Discussions on Instrumental Music in Worship (Part 1)

Where Are We and How Did We Get Here?

By c Fike February 12, 2012

It’s a little tough to have an elephant in the middle of the room and everyone pretends he’s not there.
        But when a group doesn’t want to talk about the elephant,
        they become quite skilled at ignoring him.

No, you have a SERPENT in the room. There is no command, example or remote inference in Scripture of the godly people gathering for group singing with or without instruments.  That would be branded as childish at best and perverted at worst.  The Assembly, synagogue or School of the word is the God-ordained thesis of "worship" rituals claiming some influence with God or paying one's dues.  Worship among pagans was gathering to engage in singing, dancing, playing instruments and the perverted PLAYING with One Another.  Exodus 32,  This was a sin beyond redemption and the Jacob-Cursed and God-Abandoned volunteered to slaughter 3,000 of the instrumental idolaters.  God gave them The Book of the Law and sentenced them to captivity and death.  Paul in Romans 1 defines the result of arousing sexual feelings with metrical sounds.

Jude 3 Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation,
        it was needful for me to write unto you,
        and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for
        THE FAITH which was once delivered unto the saints.
Jude 4 For there are certain men crept in unawares,
        who were before of old ordained to this condemnation,
        ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness,
        and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
Jude 5 I will therefore put you in remembrance,
        though ye once knew this,
        how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt,
        afterward destroyed them that believed not.
Jude 6 And the angels which kept not their first estate,
        but left their own habitation,
        he hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness unto the judgment of the great day.
Jude 7 Even as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the cities about them in like manner,
        giving themselves over to fornication,
        And going after strange flesh,
        are set forth for an EXAMPLE, suffering the vengeance of ETERNAL FIRE

Apollo, Apollon or Abaddon is that chief Angel and the leader of the MUSES or his worship team of foul women

Rev. 18:22 And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters,
        shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be,
        shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;
Rev. 18:23 And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee;
        and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee:
        for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

The Beast or Therion is A New Style of Music or Satyric Drama.  The Beast in the Garden of Eden was a musical enchanter called the Singing and Harp-playing prostitute.

Genesis 3:13 And the LORD God said unto the woman, What is this that thou hast done?
        And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat.

Serpo   B.Transf., of things, to move slowly or imperceptibly, to creep along, proceed gradually,
II.Trop., to creep, crawl; to extend gradually or imperceptibly; to spread abroad, increase, prevail
per agmina murmur, (bestias canam,
murmur , dulcedo orationis  Of wind-instruments: “cornuum,the sound, Hor. C. 2, 1, 17: inflati buxi, of the tibia, Ov. M. 14, 537: “aurium,a singing in the ears,
Canam, exsistit sacer ignis et urit corpore serpens,slowly spreading fire, bring to destruction, reduce to ruin, destroy

Agmĕna  crowded into a compact mass, Of a snake winding onwards Eap. of a company of persons, a multitude, troop, crowd, number, band
1. An army, troop, band, multitude: clāmor  —Of things, noise, sound, din căvus , “tibia,id. 2, 620:
bucina = A. A war-trumpet  b. = inanis, vain, empty: “gloria,
Tībĭa , a pipe, flute (orig. made of bone; curva choros indixit tibia Bacchi,modulate canentes tibiae,
Bestĭa , 2. As a term of reproach (cf. belua and our beast): “mala tu es bestia,Plaut. Bacch. 1, 1, 21; id. Poen. 5, 5, 13.—And, humorously, of the odor of the armpits (cf. ala and caper), Cat. 69, 8.—
căno , cĕcĭni, cantum (ancient I.imp. cante = canite,
once canituri,Vulg. Apoc. 8, 13  to utter melodious notes, to sing, sound, play.
tibicen  cithara, crowing of a cock: “galli victi silere solent, canere victores,to crow,
to practice magic, to charm, Galli is a word for a Catamite: priest of the Mother Godesses.

"Kenite" is a rendition of Hebrew According to Gesenius, the name is derived from the name Cain (קַיִן Qayin).[5] According to A. H. Sayce, the name `Kenite', Qéní, is identical an Aramaic word meaning `a smith', which in its turn is a cognate of Hebrew Quayin, with the meaning `a lance'.

H7014 qayin kah'-yin The same as H7013 (with a play upon the affinity to H7069 ); Kajin, the name of the first child, also of a place in Palestine, and of an Oriental tribe:--Cain, Kenite (-s).
qayin kah'-yin From H6969 in the original sense of fixity; a lance (as striking fast): spear.

H6969 qun koon A primitive root; to strike a musical note, that is, chant or wail (at a funeral): lament, mourning woman.

BEGUILED IS:   dē-cĭpĭo , capio, primarily signifies to catch away, catch up, seize an animal while running, fleeing,: “amatorem amicae decipiunt vitia,Hor . S. 1, 3, 38.—

Prometheus dulci laborum decipitur sono, is beguiled of his sufferings (i. e. forgets his sufferings, being beguiled with sweet melody), Hor. Od. 2, 13, 38.— [ALL music terms point to being beguiled or SORCERY]
SUBTIL or callĭdus  taught wisdom by experience and practice, shrewd, expert, experienced, adroit, skilful: callida Musa, Calliope, * agitator  In reference to art, excelling in art, skilful, “tuque testudo resonare septem Callida nervis  malitiam sapientiam judicant,
Wisdom, = sophia sophia , Ion. -, , prop. A.cleverness or skill in handicraft and art, in music and singing, tekhnē kai s. h.Merc.483, cf. 511; in poetry, divination “doctores sapientiae,
Hor. Od. 2.13
How near dark Pluto's court I stood,
And Aeacus' judicial throne,
The blest seclusion of the good,

And Sappho [Lesbian], with sweet lyric moan
Bewailing her ungentle sex,
And thee, Alcaeus, louder far
Chanting thy tale of woful wrecks,
Of woful exile, woful war!

In sacred awe the silentdead
Attend on each: but when the song
Of combat tells and tyrants fled,
Keen ears, press'd shoulders, closer throng.

What marvel, when at those sweet airs
The hundred-headed beastspell-bound
Each black ear droops, and Furies' hairs
Uncoil their serpents at the sound?

Prometheus too and Pelops' sire
In listening lose the sense of woe;
Orion hearkens to the lyre,
And lets the lynx and lion go.
We are talking about instrumental music in worship precisely
        because we don’t want to talk about it.
Having an elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge
is actually a sign of DYSFUNCTION

There is no command, example or remote inference that Jesus commanded a WORSHIP system.  Worship is a religious OBSERVATION or a Lying Wonder and Jesus will not be there.  Thinking that one needs to impose machines for DOING HARD WORK 1875 years after the Birth of Christ is a DELUSION.

Maybe it is because from Genesis to Revelation and after the Reformation there is no Command, Example or Remote inference of God calling people out of their REST from religion to engage in group singing WITH or WITHOUT instruments.

The command is to SPEAK that which is written for our LEARNING: only fools would strike up the band when Jesus comes. to teach us.

It is UNHEALTHY for any family or church to have topics they can’t discuss.
        The problem is NOT the issue itself but the reluctance to talk about it.
        With such reluctance come fear, ANXIETY, suspicion and assumptions.


Jesus said the Father HIDES from the wise, sophists, speakers, singers or instrument players. All recorded history beginning with clay tablets understands that ringing or clainging noise produces ANXIETY and is used to make the lambs dumb and to ROB TEMPLES.

Matt. 11:28 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

phort-izo , load, load them with burdens, encumber the eyes, ophthalmos
Phort-izo´   Ev.Luc.11.46; perissi dapan  ph. ta koina A massive burden
A. Perissos A.beyond the regular number or size, prodigious, 2.out of the common, extraordinary, strange, II. more than sufficient, superfluous, 2. in bad sense, superfluous, useless, poetry,
B.  Dapan- A. cost, expenditure,Hes.Op.723
Daphne of the choro didaskal-os A. trainer of the chorusorge´nikos,
Ignis.A. (Mostly poet.) The fire or glow of passion, in a good or bad sense; of anger, rage, fury:exarsere ignes animo,Verg. A. 2, 575
laurigerosque ignes, si quando avidissimus hauri,raving, inspiration, Stat. Ach. 1, 509:  “quae simul aethereos animo conceperat ignes, ore dabat pleno carmina vera dei,Ov. F. 1, 473:
incentor , ōris, m. id.,I. one who sets the tune or begins to sing, a precentor, singer (post-class.).
I. Lit.: “carminis,Paul. Nol. Carm. 15, 32: “incentore canam Phoebo Musisque magistris,Avien. Perieg. 895; Isid. 6, 9, 13.—
II. Trop., an inciter, exciter: “igneus turbarum,Amm. 15, 1, 2: “civilis belli,Oros. 5, 19: “rebellionis totius,
incentore canam Phoebo Musisque magistris, meaning
The female MASTER or leder of the music of Phoebe who is Apollo, Abaddon or Apollyon.
Phoebus   a poetical appellation of Apollo as the god of light:
Daphne, Ov. P. 2, 2, 82: “laurus,id. Tr. 4, 2, 51: “Rhodos,where the worship of Apollo prevailed, id. M. 7, 365: “lyra,id. H. 16, 180: “sortes,oracle, id. M. 3, 130: “tripodes,id. A. A. 3, 789: Phoebeā morbos pellere arte,id. F. 3, 827.—
C. [select] Phoebas , ădis, f., a priestess of Apollon; hence the inspired one, the prophetess, Ov. Am. 2, 8, 12; id. Tr. 2, 400; Luc. 5, 128; 165.

Daphne of the Bachanalia also called Dionysia, in GrecoRoman religion, any of the several festivals of Bacchus (Dionysus), the wine god. They probably originated as rites of fertility gods. The most famous of the Greek Dionysia were in Attica and included the Little, or Rustic, Dionysia, characterized by simple, oldfashioned rites; the Lenaea, which included a festal procession and dramatic performances; the Anthesteria, essentially a drinking feast; the City, or Great, Dionysia, accompanied by dramatic performances in the theatre of Dionysus, which was the most famous of all; and the Oschophoria ("Carrying of the Grape Clusters").

C.  koina   4. in magical formulae, of words added at will by the user, 'and so forth', Pap., PMag.Osl.1.255, PMag.Par.1.273, al.; koina hosa theleis ib.2.53; ho k. logos PMag.Lond.46.435 ; cf. koinologia. VII. of forbidden meats, common, profane,
Poieo: make, produce, first of something material, as manufactures, works of art

 4. [select] after Hom., of Poets, compose, write, p. dithurambon, epea,
p. Phaidran, Saturous, Ar.Th.153, 157; p. kōmōdian,

metaph., heavy load or burden, ph. khreias, kakōn, E.Supp.20, IT1306; cf. phortion.
        II. Att., vulgar stuff, rubbish, balderdash, Ar.Pax748 (anap.) Pl.796.
        III. mass of detail, 'stuff', in semi-colloquial sense, Aret.CD1.4
These discussions are not designed to lead us to adopt instrumentation [That's a. False Statement]
        rather they are designed for nothing more
        than to educate and facilitate discussion.
Success of these Sunday evenings will be measured,
        not by any changes that might occur,
[That's a. False Statement]       
        but by our ability to have meaningful dialog.

Our Plan will be as follows:

Our Identity

Let’s begin with why this discussion is so difficult to have.
        It is difficult because singing Acapella is a major part of our identity as a Church of Christ.
        It has become a marker of what a Church of Christ is.
        Acapella [ah kuh-pel-uh] simply means without instrumental accompaniment,
        and the secondary meaning is in the style of church or chapel music.

A CAPPELLA MEANS HOLDING MASS IN THE SISTINE CHAPEL: The Castratoes replace the Falsetto choir and originally the whole group sing in unison or the same, single note melody.   MELODY or the Greek MELOS does not permit harmony or meter.  We know that this is not SCRIPTURAL because we know when the practices were change

harmonizing technique, called organum, is the first true example of harmony. The first instances were extremely simple, consisting of adding a voice that exactly paralleled the original melody at the interval of a fourth or fifth (parallel organum).

Notre-Dame school,  during the late 12th and early 13th centuries, an important group of composers and singers working under the patronage of the great Cathedral of Notre-Dame in Paris. The Notre-Dame school is important to the history of music because it produced the earliest repertory of polyphonic (multipart) music to gain international prestige and circulation.

WE don't have the authority to DISCUSS how WE conduct WORSHIP when A Church of Christ is a SCHOOL of Christ using His Words in the Prophets and Apostles. Jesus died to defund worship OBSERVATIONS to which the Kingdom will never com as well as WORSHIP LEADERS meaning the Jacob-cursed and god-abandoned Levites who stood in RANKS to execute any NOT-ABANDONED person who came near the HOLOCAUST of goats or Infants.


No one used instruments in the Sistime chapel CAPEL where the Pope's only official mass takes place.  Thee catholics never engaged in CONGREGATIONAL SINGING with or without INSTRUMENTS until about 1911.  The simple pipe organ set the pitch for the PRECENTER and was used to signal processions, intermissions or recessionals.

The pope imported a CASTRATED OPRA TEAM from France to replace the FALSETTO boy's choir.  A cappella means of the SISTINE CHAPEL named after a Generals GOAT SKIN CAPE.

The "boys" sing in the style of ORGANUM.. The whole team sang in unison singing the SAME NOTE and later added a second note.  No congregation violated the command to SPEAK the biblical text until after allows some PSALMS be recomposed and set to a simple meter to be SUNG IN UNISON.

Byron Fike thinks that divisive people BEGAN to reject instruments

So how did Acapella become so closely aligned with OUR identity? To answer that question, we must take a look at our history. We grew out of a merger of two separate movements identified by the primary leaders of each group. Barton Stone led a group known as Christians; and Alexander Campbell’s followers were called Disciples.

Stone Movement (Christians)

Campbell Movement (Disciples)

This is called Psychological Violence to induce the GUILT CLAUSE: In 1832 Alexander preached for the REFORMED BAPTISTS who never grasp that He was teaching that Baptism was FOR the remission of sins

Byron Fike: The movements of Stone and Campbell merged in 1832 and were composed of 25,000 believers. By 1860, they were the fourth largest Christian denomination in the United States numbering around 200,000. By 1900, they numbered well over one million but by that point division seemed inevitable.

World History of the Stone Campbell Movement?

Both Stone and Campbell denied that their COULD be unity because Stone wanted to establish a DENOMINATION with a name and a Creed


THE 1832 UNITY MEETING J.F.BURNETT Stone and the Disciples of Christ (Reformers then)

Morrill, in "History of the Christian Denomination," says: [6]

"The 'union' itself was consummated on New Year's day, 1832, in Hill Street Christian Church, at Lexington, Kentucky, where representatives of both parties pledged themselves 'to one another before God, to abandon all speculation, especially on the Trinity, and kindred subjects, and to be content with the plain declaration of Scripture on those subjects on which there had been so much worse than useless controversy.'

The plain meaning is that they found common ground to occupy, threw away their divisive teachings and opinions, and acted as one. The men who at Lexington pledged themselves there and then gave one another the hand of fellowship,

speaking for themselves, and the churches they came from,
but not for all the churches or the denominations in Kentucky or the United States.


ALL of the commands for the assembly beginning with the Church of Christ (the ROCK) in the wilderness were marked by SPEAK or READ: this was to SEPARATE from all of the pagan systems led by GAY BOYS (Isaiah 3) Singing and Playing instruments to make the lambs dumb before the slaughter or to SEDUCE another male.

Paul commanded that we SPEAK Psalms, hymns and Spiritual songs ALL of which are SCRIPTURE ot that which is written for our learning.
Byron Fike believes that Paul commanded SING out loud and make melody WITH a harp.

Byron Fike:  By 1906, two distinct bodies were listed in the U.S. Census. If you look at the numbers, most people went with the Disciples. The division involved many issues, but instrumental music in worship became the flame issue.


Before Instruments were IMPOSED it was possible to visit Christians, Baptists, Presbyterians and most METHODISTS without being offended and MENTALLY AGITATED by the NOISE of the new Reed Organ.

Not until 1878 did anyone in history MISuse psallo to justify the massive discord they had already sown by using the ORGAN and Life Members of even children of the Missionary Society. This has a foundation beginning in heaven where Lucifer began to TRAFFICK in some spiritual world we do not understand. Being CAST AS PROFANE (a musical term) out of heaven he or most often showed up in the garden of Eden as the serpent meaning a MUSICAL ENCHANTER.

"By 1897, Lipscomb was reconciled to the fact that division had already occurred and the supporters of the innovations would be satisfied with nothing less than a complete take-over of the churches... (Adron Doran, J.E.Choate, The Christian Scholar, p. 59

1901  Instruments of Music in the Service of God By David Lipscomb

Instruments had been added into the Disciples of Christ--Chrisitian Churches. In time the determination was to "take Tenneessee for the organ and society party within five years."  That is proof that churches of Christ in Tennessee did not belong to the Stone-Campbell and God wants people to stop lying to "take Tennessee a hundred years later."

When the church determines to introduce a service not required by God,
        he who believes it wrong is compelled to refuse in any way
        to countenance or affiliate with the wrong.

         Sometimes when a part of a church insists on and adopts the wrong,
had I not better yield than to create division in the church? 

A church that requires disobedience to God to maintain peace in it is already an apostate church; it has rejected God as it only Ruler. 
While forbearance and love should be exercised in seeking to show them the right and persuading them to do it, it is sinful to so affiliate with them as to encourage and build up a church that is going wrong. 

In 1902 the church at Newbern was taken over by society and organ people. The church, against Lipscomb's advice, sued to retain the property. Of course the society could muster a majority and won the lawsuit. The decision was handed down in 1905 that the trouble did not warrant the intrusion of the courts:

"The pro-organ party had said during the trial that
        when the organ was used as a part of the worship, it was sinful;
        but they defended it on the ground that it was an AID to worship.

Lipscomb, on the other hand, had insisted that it was a distinct service,
and when persisted in always supersedes and destroys congregational singing.

"The court, passing on this phase of the question,
        said that the claim that the organ was not a part of the worship was untenable
        and it could not be considered as merely an aid to worship."

1903 J.W.McGarvey What Shall we do with the Organ

Before this it had bred similar evils among Methodist societies and Baptist and Presbyterian churches; for all these bodies in their early days knowing that the practice originated in the Roman Catholic Church, regarded it as a Romish corruption and refused to tolerate it until it was forced upon them by the spirit of innovation which characterized the present century.


Christian Union: Chapter 5 - Period Of Reunion 1906
By J.H. Garrison

Speaking of a National Organization by others, he notes:

"These fragmentary movements, while of value in preparing the way for something better, were not satisfactory. It was believed that something better was practicable, and the great Inter-Church Conference in New York City in November, 1905 was called, in this conviction. It was believed that the time had come when the evangelical Protestant bodies of Christendom.

In 1906 the Organ and Society party claimed Tennessee Churches of Christ as THEIRS.  The Census taker KNEW that it was a lie.


[linked image]


1911 James A. Harding

J. W. McGarvey And A Very Dark Spot, Christian Leader and The Way Vol. 25, No. 49 (December 5, 1911), 8.

For fifty years I have been deeply, personally interested in the Church, and an eager reader of its literature; and I know that more congregations have been divided among us by pressing instrumental music into them than by all other causes. Next to the organ, the missionary societies have been our greatest causes of division and strife.

Byron Fike:


Hermeneutics is a big word for interpreting the Scriptures. WE developed a unique way of understanding the New Testament. Rooted in the ideals of restoration, a method developed which we used to determine what God desired from his church. So the question became, “what has God authorized?’ The answer could be found using a three-pronged hermeneutic: Direct Commands; Approved Examples; and Necessary Inferences.

hermaêneuô [hermêneus]
I. to interpret foreign tongues,
II. to interpret, put into words, give utterance to, Thuc., etc.
2. to explain,

Hermes, the Lat. Mercurius, son of Maia and Zeus; messenger of the gods (diaktoros); giver of good luck (eriounios, akakêta ); god of all secret dealings, cunning, and stratagem (dolios); bearing a golden rod (chrusorrapis ); conductor of defunct spirits (psuchopompos, pompaios ); tutelary god of all arts, of traffic, markets, roads (agoraios, empolaios, hodios, enodios ), and of heralds. His bust, mounted on a four-cornered pillar, was used to mark boundaries. --Proverb., koinos Hermês shares in your luck!  [And your body] Theophr.: cf. hermaion.

Irenaeus (ca. 150)
Against Heresies 3.1.1
“We have learned from none others the plan of our salvation, than from those through whom the gospel has come down to us, which they did at one time proclaim in public, and, at a later period, by the will of God, handed down to us in the Scriptures, to be the ground and pillar of our faith.”

Clement of Alexandria (d. 215)
The Stromata, 7:16
“But those who are ready to toil in the most excellent pursuits, will not desist from the search after truth, till they get the demonstration from the Scriptures themselves.”

Gregory of Nyssa (, 395)
“On the Holy Trinity”, NPNF, p. 327
“Let the inspired Scriptures then be our umpire, and the vote of truth will be given to those whose dogmas are found to agree with the Divine words.”

Athanasius (c. 296–373)
Against the Heathen, 1:3
“The holy and inspired Scriptures are fully sufficient for the proclamation of the truth.”

Basil the Great (ca.329–379)
On the Holy Spirit, 7.16
“We are not content simply because this is the tradition of the Fathers. What is important is that the Fathers followed the meaning of the Scripture.”

Ambrose (340–397 A.D.)
On the Duties of the Clergy, 1:23:102
“For how can we adopt those things which we do not find in the holy Scriptures?”

St. Augustine (354–430)
De unitate ecclesiae, 10
“Neither dare one agree with catholic bishops if by chance they err in anything, but the result that their opinion is against the canonical Scriptures of God.”

Thomas Aquinas (1225–1274)
Summa Theologiae, Question 1, art. 8
“For our faith rests on the revelation made to the Prophets and Apostles who wrote the canonical books.”

Origen XLI In the next place, as if he had forgotten that it was his object to write against the Christians, he says that,
"having become acquainted with one
Dionysius, an Egyptian musician,

        the latter told him, with respect to magic arts,
        that it was only over the uneducated and men of corrupt morals that they had any power,

while on philosophers they were unable to produce any effect,
because they were careful to observe a healthy manner of life."

Vulgate translates, "They turn thy words into a song of their mouths." heart goeth after covetousness--the grand rival to the love of God; therefore called "idolatry," and therefore associated with impure carnal love,as both alike transfer the heart's affection from the Creator to the creature.

2 Peter 1 Prophecy No Private Interpretation


Eph. 2:20 And are built upon [EDUCATED BY]the foundation of the apostles and prophets, J
        esus Christ himself being the chief corner stone;
Eph. 3:5 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men,
        as it is now REVEALED unto his
        holy apostles and prophets by the SPIRIT;

SPIRIT produces WORDS from God and NOT by preachers who have no ROLE and not DOLE.

Eph. 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets;    
        and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

2 Peter 2:10 But chiefly them that
        walk after the FLESH in the lust of uncleanness,
        and despise government. Presumptuous are they,
        selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities. [i.e. Lie TO God and ABOUT God]

2 Peter 2:11 Whereas angels, which are greater in power and might,
        bring not railing accusation against them before the Lord.

2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute BEASTS, [Zoon, ZOE MARK]
        MADE to be taken and destroyed,
        speak evil of the things that they understand not;
        and shall
utterly perish in their own corruption;

As DOGS or Catamites Paul and John connected to SORCERY they TURN to their OWN VOMIT and die forever.

2 Peter 2:13 And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness,
        as they that
count it pleasure [Hedonism: sensual pleasure, LUST. Outlawed Rom 15]
        to riot in the day time.

they are and blemishes,
       sporting themselves  Rising up to PLAY
        with their
own deceivings
        while they
feast with you

Entrupo (g1792) en-troo-fah'-o; from 1722 and 5171; to revel in: - sporting selves.

-Truphaô , ( [truphê] ) A. live SOFTLY, luxuriously, fare sumptuously, paison, truphêson, zêson:
2. part. truphōn as Adj., effeminate, luxurious, Ar.Nu.48, etc.; “t. kai amelēsPl.Lg.901a; “to truphōneffeminacy, Ar.V.1455 (lyr.); also of things, dainty, delicate,basilikē kai truphōsa paideiaPl.Lg.695d; “aspida . . truphōsanAristopho 14, cf. Antiph.52.10 (troch.); “artoi t.Alc.Com.5.
hoi truphōntesspoiled pets, Id.Men.76b; en tais ekklēsiais t. kai kolakeuesthai, of the people, D.8.34;

-Paison paizō , Dor. paisdō Theoc.15.42: Lacon. pres. part. gen. pl. fem. paiddōhan Ar. Lys.1313 (lyr.): fut. paixoumai Syrac. in X.Smp. 9.2, A. paixomaiLXX 2 Ki.6.21,
2. esp. dance, “paisateOd.8.251;
4. ho kalamophthogga paizōnAr.Ra.230; dance and sing, Pi. O.1.16.
5. play amorously, “pros allēlousX.Smp.9.2; “meta tinosLXX Ge.26.8; of mares, Arist.HA572a30.

2 Peter 3:1
This is now, beloved, the second letter that I have WRITTEN to you; and in both of them

        I stir up your sincere mind by REMINDING you;
[2]  that you should 
       Remember the WORDS which were spoken before by the holy prophets
        and the commandments of us, the apostles of the Lord and Savior:
[3]  knowing this first, that in the last days MOCKERS will come, [Magikos, magi]
        walking after their own lusts,

Empaig-ma , atos, to, A. jest, mocking, DELUSION, LXX Is.66.4; magikês empaigmata technês
Magikos , ē, on, Magian,
A. logoiPlu.Them.29: Magikos, ho (sc. logos), title of work by Antisthenes, Suid. s.v. Antisthenēs, or Aristotle, D.L.1.1.
II. magical, “bibloiPs.-Phoc.149; m. tekhnē magic, LXX Wi.17.7; “ m.Ph.2.316.
2. of persons, skilled in magic,
Paig-ma , atos, to/, A. play, sport, lōtos hotan . . paigmata bremē whene'er the PIPE sounds its SPORTIVE strains, E.Ba.161(lyr.); “Ludia p. luras
Ludios A. of Lydia, Lydian, “auloiPi.O.5.19; “sukina

Pind. O. 5 [15] Always, when it is a question of excellence, toil and expense strive to accomplish a deed that is shrouded in danger; those who are successful seem wise, even to their fellow-citizens. Savior Zeus, high in the clouds, you who dwell on the hill of Cronus and honor the wide-flowing Alpheus and the sacred cave of Ida! I come as your suppliant,
        singing to the sound of Lydian flutes,
        [20] entreating you to adorn this city with glorious hosts of noble men;
Any movement as old as ours is going to have some baggage. These bags are what make this discussion so difficult. I’ll present four bags tonight. I think we’ve done some good work in overcoming the first two. Three and four are especially applicable to us. In discussing instrumental music in worship here is what we bring to the table:

    Legalism. This is the belief that one is saved BECAUSE of correct beliefs and practices. Thus, every doctrinal discussion has eternal consequences. Legalism makes people afraid to make any changes because, “What if we’re wrong?”

    Sectarianism. This is the belief that we and we alone are the one true church. Any group with different beliefs and practices cannot be considered our brothers and sisters.

    Embarrassment. We’re embarrassed by our inconsistencies and bad arguments from the past. When people ask, “Why don’t you use instruments?” We are reluctant to even talk about the subject. By the end of our sessions, my hope is that you will be well informed to address that topic

A Thoughtful Approach

What is needed is a thoughtful approach that includes:


Review of the Plan

Discussions on Instrumental Music in Worship (Part 2)

Examining the Scriptures

By Byron Fike February 19, 2012

  1. Last week (February 12), we examined why the topic of instrumental music in worship is difficult to discuss. Basically it is because it is part of our identity as a Church of Christ. We are the non-instrumental Churches of Christ, and that distinguishes us as something a little different than other groups. I really think that is the primary reason this is such a tricky topic for us to consider.

  2. Tonight (February 19), we are going to talk about the scriptures. We will survey the Old Testament, glance at three passages in Revelation, spend more time in the New Testament, and then take a quick look at church history.

    Next Week (February 26), we are going to pull all this information together and talk about relevance. What do we do with all of this? And, where do we go from here?

    On March 4, our topic will be, “The Voice of the Congregation.”

“Does someone have an agenda?” Yes. Our agenda is that we can have meaningful dialog on a difficult topic. Whether any changes take place, or whether we are all just better informed about things; if we have honest, loving discussions with one another, we will have achieved our goal.

Book Recommendations

  1. Rubel Shelly, Sing His Praise! A Case for A Capella Music as Worship Today. This book was written in 1987, early in Shelly’s transformation from strict conservative to progressive. Around the same time, he wrote a transitional book, I Just Want to Be a Christian. During this period of his life, Shelly is thinking through and modifying his understanding of Christianity. A friend of his described I Just Want To Be a Christian as having been written by “a legalist trying to think his way out of legalism.” In Sing His Praise!, Shelly presents some traditional arguments that have been used by Churches of Christ for singing Acapella. He does this without sinking into judgmental and sectarian attitudes that have often come to characterize such presentations. I don’t know if he would agree today with the conclusions he wrote in 1987, but he presents his case in a kind and loving way.

  2. Everett Ferguson, A Capella Music in Public Worship of the Church.
    This is an older book written in 1972 but reprinted several times. Ferguson is a first-rate scholar and is highly respected in the academic community. This particular book is quoted more often than any other book I know of by those writing on the topic of Acapella vs. Instrumental music in worship.

    Danny Corbitt, Missing More Than Music: When Disputable Matters Eclipse Worship and Unity, 2008. Danny was campus minister at University of Texas for many years and now worships with a church that combines instrumental and Acapella praise. His book was written to challenge traditional arguments.

I benefitted by reading each of these books, but found the conclusions were not always consistent with the evidence they presented. The book I would really like to recommend

has not been written or perhaps I just haven’t found it yet, but if you were to read all of these books, you would have a pretty good balance. If you were just going to read one, I would recommend Corbitt’s book. In his preface, he mentioned that he had to self publish because, although he found Church of Christ publishers who agreed with his conclusions, they simply could not publish the work. In a footnote he wrote, “One publisher would not read my manuscript because ‘church politics would never allow me to print it.’ A former publisher explained that it would be ‘commercial suicide’ for anyone in the restoration movement to publish my work.” I wanted to give you that footnote because that is precisely why we need to have these discussions. Anytime we are afraid to see our traditions challenged, that’s a problem. I think we need to be honest and open and listen when people have things to say that might disagree with what we have historically believed and practiced.

Silence of the Scriptures

Historically, the pressing issue on this matter has been authority. The question has been phrased, “Are instruments authorized to be used in the worship of the church? The discussions have centered on Scriptural silence. Instruments are used throughout the Old Testament as you will see in a moment. When you come to the book of Revelation, harps are pictured in the hands of saints around the throne of God, but in the other 26 New Testament books, no instruments are mentioned in connection of worship to God. Singing is mentioned, but there is no mention of instruments being used. You will not find a prohibition in the New Testament against using instruments, but there is also no statement telling us to use them. It is silent.

Last week, we talked about our traditional hermeneutic. A hermeneutic is a way to interpret scripture. Historically we used a particular hermeneutic to determine scriptural authority. To do this we looked for: Direct Commands, Approved Examples and Necessary Inferences. This approach was like reading the Bible through a grid to help us determine what was authorized and what was not. We took our interpretive grid and put it over the topic of instrumental music in worship and discovered:

    There is no direct command in scripture to use instruments

    There are no examples of instruments being used

    There is nothing necessary about using instruments because plainly you can sing

    without them.
    Thus, the New Testament is silent on the question. As Shelly has written,

    “The use or non-use of instrumental music in worship relates to a hermeneutical method (i.e. how to interpret the so called ‘silence’ of Scripture) rather than a difference of view concerning the sufficiency and authority of the Bible.” (Rubel Shelly, Sing His Praise: A Case for A Capella Music as Worship Today, p. 20)

    This is an important distinction to make. In talking about this issue (or any other issue), just because someone reaches a different conclusion than you do does NOT mean they do not believe the Bible. Rather, they may simply be using a different way of understanding the Bible than you do; hence, a different hermeneutic. People can be committed to the


authority of Scripture and reach different conclusions. In this case, the conclusion you reach will be determined by the way you interpret silence.

A Better Way to Read Scripture

Our tri-fold hermeneutic causes us to ask the question, “Is silence prohibitive or permissive?” I want you to think just a moment about the assumptions of that particular question. The underlying assumption is that silence has a purpose. When we believe this, every issue that involves silence becomes an “either, or” issue. Thus, every discussion turns into a debate with a right side and a wrong side. There is a better way to read scripture. The New Testament is not a constitution for the church as Thomas Campbell wrote in Declaration and Address many years ago. The New Testament is instead a collection of letters written, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, to people and churches with real needs that needed some real answers. When you understand the New Testament like this, silence may be nothing more than saying that a particular issue is not under discussion. That is a better way to interpret silence.

Someone asked last week what hermeneutic I would recommend if we don’t use command, example and inference. We have to learn to read scripture in a way that enables us to hear what the original authors meant to communicate, rather than imposing a grid that will answer the questions we want answered. What was it that they were saying? What is their message? The last book I will recommend is How to Read the Bible for All It’s Worth written by two scholars, Fee and Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All it’s Worth gives basic teaching on how to interpret different types of literature found in the Bible. You don’t read a letter, for instance, in the same way you read a Psalm. You don’t read prophecy the same way you read Law. You don’t read parables the same way you read historical narratives. Fee and Stuart will help you develop some ways to read different types of literature so that you can understand what the author was seeking to communicate. That is what I mean by a better way to read scripture.

Quick Survey of Old Testament

When one considers the Bible as a whole, one cannot say it is silent on the topic of instrumental music in worship. We are going to quickly survey the Old Testament and then we will look at the New Testament.

    The first mention of musical instruments in scripture is in connection with Jubal, son of Lamech. “He was the father of all who played stringed instruments and pipes.” (Genesis 4:21) There is no indication if this creation was good or bad, it’s just a matter of fact.

    The first mention of instruments used in worship was after God’s miraculous deliverance of Israel from the Egyptian army.

    “Then Miriam the prophet, Aaron’s sister, took a timbrel in her hand, and all the women followed her, with timbrels and dancing. Miriam sang to them: ‘Sing to the Lord, for he is highly exalted. Both horse and driver he has hurled into the sea.” (Exodus 15:20- 21)


It appears that the celebration was a spontaneous outpouring of praise and thanksgiving for God’s salvation.

    When the timid Benjaminite Saul was privately anointed king of Israel by Samuel, he was told he would soon meet some prophets. The way he would recognize them was the multitude of musical instruments he would see and hear.

    “As you approach the town, you will meet a procession of prophets coming down from the high place with lyres, timbrels, pipes and harps being played before them, and they will be prophesying. The Spirit of the LORD will come on you in power, and you will prophesy with them; and you will be changed into a different person.” (1 Samuel 10:5-6)

    There is no indication that instruments were commanded to be used. There is also no indication that God had any displeasure with them being used.

    When the ark of God was brought to Jerusalem, King David ordered instruments to be played and also that choirs sing as the ark approached the city.

    “David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their fellow Levites as musicians to make a joyful sound with musical instruments: lyres, harps and cymbals...” (1 Chronicles 15:16)

    “Kenaniah...was in charge of the singing of the choirs...So all Israel brought up the ark of the covenant of the LORD with shouts, with the sounding of rams’ horns and trumpets, and of cymbals, and the playing of lyres and harps.” (1 Chronicles 15:27-29)

    In the Psalms, singing and playing musical instruments was strongly encouraged as an appropriate way to praise God.

    “Sing joyfully to the LORD, you righteous; it is fitting for the upright to praise him. Praise the LORD with the harp; make music for him on the ten-stringed lyre. Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.” (Psalm 33:1-3)

    During King Hezekiah’s reformation, he purified the temple so it could be used again in the worship of God. The Biblical writer casually mentions that God himself commanded the use of instruments in temple worship.

    “He stationed the Levites in the temple of the LORD with cymbals, harps and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the king’s seer and Nathan the prophet; this way was commanded by the LORD through his prophets.” (2 Chronicles 29:25)


.000000pt; font-family: 'Symbol'"> Amos condemned the use of instruments, but not because their use was sinful; rather it was because the hearts of the worshippers were so corrupt.

“Woe to you who are complacent in Zion...You lie on beds inlaid with ivory and lounge on your couches. You dine on choice lambs and fattened calves. You strum away on your harps like David and improvise on musical instruments.” (Amos 6:1, 4-7)

“You drink wine by the bowlful and use the finest lotions, but you do not grieve over the ruin of Joseph. Therefore you will be among the first to go into exile, your feasting and lounging will end.” (Amos 6:6-7)

Exile to Babylon Changed How Israel Worshipped

In 586 B.C., the temple was destroyed and the Israelites were scattered. It was during this time that synagogues arose for the purpose of instructing people in the way of God. It appears that instruments of music were not used in the earliest synagogues. There may not have even been singing since their primary purpose was instruction in the Scriptures. There is some evidence that the exiles did not consider joyful singing to be appropriate under their circumstances.

“By the rivers of Babylon we sat and wept when we remembered Zion. There on the poplars we hung our harps, for there our captors asked us for song, our tormentors demanded songs of joy; they said, ‘Sing us one of the songs of Zion!’ How can we sing the songs of the LORD while in a foreign land?” (Psalm 137:1-4)

Survey of Revelation

Revelation is a highly symbolic letter written to seven deeply troubled churches near the end of the 1st century. There are three passages that present heavenly worship to include instruments:

    “And when he had taken it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each one had a harp and they were holding golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of God’s people. And they sang a new song...” (Revelation 5:8-9)

    “And I heard a sound from heaven like the roar of rushing waters and like a loud peal of thunder. The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps. And they sang a new song before the throne....” (Revelation 14:2-3)

    And I saw what looked like a sea of glass glowing with fire and standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast . . . . They held harps given them by God and sang the song of God’s servant Moses and of the Lamb...” (Revelation 15:2-3)

    Nobody believes these are literal images. Some would argue that this shows God desires instruments in worship as this would be consistent with Old Testament practices. Others


say, no this is only to be interpreted symbolically. The golden bowls of incense are the prayers of the saints and the harps represent the songs of the saints. God no more wants harps than he wants golden bowls of incense in worship. Basically when it comes to these passages in Revelation; whatever you bring to them is what you will read out of them in regard to whether or not one should use instruments in Christian worship. As in all the New Testaments writings, the matter is simply not under discussion in these texts.

Survey of New Testament

Ten passages mention singing in the New Testament. In all of them there is no reference to a musical instrument begin used in Christian worship.

  1. “When they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.” (Matthew 26:30; Mark 14:26)

  2. “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” (Acts 16:25)

    “As it is written: ‘Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles; I will sing the praises of your name.’” (Romans 15:9, quoting Psalm 18:49)

    “I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my understanding; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my understanding.” (1 Corinthians 14:15)

    “What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up.” (1 Corinthians 14:26)

    “Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord, ...” (Ephesians 5:18-19)

    “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” (Colossians 3:16)

    “So Jesus is not ashamed to call them brothers and sisters. He says, ‘I will declare your name to my brothers and sisters; in the assembly I will sing your praises.’” (Hebrews 2:11-12, quoting Psalm 22:22)

    “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise– the fruit of lips that openly profess his name.” (Hebrews 13:15)

    “Is anyone among you in trouble? Let them pray. Is anyone happy? Let them sing songs of praise.” (James 5:13)

A Closer Look at Three Passages

Two texts, Colossians 3:16 and Ephesians 5:19 have historically been used as proof texts for singing Acapella. The third text we will consider adds additional perspective to this discussion. As you read the texts below, ask yourself, “What is the author emphasizing?”

Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is. Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make


music from your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. (Ephesians 5:15-20)

This text is not specifically addressing a Christian worship assembly; rather it is talking about how to live in community with one another. Some might argue that singing to one another implies an assembly and I wouldn’t disagree with that. But the emphasis is living the Christ-like life. Singing somehow is to help us live as the community of Christ.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him. (Colossians 3:12-17)

This passage has the same emphasis as the Ephesian text. We are to live in the community of Christ by growing in Christ-likeness. Paul does not appear to be concerned with instruments but with content. What we sing is more important than how we sing. We are to proclaim the richness of the message.

What then shall we say, brothers and sisters? When you come together, each of you has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. Everything must be done so that the church may be built up. (1 Corinthians 14:26)

This passage is obviously addressing a Christian assembly. Again, what is the emphasis? The author tells us everything must be done for edification or, in other words, building up the body of Christ. Interestingly, the New Testament never plainly instructs us to sing congregationally. This might be inferred from Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16 but even if those texts are related to assemblies, they don’t necessitate congregational singing. Singing to one another could be one person singing to others. It could be a small group singing. We just don’t have enough information to know exactly what type of singing occurred at these early assemblies.

This passage appears to be talking about a solo. The emphasis is not how the songs are sung, but the fact that edification must be occurring! That is the emphasis throughout the whole chapter of 1 Corinthians 14. Edification is not making people feel good; rather, it’s working to develop faith, hope, and love (which Paul says are the greatest things of all). These are the things the New Testament authors are concerned about.


Letting these three passages (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16; 1 Corinthians 14:26) speak to us, will take us much deeper than simply discussing whether we should use instruments or sing only Acapella. The use or non use of instruments is a peripheral issue. It is not at the heart of New Testament worship. If we will listen to the New Testament writers and let them speak to us, they will take us to the heart, and then we can begin to think more theologically. We will learn to ask questions, like:

    How well does our church music ground us in the faith?

    How adequately do our songs equip us in living the Christian life?

    Why Did They Not Use Instruments?

    It appears from our study of the New Testament that instruments were not used in the earliest Christian gatherings. If that assessment is true, it still does not tell us why they did not. The New Testament never gives us the answer, but there are some possibilities that people have proposed. Look over the list below and see which one’s make sense to you.

    Instruments in worship were part of the “shadow” of the first covenant (along with animal sacrifice, incense, and special garments).

    Acapella music is more consistent with the nature of Christian worship than singing accompanied by instruments.

    Early Christians adopted the structure of the synagogue service. Instruments were forbidden to be used on the Sabbath since tuning an instrument constituted work. Thus, no instruments were used in the synagogues. Temple worship, where tuning an instrument was allowed on the Sabbath, was an exception to this general rule. This was because the Sadducees, who were in charge of the Temple, disagreed on this issue with the Pharisees who controlled the synagogues. If early Christians adopted the structure of the synagogue service they would have been non-instrumental. However, it is possible (probable?) they might have adopted the structure without accepting the Pharisees’ arguments opposing the use of instruments.

    Instruments had a close connection with paganism which made them difficult for early Christians to use in worship

    Historical Analysis

    It appears that the earliest churches did not use instruments in worship. Early writers after the time of the New Testament wrote about singing, but they did not mention singing with instrumental accompaniment in their assemblies. There is no explanation for why they did not use them, and there is also no opposition to instruments mentioned in these early writings.

    Ferguson has written that there is only one passage from the early church fathers which speaks unambiguously in favor of Christians playing a musical instrument. It’s worthy of note because it’s so obscure. A man by the name of Clement of Alexandria, who lived in the late 2nd century, wrote:

    “The Lord is now our congenial guest, for the Apostle adds again, ‘teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms,


hymns, and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the father through him.’”

“This is our grateful revelry, and if you should wish to sing and play to the cithara and lyre, this is not blameworthy; you would imitate the just Hebrew king giving praise to God. ‘Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! Praise befits the upright’ says the prophecy. ‘Praise the Lord on the cithara; make melody to him on the psaltery of ten strings! Sing to him a new song’.”

Ferguson interprets this passage to mean “one can sing even psalms to an instrument at home.” He adds, “Clement’s statement concerns what is done at a banquet in the home, not at a church service or even at an agape (love feast).” This is an interpretation because Clement nowhere explicitly states the occasions he is writing about. Corbitt challenges Ferguson’s interpretation,

“... If Clement believed that God condemned the use of instruments in praise, it is hard to argue that he would condone them anyway in certain worship contexts. Furthermore, the Biblical citations that Clement makes do not easily lend themselves to restricted settings.”

By late 4th century, writers began condemning the use of instruments in worship. Chrysostom writes,

“Many people take the mention of these instruments allegorically and say that the timbrel required the putting to death of our flesh, and that the psaltery requires us to look up to heaven. But I would say this, that in olden times they were thus led by these instruments because of the dullness of their understanding and their recent deliverance from idols. Just as God allowed animal sacrifices, so also he let them have these instruments, condescending to help their weakness.”

In the early 5th century, Theodoret (bishop of Cyrrhus in Syria) criticized instruments when he wrote,

“It is not simple singing that belongs to the childish state, but singing with lifeless instruments, with dancing, and with clappers. Hence the use of such instruments and the others that belong to the childish state is excluded from the singing in the churches, and simple singing is left.”

Concerning Old Testament practice, Theodoret, writes,

“Of old the Levites used these instruments as they hymned God in his holy Temple, not because God enjoyed their sound but because he accepted the intention of those involved. We hear God saying to the Jews that he does not take pleasure in singing and playing: ‘Take away from me the sound of your songs; to the voice of your instruments I will not listen’.”


“He allowed these things to happen because he wished to free the Jews from the error of idols. For since they were fond of play and laughter, and all these things took place in the temple of the idols, he permitted them...thus avoiding the greater evil by allowing the lesser.”

Theodoret goes so far as to call instruments in worship, “evil.”

It appears that instruments were not widely used in Christian worship until perhaps the 10th century. This was around the time the church split into east and west. The Western branch of Christendom, known as the Roman Catholic Church, used instruments. The Eastern Orthodox branch continued to be non-instrumental.

The reformers were also split over what to do with instrumental music in worship. Lutheran and Anglican churches continued to use instruments. Martin Luther had many positive things to say about their use. The Reformed and Anabaptist churches considered it a Catholic corruption. Today, most reformed churches have accepted instruments in worship.

Making Sense of it All

What conclusions do we draw? People can look at the same information, the same scriptures and reach different conclusions. To some, the historical argument is very persuasive. They might argue that we should follow the example of the early Christians. Others might read the Old Testament texts and be persuaded that instruments are a wonderful way to worship God. Still others might be persuaded by the arguments of the 5th century opponents that instruments never really pleased God, he simply permitted them for a time until the new covenant could be established.

Conclusions, by themselves, say nothing about motives, love for God, or desire to reach out to the community. Thus, we cannot judge one another simply because we might reach different conclusions.

After surveying the Scriptures, here are some things we can know for sure about instrumental music in worship:

    God never directly speaks against it  [Mark by Paul: Lying to Deceive]

    There is no specific anti-instrument argument found in Scripture  [Mark: The Spirit Witchcraft or Sorcery]

    There is no direct statement that early Christians did not use instruments


Discussions on Instrumental Music in Worship (Part 3)

Where Do We Go From Here?

By Byron Fike February 26, 2012

Previously we’ve discussed the tri-fold hermeneutic that was widely used in our past. The command, example, and necessary inference way of looking at scripture was used to detect a pattern that we could imitate. Thus, every issue was reduced to the question, “Is this authorized?” When people reached different answers to the question, it created division. After all, using this method meant that God had either authorized a certain thing or he had not. As people reached different conclusions each was convinced that they were standing with God.

Last week, I presented a better way to read scripture. Instead of asking the text to give thumbs up or thumbs down to our agenda, we should read scripture to understand the inspired author’s agenda. In this way, we can emphasize what God wants us to emphasize. This also changes the questions we ask about specific items for which scripture is silent. In regard to instrumental music in worship; rather than asking, “Is this authorized?” better questions might be; “Is this beneficial or helpful?” And, “Does this help us achieve God’s purposes?”

Three conclusions were presented at the end of last week’s presentation on what Scripture says and does not say concerning instruments in worship.

        God never directly speaks against instrumental music in worship.
Instruments were used with God’s approval in the Old Testament;
      however the New Testament is silent on the subject.
        This silence neither condemns nor condones.
        Silence here simply means the matter was not directly addressed.

There is no specific anti-instrument argument to be found in Scripture. There are arguments people make against using instruments in worship but the authors of the Bible never make such arguments.

There is no direct statement in Scripture that early Christians sang Acapella. It appears that they did, but no where does the New Testament explicitly say this. The word “Acapella” is not found anywhere in scripture.

Since these things are true, condemning as sinful those who use instruments in worship is to speak where God has not spoken. We have been guilty of this in the past, and we were wrong. We can hold personal opinions on this subject, but we cannot bind them on others. We can disagree without judging.

When it comes to personal views on instruments in worship there is a wide variety of opinions. I’m going to use two scripture quotations to illustrate the extremes. On one end think of Paul’s statement, “Everything that does not come from faith is sin” (Romans 14:23). I can remember as a young man sitting in a worship assembly wrestling with whether or not I should sing since an instrument was being played. That was an internal faith struggle. At that point in my life, it would have violated my conscience to participate. With continued study and spiritual growth, I moved beyond that fear.

Some of you have no idea what I’m even talking about. Others of you know exactly what I mean. This may be the struggle some of you are having. We as a church need to be sensitive to those who are near this end of the spectrum. We need to practice Paul’s instruction in Romans 14:13, “Therefore let us stop passing judgment on one another. Instead, make up your mind not to put any stumbling block or obstacle in the way of a brother or sister.” The stumbling block occurs when someone is pushed further than their faith can sustain them. Even if it’s a good thing you are pushing, if your brother or sister’s faith is not strengthened first, you will turn something good into something evil. Thus, the Apostle also writes, “Do not let what you know is good, be spoken of as evil.” (Romans 14:16)

On the opposite end of the opinion spectrum is the quote, “Everything is permissible” (1 Corinthians 10:23). This appears to be a “slogan” used by some Christians in Corinth who were abusing their freedom in Christ. The problem was they were short sighted and thus unconcerned with the consequences of their actions. Just because we can do something, doesn’t mean we should. There is much more to consider than simply asking, “Is it lawful?” Consider Paul’s instructions,

“I have the right to do anything,” you say–
but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”–but not everything is constructive. No one should seek their own good, but the good of others. (1 Corinthians 10:23-24 TNIV)

This puts the issue of instrumental music in a whole different light. Is this beneficial? Is this constructive? Is this helpful? The question we really need to wrestle with is this: “Would instrumental music in worship help or hinder us in fulfilling God’s purposes for this church at this time?” This is the question we’re asking you to answer next week. This week, we want to you to listen to people who may not think like you do.

The purpose of our round table discussions is that you might grow in your understanding and appreciation of people who hold different opinions than you do. The purpose is not for you to try to convince everyone at your table to see things your way; rather, you must listen with a desire to understand where other people are coming from.
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Discussions on Instrumental Music in Worship (Part 1)