O. E. Payne Psallo and the Instrumental Music Fallacy

O. E. Payne Supplied the North American Christian Convention with the rationale for insisting that the word PSALLO demands the use of mechanical instruments of music in worship.  This paper will review the historic mentions of PSALLO to prove that psallo never meant to Play-a-Harp. Furthermore, using the historic mentions of Psallo INCLUDES the pagan and prostitute examples as the FOUNDATION of any musical content to what is defined as A School of Christ (Jesus and the Campbells).

After the Christian Churches began secting out of the Disciples over their denominational structure they used the ORGAN as a wedge to try to add Churches of Christ in Tennessee by the ploy of "The Commission on Unity." They sent the books to targeted preachers with an insert for the book to be returned: I have one of the original "sent" books. That led to the Debates at the now Grand Old Opry house.

The original list of historic mentions of "psallo" was by:

George P. Slade in the 1878 American Christian Review attacked McGarvey's ground of New Testament silence by appealing to psallo. Having examined this approach for many years, McGarvey said in 1895 that anyone taking it "is one of those smatterers in Greek who can believe anything that he wishes to believe. When the wish is father to the thought correct exegesis is like water on a duck's back." Such strictures did not keep Briney from resorting to the argument again a decade later.(18) 

Instrumental Music is Scriptural (and commanded)
By O. E. Payne, The Standard Publishing Company, 1921

This book was sent to a select group of preachers thought to be "translatable" by the Commission On Unity

Sending out copies with "return to sender" (in this writer's collection) pasted in front "That you may have the advantage of these facts and use them in the interest of truth and unity to 'the breaking down of the middlewall of partition" and for the restoring of fellowship between those that use and those that do not use instruments in the church, this book is sent out, which after reading please return to The commission On Unity, Nashville Tenneessee.


The Boswell-Hardeman Debate:

Page 148. This is our first example of anyone thinking that PSALLO meant to Play on a Harp: psallo just means to pluck something with your fingers but NEVER with a plectrum or guitar pick.  The base idea is to pluck on a bow string to make it twang to send forth a singing arrow into enemies.  If you pluck a string psallo still just means "pluck" and even if you pluck a harp that sound does not make melody unless you define the mode or melody.

O. E. Payne: Not using instruments is ERROR: Error: when
Paul instructed us to psallo, he meant for us to sing, unaccompanied, reread the above, I beg you, and care enough for the truth HERE AND NOW TO GIVE UP THE ERROR.

In fact Paul commanded that we SPEAK the Biblical Text.

O. E. Payne on Athenaeus: 200 A. D. A the nams (636) . In this passage the speaker is talking of a tragedian, Diogenes, who wrote a play , '' Semele.'' _1 The worship of Cybele and Bacchus by women with drums, cymbals, flutes, etc., is described, after which occur the subjoined words:

"Worshipping Artemis with correspondent twangings [psalnio is] of the three-cornered pectis, striking the magadis in corresponding measure.''

If psallo and psalmos, a few centuries earlier, had lost reference to the instrument and had come to indicate only the music of the voice, then the above must be rendered: '' With correspondent singings of the three-cornered pectis.''

Psallo with the same root as SOP never in recorded history meant anything but PLUCKING something with your fingers. 

O.E.Payne and all of his Instrumental Disciples fail to note that Psallo is defined by him as TWANGING. It never means Twanging-On-the-pectis.  The passage includes [1] Twanging and [2] the pectis or triangle [3] with a measure, mode or melody.

It is to insult God to say that He did not know that TWANGING would never tell anyone WHAT to twang.

Furthermore, ALL of the historic passages quoted by the Instrumentalists are EXCLUSIVELY of Pagan religionists or prostitutes.

O.E.Payne uses Semele as the PATTERN or Model for twisting "twanging" into "picking" a guitar, beating on a drum or blowing into a wind instrument. Note that Semele is one name of the Mother Goddess:

Orpheus to Semele
CADMEAN Goddess, universal queen,
Thee, Semele I call, of beauteous mien;
Deep-bosom'd, lovely flowing locks are thine,
Mother of Bacchus, joyful and divine,

The mighty offspring, whom love's thunder bright, 5
Forc'd immature, and fright'ned into light:
Born from the deathless counsels, secret, high,
Of Jove Saturnian, regent of the sky

Whom Proserpine permits to view the light,
And visit mortals from the realms of night: 10
Constant attending on the sacred rites,
And feast triennial, which thy soul delights;

When thy son's wond'rous birth mankind relate,
And secrets deep, and holy celebrate
Now I invoke thee, great Cadmean queen, 15
To bless these rites with countenance serene.

Sĕmĕlē , ēs (Sĕmĕla , ae, pure Lat. collat. form in the cass. obll.), f., = Semelē, I.a daughter of Cadmus, and mother of Bacchus by Jupiter; nom. Semele, Ov. M. 3, 293; id. F. 6, 485; i
A. Sĕmĕlēïus , a, um, adj., of or belonging to Semele: “proles,” i. e. Bacchus, Ov. M. 3, 520; 5, 329; 9, 640: “Thyoneus,” i. e. Bacchus, Hor. C. 1, 17, 22.—

Aristophanes, Wasps

Spread your knees on the tapestries and give your body the most easy curves, like those taught in the gymnasium. Then praise some bronze vase, [1215] survey the ceiling, admire the awning stretched over the court. Water is poured over our hands; the tables are spread; we sup and, after ablution, we now offer libations to the gods.

But, by Zeus! this supper is but a dream, it appears!


The flute-player has finished the prelude. [1220] The guests are Theorus, Aeschines, Phanus, Cleon, Acestor; and beside this last, I don't know who else. You are with them and will show how to take up the songs that are started.

The Babylonian Mother in Harlots in Revelation 17, like all mother godesses, uses "lusted after fruits" (same as Amos 8) as religious craftsmen, singers or instrument players. John calls these SORCERERS who had once deceived the whole world and Jude says they are foreordained to repeat. The are to be cast alive into the lake of fire.

Augustine notes that the goddess is named after stimulae, "goads, whips," by means of which a person is driven to excessive actions.[28] The goddess's grove was the site of the Dionysian scandal[29] that led to official attempts to suppress the cult. The Romans viewed the Bacchanals with suspicion, based on reports of ecstatic behaviors contrary to Roman social norms and the secrecy of initiatory rite. [into the Gay brotherhood]  In 186 BCE, the Roman senate took severe actions to limit the cult, without banning it. Religious beliefs and myths associated with Dionysus were successfully adapted and remained pervasive in Roman culture, as evidenced for instance by the Dionysian scenes of Roman wall painting[30] and on sarcophagi from the 1st to the 4th centuries CE.

  1. Augustine, De Civitate Dei 4.11.
  2. Described by Livy, Ab Urbe Condita 39.12.
Paul warns against these sects in Romans 14 and calls them into silence so that edification or education can take place. In Romans 15 Paul silences the Self-Pleasure which includes rhetoric, musical or scenic displays. The reason was so that they might "use one mind and one mouth to speak that which is written for our learning."
Parents Cadmus and Harmonia
Goddess of The Bacchic frenzy [the mad women of Corinth according to Paul]
Home Mount Olympus
Other Names Semele


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