist, shows us that psalms do
and CAN have instrumental accompaniment. A spiritual song on the other
hand seems to be (from the Greek Bible) a song which is more spontaneous
which may or may not have instrumental accompaniment with it. A hymn, by
all occurances in the Bible is sung without instruments and A Capella (in the
jail they didn't have instruments with them and they sung a hymn, not a
psalm or spiritual song... on the mount they didn't have any instruments
with them so they sung a hymn, too...). Literal interpretation of this
verse actually implies a COMMANDMENT to sing in THREE (3) forms of music:
Psalms, Hymns and (AND!) Spiritual Songs. All three! Not just hymns and
spiritual songs as the Church of Christ does it, but ALL THREE! And it is
not "choose one of these three" but "speak to one another in psalms, hymns
AND spiritual songs." If we were told to be baptized in the name of the
Father, Son and Holy Ghost, would we just baptize in the name of the Holy
Ghost and skip the other three? I highly doubt it! So then why do we
dismiss ourselves from a form of worship that is commanded in Ephesians
5:19 and Colossians 3:16?! (Okay, so this is an extreme argument, but
is it not valid?)
Be at peace! Nowhere in the New Testament are we told that we
must NOT use instrumental music in worship. God took the time to tell us
everything else that was important enough to Him to mention and yet He
didn't instruct us NOT to use instrumental music. God finds praising Him
and worshipping Him with OR without instrumental music pleasing in His sight.
We have Biblical example of this and unless God changed overnight during the
Stone/Campbell movement, He is still the same Jehovah God who filled the
temple with a cloud and His Spirit because he was so pleased in 2 Chronicles.
He is the same Lord God who found David's music pleasing. And is the same
God who commanded us to worship Him in THREE (3) forms of music: Psalms,
Hymns, and Spiritual Songs.
"Make melody in your heart!" Anyone who has ever played an
instrument and sang a heart-wrenching song while they did it know that
you can play and sing in your heart at the same time. Any anyone who tells
you that it's impossible obviously missed the entire message. God is the
ONLY one who can judge your heart. Strive to live your life FOR GOD and
to praise and worship Him in everything you do. He is the only one who
can judge you and He will judge HARSHLY anyone else who tries to judge you
for how you worship Him. Be at peace and live for Christ!
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