Alexander Campbell on Instrumental Music

STONE "We have just received an extraordinary account of about 30,000 Methodists in England, withdrawing from that church and connexion, because the Conference disapproved of the introduction of instrumental music to the churches. The full account shall appear in our next. To us, backwoods Americans, this conduct of those seceders appears be the extreme of folly, and it argues that they have a greater taste for music, than they have for religion. Editor." (Barton Stone, Christian Messenger, vol. 3, No. 2, Dec. 1828, p. 48 in bound volume)

Instrumental music was added by a few churches while the majority of those called Disciples opposed them. As people rose to defend instruments those churches became "sectarian" to what became the Church of Christ. Therefore, the organ party separated itself from the mainstream congregation-by-congregation from the first organ down to the  total abandonment by the Disciples of Christ of inspiration, the virgin birth, rejection of baptism, open membership and other beliefs and practices which removed itself from the mainstream. 

The Beginning of Musical Idolatry: Part Two of Lynn Anderson review.  Isaiah 30 sees it as the sounds of God repaying his enemies driving them into "hell" with wind, string and percussion instruments.

Lynn Anderson  Psallo justifies Instrumental Music and sowing of Discord. REVISED 9.13.08 to organize rough thoughts. 

The instrumentalists and their fellow travelers have made an industry out of turning the history of the church and the Restoration movement upside down to defend their position: if you reject inspiration and accept post modernism then lying and stealing is not wrong under the doctrine of imminent domain domain which says "your church is now my church." They love to lie about Alexander Campbell by claiming that the argument for pagan music by Mr. G was REALLY AC defending instruments. While the problem arose in 1851 and he declared open warfare even though the first instrument was imposed in 1859 when Campbell was largely out of action.  it is a fact that there was NO UNION between the Church of Christ and those defecting instrumentalists.


Alexander Campbell. INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC From: MILLENNIAL HARBINGER, September 1851, 581-2 quotes a letter from a mister G, who saw music as desirable because it would be the change agent and control agent by restoring ancient, pagan, charismatic worship. This article is presented on a restoration movement site which gives the wrong impression of Alexander Campbel's statement.

Evolution of Defense for Instrumental Music, Truth Magazine XXIV: 22, pp. 354-359May 29, 1980 Ron Halbrook Xenia, Ohio: Early in 1851, J. Henshall was asked by a man who said "we are far in the rear of Protestants" whether "instrumental music in our churches" would consummate "the great object of Psalmody." He replied that the worldly minded might seek such "helps to their devotion," but true spiritual worship had no place for an entertaining display, a choir, and "a wooden devotion quickener." This opened discussion in the Ecclesiastic Reformer for a short time.  

All of the Church of Christ stood opposed to instruments and therefore there was no "fellowship" with the proposal in 1851 or the "organ party" after 1859.  John Rogers requested an answer from Alexander Campbell who responded--in part:

"The argument drawn from the Psalms in favor of instrumental music" befits Catholic and Protestant churches which seek "the Jewish pattern of things" to stir their carnal hearts.(8) The 1850s saw precious little advance in the instrument cause; almost no one favored it. "It is scarcely necessary for us to say to our readers that we regard the organ and violin worship, and even the fashionable choir singing of our country, as mockery of all that is sacred," said Tolbert Fanning in the 1856 Gospel Advocate. (9) The next flare-up revealed that fifty years after Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address (1809), Dr. L. L. Pinkerton had placed a melodeon in the church at Midway, Kentucky. Answering a question in January 1860, Benjamin Franklin mused that a church without the Spirit of Christ might need an instrument for amusement and entertainment in place of religion and worship. This stung Pinkerton because he was the only church known to be using one. Offering the aid argument, he said the singing had been so bad as to "scare even the rats from worship." Practice sessions with its use had been followed by use in regular worship. (10)


8. Henshall, "Instrumental Music In Churches," Ecclesiastic Reformer, Vol. 4 (15 March 1851):171; Rogers, "Dancing"; Campbell, "Dancing" and "Instrumental Music," Millennial Harbinger (September and October, 1851):503-507 and 581-582.

9. On p. 199, quoted in John T. Lewis, The Voice of the Pioneers on Instrumental Music and Societies (Nashville: Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Co., 1932), p. 120.

10. Franklin and Pinkerton articles entitled "Instrumental Music in Churches," American Christian Review, Vol. 3 (31 January and 28 February -1860):19, 34. See Earl West, The Search For The Ancient Order, 3 Volumes (Nashville: Tennessee: Gospel Advocate Co., 1949; Indainapolis, Indiana: Religious Book Service, 1950, 1979), 1: 310-312. 



The instrumentalists must subscribe to the views of those who sowed discord. What follows is not the views of Alexander Campbell on instrumental music. It is a letter supporting instrumental music based upon ancient, pagan practices. Mr. G recognizes that music is a device of mind control Which we discuss in other articles Click Here. Not Alexander Campbell on Instrumental music but Mr. G states that:

"INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC is entirely in harmony with the most grateful, solemn and happy feelings of which the human heart is susceptible. Indeed, sacred music upon an instrument, tends, in a very considerable degree, to excite solemn and holy emotions; and we cannot forbear to say, that could the music of our churches be improved--could it be accompanied with an instrument,

it would soothe and calm the feelings of the auditors; it would improve the order of the house; it would call into lively action the latent religious emotions of the heart, and add very much to the enjoyment on such occasions.

"Music exerts a mysterious charm upon man--it takes captive the citadel of life--carries him out of himself, and leads him where it will. The shrill fife and the rattling drum, inspire the soldier just about to enter into battle, with a zeal and daring which no hardship can overcome, and no danger intimidate, and causes him to rush headlong into the thickest of the combat, regardless of consequences.

If martial music thus inspires the worshipers of Mars, will sacred music do less for the humble followers of the meek and lowly Jesus--the worshipers of the true and living God? No!

"It will not. It will inspire them, too, with zeal and courage, and impel them on to resist--not flesh and blood with instruments of death, but principalities and powers--spiritual wickedness in high places, with the armor of God and the sword of the Spirit.

Mars was Nimrod at the Towers of Babel and introduced music and women's bands of singers.

See how Mars did it.

Mr. G, subconsciously no doubt, defined the purpose for vocal and instrumental music in the worship of Mars or any of the tens of thousands of gods. The goal of musical worship was to take you out of yourself. This was enthus O mania which means that you were insane. This was ecstasy, Paul called it insanity, to permit you to have a personal relationship with a god.


Alexander Campbell and all of the Church of Christ opposed and refused to affirm the CLAIM of authority or later refused fellowship with the ORGAN even when they preached in denominational buildings. 

Alexander Campbell knew what Paul knew when he said he would not use carnal weapons or instrumental music. Rather, he used the Word of God. The Restoration Movement did not have to contend with music in the beginning because it was rare in most denominations.

Quotions will be from John T. Lewis, The voice of the Pioneers on Music and Societies, NASHVILLE TENN. GOSPEL AVOCATE COMPANY 1932 COPYRIGHT

Resource: Instruments were unheard of in this connection with the restoration until early in the Nineteenth Century. Reference was made to it as early as 1827 in the United States General Conference in which Barton W. Stone played a leading role. "In 1827 it passed resolutions condemning the use of the title `Reverend' and the employment of instrumental music in public worship."(3) There appears to have been some controversy over the question of its use as early as 1851 according to an article in the Ecclesiastical Reformer. Earl West refers to the incident by saying, "There was a brief flare-up of the issue in Kentucky as early as 1851. This affair, while it was brief, yet it was intense."(4) Mr. West further stated that on February 22, 1851 a man who signed his name "W" wrote to J.B. Henshall, associate editor of the Ecclesiastical Reformer, the following letter: "Brother Henshall - What say you of instrumental music in our churches? Should not the Christian Church have organs or Bass Viols that the great object of Psalmody might be consummated? Would not such instruments add greatly to the solemnity of worship, and cause the hearts of the saints to be raised to a higher state of devotion while the deep toned organ would swell its notes of `awful sound'?" I think it is high time that we awaken to the importance of this church music. I hope, therefore, that you will give your views in extense, on this much neglected subject."(5)

Through the columns of the Ecclesiastical Reformer of March 15, 1851, Henshall replied by saying:

In proportion as men become worldly minded, provided they have not entirely lost the fear of God, do they begin to require helps to their devotion. That they could require such helps under a dark dispensation where they were rather led into the use of symbolic rites, than inwardly illuminated by God's word and spirit, is not at all astonishing; but to say that we need them who live in the full light of the gospel privileges, and enjoy God's mercies and providence over us, is to say that we have no gratitude in our hearts, and that we are every way unworthy of these benefits.(6) 

After having read two of the articles written by Mr. "W" favoring instruments, one John Rogers wrote Alexander Campbell requesting him to speak out against it. John Rogers was a convert of Barton W. Stone and devoted to restoring New Testament Christianity. His letter to Campbell was as follows: "But my brother, a popular preacher has come out in two numbers in the Ecclesiastical Reformer in favor of instrumental music in the church and social dancing in our families."(7)

Mr. Campbell replied to the letter in the next issue of the paper, with the exception of the question on instrumental music; he made no allusion to it. Later that year (October), however, he replied to an article signed "G" in which he expressed himself fully and clearly on the subject; his language being characteristic of the vigorous manner of his writings.(8)

3. W.E. Garrison, Religion Follows the Frontier, p. 236.
4. Earl West, The Search for the Ancient Order (Gospel Advocate Company: Nashville, Tennessee, 1949), Vol. 1, p. 309.
5. J.B. Henshall, "Instrumental Music," Ecclesiastical Reformer, Vol. IV, No. 6 (March 15, 1851), p. 171.
6. J.B. Henshall, "Instrumental Music," Ecclesiastical Reformer, Vol. IV, No. 6 (March 15, 1851), p. 171.
7. John Rogers, "Dancing", Millennial Harbinger, Fourth Series, Vol. I, No. 8 (August 1851), p. 467.
8. Hailey, op. sit., p. 202

Campbell's reply appeared in the October 1851 issue of the Millennial Harbinger as follows: The argument drawn from the Psalms in favor of instrumental music, is exceedingly apposite to the Roman Catholic, English Protestant, and Scotch Presbyterian churches, and even to the Methodist communities. Their church having all the world in them - that is, all the fleshly progeny of all the communicants, and being founded on the Jewish pattern of things - baptism being given to all born into the world of these politico-ecclesiastic communities - I wonder not, then, that an organ, a fiddle, or a Jews-harp, should be requisite to stir up their carnal hearts, and work into ecstasy their animal souls, else "hosannas languish or their tongues and their devotions die" and that all persons who have no spiritual discernment, taste or relish for their spiritual meditations, consolations and sympathies of renewed hearts, should call for such aid, is but natural. Pure water from the flintly rock has no attractions for the mere toper or wine-bibber. A little alcohol, or genuine Cognac brandy, or good old Madeira, is essential to the beverage to make it truly refreshing. So to those who have no real devotion or spirituality in them, and whose animal nature flags under the oppression of church service, I think with Mr. G., that instrumental music would be not only a desideratum, but an essential prerequisite to fire up their souls, to even animal devotion. But I presume, to all spiritually-minded Christians such aids would be as a cow bell in a concert.(9)

9. Alexander Campbell, "Instrumental Music," Millennial Harbinger, Fourth Series, Vol. I., No. 10 (October, 1851), pp. 581, 582.


In less than two years after the American Christian Missionary Society was organized John Rogers wrote to Alexander Campbell as follows from p. 114 to prove that no fellowship could exist even in 1851 when the first organ would not be imposed until 1859: 

Carlisle Ky., June 9, I851.--Brother Campbell: It is now seven years since I felt myself called upon) in view of the increasing disposition to frivolity in our churches) to prepare and publish a discourse against dancing, as an amusement. But however that and kindred efforts from the pulpit and press may have checked the evil, most certainly it is still on the increase in this section of Kentucky. For years past, many persons of wealth and influence have been advocating dancing as a social amusement--as innocent, elegant, healthful, and every way improving. But they have been much hindered, hitherto, by the old-fashioned sort of Christians, who have not so learned Christ; and the preachers, too, have all been against them.

But my brother, (would you believe it?) a popular preacher has come out in two numbers, in the "E. Reformer, In favor of instrumental music in churches, and social dancing in our families! Hear him: "That the fasldonable dancing of the day should be denounced by the churches, is not strange, but social dancing affords a very healthful and elegant exercise for the young) which, in itself, is entertalning, improving, and inoffensive." (E. R. for June 1, 1851.)

"Watchman, what of the night?" I call upon you, my dear Brother Campbell, in the name of God--in the name of the crucified One--in the name of poor, bleeding Zion; upon Brothers Richardson, Pendleton, and every editor and every scribe who can lift a pen, and every orator in this Reformation, to speak out in a voice of thunder, and say: O, say! is this the goal to which you have been driving the car of this Reformation? This the grand ultimatum of all your toils and sacrifices; of this terrible war you have waged against creeds and confessions, disciplines and covenants, sects and sectarianism; against mystery Babylon, and all her offspring? O, say! has the object of this warfare, for more than a quarter of a century, been to introduce instrumental music into our meetinghouses, and the elegant, healthful, inoffensive, improving practice of social dancing into our families? 

Brother Campbell, more than a year ago I wrote to you in reference to some of these matters and urged you strongly to present your views concerning them. You promised me you would; but a [115]  press of business, I suppose, has prevented. I do think the whole weight of your influence is called for upon thls question. Are we to have instrumental music in our churches? Are Christian parents to be allowed to send their children to dancing school, and have social dancing in their houses? Is the church to tolerate and encourage all this? Circus going, card playing as an amusement, theatergoing, and all kindred practices? Give us, my dear brother, your best thoughts on this subject.  God bless you, and make you yet a blessing, is the ardent prayer of yours, as ever, JOHN ROGERS. 


It is important to note that Alexander Campbell was not reluctant but would not be available to write later:

[The subject laid before us in the above communication from its excellent author merits our profound consideration and that of all the brethren. We will attend to it in our next.--A. C.] (Millennial Harbinger, 1851, pages 467, 468.) 

Mr. Campbcll's reply to the above is found in the Millennial Harbinger, 1851, pages 503-507. I will quote only a few extracts from his lengthy reply. John T. Lewis

Our most estimable brother, Samuel Rogers, of Kentucky, having called my attention to the subject of promiscuous dancing--a growing fashion in Kentucky and certain other places, not only amongst the sons and daughters of men, but amongst the professing sons and daughters of God--and having conceded a few pages to this interesting subject, I now proceed in due form of an essayist, to redeem my pledge. (Page 503.) 

After referring to dancing mentioned in "the book of Job," which he says was the oldest on record, and Miriam dancing, and the daughter of Herodias dancing before Herod, and "Washington balls on Washington's birth nights," Mr. Campbell says:

In these four dances we have the prototypes of all the dancing in all story, sacred or profane. They are, in the philosophy of them, animal and bodily movements, indicative of the passions, emotions, and impulses of the animal soul; not of the spirit, nor the spiritual nature of man ....

But, in the New Testament age, we read of no religious dances, any more than of religions harps psalteries and trumpets. Amongst all the directions and exhortations in the New Testament, I have not found one on the subject of dancing. Yet there was dancing in those times, as well as in the ancient times of the patriarchs and Jews. (Pages 505, 506.)

Mr. Campbell closes his reply as follows:

As idle they who dream of pleasure in what is called the fashionable amusements of the day. Why look to Paris, the metropolis of atheism, sensuality, and crime, for any other fashion or custom than those which drown men in destruction and perdition? I would say, if need there be, to every brother in the land: "Lift up [116]  your voice like a trumpet cry aloud and spare not. Show Israel their transgressions and Jacob their sins;" for because of these things "iniquity abounds--the love of many waxes cold." The gospel is spoken and heard in vain and "because of these things, the wrath of God comes upon the children of disobedience. "What fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness! what communion hath light with darkness? what concord hath Christ with Belial? what part hath he that befieveth with an unbeliever? and what agreement hath the temple of God with idols!" (Page 507.) 

JTL: It is significant that the first "popular preacher" among the Reformers who came out "in favor of instrumental music in churches" also favored "social dancing in our ramifies." Instrumental music, social dancing, card playing, and kindred practices all appeal to the animal emotions of man, but never to the spiritual nature of man. These practices, in many places, today, as leeches, are sucking all spiritual life out of the churches. Where churches are spiritually dead, it takes organs, fiddles, and horns to keep up an interest; because, if their animal nature flagged, they would be religiously dead. Instrumental music has no place in spiritual assemblies. It belongs to entertainments, but not in the worship

The society secretary stands with "a popular preacher" who came out, in 1851, "in favor of instrumental music in churches" and "social dancing in our families." In the Millennial Harbinger, 1851, pages 581,582, Mr. Campbell says:

The argument drawn from the Psalms in favor of instrumental music is exceedingly apposite to the Roman Catholic, English Protestant, and Scotch Presbyterian churches, and even to the Methodist communities. Their churches having all the world in them --that is, all the fleshly progeny of all the communicants, and being founded on the Jewish pattern of things--baptism being given to all born into the world of these politico-ecclesiastic communities--I wonder not, then that an organ, a fiddle, or a jew's-harp, should be requisite to stir up their carnal hearts, and work into ecstasy their animal souls, else "hosannas languish on their tongues, and their devotions die." And that all persons who have no spiritual discernment, taste, or relish for their spiritual meditations consolations, and sympathies of renewed hearts, should call for such aid, is but natural. Pure water from the flinty rock has no attractions for the mere toper or winebibber. A little alcohol, or genuine Cognac brandy, or good old Madeira, is essential to the beverage to make it truly refreshing: So to those who have no real devotion or spirituality in them, and whose animal nature flags under the [117] oppression of church service, I think with Mr. G., that instrumental music would be not only a desideratum, but an essential prerequisite to fire up their souls to even animal devotion. But I presume, to all spiritual-minded Christians, such aids would be as a cowbell in a concert.


In the Newbern (Tennessee) church trial, in his chief examination, page 187, David Lipseomb said:

I stated that Mr. Campbell was so opposed to organs in worship that he would not preach where one was used. I saw a statement made by his son-in-law, I reckon about the time of his death, or soon afterwards, when the organ question was up, he wrote an article that was published in the American Christian Review, that on one occasion, in New Orleans, a Presbyterian house was offered to Mr. Campbell to preach in, which had an organ in it, and an organist that usually operated it during the services, taking for granted that they wanted the usual services, began the overture or whatever part it was, and Mr. Campbell arose and requested it to be stopped, that he could not preach where the organ was used. He preached in McKendree Church when he was here, which was offered to him, and no organ was used. I suppose there was an organ in the house, but there was none used. I do not know how that happened, but I know it was not used. I was there. [Lewis, p. 117]

[120] The first musical instrument introduced into the worship of the nineteenth-century Reformation was a melodeon put in "the church in Midway, Kentucky, under Dr. L. L. Pinkerton." This was in 1859, just fifty years after Thomas Campbell published his famous "Declaration and Address." I will say, however, in justice to the editor of the Tennessee Christian, that this all happened before he was born, and belongs to that period of the Reformation about which he seems to know nothing.


In the Gospel Advocate, 1856, page 199, Mr. Fanning said: The disciples are commanded to "teach and admonish one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with grace in the heart to the Lord." We are to "sing in the spirit" and with a proper understanding of what we sing. It is scarcely necessary for us to say to our readers that we regard the organ and violin worship, and even the fashionable choir singing of our country, as mockery of all that is sacred. It is a piece with "hiring out" the teaching, admonitions, and prayers of the saints. A spiritual mind gives sweetness to the roughest voice, and the hymn of devotion never fails to inspire a love of purity and goodness.

If Tolbert Fanning "regarded the organ and violin worship, and even the fashionable choir singing of our country, as mockery of all that is sacred," surely, if he were living today, he would not worship with "Brother Clubb and his people." He, along with Rogers and Campbell, would have to find fellowship among our conservative brethren who are constantly making the claim that they are standing just where the apostles and the pioneers of the Reformation stood in their opposition to instrumental music and organized missionary work. However, Brother Clubb says, "Their position does not agree either with the apostles or the pioneers," and thereby "proves himself to be an inherent gentleman, not less than one of the leading and outstanding writers on that side of the question." Verily, his temerity "excites our" pity. 


In January, 1860 Click for the full article

4. It is a bone of contention, a source of strife, an entering wedge to rive the churches asunder.  It has already brought in more strife, produced more discord, and caused more grief than any other evil.  It has been productive of more evil, resulted in more division, and caused more alienation than any other one thing among us, and done more to impede the progress of the gospel. Can he be a friend to the cause, no matter how much he means it, who will press such a source of evil into the worship?

Therefore, in 1860 one year after the first organ, there was no "fellowship" possible with the organ.


John T. Lewis notes: "Isaac Errett, coeditor with Alexander Campbell, wrote a long article on "church music," published in the Millennial Harbinger, 1861, pages 551-560. I will quote from this article only what is germane to our subject: We do not intend here to enter into this rising controversy. We prefer to forestall the discussion by a full statement of facts bearing [121] on the question and a calm and unprejudiced utterance of the conclusions which we think legitimately flow from the premises submitted. We think the following are lessons clearly taught in the facts which we have presented: 

1. That music is a powerful auxiliary in the work of human redemption; and that it is a sacred religious duty, and ought to be a high religious pleasure, to employ it in public and social worship, as a means of spiritual edification.

2. That melody in the heart is the great end to be sought; and that artistic excellence is only valuable as it may conduce to that end.

3. That the highest artistic skill in sacred music has somehow generally been associated with the lowest spiritual culture, and has been far more promotive of sensuous than of spiritual attractions.

Alawys denounced: I move, in the next place, that the flute-girl, who has just made her appearance,
be told to go away and play to herself, or, if she likes, to the women who are within.

Aulętrida. It was the fashion at convivia to provide pipers, dancers, jesters,
        jugglers et hoc genus omne to amuse the guests.
Aul-ętris A.flute- , [Jesus cast out the musical minstrels LIKE DUNG using the same "musical" term defining to play the flute, steal other people's inheritance, pollute, prostitute and as "Lucifer was cast as profane" out of heaven.]

Alawys approved: To-day let us have conversation instead; and, if you will allow me, I will tell you what sort of conversation.
Alawys denounced: [347c] For it seems to me that arguing about poetry is comparable to the wine-parties of common market-folk. These people, owing to their inability to carry on a familiar conversation over their wine by means of their own voices and discussions--such is their lack of education--put a premium on flute-girls by hiring the extraneous voice of the flute at a high price, and carry on their intercourse by means of its utterance.
Alawys approved: But where the party consists of thorough gentlemen who have had a proper education, you will see neither flute-girls nor dancing-girls nor harp-girls, but only the company contenting themselves with their own conversation, and none of these fooleries and frolics--each speaking and listening decently in his turn.
Suneimi: To be joined with, Intercourse is II. to have intercourse with a person, live with hędonę, desires after pleasure, pleasant lusts, voluptuosus,

4. That the genius of this reformation movement, like that of previous reformations, is not favorable to choir singing and instrumental music. Its sympathies are with the bewildered and sin-oppressed masses, and it wants "music for the millions." Its original power will be largely lost when the stirring melodies of its early days shall have been supplanted by stately artistic performances.

5. As the church of Christ is the common home of all his people, "Barbarian Scythian bond and free" who are "all one in Christ Jesus," 
        and as singing is the only part of worship in which the great mass of Christians
        can personally participate,
        no choir singing or instrumental music should ever be allowed to interfere

        for a moment with this privilege and right of the saints.
If such appliances can be made to assist rather than hinder this great object of uniting the whole congregation in worship, the most serious objection to them is removed.

6. The innovation of choirs and instruments will not be checked by captious objections. The only way to put a stop to it is to set to work diligently to train churches in vocal music. Take away the cause of complaint. We forewarn the brethren especially in the cities and large towns, that if they wish to block up the way against the introduction of choirs and organs, and the formalism resulting therefrom, they must employ suitable teachers of vocal music, and spend a portion of every year in teaching all the voices in the churches in the knowledge of musical science and the practice of suitable tunes, so that the present partial, discordant, and unedifying music of our churches may be abandoned and forgotten.

The church of Christ has a right to good music. The songs of Zion should find utterance in every variety of joyful, exulting, or tender and plaintive strain that is needed to utter suitably the lofty praises of our God, the sentiments of a pious heart, and the pleading of Divine Mercy. (Pages 558, 559.) 

Speaking of the instrumentalists trying to claim that Isaac Errett favored or was neutral about instruments, Lewis asks:

Can Brother Clubb tell us how Isaac Errett, in 1861, could have written of "this rising controversy," "the innovation of choirs and instruments," and "that the genius of this reformation movement, [122] like that of previous reformations, is not favorable to choir singing and instrumental music," if the pioneers had always stood for those things, as he claims? 

I have a letter from Edwin R. Errett, of the Christian Standard, dated January 29, 1931, saying: "I have read these paragraphs carefully. I should say that this is a complete statement of Isaac Errett's position all through his ministry." CHAPTER II

IN THE Christian Standard, December 20, 1930, page 15, we have an article titled, "The Fathers Are Weeping Over These Antics."

MOSES LARD 1864 Click for the full paper

I shall certainly attempt no grave reply to this shallow thing; for argument I will not call it. Grant, then, for a moment that there is no harm in instrumental music. The question arises what kind of instrument shall be used? An organ, shouts the sickly puling of Rome. An organ indeed! and shall we have only an organ? Is there no good music in anything else than an organ? We know there is. Why then have only an organ? This is arbitrary and tyrannical. But what must signify arbitrariness and tyranny in a church which has consented to be disgraced by an organ? Simply nothing.

These are now its spirit and law, and of course, no offense to it. But despite of even these, for now we care nothing for strife, nothing for the feelings of the brethren, we shall insist on the right both for self and others to introduce each for himself the instrument with which he can best conduct his worship

For the son of Mars, then, we claim the right to introduce the fife and the drum; and for the self the right to introduce, for I could never make music on anything else, but am capital on these, the Jews-harp, the tin-pan, and the barrel-head.


The synagogue or church in the wilderness was inclusive of rest, reading and rehearsing the Word of God: it was exclusive of vocal or instrumental rejoicing. Based this command and the understanding of the Campbells that the church or ekklesia was a synagogue it would be irrational for them to think about "making music" when the Word is being taught. That distraction included the style of "synagogue" building.

"It is most devoutly to be wished that all who plead for reformation would carry out their principles in the plainness, convenience and cheapness of the buildings which they erect for the assemblies of Christians. No greater satire could be inscribed on marble against the religion of Jesus Christ than are many of the houses called churches, wherever the people have the means of gratifying the spirit which is in them. There is no difference between the Baptists and other sects in this particular. Opulent communities amongst them have stately edifices, with lofty steeples and ponderous bells. There were some Baptist cathedrals on which more than forty thousand dollars have been expended for the sake of showing that the Baptists would be as respectable as any other sect if they had it in their power. The spirit of baptized and sprinkled Calvinism, whether in the Presbyterian or Congregational form, is one and the same, if a thousand arguments could prove such a proposition. Large, convenient and permanent houses may be built for generally half the sum usually expended on the same number of square feet. The Quakers are more exemplary in this respect than any other sect. 

But even their plan could still be improved. Let there only be a regard to convenience and durability; let all that is merely to gratify the lusts of the eye and the pride of life be left to them who seek to gain influence over the children of the flesh by reducing Christianity to the taste and fashion of this world, and we can build two, three and sometimes four meeting-houses for the price of one of the same dimensions.

      "Under the present political influences which govern society it is necessary to have synagogues or meeting-houses large enough for the accommodation of the disciples who can [366] meet in any one place, and such of the community as may desire to attend their meetings. But for the sake of the humble Founder of this our religion and the Author of our hope before God, let not the walls of the house nor anything in it reproach our profession."   Robert Richardson Memoirs of Alexander Campbell, Volume II. (1869)

Haven't you noticed that the choirs get more and more excited as they are carried outside themselves and the music rises, as up the seven levels (notes) of the Tower of Babel. At the top or the crescendo they meet the "god face to face." And the "spirit" passes our person as the cold chill runs up our back. Yep! You have just been injected with a morphine-like drug.

Plato understood that excited speaking or music usually gets away from the one using it. Pretty soon it is obvious that the otherwisd-calm person has left his body behind. He sours above the mountains or has "cast anchor." Just call it momentary insanity, Paul would say. The following description probably describes what Paul condemned in the church and which would be cured by anyone but the inspired just sitting down and shutting up:

Plato Ion

"[534a] just as the Corybantian worshipers do not dance when in their senses, so the lyric poets do not indite those fine songs in their senses, but when they have started on the melody and rhythm they begin to be frantic, and it is under possession--as the bacchants are possessed, and not in their senses, when they draw honey and milk from the rivers--that the soul of the lyric poets does the same thing, by their own report. For the poets tell us, I believe, that the songs they bring us are the sweets they cull from honey-dropping founts

Note: The Corybantes were priests of Cybele or Rhea, mother of Zeus and other Olympian gods, and she was worshipped with wild music and frenzied dancing which, like the bacchic revels or orgies of women in honor of Dionysus, carried away the participants despite and beyond themselves. Cf. Eurip. Bacchae.

New Testament "singing" was virtually without a tune. Perhaps they used a few notes and sang in unison. There was no "bumpty bump" beat of the Jungle. You couldn't sell it for a penny. However, when harmony and the beat were adapted for the church the Dominion Leader knew that he had a tool, a weapon.

Strabo on Instrumental Music and the Frenzy of the Soothsayer

Strabo Geography 10.3.9

"The religious frenzy seems to afford a kind of divine inspiration and to be very like that of the Soothsayer.. "For although it has been well said that human beings then act most like the gods when they are doing good to others, yet one might better say, when they are happy; and such happiness consists of rejoicing, celebrating festivals, pursuing philosophy, and engaging in music; for, if music is perverted when musicians turn their art to sensual delights at symposiums and in orchestric and scenic performances and the like, we should not lay the blame upon music itself, but should rather examine the nature of our system of education, since this is based on music.

In this site it is Mr. G. and not the views of Alexander Campbell on Instrumental music who had a lust for pagan arousal music. The restoration movement in its original stream never added music.


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