THE ORGAN IN WORSHIP A. FAIRHURST
The inspiration of the composer, the voices and musical instruments are all God's means of redeeming the human soul. Originally, instruments were added "spite of hell and the brethren." Much, much later, those who added instruments began to search for Scriptural justification. By 1889 you can see that Professor A. Fairhurst and the Standard Publishing Company had decided that instruments help God in redeeming mankind.
Delivered in the Main Street Christian Church,
Lexington Ky., May 11, 1889.
PROF. A. FAIRHURST.
STANDARD PUBLISHING COMPANY
"Let all things be done unto edifying," is the great law of worship laid down repeatedly in the New Testament. How much latitude is left to the human mind in worship? Prayer and the singing of "spiritual songs" are universally recognized by us as parts of Christian worship, and preaching as a Christian work.
God might have prescribed certain prayers to be repeated by man, but he has not done this. In this most solemn service, in which the worshiper comes face to face with God and talks to him as a child to a father, no words are put into his mouth, no one external form adhered to, no prescribed tone of voice required. The details as to prayer, praise and thanksgiving are left to the mind and heart of the individual worshiper, that his spiritual powers may be exercised and developed thereby;
It may be asked, is there not danger here? Yes. Many foolish prayers are offered, many petitions are made which, if answered, would prove to be a curse instead of a blessing. The danger in leaving the individual soul free in this matter is as nothing compared to that which would grow out of the detailed prescription of word, tone and action, whereby the human being would be converted into a mere machine, capable only of plodding through certain prescribed forms.
It is not to inform God of our needs that we pray, for our heavenly Father knoweth what things we have need of before we ask, him, but it is for the good of the human soul to pray, although it is certain that it will often make mistakes while praying. Man grows spiritually by the full exercise of this privilege under the general direction of the Word of God.
The great duty of the minister of the gospel is to preach Christ. In doing this, however, no two of the thousands of preachers among us ever proceed in detail alike, and the same preacher in different communities adapts his sermons to their different wants The minister of the gospel does not feel himself restricted to the language of the New Testament in presenting Christ to the world. He feels under obligation to tax to the utmost his reason and his imagination in order to induce men to obey the gospel, and that the church may be edified. Among us he is expected to speak extemporaneously, thus giving the greatest freedom to the exercise of his powers. He does not confine himself to the figures of the New Testament, but gathers from his own imagination such figures and scenes as he thinks will edify his hearers, and he brings from his own experience the things that throb with life, that he may stir up the pure minds of his Christian auditors. Is it not dangerous for man to exercise these powers in the pulpit? Exceedingly dangerous. The foolish things that have been said in the pulpit by authorized preachers are beyond the power of man to number. Would it not therefore be much better for man to confine himself in preaching to the language of the New Testament? To require this would be to put the seal of death upon his noblest powers. Better is it to use the powers we have, make mistakes, and grow thereby, than to sit like parrots, forever repeating certain prescribed forms of words.
The infant learns to walk only after many efforts and many hard falls. The soul of man walking toward God will often .stumble and sometimes fall, but, if honest, it will arise with renewed strength and continue its upward march. Our mistakes, as well as our successes, become our teachers. The minister of the gospel in the exercise the highest calling known to man, traverses heaven and earth and ocean's depths that he may gather treasures to lay at the feet of the Master. This is done at the expense of many mistakes, yet as a whole, the results are most fruitful in edifying the church.
A thousand details upon which the successful preaching of the gospel largely depends are left to be determined by the wisdom of man, and this, with the certainty that in so doing he will make many mistakes.
"Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and maing melody in your heart to the Lord" Eph. (v. 19).
The spiritual songs here spoken of are not to be found in the Bible.
Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs have always been knowledged to be the written inspired Word or a song which Paul hypothetically allowed in Corinth. If anyone thought themselves to be able to sing or preach some inspired revelation it had to be done "one at a time, women were forbidden to participate, and a second inspired witness would have to confirm the first." In Corinth this would prove that there were no inspired song writers among them. Paul's test of spirituality was:
If any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write unto you are the commandments of the Lord. 1 Co.14:37
This is why Paul commanded "speaking the Word of Christ to teach and admonish."
"Since being filled with the Spirit and letting the Word of Christ dwell within both produce the same results, a spirit-filled Christian is one in whom the Word of Christ dwells. A Spirit-filled Christian is a Christ-conscious Christian. A Spirit-filled Christian is consumed with learning everything he or she can about Jesus and obeying everything that Jesus said. That is what it means to 'let the word of Christ richly dwell within you.' To be filled with the Spirit is to be totally and richly involved in all there is to know about Jesus Christ." (MacArthur, John, Charismatic Chaos, p. 259, Zondervan).
The "spirit" in Ephesians is the Word of Christ in Colossians:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. Colossians 3:16
What comes out to "teach and admonish" one another must come from the Word of Christ which incluede everything which is inspired because it is said of the prophets:
Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 1 Peter 1:11
In Isaiah 11 Messiah would not be filled with a "little person" other than Himself. He was and is full Deity. Rather, Isaiah predicted that the Spirit which rested upon Him would be the mental disposition of God:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:2 and spirituality or "quick understanding" in the next verse.
He left that Spirit in His Words. Later, Isaiah defines a process much like that defined by Paul in his "singing" passages.
As for me, this is my covenant with them, saith the Lord; My spirit that is upon thee, and my words which I have put in thy mouth, shall not depart out of thy mouth, nor out of the mouth of thy seed, nor out of the mouth of thy seeds seed, saith the Lord, from henceforth and for ever. Isaiah 59:21
We, as a people, believe that modern poets have written many spiritual songs, for we have gathered them together and bound them in the form of hymn books, and we have used them from week to week in our worship.
As absurd as this may seem to us today, it was nevertheless a common belief in Protestant churches a hundred years ago that the organist was divinely inspired to lead and guide the congregation through the aesthetic worship experience into the presence of God, and that his feelings and taste were superior to those of the congregation.
When the American Guild of Organists was established in 1896, their declared object was not to improve standards of playing and professional conduct,
but to impress upon their members that organists had a divine function to perform. Quoted from
The prevailing doctrine of ethos, as explained by ancient Greek philosophers such as Plato and Aristotle,
was based on the belief that music has a direct effect upon the soul and actions of mankind.
As a result, the Greek political and social systems were intertwined with music, which had a primary role in the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, Euripides, and Aristophanes.
And the Grecian educational system was focused upon musica and gymnastica,
the former referring to all cultural and intellectual studies, as distinguished from those related to physical training.
In about 1400
As one manifestation of their cultivation of elegant living,
the aristocracy of both church and state
vied with one another in maintaining resident musicians who could serve both chapel and banqueting hall.
The frequent interchange of these musicians accounts for the rapid dissemination of new musical techniques and tastes. Partly because of economic advantages, Burgundy and its capital, Dijon, became the centre of European activity in music as well as the intellectual and artistic focus of northern Europe during the first half of the 15th century (Britannica Members)
The makers of these books have gathered songs from saints and sometimes from sinners, and from people of the most diverse religious views, from whom we, as a people, differ in very important doctrines. Yet we sing these songs, the products of a multitude of diversified minds and hearts,
........ sing them unto the edification of the church,
........ and ask no questions as to the soundness of the faith of their authors.
Don't you see how one fatal error of rejecting the Word of Christ as the Spirit of a 'one another' teaching leads to instrumental music, which in the Old Testament, was the terminal sign that people had rejected God's word.
To us they are truly spiritual songs, wrought out of the truest and deepest experience of. their authors' hearts, full of the life with which they have inspired them.
It has been said that the writers of a nation's songs do most to form a nation's character.
So the writers of songs for the church do most for the life of the church. The very words of these songs, to old and young alike, become common household property They enter into that branch of worship. which, more than any other, leaves a definite and ineffaceable impression upon the mind and heart.
Plato warned that if you wanted "to change the government of a nation you must change its music." And he therefore warned that when people wanted to institute a new form of music it had nothing to do with music but was a warning sign that the innovators intended to change the government.
We travel up and down the ages, and through all nations, to obtain the songs for the Church of Christ. Wherever a true poet has sung something pure and good and holy, we marshal his song under the banner of Christ and label it "a spiritual song.'' We, as a church, have used these songs almost exclusively, leaving out for the most part the singing of psalms and hymns, if by hymns is meant something found in the Bible. Thus, in laying the foundation for our church music, in selecting the very body and soul of which music itself is to be but the garment, we have exercised the widest possible liberty. We have not confined ourselves to the Bible, nor to any one nation, nor creed, and much less to poets of like faith with us. We have gladly accepted the songs written under every creed, and of unknown authors by the score, whose lives and characters we can never know, and all this to the edification of the saints. If there is one place where, more than another, we have been liberal in our interpretation of Scripture, it is in the selection of spiritual songs.
The mind of the church has been left free to determine for itself what songs are spiritual and what songs will edify.
Is this not a dangerous power for men to exercise, and would it not be better, especially in these latter days, when men are no longer inspired, if the church would confine herself to the singing of psalms? We must acknowledge that very often a poor song is found in our hymn-books, and frequently a song is sung that is far from edifying. Who can record the mistakes that the people of God have made in these respects? In what manner can the spiritual songs be presented so as to make the best impression upon the minds of the hearers? "Let all things be done to edifying." The song is not presented for its own sake, nor to edify God, but to edify the hearers. The essential thing in music is to impress, as much as possible, the sentiments of the song upon the mind and heart of the worshiper.
To present the gospel of Christ so as to convert the sinner and edify the saint, is the work of the preacher, yet in doing this his elocution (the sounds of his voice) may be a most important element.
Paul denied this totally. The preachers trained in the Greek theater claimed a "salary" by saying that Paul didn't charge for his sermons because they were not worth a price. Furthermore, Paul did not have the looks or eloquence to be a preacher. That is specificially why Lord Jesus Christ picked him:
But I am afraid that just as Eve was deceived by the serpent's cunning, your minds may somehow be led astray from your sincere and pure devotion to Christ. 2 Corinthians 11:3
For if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough. 2 Corinthians 11:4
But I do not think I am in the least inferior to those "super-apostles." 2 Corinthians 11:5
I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge. We have made this perfectly clear to you in every way. 2 Corinthians 11:6
Fairhurst might be attracted to Fairhurst but God couldn't use him.
Give the same discourse to two men. From the lips of the one with a magnificent voice, well cultivated, it will fall like magic; while from the lips of him who stammers and is slow of speech it will fall like lead. The difference is simply in the sounds they make.
This is true and this is the way God separates the "super apostles" or trained speakers from the "earthen vessels" or "old clay pots."
In the one case it is most edifying; while in the other it is wearisome. Yet God has ordained no particular style of elocution. The rule is, "let all things be done unto edifying." If there should be a congregation some place which would prefer to hear the one who stammers and is slow of speech, then his speech will be edifying to that congregation and it ought to select him. There are certain regions where it is demanded of the preacher that he shall use the so-called "holy tones" in delivering his discourses. To these congregations such tones are edifying, and, consequently, scriptural.
God has ordained no particular tunes nor styles of singing. Singing which edifies one congregation may be repulsive to another. To the first it is scriptural, but to the second the same music is unscriptural. Edification is the scriptural end to be gained. Here is a spiritual song. In what garb shall it be clothed in presenting it to the ears of the hearers so as to make it most edifying?
Edification means education!
Oikodome (g3619) oy-kod-om-ay'; fem. (abstr.) of a comp. of 3624 and the base of 1430; architecture, i.e. (concr.) a structure; fig. confirmation: - building, edify (-ication, -ing).
The "house" of the Jews was built on animal sacrifices and the addition of instrumental noise purely for the sacrificial system inside the "house" while the people or congregation was excluded and worshiped God "outside the camp." Of this "house" which was not for edification:
And Jesus answering said unto him, Seest thou these great buildings? there shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down. Mk.13:2
Christian edification is through teaching or prophesying in the "forth-telling" sense:
But he that prophesieth speaketh unto men to edification, and exhortation, and comfort. 1Co.14:3
Paul compared musical instruments to speaking in tongues: instruments speak in tongues unless someone interprets the "noise"--
I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 1Co.14:5
Our edification or 'housebuilding' cannot be done with the work of human hands:
FOR we know that, if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. 2Co.5:1
We have seen that in praying, preaching and in the selection of spiritual songs we, as a people, have allowed the widest and freest use of the human faculties.
Too bad Jesus didn't know about this before He died.
Matters of the highest interest have been left to be determined solely by human wisdom. God has trusted man in the amplest way, has required him to exercise his highest faculties to the utmost in matters that pertain to his soul's highest interests. If he can trust man in the above things, can he not also trust him in the less important matter of presenting the songs so as to make them most edifying? Here is the song.
This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. 1Co.2:13
Uttered with certain sounds it will edify, uttered with others it will not edify. The only question is, What sounds shall be used to accomplish the end?
Does God care more for one sound than for another? I insist upon it that edification is the end to be gained by preaching and music, and by all worship. The matter of the sermon and the spiritual song are the materials for edification, while the elocution of the minister and the music are the means by which the sermon and the song are impressed upon the minds of the worshiper.
If it is safe for the church to create and select the songs that she sings,
........ it is also safe for her to select the music by which these songs shall be made effective in worship.
If it is safe for her to create the song, the very soul of that which is to be clothed by music,
........ it is also safe for her to select the music which is to clothe the song.
The objector to the organ may take either of several positions:
First, he may say that the use of the organ is not edifying, and it is therefore unscriptural.
We have noted that edification means instruction: it does not have anything to do with manufactured feelings.
Edification literally means to build a house.
as a methaphor "in the sense of edifying, promoting the spiritual growth and development of character of believers, by teaching or by example, suggesting such spiritual progress as the result of patient labor." (Vine)
Edify: "1. To instruct; esp., to instruct or improve morally or spiritually; enlighten. Webster
Second, that it is unscriptural, and therefore it is not edifying.
To be scriptural in the most common sense would be a "command, example or inference" from God that the church must worship with instruments which Paul called "lifeless instruments" or "carnal weapons."
If the Scriptures are silent about instruments in Christian worship then by definition it is unscriptural or non-scriptural.
Third, that it is edifying, but at the same time it is unscriptural, and therefore ought not to be used in worship.
The first objection is well taken, if it can be sustained. How shall a congregation determine whether the organ aids the vocal music unto edification or not? "Let all things be done unto edifying."
I would that ye all spake with tongues, but rather that ye prophesied: for greater is he that prophesieth than he that speaketh with tongues, except he interpret, that the church may receive edifying. 1 Co.14:5
By definition instruments are not articulate and that is why God's "instrument" is the human voice. Therefore, organ music cannot "interpret" and cannot edify.
Paul equated speaking in tongues to instruments
Even so ye, forasmuch as ye are zealous of spiritual gifts, seek that ye may excel to the edifying of the church. 1Co.14:12
If God didn't give instrumental music then it is not a gift of God and is not edifying.
How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying. 1Co.14:26
Paul had ridiculed tongues by comparing them to a trumpet which couldn't speak and at most could be a signal or sign of a previous arranged communication. Therefore, Paul didn't say "let all things be done" but all things "be done unto edification."
Again, think ye that we excuse ourselves unto you? we speak before God in Christ: but we do all things, dearly beloved, for your edifying. 2 Co.12:19
Paul never tried to edify with tongues or instruments. Did you know that Paul's inspired word edified without organs or a trained voice?
The writer's False Premise:
This rule throws upon the worshiper himself the responsibility of determining
........ whether the different branches of the worship are edifying or not.
........ God does not tell us that brother A preaches good sermons, nor that brother B sings well..
We must determine these things for ourselves as individuals.
........ If some members say that the organ is edifying to them, then we must accept their decision so far as they are concerned.
If others say that the organ is not edifying to them, then we must accept their decision as to themselves.
The writer understand's edifying to mean the same thing as listening to a 'trained speaker.' That is, it makes him feel good and perhaps can even stampede him into action. However, only that whiich istructs edifies and most carnal people don't want to be taught.
There is no other method whereby it is possible to tell what is most edifying.
Well, Paul just said that it needed to be inspired to be edifying.
With regard to the votes cast in favor of the organ in worship, it will generally be found, I think, that the great majority of those who understand music are in favor of the organ.
This fact goes to show that the organ will improve the quality of the music, for it must be admitted that those who understand music can best judge of its quality.
Isn't it strange that dancers believe that they are so inspired that God "uses us as a platform upon which he lands during the performance." Theatrical performers believe that God is best worshiped by others when the audience is watching them perform.
The objection stated above is doubtless valid as to some congregations, but invalid as to others. Since each congregation must judge for itself as to what particular. kind of music is edifying, and since some congregations decide that the organ is edifying while others decide that it is not edifying; to the first its use its scriptural, but to the second it would be unscriptural.
The second objection is that the use of the organ in worship is unscriptural, and therefore it can not edify. God might have selected certain tunes to be used in the church, but he did not, although tunes are of the greatest importance. He has left man to make spiritual songs and to make tunes adapted to these songs. The general plan of all worship seems to be to give man as much to do as possible, to give his faculties the widest possible range in creating the worship.
This is an assumed premise: God has not left mankind to himself to compose his own songs any more than He allowed him to compose his own Scripture or forgive his own sins.
Why is it that this matter of determining the quality of sounds by which a song of human origin, and a tune of human origin, shall be brought to the ears of the worshipers should be made an exception his general rule, and that we should believe that man has no authority to decide the question?
AND there shall come forth a rod out of the stem of Jesse, and a Branch shall grow out of his roots: Isaiah 11:1
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; Isaiah 11:2
And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and
he shall not judge after the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: Isaiah 11:3
Is it because sound is more sacred than the song itself, or than the tune by which it is to be rendered, that man has no right to choose the sounds that he thinks will best edify? Is it because the human ear is more likely to err in this it is in deciding what style of delivery it prefers in a sermon? Or is it because God would be especially arbitrary in this matter and lay down a rule without reference to the highest wants of man?
I can not believe that God in this subordinate matter makes an exception to his general rule. His idea ever seems to be to develop through exercise to the utmost every good faculty which man possesses.
Open every avenue of the soul and let God come in. Let him come through the reason, the imagination, the memory, the conscience, the eye and the ear. Let the human ear, so often greeted by discordant sounds in daily strife, when it comes into the house of God, be greeted by the grandest and sweetest harmonies that human genius can produce, that the soul may be lifted up in anticipation of the celestial harmonies of the heavenly hosts around the throne.
"And I heard a voice from heaven as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, and I heard the voice of the harpers harping with their harps, and they sang as it were a new song before the throne" (Rev. xiv. 2, 3)
If instrumental music in worship is a sin on earth, is it not a sin in heaven. John, the beloved, in his old age, when his spiritual vision, free from all earthly dross, could pierce through the pearly gates, saw repeatedly the harpers harping upon their harps, and with an ear that could catch the spiritual sounds of heaven, he heard the music around the throne of God.
Johannes Quasten, in Music and Worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity, p. 155 observes of musical instruments in the hands of the mourners and offered to the dead:
"It is often said that in these portrayals the relatives of the deceased are depicted coming to the grave to entertain him with music. But we must first distinguish between the portrayals in which the dead person has a musical instrument in his hand and those in which the persons visiting the deceased are carrying musical instruments.
Among the Dead: "In the first case the musical instrument in the dead person's hand -- usually a lyre or tambourine -- is meant to signify that the deceased no longer leads an earthly life but is already taken up with the affairs of the other world." (Note: Job 21; Isaish 5; Amos 5,6,8 and Ezekiel 33 all show that the instruments show a disregard for the Words of God)
However, of those still on Earth (That's us): "The fact remains that the persons depicted as approaching the deceased on Greek oinment jars are never playing their instruments... the person bearing the cithara is stretching out his hands toward the gravestone on which the dead man is sitting as if he wished to offer the latter the instrument."
Why? "In antiquity, singing and instrumental music, playing and dancing were considered to be the chief occupation and pastime of the blessed... The popular religions of the time, especially Orphism and the mystery cults, portrayed the life of the blessed as a continual banquet." (ibid. p. 156)
What John heard was a voice (speech) like that of harpers harping with their harps. He could have said: "I heard harps" but he didn't. He heard speech. This word is used of artificial sounds only in connection with tongues and instruments in 1 Corinthians 14 and only to condemn the artificial or mechanical sounds as having any teaching value.
In Heaven: In Revelation 6:9 John saw the souls of victorious saints. Souls don't need literal harps made by the hands of men out of material. They need "harps from God" or the ability to sing and speak.
Meanwhile Back on the Earth (where I live)--Christ wants us to be busy teaching the gospel to everyone in every nation. That doesn't leave much time for worshipping ourselves in songs with instruments and dance teams to call God down to the big meeting:
And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Revelation 14:6<
Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters. Revelation 14:7
How do you know. that this language is figurative? May there not be spiritual harps in heaven? Are spirits deaf and dumb, and are there no divine sounds above? Is heaven an asylum for the deaf and dumb? God is not deaf. He who made the ear, can he not hear? But if it is a figure, would not the apostle have been very careful in that connection to have used a pure and appropriate figure? If it on]y edifies man, God is glorified thereby. It is man's salvation that God seeks. Repress not the human facilities in their growth, for this is not edification, but let every power of both body and mind in its most perfect form be made to praise God.
I repeat that the great idea with God, so far as worship is concerned, is to develop man, to edify him, which means to save him In doing this he compels man to do all that it is possible for him to do. The very language which he uses in worship is a human invention, and when God speaks to man he speaks to him in human language. The most of the prayers that are offered are not "thus saith the Lord," are not quotations of Scripture, but they are formed by the mind of the worshiper. So far as their form is concerned, they are human, and the best that can be said of them is that they are scriptural only by inference.
Modern sermons are not in details scriptural either by precept or example. They are preached in languages which have originated since Christ and his apostles were on the earth. As a rule, they contain but few quotations of Scripture. There is so large a human element in sermons, that we can safely say that if they are scriptural at all, they are only so by inference. As to the spiritual songs which Christians sing, they are of human origin Not a single one of them is found in the Scriptures. If they are scriptural at all, it is not by precept or example, but only by inference.
The tunes which Christians use are purely human, and have been invented by musicians of the most diversified views and characters. If they are scriptural, they are so only by inference. We are not familiar with a single tune that the early Christians used, nor do we know that they sang any tune correctly.
According to all scholarly evidence to support Paul, they sang "psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" and these are still recorded in the book of Psalms.
"But considerable prominence was given to the hymns by the Gnostic, Bardesans, who composed a psalter of 150 psalms. However, the 59th canon of the Synod of Laodicea, 360 A. D., enjoined that 'No psalm composed by private individuals nor any uncanonical books may be read in the Church, but only... the Canonical Books of the OT and NT." Int Std Ency., p. 2494
"In competition with pagan musical art, congregational singing began to wane. Basil states that he had 'the Psalms rendered by skillful presentors after the manner of the triumphal Odes of Pindar, the congregation joining at the closing verse, with the accompaniment of lyres." Int Std Bible Ency., p. 2494A
"This urge to use professional art to compete with others quite naturally led to the use of professional presenters. It is important to note the earlier statement that the use of music was often in the professionals.
Psalmody thus came to be increasingly the monoply of trained singers, and the 15th canon of the Council of Laodicea, 360 AD, proscribed that 'no others shall sing in the church save only the canonical singers...who go up into the ambo and sing with a book." (Int Std Bible Ency, Psalms, p. 2494a)
"The Reformation unsealed the Psalter, so that Christ's people might once more drink freely of this fountain of salvation...The Lutheran Reformation restored congregational singing. By 1524 Luther had versified Pss 12, 67, and 130. (Int Std Bible Ency., Psalms, p. 2494A).
In preaching and praying, we see how great is the human element, while spiritual songs and tunes are wholly human. Yet we believe that God adopts these purely human songs and tunes as his own, and they constitute one of the most, if not actually the most efficient part of worship. May we not be in danger of underestimating the value of the human element in matters of worship? God has formulated for the human race neither prayer, nor sermon, nor song, nor tune. The reasons for this are apparent. God adapts himself to human nature. While man's general wants in all ages and in all places are the same, yet in detail they are most varied, and in nothing is this more strikingly seen than in music. The music which edified those early Christians may not have been the music which will best edify Christians to-day. The music which edifies one congregation to-day may not edify another.
God has ever trusted each succeeding generation in every land to frame its own prayers as dictated by the general spirit of the Scriptures; to prepare and deliver its own sermons by human wisdom, in the light of the gospel; and to compose its own songs and the tunes by which they are to be rendered.
If he has thus trusted man in these large and most important things, may he not also trust that man will be able to render these songs and tunes by the aid of sounds that will make them edifying to himself? It is for man's edification that all these things are intended. It seems evident to me that the general spirit of the Scriptures according to the method of our interpretation as a people justifies the use of the organ as an aid to the human voice in worship.
It should be borne in mind that it is the general opinion of those who understand music that an instrument aids the voice in singing. We all know that it is the habit of singers, both in public and in private, to use musical instruments for this purpose. We are sometimes told that the organ is a human invention. This is strictly true.
So were the last sermon and prayer which you heard largely human inventions, and the song and the tune wholly human inventions.
If we drop the human invention element out of worship, then music of any kind becomes totally impossible, and prayer and preaching will be confined to repeating certain passages of Scripture.
Sounded good to Thomas Campbell and sounds good to me.
We are told that it is a dangerous thing to use the organ in worship. This is strictly true, but it is no more dangerous than for men to pray and preach and compose songs and tunes.
Mistakes are frequent in all of these matters. But God requires us to act in those things in spite of the certainty that we will make mistakes. I know of no redemption for us unless his mercy and love are sufficient. He who can make the wrath of man to praise him can also enable us to rise on our mistakes as "stepping stones . . . to higher things." They are a necessary element in the education of a finite creature.
A third position which the objector might take is, that the organ may make the music more edifying, but it is unscriptural, and therefore ought not to be used. This position is so out of harmony with God's usual method of dealing with man, that it hardly seems probable that any person would assume it. That God would prohibit that which edifies seems incredible. To cast the good out of the kingdom would be to divide the kingdom of truth against itself. That this would be done where every good influence is so much needed in redeeming the world, I can not believe.
It will be noticed that I have viewed this subject in its relation to edification. He who simply asserts that the use of the organ is unscriptural, and stops short with this assertion, without considering its relation to edification, is in grave error. God in all of his dealings with man, acts not arbitrarily, but acts strictly with regard to man's highest needs. He would lift man up and redeem him through the exercise of every good faculty with which he has endowed him.
The deepest human reason, the loftiest flights of the imagination, the eloquence of the minister, the genius of the poet, the divine instinct of the composer of music, the voices of God's people and of
the musical instrument which helps to cement the music into grander harmony,
are all God's means of redeeming the human soul.
The meaning of paganism: Josephus notes that Nimrod "sought to regenerate souls through external means." This writer seems to believe that God needs human help in composing "inspired scripture" and now needs help in redeeming mankind.
AUGUSTINE: on the Morals of the Manichaeans riducules them for believing that the gods came out of brass and other things by rubbing or abrading (making melody with them). Augustin uses figurative language much like Paul's warning that our melody must never be external but in the heart:
"Make melody unto the Lord upon the harp: on the harp and with the voice of a Psalm" (ver. 5). Praise Him not with the voice only; take up works, that ye may not only sing, but work also. He who singeth and worketh, maketh melody with psaltery and upon the harp. Now see what sort of instruments are next spoken of, in figure: "With ductile trumpets also, and the sound of the pipe of horn" (ver. 6). What are ductile trumpets, and pipes of horn?
Ductile trumpets are of brass: they are drawn out by hammering; if by hammering, by being beaten, ye shall be ductile trumpets, drawn out unto the praise of God, if ye improve when in tribulation: tribulation is hammering
Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: Ga.3:13
In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace; Ep.1:7
Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1Pe.1:18
Let us cast out no good thing from the kingdom of God. Whatever will help to redeem man is God's, and wherever it will best accomplish its purpose of helping to redeem man, there it belongs. God has given to his people great and glorious libertynot liberty in name simply, but liberty in fact. He has, by failing to formulate the different acts of worship, thrown man as much as possible upon his own resources, thus calling into exercise all of his highest powers, and lifting him up to a higher and closer communion with himself.
Jesus failed to formulate modern "acts of worship" but He went further: He commanded and exampled praying in private places. He declared that alms be given in private. He stood up to read but then sat down to explain the Scripture in synagogue. He personally paid the 'temple tax' and had Paul say, "This is not a command." He ordained the Lord's Supper but nothing else. What we call "worship" Paul called edification but never worship. Therefore, by God's "failing" He did not give mankind the authority to make up for His failure. Rather, Jesus came to give mankind "rest" from the clergy-laded burden. This burden is defined as "spiritual anxiety created by religious ceremony." Therefore, God's silence was God's command against rituals which produce spiritual anxiety which the 'inspired' preacher, song writer or organist can peddle as helping God redeem mankind.
We, as a people, have taken liberal views with regard to worship. As to details, we recognize no formulated methods of worship. Each congregation is free to determine these matters for itself. The great danger which lies before us as a people is
........ not that we will abuse our liberty in the matter of church music,
........ but that we may fail to avail ourselves of the means which God has provided and is ever providing for the spread of the gospel.
The Scriptures ought not to be so interpreted as to prevent us from laying hold of and using any good thing that will help to advance the kingdom of God. "But go ye and learn what this meaneth, I desire mercy and not sacrifice" is a text that needs to he pondered long and well.
God's word ought not to be interpreted so as to prevent us from doing good. Infidelity, the great foe of Christianity in the present age, thirsty for the blood of souls, stands knocking at the gates of Zion. They who are within the gates do greatly err if, in the presence of this gigantic enemy, they waste their energies in civil strife.
It may not be inappropriate to add a word as to what I think is to be the future of the organ among us in worship. That it has been steadily growing in favor with us as a people is, I think, beyond question. I can see no reason why it should cease to become more and more popular in worship.
The root of this matter lies not in the church, but In Christian homes where sons and daughters,
........ through long years of toil,
........ are taught instrumental music,
........ and the value of an instrument as an aid in singing.
Yes. Music is the most works-intensive thing a church could engage in short of slaughtering and burning a bull on the Lord's Table.
We noted above that Augustine noted that literal music provides the "work" God wants the human to be the trumpet:
" What are ductile trumpets, and pipes of horn?
Ductile trumpets are of brass: they are drawn out by hammering; if by hammering, by being beaten,
ye shall be ductile trumpets, drawn out unto the praise of God, if ye improve when in tribulation: tribulation is hammering
The consequences of this are inevitable. Better music at home means better music in the church.
Music is not an arbitrary thing, but it has a definite mathematical basis, which those who do not understand, fail fully to appreciate.
Many ears are so constructed that to them a certain amount of discord may not be unpleasant, while to the more sensitive and cultivated ear the same discord is very disagreeable.
Jesus spoke of "spiritual anxiety" which is that feeling you get when the faucet drips or the dog barks all night. Complex harmony -- especially with instruments -- creates this anxiety but it fools people because the "water drips" or "dog barks" as the discord helps blend from one note to the next. Nevertheless, the "pain" is still there. This pain actually damages the mind and soul. As self-protection, the body produces endorphins or a morphine-line drug. This softens the pain and the left over drug produces a "high." This is what Fairhurst admits. See the terrible truth on the drug high produced by "religious music" which the preachers claim will help redeem you or "lead you into the presence of God."
The difficulty of creating good church music is very great, and if a large majority of those who best understand music, and upon whom rests the responsibility of creating it, desire an organ as an aid to the voice, it seems to me that their desire should have great weight in determining the matter. "Let all things be done unto edifying."
Those "trained in music" tend to believe that God gave them the gift and therefore demands that they perform in public. However, this keeps the "audience" from seeing and hearing Jesus as surely as the performance preachers self-composed "scripture." However, true Musicologists and Rock Musicians, understand that you can "worship" a skinny, AIDs infected, long-greasy-haired, ugly boy when he begins to "redeem" you with music.
For hundreds of men, women and children, all differing from each other in intelligence, taste and education, to live together in a congregation so that the highest spiritual interests of each individual shall be advanced and the desires of each properly respected, is a great problem.
In every human organization it becomes necessary to sacrifice, to a certain extent, individual desires to the general good. Without concession of individual preference in some measure, organized effort of every kind becomes impossible. "Bear ye one another's burdens and so fulfill the law of Christ." "But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshipers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him."
With 2000 years of history to back up the Bible a good way to have done this would be for the "trained musicians" to go get an honest performing joby and not create sectarianism by imposing mechanical instruments as the works of human hands and talent to aid God.
Cunter added 12.18.04 3:36p 606