The Restoration Principle - Alfred T. DeGroot - Cyprian

Alfred T. DeGroot rejects a Restoration Movement because no church father such as Cyprian taught it. Acceptance of instrumental music in worship is permitted because there is no New Testament Pattern and those who seek such a restoration movement are labeled "sects" by DeGroot and sectarians by Rubel Shelly and other latter day prophets of a new wine in a new wineskin worship.

Quotes are from The Restoration Principle, Alfred T. DeGroot, p. 39, Bethany Press

Alfred T. DeGroot   The Restoration Principle
Alfred T. DeGroot   Rejecting Tradition
Alfred T. DeGroot   Subtracting Music
Alfred T. DeGroot   The Instructor
Alfred T. DeGroot   Cyprian
Alfred T. DeGroot   Justin Martyr
Alfred T. DeGroot   Lactantius
Alfred T. DeGroot   Tertullian

Cyprian is one of the proof-text persons used to prove that there was no interest in a pattern for Christian Worship.

Because DeGroot's motive is to denounce churches of Christ as "sectarian" for refusing to add instrumental music as worship, it is fitting that all of the "fathers" denounce instrumental music as a pagan force which had not -- during their times -- dared to be used in Christian worship.

Alfred T. DeGroot: "Much reading of the Fathers brings one around to notice that such restoration of discipline, ethics, or other phases of a Christian life may be suggested, is derived from the Gospels and the examples of Jesus, much more than the apostles. This is natural and to be expected, and is a different emphasis from the dominant interest of some modern restorationists in the apostles and an apostolic church.

In his work on "unity" Cyprian mentions the Apostles are mentioned18 times and the gospel is mentioned 12 times. This is because "unity" automatically speaks of the church.

Alfred T. DeGroot: "The apostles were of greater historic import--but teachers of church history are not likely to deceive themselves by thinking that most people are influenced (interested) more by weighty historic examples than by current or at least recent embodiments of principles." (p. 59)

However, DeGroot then quotes Cyprian to say:

"...But we join custom to truth, and to the Roman's custom we oppose custon, but the custom of truth; holding from the beginning that which was delivered by Christ and the apostles." (p. 60).

And this is what Christ intended when He chose and equiped and empowered the Apostles to go out and establish the church as a heavy, historical fact:

And are built upon the foundation (laid by) of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; Ep.2:20

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; Ep.3:5

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

That ye may be mindful of the words which were spoken before by the holy prophets, and of the commandment of us the apostles of the Lord and Saviour: 2Pe.3:2

On page 59 DeGroot notes that Cyprian in Epistle XV,4 "enjoins the observande of the "Lord's commands," and the "Gospel discipline." However, Cyprian and Paul make it clear that the "gospel discipline" was the work of the apostles whom DeGroot minimizes:

4. It now remains, beloved brethren, that you should be mindful of me; that, among your great and divine considerations, you should also think of me in your mind and spirit; and that I should be in your prayers and supplications, when that voice, which is illustrious by the purification of confession, and praiseworthy for the continual tenor of its honour, penetrates to God's ears, and heaven being open to it, passes from these regions of the world subdued, to the realms above, and obtains from the Lord's goodness even what it asks. For what do you ask from the Lord's mercy which you do not deserve to obtain?-

Notice the three cycles connecting the Lord's Commands and the Gospel discipline which was established by the apostles:

you who have thus observed the (1) Lord's commands, who have maintained the

(2) Gospel discipline with the simple vigour of your faith, who, with the glory of your virtue uncorrupted, have stood bravely

by the (1) Lord's commands, and by His

(2) apostles, and have confirmed the wavering faith of many by the truth of your martyrdom?

Truly, Gospel witnesses, and truly, Christ's martyrs, resting upon His roots, founded with strong foundation upon the Rock,

Or as Paul would say:

And are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets,
Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner
stone; Ephesians 2:20

you have joined discipline with virtue, you have brought others to the fear of God, you have made your martyrdoms, examples. I bid you, brethren, very brave and beloved, ever heartily farewell; and remember me.

We submit that Cyprian and the other fathers saw the gospels and the Epistles as a "diagramed" pattern. To minimize the Epistles and Apostles in favor of some trumped up minimal "gospel" is to reject the Spirit Who guided the Apostles into all truth.

Ante-Nicene Fathers, Vol. V

1. Cyprian to the congregation who stand fast in the Gospel, sends greeting. As it greatly saddens me, and deeply afflicts my soul, when no opportunity of writing to you is presented to me, for it is my loss not to hold converse with you; so nothing restores to me such joyfulness and hilarity, as when that opportunity is once more afforded me...

However certain I may be, then, that you are no less respectable in the conduct of your life than faithful in respect of your sacramental vow,

still, since there are not wanting smooth-tongued advocates of vice, and indulgent patrons who afford authority to vices, and, what is worse,

convert the rebuke of the heavenly Scriptures into an advocacy of crimes;
as if the pleasure derived from the public exhibitions might be sought after as being innocent, by way of a mental relaxation;

for thereby the vigour of ecclesiastical discipline is so relaxed, and is so deteriorated by all the languor of vice that it is no longer apology, but authority, that is given for wickedness,-

For no mischief is put an end to with so much difficulty but that its recurrence is easy, so long as it is both maintained by the consent, and caressed by the excuses of the multitude.

2. Believers, and men who claim for themselves the authority of the Christian name, are not ashamed-are not, I repeat, ashamed

to find a defence in the heavenly Scriptures for the vain superstitions associated with the public exhibitions of the heathens, and thus to attribute divine authority to idolatry.

For how is it, that what is done by the heathens in honour of any idol

is resorted to in a public show by faithful Christians, and the heathen idolatry is maintained, and
the true and divine religion is trampled upon in contempt of God?

Shame binds me to relate their pretexts and defences in this behalf.

"Where," say they, "are there such Scriptures? where are these things prohibited?

On the contrary, both Elias is the charioteer of Israel, and David himself danced before the ark.
We read of
psalteries, horns, (nabla) trumpets, drums, pipes, harps, and choral dances.

Moreover, the apostle, in his struggle, puts before us the contest of the Caestus, and of our wrestle against the spiritual things of wickedness.

Again, when he borrows his illustrations from the racecourse, he also proposes the prize of the crown.

Why, then, may not a faithful Christian man gaze upon that which the divine pen might write about? "

At this point I might not unreasonably say that it would have been far better for them not to know any writings at all,
        than thus to read the Scriptures.

For words and illustrations which are recorded by way of exhortation to evangelical virtue, are translated by them into pleas for vice;

because those things are written of, not that they should be gazed upon, but that a greater eagerness might be aroused in our minds in respect of things that will benefit us, seeing that among the heathens there is manifest so much eagerness in respect of things which will be of no advantage.

While acknowledging that David played music but the Law of Silence is often more powerful than a Law

For there are certain things wherein the Scripture is more careful in giving instruction.
        Acquiescing in the claim of modesty,
        it has forbidden more where it has been silent.
        The truth, if it descended low enough to deal with such things, would think very badly of its faithful votaries.

For very often, in matters of precept, some things are advantageously said nothing about;
        they often remind when they are expressly forbidden.

        So also there is an implied silence even in the writings of the Scripture;
        and severity speaks in the place of precepts;
        and reason teaches where Scripture has held its peace.

Let every man only take counsel with himself, and let him speak consistently with the character of his profession, and then he will never do any of these things. For that conscience will have more weight which shall be indebted to none other than itself.

4. What has Scripture interdicted? Certainly it has forbidden gazing upon what it forbids to be done. It condemned, I say, all those kinds of exhibitions

when it abrogated idolatry-the mother of all public amusements, whence these prodigies of vanity and lightness came.
        For what public exhibition is without an idol?
        what amusement without a sacrifice?
        what contest is not consecrated to some dead person?

And what does a faithful Christian do in the midst of such things as these? If he avoids idolatry, why does he who is now sacred take pleasure in things which are worthy of reproach? Why does he approve of superstitions which are opposed to God, and which he loves while he gazes upon them?

Besides, let him be aware that all these things are the inventions of demons, not of God.

Click for Lots of proof about instruments: "In pagan traditions, musical instruments are invented by gods or demi-gods, such as titans. In the Bible, credit is assigned to antediluvian patriarchs, for example, the descendants of Cain in Genesis 4:21. There is no other biblical tradition about the invention of musical instruments." (Freedman, David Noel, Bible Review, Summer 1985, p. 51).

flutes and flute music are connected with rites of sexual initiation.
In some cultures, instrument symbolism is highly developed.
For the Tucano Indians of Colombia, instrument sounds constitute a symbolic taxonomy comprising three levels:

, vibration, and percussion.

        The whistling of a flute connotes sexual invitation,
        while vibration, represented by such instruments as the indigenous clarinet and the bull-roarer,
                symbolizes a warning or threat.
Percussive sounds produced by drums and various rattles
                symbolize the uniting of male and female. "wind instrument" Encyclopædia Britannica Online.

He is shameless who in the church exorcises demons while he praises their delights in public shows; and although, once for all renouncing him, he has put away everything in baptism, when he goes to the devil's exhibition after (receiving) Christ, he renounces Christ as much as (he had done) the devil.

Idolatry, as I have already said, is the mother of all the public amusements; and this, in order that faithful Christians may come under its influence, entices them by the delight of the eyes and the ears. Romulus was the first who consecrated the games of the circus to Consus as the god of counsel, in reference to the rape of the Sabine women.

But the rest of the scenic amusements were provided to distract the attention of the people while famine invaded the city, and were subsequently dedicated to Ceres and Bacchus, and to the rest of the idols and dead men.

Those Grecian contests, whether in poems, or in instrumental music, or in words, or in personal prowess, have as their guardians various demons;

and whatever else there is which either attracts the eyes or allures the ears of the spectators,
if it be investigated in reference to its origin and institution, presents as its reason either an
idol, or a demon, or a dead man.
        Thus the devil, who is their original contriver, because he knew that naked idolatry would by itself excite repugnance,
        associated it with public exhibitions, that for the sake of their attraction it might be loved.

The ancient versions of Genun or Jubal claim that Satan taught him how to invent and play instruments and to organize mixed-sex choirs. Click for the evidence.

Like Clement of Alexandria, Cyprian associates instrumental music with the theater or brothel which is "outside of church."

And, not to object to him what perchance he has done, still he has seen what was not fit to be done, and he has trained his eyes to the exhibition of idolatry by lust: he would have dared,

had he been able, to take that which is holy into the brothel with him; since, as he hastens to the spectacle
when dismissed from the Lord's
table, and still bearing within him, as often occurs, the Eucharist, that unfaithful man has carried about the holy body of Christ among the filthy bodies of harlots, and has deserved a deeper condemnation for the way by which he has gone thither, than for the pleasure he has received from the exhibition.

Clement of Alexander: "After having paid reverence to the discourse about God, they leave within [at church] what they have heard.

And outside they foolishly amuse themselves with impious playing, and amatory quavering (feminine vibrato), occupied with flute-playing, and dancing, and intoxication, and all kinds of trash.

7. It is not sufficient for lust to make use of its present means of mischief, unless by the exhibition it makes its own that in which a former age had also gone wrong.

It is not lawful, I say, for faithful Christians to be present; it is not lawful, I say, at all, even for those whom for the delight of their ears Greece sends everywhere to all who are instructed in her vain arts.

One imitates the hoarse warlike clangours of the trumpet; another with his breath blowing into a pipe regulates its mournful sounds; another with dances, and with the musical voice of a man, strives with his breath, which by an effort he had drawn from his bowels into the upper parts of his body,

to play upon the stops of pipes; now letting forth the sound, and now closing it up inside, and forcing it into the air by certain openings of the stops;

now breaking the sound in measure, he endeavours to speak with his fingers,
ungrateful to the Artificer who gave him a tongue. Why should I speak of comic and useless efforts?

Why of those great tragic vocal ravings?
Why of strings set vibrating with noise? These things, even if they were not dedicated to idols, ought not to be approached and gazed upon by faithful Christians; because, even if they were not criminal, they are characterized by a worthlessness which is extreme, and which is little suited to believers.

Alfred T. DeGroot in The Restoration Principle denounces churches of Christ as sects for defending the non-introduction of instrumental music because the church Fathers did not suggest the need for a Restoration Movement. We believe that Cyprian has proven DeGroot wrong.

Cyprian defends the revealed Word as the only authority for faith and worship.

Cyprian constantly urges a Restoration Movement back to that which is revealed in the inspired Word

Cyprian, like all of the fathers, is emphatic that instrumental music as worship is the custom or tradition of pagan.

In agreement with Paul, Cyprian points to the Words of inspiration as our songs and drama.

Therefore, the historical urge of Luther, Calvin, Alexander Campbell, Thomas Campbell and the literate student everywere to have a Restoration Movement back to the church of the New Testament is still valid.

Kenneth Sublett Comments Welcome

Musical Worship Index

Restoration Movement Index

Home Page

Counter added 17.04.07


personal injury

Hit Counter