Richard Kirby: Instrumental Music and the Silence of Scripture

Kenneth Sublett,, Hohenwald, Tennessee

Richard Kirby: Condemning sectarian churches of Christ who refuse to join the band. The writer invites debate so here goes. The article being reviewed was posted by Richard Kirby who rejoices in the "New Winds" of division among A Cappella churches. While we might agree with him on some things, to label non-musical churches as setarians is built upon rumor or preacher-prattle but not fact. A sectarian is one who adds non-essentials and therefore creates a split: the introduction of music into a non-musical Christian world was and is sectarian. However,

"It is not uncommon to give the blow and raise the cry." Barton W. Stone

For the Bible's Statement about Biblical Commands, Examples and Inferences.

The Law of Silence

Olan Hicks on Music and the Law of Silence

Richard Kirby begins: "We address all lovers of Jesus Christ. But our special burden is to help those dear brothers and sisters who are heirs of the Restoration Movement to find their place in the evangelical (evangelical includes "faith only, personal conversion experience.") mainstream and to enjoy the entire range of blessings available to them in Christ.

Those Christians who call themselves Churches of Christ began with the noble purpose of uniting all Christians under the headship of Christ, apart from denominational name and creed. Hence their motto and the name of this site: Christians Only.

But sadly a party spirit entered in, and their implicit motto became instead: We are the only Christians.

> Calvin noted that the error of the Catholic clergy did not become "mainstream" or "Scripturally acceptable" by virtue of its long experience.

> The mainstream of Christendom (even Catholics officially) was Congregational singing. Instruments were introduced by a party spirit and, as now, to help pay the bills but not to become more Biblical. A cappella was added in the late 15th century to give the Sistine Chapel the benefit of feminine singers (castrates) and an organic "pipe organ" (organum) when the Pope knew that mechanical instruments were not ruly lawful.

> Unfortunately the plea of "Christians only" can be translated as 'only Christians." This is the key to the article we are reviewing which has the powerful ability -- like all anti-A Cappella attacks -- to turn the world upside down.

The goal of the Restoration Movement was not to unite all Christians in one "body." Rather, the goal was to restrict the actual worship practices to those for which there was a direct command. This would allow the broadest possible participation in collective worship. This explicitly acknowledged that people have diverse personal beliefs but -- if you are interested in unity -- cannot be the basis upon which "Worship" is forced. This forced adding of instruments is a direct violation of Romans 14 which is followed by Romans 15 which defines a form of "singing" which is teaching which does not pass judgment or despise by the instrumental practices of either the Orphic (Vegetarians) or Dionysic (Meat eaters) influence in Rome.

See Campbell's Declaration and Address. Thomas Campbell had been ejected from the Presbyterians by offering communion to another branch of Presbyterians who did not have their little token proving their worthiness to eat.

The goal was to REJECT everything not required so that everyone could meet together as a SCHOOL OF CHRIST as, indeed, Jesus built an ekklesia or synagogue to "come learn of Me." You can listen to the SECTARIAN MUSICIANS or to Jesus Christ but NOT to both.

The Declaration and Address made this a DECLARATION OF FREEDOM from religionists wishing to IMPOSE something THEY liked on other who bought the property.

And then ejected from the Baptists because he refused to put candidates through the mental dissociation which produced the "exprience" they could use as proof of predestination to be permitted to "join" the church.

Richard Kirby: "What began as an inclusive and irenic (peacable) movement, aimed at uniting all believers,

has become one of the most exclusive and divisive sects in the history of Christianity.

"But (praise be to God!) new winds are blowing in the Churches of Christ, winds of the Holy Spirit. There is a great hunger and openness evident among many of these precious people.

It is our ardent hope that we can encourage and nurse along this new and hopeful trend.

We welcome all who will, to share their hearts with us and to join with us in praying: "May your kingdom come and your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven." Amen.

As a result of the first Great American Awakening there were 321 NEW denominations formed and MOST of these were Baptists. Researchers can still find evidence of 146 separate Baptists denominations. They are NOT blowing churches of Christ so the major shakers and movers have ADDED a form od DISCIPLING or SHEPHERDING to hold onto those who will always in time feel themselves SEXUALLY MOLESTED by effeminate music and musicians.

On the contrary, the BIGGEST and most divisive movement was by the musical SECTARIANS who were propelled by a publishing company and actively promoted diverting peacable churches of Christ into a denomination which had as its goal THE INCLUSION OF ALL CHRISTENDOM. The goal was to sign up even children as LIFE MEMBERS, restrict the class material to theirs and restrict the song books to theirs. Therefore, it is puffing and blowing and CONTINUING to be as divisive as those who introduced the organ to ATTRACT the paying audience to buildings financed by carpet baggers. It was not until 1878 than anyone EVEN CARED to try to justify music as the most paganistic, legalistic superstition known to human history: it is called the OLDEST profession.

The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Christ who was attacked by the musical clergy, who ejected "more or less violently" the female mourning team and who exampled the simple reciting of Psalms. Therefore the Holy Spirit is not blowing the winds of doctrine. Non instrumental groups have always been "open" by structuring that one hour a week where those who believe in instruments and those who do not can come together and fulfull Romans 14-15. Istrumental churches are CLOSED to all of those who cannot worship with instruments. That is the truth side of the issue.

Alfred T. DeGroot has the magical logic to define those who practice a Catholic-like "living church" with the authority to make up for Christ's shortsightedness as "churches."

Churches of Christ are defined as "sects" because they rely upon the Word of God for faith and practice -- consistent with all previous views not Catholic.

Well, we thought that the kingdom came with power on the day of Pentecost. But, others are still looking for a physical kingdom. Jesus said, "Don't' bother to go out, the kingdom of God is within you." Didn't Paul say something about teaching the truth so people would not be blown about by winds of doctrines?

Of course the new winds are blown by Lynn Anderson and defended by Jubilee 99. The Kirby's includes Rubel Shelly in the new movement to "encourage and nurse along" the further division of the church:


Richard Kirby: "Rubel Shelly is an outstanding Bible teacher, and one of the leading lights of what could be called "the new Church of Christ."

I always noted that in business the fellow who made a career out of finding all of the faults was identified as very bright. However, this fellow reads for the hate stuff against "non-instrumental churches of Christ" and cannot possibly agree with most of the sermons. For instance, how about taking the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai for which cause God gave the Book of the Law and "turned them over to worship the starry host." This worship was of Remphan or Chiun identified by Amos 5 and 6 and of Molech worshiped in Jerusalem with lots of instrumental music.

Well, Rubel has changed the name of His church sign. What Rubel promotes is, for instance, the restoration of the ancient Jewish Jubilee. The Catholic Encyclopedia notes that whatever else the Jubilee means it essentially looks for the Atonement. Therefore, the concept is Judaic and legalistic along with the Levitical worship teams. You can click here to listen to another "black is white" sermon by Rubel Shelly.

Rubel Shelly is presently using the Exodus as a pattern for "worship and community." He mangaged to get through the story without mentioning the "baptism" type at the Red Sea, The "gift of the Holy Spirit" pattern with the Book of The Covenant, the "rising up to play" at Mount Sinai whicih was the musical idolatry which lost Israel the Covenant and shackled them with the Levites to keep the common people away from God's symbolic presence. That is how you interpret Scripture in the Post-Modern world and it is very theatrically performed. But it usually misses the point.

The following article will be reviewed also:

Instrumental Music and the Silence of Scripture.

Richard Kirby: "Jeanette was once asked by a Baptist co-worker why the Church of Christ didn't use instrumental music. Her unpremeditated answer was, "Because of a misunderstanding of what the New Testament is."

She meant that

because they conceive of the New Testament in terms of the Old,

and think of the "law of Christ" as they do the Law of Moses,

they are looking for a new Levitical system like that of the Old Testament

No. Just the opposite is the fact: churches of Christ believe in dispensational distinction but believe that a direct command from the Yahweh-Saves of the New Covenant has authority because love for the truth means keeping the commands of Jesus Christ.

The "musicians" were under the KING and the COMMANDERS of the army. They were assigned to the TEMPLE which was NOT a church house. Rather, it was the king's shrine because all such secular kings were thought of as the GOD'S AGENT. The common people did not worship at this LIKE THE NATIONS' animal sacrifice. Rather, they always attended the synagogue under various names. As the Qahal or church in the wilderness God called at Mount Sinai it was for hearing His word. However, they rose up in MUSICAL IDOLATRY of a trinity. God turned them over to worship the STARRY HOST.

Therefore, ALL who attempt to introduce MUSICAL WORSHIPERS or mediators do so by claiming the authority of the Levitical Warrior Musicians. They MUSICALLY MOCKED the innocent animas which God permitted as their effort to purify themselves. Psalm 22 and 41 prophesied that led by Judas they would try to MUSICALLY MOCK Jesus as the TRUE Lamb of God.

There is no evidence that MUSIC was anything than a legalistic effort to CALL DOWN the "good gods" and chase away the bad gods.

Therefore, KIRBY is promoting LEGALISM which deliberately sows discord and MOVES all musical worshippers on the FAR side of the cross!

The New Wineskiners do not believe in dispensational distinctions. For instance, Paul Woodhouse who promotes the pro-instrument position, teaches that the "command" for instruments in the Law is still in effect if there is not a legalistic law which says: "Thou shalt not use instruments."

The "people" under the Monarchy did not use instrumental music with congregational singing. God specificially put them "outside the camp" when the like the nation's animal sacrifices with noise were performed.

Therefore, the Old Testament is not silent and the New Testament is not silent.

It was musical idolatry which brought about the Law of Moses and replaced the oral Covenant of Grace:

"The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the

employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous,

is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf." (Smith's Bible Dictionary, Music, p. 589).

Music accompanied the horrors of animal sacrifices and any Jewish school boy knew that without the Temple in Jerusalem and in connection with animal slaughter had no reason to exist. Furthermore, the common people did not worship in the Jewish Temple which was "like the nations" because that is what the elders demanded as they fired God.

Musical worship teams and instrumental music has no higher authority than the Catholic church which restored the Levitical priesthood and calls their musical teams "Levitical Singers."

The authority for adding musical worship is most often based upon the notion that the Law of Moses is still the authority for Christian worship. However, it was left to Alexander Campbell to preach a sermon showing the difference between the Law and the Christian System of grace. For his effort He was almost tried for heresy by the Baptists. See The Sermon on the Law However, what Campbell taught was the almost-universal view of everyone down through the pages of church history.

"Musical ministry" was added without authority by the Catholic church about 1200 years after the time of Jesus and Paul. As ecclesiastical or liturgical music it was still not performed in the presence of the Pope as late as the 1911 Catholic Encyclopedia. Music was added, then and now, not because of any hint of Biblical authority but clearly as a Seeker-Friendly (Willow Creek) "navigating the winds of change" effort to attract the masses to pay for the Cathedrals. Even so, when called upon to authorize music the Catholic Encyclopedia was forced to fall back on the Law of Moses under the Monarchy period when Israel rejected God and demanded a human king so that they could worship like the nations.

The musicians are called Levitical singers. Even today, sectarians use the Old Testament to defend their practices. Psalms 150 is a favorite.

Therefore, there is no hint of debate to dispute the fact that those who added musical instruments were fulfilling a practice of the

Levitical system added by "David and the commanders of the army" for unemployed warrior musicians. Click on any of the Catholic Encyclopedia articles linked below to get the facts.

These warrior musicians would "stand in the gap" to defeat Jesus as prophesied in Psalm 41.

Therefore, contrary to the upside down claim, churches of Christ used no rules and no interpretation or legalistic theology to become a sect.

How do I know that? I know that because faithful churches had always rejected instruments from the time of Christ. The Catholic Encycloped acknowledges that singing was taken away from the untalented common folks without authority and needs to be restored.

Pre-reformation believers took the pay away from priests and destroyed their organs. The Presbyterians and Baptists which made up much of the churches of Christ had no history of music in worship to worry about.

A sect is one which adds divisive practices and therefore the sectarians added instruments.

How can you be accused of "using the law of Christ like the Law of Moses" to exclude instrumental music when there was no instrumental music in their theological "ancestors" even including most Catholics?

The writer is mistaken: the musical churches added the instruments without using any authority. Only when questioned did they run to the Law of Moses under the like the nations Monarchy for "legal authority."

Richard Kirby: But the Law of Christ is nothing like Leviticus: one fulfills the law of Christ by bearing one another's burdens, not by the observance of rites and rituals (Gal. 6:2).

Well, that is one way.

Jesus condemned the Temple system and promised that it would be taken down, stone by stone. The priests, Levitical musicians and instruments all went into the eternal fires of the temple.

Jesus participated in the Synagogue which was, like the church, a school and not a pagan worship center. The synagogue had not "praise service" and certainly no instruments.

By not playing a musical instrument one is not adding a rite or ritual:

adding instruments is adding a rite which is acknowledged by the most ancient pagans up to today's new-winds churches as having the magical power to "move the worshiper into the presence of God."

The "burden" Jesus came to remove along with the clergy which laded them was not approaching Him in silence. How can being silent be a burden????

The burden is defined as "spiritual anxiety created by religious ceremonial." Music is the most powerful mind-altering, burden-lading mechanical practice short of shooting up with drugs.

The Word which became visible as Lord Jesus Christ in Whom full Deity dwells (Col. 2:9) was the Pillar, Manna, Rock and Giver of the Book of the Covenant which He had given to Abraham. When the Book of the Covenant was given by the One and Only God prior to the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai, it was by the same Spirit of Christ:

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

And I fell at his feet to worship him. And he said unto me, See thou do it not: I am thy fellowservant, and of thy brethren that have the testimony of Jesus: worship God: for the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Rev 19:10

This same Spirit God never hinted at a clergy or musical worship in the Book of the Covenant. When Israel rejected the Covenant, God gave them The Book of the Law.

There was now a mediating clergy but no musical worship under the Law. In fact, Numbers 10:7 prohibits the instruments and loud rejoicing when the "congregation" comes together which was only for instructions.

Mediating clergy is a literal burden as in "you pay me to give you the free Word of God." For instance:

But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 1 Thess 2:4

For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 1 Thess 2:5

Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 1 Thess 2:6

For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. 1 Thess 2:9

It was the Levitical musical worship teams under the commanders of the army who "excelled" by being the tyrants who drove even Israelite slaves to build the temple.

The "gospel" is something preached by evangelists where the Word has not been taught. Even then, as an apostle Paul had only the right to be supported as the priest got his daily dole of food, the soldier got his daily food allowance and the oxen nibbled at the grain while it was threshing, Paul knew that the free gospel cannot be sold -- even by an inspired Apostle.

Jesus fired the Jewish clergy because they "took away the key to knowledge" and refused, as demanded of every ancient priest, to support themselves when not on duty. The "burden" He came to permanently remove was "spiritual anxiety created by religious ritual."

Every informed musicologists, "worship minister" and Rock star knows that the easiest and cheapest way to induce the burden which creates endorphins (morphine-like) with a little joy juice left over from curing the burden or "hurt' is music.

If the writer believes that this is the only "law of Christ" then going into all the world and help peasants learn how to fish would be in order. Therefore, we need to ask the meaning of the "LAW" since the writer believes that under the "Spirit" there are no laws.

Nomos (g3551) nom'-os; (to parcel out, espec. food or grazing to animals); law (through the idea of prescriptive usage), gen. (regulation), spec. (of Moses [includ. the volume]; also of the Gospel), or fig. (a principle): - law

The "regulative principle" out of which the Restoration Movement came meant that one must not impose any "act of worship" not commanded in the New Testament. This has been the universal rule obeyed by all but Catholics and many

Post Restorationists who ignored 1800 years of church history and

created sectarianism by imposing musical instruments and evangelistically attempting to force them on others. Great pre-Christian Jubilees are still held to try to force musical worship.

Richard Kirby: So it is wrong in the first place to think of the admonition to sing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) as a command or ordinance in the manner of the mosaic law.

That is true. If we have joined the reading public, the operative word is Teach and Admonish: there are no "musical" terms associated with worship in the Bible. If you cannot grasp TEACH externally and SING internally then there is no hope.

No, not like Mosaic law but like Covenant Law which Abraham kept to gain God's approval (Gen. 26:5). We consider it a command in the manner of Paul under the Spirit guidance of Jesus of Nazareth in Spirit form.

If Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16 is not a command then "go preach the gospel" is not a command. These passages are not remotely connected with musical performance or performaners, but with teaching one another the revealed Word of Christ or "spirit."

Again, the first command to Moses was the Book of the Covenant of Grace; Israel sinned with musical "play" at Mount Sinai; God gave the Law of Moses to regulate a lawless and doomed nation. A command of Christ or of Paul is a command of Christ not because it is like Mosaic law. But who would ignore a demand of Jesus just for fear of being "legalistic."

Take a look at a direct command of Jesus and then a direct command of Paul with the understanding that Jesus (as Spirit) promised to lead Paul into all truth just as He guided the other apostles into all truth:

Jesus: And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. Mark 16:15

He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. Mark 16:16

Paul: And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Ephesians 5:18

Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Ephesians 5:19

Is it not a command that we must not get drunk with wine? Or as the "new wineskins" religion teaches just an admonition about "a second order truth?" Then how can "be filled with the Spirit" and then "speak" or preach to one another be any less of a command?

The word METHUO is almost always associated with GETTING PIPED DOWN with wine or GETTING FLUTED DOWN with wine. When the people--at the homosexual gatherings NEAR WINE--got high on wine and music: you still cannot run a wine house without MUSIC. When the homosexual symposium wanted to TALK or discuss some issue they SENT AWAY the flute-girl who was always a prostitute or the harpIST who was always a Sodomite.

You have to LOOK where Paul POINTS. Therefore, the direct command was to be FILLED with the Spirit which is the Word of Christ in John 6:63 and the other "musical" passage in Col. 3:16.

When Christ prayed, He did not call an assembly.  Rather, he hymned (prayed) in quiet, private places (like your closet) so He could hear Himself speak to Himself.  He knew that you cannot listen with your mouth open.

Hymning in the Old Testament

Hymning means: Siyach (h7878) see'-akh; to ponder, by implication: converse with oneself, and hence aloud or utter: - commune, complain, declare, meditate, muse, pray, speak, tall with.

Hymning in Ephesus--

Speaking to yourselves is: Heautou (g1438) heh-ow-too' thy- our-, your) self (selves), alone, her ownself, he himself, his own self, one to another.. thyself, you, your own.

Therefore I will not refrain my mouth; (1) I will speak in the anguish of my (2) spirit; I will complain in the bitterness of my (3) soul. Jb.7:11  (Ro 8:23 our spirit groans within our self, the Holy Spirit doesn't groan)

I call to remembrance my song in the night: (1) I commune with mine own (2) heart: and my (3) spirit made diligent search. Ps.77:6

And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan (pray silently) within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.  Ro 8:23

think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. Mt.3:9

Richard Kirby: Singing is not an ordinance as Baptism and the Lord's Supper are. Paul's "commands" are no more legal requirements than is his "command" to "be filled with the Spirit."

This is probably true but even less would a mid 1800s addition of instruments be a command. The word IS SPEAK which means PREACH: you CANNOT speak and sing externally at the same time.

And if not a command then why would grown men sectarianize the church by forcing instruments in over the objection of the elder as at Midway, Kentucky one of the first sects?

And why is the writer promoting a movement to change non-musical churches of Christ if singing is not a command?

But you say (as an evangelical) that God pours the Spirit into you in another Incarnation to prove that you are selected; Paul issued it as a command.

To be filled with the Spirit is a direct command and this means that it is something which we can do. How is that? Notice that "be filled with the spirit" is identical to "let the word of Christ dwell in you" fully 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

But how can I know that? First, the identical functions are performed and the demand of the worship is to fill up and the "substance" is the same. Second, Jesus actually said it:

It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life. John 6:63

So "spirit" in this case is not a little "person" who has replaced Father and Son; the spirit by the definition of the Hebrew ruwach and the Greek pneuma is the "mental disposition of a person or of God." The "Spirit" is never pictured as a "man." In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul insisted that the Holy Spirit (to us) is the Mind of Christ. The only way to fill up with the Spirit is to fill up with the Mind of Christ -- that is exactly what Paul commanded.

The writer is right: there is no command to sing: the command is to teach and admonish one another with the Word of Christ and the result is singing and melody "in the heart" and directed to God because we use His Words. Both A Capella and instrumentalists reverse the order of the command. They don't use the words of Christ and they sing and play to one another!

Richard Kirby: They are exhortations such as that of James: "Is any merry, let him sing praise." No one would think he had sinned if he neglected to sing praise every time he was merry. And yet that is as much a command as Paul's words are.

Paul's statement is clearly a command to quit using the pagan, Dionysus type of singing with instruments where wine went along with the instruments to induce a frenzy which was then peddled as "leading you into the presence of the gods."

The Classical writers describe this so clearly that we know exactly what was happening in Corinth, Ephesus and Colossee. In Attic Greek "psalmos" was a poem or praise which had been composed so that it could be accompanied with the human instrument or voice (the harp of God) or a physical harp. Paul excluded the external instrument by including the internal instrument. However, James is offering a word of encouragement and not a command for "worship."

Is anyone among you suffering? He should keep on praying about it. And those who have reason to be thankful should continually be singing praises to the Lord. James 5:13LIV

This is an admonition but Paul issued a direct command to silence the Dionysus form of singing self-composed songs with instruments to "lade" the people with anxiety and sell it as "spiritual." Jesus died to remove that burden.

Richard Kirby: Such is the dilemma of those who seek the Old Testament in the New.

We have just said that churches of Christ along with their Presbyterian and Baptist ancestors did not do, did not include or did not exclude anything on any basic, old or new Testaments. Rather, churches of Christ just kept on not doing what had been recognized as correct from an understanding of the Old Testament Monarchy period, the Catholic scholars and all early Reformers.

For hundreds of years the Temple was captive to the priests and systems imposed by the Roman rulers. The temple "staff" consisted of no more than ten thousand. However, there were millions of 'common' people. They went to Synagogue to hear the Scriptures read and explained if any explaining was needed.

The synagogue, endorsed by Jesus, had no praise service.

The cultural pattern based on the Scriptures used no instruments.

Therefore, the synagogue is silent about instruments and those who add them jump back over the Jesus-endorsed "assembly" and base their instruments on the Law of Moses as changed by David under the Monarchy.

Those who added instruments were the sectarians because they added something alien to the scholarly views "held en toto" for two thousand years and which sowed discord among brethren. Their only authority was "David did it."

That makes it based on the law during Monarchy period under secular kings.

Because it was in the vested interest of the innovators to attract the masses by adding theatrical performance,

the definition of "heresy" or "sectarian" is totally complete and can only be applied with honesty to those who added instruments from silence of the Synagogue and Church and in their own vested interest which were so strong that they could "dismiss" with a swat of the hand those like J. W. McGarvey who objected.

There is no innovation by not adding instruments and there is no hope of any financial gain or vain glory by not adding instruments.

Therefore, by definition, one cannot be a sectarian by refusing to join the crowd changing "the law."

This was not the opinion of a narrow, bigoted group of Southern rednecks (per a musical worship book) but read:

Robert Breckinridge, 1851, Presbyterian
Dabney, R Against Musical Instruments in Worship - Presbyterian
George Girardeau - Presbyterian
Zack Guess - Baptist

Richard Kirby: But even under the Law, David, Solomon, Asaph and the others had large liberty to make innovations in worship, such as choirs, psalms, and all kinds of instruments (e.g. Ps. 150). 

These additions were not commands of the Law;

they were harmless and helpful aids to the fulfilling of the command to worship God.

We have noted that Israel's elders "fired God" and demanded a king like the nations so that they could worship like the nations. God gave two important signs:

the musical prophesiers from the Philistine high place "turned Saul into another man" or perverted him by inducing charismatic prophesying with instruments.

And God destroyed the wheat crop. Furthermore, he prophesied that the kings would lead them into destruction and He would not prevent it.

If one has been virtually abandoned by God then one is free to improvize. Solomon innovated by adding paganism to the Jerusalem "venue." Many of the kings imitated him. But the instruments came from Egypt and the musical guilds had Canaanite names. They were under the commanders of the army and never under the priests.

Furthermore, the Holy Spirit always distinguishes between "the trumpets of God" and the 'instruments of David." David and later Hezekiah used lots of instruments to make "a great crashing sound" during animal sacrifices but only for dedicatory or purification rituals connected with the secular temple and civil state.

The "congregation" of the people never worshiped by singing with instrumental accompaniment.

Asaph was added by the king and commanders of the army. His name is derived from:

Acaph (h622) aw-saf'; a prim. root; to gather for any purpose; hence to receive, take away, i. e. remove (destroy, leave behind, put up, restore, etc.): - assemble, bring, consume, destroy, fetch, gather (in, together, up again), * generally, get (him), lose, put all together, receive, recover [another from leprosy], (be) rereward, * surely, take (away, into, up), * utterly, withdraw.

Asaph was not a "Musical Worship Minister" but really a slave driver as the history of the Temple and the use of the Levitical musicians (all males of the tribe of Levi) clearly show. Worship meant to fall on your face and if you did not or was caught inside the walls (church house) of the civil temple they would kill you.

The entire priesthood and especially the Levites were added after the musical idolatry at Mount Sinai to keep the people away from the Tabernacle. Even Israelties were identified as "strangers" and could not come boldly before the throne of God.

Richard Kirby: The Old Testament knows nothing of the notion that the silence of Scripture is prohibitive. The cases so often cited--Nadab, Abihu, Uzzah (all three examples of specific disobedience)--did not merely add some "unauthorized" element or procedure; they disobeyed clear commands of God. I can find no instance in the Bible where God was displeased with anything

other than the "willful disobedience of a known law of God" or a wicked heart

Jesus in John spoke of a law of silence which He obeyed by speaking only what He heard from the Father. The direct command and approved example was that if the "Father" was silent on some issue then the "Son" was silent. This is the highest authority one can have.

Paul obeyed in his teaching and which Paul commanded for us:

"Now, brothers, I have applied these things to myself and Apollos for your benefit,

so that you may learn from us the meaning of the saying,
Do not go beyond what is written then you will not take pride in one man over against another." 1 Corinthians 4:6

An occasion for pride, such as arraying Rubel Shelly against the "old legalists" can never happen if Rubel Shelly does not go beyond what is written. When people presume to be "an evangelist by the sovereign grace of God" then he is liable to become the "13th apostle" and speak his own mind. Then, people not trained in the Word and its Spirit, align themselves with people. James would say that those who "show partiality" have brought the whole weight of the law down on their heads.

When Israel engaged in musical idolatry at Mount Sinai, it was obvious that they did not listen to the covenant of grace. Therefore, they probably reasoned: "God didn't say, don't sing, dance, play instruments, get drunk and naked."

God promised that in contending for the faith in the time of Jesus:

I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. Deut 18:18

And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him. Deut 18:19

But the prophet, which shall presume to speak a word in my name,

which I have not commanded him to speak, or that shall speak in the name of other gods, even that prophet shall die. Deut 18:20

Pauls Commission

Colossian's Commission

Ephesian's Commission

And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. Col.1:18


And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God. Col.2:19

When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Col.3:4

From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. Eph 4:16

For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell; Col 1:19

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Col.1:12

IF ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Col 3:1

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. Col 3:2

for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said:

Whereof I am made a minister, according to the dispensation of God which is given to me for you, to fulfil the word (Logos) of God; Col 1:25

And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Col 3:10

"Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you." Eph 5:14

Even the mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generation,

Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body (church)

Be very careful, then, how you live--not as unwise but as wise, Eph 5:15

but is now disclosed to the saints. Col 1: 26

Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free:

Wherefore be ye not unwise, but

To them God has chosen to make known among the Gentiles Col 1:27

but Christ is all, and in all. Col 3:11

understanding what the will of the Lord is. Eph 5:17

To present to you the word of God in its fullness Col 1:25

Let the word of Christ dwell

be filled with the Spirit Eph 5:18

We proclaim him,

admonishing and teaching


with all wisdom,

as you

teach and admonish

one another

with all wisdom, and



to yourselves

so that we may present everyone perfect in Christ. Col 1: 28

as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs

in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs,

Which is come unto you, as it is in all the world; and bringeth forth fruit, as it doth also in you, since the day ye heard of it, and knew the grace

with gratitude in your hearts (proof of unity)

singing and making melody in your heart

of God in truth: Col 1:6

to God. Col 3:16

to the Lord; Eph 5:19

To this end I labor, struggling with all his energy, which so powerfully works in me. Col 1:29

giving thanks to God the Father through him. Col 3:17

Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Eph 5:20

I don't know how you can be clearer. However, in all of the Biblical and noncannonical writings, once you have fallen into the musical trap sprung by Satan you are never going to understand the simple Words of Spirit.

Click so you don't go naked before God about the silence thing.

When God removed Israel from the Egyptian worship He did not command them not to "sing, dance naked and play instrumental music" which is defined by the word "play" which Paul warned the Corinthians about in chapter ten. Yet, when they rose up to play, God took the Book of the Covenant away from them, gave them The Book of the Law and a priesthood to keep the people out of His symbolic presence at the Tabernacle. This is why Paul demands that a Christian has to "go to Him outside the camp" which later became the walls of the temple separating the priests and noise-makers from the people who prayed outside the gates and God heard from heaven.

Neither be ye idolaters, as were some of them; as it is written, The people sat down to eat and drink, and rose up to play. 1 Corinthians 10:7

"And the people celebrated this feast with burnt-offerings and thank-offerings, with eating and drinking, i.e. with sacrificial meals and sports, or with loud rejoicing, shouting, antiphonal songs, and dances, in the same manner in which the Egyptians celebrated their feast of Apis (Herod. 2, 60, and 3, 27)." (Keil and Delitzsch, Vol. II, p. 222).

You can understand how the Israelites worshiped in Egypt by clicking here.

When God gave the silver trumpets for signalling and to panic the enemy with "making a joyful noise" He specificially outlawed this activity when the congregation assembled which was never for worship but for instruction (as a synagogug) Numbers 10:7

Again: "The triumphal hymn of Moses had unquestionably a religious character about it; but the employment of music in religious services, though idolatrous, is more distinctly marked in the festivities which attended the erection of the golden calf." (Smith's, Music, p. 589).

Topheth was named after tabret or the tambourine or drum. Topheth which stands for hell itself was once the "King's music grove" and had under the Monarchy become the site of the red hot Molech idol at which children were burned by the Jews while music was played to get an inspired message from the "god." Remember that God sent the "musical prophesiers" from the Philistine High Place as a witness against Israel's rejection of His rule. Jeremiah notes:

And they have built the high places of Tophet, which is in the valley of the son of Hinnom, to burn their sons and their daughters in the fire;

which I commanded them not, neither came it into my heart. Jeremiah 7:31

They have built also the high places of Baal, to burn their sons with fire for burnt offerings unto Baal, which I commanded not, nor spake it, neither came it into my mind: Jeremiah 19:5

Therefore, behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that it shall no more be called Tophet, nor the valley of the son of Hinnom, but the valley of slaughter: for they shall bury in Tophet, till there be no place. Jeremiah 7:32

Then will I cause to cease from the cities of Judah, and from the streets of Jerusalem, the voice of mirth, and the voice of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom, and the voice of the bride: for the land shall be desolate. Jeremiah 7:34

Of the end-time Babylon whore worship:

And the fruits [spectacle] that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. Rev 18:14

And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee; Rev 18:22

The musicians were the MUSES. They were USED by Apollo or Abaddon or Apollyon. They were sent into hell for failure to worship the Mother Goddess. Apollo unleashes them as LOCUSTS which is intimately connected to ODEING or singing exciting songs. The craftsmen are the TECHNE which includes "rhetoricians, sOPHISts (serpents), singers and musicians." They performed the task of SORCERY and were all know as parasites. The word is found often to define the THEATER BUILDER and the STAGE MANAGERS.

God warned Israel about the Asherah poles (See Rubel Shelly's) and the high places but they never listened. When they fired God and demanded a king so that they could worship like the nations this is what God was silent about in that He ruled by law and not by silence:

"The ritual observances at the Hebrew and at a Canaanite sanctuary were so similar that to the mass of the people Jehovah worship and Baal worship were not separated by any well-marked line... A sacrifice was a public ceremony of a township or clan... Then the crowds streamed into the sanctuary from all sides, dressed in their gayest attire, marching joyfully to the sound of music, and bearing with them not only the victims appointed for sacrifice, but store of bread and wine set forth the feast... Universal hilarity prevailed." (Gurney, p. 37).

Edersheim notes that the people's sacrifices were not made when the Levites made the great noise with instruments.

God condemns these public processions to Jerusalem. He implicates human sacrifices by warning Israel about How He would bring down the Assyrians to the beat of musical instruments just like their Canaanite-like processions.

Music was a powerful tool to "lead the worshipers into the presence of God while even Israelites were sacrificing their children." Therefore, God used the sacrificial, musical procession to Topheth to warn of what he would do to Syria -- And God never told Assyria: "Thou shalt not oppress my people."

Must ye always rejoice, and go into my holy places continually, as they that keep a feast? and must ye go with a pipe, as those that rejoice, into the mountains of the Lord, to the God of Israel? Isaiah 30:29LXX

Remember that only adult males were commanded to hold festival at Jerusalem three times a year. However, playing loud instruments and burning a child in the red hot arms of Molech would allow the priest to get "a direct message from the gods" for which they came. This was always to get around God's commandments and be "innovative."

And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones. Isaiah 30:30

For through the voice of the Lord shall the Assyrian be beaten down, which smote with a rod. Isaiah 30:31

And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and in battles of shaking will he fight with it. Isaiah 30:32

For Tophet is ordained of old; yea, for the king it is prepared; he hath made it deep and large: the pile thereof is fire and much wood; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, doth kindle it. Isaiah 30:33

> This was "the king's music grove" where they burned bodies of the living and dead. It stands for hell, the place of everlasting fire and maggots. It would be fulfilled by the musical, Babylonian king/queen religion:

All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you. Is.14:11

> This would also be fulfilled in Jerusalem after the time of Christ. Perhaps a million bodies were burned or just consumed by maggots when it, identified as Sodom, was consumed when the trumpets of Rome blared.

> It will happen in the end-times when the Babylonian whore religion ceases and the musicians and their instruments are once again consumed (Revelation 18).

This may be being fulfilled as believers are brought down to spiritual death as God performs the musical "triumph" over those who do not love the truth but love to follow the blind.

If it had intered God's "mind" and He wanted the musical idolatry He would have commanded it. He did not command it nor think of it but the Israelites did something which God had not commanded and were punished just as they had when they demanded a King over God's "silence."

God did not command: "Thou shalt not fire me and hire a human ruler." But they did and He promised their destruction. In the end, they and the Temple He could not use were destroyed. Amos poured out God's promise that the people would hunger and thirst for the Word of God and go into captivity. The cause was their celebrative "religious festivals with instrumental music." And yet, God had never said, thou shalt not.

If "authority" has any meaning, the command to "teach and admonish" one another only after filling up with the 'Word of Christ' or "spirit" is as direct a command as "go, preach, baptize." If not then how would Paul have commanded that teaching replace pagan singing if He had intended to do so?

Richard Kirby: And what a strange use of language it is to say (as many do) that singing with instrumental accompaniment is disobeying the command to sing!
In what possible sense is singing with accompaniment not singing?

Jim Jones told his "flock" that they were drinking Kool Aide -- and they were.

Many of the classical writers note that singing is one thing but playing an instrument is another. Playing and singing at the same time was clearly seen as a way to keep you from understanding the words of the song. Furthermore, it was something which only children or female slaves engaged in.

First. The Bible takes note that "singing" is one thing but "making melody" with an instrument is quite a different thing. Singing is no longer just singing if the "voices" of the dead instruments are allowed to "teach."

This is why when instruments are intended the usuall statement is: "Sing and make melody with a harp."

Second, from the earliest history the view of the writers was that instruments totally silenced the congregational singing. In time the Catholics were forbidden to sing and the music was performed by a Clergy Person which is now at times replaced by the "worship team." The team by definition and their position does not want the "audience" to sing while they "perform."

McClintock -- Strong identifies this as the "first heresy largely pervading the church."

Before and during the Reformation men like Calvin tore down the idols, melted down the organ pipes of what was considered an "idol" and restored congregational singing: you cannot really have both at the same time.

Third, there is no command to "sing" in the sense of modern compositions set to four-part harmony. Paul used the "singing" idea to the Romans after he warned about the "wine induced" forms of singing alluded to in Romans 14 and clearly defined in Ephesians 5 where the command was not to "sing" but to teach for learning:

For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning,
........... that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope. Romans 15:4

Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus: Romans 15:5

That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 15:6

This chapter comes after Romans 14 where Paul warned about imposing the Orphic or Dionysic practices of Rome. The meat and the vegetarian sects were both instrumental. The only way to speak the same thing was to peak the Scriptures.

When you sing with harmony (which is not melody) you do add to unison singing which is with one voice. For instance, 2 voices harmonizing will produce 4 voices through harmonic distortion and many more lesser notes. 4 will produce 16 strong voices and dozens more lesser voices. Harmony also produces the irritating dissonance like "water drips" or "dog barks" which cannot be ignored and which hurt. It is this dissonance which bridges the gap from one note to a leap to another and is therefore tolerated. This is why "psallo" is derived from "grinding you into a fine powder." Melody has no spiritual connotation.

By analogy, when you put a bit of acid in water you are no longer drinking water but a dilute acid. When you sing in the bathtub you are doing more than singing, you are adding your own mixed-up echo. This is the meaning of the "sounding gongs" or brass vases which the pagans used and sold as the "voice of the gods." It assuredly is not possible to teach a Biblical psalm with a multi-horsepower organ breathing on you.

The message has always been that if you speak the revealed Word to one another it will be taught. There will be unity because you are not adding divisive songs from Sister Singers or organs. The result will be singing to the name of God and not modern, mind-altering singing with instruments:

And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause

External: I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, (teach and admonish)

Internal: and sing unto thy name. Romans 15:9 (singing and melody in the heart)

Once Paul had done his part he had the common decency to get out of the way and continue to carry out the Great Commission because:

And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren, that ye also are full of goodness, filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another. Romans 15:14

Organists and musical worship teams are a direct insult saying that "you are not filled with knowledge and able to admonish one another."

Or as Paul told the Colossians using almost identical terms:

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

Paul obeyed the command which would allow Jesus to "sing to the Gentiles" or to those who had not heard the gospel once:

Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another mans foundation: Romans 15:20

But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand. Romans 15:21

Richard Kirby: What fantastic logic-chopper first invented the argument that I am not singing if someone is also accompanying me with an instrument?

You are still singing but the instrumentalist is still playing. You are not playing and she is not singing. The combination of the two puffs up your voice and makes it more eappealing than what God gave you. The combination of vocal noises and instrumental noises produces something entirely new to the equation. For instance, I eat unleavened bread. It is still unleavened bread if I add a slice of baked ham. Any logic chopper would conclude that you are doing more than eating unleavend bread and therefore you are showing contempt for the Word of God.

Then the preacher should not object if a brass band plays while he preaches. After all, he is still preaching. And the critic should not object if the cook puts a pound of salt in his chicken soup. After all, it is still chicken soup. Paul did not command "singing songs" but speaking or preaching the reveled Words of Christ to one another. External melody in the Bible and in the classics meant to "grind into a fine powder" or to "twang the bow string" at a person as the arrow approached you. Therefore, Paul issued a direct command that the melody be in the heart. And the Bible is silent about Harmony.

If Jesus demanded that those with the talent go preach where the gospel had not been heard, and the preacher took along a choir and an orchestra to be used during his preaching would the preacher still be preaching? Of course. Would he be understood? Of course not.

You cannot think about spiritual truth with your brain chopped free of its logical or rational (or spiritual) left (male) hemisphere.

If Jesus walked into your living room and said: "I want to talk to you." But you say, Lord, if I turn the Boom Box up full volume you will still be talking. Of course, you would be so embarrassed by the thought that you would be like Judas and hang yourself. Well, Jesus said that He (not a third god) would be in the midst of two or three gathered by His authority. Does He not have any authority? Would you actually give God a theatrical performance to "lead Him into your presence" or "provide a platform upon which God lands?" You might say that I am still listening but you are not.

We would be locked up for doing to our friends what we do to God and call "worship."

Richard Kirby: Assuming that in some nonlegalistic way we are "commanded" to sing, how on earth can we be accused of not singing if (perchance) we are attended by a musician?

God was wise not to command playing, not to command the use of an instrument.

For then, according to the fearful among us, the nonmusical would necessarily be guilty of disobeying the command to play.

So God was wise enough. If so why was He not wise enough to command singing so that we could be free to do my thing with no concern for the multiple-choice God of the universe.

But Paul did command one of the allowable instruments to accompany a psalm -- the human voice.

Legalistic in Paul's mind meant "trusting the Law of Moses." Most music proponents are forced to trust David. On the other hand, obeying direct commands of Christ or His Apostles is not being legalistic. In fact, treating them with contempt and trusting a machine is truly legalistic because it believes that God can be honored with a machine or by minds manipulated by a "drug" overdose through music.

The late 19th century attempt to justify instruments claimed that Psallo commands instruments and therefore they are permitted. If Psallo commands instruments then what motive would anyone have for not legalistically obeying the command to play because playing certainly sucks in moree people?

But the first grasp out of the bag when reinventers of Christian Worship slipped in the first melodeon while the elder slept was the Greek word PSALLO. There, you see, we have the legalistic authority for using the harp because the word includes the harp. It is still the first cat out of the bag when you question other people's attempt to force the instrument into your non-musical church. When this happens in the "new breed of churches of Christ" you can bet that a heavy hand and some slight of hand deception has been used: we know a present-tense example.

We are happy to see that this writer understands that psallo does not command instruments. The "non-lifeless instrument" allowed by the Attic Greek word was the human voice and that is exactly the instrument which Paul commanded using Koine.

Richard Kirby: Everyone can sing, to some extent; but not everyone can play. But God has exhorted us to sing. And singing is singing, whether it is a Capella or accompanied. Tell me, please, why singing with a piano, and organ, or a guitar is not singing. And if it is singing, why does it not fulfill the supposed command to sing? One of my favorite maxims is: If your position leads to absurdity, it is time to reexamine your position.

Again, the command is not to sing but to speak. It is tough to speak when an instrument is playing. Yet, when Jesus is speaking to us through His Words we make sure that the "audience" cannot hear Him by using a band.

Undoubtedly the theatrical performers can continue to sing while the instruments play. However, they cannot teach while instruments play. You cannot do two things at the same time: singing and playing are two things: therefore you cannot "teach and admonish" while playing instruments.

It is absurd for anyone to believe that I can see Christ while the Sister Singer is performing: voice, body and soul. It is absurd to believe that I can learn "the Word of Christ" while Sister Singer sings her own composition. It is absurd to think that anyone can learn the words when an instrument and theatrical performance closes down the rational (masculine) side of the brain and just let the erotic 'praise song' flow throug..

Augustine in the Origin of the legend of the nine Muses makes the common understanding uncommonly clear: that singing is one thing, instruments another:

As modern musical proponents such as Rubel Shelly claim that "instruments are the gift of God," others claim with their pagan brothers that music is the way to get into God's presence -- one's own arousal is confused as spirituality. Augustine said:

"For we must not listen to the falsities of heathen superstition, which represent the nine Muses as daughters of Jupiter and Mercury. was obvious to remark that all sound, which is the material of song, is by nature of three kinds.

> For it is either produced by the voice, as in the case of those who sing with the mouth without an instrument;

> or by blowing, as in the case of trumpets and flutes;

> or by striking, as in the case of harps and drums, and all other instruments that give their sound when struck"

The word melody or PSALLO means to STRIKE with the FINGERS and never with a plectrum. Therefore, this does no authorize a guitar pick, flute blower or organ player. This is directly related to ABADDON or APOLLYON who is often seen PLUCKING his lyre strings as he also PLUCKS his bow string. He sent out literal or LOVE arrows.

The word is derived from warfare or grinding into a fine powder such as the SOP Jesus hand fed to Judas to cause the spirit of Satan to enter into him. The Judas bag was for "carrying the mouthpieces of WIND instruments." Therefore, Jesus used the ROOT meaning to induce a Satanic spirit just as God sent David to induce an evil spirit into Saul to drive him into charismatic prophesying.

The word NEVER MEANS to sing or to sing with instruments. It simply means to PLUCK whee the sound is a THWACK OR TWANG. If you plucked a harp string then you played the harp: if you plucked the bow string then you got ready to die.

That is why Paul made it clear to any student that the MELODY was to be a QUALITY which in Col 3:16 he identifies as GRACE.

The other 'musical' connection is that the same people spoke of SHOOTING OUT HYMNS as "she BELTED out a song."

Slip back up the page: the command is not to sing; the command is to teach and admonish one another with the revealed Word of Christ. If you just sing "as an act of worship" and use emasculating, sentimental poetry it really doesn't matter whether you play or not.

However, if the direct command is to teach and admonish then you cannot teach and admonish while the rational brain is put to sleep and while the emotions are open even to "strange spirits' which often slip in.

Of course, you would still be singing if a priest slaughtered an animal and threw the blood on the Lord's Table. However, you would not be teaching. I wouldn't try it but the music and the pre-Christ animals always went together!

In Paul's mind everyone didn't need to "sing" in the writer's view of singing. Rather, the command was to speak or preach the revealed Word of Christ (Spirit). Singing would have been reciting the word just as Moses recited the songs of judgment God gave him so that the elders could memorize them and teach their tribe. Miriam had the common decency to take the women outside the recital zone while they did their women's thing.

The command, rather, is to "teach and admonish" and you cannot do that with instruments which Paul compared to speaking in tongues or as lifeless instruments or carnal weapons.

Augustine also noted that the augurs and soothsayers gained comforte from theologians discussion of the Psalms and musical instruments.

"then the augurs may with equal reason prevent the use of these words of Scripture, "Be harmless as doves;" and the snake-charmers may forbid that other exhortation, "Be wise as serpents; "

while the play-actors may interfere with our mentioning the harp in the book of Psalms. Let them therefore say, if they please, that,

because similitudes for the exhibition of the mysteries of God's word are taken from the things which I have named,

we are chargeable either with consulting the omens given by the flight of birds, or with concocting the poisons of the charmer,
........... or with taking pleasure in the excesses of the theatre,-
........... a statement which would be the clime of absurdity.

Richard Kirby: Nothing I have learned about the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, with whom I have walked more than thirty years, makes me think that He is in the least concerned about this matter,

This writer (me) knows only what he reads in the Bible and therefore knows that in four distinct examples (Job 21; Amos 5, 6, 8; Isaiah 5 and Ezekiel 33) God associated a beautiful voice and musical instruments with the statement: "We don't want to hear any more words from you,

God." In the example of the king of Babylon and the king of Tyre as Lucifer's agents the harp is soundly condemned because it was used by Tyre as the "harp-playing prostitute." Lucifer as the gender-variant "whore" will be the end-time pattern of churches according to Revelation 18.

Didn't musical idolatry (bound up in the word play from Egypt) at Mount Sinai make any impression?

Didn't the addition of instrumental "prophesying" under the king and commanders of the army rather than under the priests mean anything. Doesn't the fact that the "congregation" of Israel never sang with instruments as "an act of worship" mean anything? Doesn't music always connected with the clergy during animal sacrifices telegraph a message? How about Jesus condemning the Jewish clergy as musical children playing the fertility rituals of "funeral and wedding" trying to make Him dance while they piped?

Our problem with so "god-like" in accepting instruments is that one can live a lifetime of "church" without having a clue to the negative implications of instrumental music in the Bible and in paganism.

Richard Kirby: except insofar as it is used as a pretext for some of His beloved children to separate themselves from others.

Have to say it again, the Restoration Movement was built upon a two-thousand year history of the non-use of mechanical devices to attract the crowds (as among Catholics and Anglicans or Anglican derivatives).

When it was no longer dangerous to your life, the Reformers cast out the organs and musicians "more or less forcefully" just as Jesus cast out the religious "worship team" doing their performance for the dead girl:

No one ever thought: "Gee, I bet God will be pleased with the smell of animals or the offering of the accompanying Levitical noise."

It was the liberal, 19th century clergy just out of liberal schools who needed to compete with musical churches which added the instruments.

We are always commanded to "separate ourselves" from those who go beyond what is written.

If you put Jack Daniel's in the communion cups then you have separated yourselves from those who are forced to let their building be stolen from them.

John Calvin had to face the 'guilt clause' that the Reformers were the sectarians because they no longer tolerated either the clergy or musical worship or "eating the flesh of Jesus."

John Locke identified the sectarians as those who introduce non-commanded practices. Those forced to leave to remain faithful were just doing the scriptural thing. They tried this on J.W. McGarvey when they forced instruments in and him out.

However, no non-musical church ever separated itself from anything, anytime. When the missionary societies (denominational structures) sent "evangelistic" men into churches which never adopted them, but with little success, they began counting themselves as a separate group.

By analogy, if you bring Mary worship into a peaceable church and I am forced to leave then you are the sectarian and sower of discord among brethren.

Musical instruments were introduced into peaceful churches and those who added them were the sectarians.

However, until the Mission Society forced the issue, musical and non-musical churches were in fellowship.

I don't know about you, but I am not so God-like that I have time or inclination to "fellowship" every church in the nation when I don't know 10% of my own congregation.

Richard Kirby: A divided Church fails to provide the light, the only light, that this dark world will ever get. Satan is the only winner when Christians divide over such matters. Withholding fellowship or acceptance from someone who worships with an instrument is the sin involved here, not the use of an instrument.

"It is not uncommon to give the blow and raise the cry." Barton W. Stone

The only light is the Words of God. By adding instruments you have to "go beyond what is written" and add something universally acknowledged to be unscriptural but expedient to help pay the bills. You "let your light shine" by learning and imitating the Word of God. The instrument can shed no light but just confuses the long-deserted Word of Christ.

Isn't it legalistic and judgmental to have such an overwhelming zeal to force people to "accept" what others do in their worship? I think so. The old rejecters of everything are invariably the accepters of anything.

Let's begin by defining:

Fellowship: "companionship, mutual sharing of an experience, a group of people with the same interests." Webster

Sorry, but with my masculine nature I don't have the slightest interest in trying to worship a masculine, Spirit God with "the works of human hands."

We do not "sin" when we choose to worship where instruments have not been imposed and the clergy musicians come to believe that they are "mediators between God and man."

However, there is an unholy compulsion to try to force non-instrumentalists into worshiping with those with whom we have no interest. We have no common interest with Catholics who are perfectly free to hold their worship rituals without having me intrude into their presence and tell them that they have to fellowship those who don't eat the literal flesh of Jesus.

Richard Kirby: The Britannica identifies all "religious fellowships" as denominations.

It is clear from the anti-A Cappells groups that they really need to be endorsed by having you join their denominations. This is totally consistent with a very ancient story of how Satan introduced instruments. The Book of Enoch quoted by Jude warns about this musical fall.

Instruments and animal sacrifices always went together in Judaism: instruments and spiritual and literal prostituteion always went together in paganism. If it is divisive to refuse to listen to the "talented" performers who are never as cute as they believe then it would be divisive to refuse literal prostitution or animal sacrifices.

Returning to our analogy, "I cannot eat Sunday lunch with you if you put a pound of salt in the chicken soup." And if you put a pound of salt in the chicken soup you are telling me: "I really don't want you eating my soup." In contemporary attempts to introduce instruments, the highest goal is to get rid of those who "sow discord" by objecting to even unlawful manipulation.

Based on all statements this writer has ever heard, all people who worship with instruments hold that it is optional and can therefore fellowship or worship with a non-instrumental group.

I have never heard of any group which denies fellowship to those who believe music is ok.

Just attend any church of Christ and no one will ask whether you believe in instruments or not before they allow you to attend. Therefore, it is just plain false to charge non-fellowship as an issue.

Most people who reject mechanical worship cannot worship with people when the machines are reved-up. Therefore, by adding the instrument which you insist is optional you deny my right to fellowship you.

I agree that pushing a thorn into my foot impedes walking. However, the cure is not to force me to enjoy the thorn or lump it: the cure is to repent and remove the thorn.

And the only way to cure the division created by adding instruments is to remove the instruments. However, as Calvin noted, "doing something wrong long enough does not make it right." Custom or musical instrument traditionalism does not become correct by virtue of its age.

However, unlike those demanding "fellowship", I still wouldn't have time to run around and validate or affirm churches even 2 miles away.

Now we have non-musical churches as sects and sinners. It is strange, however, that instruments are always attributed to Satan or to Demons. A modern, liberal scholar says "there is no other tradition." Satan wins in all of the ancient traditions when the Word is masked by music.

The oldest story known about the addition of musical instruments proves that when seduced into musical worship

it is never possible to get rid of the machines.

The only recourse is to attempt to force through false accusations and ridicule those who have not fell into the trap to supply some sense of security to the musical churches by openly endorsing them.

As an example, Genun is a composite of Jubal (Jubilee), Jabal, Tubal-Cain and Naamah. Satan seduced him into musical "worship" and when He could never get away from it, he began a year-long effort using instruments, choral robes and mixed-sex choirs to seduce the holy Sethites.

The Book of Enoch, quoted by Jude, promises that God will come with ten thousand angels to judge people. The primary sin was following Satan who used young people to form mixed-sex choirs and add instrumental music. This was the universal view at the time of Christ so He understood its background.

Richard Kirby: The original, wholesome principle of the Restoration Movement, to be "silent where the Bible is silent," has been turned on its head. The Church of Christ has not been silent: it has been vocal, very vocal, and contentious, divisive.

It has imposed on other Christians (by its aloofness) a commandment of men that is not to be found in the Bible.

Churches of Christ are free believers with the power (which the denominations would dearly love to silence) to meet together without depending on instruments as the works of human hands.

The wholesom principle of the Restoration Movement was not silent about instrumental music. As Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians they had repudiated instrumental music as pagan idolatry long before the Restoration Movement. No Bible believer at that time would remotely suggest that the Bible allowed "silence" as authority to add what had been known for two thousand years as purely secular, pagan and usually involved with sexual-based religions.

It is clearly not the truth that churches of Christ impose on anyone any form of music. You don't need to "join" to attend churches of Christ and you don't need to abdicate an leave. So where is the force?

If you want to sing with instruments then the world if full of instrumental churches. So where is the force?

If you don't want to sing with instruments then you have dozens of groups which are still A Capella. Why is the writer so angry with people exercising their God-given freedom?

We haven't heard an anti-instrument sermon for 20 years. The issue is alive because people are 'evangelistically' attempting -- in time to fulfill Revelation 18 -- to impose instruments on happy A Cappella churches.

Imposition, contentiousness and divisiveness can only be attributed to those who impose instruments upon others.

But the Bible is not silent about music: the entire Old Testament is a witness against attempting to worship a Spirit God with carnal instruments or weapons. The demand to "worship in spirit" is a total repudiation of any external "works of man's hands" to "aid."

The Monarchy (human kings) was God's final punishment to work out the sentence Israel "earned" with their musical idolatry at Mount Sinai and culminating with rejecting God's Word and demanding a human king.

Not only is the message about music negative, the Bible is not silent about the clear fact that what we call "music" God called "noise" to be used in the presence of the priest during the horrible spectacle of animal sacrifice. The Jews knew that and abandoned instruments until AD 1815 when a liberal synagogue installed an organ to compete with the Christian "Seeker" services. Even so, they knew that it was unlawful to play an instrument on the seventh-day Sabbath and therefore hired a Gentile organist!

The Jewish people were "outside the walls" or "outside the camp" and never participated. If accidentally in the area of the Temple their "worship" was to fall on their face. If they offered sacrifices it was after the official, state worship of the official "congregation" which consisted of King, city officials, priests and Levites. See Edersheim. Consistent with the curse of the Levites when Israel engaged in musical worship at Mount Sinai, the people were "shut out' when the instruments sounded.

We have linked Isaiah 30 above to show that the common musical processions to Jerusalem where they trusted the temple and not God was condemned because it violated the command for the three annual festivals solely for "draft-age" males.

By defining one of the two allowable "instruments" to accompany singing, Paul excluded lifeless or carnal instruments in favor of the human voice as the "harp of God."

Churches of Christ have continued to tell the truth even when those (praised by our writer) who lust after instruments continually confuse believers by claiming that the non-musical churches created the division by not doing anything, and by using arguments which show total disregard for the facts revealed by Christ the Spirit.

To escape the "divisive" charge made above, of course churches of Christ would have to adopt instruments or "come forward" and confess that creating the division in the first place by the musicians was, after all, our fault. This is the guilt clause which we have addressed here.

The latest attack against the truth is to charge non-musical churches with being racists. Click to see.

Richard Kirby: A careful examination of the arguments the Church of Christ uses to justify their use of buildings, song books, church bulletins, and the like will show that the same principle can apply to a piano or an orchestra.

Have never heard anyone divided over church buildings, books or bulletins: just a straw man to confuse the issue.

God created me competent to get in out of the rain so I would not be so silly as to try to prove or disprove buildings. I have never heard anyone try to prove or disprove the case. However, the early and greatest church growth was when there was no located clergy and therefore no buildings to stretch out into.

Song books fall with the instruments: Paul demanded that we sing the Biblical text to learn and teach God's Word and not mine. This, too, was rejected along with instruments during the Reformation and Psalmody-only is still widespread and the only Scriptural practice among many groups. So two wrongs don't make a right.

Jesus commanded that our prayer be "inside our closet." Does that qualify or not?

However, I can worship outside or inside of a building and teach through the printed page without violating a direct command by Paul who supports the message of Jesus ridiculing the "musical girl-like" clergy piping to make Him dance.

However, no one can learn the Scripture while music is going on. Just got a message from a lady "addicted" to classical music. She hints that after a while it begins to make her ill. I noted to her that no one pays any attention to the words of "Fanny Crosby" after about 5 times and therefore learn nothing but just go through a meaningless and probably legalistic "act."

Richard Kirby: But the ultimate irony is that they assume that because they exclude musical accompaniment from their worship that they have actually restored New Testament worship.

No, have to repeat it again: instruments were never excluded in the Restoration Movement in order to restore New Testament worship. Remember what I said?

I said that instruments and sentimental (silly and erotic) poetry were not part of the culture before or after the movement.

Churches of Christ did not exclude sacrificing animals because none of the churches sacrificed animals. If some church began sacrificing animals then I would leave and condemn it. However, because I never "included" animal sacrifices I could not "exclude" animal sacrifices.

Baptists, Methodists and Presbyterians did not include instrumental music for the same reason it did not include burning animals on the Lord's Table. If a Baptist church added instruments and many families left, they did not "exclude" instruments because they had never "included" instruments.

Is that so tough? If I have never sniffed cocaine (like musical endorphins) then I cannot stop sniffing cocaine. Is that too tough for Phds to grasp.

Instruments were not part of New Testament worship practiced by them. There, I have said it again. So they could not possibly exclude something which was never part of the worship. Got it? No?

I'm not getting through: Let's try a for instance:

If I have never been a drunk and you insist that wine drinking must be lumped along with instruments as a "second order truth" and that wine drinking must be non-judged in our fellowship. (A Rubel Shellyism)

And if I decide that I cannot participate in social drinking in the fellowship hall and leave.

And I keep trying to convince you that the act and the result is wrong and divisive.

Then you ridicule me by saying that I exclude wine-drinking to restore the original condition of not drinking wine. I cannot exclude something which was never included. Music was not included prior to the Restoration Movement. Therefore, I cannot exclude instruments which were not indluced.

See, we have pushed the issue to the point of absurdity but I don't expect any confessions.

Well, if I keep on excluding what I never practiced in the first place then you cannot accuse me of being divisive for excluding. Or can you?

It was the addition of instruments to attract the secular Seekers through seduction which separated musical churches into a new sect.

Churches of Christ just remained where they had been for hundreds of years, didn't include, didn't exclude, didn't move a hair. Didn't even refuse fellowship until musical and denominational churches sought to force them into the new sect. The stated goal of this writer is a revival of that ancient theme: working and praying to get non-instrumental churches blowing with the winds to approve of instruments.

Churches of Christ would never have left the building if the musical group had not stolen it.

In this degrading guilt-clause attack we have the following logic: You kick me in a soft spot. I yell, "ouch." I created the ruckus by yelling! Buy that, and I have ten acres of vertical bluff to sell you: has running water.

Richard Kirby: The only model of a church service I can find in the New Testament is in I Corinthians 11-14; and that is no model we would wish to revive.

The only person who hypothetically might have worshiped in Corinth was the poor confused unbeliever who would have been convinced if he had just found a "church" which didn't try to seduce him with music, tongues, wine and women. If he had heard the Word of God He would have worshiped which means he would have fallen on his face. "Singing with instruments" was often worshiping pagan "gods" but it is not worshiping in the New Testament sense.

Paul define women prophesiers "outside" the assembly in 11:1-5. From hordes of information we understand that this uncovered prophesying was singing with instruments in attempt to speak from the "spirit" world. Paul told them in chapter 14 that it was from their own spirit and they were just speaking into the air.

Beginning with 11:17 he notes the destructive nature of their assemblies. In chapter 12 he lists the spiritual gifts and fails to include "musical composer, actor or musician" in the list.

In chapter 13, Paul ridiculed instruments by comparing them to speaking in tongues: a lifeless instrument cannot speak an intelligent message any more than the idols (often instruments) among the pagans. The clangs and booms is a direct allusion to the charismatic prophecy of those who claimed to speak with "the tongues of angels."

Paul silenced anyone who did not have a direct revelation from God to be validated by another prophet. This excluded women and would automatically exclude both tongues and music.

If you read Ephesians 4 and connect it to Ephesians 5 you will find a "one another" assembly meeting to speak or preach the Word one to another using the human voice as one of the two allowable instruments (spiritual rather than lifeless or carnal). These passages would also apply at the coffee shop and I defy you to hold a conversation about the revealed Spirit Words of Christ at the coffee shop while an orchestra plays. If you went into another person's home to tell them how to grow soybeans and the fellow accompanied you with a jazz band (voodoo) you would just pack up and leave. Well, Jesus said, "I will be in your midst Sunday to teach you My Spirit Word." I hope you don't get out your guitar and drum set!

We have a thousand years of historical testimony as to practice and every church "Father" denouncing the fall into Greek paganism with music.

Richard Kirby: By piecing together various passages, we have not restored the pattern, much less the purity, purpose, passion, and power of the New Testament Church.

I believe the dear brothers and sisters who teach this error are completely in earnest.

But I am sure they have misunderstood God's character,

and His view of worship.

Would anyone, coming to the Bible for the first time, expect the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ to stick on this point?

Again, I only know what I hear the Father say and I hear Him say loud and clear that musical worship is both a sign and a cause of ignoring His Word. I hear Him connecting it to idolatry at Mount Sinai.

I never hear Him including it in the "people's" worship which never had music in "the synagogues of God" or where the Word was taught (Psalm 74:8). I would expect the Father to be wise enough to have said just once: "I just get goose bumps when you worship me with instruments." Well, Jesus as God Incarnate stuck on that point when the clergy piped and He didn't dance or sing.

Most people who read the Old Testament through fully would not come away with the notion that God is worshiped with burning animals or booming gongs. This was part of the punishment for demanded to be able to "worship like the nations."

No one reading the New Testament for the first time would get a hint that God is to be worshiped with instruments. Reading the comments of Jesus they would get just the opposite understanding. No one within the church for a millennium would risk their neck by bringing in an instrument.

Jesus demanded that worship be "in spirit and in truth." That excluded "place" even at its highest level at Gerizim or Jerusalem. He commanded private prayers and private alms. He denounced performance preaching and prayers and giving.

One can sing in the mind or spirit but one cannot play an instrument "in the heart."

Our goal is not to decide what God will or will not "stick" at: that would be legalistic. Our goal, as lovers of the truth, is to seek His will to keep from being sent a strong delusion. God will do what He will do. However, His will for us is that we not deliberately add secular music (calling it "gospel" doesn't make it spiritual) with a high hand knowing before hand that it will divide the church, sow discord and create a new brand of sectarianism which, in the end, has to resort to David and animal sacrifices for authority.

Richard Kirby: Having read the Bible from front to back, and having absorbed (I hope) the spirit of the psalms, the prophets, Christ and the apostles,

I cannot identify with the state of mind and heart

that will divide Christ over this point. May God grant us to know and fulfill His perfect will. Amen. Richard Kirby

I cannot either and this is why I wonder why people divided Christ by forcefully introducing instruments? You might try prophets like Amos, Isaiah, Ezekiel and even old Job to understand the musical instrument and idolatry-sexuality connection.

If you read all of the "with the harp" Psalms with the possible exception of Psalm 33 you will find them all very negative and judgmental. The songster even wanted to dash out the heads of the enemies of the writer. If you examine the chart by clicking here you will see that singing was the overwhelming practice of the individual Jews. When instruments are added the effect is always negative.

Originally the Jews used the prose sections of the Old Testament and chanted or cantillated them so that everyone could hear, memorize and finally be able to repeat the message. Only later was poetic material chanted.

The Psalms are a poetic history of the Jews and not even Jews would have used more than about 1/3 of them. And Josephus notes that when the Levites who had destroyed the nation tried music again they would again destroy the nation.

We noted that Lord Jesus Christ is the "Spirit" of the prophets and He is full Deity. He did not command music and did not tolerate it. He denounced the clergy as childish flute-players trying to make Him dance the effeminate dance of Dionysus who was more of the "god" of the temple than was Yahweh.

In order to affect his healing on the young girl He ejected (more or less forcefully) the women musicians and singers. These women were the trained musical worship teams to soothe the spirit of the dead so that they would not be haunted or perhaps even resurrect them. Lenski noted that the healing work of Jesus was not possible in the midst of this musical noise.

Jesus commanded that we teach the Word and Paul repeated the command and noted that if we do that with the revealed "spirit" of Christ we will create unity as we sing with one mouth, one heart and one voice.

Instruments cannot teach and instruments shut down the "left" or rational or spiritual mind and opens up the right or emotional brain to accept whatever is fed to it with no thought.

When the music is over, as in Corinth, we will have 'done more harm than good' with our assemblies. We will have deliberately added a machine in whose presence many cannot and will not attempt to honor Christ, His Word and worship "in spirit" or in the innermost being.

A Bible student and a history student knows that instruments were usually made in the form of an animal or person to be worshiped. That is, they were idols Therefore, instruments were lifeless machines or weapons which could not teach. This is why Habakkuk demanded silence when God is in us as His Holy Temple.

Let's say it again: those who add non-essential elements into the worship of the church and divide it are always the sectarians.

It is not sectarian to exercise your right to honor the well-documented case Scripture and history makes against music as worship.

Those who add instruments break the fellowship and since this writer has defined breaking fellowship as sin, those who added instruments are, in his mind, the sinners.

Who Rejected the Movement?

"Dr. Herman Norton, author of Tennessee Christians, tells the story about the first division usually identified with the U.S. Religious Census of 1906.

A preacher by the name of A. I. Myhr came to Tennessee to work for the "organized" missionary societies to win over Tennessee churches of Christ into the ranks of the "organ" and "society" Christian Church.

Myhr worked for twenty years (I890-1910) with this one objective in mind. He was supported by the editors of the Christian Standard and the Christian Evangelist.

At the time of his resignation as Secretary of the Tennessee Missionary Society in 1910, he had not won over a single church of Christ in Nashville and met with poor success in both Middle and West Tennessee.

The United States Religious Census officially recognized that two Restoration churches did in fact exist in the 1910 publication.

"Dr. Norton wrote in the Tennessee Christians that during the twenty-year effort in Tennessee, Myhr had succeeded in "engendering a bitter partisan spirit in almost every congregation in the state."

And he added, "where there had been one communion, admittedly in discord, when he arrived in the state,

there were now two separate and distinct bodies with no meaningful communication between them" (Tennessee Christians, p. 123).

"When Dr. Rubel Shelly came to Nashville some twelve or so years ago, the churches of Christ were at peace. The churches cooperated in many good works. Goodwill prevailed on every hand. This is, sadly, no longer true!"

Because the Old Testament intimately associates musical worship and not being interested in or capable of grasping the Word of God, we need to reming everyone that contrary to the bitter charges against A Cappella churches, it has always bee the instrumental churches which have engendered a bitter partisan spirit and are therefore the sectarians.

Let's hear it again from an early restorer claiming that some people hit you and then scream:

It is not uncommon to give the blow and raise the cry. Barton W. Stone

A Similar Anti-A Cappella Diatribe by Rubel Shelly

These are notes from the Catholic Encyclopedia to show that there is no authority for musical worship except the Pope.

Catholic Encyclopedia Instrumental Music
Catholic Encyclopedia Singing
Catholic Encyclopedia Congregational Singing
Catholic Encyclopedia Ecclesiastical Music No Instruments for the Pope
Catholic Encyclopedia The Mass - Restoration of Levitical Music
Musical Minister - Catholic Precentor - First Heresy
Most churches of Christ will remain faithful from the Biblical practice of "worship in spirit and in truth."
Musical Worship Pages

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