Mt. Juliet Church of Christ Discussion Board (
Applied Christianity >> Doctrine and Theology >> Instruments?
(Message started by: Danny Ferguson on Jun 21st, 2003, 8:04pm)

Title: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 21st, 2003, 8:04pm
I was wondering if the Mt. Juliet church uses instruments in worship service.  I'm not familar with your church, but I know that many churches of Christ don't believe instruments are allowed.  Thanks.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 22nd, 2003, 3:01am
hey danny,

no we don't use instruments in the worship service.  yeah, i have heard of churches of Christ that do use them, but most don't (as far as i know).

i can handle the "why?" inherent behind the belief, if you'd like.  i'm comfortable saying you don't wanna know cause you didn't ask, but if you do wanna know, then i'd be happy to share that with you.  the ball's in your court.

are you from around here?  or were you just curious?

peace out

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 22nd, 2003, 3:35pm

Thanks for replying.  I would love to hear the why behind your belief.  I'm not from around your church. (Actually I haven't seen the location listed on your site, where is Mt. Juliet?)  I found the site in a google search for "Church of Christ discussion board".  I'm a former member of a church of Christ and I was interested in discussing the issue.  I've thought about it a lot, but found it difficult to discuss with people from my former church.  I was hoping to find some people interested in bouncing some ideas around.  I have no intention of bashing anyone, but I think some friendly discussion could be helpful.   Thanks,


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 22nd, 2003, 5:48pm
hey danny,

my name is todd.  the t business thing is some nickname i got up at UT.

im glad youre curious.  id love to be of service.

we in the coC believe that only the new testament is to be followed as direct commandment from God.  we refuse to obey the old testament as law, but use it as a history book of sorts.  it has value as allegory.  Christ was given "all authority" by God in Matt 28:18 and the new testament is the only place where Jesus' teachings are found.  also they didnt really go to "church" as we do before christ established the church in acts 2.

so it is correct to follow the teachings of the new testament and incorrect to do more or less, in our belief.  we believe that would be what is referred to in Galatians 1:6-9.

so old testament use of instruments carries no weight to us.

the verses we read concerning singing are these:
matt 26:30
acts 16:25
romans 15:9
1 corinthians 14:15
ephesians 5:19
colossians 3:16
hebrews 2:12
james 5:13
(heres a good online bible if you want:

the mention of mechanical instruments in absent here.  and we believe it is safe to say that if God desired them, it would not be beyond His power to give example of christians using them or other undeniable proof.

i personally see it as strict or liberal interpretation of new testament teachings.  sure you could "sing" if you played a guitar as well, but would you really like to liberally translate teachings that could alter your eternal state?  why would one take liberty with biblical principle?

ive said a lot.  hope i didnt overload you here...  as a final thought heres 2 john 9 - "Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God..."

i hope i was useful.  id love to discuss what questions you may have.

thats neat how you found us.  where are you from?

peace out, danny

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 22nd, 2003, 5:50pm
i forgot to say where mt juliet is.  its in middle tennessee, about 20 miles east of nashville.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 23rd, 2003, 11:09pm

Thanks again for your reply.  No, you didn’t overload me.  The reasons you gave are very similar to the reasons I heard and believed as I grew up in a church of Christ.  You’ve offered several good ideas, here, but I want to focus on one particular premise behind your argument.  It seems that you believe that there should be nothing in a church service that isn’t clearly commanded in the New Testament.  I’m familiar with some of the reasons behind this belief, such as the story of Nadab and Abihu in Numbers 3.  What I really wonder, however, is whether you follow this belief consistently (and whether it is even possible to do so).  Does your church use hymnbooks, microphones or computers?  The NT mentions none of these, though, as you put it, it would not be beyond God’s power to give examples of them if they were something He wanted.  How do you sort out what is forbidden by God’s silence and what is allowed?

ps.  I'm from Adrian, MO

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 24th, 2003, 4:19am
hey danny,

1 tim 5:17 mentions indirectly the role that a church's eldership plays.  our elders thusly have the ultimate say so in matters such as the ones you describe.

a human voice is still a human voice over a microphone.  the use of such technology is purely for the size of the room.  if none were needed then our elders would have been poor stewards of the church's funding.

all the things you mention are necessary in our church.  hymnals, for example.  it is possible that every member of the congregation could memorize every song we sing.  but how would a visitor participate?  we want worship to be done correctly and we want it to be available to all who desire to worship.  it would be one thing if we kept the same number of people for all of time and never needed song numbers or books, but we expect growth and thusly instruction of that nature is required.

computers are not vital to worship.  i do not believe they play a significant role in the worship service itself.  bookkeeping and materials production is a different story.  these are tasks the church must accomplish in the name of christian stewardship and organization such as the variety found in computerized technology is (i dare say, in todays age...) mandatory.  such churchly (non-worship) matters are not covered at all in the bible, i do not believe.  the color or material the church should be made of, that sort of thing.  we believe God is concerned with the worship service itself and the correctness of the acts therein, not how many handicapped parking spots we do or do not have.  (not to make light of your question.  just for example)

i believe it is possible for a church to behave in the exact manner God intends a church to behave.  in worship organization and church office organization, of course.  humanity is fallable, and coC-ers are no different.  i believe we can fill the requirements set before us in respect to church structure, though.

i do not believe God would include a listing of rules and regulations and not expect them to ever be met.  i know the guidelines for perfect living are set before us in the bible, but God guarantees that we will fail from time to time.  in that He removes our perfection on that front from the realm of possiblility.  He never says "every church's worship will be imperfect in some way."

i enjoy your apparent interest in this discussion.  im glad to see it.  especially after this stateside mission trip about 60 or 70 of my congregation went on.  it seemed like NO ONE wanted to talk about the bible then.  this is definitely a turn for the better.  the Lord has blessed me in this discussion and i hope He has you also.

i had never thought of that question before.  im glad you asked.  i hope i answered sufficiently.  you can call me out on that if in your eyes i didnt.

peace out

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 25th, 2003, 10:25am

Thanks for your orderly and well thought out reply.  Like you I'm enjoying this conversation.  Too many discussions like this end up generating more heat than light.  May God help us to continue peacefully.

You describe the NT verses that mention singing as "a listing of rules and regulations."  This is one place where I tend to disagree with you.  The passages you mentioned are not really in a format that suggests to me that they are regulations.  In many of those passages, the singing is not the central point (Ephesians 5:19, for example is in the middle of a passage about daily life and yet you take it as a regulation for worship services, which are not mentioned at all in the passage.)  In none of the passages can I see that the type of music is being laid out as a rule.  

In the OT there were rules and regulations about worship.  Nadab and Abihu had been given a very specific list of directions.  That's why their actions were so unacceptable.  But as you have pointed out, things are different in the NT.  

I would take the same approach toward worship music as you do toward the other things I mentioned.  Since the Bible doesn't lay down rules and regulations about the specifics of our music we look to the wisdom of the elders, who make the decision based on what we do know about worship and the principles that are clear in scripture.  These principles are what is really important in our worship, and they deal more with the spiritual side of it than the physical.

I'm trying to be consistent in the way I deal with these issues, if you think I'm missing something, then please let me know.

I'm kind of curious about something else.  At what point is it wrong to have instruments in a worship service.  A human voice is still a human voice when a guitar is playing along with it.  So if there is an instrument, who is in the wrong?  Is it only the person playing the instrument?  Are people sinning when they sing along with an instrument?  If you didn't think the instrument was allowed but you sang along and ignored the instrument, would that be wrong of you?  Or is it wrong even for someone to believe that an instrument is allowed?  Am I sinning every second of the day just by holding that belief?  I'm not asking these questions to make fun or to be difficult.  If the issue is as black-and-white as you think it is, then you should be able to give an account for exactly what constitutes a sin in regard to this.

Thanks again for talking with me.  I'm still forming my ideas about this, and I appreciate your help.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 25th, 2003, 1:03pm
hey danny,

in truth i do not find a crystal clear illustration of all the do's and dont's that go along with singing in worship.  one thing is for sure though, they were at least singing.  youre right, "guidelines" in a traditional sense are absent.  our eldership finds it appropriate to speak when the nt speaks and be silent where it is silent.

what evidence i have been shown points to the addition of intstruments to a worship service some 300 years after the institution of the church.  (of course, i wasnt there.)  if this is true, then men strayed from what the original church participated in and thusly from correct worship at that time.

i liked your question about who was sinning.  i really had never thought of it in that light.  

the sin is finding that form of worship acceptable.  yes, vocal accompanyment to a guitar or piano is singing.  and yes, that is what is required of them - BUT

what would they tell someone who has never been to church?  what would be their instruction or interpretation based on the scriptures dealing with worship?  if we do in fact decide that instruments are without just support in the nt, then they would be instructing fasle doctrine.  and as a teacher, one has responsibilities exceeding normal standards. (james 3:1)  and in mark 9:42 we can see what the Lord suggests as an alternate course of action for someone who leads others astray.    i was talking with a girl i know about baptism.  she believed one way and i believed another.  she said "well it doesnt matter, ive been baptised anyway.  this conversation is pointless."  it was then i reminded her that its not just how you act but what you show others to act that counts.  correct doctrine is vital.  incorrect doctrinal instruction is sin.

also i think its important where the singing comes from.  i was having a discussion on this topic with one of my close friends and he said that he had the ability to "sing" with a musical instrument on account of the passion that he put into his playing.  he could convey fear, sorrow, happiness and other things.  im not sure what i said to him, but what i can emphasize now is this:  what would you think if someone came up to lead a prayer with a guitar?  they didnt speak.  they just played the guitar.  what communication has transpired?  what did that man ask God for in that time?  singing is likewise communication, not just music.  not simply God's listening enjoyment.  when we use soulless and spiritually mute instruments, we (i believe) blaspheme the communication that God asks us for.  we sing for His glory, not for our entertainment.  worship isnt a talent show.

im praying the Lord shows you the answers you seek.  i hope i have been about His service.  

thanks danny.  (and if these get any harder, im going to have to set up a meeting with my elders to sort them out.)   :P  

have a good day.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 25th, 2003, 4:54pm

Thanks for responding so quickly.  This is why I really like electronic correspondence.  If both people are motivated enough to keep up the conversation, it can move along quickly.  I look forward to reading your posts each time I come online.

Do we agree that the NT doesn't contain crystal clear guidelines on the details of singing?  I think we may agree on this.  I do agree with you that the NT gives clear examples that early Christians did sing.  To remove singing from worship would be a clear change from what happened in the NT.  It doesn't, however, tell whether or not there was accompaniment.  Consider a similar case.  The NT is clear that early Christian teachers taught groups of people using verbal communication.  It doesn't say whether they used microphones, bullhorns (I don't mean the electronic devices, but literal bullhorns) or if they just shouted.  So we see that the NT speaks in some areas and is silent in others.  

You mentioned a phrase that has been around for a long time in the Restoration Movement:  "Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent."  Have you ever thought about what, exactly, the phrase means?  In the case of instruments, you are using it in this way:  "Say 'yes' where the Bible says 'yes', and 'no' where the Bible doesn't say anything."  If you look back at some of the early history of the movement, you'll see that this phrase originally meant, "Say 'yes' when the Bible says 'yes', and when the Bible doesn't say anything, don't say anything."  In fact, your church probably uses it this way on other issues, like the microphone.  The Bible doesn't say 'yes' or 'no', so they are free to make a choice.  In the case of the microphone they make the 'yes' choice, which, by the way, I think is the right choice.  The important thing is that they speak where the Bible speaks, namely, they believe that someone should be teaching God's Word.

In the same way, I believe it's right to speak where the Bible speaks in regard to worship.  I sing.  The Bible is silent about whether there can be accompaniment, so I believe we are free to make a choice, just like we are free to use a microphone or to not use one, just like we are free to use an abacus or a computer or a hymnal or a video projector or memorize the songs.  The leaders of a church should make the choice based on what they think is best.  If your leaders decide that they think no accompaniment is best, then they are within their rights.  If they begin telling fellow Christians that their salvation is in danger because they use instruments with worship, then they have crossed a line.  They are now speaking where the Bible is silent.  

You're right that the church didn't use instruments for at least a few centuries.  You seem to make the assumption that if the early church didn't do something, then it is wrong for us to do it.  The early churches didn't own church buildings, they didn't have youth ministers and they didn't have internet discussion boards.  Are all of the these things wrong?

You make a good point when you say that what we believe matters.  If someone holds the belief that Jesus didn't really rise from the dead, then they can be sinning, just by their belief.  If they teach it, it's even worse.  But if the Bible doesn't make it clear one way or another, then are we sinning to make a choice?  I don't think you're sinning by believing that instruments are not allowed.  I think you're wrong.  But in my mind there's a difference between being wrong and sinning.  In fact, I'm probably wrong about something.  It may be this and it may be something else altogether.  Chances are you are, too.  Do you really think it's always sinful to be wrong?

You make some good points about instruments being less able to communicate.  1 Corinthians 14:7 makes an argument that assumes that some types of music do communicate messages, but you're right that their capacity is much more limited than verbal communication.  I agree with you and in fact I don't consider the actual musical accompaniment in a worship service to be an attempt to obey the command to sing.  It, like a microphone, hymnal or computer, just makes it easier and more effective to do what God has commanded.  

To use only instruments and no singing in worship might indeed be blasphemous, because it would take away an opportunity for more effective communication.  I feel the same way about praying using archaic language.  It puts a barrier between us and God and makes communication more difficult.  Our worship and our prayers should come from our hearts and be communicated as clearly as possible.  In the church I attend, we've decided that that is not accomplished best using 1800s style music.  People communicate best when using their native language and worship best (I believe) when using the type of music they know well.  For today's people (and that's who we're trying to reach) the music they can relate to best uses instruments.  And I don't mean an organ, either.  We use guitars and drums.  I understand that if the Bible condemns instruments, then we're in the wrong.  But if the Bible doesn't say 'yes' or 'no', and we're free to make the decision to the best of our ability, then I think we've made a good one.

I hope this does make you think; it certainly has made me think.  Thanks for your help.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 26th, 2003, 4:44am
hey danny,

i liked the point you made about the difference between saying "no" and saying nothing.  id like to think of it in the light of not so much saying "NO INSTRUMENTS!" but rather never bringing it up as an option.  then no one has to say yes or no.

i think i'll stick with the decision that the phrase in question is human in origin and thusly imperfect.

about the early church, yes youre right - they dont make the rules,  per se.  one can safely assume, though, that they got the gist of worship straight from a fairly credible authority figure.  

and it would be safe to assume intrument worship was desired by God if they did it, right?  why not the other way around?

and youre right about the building and the youth minister and the internet capabilities, but i will contend that none of these (including the church building) are vital to a worship service, or even active parts.  we cannot recreate their living environment, but we can immitate them in what intentions they had and by what spirit they acted in.

about being wrong... hmmm.  yes, i have been and will be wrong.  i think the fault lies in being contented with that.  a sort of "im never perfect, so what?" attitude, if you will.  i believe actively seeking the answers to the questions you have is right and resting stagnant with the belief that "ignorance is bliss" is wrong.  its not sinful to be wrong, its sinful to think its acceptable to be thus.  dont keep on sinning that grace may abound.  i believe one should not accept his or her human weakness as the standard of their life.  i believe they should transcend the norm.

perhaps salvation is in danger not necessarily when you believe one way or another, but when you dont know why you believe that way.  we do have to chew our own food sometime, you know...  perhaps ignorance is the crime.  maybe we shouldnt call people out for having instruments in worship.  i think it is more safe to call them out on the scripture and belief behind it.  instruments or no, you must be able to support what you offer to God directly or indirectly by His blueprint He sets out.

im not going to agree that the "silent treatment" means free interpretation.  i think thats an easy out, personally.  the things you list as luxury decisions (projectors, hymnals...) are really backstage and inoperative in the worship service.  we can worship without hymnals.  we could do it under a tree without any modern convenience whatsoever.

i am confused about one thing you said.  "in fact I don't consider the actual musical accompaniment in a worship service to be an attempt to obey the command to sing"  that, to me, implies the question What is it an attempt at?  if not obeying the Lord, then who's favor is sought?  you continued by relating instruments to a microphone, hymnal or computer.  that is a difference i have seen in what you and i consider offerings to the Lord in worship.  i believe these articles are beside the issue.  they are used, but they are immaterial.  they are for the organization of the singing human voice in praise to God and to that end only.  they can be done without in accapella or instrumental singing worship.  the key elements are simply the human voice and the element in question, mechanical instrumentation.  all other things i cannot understand grouping with these.  perhaps in illustration, but in such an example, you must leave out the two main elements to take step back for another approach.

im in awe sometimes of the self control i see in my church building.  i see all the newborns and younger children during service and i see the people sitting in the area.  children will cry and make noise and all that, but every once in a while you get that one kid who just makes your skin crawl with this piercing screech.  while i dont blame the parents and certainly not the child, i think its a real neat thing to see the people around them not loose focus on the lesson or the song at hand.  im starting to see instruments in no different a light.  not so much undeniably right or wrong, but merely a hinderance and a distraction.  1 corinthians 13:1 puts an articulate spin on specific instruments by comparing them in sound to loveless deeds in action.

ive never done this before so i dont know how they end...  i will (and would love to) keep this conversaiton afloat if you would like to.  if you would refer to the time of day this entry was posted - if you have not already - i believe that in itself says it all.  my enthusiasm is established.

i feel like i wrote way too much this time.  hope not.  sorry, i if i did.

im not going to give you the whole generic "welcome visitors" mess.  just know the door is open if youre ever out our way.  id love to meet you after all this discussion.  ive talked more with you than half the people in my own church.  (whether thats a positive or negative comment, i cant tell...)

God bless.  (He has me)  have a good day, danny

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 26th, 2003, 4:22pm

No, you did not write too much.  I share your enthusiasm for the conversation and I'm definitely willing to continue.  In fact, I think there's a lot of ground we haven't covered.

In your first paragraph you said it's not a matter of saying 'yes' or 'no' to instruments.  That may be a nice theory, but in reality it's false.  It does come up as an option.  If it hadn't come up before, then it did when I posted the first question above.  To say that it's not an option or that it's out of the question is merely another way of saying 'no'.

Certainly the phrase is of human origin, but bear in mind that you brought it up.  Notwithstanding it's non-divine status, which interpretation of the phrase is correct?  In other words, which represents your strategy for interpreting scripture?  Which ever way we choose, we should be consistent.  If God means 'no' when he says nothing, then it is always so and not just when we want it to mean 'no'.

Let's explore this a little further.  You say, "and it would be safe to assume instrument worship was desired by God if they did it, right?  why not the other way around?"  I'll tell you why not.  Your reasoning contains a subtle but fatal flaw in its logic.  D.A. Carson wrote a useful little book called Exegetical Fallacies (Baker, 1984).  He lists several mistakes that people make when interpreting the Bible.  In chapter 3, Logical Fallacies, he discusses the mistake that you made:

"10.  Negative inferences
It does not necessarily follow that if a proposition is true, a negative inference from that proposition is also true.  The negative inference may be true; but this cannot be assumed, and in any case is never true because it is a negative inference.  This can easily be presented in syllogistic form.

All orthodox Jews believe in Moses.
Mr. Smith is not an orthodox Jew.
Therefore Mr. Smith does not believe in Moses.

This clearly does not hold up, because the conclusion depends on a negative inference from the major premise.  Mr. Smith may be an unorthodox Jew who believes in Moses; or he may be a Gentile who believes in Moses" (115, emphasis original).

Todd, your statement could be adapted into a syllogism as well:

God approves things commanded (or exemplified) in the NT.
Instrumental music is not commanded (or exemplified) in the NT.
Therefore God does not approve of instrumental music.

This is what Carson (and anyone else who studies logic) would call a negative inference, which is a logical mistake.  The conclusion might have been true if the first premise said that God only approves things commanded in the NT.  The problem with that position is that it can never be held consistently.  So that's my very long answer to your short question.  I recommend the book; it's important that our interpretations of the Bible not rest on flimsy logic.  That's why it's been helpful to me.  I'm learning to avoid making statements that won't stand up to scrutiny.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Danny Ferguson on Jun 26th, 2003, 4:23pm
(part 2 of 2)
We're starting to get down to where the coC position gets very confusing to me.  You seem to be telling me that the question of an instrument being played along with singing is on some different level from the question of other expedients (that's the word I was taught in the coC) like mics, hymnals, etc.  Why are they different?  Why do different rules of logic and Bible interpretation apply to these different questions?  As I said before, I don't consider the accompanying instrument to be a part of my offering to God any more than the hymnal would be, or the pitch pipe or any of the things we might call immaterial or luxury.  I would say that the instrument is (to borrow your words again, if I may) backstage and inoperative in the worship service.  I could do without it, just like we could do without hymnals, etc.  One of the main reasons I wanted to talk to someone is to try and understand just this:  How is an instrument playing in the background so fundamentally different from a hymnal.  It merely helps the worshipper, or as you said, "they are for the organization of the singing human voice in praise to God and to that end only."  That's the way I feel about instruments, too.

Toward the end of your post you seem to take a softer stance.  You say that instrumental accompaniment is "not so much undeniably right or wrong, but merely a hindrance and a distraction."  If this is really your position, then, for what it's worth, I think it is a respectable one.  It is free from logical problems, it has a much better historical precedent and it is in many circumstances true.  I say that it is a logical position because you're basically making a statement of opinion:  I feel that the organ distracts me.  No one can dispute that logically.  The only problem is that it doesn't carry nearly as much authority as the statement:  The Bible condemns the organ.  This position also has a better historical precedent.  I've heard coC preachers cite early church leaders, reformers and modern denominational leaders, all saying they think instruments should not be in the church.  This is generally presented as support for the idea that instruments are unacceptable to God.  What is never done, however, is a closer examination of why those statements were made.  Early church leaders, for example didn't want their services using the instruments that were used in pagan rites.  Reformers were often stating their opinions that organs were distracting and one reformer, Zwingli, I believe, actually outlawed any kind of audible music in his churches because Bible says we are to sing and make melody "in your hearts", which he interpreted to be in total silence.  My question is this:  What is the earliest quote that can be found that is against instruments for the same reason that the coC is today, namely that the Bible indirectly condemns them?  I would guess that this stance is a relatively recent one, not having been taken up until the Restoration movement itself was well underway.  And finally, I can respect someone who doesn't use instruments due to distraction because I have seen cases where it is true.  In some churches the instruments are so loud or so badly played that they are a great distraction.  In those cases, the church would be better off to use only vocal music.  I could also think of churches where the vocal singing is so off key that it is distracting.  A guitar strumming along quietly could, in some cases, bring the singing together and ease the distraction.  As I have said before, I believe that when the Bible is silent on a subject, we are free to say 'yes' or 'no'.  If you are saying no mainly because you think it's a distraction, then you are well within your rights.  If you ask around in your church, however, you might find your position to be unusual and maybe even unacceptable.

I look forward to hearing from you and I'm guessing that you'll either try and explain to me why there are different rules of logic and interpretation for the music question or you'll stick with your more defensible position and accept my nod of approval.  :-)  Either way, I've got some more questions for you.  Thanks for the invitation to your church.  I don't get out that way very often, but a appreciate the thought.  Thanks again for talking with me.  Our discussion is not only enjoyable and an opportunity to keep myself sharp, it is helping be to understand the beliefs of many people who helped me develop my faith growing up but now see me as an apostate.  I want things to get better between those people and myself, and you're helping me prepare for that.  Thanks, Todd.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by LinzIsRad on Jun 26th, 2003, 5:21pm
HI, I've been reading and contemplating each of your opinions on the matter and I see the reasoning behind each of your beliefs. While I didn't want to interupt the "one-on-one" session, I finally wanted to throw out an answer I was told when I asked the same "why no instruments?" question. I learn by having a parallel comparison. A man and his wife bought a new bread maker. They tried it out one night following the recipe exactly. When the bread came out, the man decided that he didn't like the sweetness of it and wanted to make another loaf, but this time with more sugar. So the man proceeded to do so, and it wasn't too long that when he returned to the kitchen for his bread he walked into a kitchen that had been completely overtaken by bread.  The story's meaning was this:

There is a recipe given (the Bible) so you can create the correct final product. While there were no warnings not to add anything, the man decided that he would like it better if there was more sugar....just like somewhere along the great line of time someone thought that singing would be better if there was a guitar accompaning it. In the end though, you've changed and maybe even ruined the oringally desgined product.

When it comes to grouping instruments with mics and hymnals, I don't agree with this one. Mics and such are tools used for worship. Just like in a recipe, they dont always say for example, what to use to beat and egg, or what size pan to melt butter in, but rather, you pick the tool that will do the assigned task to the best ability. I believe instruments is just another ingredient someone wished to add to make the service "taste" better. There are thousands of people who just go to church to be entertained by such concerts.

Anyways, I don't condemn anyone who uses instruments, it's between you and God.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 27th, 2003, 5:34am
hey danny,

it does get pretty heavy here.  i now see how this can be a confusing topic.

firstly, i do admit i did bring the phrase dealing with speaking and not speaking into the soiree.  i now also admit that i did so wrongly as it has gotten us (in my eyes) nowhere.  it cannot be relied upon as heavily as scripture.  i also admit that you have shown me here in this discussion its imperfections.

i didnt know any other human being studied that kind of thing - that logic which you posted.  i took formal logic twice in college.  with the horseshoes and wedges and truth tables.  i am familiar.  regretfully...  but it seemed like such a cult following there.  i thought there was no earthly way anyone could ever use this EVER outside of class.  im impressed that you are well versed in this language that has vexed me so through the years.

i said that about the early church not as proven fact.  i did not rely on that to carry any significant weight in argument.  it seemed like a logical inference, since we (you and i/coC) have been using them as a standard of behavior in some if not many respects.  

the value of that statement was to be this: (and im sorry if it was misleading or flippant sounding)  if the Bible illustrated the early church as a church using instruments in worship to the Lord, then that would stand alone as undeniable proof that God has no qualms, great or small, with instrument use in churches today that worship Him.  they do set a precedent only when their actions are recorded in scripture.  and that precedent within scripture is solid enough to be trusted.

the reason i exclude expedients (never heard that word before... but i LIKE it...) other than musical instruments is because of the main topic at hand:  singing with or without instruments?  so in my mind, we are only really weighing the value of acapella and accompanied singing in worship.  the value of a mic or a hymnal is not part of the question at hand.  they have value and i touched on that in my first or second response when i mentioned ease of participation by new members or visitors.  their value is undeniable there, but of no import when it comes to the quality of the worship service.  i say this because both accompanied and acapella singing worship can be done without them.  and accomplished successfully.

i became soft at the end hoping to explore publicly what i was thinking personally.  i regret that, as this is no place for skepticism.  i was speculating on the weight it would carry and the type of weight it would carry in Judgement.  such is really not my business nor can it ever be, due to humanity's limited capacity for such things.

earliest quote?  that is honestly beyond me, danny.  i honestly dont know of the one, nor where i could find it.  also, i dont believe i could lend it any credibility - not full credibility - if it were not scripture.  im aware of all the quotes and i debated on pulling them out early on, but i had a feeling it would come down to what the bible does and does not say.  and in that arena, those guys are no better equipped to speak than you or i.

i would now like to step back for a second and take a shot at the big picture here.  not singing, not instruments.  (i am perhaps reiterating this.  i apologize if i reiterate too soon.)  its not what you do, its whether you can prove its validity.  i think if conviction of the spiritual nature has lead you to believe that instruments are commanded and accepted by God for His worship, then by all means, go for it.  i believe also, as my partner in crime, lindsey, said, it is between you and God.  BUT, and to tread newly , i dont see that as many people's reasoning.  im not saying you and im not saying anyone specifically, but i dont think people use instruments with the right verification in their hearts.  (if such verification exists.  and i hope for the sake of the people in question that it does) "i use them because angels use them"  "because david used them"  so?  these are extraneous and irrelevant.  im not saying these are the only false examples out there, im saying many people are falsely convicted.

(this is my single "modification":  this entry is continued by the next post)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 27th, 2003, 5:35am
if you believe its right, show me where its right.  if you believe it is unspoken for, then what should we do?  i cannot agree that we may make our minds up to do what we please.  that seems a little avant-garde.  the bible leaves many things unsaid.  would it be fair to make ourselves comfortable as we put in what we would like to see in the church, and only because its unspoken for?

danny, i respect you immensely and i have enjoyed this discussion a great great (great) deal, but if all you can use to take that unspoken-for step into accompanied music is its lack of definition, then i cannot follow you in that step.  i do not see taking the unsaid as "yes" (though it be your vote, personally)

unsaid cannot be "no" so why can it ever be "yes"?

unsaid, schmunsaid - by that first quip about never bringing it up, i didnt mean you and i, i meant whenever it began.  ... whenever i see or hear about disputes that rip churches apart or drive christian brothers away from one another, i always hear the ultimate problem.  and i dont mean instruments or whatever the fuss was about, i mean losing focus on Jesus.  if we are living for His glory and His happiness, then when do we have the liberty to stop and question the effectiveness - in our eyes - of the service He commanded?  im saying it shouldve never been conceived outside of the Bible.  the one guy or group of people who decided to expound are to blame and drive my "speak and dont speak" quip into the ground.  they spoke.

why instrument use ever came into existence is a funny thing to me.  proverbs 3:5.  if God didnt say it, what cause have you to question its validity or not?  what say do any of us have in the end?  if we do, in fact, rest wholly on God and His wisdom, how can we make judgement calls like the one you are asking for?

ive never done this type of thing before.  ive never studied any part of the bible with anyone before.  i agree that this does keep us sharp.  i am thinking on scritpure more often during the day.  reflecting on what you said and what ive said.  ive spoken with my mother about it and all in all, i must say, as far as i know, this is a very positive experience for all involved.

i would love to hear some of your other questions.  i can understand if you dont think i can tackle them.  i will certianly give it my all.

hopefully i wasnt too predictable for you.  i try.

i want to say we have accomplished something, you and i.  but i cannot.  the Lord has given the increase.  im just blessed to be here to see it happen.

i hope this has led to your edification.  it has led to mine.  i'll keep this and you in my prayers.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jun 27th, 2003, 3:16pm

Thanks for joining in!  I was hoping that more people would get involved.  Todd and I are willing to share some of the fun, right Todd?

I've never heard your illustration before (and I've heard a lot of them).  Here's the thing I don't understand about your story:  How do you decide what is considered an ingredient and what is just a tool?  It's either an arbitrary decision or it's based on some criteria that no one is willing to tell me (or that I can't understand).  Also, I'm no expert at bread making, but does adding extra sugar really make the dough expand all over the room?  One more problem with your illustration, and this may be the hardest one for me, is that the NT passages about worship don't exactly read like a recipe.  A recipe has steps 1, step 2, step 3, and you know that it is giving you specific instructions.  The NT isn't a list of commands or instructions like a recipe.  The Mosaic Law found in the Old Testament is like a recipe, but the NT is something different.  It's more like an old letter that you find that says, "Dear Philippians, thanks for the loaf of bread you sent me, it was delicious.  Love, God."  We read that and believe (rightly so) that God would like the same thing from us.  But what we have is not meant to give us details about how to do it.

I don't condemn you for not using instruments, either.  I'm glad we can exchange ideas, though.  Thanks.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jun 27th, 2003, 3:16pm

Liz provided me with a better way of framing the question that's still puzzling me.  In the post above I ask how we decide what's considered a tool and what's considered an ingredient.  The best answer you've given me so far is that the instrument can't be grouped with the mic and the hymnal because they're not the question at hand.  What about when they are the question at hand?  What happens when someone walks in and asks what your verification (Biblical authority) is for using a hymnal.  How would you answer them, and why wouldn't your answer apply to my question as well?

I respect you, too, Todd.  Of all the people I've tried to talk to about this, you've been one of the most level-headed and reasonable.  I understand that you can't agree with my opinion that when the Bible says nothing, it intends to give us a choice (to be governed, of course, by principles taught clearly in other parts of scripture).  Here's what I don't get.  You want to say that when the Bible says nothing it means 'no' (or that it's not even an option, which is the same as saying 'no').   That would be fine, except that you don't really live by that principle of interpretation.  That's why I continue to bring up the other issues that the Bible says nothing about.  It's to point out that it's not possible to (or at least you don't) follow the silence=forbidden method.  I probably seem stubborn on this point, but this is what I realized when I stopped believing that instruments were wrong.  I finally saw my own inconsistency of belief.  It wasn't because I was stupid (my stupidity is a well-attested fact without that particular part of my history), it was because I wanted, even needed, to make all my beliefs fit in with one system of thought.  I worked so hard at it (with the help of the leaders of my church) that I was willing to overlook such a simple inconsistency.  Now my goal is to approach the Bible with the intention of seeing what it says rather than forcing it to fit my own ideas.  

You said, "unsaid cannot be 'no' so why can it ever be 'yes'?"  Actually, I believe that when the Bible says nothing we are allowed to say 'yes' or 'no.'  We have to realize that it's us making that choice, though, and not the Bible.  I say 'yes' to instruments, but I don't try to tell someone that the Bible says 'yes.'  If you were to say 'no' to instruments and let people know that it's only your choice, then there would be no problem.  The problem comes when you make the 'no' choice and then try and force that idea back onto the Bible when it has clearly left it open.

Thanks for reminding us all that this is ultimately about Jesus.  That may have been the first time his name came up in our posts (shame on us).  You're right, focus on him is the most important thing and losing sight of him causes our little problems to spin out of control.  That's one reason I think our talk has gone so well.  Neither of us letting this get out of hand.  How sad it is for people to become bitter enemies over an issue like worship.  But it happens all of the time.  There but for the grace go I.

You said, "If we do, in fact, rest wholly on God and His wisdom, how can we make judgment calls like the one you are asking for?"  The truth is, that even if we're resting on God's wisdom, we have to make judgment calls.  The Bible, though it is God's word, inerrant and totally true, does not answer every single question we could ever ask.  It is not an exhaustive record of God's truth and wisdom.  Could the universe contain such a book as that?  I believe God gave us the answers he wanted us to have, the important stuff.  But, there's so much that he didn't give us.  What Bible verse told you what school to go to?  You rested on God's wisdom by praying, considering the principles in the Bible and seeking godly counsel.  You made a judgment call.  If God has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness and he didn't tell us exactly how to worship him, then maybe the method is not as important as we thought.  Most of the scriptures that are actually meant to be instructions on worship have more to do with the condition of our hearts rather than the externals.

I know I've promised a new question, and I've got a good one, but I'm going to save it for next post.  You guys gave me too much good stuff to think about.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 27th, 2003, 5:34pm
hey danny,

its exciting to see youve "placed membership".  thats so neat.  im not giving credit to the marvellous coc here in mj, its just neat to be exposed to a persons life more in depth.  i have a web log, too.  you might have seen it already.  its a link to my page from UT and its got pics of me and i think one of lindsey in there.  yeah
lindsey is the one in the middle with a dark green shirt on and what looks like corn-rows.  the rest of the site is dedicated to me, so im not hard to find.  

(where were we?  oh yeah...)

im proud to say (i think) im understanding the root of your question now.  i was thinking "whats this guys problem with non-instrument worship?" but thats not it at all...  let me see if i get this straight.  correct me if i get this wrong.  you want to know why we say its correct and only correct if you use human voices and human voices alone.  (iff - i always liked that one)

is it wrong to specify where God does not specify?  i agree that many things in our life are "left to chance" so to speak.  the bible does not contain a daily routine for us to follow and in doing so, leaves the personal quality of our life in our own hands.  we shouldnt be automotons, after all.  what good would we be then?  i will discern, again, between college of choice and worship offered to our Heavenly Father.  one is commanded to us and the other is little more than a daily routine.  a daily routine is not supported in the bible and thats why it is left unspokenfor.  not all things belong in the bible.  i believe singing is one that does.  we can go about doing non specific good and be a non specific good person to the satisfaction of scripture, but worship is a command.  singing, being an established form of worship, is thusly a command also.  college is not.  (according to my parents its another story...)

likewise, hymnals (etc.) are not a command.  they are church business (and undoubtedly for the good of the church) that is left to the authority of the eldership by the indirect authority of scripture.  God gives commands and an eldership makes sure the command is carried out fluidly and concisely.

i separate instruments/singing from the extraneous elements, because the extras rest under eldership authority.  elders do not have the right to generate forms of worship or alter their original form.  i dont believe anyone other than God, the recipient of our worship, has that authority.  we are to tend to His contentedness.  if He orders a ham and cheese, we dont throw a pickle on there cause we think He'll like it.  

... now i feel like lindsey with the food thing going on...  im kinda hungry too...

judgement calls?  2 peter 1:2-4 says we have all we need to live a godly life in the bible.  i know i will make decisions free of scriptural authority in my life, but i believe this passage shows us that what we need to know to be pleasing to God is not found within ourselves in any amount.

the 'yes' or 'no' thing...  i believe neutrality in full force is called for.  i believe it is so because, as said earlier, God will say what He desires from us.  He already has.  nothing is left to our imagination.  that having been said, my vote in the issue counts for naught.  the way instrumentation or non-instrumentation rubs me is irrelevant.  God says what He would like, and we, in my opinion, need not add - even in the slightest - to His order.  so did the bible clearly leave it open?  i say no.

so, is it wrong to condemn a person for using instruments?  i will not judge.  will i use them?  no, i dont believe authority is given me to alter the specific form of worship.  will i use a hymnal?  yes, because our eldership has sought to provide the community on the whole with the tools required to complete God's request in worship.  will i tell others to do the same if called upon for instruction?  yes.  i will also advise them to find out for themselves why it is so.  and if they ask me for help to that end i will comply.

i wont say "im right" or "i told you so" (because thats not appropriate... AND) because its not me who is the creator of what is right.  i pray i have only acted as a messenger, as i have been commanded.

a new question?  im as ready as i'll ever be.  i think a new topic heading would be appropriate.  im excited about it.

i hope any other readers of this discussion have been edified as danny and i have been.

i wont say i deserve the last words in this topic.  the opposite is probably true, considering the word count...  i will resign from this discussion unless called upon again.  i also reserve the right (unless vetoed by danny, himself) to here on out refer to danny f. as big dan, irregardless (look it up) of his personal stature.

thank you danny and lindsey for the pleasant and well-tempered discussion.  i wish to not take these things for granted, as i know they are not universal qualities.  lets pray the blessings continue.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jamesishott2003 on Jun 28th, 2003, 2:27pm
I am glad that this was posted. I hopt that we all understand now why we do not use instrumental music in worship. Why do some Churches of Christ use instrumental music anyways?

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jun 28th, 2003, 10:49pm
Feel free to call me big dan.  I'm 5'9", if it makes a difference.

Todd says"i separate instruments/singing from the extraneous elements, because . . ."  I lean forward in anticipation, thinking my question might finally be answered, "the extras rest under eldership authority.  elders do not have the right to generate forms of worship or alter their original form."  Sigh.  It seems to me like this is less an explanation of your belief than merely another restatement of what you believe.  I've asked what makes the instrument so different from the other additions and you just keep telling me that it is different.  I'm sorry if this is stubborn, but your answers are very unsatisfying.  What is it about adding accompaniment to singing that generates another form of worship.  I see it as an aid, not another form of worship.  You have yet to give me a reason to believe that this isn't right.  

I'll keep an eye out for an answer to this question, but in the mean time, I'll ask another.  I'll keep it in this subject heading since it's very closely related.  (I do have questions about the coC that are not related, but we'll save them for later.)

I'm wondering if the no instrument rule applies to worship outside of the church, too?  If you were playing a guitar and trying to write a song about something important to you, would it be unacceptable for you to mention anything about God?  I know of a band made of coC members that tours playing music and promoting a coC school.  They play secular music (without offensive lyrics) and as far as I know they don't talk about God in their songs.  My only thought is, what's the point?

Perhaps a more extreme example of the logical breakdown of this position was provided by a coC member who went to a family renion and was singing some gospel songs, with instruments, along with his family.  When asked later how it was ok for him to do that, he said, "I was just doing it for fun."  In other words, I didn't really mean what I was saying (see Mattthew 15:8).  Is it really possible that a situation exists in which you would be fine unless you started thinking about God and feeling gratitude for him in your heart.  That's strange.

Linz, I can't say that I understand the belief much more than I did at the outset, so I hope you won't be too quick to declare this a case closed.  As for your question, there are many coCs in the northern half of the country that are basically what you might know as independent Christian churches.  I don't know how non-instrumental coCs are distinguished.  Do you know much about independent Christian churches?  I belong to one.  They are different from Disciples of Christ churches and from non-instrumental coC, though all three spring from the same movement.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jun 29th, 2003, 1:53am
hey big dan,

i think i see some uncovered ground.  i apologize.  im not too terribly systematic.

im sorry i let you down too.  the error lies within me.

you said, and have said, that instruments are an aid.  you dont see them as an addition to the act of worship?  this is what i believe i missed in previous entries that met your dissatisfaction.  this is a foreign concept to me.  an "aid".  im trying to grasp that, but truthfully i cannot.  how are the musicians operating the instruments not offering their music to God?  and if they are then thats as much aid as i get from the guy sitting behind me.  im not sure aid is the best way to describe them.  if they are not playing for God's honor and praise, then i think the error in their actions is glaring.

i said it was simply different because i do not see the instrument part of instrumental worship as aid to the singing population.  are you likening this to playing a tape and singing to that?  im not making light, im honestly unfamiliar with your stance in this respect.

i say different because is the person playing the wind instrument, say trumpet, singing?  no, hes playing.  thats not what God instructs.  so that individual is generating additional commands.  so what about pianists or others that could feasibly sing as well as play?  they are still playing.  which is either, as you said, an aid to worship, or worship itself.  is there another option?  i have never considered any, personally.

an aid?  i had always taken music apart from the human voice to be a "co-worshipee" if you will.

an aid...  i may have got it now.  (dont bet on it though)  i'll just make it short so i dont go far if i go the wrong way.

like a soundtrack to worship?  is that a trusty description?  if it were so...  ah, i see now how you liken these things to projectors and other things used literally as aids to worship.

instrumentation is generated by human effort.  even if it is an aid to worship it is indirectly to the Glory of God.  thats the difference.  projectors and microphones have no soul.  they offer God nothing.  He has no relationship with them.  im not worried here about the sound coming from the instruments or even the physical instruments themselves.  im concerned for the hearts of the musicians.  therein lies the fault with instrumentation.  not in the notes or the sound of music with a human voice.  its the offering that God is given that we find to be at fault.  and since hymnals and other such items offer nothing to God, they are of no consequence.  they are, of course, when you take into account the elders responsibilities, but i am confident you are familiar.

i hope i guessed intelligently.  forgive my ignorant state, but i am really new to this concept.  i really need a bit of clarity big dan.  i trust you.

"church radio", huh?  thats actually come up when i speak of you and this topic heading to my friends and family.  i see no fault in that.  there is no worship service in action.  if there were, all elements would be necessary and present.  but since there is not, i consider it to be as useful as a book by max lucado.  it helps you keep a right mind, which is important and comforting.  kids feel the strong desire to "rock out" and i know for a fact there are worse things they could listen to.  it is positive subject matter and catchy positive subject matter at times.  i dont personally have a large collection, but i see nothing in scriptural error with a few kids who want to sing songs about Jesus.  to Him is different entirely.

grace and peace

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jun 29th, 2003, 10:58pm

Yes!  Now you've got the question I've been after.  Maybe I've been explaining it poorly all along.  Thanks for sticking with me long enough to reach this point.  The phrase "Soundtrack to worship" is an interesting one.  You're also striking close to what I have in mind when you ask about playing a tape and singing to that.  What would you think about that, is it acceptable?  Your questions have brought an example to my mind that serves our discussion even better than the hymnals and projectors.  At your church, does the song leader ever use his hand to keep time, waving it like an orchestra conductor?  Or maybe he taps his foot.  This manner of time-keeping is generated by human effort, but we wouldn't consider it an unacceptable addition to worship, would we?  It might indirectly glorify God by helping the congregation to stay on time, thus preventing singers' hearts from being distracted by messed up timing in the music.  No one would think that he is trying to make a wave offering like the one described in Exodus 29:24.  I think we could agree that the leader's time-keeping is an acceptable and useful aid to the singing.  I see an instrument as serving the same purpose, but even better.  A guitar or piano can keep rhythm and help keep the congregation on pitch.

You mentioned the instrumentalists who are not able to sing.  Are they sinning by not singing?  I've thought about this before and this is how I see it (let me know if you think this is off-base):  The player may not be able to fulfill the command to sing in our not-so-hypothetical worship service.  This sounds bad, but look a little closer at our service.  Do you see the two women who are downstairs in the nursery?  They're not singing, either.  They are, however performing a service so that some parents can focus on singing God's praises.  Look at the preacher.  He doesn't get to sit and listen to a message from God's word, a privilege that the rest of the church gets.  What about the men serving the Lord's Supper?  They don't get the chance to take it while sitting in quiet meditation, but they provide a valuable service to the rest of the church.  Each of these servants are making a sacrifice for the benefit of the whole, and each of them can and should look for opportunities to actively participate.  The preacher should find times to hear Bible teaching.  The nursery volunteers should rotate with someone so that they can participate next week.  And the player should find a time to sing to God.  Let me know what you think.

Your last paragraph said something about "church radio."  I'm not sure exactly what you mean by the phrase.  I think that you're asking about Christian rock music.  You say it's ok because it's not really worship because all of the elements aren't present.  This definition of what is and is not worship doesn't work for me.  Check out Acts 16:25.  Paul and Silas probably didn't have all the elements you have in mind.  Were they worshipping?  I also don't like the definition because I don't believe that worship is something that is contained within church walls or an official "worship service" (where is that mentioned in the NT?)  Also, I think there's a fine line between singing to God and singing about God (cf. the Psalms).

I feel like we're making some genuine progress here.  Until next time . . .

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jamesishott2003 on Jun 30th, 2003, 10:27am
You said it, t-buisness! :)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by LinzIsRad on Jun 30th, 2003, 10:57am
For the record, it wasn't me who asked the question about instruments in other churches, it was sarabeth...

Anyways, I've been gone for a little bit, but I have in fact returned, lol...simply put playing instruments is different than aids such as projectors and hymnals for the reasons Todd said, but blatently, one is an action towards God and the others are just what you claimed them to I'm believing what Todd says about it changing the act of worship. Now, moving on...I disagree w/ Todd and agree w/ "big dan" in the comments made about worship being more than just the actual service inside church walls. I'm cloudy on the whole radio christian music...but I am referring to the fact that you can have such things like devotionals and prayer groups and whatnot in other areas outside the church building, but the same rules you followed in "church" is or should be applied in a different setting because your still worshipping God.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jamesishott2003 on Jun 30th, 2003, 11:00am
I did? I must have forgotten.... I am very forgetful.... :)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jul 1st, 2003, 4:24am
hey big dan et al

you have exceeded my expectations.  i enjoy your enthusiasm.

my only resource at this point is to remind all concerned that it matters NOT what todd, big dan or anyone else "decides", but rather what our Lord established as Truth.  as much as im sure dan and i would like to make all the rules and save your souls, its just not going to happen.  maybe if we were all mormons...

i can do nothing else but follow what you propose with the reminder that your platform is based on big dan theorem #1:  unspoken equals freedom of choice.  if you can biblically support this, your position will be more secure.  until then, i cannot concede personal acceptance of your stance.

big dan theorem #2:  music is an aid to the congregation, not the offering of soulless communication to God.  i cannot admit this either, personally.  i see this one as a little harder to define as one or the other.  perhaps this is the very center of the differences that lead to accusations that are espoused toward one or the other group.  i find that very interesting and rather nostalgic.  if you look at it right.

about my claiming church was between four walls...  i dont believe i emphasized that so much.  by "worship service" i meant the one we are commanded to observe in celebration of Christs rising on the third day.  not really the tuesday brunch devo.  of course, God can be worshipped and praised at any time.  my aim was to communicate that we shouldnt be about attempting to cover marylin manson for our closing song sunday morning.  its good for the mind.  its good stuff.  no qualms.

i believe paul and silas were under the "do what you can with what youve got" law.  its mysterious and unprovable, so i wont hole them to it.

i encourage participation by the rest of the thinking public.  i also encourage you to bring substance to the table as linz and big dan have.  OR you could just write and write like i do and let people think you have oodles to say.  (trade secret)  a cheering section is unnecessary.  kudos for the vibes, though.

i love you guys and i am very thankful for this discussion.  i hope many have gained and will gain from our responses.

more discussion!  big dan has single handedly breathed new life into this board.  hide it under a bushel?

peace out kiddos and big dan

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 7th, 2003, 2:14am
I've been on vacation for almost a week, and I've been looking forward to posting some more on this board.  I'll have a more full post when I get home, but I just wanted to let you know that I haven't dropped this altogether.

Todd, you're right that our opinions don't ultimately matter much.  And yet, our discussions can go a long way toward shaping the quality of our beliefs.

Your summation of my position is close, but I've got to make a few corrections.  You said "#1 Unspoken equals freedom of choice."  I would tend to word it more like this:

#1  When the Bible doesn't clearly say whether something is wrong or right, then we must chose what to do based on the principles that are clear.

Notice that I'm not advocating totally anarchy when God is silent on an issue.  I still believe that I'm guided by what is clear in the Bible.  How would you sum up your view on this?  How do you decide on issues where the Bible gives no clear 'yes' or 'no'?  Do you have Biblical proof for your method?  Are you consistent in applying your method?

You also attributed this view to me:  "#2 instrumental music is an aid to worship."  This is about right, though I think a proper definition and application of the #1 makes #2 much less important.  Why is it "hard to define as one or the other"?  I still can't figure out why instruments could not be considered aids to singing.  Todd and Linz, you both keep telling me that you belive instruments can't be considered to be mere aids, but you have yet to tell me why that is.  

In addition to this question, there are a few others from my last post that I'm still hoping to hear your thoughts on.  You can reread that post to get the context, but here are the questions:

a)  Is it wrong to sing to God along with a tape (with or without instruments)?

b)  Is the song leader wrong to wave his hand, keeping time for the congregation?

c)  Are the nursery workers and communion servers wrong to miss out on participating so they can help others participate?

Like I said, I think we are making some progress.  I hope that you believe that I don't use use instruments in worship just to disregard and defy God.  I'm seeing that you have some reasons for your beliefs, too.

ps.  I enjoyed the Relient K reference.  Their new album is fun, too.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jul 7th, 2003, 3:50pm
hey big dan, good to have you back

i believe we are to firmly have no opinion when the bible has no opinion.  as was said earlier, the bible contains all knowledge pertinent to living a godly life.  we are not left to our own devices.  making said devices extraneous and removing perfection from the bibles teachings.  

do we refrain from opinions at every available instance?  i believe we, as a congregation of individuals, still represent something greater than our individual selves and can tarnish what our eldership has established as the correct biblical worship with our personal tactics in teaching and belief in this matter.  i now believe that one cannot directly support the condemnation of musical instruments, but instead should simply not consider musical instruments as an option, right or wrong.  the sin is not the sound, but the justification behind the sound.

aid to worship or co worshipee...  a metronome is what i think of when i think of an aid to musical performance.  you go over the top with a "soundtrack".  instruments are more than mere aids in all music types.  the guitar or whatever else stands alone and holds it own weight.  it is not there to support the human voice.  in a way i sense you are trying to thin the line between acapella and instrumentational.  whats the real difference if instrumentation is only to aid and build up the acapella portion?  i do not believe instruments are an aid to the vocal side because i do not believe they ever have been.  furthermore, what audible assistance is really needed?  is a drum really necessary assistance?  did david play his harp for himself or for God?  2 samuel 6:5 shows us that instrumentation is directed towards the Lord.  1 chronicles 15:16 indicates that the singers were accompanied by instrumentation, not aided.  "aided" may come into play with the accompaniment, but "accompany" seems to be more of a sharing position to me.  that is why i believe instrumentation is co-worship.

the songleaders arm is literally and figuratively an extension of the songleader himself.  if we are to sing the same song at the same time (which i think you and i can agree on, between ourselves, as right) then the simplest time keeping measures have been taken.  sometimes they arent taken at all.  they are far from mandatory.

IF instruments are aid (when have they ever been in history?) then they are over the top aid.  a metronome would suffice if service of that type was mandatory.

nursery workers?  that is elderly authority.  i can safely say that the nursery is an aid to worship on all fronts.  musicians are over the top, and if their performace were in fact justified by this discussion (or the bible) then i believe they would be right as rain as well.  a good point.  im really glad you said that.  i had never thought of it.

sing with a tape?  that was an interesting thought.  that reminds me of elementary school talent shows.  "the wind beneath my wings" in particular...  ouch.  i am in no position to say its wrong, but why would you?  are you seeking additional glory for God with a tape?  it most certainly can be described as unnecessary and i believe the bible speaks on that.  as far as what is needed and where to get the necessary info.

i personally believe one can fervently sing to God if instruments are playing or not.  with a tape or without.  its the manner in which the instrumentation is offered.  with ignorance or without.  with the Truth or without.  i believe that evidence for such justification is what we are seeking together.

hmmm defy God with instruments.  no, i dont see any that use instruments in that light.  "were gonna get God good with this one, guys!  lets useinstruments!!"  i tend to see your position as one that hasnt been fully thought out.  i cannot see why would want to use instruments.  if i had a preference for even the sound that i hear when i worship, i would prefer acapella - but that is simply my upbringing i believe.  i dont understand the motive behind instrument use, honestly.

support the belief of instrumentation being an aid.  does the guitar really hold up the voice?

good to have you back on the board.  i hope your trip is going well.

be safe

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 7th, 2003, 11:19pm
Greetings.  I must say that I am very glad to see such open, flowing discourse on a topic that I believe has caused needless division among Christians for many years.  I am a friend of "big dan's" and we have studied and discussed this issue at length over the past few years.  I am also a former member of the church of Christ, and my mom and one brother still attend the church I grew up in.  Having read all of the posts thus far, I am reminded of how important it is develop and explain your beliefs to people to help keep you mentally sharp and continually growing in your faith.  The fact that this discussion has maintained civility and love is especially meaningful considering how heated such discussions usually become.  Thus I post my thoughts to help bring clarity - and hopefully unity - so we may no longer need to be so sharply divided over the issue.

Recently, big dan has asked for criteria to determine the difference between an aid and an addition.  I believe this point is a logical necessity if we continue down this path, but I would like to focus my thoughts in another direction, one that I personally believe will change the way we think about using instruments in worship.

I want to begin by framing my thoughts in terms of how we interpret the Bible.  God indeed has given us all we need in His book, and has been quite clear about many things, though it seems instruments in worship is not one of them.  Correct me if I am wrong, but the question we are ultimately trying to answer is this: Is God pleased, indifferent, or angry when instruments are used in worship?  I will proceed with this question in mind.

First, we examine what God has said about the matter directly.  As has been discussed, He has said nothing, thus causing confusion.  But I contend that the fact that God has said nothing about instruments in worship actually says a great deal about His attitude toward them.  Though at the outset of this discussion it was mentioned that this issue should be examined strictly using the New Testament, I believe we cannot fully answer it using those texts alone.  Because Jesus Christ (and God, by association :) is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8), I believe an analysis of certain events in the Old Testament is the only way to resolve this issue.

The first Biblical record of instruments being used to praise God (I will essentially be using "praise" and "worship" synonymously because a distinction is irrelevant to the issue at hand) is when the Israelites crossed the Red Sea while escaping from Egypt.  Miriam and the women took up timbrels and began singing and dancing (Ex. 15:20).  This seems pretty reasonable to me.  Generally when people get together for a celebration like a wedding or something, there is music involved, though not usually of the a cappella type.  People like to sing and dance to music when they're happy, and who has more of a reason to be happy than those of us who have been saved by God?  The reason I bring this point up is because prior to the celebration of the Israelites, God had been silent about using instruments to worship Him.  Miriam started the celebration because it was a natural response to God's deliverance and she really didn't stop to think whether God's silence was prohibitive or permissive.  She and the others just wanted to thank Him and celebrate Him in the same way they would celebrate other good news.

Which brings me to my point.  Following this exodus, Moses received the law from God.  We know about the Ten Commandments, and we've all struggled through the seemingly endless lists of regulations in Leviticus.  The immaculate record-keeping abilities of the Hebrew people, combined with their strong desire not to anger the Lord, should make us confident that every single one of God's regulations (jots or tittles, if you will) is somewhere in Leviticus, Numbers, or Deuteronomy.  He even tells people how to go to the bathroom, so it must be an exhaustive list (Deut. 23:12-13).  However upon close inspection, God never once puts restrictions on the use of instruments in worship anywhere in the law.  If God is as strict as we believe He is, then I believe He would have clearly outlined the do's and dont's of using instruments in worship, citing Miriam's timbrel playing as an example of what not to do.  Or perhaps He should have struck her dead with fire as He did with Nadab and Abihu.  Note that such a response would overwhelmingly strengthen the case for the "silence of the Scriptures."  As it stands, God said nothing - which we know - even though He was fully capable of doing so.  Some have contended that David's emphatic remarks ("Praise Him with the harp!") in the Psalms make instrumental use a part of the law, but (and I couldn't be more serious) I hope we all recognize how shady such an interpretation is.  If David honestly had the power to create or change the law that was delivered to Moses, I believe we all would be in trouble. (continued...)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 7th, 2003, 11:20pm
(...from previous post)

As mentioned earlier, we must look at the Old Testament to understand God's attitude on this matter.  Growing up, I explained to people that instruments were used under the old law, and that now we're under the new law, which doesn't include instrumental worship.  But in fact, instruments were never part of the old law, or any law for that matter.  Never once did God dictate how David should have used instruments; David employed them for the same reason Miriam picked up a timbrel and we play music at weddings: a heart that is overflowing with joy.  This fact highlights what we already know about worship - it happens in our hearts.  If we continue to interpret the New Testament Scriptures about singing as though they were law that requires us to sing for worship, then a mute person could never worship God.  Thus we can see what Jesus meant when He told us to worship "in spirit and in truth."  Though the coC interprets truth to mean "without instruments," I believe Jesus' previous remarks in this passage indicate what He was getting at: "an hour is coming when neither in this mountain nor in Jerusalem will you worship the Father" (John 4:21).  The physical aspects of worship: singing, humming, using a hymnal, using a guitar, moving hands to keep the beat, using a tape player, are all irrelevant to God compared to our heart condition.  Remember that God, who specifically commanded burnt offerings in the law, also told the Israelites He didn't care about such sacrifices because their heart was not right (Isaiah chapter 1, especially vs. 11-17).  How then could instrumental worship - which was never a requirement - be wrong if our heart is indeed in the right place?

To recap, I'm not saying it's OK because David did it (nor am I saying it's NOT OK because the first century church didn't do it).  I'm saying that it was never a matter of law, never something God weighed in on, but rather something that was simply used by our faithful forefathers as another way to celebrate our love for God and our salvation.

I want you all to know that I have been incredibly encouraged by this discourse.  I've been taking notes on things people have said, and have joyfully poured over God's word to help all of us find the truth of the matter, and I hope my thoughts have been clear and helpful.  May God's love bless you all richly in the days ahead.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by andrew on Jul 8th, 2003, 2:41pm
  This is Andrew Phillips, and I have appreciated the discussion that is taking place in this area for a couple of weeks now. I do not wish to go over ground that has already been covered, but I do want to throw out some food for thought. Earlier, Tim mentioned that instrumental worship was not commanded in the Old Testament. In this matter, II Chronicles 29:25 becomes interesting. It states that King Hezekiah "stationed the Levites in the temple of the Lord with cymbals, harps, and lyres in the way prescribed by David and Gad the King's Seer and Nathan the prophet; this was commanded by the Lord through his prophets." The following verses describe offerings and singing to God accompanied by instruments. Worship seems to be what is being discussed, and verse 25 is clear that the command was from God. The fact that He commanded it then, but he does not command it now becomes significant. In fact, since our bodies are now "His temples" (I Corinthians 3:17, 6:19), that worship should take place inside of us; we should "sing and make melody in our hearts" (Ephesians 5:19). The worship that once took place in the temple now takes place in our hearts. As far as the use of other aids (mics, songbooks, etc.) is concerned, I would compare that to the plate on which we place the Lord's Supper. No one would argue that the plate actually changes the bread or the cup itself; it merely aids the distribution of it. The substance itself does not change. In the same way, mics and books do not change the singing itself, they merely aid it. Now, if another course were added to the Lord's Supper, such as chicken or chile, that would change the actual supper itself. In the same way we strive to keep the Lord's Supper pure, we strive to keep singing pure. After all, we are commanded to sing, so we should not do anything that might get in the way of every Christian being able to fulfill that command. Playing an instrument can make focusing on singing difficult. Also, since instrumental music isn't commanded, it seems that a concern for unity also comes into play. We know God wants us to be unified; all we are trying to do is lay aside what cuases division and focus on fulfilling God's commands. I lead singing at Mount Juliet, so you can imagine that this is a subject about which I have thought a great deal. I want to echo all of the earlier comments about the tone of this discussion; it is refreshing to discuss the scripture with people who are kind and respectful. I appreciate everyone for having that kind of attitude. God will bless us if we study His Word and look for answers!
In Him,

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 8th, 2003, 8:44pm
Hello everyone,

Andrew, welcome to our little discussion.  Good comments.  You may be able to help us get a practical viewpoint since you have some experience leading songs.  

Todd, thanks for answering my questions.  In a future post I want to catalogue the reasons that you've given for not considering instruments a legitimate aid.  Then we can look at the list and evaluate it to see what does and does not stand up to (friendly) scrutiny.  Andrew gave an answer to this question, too, so we can include that as well.

Tim, thanks for participating, too.  Tim and I met at a Florida College summer camp when we were about 12.  We go way back, and yet we should bring significantly different perspectives to prevent needless redundancy.

To all a good night.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 10th, 2003, 10:52pm
I've been asking why instruments accompanying a song of praise isn't considered to be a mere aid, like a hymnal or microphone.  Below are some answers that have been given during this thread.  I've included the reply number if anyone wants to check a quote or read its context.  All of the quotes, by the way, are from Todd unless otherwise noted.  As usual, if I've misrepresented what anyone has said please let me know.  Without further ado, here are the answers, each followed my comments:

A.  Aids are things that are necessary
"All the things you mention are necessary in our church.  hymnals, for example" (reply #6).
The problem with this argument, other than the fact that it runs directly against B., is that those things are not necessary.  Churches can function without songbooks, microphones and even church buildings.

B.  Aids are things that are unimportant
"i believe these articles [hymnals, etc.] are beside the issue" (reply #10).  
This is just the opposite of argument A.  If this is a criteria for being an aid, then the instrument fits it, too.  Instruments can be taken away without damaging the essence of the music or the worship.  But like the other aids, it can be used to make things go more smoothly.

C.  The breadmaker analogy
"Mics and such are tools used for worship. Just like in a recipe, they dont always say for example, what to use to beat and egg, or what size pan to melt butter in, but rather, you pick the tool that will do the assigned task to the best ability. I believe instruments is just another ingredient someone wished to add . . ." (reply #13 - Linz).
As I said before, this analogy doesn't really explain why the instrument is an ingredient and not an egg beater.  See also J.

D.  We're not talking about that
"the reason i exclude expedients . . . other than musical instruments is because of the main topic at hand:  singing with or without instruments?  so in my mind, we are only really weighing the value of acapella and accompanied singing in worship.  the value of a mic or a hymnal is not part of the question at hand" (reply #14).
I may misunderstand this line of reasoning, but it just doesn't seem to make any sense to me at all.  If it works at all, it only works until I actually bring up the other aids and make them part of the question at hand (which I did in reply #5).

E.  Eldership authority
"i separate instruments/singing from the extraneous elements, because the extras rest under eldership authority.  elders do not have the right to generate forms of worship or alter their original form" (reply #18).
You don't say why one rests under the authority of the elders and the other doesn't.  I don't see the instrumental music as a generation of a form of worship or an alteration of singing, but rather an aid to the singers.  This would make it an elder decision just like church buildings, mics, etc.

F.  Aids can't come from human effort
"instrumentation is generated by human effort.  even if it is an aid to worship it is indirectly to the Glory of God.  thats the difference.  projectors and microphones have no soul" (reply #21).
The hand of the song leader keeping time is another type of aid that comes from human effort.  If the instrument is disqualified from aidhood based on this idea, then so is the hand waving.

H.  Instrumental music is an action toward God, aids aren't
"playing instruments is different than aids such as projectors and hymnals for the reasons Todd said, but blatently, one is an action towards God and the others are just what you claimed them to be...aids...." (reply #24 - Linz).
But what if I don't consider it a direct act of worship toward God but more of an indirect help, like a nursery worker's service?

I.  Instrumental music doesn't really help (aid) singing
"i do not believe instruments are an aid to the vocal side because i do not believe they ever have been.  furthermore, what audible assistance is really needed? . . . IF instruments are aid (when have they ever been in history?) then they are over the top aid" (reply #28).
In other words, it isn't practically effective as an aid or doesn't make the singing any better.  This might be a time to turn to some people with more practical experience.  I know that leading a song with no instrument isn't impossible, but it is more difficult than singing with accompaniment.  What do you think, Andrew?  Is there anyone reading this who has experience leading music with and without instruments?  I think that it's hard for a group of people to stay on pitch without a little help.  Does the end of the song ever end up half a step lower than it began?  I'm not very skilled as a singer, but I know that while I can't carry a tune when my voice is alone, I can add in the strumming of my guitar and it helps my voice find the right notes.  We all know that God doesn't evaluate our worship based on the quality of the notes, but if the group isn't able to stay together with its timing and pitch, then it can be terribly distracting.  We've probably all seen this happen.  

J.  The Lord's Supper analogy
"As far as the use of other aids (mics, songbooks, etc.) is concerned, I would compare that to the plate on which we place the Lord's Supper. No one would argue that the plate actually changes the bread or the cup itself; it merely aids the distribution of it. The substance itself does not change. In the same way, mics and books do not change the singing itself, they merely aid it. Now, if another course were added to the Lord's Supper, such as chicken or chili, that would change the actual supper itself. In the same way we strive to keep the Lord's Supper pure, we strive to keep singing pure" (reply #31 - Andrew).
This is essentially the same as Linz's bread analogy.  It's a nice illustration, but I still don't know why the instrumental music is analogous to the chili rather than the plate.  Do the notes of a guitar somehow change the essence of the vocal music?

K.  Because God gave a specific example of how he was worshipped in the NT, then that is the only way that is allowed.  
This line of reasoning was used in several posts.  Do you really follow it consistently?  God also mentioned a couple of specific meeting places for the church, namely in homes and in the temple square.  Yet we go beyond what is written when we build church buildings.  This is something that was not done in the NT, and we could easily make a case that it ends up being a distraction to the work of the church in some instances.  What specific example does the Bible give of the method for appointing elders?  The only method I've seen is for a missionary to appoint them.  Is this how it's done if the coC today?

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by t_business on Jul 11th, 2003, 7:01am
big dan,

all these things are respectable and logical inferences that have every credible source in the world, but you fail to explain how instruments exist solely as an aid to the vocal portion.  nothing that we have shared can be credited with validity if they are found to be an iota more than the conductor's hand.

i was disgusted once with a preacher who posted an article on the internet (i dont have the site, it was multiple years past) claiming a positive use inherent in musical instruments is their ability to improve the audible quality in the room.  they mask the people who cant carry a tune.  i refuse (with calm sternness) to admit such discussion here.  i would sooner hear an elderly member who cannot breathe without difficulty sing with compassion than have 'dave mathews for Jesus' up there rockin out in tune for Him.  im sorry for any undue animation in my tone, but i cannot abide the logic behind valuing the sound that is produced by the human voice above fervor.

perhaps thats your focus - the audible sound.  where in the bible is the sound produced by the human voice a factor?  the meaning (which instruments cannot accomplish) is of value.  a unified message is desired, not a unified pleasing audible experience.

my third paragraph (excluding my salutation) posted on the 7th of july gives my reasoning for not including instrumental music as an organizational tool for vocal worship.

i will kindly defer response to articles A-K until aid status and nothing more is verified.  i see no relevance in either of our positions until that item is made clear.

i will make clear that, in christian love, i feel patronized slightly by your systems of ordering and numbering my, and others', comments.  i wholeheartedly appreciate your dedication.  perhaps that is your way in matters such as this.  it is purely more than i expected.

as for my church as a whole, we do our best.  if i came to know that we didnt, i would not sleep well at night.  be mindful that when you speak with me and with my friends, you do not speak with us all.  i will confer with my eldership at your request, but i do not have the power to speak in their place.

i love you as much as one t business can love a big dan and i respect you for (if nothing more) your intellectual capacity and professionalism.  i cant imagine that i deserve that credit from your nature.

peace be with you all.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 14th, 2003, 12:50am
Greetings once again, friends.  I hope your weekend and Lord’s day have been refreshing and relaxing.  I’ve had a rather busy week, but have still taken a great deal of time thinking about our discussion and more specifically Andrew’s post.  Andrew, I greatly appreciate your thoughts and have enjoyed contemplating God’s word regarding them.  Having organized my ideas, I now pose a few thoughts in response.

First of all, II Chronicles 29:25 is indeed an interesting passage, and I certainly must retract my statement that God never directly commanded the use of instruments in worship.  It can be quite dangerous to use absolutes.  According to this passage, Hezekiah referred to a command of God through the prophets to David.  I personally find several things about this passage interesting.  First, we have a specific example of God commanding instrumental worship.  Thus He condoned such worship, and whether He still does is our current question.  Secondly, this passage is interesting because we have no record of God’s initial command to David.  I’m not certain how much time passed between David and Hezekiah, but the fact that these instrument instructions are not mentioned in the texts concerning David is slightly odd.  Nonetheless, to make sure we’re all on the same page, let’s look at a timeline regarding people, God, and instrumental worship.

1 – God creates the world.
2 – God is silent about instruments (and singing for that matter).
3 – Miriam and the Israelites sing, dance, and play instruments in celebration to God. (Ex. 15)
4 – God is silent about instruments.
5– David becomes king and worships with instruments, though we don’t know when God’s command in II Chronicles 29 was given to him (i.e. before or after he started using them).
6 – God is silent about instruments.
7 – Hezekiah reinstitutes the ceremonial worship given to David.  (II Chronicles 29)
8 – Jesus comes, is under the old law, but we never hear of Him worshiping with instruments.
9 – Jesus dies, is resurrected, and ascends to Heaven.
11 – God is silent about instruments.
12 – Paul instructs churches to sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, but is silent about instruments (example: Ephesians 5:19)
11 – John’s vision of Heaven includes people with “harps of God.” (Revelation 15:2)

As I understand it, the reason we are in disagreement on this matter is because there is no direct mention of instrumental worship in the New Testament.  Presumably if it were mentioned or condoned after Jesus’ death, we would all worship with instruments.  Ultimately, I believe the “silence of the Scriptures” argument/logic is invalid.  Simply by looking at the timetable above, instruments were used prior to God speaking about them.  Plus, when God had the chance to weigh in on the matter, He condoned them.  Furthermore, according to the coC, instruments are unacceptable to God only in the time we are living in.  God was fine with them in the O.T. and apparently they are in Heaven, so God expects us not to use them now despite the fact He never clearly stated this desire to us.  I argue that God is in not trying to trick us in any way, but rather is clear about what He wants us to do.  I do not believe any of us, sitting on a desert island by ourselves, would read the Bible and think, “Wow, God said nothing of instruments in the N.T.  I guess He doesn’t like them right now.”  The silence argument keeps us guessing about countless matters, and is not characteristic of a loving God.

We have also run into difficulties because there are no perfect analogies to instrumental music.  If we discuss adding sugar to a bread recipe (resulting in a catastrophe), I can mention that my wife substitutes applesauce for vegetable oil in brownie recipes (leading to a healthier, equally delicious dessert).  We have spent lots of time discussing whether instruments are analogous to hymnals, and unfortunately there is no such thing as a perfect analogy in any situation.  So I return to Andrew’s comments.

II Chronicles 29:25 is also interesting because of the remaining verses in the chapter.  Andrew said, “The following verses describe offerings and singing to God accompanied by instruments.”  This statement is only partly true.  Verse 28 says, “WHILE the whole assembly worshiped, the singers ALSO sang and the trumpets sounded.”  Thus the verses discuss worship that was accompanied by singing and instruments, making both singing and instruments additions (or aids) to the worship.  This subtlety hits on a point I was trying to make in my previous post: if the N.T. is indeed equivalent to “Leviticus: Reloaded” (meaning God intended it to be a second list of new commandments to replace the Mosaic law) and instruments aren’t allowed but singing is commanded, then a mute person cannot fulfill God’s command.  We all know that worship must happen in the heart.  But if singing is commanded, then God is silent about not singing, and thus any time we try to worship without singing, we are committing an offense for which we could be condemned.  A mute person thus cannot fulfill God’s commands for worship today.

Because I am able to post so infrequently, I want to make two more points.  In these discussions, we are all pouring over everyone else’s words, and I carefully choose how I say things because in such a medium clarification is delayed.  Certainly I put my foot in my mouth with my first post because of II Chronicles 29.

My first point is that Andrew said, “Playing an instrument can make focusing on singing difficult.”  First, I don’t believe this is entirely true.  I presume we all like pop music and listen to the radio to hear our favorite songs.  I like James Taylor, and I’m sure everyone reading this board has their favorite artists.  Except in the case of hard, heavy metal, have we ever honestly said, “I sure wish those instruments would be quiet because I can’t focus on the singing?”  Most likely not.  The music is a package deal, and we like it.  My second thought on this comment is that Andrew probably meant to say instruments make focusing on WORSHIP difficult.  Our ability to focus on the singing is irrelevant (and is a mis-directed focus) because God is examining our heart, not our voice.  So perhaps we should evaluate the value of instruments if they make it difficult for us to focus on worship.  But if we direct our attention to this point, we have strayed from discussing this matter only in light of Biblical revelation and have begun forming doctrine based on our own preferences.  I personally find hymnals distracting to my worship.  I end up being too focused on the notes on the page rather than the Lord in my heart.

Here is my final thought.  I, too, used to lead songs frequently growing up in the coC.  One song everyone liked was called “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!” by Kirkpatrick.  It begins, “Hallelujah, Praise Jehovah!  From the heavens praise His name; praise Jehovah in the highest; all His angels praise proclaim.” It goes on to discuss how even animals and nature praise the Lord, and the text actually comes directly from Psalm 148.  This is good, because Ephesians 5:19 clearly states that we should sing psalms.  What I later realized is that Psalms 145-150 are all part of the same psalm of David and are just broken into chapters for convenience.  Psalm 150 is of course where David states we should praise God with instruments.  So if God commanded the Ephesians, through Paul, to sing psalms, then they would have this psalm as an option.  I find it hard to believe that God would require the first century church to sing the lyrics of this psalm, “Praise Him with harp and lyre,” (150:3) yet would condemn them to eternal punishment if any of them actually picked up these instruments as the psalm encourages.

I apologize for my delay in replying, and I hope my thoughts have been clear.  I’ve enjoyed meditating on these ideas, and I hope I have brought new light to the matter.  Andrew, thank you again for your response, and I wish you all a blessed week living in God’s grace.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Jul 15th, 2003, 10:14am
Actually there are alot of things, including instrumental music, which were part of the old law.

In Ephesians 6:1 it says, "Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right."  However it is my understanding that the New Testament is silent on how we should discipline children who don't obey their parents.  Using your logic of going back to the Old Testament with silent New Testament issues, we could go to Deuteronomy 21:18-21.

"18 If a man has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him,  19 his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town.  20 They shall say to the elders, "This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a profligate and a drunkard."  21 Then all the men of his town shall stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. All Israel will hear of it and be afraid."

I'll make the assumption that no one here is condoning stoning a disobedient child.  Yet, it was condoned in the Old Testament.

Also it is interesting that you use II Chronicles 29 for your argument for instrumental music, yet you fail to mention the sacrifice of animals earlier in the chapter.  This was a Jewish ceremony.  To my knowledge, no one here is condoning sacrifice of animals in Christian ceremonies today.

Remember, the old law was taken away when Jesus was nailed to the cross (Col. 2:14).  It was our school master to bring us to faith, but we are no longer under the old law now. (Gal 6:24-25)  If you are going to base using instrumental music soley on its inclusion in the old law, then you will need to keep the entire old law, not just the parts that you (or I) agree with. (Matt 5:19)

Since both you and Dan are former coC members, I feel like you probably already know the views for and against instrumental music before they are even made.  Are you arguing for the sake of arguing?  

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Maria Burhart on Jul 15th, 2003, 10:18am
It took me around 5 separate online excursions, but I did it, I finally got to the end of this 3 page manifesto.  I would like to first of all say how impressed I am at how civil this entire disagreement has been.  I pray that God will give me the same wisdom to be as composed as you all have been.

I am from the same independent Christian church that Danny is.  The truth is I have always been a part of an independent Christian church, I have never even been in a coC before, and so many of these terms have been foreign to me:  co-worshipee, aide, command to sing . . . So, correct me if I am really off on this, but the coC chooses not to use instruments because the NT church did not.  And because the NT church had a better authority than we do, they must know the “proper” way or right recipe to worship, so following their lead would be our best bet to worshiping the Lord the way he wants us to.  

It doesn't add up to me that because the first church did it, it’s the only right way to do it.  If the NT church were correct in all their doings then Paul wouldn’t have to tell them otherwise in his letters, or Jesus himself would not be rebuking them in Revelation.  True, Jesus does not say that they are worshiping wrong, but I don’t think that that means they all worshiped the same correct way, if indeed there is only one correct way.  I try not to limit God’s taste when it comes to worship.

Todd, you mentioned much earlier about Christian radio not being wrong because there is a difference in singing to God and singing about God.  I don’t know . . . sounds like God is being glorified both ways.  But I can’t find anything wrong with that.  If I choose to sing a song about God, far be it from me to make sure that he didn’t consider it worship.

Everyone has brought up several verses during this post and one has been Colossians 3:16.  I think it might be helpful, however to read v 17 as well.  “And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”  Praising is a form of thanks, and I would like to make the claim that playing instruments praises God in a way he is pleased with.  It is using our gifts for the common good, to glorify him with others even.  Remember it says Word or Deed.  In that case playing an instrument in all ways except to praise God would be a direct disobedience of what this says.  

Today while I was compiling what I would write when I would put in my two cents, I ran past John 4: 21-24.  It was one of those times I found something in a verse I had never noticed before.  Especially v. 23 caught my eye:  Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  It says the people are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.  Worshipers, not worship.  I believe that above all it is the heart of the worshiper that matters.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 15th, 2003, 3:15pm
guten tag

hey tim, i'll apologize for andrew - lets just say hes "indisposed".  i have no doubt that he will address your post soon.

maria, welcome.  im not sure if im the right one to reply, but i'll give it a shot.  

you differentiate between worshipers and worship there at the end.  in the actual verse it qualifies the position of "worshiper" as one who worships in spirit and truth.  so their actions and not simply their status is of import.

christian radio...  im not against it.  it holds no weight in church, though.  i believe it is parallel to devotional books in quality.  would you substitute scripture reading in church for only what cs lewis thinks about something?  i also have difficulty accepting that christians are famous without Christ being famous in the forefront.  they are famous for other reasons, then, i believe.

God is no beggar.  we should give thanks for our gifts, because they are from God, but that doesnt mean we should include them in the worship service.  what of all the other talents that people have besides instrumental talent?  are those permissable?

and you make a claim apart from big dan.  do you say that musical instruments are to be directed toward God in worship to Him?

we say its the only right way because there is one way and one doctrine that are correct.

the pleasant sound of the piano is not to be our focus.  the message we offer to God in worship to Him is our duty.  instruments cannot and never will accomplish this.  i do not insult the pianist.  i only make the claim that God would rather hear his voice than his piano.  to assume and feel and believe other ways without support is not validation in the least.

where has big dan gone?  im having to actually get to bed at a decent hour without his posts...   8)

i think jeff has a solid point at this juncture.  we need to reflect on why we have all come together here.  its not so one side can win and one be defeated for all of time - its so God alone can win.  what good can any of us do apart from Him?  we are here to strengthen our minds, secondly.  and strengthen them gently.

later guys, pray for us

Title: Apologies, confessions and other forms of self-aba
Post by dan_acc on Jul 16th, 2003, 5:02pm
I've decided that I need to come clean on a few things.

First of all, Todd:  It seems to me and to a few others who have read your last post that you were upset.  I want to apologize if I used unkind words or tone in my last post.  I confess that I may have been approaching this discussion in the wrong way recently.  I've been thinking of this as a place I can form and sharpen arguments without all the emotions that would come from talking with members of my old church.  I see now that I've taken it too far.  I've forgotten that there are actually people at the other end of these posts.  I am sorry.  Specifically, you seemed to think that I was asking you to speak for your church or in some way insulting your church by pointing out its problems.  Again, I'm sorry.  I didn't mean to offend, but I was too careless.  You also said you were bothered by my tone in the last post.  In a way, yes, that is my way with things like this.  And yet, as I said, I've taken it too far.  I didn't need to print all those quotes and make this all more formal than it's supposed to be.  I'm glad you called me on that.  I'll try to be more casual in the future (though it might mean going against my natural tendency).

Now to respond to some of what has been posted recently.  You asked if I was ultimately concerned about the quality of the sound produced in a worship service.  I'm resisting the urge to copy and paste quotes from my previous posts  ;D, but I'm pretty sure I've made clear that God doesn't judge our worship based on sound quality, but good sound does make it easier for us to focus on him, rather than wondering where the wrong notes are coming from.

You stressed that you needed more evidence that instruments are for aiding singing and only that.  I need to come clean on this, too.  I, like Tim and Maria, think they can be more than just an aid.  I chose to pursue the aid line of reasoning because I think instruments can serve as an aid and I believe this is the quickest way to show were the church of Christ hermeneutic breaks down and becomes illogical.  I think we have shown that.  Just look at the post when you say that hand-waving is a legitimate aid, but instruments are not.  It's very arbitrary.  At any rate, I never intended to be deceptive.  In  fact, I haven't said anything that I didn't mean.  Instruments can be an aid, I believe, even though I believe they can be a form of worship, too.

Lots of things can be worship.  Look at Romans 12:1.  Our whole life can be worship.  Even when I make a minor decision in my life that chooses God's wisdom over the world's, I'm showing him worship.  That doesn't mean that all forms of worship should be included in a church service.  I certainly don't intend to put a TV at the front of the auditorium and let everyone watch me pick which shows to watch, even though I might be worshipping God by choosing what to watch and what not to watch.  As I've said, when we're planning a worship service, we're governed by principles other than just 'what is legitimate worship?'  Paul says to do things decently and in order.  That excludes things that are too distracting.

I think it was Jeff who said that if instruments are allowed based on their inclusion in OT worship, then animal sacrifices should come next.  Though the NT is silent about instruments, it is certainly not silent about animal sacrifices.  It is stated very clearly (see especially Hebrews) that Jesus' death on the cross served as a once-for-all sacrifice, making further animal sacrifice unnecessary.  So sacrifices don't make a good analogy to the music question.

Jeff also asked me why I'm even trying to discuss this issue on the Mt. Juliet message board.  It's a fair question and one I need to ask myself, too.  You're right, I have heard most of the reasons behind the prohibition of instruments in worship.  But the truth is that they don't make sense to me.  I thought if I could ask someone else to explain them to me, and if I could ask the questions that I need to,  then I might come closer to understanding the beliefs of those in my first church.  I have learned some things.  I've gotten some more clarity on what I believe, which is always good.  But more than that, I think I've actually made some friends.  I don't know that I really expected that, but everyone has been so friendly and gentle, and even if we don't agree on everything, I think we've shared some good times.  As long as I'm being honest, I'll go ahead and say that I hope that our conversation will put questions in some minds.  I know that for me there was a time when I started asking questions about the coC theology and none of the answers I heard were satisfactory.  It led to a lot of study and prayer and eventually coming to some ideas that made more sense with what is known about God and his word.  

I've recently come to realize that subjecting my beliefs to a little scrutiny is not such a bad thing.  If my ideas are really as valid as I think they are, then I probably won't be unconvinced of them.  If a little good-spirited discussion makes me doubt my ideas, then maybe I need to take a closer look at them.  That's where I'm coming from.  I hope that doesn't bother anyone.  If it does, let me know and we can talk about it.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 17th, 2003, 4:18am
never thought id be glad to see a post from someone.  ah theres a first time for everything.

good observation about the hand-waving and the musical instruments.  lets call ourselves minimalists.  should we ask "what must we do to sing?"  or "what can we do to sing?"

i enjoy, really, how this has taken a turn from discussing strictly the topic heading to discussing discussion itself.  i now see i was in this for myself as much if not more than i was in it for any other person.  i never really sat down for a post with the thought of me winning you over and totally destroying the faith constructs of your life with my superior bible-ness.  i dont think thats how anyone should approach.. well... anything.  this included.  God will do what is necessary in all our lives.  i will demonstrate to you and to myself what i believe and the incredibly important "why?" behind it.

this makes me want to go up to so many people and ask them why they believe what they believe.  i'll pace myself.

big dan, sorry for my tone.  i was reminded of that preacher from that website my freshman year of college.  he got an email from me, to say the least.  i was out of order and i apologize.  (my b)

i concur with big d that we all need to question the system at times.  judge righteously and whatnot.  we need to chew our own food instead of just supplying the answer "thats what my parents did".  we'll be stronger and strengthen each other by doing so.

are queries still pending?  i wont claim to know anymore.  i'll let andrew have his say and play the rest by ear, if you'll forgive the instrument pun...    :P

thanks big dan and friends.  (isnt there anything else you wanna talk about?)

i actually misspelled "big" once.  that was my modification

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 17th, 2003, 11:40am
Just a quick reply to the question:  "Should we ask, 'what must we do to sing?' or 'what can we do to sing?'"  I'm not sure what you mean by the question, but here's my take.  If our worship is like a gift to God, showing our gratitude, love and respect, then it is, in some ways like a human child's gift to his father (forgive me, Tim, for using an imperfect analogy).  Does a child ask, "What will dad allow me to give?"  Or "What can I give dad without getting yelled at?"  A child isn't thinking about the bare minimum or the allowed maximum.  He's thinking about how much he can afford, how to show his overwhelming love in a finite gift.  We're starting to get to a key question:  Is worship a gift that flows spontaneously and creatively from our gratitude, or is it something that is highly regulated and we have to all conform to the same method of expression?  I don't know for sure, but it's interesting to think about.

BTW, I think there are some more queries pending, especially from Tim and Maria and Jeff.  I look forward to hearing some more discussion there.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 17th, 2003, 11:45am
If anyone is interested in reading some more of my musings on this subject, click the link below to read a paper I wrote in college.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Rooster on Jul 18th, 2003, 10:41pm
Greetings to one and all.

I too would like to add that I am grateful to see brothers in Christ discussing this issue without resorting to name-calling, and/or character assassinations.

I have followed the posts all the way through, and would like to ask a few questions of my own.

First of all, I must say, that I have grown up in the church of Christ.  I currently attend two congregations.  One is instrumental, the other is not.  I would not want to change either one of them.

The only reason that I want to ask a question is because of some of the questions that I have seen asked so far.

Questions concerning why would someone want to and to address Todd's question about having a reason to do it other than "because it doesn't say I can't" (my paraphrase).

I have always trusted that God is perfect, and so, therefore, is His word.

Jesus said, concerning the old law, that heaven and earth would pass away before the old law was abolished.  He came to fulfill it, but not to abolish it.  He came to fulfill the requirements of justification before God.  And, that anyone that practices and teaches the commands of scripture (the OT) would be called great in the kingdom of God, and those that taught others to not follow them, would be called least. (Matt 5:17-19) So, there are some things in the OT that were not abolished.  The requirements of the old law were fulfilled, but the scriptures themselves will be there until heaven and earth pass away.  So, I think it is up to each of us to closely examine what parts of the old law were fulfilled in Christ, and which parts are still truth.  And make sure that we are not guilty of instructing someone to "not" do something, unless we are absolutely, positively sure that it is no longer a requirement.  (In other words, is this a law that was fulfilled by the sacrifice of The Lamb?)

Second of all, Paul told Timothy that the OT was profitable to use for doctrine and for instructions in righteousness.  Not just a history book, but a valuable resource for determining how to be righteous in God's eyes.  Not the physical aspects of the law (you can read plenty of what he had to say about that), but those things of righteousness.

All that said, someone mentioned in an earlier post (Tim I think) that Paul told us to sing psalms (twice).  He also mentioned that some of the psalms specifically mention certain instruments.  That is not as important as what those psalms say.  They say that praising God is righteous, let everything that has breath praise him, and to praise him with (and/or without) instruments, and that this praise is worship. None of them say that they were justified, sanctified or forgiven of sins for praising God, just that this is how God's people should praise Him.  To me, that is an instruction in righteousness.

So, in a nutshell, that is the beginning of why I believe the way that I do.  That is also the reason that I praise God with the instrument, and without.  Yes, we are commanded to sing, but that is not the only time that we are told to praise.  We are told to offer our sacrifice of praise, but no where are we told that this means vocal singing only.  Yes we are encouraged to sing, making melody in our heart, but that is not the only praise that we are to give God.  

I guess you could say that I look at it just the opposite of most Church of Christ persons.  I don't need someone to prove that instrumental music is "allowed", but that it is no longer considered praise or that it is no longer considered righteous.

I appreciate this thread so far, and am looking forward to any thoughts that any of you may have.  I am not proclaiming that any opinions that I have formed are absolute.  I strive daily to become more Christ-like, and welcome any encouragement or corrections to my posting.

It is not my goal to be "right".  My goal is to be righteous.

Peace to all.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 20th, 2003, 2:30pm
Greetings again, friends.

I can't believe there have been so many posts since I last wrote my thoughts.  I must say I am pleased with everyone's diligence and commitment to truth.  Recently we have heard many new and interesting ideas, and I believe we are learning a great deal.  I hope this post only draws us closer to a mutual understanding.

First, I must address a very pertinent question Jeff asked: am I arguing for the sake of arguing?  This is an important question because as Jeff said, I indeed know most of the arguments for and against instrumental music.  What are my motives?  Certainly it is not for the sake of arguing.  I do not intend to be disruptive and I have no malicious intentions.  One reason I have been posting my views is because this discussion board is the perfect venue for such a theological debate.  When people discuss this issue in person, logic often gets thrown out of the window because there is no accurate record of what has been said, or someone raises their voice and it becomes an emotional issue rather than a Scriptural one.  In this medium, all statements can be analyzed and we have more time to meditate on God's word before responding.  Like the Bereans, we are displaying a noble character by searching the Scriptures to see whether the claims are true.

A second reason why I have become involved in this discussion is because most, if not all, churches of Christ have taken the stance that worshiping with instruments is worthy of eternal punishment.  Certainly such a claim is a strong indictment of most Christians in the world, considering nearly all Christian denominations (and I am in no way condoning denominations) utilize instruments in worship.  I have often seen the coC position on instrumental worship cited as an example of how the coC is taking the "narrow road," and I believe this is an inappropriate application of what Jesus was trying to say.  Ultimately I am in this discussion because these claims have been made using what I believe to be a flawed logical foundation: the silence of the Scriptures.  As I have mentioned before, instrumental worship is only an issue because we do not find it in the New Testament.  However as I intend to reveal in this post, if we make our decisions based on what the NT does NOT say about something, then we find ourselves in a precarious predicament.

First, it should be noted that while in college, I briefly attended a coC slightly unlike the one in which I grew up.  As Danny mentioned, the churches we grew up in would never support an orphanage, college ministry, or missionary society (or even a youth group).  Our churches cited the silence of the Scriptures (actually silence of the NT) as their reasons for not engaging in these "institutional" activities.  As I understand it, Mt. Juliet - as well as the church I went to for a while in college - engages in these programs because they believe it will further the gospel.  I agree wholeheartedly.  It makes good sense to reach out to the lost people in these communities.  We must readily admit, however, that the NT is indeed silent on the matter.  But we have used our God-given common sense and better judgment to get involved with orphans and college ministries.  So different churches of Christ apply the silence of the Scriptures in different ways, and I believe this inconsistency arises because the system of reasoning is invalid.

As Danny did in an earlier post, I will break down the argument against instrumental worship into a series of logical statements.  If I am incorrect at any point, please let me know.

1) If the New Testament is silent about about something, then that thing is prohibited and sinful.
2) The New Testament (excluding Revelation) is silent about instrumental worship.
3) Thus instrumental worship is prohibited and sinful.

I believe I am correct in the application of this logic.  This is not a good logical system because statement 1 cannot be true; it is a flawed premise.  As mentioned earlier, the NT is silent about supporting a college ministry.  If we really wanted to get down to it, the NT is silent about a discussion board on the Internet or even going to the grocery store.  People have often said in defense, "The silence argument only applies to spiritual matters," but if our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 3:17) and we are to do everything in the name of the Lord (Col. 3:16), I would think everything is a spiritual matter.  However I realize the Internet and grocery shopping are slightly trivial examples so I do not want to dwell on them.  Instead I want to use an issue upon which there has already been discussion.  As Jeff said, "It is my understanding that the NT is silent on how we should discipline children."  If indeed this is a true statement, then we have a decently comparable situation to the instruments issue.  As Danny mentioned, animal sacrifices are not analogous because the NT is very clear they are no longer necessary, whereas no NT reason has been given for eliminating instrumental worship.  Thus we return to our logical progression by applying the silence of the Scriptures to child-rearing:

1) If the New Testament is silent about about something, then that thing is prohibited and sinful.
2) The New Testament is silent about disciplining children.
3) Thus disciplining children is prohibited and sinful.

We all know for a fact that God indeed wants us to raise our children with discipline, so how can the silence of the Scriptures be a valid means of discovering God's will in any matter?  I do not endorse going back to the Levitical law for child-rearing advice for a number of reasons which are irrelevant here.  Though it was said that my method of interpreting issues of NT silence is to go back to the OT (or Mosaic law), this is not at all the case.  Rather my method of logic is to examine the issue in light of God's previous ideas about it.  I'm not picking and choosing parts of the OT to follow; I'm trying to understand God's mind in the matter.  If I find no examples of disciplining children in the NT, then I go to the OT to see if God wants us to discipline our children.  He clearly does.  But rather than be forced to discipline children as under the Mosaic law (which would certainly get me put in jail and give Christians a bad name), I exercise my better judgment and rear my children the best way I know how.  It's a matter of understanding God's attitude toward raising children rather than being bound to a law.  In the same way, we must understand God's attitude toward instrumental worship rather than making it an issue of law.

I hope I have made it clear that it is impossible to base our interpretation of the Bible on the silence of the NT because (1) it cannot be applied consistently and (2) if it is the correct method of interpretation, then we must accept several ideas that are not consistent with God's character.  I recall when leaving the coC in college, one of the people at the institutional church warned me that I was putting my salvation in jeopardy.  I had to remind him that the people in the church I grew up in would say that his salvation was in jeopardy because he supported college ministries and the church had a kitchen in the basement.  If silence of the Scriptures is abandoned as the foundation for Biblical interpretation, I would not have attended two different coC's with two different "silence" viewpoints.  Also, by abandoning this logical system I believe we can all come to agreement.

As always, I hope my comments have been enlightening on some level.  I am glad to consider all of you brothers and sisters in Christ and admire your fervent study.  Thank you for your time, and I look forward to finding truth.

In Christ,


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by James Rondon on Jul 20th, 2003, 3:09pm
Greetings, everyone.

Well, it took me a while, but I finally read through all of the posts on this thread! Anyway, this is my first post on this particular Board, so introductions are probably in order. About a year ago, my family and I discontinued meeting with the Church of Christ church; we currently assemble together with a group of believers in one another's homes. There were several reasons for this, but since making this decision, and since re-studying the Scriptures afresh, I have had my understandings change on several issues. One of these issues is that of instrumental music in the worship of God.

While meeting with the Church of Christ church, I preached for a congregation for about 3 years. During that time, I preached several sermons, and taught several classes regarding this particular subject. I saw this issue as an issue of "Biblical authority", and concluded that it was unlawful for believers to use instruments while worshipping God under the New Covenant. After studying an issue regarding the collection, and re-examining my previous understanding and pratice, I began to re-study several other issues, realizing that my "necessary inferences" were not so necessary. This has led me to where I am today.

I wrote of this recent transformation on another Board, and will quote part of that post here:

God allowed me to see. I was not on the Damascus Road, but the results were similar... God knocked me off of my high-horse, and left me temporarily blinded. He showed me my innumerable inconsistencies, and let me realize that I had painted myself into a theological corner. After that, the scales began to fall from my eyes. It was as if I had begun to follow Christ, and as each day went forward I had placed a brick between Him and I. Each brick represented an unnecessary assumption, and a tradition of men. As time passed on, without knowing it, I had constructed a wall between myself and the Lord. In fact, I began to recognize the wall as the Lord Himself. I could hear His voice, but He was on the other side. About a year ago, I began investigating the wall. I took a brick out here and there, and before I knew it, like a giant brick Jenga, the wall crumbled right before my eyes. Left in a cloud of dust, I looked up from the pile of rubble, through the dusty haze, to see the Lord still standing there, arms outstretched. He was all that was left, and He was all that I needed.

I thank God, through His Son Jesus Christ, that He was willing to save such a wretch as me. I thank Him that He loved me, and that He still loves me, even though I don't deserve it. I thank Him for His patience with me, and His unspeakable grace. I have found myself on both sides of Jesus' parable in Luke 18:9-14, I only hope that God will keep me looking down, and beating my breast...

So, I hope that that short introduction is helpful. It at least adds a context to what I am about to post. About a year ago, while re-studying several issues, I put together a few thoughts on the instrumental music issue; I post them here for your consideration. Granted, each of these points could be expanded upon, but I wrote these things mainly for myself, back then, as items to consider:

Some Thoughts Regarding the Use of
Instrumental Music in the Worship of God

Covenantal Thoughts:
1. As Christians, we are no longer under the Old Covenant... We are under a New and better Covenant, which was established upon better promises (Heb. 8:1-13).
2. The nature of this New Covenant is entirely different from that of the Old (cf. 2 Cor. 3:6-11; see also Heb. 8:1-13; Jer. 31:31-34).
3. This is further established by the absence of exacting legal chronicle in the New Covenant Scriptures, such as did exist under the Old (see Rom. 15:4; cf. Lev. 11:1-47).
4. Under the Old Covenant, there was a detailed pattern of worship identified, especially with regard to the Tabernacle (later with regard to the Temple) (see Exod. 25:1-31:18; cf. Heb. 8:5-6).
5. Such is not true under the New Covenant (John 4:20-24; cf. Heb. 8:5-6; see also Rom. 12:1-2).

General Thoughts:
1. God is able to speak, if and when He wants to speak… Thus, we are continually reminded not to add to, nor subtract from His Word (Deut. 4:2; 12:32; Prov. 30:5-6; cf. Isa. 55:8-9; Jer. 10:23; see also Rev. 22:19-19).
2. Silence and exclusion are not always specifically binding (Jos. 22:10-34; 2 Chr. 30:1-27; cf. Lev. 10:12-20; see also Matt. 12:1-14).

Some Observations from Scripture:
1. There is no command, under the New Covenant, making the use of Instrumental Music in Christian worship unlawful.
2. There is no example, nor points of inference whereby one could necessarily conclude that the early Christians believed it to be unlawful.
3. In fact, Christians continued to worship in and near the Temple, where Instrumental Music was readily employed (cf. Acts 2:46; 5:12, 42).

Some inconsistencies:
1. Holy kiss (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Ths. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14; cf. Acts 20:37).
2. Holy hands (1 Tim. 2:8).
3. Anointing sick with oil (Jam. 5:14-16).
4. Laying on of hands (1 Tim. 5:22; cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3).
5. Foot washing (John 13:3-15).
6. Fasting (Matt. 6:16-18; cf. Acts 13:3).

Eph. 5:19 and Col. 3:16:
1. Psalms and melody imply music (“psalmos”, and “psallo”).
2. Assembly is not mentioned, nor is it necessarily inferred.
3. Congregational singing is not necessarily inferred.
4. If Instrumental Music cannot be employed during “worship”, then this verse also specifically excludes the Christian from ever singing any secular songs, as well.
5. The argument against the lawfulness of Instrumental Music in Christian “worship”, accompanied with 1 Cor. 10:31 would exclude Christians from ever being musicians.

1. Does not seem to indicate it’s unlawfulness, but rather, that it’s exclusion was solely preferential.
2. Clement of Alexandria, in 195 AD wrote: “The one instrument of peace, the Word alone by whom we honour God, is what we employ. We no longer emply the ancient psaltery, timbrel, and flute. For those expert in war and scorners of the fear of God were inclined to make use of these instruments in the choruses at their festive assemblies... Yet, even if you wish to sing and play to the harp or lyre, there is no blame. You will imitate the righteous Hebrew king in his thanksgiving to God..." (bold emphasis mine, JR)”.
3. The use of Instrumental Music in worship was not a real issue in the Restoration Movement until the late 1800’s. Prior to this, and prior to the preaching of M.C. Kurfees on this subject, congregations left its use or non-use up to their own discretion/autonomy.

post tenebras lux

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by andrew on Jul 21st, 2003, 5:19pm
Hey, I want to apologize to everyone for my absence for the past week. I got married, and we spent last week in Orlando. I think Todd's use of the term "indisposed" was appropriate. Anyway, let me begin by stating that I do not claim to have "all the answers" concerning this subject, or any other. However, I , like anyone else who has taken the time to submit a response, am firmly convicted about what I believe. Tim, I appreciate your comments and clarifications of my response. Just like in conversation, it is easy to mean one thing but say another. The only difference here is, all of our comments stay around in print. I think we all agree that the goal of worship is to please God and not ourselves. Worshipping in spirit and in truth makes it neccesary for us to truly be worshipping in our hearts in order to please God. It is also neccessary to do our best to give God what He requests. Tim, I also appreciate your comments on the Old Testament Chronology. God did command a "Feast of Trumpets" in Lev. 23:23-25, so the blowing of trumpets was something that was present in this memorial in Moses' day. The logic that has been used about the silence of scruptures is interesting, but silence is not the only element present. In order to understand God's word, silence AND specificity must be taken into account. (I'm not sure if that is a word, but you know what I mean). Not only has God been silent about instruments under the New Covenant, but He has been specific about what He desires. We have no problem understanding that if someone orders a meal or purchases an item from a catalog, they are only authorizing a certain, specific purchase. If someone orders a book on-line, the omission of other book titles in the order form is not an allowance for the company to send them those other books. That person never told them NOT to send those books, but that does not mean that he would be happy if they did. Rather, the specification of a single book and the omission of other titles excludes any other book but the one ordered. The examples are abundant. When God commanded Noah to build the ark, He told him to use Gopher wood. He was specific about what type of wood to use, and He was silent about other types of wood. The logical conclusion for Noah was to use gopher wood for the entire ark.
Much has been made of the distinction of instruments as an aid. An aid, expedient, or whatever term is used, is a practice that serves to help a person fulfill a copmmandment given by God. The presence of words, in a book or on a screen, help a person sing. Whether or not that person truly worships is still up to him or her, but the books help them fulfill a God-given commandment. Put simply, instruments produce another sound. It is a sound other than the human voice. I do not doubt the sincerity of many who believe in their use in worship, but if we refer to the silence and specificity principles, it is difficult to justify their use. God is silent about it in the New Testament, and He specifically commands singing. Obviously, one's heart must be right if true worship is taking place, but God wants worship in spirit and in truth, so we must do what we can to fulfill both commands. Some comments were made about a mute person not being able to worship because of this line of reasoning, and I am not sure that it is applicable. Someone in that category is there usually because of circumstances beyond his or her control, and all that can be expected of them is to do their best to fulfill God's commandment. If we make a choice not to sing but to play an instrument, that seems to be different. Also, aids to worship should not be divisive, but this very discussion has highlighted the divisiveness of this issue over the years. Shouldn't a concern for unity come into play? If instrumental music is just an aid, couldn't it be given up for the sake of unity? Back to the ark, I'm sure that Noah used aids when fulfilling God's commands. After all, he would have needed tools to cut wood and spread pitch. However, he did not add an aid that changed God's plan, such as an extra type of wood or even an extra window.
As I stated earlier, I do not have all of the answers, and I am sure that my response will not satisfy all the questions about the topic. These discussions have a tendency to go in circles, and I certainly wish to avoid repeating the same points and making this discussion unproductive. I think our motive in this, as in every thing else, should be to give God what He wants. I know that when I am making melody in my heart, when I am truly worshipping in song, then I am giving God what He wants out of my singing. We are not in the business of judging other people's actions in this matter, we are only trying to make sure that we give God what He commands. Once again, I thank you for your comments and the general tone of this discussion. Let's pray that we can do God's will and give Him what He desires!

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 22nd, 2003, 2:46pm

Congrats on your marriage!  Good to have you back.  I'll respond briefly to your comments about MI as aids.  You say the are different than other aids because they produce another sound.  Pitch pipes also produce a sound.  A ceiling fan or the fan in an overhead projector can also produce sounds.  Is that really a good criteria for what can and cannot be a legitimate aid?  How interested is God in the sound, anyway?  The texts that mention singing seem more focused on encouraging the singing to be heartfelt and grateful, rather than establishing a practice.  Do you think the Ephesians had never sung until Paul wrote them the letter?  It was probably something they already did and he mentioned it to make sure they are doing it for the right reasons, with the right motives.  Look more closely at those passages.  Are they meant to command and establish a new practice?  I still don't see why MI can't be considered in the class of aids.  You and Todd have both said that you don't think they are very good aids, and you may be right, but that's another question entirely.  First we need to determine if they're elible for aidhood and then we can discuss whether they actually help or not.  That question, however, is a fairly subjective one.  One aid may help one congregation and be unhelpful in another.  Thanks for talking with me.  I am learning a lot.  

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 23rd, 2003, 10:52pm
Wow, things have been quiet around here.  [tumble weed rolls across the board.  Silence.]  Here's a quick question that anyone at Mt. Juliet should be able to answer.  I've gotten a good picture of what you believe about the MI issue, but now I'm curious:  How important is it?  How often is this subject taught?  Is it something like one sermon about it per year, or maybe 10 per year?  Does your church often lead Bible studies on the differences between the coC and other churches?  I'm asking because the church I was exposed to put way to much emphasis on issues like this.  Even if the church had been right in its opinions, they would have been spending too much time talking about them and not enough time teaching on other subjects.  I'd be interested to hear how this teaching fits into church life at Mt. Juliet.

Curiously and gratefully yours,


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 24th, 2003, 3:50am
you know, dan, i cant actually recall a sermon on that subject (either instrumentation or the inherent differences between denominations).  perhaps my memory is to blame.

it seems to be one of those things that you are just supposed to know.  if it is ever taught, it would be in a classroom setting as opposed to a sermon.

the topic is not avoided at any rate.  the curious will find aid.  (as i believe you can testify)

over and out

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 24th, 2003, 11:09pm
That, at leas, is encouraging.  I may not have become so disillusioned with my church if they hadn't harped on this so much (no pun intended).  It seems like your church does better at majoring in the majors and minoring in the minors.  Even if I don't agree with some of your opinions, I can really respect that. :)  

I'm still enjoying the conversation.  I think I might reread everything and see if it brings any questions to mind.  But not tonight.

peace,  danny

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Sara Beth K. on Jul 25th, 2003, 5:03pm
Yeah. I like the progress on this subject eventhough it isn't mine. I am back. I am sorry that I haven't been here for over a month. :p

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by brandon on Jul 25th, 2003, 5:23pm

My name is Brandon, and I have been watching this discussion board for about a week or so. I am good friends with Danny, and he and I have had some discussion ourselves regarding this topic.

First of all, I appreciate the forum here. Everyone has acted with grace in their posts and responses. For such a topic as this, kudos on the accomplishment.

Mainly, I have two thoughts that I would like to throw out there...

I think we can mostly agree that we, as Christians, should be Christ-followers. Mimicing Christ's actions, attitudes, etc. That's the role of every become more like Christ. I believe there are great issues at hand in becoming like Christ than the issue of instruments in a worship service. However, I wonder this...

It was Jesus' practice and that of his parents to worship in accordance with the Law of God at the Temple. (Luke 2:40-42) Included in that worship was instrumental music (II Chronicles 5:2-14, I Chronicles with this passage I Chronicles 15:16-18, I Chronicles 25) Therefore, I would assume that Jesus took part in a worship service that included the use of instruments.

As a Christian, I am focusing on doing things the way Jesus did. Now, more importantly, I want to love like Jesus, serve like Jesus, pray and fast and all those things like Jesus. But, I think it is important to point out that it seems as though Jesus attended worship services where instrumental music was present.

We also know, then, that Jesus committed no sin. (II Corinthians 5:21). If Jesus did not commit any sins by attending a worship service with instrumental music, I fail to see where it could be called sin today.

I know one argument that may be brought up regarding my point is that Jesus was attending worship services before he created His church. Therefore, you may say, the worship set forth for us to emulate has changed.

I would state that everything that Jesus did that we are to emulate was done before the church was "created" by Jesus. The way he loved, served, cared for the sick, prayed for his enemies, spent time with God in the morning...all of these things were done before the church was born. Yet, we still try to emulate Jesus in these actions.

Are we then wrong in emulating the way Jesus worshipped? Yes, worship has changed (communion, etc), but I think it may be dangerous to state that anything Jesus did was sinful.

Here is another thought I would like to pass along. It seems from previous posts that things that are not crucial to worship services are downplayed somewhat. An earlier post states "we believe God is concerned with the worship service itself and the correctness of the acts therein..." I agree with this statement. But I want to point out some ideas.

1) We agree that communion is important and should be shared as often as we meet. They did this in the early church and I feel this is "worship vital." However, I am assuming we all take communion every week in seperate little cups that are passed around and then disposed of. This certainly was not the practice of the early church.

2) What about baptistries? We have them in our church buildings, and when someone decides to be baptized into Christ, they become "worship vital." Yet, there are no baptisties mentioned in the NT.

The list could go on, but you get my drift. I wonder, how are these things any different from instruments in a worship service?

I hope these thoughts make sense. Again, like Danny, I am interested in hearing your thoughts, in learning, in growing.

You guys are great. Blessings on you!

Brandon  ;D

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jamesishott2003 on Jul 25th, 2003, 6:54pm
You are great, too, brandon. I am so glad how brandon put that. I would have said the same exact thing, but I would have confused everybody including myself.

It is important to watch our actions as people, but more important to watch our actions as christians. We are influences, and we need to be in the right "frame of mind" (if you will) so that everone else in the world can see that we are different and that we know what we are doing hoping that they will follow our lead and decide to convert to being new testament christians.

Instrumental music (in my opinion) is one of the biggest topics that we need to spend some time on as christians while we are here on earth. In the words of the youth minister at Granny White Church of Christ, "We are tents". I have no idea if that would make sence to you, but it does to me.

We just need to remember that we are "a light and salt of the earth" and that we have work to do. Yeah, our "tents" may be damaged, but we need to keep on "truking" and looking towards the goal (Philipians 3:14).

I just hope and pray that everyone will take what brandon and I have said to heart and actually apply it to everyday life. We need to be ready to give an answer when someone asks us a qustion.

God Bless everyone!

Sara Beth

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 26th, 2003, 2:47am
hey brandon.  welcome to the party.

you read my mind.  the Church was not yet established during the time in question.

i believe you skew the line between our responsibilities to humanity and our responsibilities to God in the paragraph after you read my mind.  we are to represent Jesus with our mannerisms as best we can, but we owe things to God that we do not owe to men.  He, through worship, is set apart in our eyes.

christian behavior is not solely comprised of our social relationships with men.

we are to emulate Christ, but the bible commands worship in a certain way and we are misled if we discredit these teachings.

so are we to all worship in a temple?  

about the listing of the things:  i think we separated what is necessary for worship and what is frivolous.  there are differences and conveniences that are available to us that our eldership has deemed worthy of the Lord's funds, but that matter was settled previously, i believe.  i wish i knew where to begin looking so i could tell you which post(s) discussed those things.  (perhaps big dan can tell us when he gets done with the re-read... 8) )

to all:  what of the other things not "undone" by the new law?  do you stand for incense burning or any other thing?  what of the list that was given by mr rondon?  why stand for instruments and instruments alone?  to make a quick turnaround, big dan, what can be said of your view's consistency?  (im reading a book and the author asks that question.  i thought his reasoning was valid.)

im glad to see that positive energy can still be found in this discussion.  God bless.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by LinzIsRad on Jul 26th, 2003, 12:14pm
Just something to throw out there....I'm big on the whole "no matter where you are or who you're with you can worship church building needed, but same guidlines apply" gig. And one of my friends and I were discussing the instrument issue and she told me this. "When you're in church worshipping, you're supposed to be putting your whole focus on it's like you're in there w/ 700 people, but really it's just you and God. So if you were in a room by yourself and you were worshipping God in're more than likely not going to clap or play along w/ an'll just sing with your heart."

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 26th, 2003, 5:50pm

That's a true and interesting point.  I'll have to think about it a little more.  I think we would agree that the beauty of the worship God wants from us is that it doesn't require us to be in a special building, wear special clothes, be led by a special priest or anything like that.  It's flexible.  And look at the other things God has told us to do, especially baptism and Lord's Supper.  Baptism mainly just requires water, something anybody in the world will have access to.  And the Lord's Supper only requires a bit of bread and juice (or wine), again, things that are pretty common.  So you're right, we can truly worship God just sitting in a chair at home singing to him all by ourselves.  That doesn't prove that instruments are not allowed, but it does show that we can do just fine without them.  And I'm sure your church does just fine without them.

If you don't mind, I'd like to ask a little more about something from your last post.  You said, "no matter where you are or who you're with you can worship church building needed, but same guidlines apply."  I agree.  Does that mean that you would never sing to God at home by yourself while you were listening to a worship CD from Third Day or, my favorite, Waterdeep?  Would you listen to these bands under any circumstances, or do you think they're doing more harm than good?  I'm interested to know what you think about this, because I have a hard time understanding some opinions about this.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by brandon on Jul 26th, 2003, 9:43pm
Hello again, friends.

Todd, thanks for your reply. I want to make a few comments on some of the things you said.

I agree in that God is set apart through our worship of Him. My main point in my first post is that we can logically induce that Jesus attended worship services where instrumental music was present; that we claim Jesus had no sin; therefore, I struggle to see how instrumental music in worship services can be called sinful today. Also, you ask what of the other OT aspects of worship, like incense burning, that are not "undone"? My point was not to say that we should be burning incense or any other OT worship "thing." My point was merely to state that I can deduce that Jesus attended worship services where instrumental music was present, and therefore, I feel, it is dangerous to call such a thing "sinful."

This point has not yet been commented on, really. I would like to hear your thoughts.

My second point was to show that there are things today that are central to our worship services (like music) that we do not have "scriptural authority" (like individual communion cups).

I guess I fail to see how individual communion cups differ from instrumental or non-instrumental worship services. You claim that there is no command or allowance from God for instruments, yet I don't see one for individual communion cups, although both music and communion are central in our worship.

You also said "we are to emulate Christ, but the bible commands worship in a certain way and we are misled if we discredit these teachings." Where are the Biblical commands for NOT using instruments in worship?? You show several scripture passages in your early post, but none "commanding" that instruments not be used.

As far as other aspects of worship we find in the NT and dont practice today, like anointing with oil or fasting, I just wanna state that I wish we did include these things in our services. I think that would add the "movement" in the phrase "restoration movement."

Furthermore, instruments, I feel are not "necessary" for worship service, either. When I was a Youth Minister in an instrumental, independent Christian Church, our youth ministry and church did many things with a non-instrumental church and it's youth ministry in town. When in mixed company, our worship was non-instrumental. Those have been meaningful times.

I hope that this post falls on understanding and graceful ears. I, again, so appreciate each of you and your hearts and thoughts.

Peace and blessings.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by LinzIsRad on Jul 27th, 2003, 1:36pm
Big Dan--

Your question is one I've thought about myself and I've heard the reasons for why people do or dont agree w/ the chrisitian music. I personally do not see anything wrong with singing along to music from Third Day or the Newsboys, or any other christian group...those bands put out a positive message out there in a world full of songs talking about sex and drugs....and i think that's awesome...i listen to them all the time. When I listen to my stephen curtis chapman cd though, I'm not worshipping God...I'm bascially just singing about Him and what he does....not to Him. Some people are in fact singing to God and worshipping Him through those songs and all I can say is that I find that very hard to do...its really hard to concentrate and whatnot when a big guitar solo comes on and all you wanna do is break it down. Worldly music, even if christian shouldnt be acceptable worship because its like you've taken God off that pedastool he should always be on and have brought Him down to your level, and that's not right.


I've never heard someone with the viewpoint you have I am not really sure on how to comment on it. While we are to emulate christ, you wouldnt take it to the extreme like, Jesus always was barefoot, so I'm not going to wear any shoes. And I don't recall anyone saying that instruments in worship was sinful. All of us have just been discussing our viewpoints on it and when it all boils down to it, neither of us will know who is in the right or in the wrong, only God will. For me though, I just want to do exactly what I'm told...I dont wanna take that chance where I might not go to heaven because i did something that wasnt mentioned in the bible.  As for the individual communion cups...that seems very trivial to me, God never said when you take the Lord's Supper everyone must drink from the same cup...he just said to use fruit of the vine....we could all drink from juice boxes and we'd still be doing as he commanded.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Jul 27th, 2003, 4:39pm

I like what you said about Christian music having a positive message in a world where most music is negative.  I'm kind of wondering how you would know if you'd crossed the line between singing about God and singing to God.  Is it in the wording of the song?  Is it in your thoughts?  If it's the wording of the songs, then that would be a hard distinction to make.  "Amazing Grace," for example, is a song that is basically about God.  It doesn't address him directly.  "Kneel at the Cross," "Softly and Tenderly" and "Faith is the Victory" are the same way.  I don't think the wording of the song is the right criteria for determining what's worship and what's just singing about God.  If it were, then half the of songs we sing in church wouldn't be considered worship since they don't address God directly.

Is it your thoughts, then?  Is it not really worship as long as you're not thinking about God too much while you sing along to the cd?  If that's the case then you would be putting yourself in an interesting situation:  You can listen to the worship cds as long as you don't allow yourself to think about God too much or feel real gratitude and humility before him.  How strange.  

I'm interested to hear how you decide what is and isn't worship as you're listening to these cds.  In the meantime I have another question.  If you do sing along with a worship cd (like Stephen Curtis Chapman) and you're not worshipping, then is that anything like what Jesus accused the Pharisees of in Mark 7:6.  "These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me."  He seemed to be telling them that they were saying words that they didn't actually mean.  (Though I admit that when he said their hearts were far from him, he may have meant something more than just their lack of focus at the moment.  He probably meant their whole lifestyle.)  I actually need to think about this myself, too.  I do tend to pop a cd in while I'm driving and sing along even if I'm not thinking about it.  I probably shouldn't do that with a worship cd.  (Relient K, Five Iron Frenzy or They Might Be Giants would be more appropriate for that.)  In writing this I've realized that I need to be more careful about singing things that I don't really mean or that I'm not really thinking about.  But when I am ready to focus, I think I can put in a worship cd, sing along, and actually worship God.  That doesn't mean I'm never distracted by guitar solos, but we can be distracted by just about anything, squeaky fan, ringing mic, out of tune singers, stomache ache, etc.  But I think that some of my most sincere and focused worship has probably been singing along to a cd in my car.  


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 27th, 2003, 5:47pm
hey guys

lindsey phrased it as i would have, brando.  i think Jesus wore sandals though...

the lyrics of hymns come from different angles and represent different speakers at times.  there are songs that speak from the standpoint of God and of men and of the church and of sinners - the lyrics do not determine to whom we sing.  we offer song to God as a church.  what a person does individually is their prerogative.  matt 18:20 says where 2 or 3 are gathered in My name, there I will be also.  i will praise God with my mindset and purity while alone in my car with my praise cds, not with my song.  if big dan and linz and i sang in a car, then i believe that worship through song was accomplished.

you can feel humility and gratitude for Gods grace and blessings, but i have no evidence that says cds are what God wants from us.  im sure Hes heard them all anyways...

and brando, about the sin labeling, its not my place to label instrumentation as such since the bible does not label it so.  i can say that if i sing without instruments, my method will never find fault.  i have evidence for that.  if i do use instruments, is there a chance, even one in a million, that this may be a variation or a step to one side from what God truly desires?  im not willing to venture that liberally from what i see as biblical truth.  i think the core discussion here is what we should teach others as correct.  is it right to say "instruments are wrong"?  perhaps not.  im thinking its not right, actually.  but i do know it is right to say "singing is right."  think of it as worshipping with the fear of incorrectness governing us.  about what we teach each other, that is the debate at hand, to me.

peace out

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by brandon on Jul 28th, 2003, 12:25am

Thanks for your reply. I appreciate your thoughts. I think what you have said may actually help to make my point. You said, referring to communion, that God never said drink from the same cup. Therefore, we drink from individual cups....or juiceboxes....or whatever. The same could be applied to our worship services. He never said no instruments, therefore, it is feasible that we can use guitars, or organs, just voices, or whatever. The same principle can and should be applied.

Todd, I agree with you. Singing is right. And I appreciate your statement to think of it as worshipping with the fear of incorrectness governing. Thanks.

I wanna take a step back. I think it is safe to say that we all agree there are greater issues at hand that instruments versus non-instruments. This discussion is important, as well as educational and sharpening. Thanks Linz, Todd, Danny, and others for your thoughts. And thanks for taking the time to listen to mine. I was telling Danny the other day that this board has really captivated me and made me think. I appreciate that. Even this morning, during worship, I thought to myself, "If someone were to ask me why I take communion every week, could I show them?" It was a great revelation.

Blessings on you as you sleep tonight.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by The_Thrill on Jul 28th, 2003, 9:37am
Sorry to interrupt but God did not have to say "No Instruments".
Referring back to Andrew's point, when God tells us to do something, he doesn't have to tell us everything not to do.
When he commands us to sing, this automatically excludes the playing of instruments.
It's just as when he commands us to take bread and the fruit of the vine for the Lord's supper.  He doesn't have to tell us not to use milk or coke or peanut butter and Jelly.  He tells us what he wants and everything else is excluded.

Also, referring back to an earlier discussion about how Jesus lived on Earth:  Jesus lived under the old law, the law of Moses.  He also worshipped under this law.

With his death and the establishment of his church, the old law was nailed to the cross.  We do not worship under the law of Moses, but under the new covenant.

We should pattern our attitudes and characteristics after Jesus, but our worship is a little different after his death, burial, and resurrection.

Just some thoughts.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Jul 28th, 2003, 10:03pm
I am very pleased with the respectful manner this issue has been discussed. Please allow me to contribute my 2-cent worth. I am in total agreement that IM is a non-issue in the Bible. I also agree that one is free to choose a-cappella worship or with IM. Just do it to the glory to God. But I disagree with the view that the NT is silent on IM. For many of us reading the NT in English, the NT SEEMS to suggest we are to sing only. However, I humbly submit that to the original recipients of the epistles, esp Eph and Col, it is not so silent afterall. On the contrary, the Greek word ‘Psallo’ includes musical accompaniment.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Jul 28th, 2003, 10:43pm
I am not a Greek scholar.  However I read in a tract article on this site about the word psallo:

The Greek word psallo only authorizes vocal praise. The better Greek lexicons are in general agreement of this fact.
Dr. Constantine Carvarnos, in a letter dated February 19, 1976 says the following about the use of psalmos and psallo in the New Testament: "In our judgment, these words denote purely vocal praise. Nowhere in the New Testament is there any mention of the use of musical instruments, or suggestion of their use."
Dr. Cavarnos, at the time of this letter, was working with the Institute For Byzantine And Modern Greek Studies in Belmont, Massachusetts. Who would know Greek better than a Greek, and a scholar of Greek?
Finally, the early church did not use instrumental music for some 300 years! The first introduction of instrumental music into the worship of the church was around the time of Constantine, about 325 A.D.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 29th, 2003, 4:33am
hey chris,  i hate to two-ply you like this, but...

i found an intelligent sounding essay when i searched on google for "psallo".

if your stance with this greek word can settle on one side or the other, will you reach some satisfaction?

i spoke unclearly earlier.  i knew what i meant, but thats no consolation to the rest of you...

(Posted on: Jul 27th, 2003, 5:47pm)is it right to say "instruments are wrong"?  perhaps not.  im thinking its not right, actually.
 i meant to continue on in my preferred mystery-tone to say "i will never admit, though that 'instruments are right'."  so what i mean to say is, i am not accreditted enough to say "instruments are wrong."  i am accreditted enough to say "instruments are not right."  if that makes sense to you or not, just go with it.  my apologies.

hey, its me again.  i thought i would just add another post, but i can just modify onto this one.  john rambo said "the mind is the most powerful weapon" once.  rambo II i believe.  moving on...

i searched on, so as not to be "that kid" who just supplies a one sided essay with no recourse.  i didnt find a contrary essay or organized writing.  id like to read some, honestly.  so if you have some links, lets have them.  i sure wish we could all just be greek scholars in our spare time so we wouldnt have to rely on the opinions of our language doctors...

while i was reading on, i found another neat essay.  this had a neat little quote i will lay on you at this juncture:  

Consider this. If the words "psallo" and "psalmos" did include the playing of musical instruments, then the use of mechanical instruments would have to be included to be in compliance. If we are to individually sing, each would also be required to play an instrument.

im not sure who the author is... or i would give him a reference there, as my schooling taught me.

peace out (again)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Jul 29th, 2003, 10:42pm
The only Greek lexicons I have are Thayer’s Greek-Engish Lexicon of the New Testament (BBH, 1977), Arndt & Gingrich’s A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and other early Christian Literature (The University of Chicago Press, 1979) and Richard C. Trench – Synonyms of the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1976). Trench’s work is strictly not a lexicon.

1. Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BBH, 1977).

Ya,llw; to sing to the music of the harp; in the New Testament to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song, Jas. v. 13. (To keep the post short, I have quoted only the definition. For details please look up the word on page 675).

Did Thayer (in actual fact, Grimm & Wilke) support the non IM position with ‘in the New Testament to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song? For further information, Thayer, in the discussion on ‘psalmos’, urged readers to look at hymnos. The following is reproduced from page 637.

[Syn. u[mnoj( yalmo,j( wv|dh,: wv|dh, is the generic term; yalm. and u[mn. are specific, the former designating a song which took its general character from the Old Testament ‘Psalms’ (although not restricted to them. see 1Co. xiv. 15, 26), the latter a song of praise. “While the leading idea of yalm. is a musical accompaniment, and that of u[mn. praise to God, wv|dh, is the general word for a song, whether of praise or on any other subject. Thus it is quite possible for the same song to be at once u[mnoj( yalmo,j and wv|dh” (Bp. Lightft on Col. 3:16). The words occur together in Col. 3:16 and Eph. 5:19. See Trench, Syn. § lxxviii.]

Thayer said that psalms and hymns are specific while ode is generic. Note, Thayer said psalms took its general character from the OT psalms. Then he quoted from Lightfoot for the definition of the three words.
1. The leading idea of psalms is a musical accompaniment.
2.   Hymns is a song of praise to God.
3. Ode is the general word for a song, whether of praise or on any other subject.

Thus, Thayer could not be said to support the non IM view.

2. Arndt & Gingrich – A Greek-English Lexicon of the NT and other early Christian Literature. (The University of Chicago Press, 1979)

Psallo – The original meaning was ‘pluck’, ‘play’ (a stringed instrument); this persisted at least to the time of Lucian (cf: Parasite 17). In the LXX psallo frequently means ‘sing’, whether to the accompaniment of a harp or (as usually) not.

Lucian, in ‘Parasite’, wrote, “It is impossible to pipe without a pipe or to PSALLEIN without a lyre or to ride without a horse.” Lucian was born Ad 120.

3. Richard C. Trench – Synonyms of the New Testament (Eerdmans, 1976)
‘The Psalms of the O. T. remarkably enough have no single, well recognized, universally accepted name by which they are designated in the Hebrew Scriptures (Delitzsch, Comm. ub. den Psalter, vol. ii. p. 371; Herzog, Real-Encyclop. vol. xii. p. 269). They first obtained such in the Septuagint. Yalmo,j( from ya,w( properly a touching, and then a touching of the harp or other stringed instruments with the finger or with the plectrum $yalmoi. to,xwn( Euripides, Ion, 174; cf. bacch. 740, are the twangings of the bowstrings), was next the instrument itself, and last of all the song sung with this musical accompaniment. It is in this latest stage of its meaning that we find the word adopted in the Septuagint; and to this agree the ecclesiastical definitions of it; thus in the Lexicon ascribed to Cyril of Alexandria: lo,goj mousiko,j( o[tan euvru,qmwj kata. tou.j avrmonikou.j lo,gous to. o;rganon krou,htai: cf. Clement of Alexandria (Pædag. ii. 4) o` yalmo,j( evmmelh,j evstin euvlogi,a kai. sw,frwn : and Basil the Great, who brings out with still greater emphasis what differences the ‘psalm’ and the ode or ‘spiritual song’ (Hom. in Ps. 44): w|vdh. ga,r evsti( kai. ouvci. yalmo,j\ diw,ti gumnh/|( mh. sunhcou/ntoj auvth|/ tou/ ovrga,nou( metV evmmelou/j th/j evkfwnh,sewj( paredi,dotw : compare in Psal. xxix. I; to which Gregory of Nyssa, in Psal. c. 3, agrees. In all probability the yalmoi, of Ephes. v. 19, Col. iii. 16, are the inspired psalms of the Hebrew Canon. The word certainly designates these on all other occasions when it is met in the N.T., with the one possible exception of 1Cor 14:26; and probably refers them there; nor can I doubt that the ‘psalms’ which the Apostle would have the faithful to sing to one another, are Psalms of David, of Asaph, or of some other of the sweet singers of Israel; above all, seeing that the word seems limited and restricted to its narrowest use by the nearly synonymous words with which it is grouped.’ (pages 296 and 297).

There are two points we should take note of.
1. Mr Trench says psalmos is ‘last of all the song sung with this musical accompaniment.’
2. He also says ‘to this agree the ecclesiastical definitions of it’. Then he made reference to four leaders of the early church.

Lexicon ascribed to Cyril of Alexandria (444 A. D. ):
(psalmos): "A musical composition, as when the instrument is rhythmically played according to the harmonic scale.”

Clement of Alexandria (Paedag. ii, 4);
"The psalm is a melodious and sober blessing."

Basil the Great (Hem. in Ps. 44):
"For it is a song and not a psalm, because it is rendered with musical expression by the voice alone, without the accompaniment of the instrument."

Basil (Hem. in Ps. 29: 1):
"The psalm is a musical discourse when it is played rhythmically on the instrument with harmonic sounds."

Gregory of Nyssa in Ps. c.3 (this is not 100:3, but chapter three on the headings on the psalms):
"A psalm is singing which is effected with the aid of instrumental music.”

All credit goes to Mr Tom Burgess for his invaluable research. His book ‘Documents on Instrumental Music’ is an excellent work. I’d be more than happy to email the book to anyone interested. Please leave your email add with me.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 30th, 2003, 5:03am
hey chris et al.

i must admit that last post was a little tricky on the eyes with the multitudinous symbols flying around.  

this is an interesting contention to me.  if this word can be proven to mean one thing, then what can the other side say?  "no i do not agree"  how can any of us take the others word for it?  i find it strange another language must be used to justify what should be plain.

is this really what you wish to discuss here?  that single word?  i ask not expecting a resounding "yes, todd" - for you have proven your desires by providing your thoughts here.  i wish only to examine, albeit breifly, that you imply with this (literally) greek language recap, that anyone who wishes to fervently obey the bible while still using mechanical instruments in praise to our Lord must know at least this much of the greek language first.

i read the essays that i gave links to and others.  i was educated on this subject only slightly and quickly, but i know enough to discuss this point with you.  forgive what ignorance i bring to the table.  its all greek to me.

the quote i posted in my previous post about everyone joining in playing if the word does in fact mean play.  is this a logical assumption in your eyes?

from what i read, (and the sources are seemingly endess for all of this.  if curiosity or suspicion takes control of your life, the links are still above and the sources are free and flowing there.) psallo had a definition which evolved through time.  im sure you knew that as you listed the definiton in your post.  the NT clause you gave was this:
"in the New Testament to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song"  at this point i am confused as to whether you believe this individuals interpretation of the word is accurate or not.  it would seem to me that if you did accept that single sentence as fact, then your argument is weakened.  if the writers of the NT used that word with that definition in mind, then what can be said?  

i see you went on to include another word, hymnos.  i hesitate to allow any more of the greek language as is necessary into this discussion.

i wont lie, i cannot interpret that next paragraph you wrote.  to it i can say little.

why must instrumental worship rest on opinions of definitions of old languages?

did you read the essays i posted?

hey, i searched for a bit and found an online essay professing correctness in instrmentation. person's entire argument is (as i think we can agree) based on this quote:
"The word psallo, which rather unfortunately is translated making melody in Ephesians 5:19, actually means to make instrumental music in New Testament Greek"
with that leverage, the points following are moot.  (perhaps this person knows more than thayer?)

i encourage everyone to read this essay, as i honestly wish to let the greek scholars sort this one out.  it is more than fair to say greater minds have tossed this one back and forth before us.  i dont think the mt juliet discussion board will be referenced in years to come justifying one side or the other in the "psallo argument".

this is more like chess than i thought.  we even get name-tagged moves.  neato.

i encourage all who read this to search within their means to find answers to the questions they seek.  

if you, chris, wish to take me down the "psallo path", then i respectfully decline.  others have gone, watch them.  if any good thing for or against either of us CAN be said, it has been, i believe.

if that is the steadfast limit of your belief in instrumentation, i wonder what others say is theirs.  im not implying that it is, im just wondering how individuals justify it.  does it all boil down to this one word as the essays ive read imply?  i welcome thoughts on this.

peace be with you all

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 30th, 2003, 10:16pm
Greetings again, friends.  I'm amazed at how much has been written since I last posted.  Andrew, congratulations on your marriage.  That is truly a wonderful thing.  And welcome to all of the new posters (though I feel like a new poster because it's been so long).  As I've read over the most recent posts, I realize there are a lot of thoughts out there, including many new ones.  But sadly there is no resolution in sight.  I admire everyone's dedication and pursuit of truth, but I fear we are not listening to one another and we may possibly be extending the argument too far.  Because the most recent posts have delved into the Greek, I want to say that though I don't believe God intended for us to need the original language to read His Word, it is of benefit to this study and should not be discounted.  Furthermore, I know the coC I grew up in frequently went to the Greek to resolve issues.  The thoughts I am about to post, though, come from the belief that we can figure it out on our own in plain simple English using logical principles.  As I mentioned earlier, if we were simply sitting down in isolation and reading the Bible cover-to-cover for the very first time, I believe the answer to this question would be obvious.  Thus I want to isolate this issue for what it really boils down to:  "silence of the Scriptures" as the coC hermeneutic.

As I have mentioned before, if instruments were in the New Testament (which they are, just not in worship, unless we count Revelation), then instruments would not be an issue.  Am I correct?  Assuming I am, then we must decide whether this "silence" is truly prohibitive.  What makes this situation more complicated is that some believe instruments to be a salvation-conditional issue, and that God would send someone to hell for using them in worship.  That could be another discussion altogether, but it has been introduced as a key component to how people feel about this issue so I don't want to discount it.  Andrew brought up the analogy of ordering a book on-line, and how we would not be happy if the company took the liberty of sending other books.  Again, this analogy cannot be used because there are too many loopholes.  If I ordered a book by C.S. Lewis and they sent me another one of his books for free, would I complain?  No, I'd be glad to receive a free gift.  In much the same way, Christian musicians sacrifice time to glorify God with their gift.  David felt this way (so did Johann Sebastian Bach), and I do not believe God would be unhappy with their free offering.

We should also look at the Noah example.  Yes, God said gopher wood.  So Noah used gopher wood.  Why wouldn't he?  That's what God commanded.  Nadab and Abihu "offered fire the Lord had not commanded them."  Though this wording has caused some confusion, the sin of Nadab and Abihu was that they directly DISOBEYED God.  Their fault was not "adding" to God's "silence," it was direct disobedience.  We are in a totally different situation.  I do not believe God has given us the same specific instructions in the NT as He did for the Israelites in the OT (James Rondon posted some good thoughts and Scripture about this matter).  We do not have clear, specific worship commands (like the gopher wood commands) to obey.  Andrew also mentioned specificity, and it is the lack of NT specificity which creates the disagreement we are now engaged in.  Salvation for the Jews was easy because they had an exact letter of the law to follow.  We are not in the same situation because God is just not specific enough in the NT.  The NT does not take the same form as Leviticus because it is a collection of letters to Christians scattered throughout the Mediterranean.  If others believe differently, then we are at an impasse.  I contend Ephesians 5:19 is not Paul's deliverance of law to the Christians at Ephesus regarding singing, but rather guidelines for daily Christian living.  The_Thrill said, "When he commands us to sing, this automatically excludes the playing of instruments," but I do not believe God inspired Paul to write with the intention of ruling out instruments in his letter.  If that was God's intention, I believe Paul would have included in all of his letters a strict warning against the use of instruments.  As it stands, I don't believe God is that mysterious, and if instruments were detrimental or displeasing, God had plenty of opportunities to let us know.  His endorsement of them in the OT and Revelation should be enough.  Also, I imagine that if David had been told that he could not worship God with instruments, he would have destroyed them all because there is no reason to have something that could not be used to glorify God.  Please don't take this statement as a license to find something inanimate (like a toilet brush) that cannot be used for glorifying God because that is not the issue, and I believe everyone understands what I'm trying to say.

In my last post, I examined the "silence" argument and I believe some of my thoughts were overlooked.  The coC believes the absence of something in the NT prohibits it.  However this theology is not consistently applied, causing a problem that many cannot resolve.  James Rondon also provided an extensive list of things the NT is clear on but the coC does not do.  For example, the book of James says for elders to anoint the sick with oil.  In my 19 years in the coC I never saw or heard of this being done, because it wasn't.  Yet it is a far more clear command than the Scriptural authority the coC cites for building a church building.  By that rationale, any of us who are not a part of a church whose elders anoint with oil are in direct violation of God's command and are gambling our salvation.  I have heard some discount this issue as a cultural phenomenon, but that is a logical risk I doubt we should take at this point because I believe Danny provided sufficient evidence that lack of instrumental worship in the first century church was culturally related.  Either we take the NT at its word or we examine the culture of the time.  We cannot have it both ways.  Furthermore I believe we found the NT is silent about disciplining children and thus we should not do it.  The NT is also quite clear concerning fasting as a spiritual discipline, yet I have encountered countless coC attenders who do not believe it to be necessary.  In fact, I do not usually enter into a discussion about instruments unless someone first recognizes the importance of fasting.

I frame my thoughts solely around the issue of silence because it is at the heart of the matter.  We examine the Greek to see if the Greek definitions are silent or not.  We try to determine whether instruments are an aid or an addition because silence is the issue.  And, yes, our conversation does go in circles because we are not isolating "silence of the Scriptures" as the whole underlying issue.  I have tried to be clear in my thoughts as to why silence is invalid and its logic can be reduced to draw absurd conclusions (such as the sinfulness of using the Internet because the NT is silent about it).  Orthodox Jews do not drive cars on Saturdays because the law prohibits them from starting a fire on the Sabbath, and the combustion engine does just that.  The NT is not Leviticus, Part II because two-thousand years of human civilization has raised issues that could not be addressed in NT times.  The NT is our guide, just as the epistle to the Galatians was a guide to them. (to be continued...)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 30th, 2003, 10:18pm
(continued...) I know how strongly we all feel about the issue, and I know we are all trusting in the Lord to help us be gracious in our thoughts and honest in our pursuit of truth.  I want everyone to know that I don't pass judgment on those who choose not to use instruments.  If people in the coC said they simply prefer a cappella music (as my brother often says) then that's great.  When I am told I am wrong for using them based on the coC interpretation of the Bible, we then have an issue.  Incidentally, I often ask my brother why he has so many secular, instrumental CD's if he likes a cappella so much.

I'd like to share two stories before I finish.  I feel my post has been a bit robotic (though a theological discussion necessitates such mechanical precision), and I want you all to know I am a human being.  My senior year of high school I went to a concert called "My Utmost for His Highest," where several Christian artists played and focused on Oswald Chambers' daily devotional.  Believing instruments to be bad, I just kind of sat and wondered, not too interested in what was happening on stage.  But for the finale, Sandi Patti sang "How Great Thou Art" with a full orchestra, and it was unlike anything I'd ever heard (in a good way).  I was quite humbled and awestruck by God's greatness.  I realize bringing emotion into the fray is not a good idea, but we must be honest with ourselves and admit the effect instrumental music has on us.  We celebrate with instruments in other aspects of our lives, so why keep it out of celebration for God?  Certain songs and melodies evoke certain emotions, and we should pour those out to God.  Secondly, as I was leaving coC summer camp for the last time, I felt like listening to music.  Danny popped in Sublime, and it just didn't feel right.  Much to my surprise, the other guy in the car had a Jars of Clay CD.  So we played it and it built us up in a tremendous way.  Considering the options, I believe God was honored and glorified by the thoughts we had while singing along with that CD after a week of spiritual growth.  We all keep saying it's about the heart condition, and yet we are debating about the physical aspects - singing, instruments, hymnals, pitch pipes.  They all can be used to bring us to the throne of God where we bow in adoration and love for what He's done for us.

Thank you for your time, and may God be with you,


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Jul 31st, 2003, 1:49am
yo yo yo

first things first, obey your thirst.

i think the internet comment was a touch off-color.  the fasting platform was strange, because if we do fast, we are commanded to fast incognito, so...  you know what im getting at.

i dont recall dan proving that first century silence was cultural and thusly above and beyond the bible and acceptable.  i'll take a look back, but i personally disagree with that inference.

specificity.  i agree.  i also agree that the debate is just as much about mr. rondons listing of items as it is about anything else.  i will address the list when i find the answers.  and i am now searching.

what kills me, and i hope i speak for more than just me here, is the attitude instruments are added with.  not the greek, not the phrasing, not even the specificity argument.  the attitude.  all i hear when they are touted as Gods gift to worship is "i like instruments".  

you made note of your brother's a cappella preference.  what weight exactly am i to give any individuals testimony about musical preference?  is that really why you prefer instruments in worship to God?  because they suit you??  where and in what part of the bible does anything happen to please men before it pleases God?  where is God not the priority in question??

would you still worship with instruments if you did not care for the way they sounded?  it is my job to do what God asks me.  not improvise.  what do i care how the sounds mere men make around me?  for my contrite heart, i believe God will bless me more than the joy i get from hearing Cannon in D being performed by a highschool trombone line.  (or the most beautiful song ever played on any instrument.)

God not denying them though He had ample chance is invalid.  why take liberty?  and i personally would not like to tell God what He couldve done better.  

im not clear what you meant by "We are not in the same situation because God is just not specific enough in the NT."  specific enough for whom?  those who wish for their preferences to be endorsed, or those who put preference safely out of the question?

let it never be said of me that i worship with a cappella music because it is what i, todd, prefer.  whoever lists personal preference as primary for their conclusion is misled.

are we to be mocked (or simply ignored) for being too strict in our interpretation?  show me how we can hold TOO fast to Gods word.  

can one really say "i will do better than exactly what God says - i will do what He meant to say or shouldve said"?

you said we arent given clear specific worship commands.  do you take the NT for mere suggestion?  

you said your impression of eph 5:19 was not law but guideline.  i see those as one and the same authoriy.

i'll find the answers i have promised.  keep it coming.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Jul 31st, 2003, 9:59am
Todd, you are a late-night man.  I hope you got some good rest last night.  I appreciate quick replies, so I will now post one.  Todd, I hate to say it, but you primarily focused on the last two paragraphs of my post, which I quite clearly indicated were not the focus of my point.  They were simply stories, and the theology of my post in the first five paragraphs was mostly ignored.

Yes, the internet as a sin may be a touch off-color.  But if the NT is silent about it, it is prohibited.  I am simply strictly interpreting the Bible according to this rule.  In my post, I tried to address other problems with this hermeneutic, but they were overlooked.  In the first century, Danny researched and found that instruments were associated with pagan gods, and to be seen playing a harp may have been misconstrued as worshiping Jupiter or something.

I am sad that my attitude towards instruments is viewed as a brashness toward God.  Were the Israelites brash toward God when they took up instruments and dancing to celebrate God's deliverance?  Up until my last post, I had never made mention that I enjoy instruments.  I added those last two paragraphs with hesitation, and perhaps I should have left them out because that was the point you chose to address.  You say that "all I hear when they are touted as God's gift to worship is 'I like instruments.'"  Maybe you're right...that is all you are hearing.  But that is the last thing I am saying, and I think my post is clear on that.  I would never ask you to base a theological decision on what I like.

You are correct that no one's preference should give any weight to this argument except God's.  That's what we're discussing.  And the coC believes that my salvation is in jeopardy because I use instruments.  Do I choose to use them because I like them?  No.  I use them because I believe - and have explained in previous posts - that it is a theologically sound conclusion.  Yes, I also prefer Christian music to secular music (which we all listen to a lot of) because if I let garbage in, garbage will come out.  My last year of coC summer camp, one guy brought a guitar.  And what did he play while sitting around with a bunch of Christians in the evening?  The House of the Rising Sun.  I have a hard time believing God prefers that to him playing a hymn.  If others can rationalize it, then we cannot discuss the issue much further.  I believe we all like instrumental music; it permeates our culture.  And folks in the coC are perfectly comfortable using them as long as it's not associated with God.  I find that hard to reconcile.

Would I use instruments if I didn't care how they sounded?  I must first say that I worship when I feel the need to worship.  Instruments present?  Fine.  Me alone in the woods with a pitch pipe?  Fine.  I am not concerned with the sound, but I merely stated that instrumental music affects us as human beings in a certain way.  And it is God who created us this way.  I concede that God's lack of denying instruments is not the strongest point I have made, but I believe His track record is clear on the matter.  He could have given Miriam and the worshiping Israelites the same destruction as Nadab and Abihu, but why would He?  His people were thankful and had their hearts on him.  Nadab and Abihu did not.

You also asked, "Why take liberty?"  I would say because Christ has given us liberty, and earlier I cited the story of the Samaritan woman as an example of this.  Furthermore, we have this liberty because, as I said, the NT is not specific enough.  I believe the NT lack of specificity is indisputable.  I say this not because I want my preferences to be endorsed, but because it is true.  Nearly all large Christian debates and issues come down to lack of NT specificity, and it is divisive.  The NT says the disciples came together on the first day of the week to break bread.  So we figure "break bread" means communion and we do it on Sunday, "the first day of the week."  But could "break bread" mean simply getting together to eat?  And perhaps they only came together on the first day of the week because they lived far away and it was their tradition left over from their Jewish heritage.  Then we remember that Jesus said, "As often as you eat this bread and drink this cup..." and if I were one of the apostles, I would realize this was the Passover, which we only eat once per year.  So now I'm thinking communion should only happen once a year.  Here's my point: unlike with the old law, where the Israelites waited 40 days for Moses to come down from the top of a cloudy mountain to give them rules about not eating catfish, the NT is far from a new list of rules and regulations.  If God were specific like in Leviticus, He would have clarified whether to use one cup or many for the Lord's Supper, exactly which days to partake of it, exactly how we should build church buildings, and other things like this.  Every one of us frequently speaks in God's silence because the NT is not given in exhaustive law form.

I apologize for making you believe I think you worship a cappella because it is what you prefer.  That was not my point, and I know that is not your heart.  I was merely saying that inasmuch as you believe your salvation is in jeopardy if you use instruments in worship and thus this discussion is important, I feel the same way because the coC believes I am in peril for using them.  I simply wanted to say that if the coC took their instruments stand by saying that is what they felt comfortable with, I would be fine with it.  As long as you draw close to God in worship, I like it.  It is the claim that I will be condemned for using instruments that is the problem.  I also apologize if you feel mocked for being too strict with God's word, and I believe this post should let you know I am not simply ignoring you for this stance.  I have tried to make it clear that the NT is something that, no matter how hard we try, we will find lack of specifics.  Thus holding TOO fast to it forces us to make decisions based on our own judgment.  Todd, how would you hold fast to what the NT says about disciplining children?  From what we can tell, there's nothing to hold onto in the NT about the matter.  No specifics, no set number of days of punishment or swats with the hand.  The new covenant is different, more perfect, and James Rondon has explored this issue.

I also am sorry that I come across as someone who wants to "improve" on God's word.  Again, the theology in the first paragraphs of my last post are sound conclusions and points that show I am not focused on improving God's word.  Are we not all working out our salvation with fear and trembling, trying to know what He wants for us?  I am not trying to do what He meant to say any more than anyone else.  You believe He meant to say "sing only," even though He didn't.  I believe He endorses instruments based on their use in the OT and Revelation.  It is the silence issue, which I focused on in my previous post, that is at the heart of the matter.  Not preference, but silence.  I feel a bit ignored myself when the only points addressed are the last ones that were not at all the focus of my argument.

I hope this clarifies a few things, and I hope we can talk more about the silence and the first five paragraphs of my previous post.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Jul 31st, 2003, 9:46pm

I hope you will excuse me for the short response to your various questions. I am trying to reduce the length of the reply.

I find it strange another language must be used to justify what should be plain.
Truly it is plain to you that ‘sing’ means ‘sing only’ while it is plain to me that sing means ‘sing’ and looking at both the OT and Revelation, I find God delighted with IM. Nothing in Eph 5:19 says anything about IM or worship and yet it caused so much dissension within Christianity. The only reason why ‘another’ language was used was because the NT was written in that language.

Is this really what you wish to discuss here? that single word? i ask not expecting a resounding "yes, todd" - for you have proven your desires by providing your thoughts here. i wish only to examine, albeit breifly, that you imply with this (literally) greek language recap, that anyone who wishes to fervently obey the bible while still using mechanical instruments in praise to our Lord must know at least this much of the greek language first.
No. That is not my contention. To me, the Bible can be reduced to two commands – Love the Lord and your fellow men. And you do not need to know Greek to obey these two commands. On this issue, I submit to Paul’s word in Romans ‘according to your conscience’.

the quote i posted in my previous post about everyone joining in playing if the word does in fact mean play. is this a logical assumption in your eyes?
Nope. Others in the forum have already answered it. God gives different gifts to different people. It does not mean that we cannot worship God if we do not possess a musical instrument. Paul most certainly did not sin when he sang a-cappella in jail. Paul commanded Christians to greet one another with a holy kiss, is there compliance when we shake-hands?

Pleas allow me to narrate a personal story. I was on holiday in Rome and I visited a church. They were singing a song I was unfamiliar with and, of course, the language too. So, I did not sing but I listened to their glorious worship of God. Did I sin because I did not sing?

The NT clause you gave was this: "in the New Testament to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song" at this point i am confused as to whether you believe this individuals interpretation of the word is accurate or not. it would seem to me that if you did accept that single sentence as fact, then your argument is weakened. if the writers of the NT used that word with that definition in mind, then what can be said?
Who am I to question a scholar of Thayer’s stature? But I am sorry to say that you have misunderstood Thayer. After defining ‘psallo’ Thayer urged us to read his definition of ‘hymnos’ which contained an elaboration on the word ‘psallo’ – “While the leading idea of yalm is a musical accompaniment…” So, it does not weaken my argument at all. In fact it supports the view that musical accompaniment is implied in ‘psallo’. It also shows that the meaning of the word had not changed at the time of the apostles.

why must instrumental worship rest on opinions of definitions of old languages?
Because it was written in that language and something is lost in the process of translation.

did you read the essays i posted?

If that is the steadfast limit of your belief in instrumentation, i wonder what others say is theirs. im not implying that it is, im just wondering how individuals justify it. does it all boil down to this one word as the essays ive read imply? i welcome thoughts on this.
If you wish to know how I justify singing with IM without ref to the original language, it is rather simple.  God was pleased with IM in OT times and I see IM in heaven. Thus, without a direct command to the contrary, I do not believe God is against IM. If God’s will be done on earth as it is in heaven, then surely there is no harm following the example set forth in heaven.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Aug 1st, 2003, 8:20am

Just some points of clarification.  I have heard of elders anointing the sick with oil.  It didn't happen at my own congregation, but I have heard it happening at another one in the area.
At our own church we have been asked by the family of a seriously ill member to fast and pray for their safe recovery.
So both types of actions have been done before in the modern day coC's.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 1st, 2003, 9:09am

two things.  alpha, when did this become about my church?  i was under the impression i, todd, was speaking with persons wishing to discuss things with me as opposed to persons wishing me to deliver their message to the rest of my church for them.  i represent todd and what todd knows and feels and no one else.

two, when did this become an issue of salvation?  per my church (apparently as a collective, on a global level) or per myself or my mt juliet friends - who said anyones soul was in danger?  my contention is that such was introduced by big dan or one of his number as an assumed affirmative.  

i AGREE i shoulndt call you sinners.  i cannot say how God views instruments and what your reward or punishment will be.  my only claim about God and what He is known to approve of is singing.  and He likes it.  thats been my point, and i will not have words put in my mouth.  ...words typed in my post...  its a figure of speech...

to me the discussion is and was always about "why or why not instruments?"  not the aftermath, reputation, or repercussions assumed or not assumed to be involved.  

i know this post does not cover your first 5 paragraphs, tim.  i will get there.  im just taking a weekend for some vacation.  id like a pause, personally, for a bit.

peace brothers (and sister)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by andrew on Aug 1st, 2003, 1:17pm
Hey guys-
  It seems to me that things are getting a little heated. I think the reason why is that we have discussed this topic for 5 pages, and we are not any closer to a conclusion. To tell you the truth, I hesitate to even post another response, and this will probably be my last one.
Just as in any argument, there are those with different positions on what psallo means. I find it interesting that the Greek Orthodox church, who knows Greek way better than I do, does not use instruments. I also wonder why the New Testament Christians would have resisted instruments, if they truly felt that Paul was commanding its use with the word psallo. They followed other commandments written by the apostles, even when it meant death. I wonder why they would have ignored that one. In the words of Fee and Stuart, a text cannot mean what it never meant. If psallo indicates instruments, then they are neccessary and not optional. But the first century Christians did not read it that way, and there are no other specific commands by Paul for them to start using instruments. SO... it seems that they read Psallo as making melody with a different instrument - the heart. When we worship, we are plucking the strings of our heart and glorifying Him.
Tim -
I appreciate your interest in delving into the heart of the issue. However, I do not believe that silence is all there is to consider. As stated earlier, specificity is an issue. You stated that Noah did what God commanded because - "why wouldn't he?" Exactly - Why wouldn't he? Why would he add a different kind of wood - because he was doing what God commanded. God has asked me to sing - why wouldn't I? Why would I want to add anything to that singing - becasue I am trying to do what God commands. Nadab and Abihu did disobey, and that was their sin. But how did they disobey? By offering something to God that was NOT what he commanded. By the way, it was a free gift, but it seems that since it was not what God commanded, He was displeased. Isn't it interesting that we don't know how it was different? I think that is intentional; God wants exactly what He commands. Any more and any less would be different.
I am not sure that David would have destroyed instruments if they could not be specifically used in a worship assembly, it is possible to glorify God in everything I do, yet not do everything I do in a public worship assembly. This relates to Mr. Rondon's final point. Using God given talents (such as the ability to play an instrument) glorify Him, but not all are appropriate for public worship. Romans 12 states that living a life of sacrifice is a spiritual act of worship. I know you don't want to hear this, but that Greek word (latreuo) is different than the word often used for public worship (proskuneo). It indicates a service towards GOd or a carrying out of religious duties. WHile I do not wish to dwell on the Greek, I think that draws a distinction between public worship and living a life that glorifies God.
I am reluctant to say that God is not specific enough in the N.T. II Peter 1:3 states that true knowledge of Christ (which I believe is revealed in His word) has granted us everything we need for life and godliness. II Timothy 3:16-17 tells us that scripture equips us for every good work. Jesus told His apostles that they would be guided into all truth (John 16:13). It is my belief that the N.T. is specific enough. My response to its specific commands should not be altered by anything I think or feel apart from what God has told me. There is some ambiguity over the setting of these Eph./Col. passages. I do think they have some bearing on our public worship - if not, then I guess we can only sing psalms, hymns, or spiritual songs our entire lives. Those were the only options we were given. Mr. Rondon mentioned something about that in his post. Since I believe that these passages are meant to tell us how we should worship, then I believe that we should not sing secular songs [i][/i]in worship. It does not limit the types of songs we should sing outside of worship.
By the way, the New Testament is not silent about disciplining children - Epheisans 3:20 states that children should obey their parents (implying that parents would provide rules) and 21 states that Fathers should not exasperate their children. This describes the treatment parents should give children. Hebrews 12:4-11 staes that GOd's discipline is a father's discipline. 7 says "what Father does not discipline his son?" 8 - Those who are not disciplined are not legitimate sons. 9 - children should respect disciplining fathers. 10 states that fathers discipline for a short time doing what seems best to them, disciplining us for our own good" 11 - it should seem sorrowful at the moment but yield fruit of righteousness.
You stated that God did not say "Sing only." He didn't have to - He said "sing." Fulfilling that command precludes anything else. There are "gopher wood commands" for worship  - we are told to sing, and I want to do just that.
Sorry for the lenght of this post. I also want to add that those in this discussion are not judging anyone else. All of us will have to face divine judgment all too soon. Tim, I don't think anyone is here with an attitude of condemnation, and vice-versa. We are all trying to obey God, because when it gets right down to it, I can say anything I want, but it is what God has said that matters. I believe that we may have fundamental differences in our interpretation of what He has said that cannot be resolved in this medium (or maybe any other). We may want to think about how far we should let this continue. Let's all show God's love and search His word for answers!
In Him,

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Aug 1st, 2003, 4:53pm
Before I, too, take a weekend (or more) off and consider how much further to continue in the discussion, I would like to leave a few more thoughts.  Thank you guys for the replies, and I hope your weekend is good.

Jeff - it's good that you've heard of elders anointing the sick with oil.  My only thought there is that if the coC is so strict about singing and singing only, then anointing with oil MUST happen every time someone gets sick.  The elders of the church - all of them - must anoint every sick person with oil.  By coC interpretation, anything else is a violation of law.  Furthermore, neither deacons nor anyone else can be present because the NT is silent about them being there.  We cannot add deacons to the group any more than we can add instruments to singing.  All I ask is for consistent interpretation, and I do not find that in the coC hermeneutic.

Todd - I apologize if I came across as targeting your church.  I never intended for you to deliver messages to your church.  As far as the salvation issue is concerned, I believe it was either you or Linz who said they didn't want to take even the slightest risk, even the one-in-a-million chance, that instruments were sinful.  Plus, I grew up in a coC where the issue was commonly discussed as one deserving eternal punishment.  No hurry on addressing the first 5 paragraphs.  Time away from the Internet is good time, and they're just thoughts to think.  Do with them as you please.

Andrew - We do need to keep the heat down.  I, too, will probably stop posting soon because such debate is taxing on the mind and spirit.  I believe it is fruitful, though.  Noah used gopher wood because that is what God specifically commanded.  You view Paul's encouragement to the Ephesians to sing as a command in a similar vein - as a direct mandate from God.  I do not, and perhaps that is the issue.  Is there a command to sing in Galatians?  I'm not sure, but if there's not, how would the Galatians have known to sing and sing only?  Did the Ephesians send their letter around so people knew God commanded them to sing and sing only?  Maybe Paul told them while he was there, but I do not read the NT as a second law, as I have mentioned.  Hence our disagreements.  It is hard to find examples and analogies, as we have discussed.  I think about the nature of the old law and how specific it was, even down to bathroom etiquette.  Is the NT so specific that it tells us how to go to the bathroom?  No.  So what are we to do, then?  I look at the celebrating Israelites as an example of worship, as I have also said before.  God was silent about instrumental worship at that point, and He didn't have a problem with it but later actually encouraged it.  I'm not sure if you had music at your wedding, but isn't a great deal of instrumental music usually associated with celebration?  As far as Nadab and Abihu are concerned, I do not believe their heart was right, so I would not consider their strange fire a free gift.  Just as Moses' heart was not right when he struck the rock.  I agree that we have all that pertains to life and godliness, but I want to point out that II Timothy 3:16-17 necessarily refers to the OT.  In fact, the OT was pretty much the only text the first century church had to look at.  And if I were them, I'd be worshiping with instruments because everybody in the OT did.  And God loved it.  The children discipline issue: children obeying their parents implies that parents provide rules.  I agree.  So the NT is not silent about disciplining children and thus it is not a valid analogy.  My apologies.  Last two things.  First, I don't think we should examine the Greek Orthodox church as an example of anything.  I'm pretty sure they have little idols, called icons I believe, that they worship and pray to.  Yes, they'd be Greek experts, but if they can't get the first commandment correct, their Biblical interpretation methods are highly dubious.  Finally, you mentioned that God did not have to say "sing only."  Well, after He communicated how much He liked them in the OT and Revelation, I believe He would have to specifically remove them from use in a very clear way if He truly was gracious and merciful.  To make such a drastic change in opinion without clearly stating the new policy is too mysterious and foggy for the God we serve.  As mentioned earlier, the first century church pretty much only had the OT Scriptures to read.  None of us would read the OT and conclude instruments were bad.  It is because of current interpretation methods that we arrive at this disagreement, and that foundational aspect may eliminate the possibility of resolution.  Nonetheless, thank you for your thoughts.

To all - have a safe, blessed weekend, and I admire your dedication to truth.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 2nd, 2003, 4:27pm
I just wanted to write a quick note to let everyone know I'm back.  I've been at a youth conference in Oklahoma but I've finished reading the posts and I'll be making some comments soon.  Tonight I need to edit the video of our trip so we can show it as a report tomorrow morning.  



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 3rd, 2003, 11:11pm
Well, I finished the video at about 12 last night and it turned out to be a fun and effective way to show the church what we did last week.  Whether or not showing a video during a "worship service" is allowed could be a whole other discussion.  As I've said before I still have some other questions about the coC doctrine and practice, but I think we are making some progress on this discussion.

Andrew said, "I am reluctant to say that God is not specific enough in the N.T. II Peter 1:3 states that true knowledge of Christ (which I believe is revealed in His word) has granted us everything we need for life and godliness."  I believe that the NT is specific enough to give us everything we need for life and godliness.  It is not specific enough to satisfy all of our curiosity, however.  To me that means that if the NT is not specific on something then it doesn't pertain to life and godliness.  In other words, God doesn't have an opinion on it and he wants us to use our best judgment based on principles he has made clear to us.  That's why I think this should be a non-issue.

But Andrew thinks the NT is specific on this issue.  God says to sing, so that's all we can do.  I find the following problems with this view: 1)  Singing is still singing even with instruments.  It doesn't change the essence of the vocal music.  2) I don't think the NT passages in question are all that specific.  They're not meant to give exact details about how to conduct a worship service.  Leviticus does, right down to the dimensions of the furniture.  3) If the NT is to be interpreted in this way (silence = prohibition) then it needs to be done consistently.  I firmly believe that this is impossible.  That's why there are so many different types of churches of Christ.  Each one is applying this hermeneutic a little differently.  I can't stress this enough:  It's impossible for the silence of the scriptures hermeneutic to be applied consistently.  That's I why I bring up other things the Bible is silent about like, building, Sunday schools, pitch pipes, hymnals, etc.  I want you to see the impossibility of really living with this principle of interpretation.  


No one is trying to slam your church.  And as far as I know, no one is trying to say that instruments are ok because "I like them."  The idea that using instruments puts my salvation in jeopardy didn't come from this discussion board.  I don't think you or any other Mt. Juliet member has said anything that would suggest that you believe I'm going to hell.  Far from it.  In fact, you've been very kind and gracious and I'm not sure why you suddenly seem so upset.  If you want to know where the idea came from, it came from the church I grew up in.  It was drilled into me in Sunday school classes and sermon after sermon on this subject.  

I'd like to see some more discussion on applying the silence argument consistently.  We could look at some specific examples like the ones James and Tim mentioned, or if we need some more:  Synagogue service.  God never commanded it.  Adding wine to the Passover.  God never commanded it, and he was very specific about what was allowed.

I think Tim's right about the principles of interpretation being the heart of the issue.  I'm not quite ready to give up on this, but if everyone else is I guess I can't discuss it with myself.  Thanks for talking with me.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 5th, 2003, 3:51am

silence...  heres my final answer:  i dont know.

(i have heard of elders doing the oil and praying thing, but i would imagine it would be up to the sick individual to initiate said event.)  but of the list entire, i have come up with nothing significant and i apologize.

i will seek these answers personally as i hope we all will, but this is my last postage of any serious type for a period of time yet to be determined.

this discussion has proven edifying, but i must say i am exhausted.  im not saying i wont read it, im not saying its over, im saying my personal towel is thrown.

once again i apologize for proving insufficient for the task at hand.  peace be with you all.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Aug 5th, 2003, 7:00am

In the words of Fee and Stuart, a text cannot mean what it never meant.
I have that book too. I find it strange you said that. The texts in Eph and Col was not talking about worship or IM. Yet, we are told using IM in worship is wrong.

There is some ambiguity over the setting of these Eph./Col. Passages.
I see no ambiguity there. Those passages were talking about living wisely as Christians.

Thanks for listening...
SO... it seems that they read Psallo as making melody with a different instrument - the heart. When we worship, we are plucking the strings of our heart and glorifying Him.
So, either, ‘psallo’ indicate IM or it does not. If the latter, then your point about the heart being the instrument has no merit. If the former, then, it destroys your entire argument.

You stated that Noah did what God commanded because - "why wouldn't he?" Exactly - Why wouldn't he? Why would he add a different kind of wood - because he was doing what God commanded. God has asked me to sing - why wouldn't I? Why would I want to add anything to that singing - because I am trying to do what God commands.

You stated that God did not say "Sing only." He didn't have to - He said "sing." Fulfilling that command precludes anything else. There are "gopher wood commands" for worship - we are told to sing, and I want to do just that.

In Romans 16:16 and in other places, Paul ‘commanded’ the Christians to greet each other with a holy kiss. Do you presently do exactly that or do you greet with a handshake? If the latter, have you sinned? If not why not?

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Aug 5th, 2003, 8:52am
I have an apology to make, perhaps two.

Firstly, my last post was for Andrew. Sorry, I did not make that clear.

Secondly, the remark 'Thanks for listening' was supposed to be at the end of my last post, and not in the middle.

Sorry again.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by memmy on Aug 5th, 2003, 10:52am
Hi there, I am finding your discussion very interesting and also noticing how this is maybe causing some more searching on all of your parts which is wonderful!
I grew up in the coC much as the same you all seem to be, and the thing is, we thought at that time we already have come to all the knowledge we needed back then, (close to 40 years ago).
I think that is a dangerous assumption that we have already gained all of the knowledge that God has put there for us.
It has stagnated growth in the church as we know it today, sadly, in my opinion.
I have one question for those who choose to think that psallos (psalms) means to only "pluck the instruments of the heart".
Are we not supposed to do that as we sing hymns and spiritual praises or songs too? (pluck the instruments of our hearts)? Why would this be said that the definition is of the psalms and not the hymns and spiritual praises? Why the 3 words and ways to sing, if not using the heart with all three of the types of singing?
Anyone ever even think of that?
I hope that all of you do keep searching, as I was stagnant for several years, thinking that I needed someone elses guidance when all we need is an open heart and God to guide us through His Son, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit who will see us through, but only if we OPEN our hearts to Him and not show Him we already have all we need to know.
We can all be guilty of that , even my Mom that is 84 years old will "shut down" (she is quite sharp for her age) if she doesn't have the answers that she has been "given" thoughout her years in th coC. She will walk away without trying to learn more if her "superiors" in the coC do not tell her it is ok, she will not listen even if it is from the Bible, we all need to open our hearts to Him and not to man, who will never be perfected until we meet Him in Heaven.
I don't recommend being too "righteous" seeming when discussing this with others but just having an open mind. This may be difficult with our elders (older people, not meaning only official "elders") because they have most likely been set in their ways for so long, alot of them see no room for growth, which is sad beyond belief.
We all have had milk for years and it is time for some more things to grow on as in something with more to chew than what has been fed to us respectfully.
I just ask that you all let God see you through your searching in the way only He knows how. But for that to happen, we need an open heart and mind to allow Him to work through us.
In Christian Love,  Memmy :)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Aug 5th, 2003, 6:30pm
I think that we should all be mindful that we don't have all the answers.  I don't think anyone on this discussion board has made that assumption.  We should all be like the Bereans and search the scriptures daily to know whether or not what we are hearing is true (Acts 17:11).

As far as the word "psallo" is concerned, we could all say what we think it meant and bring up scholarly material for or against our point of view, but the truth is that none of us lived in ancient Greece and therefore couldn't say one way or another what it means.

Does any modern day church greet fellow Christians with a holy kiss?  If not, using Chris's argument, then everyone is wrong.

I'm afraid the tone of this discussion has turned sour, which is why many of the MJ members aren't posting as much.  I've thought about locking this topic (I'm the board administrator), not due to any arguments being won or lost, but because whatever has been said has already been said.  There is no need to rehash arguments over and over again.  This is not an official Church of Christ discussion board.  Just a discussion board for a local church in Tennessee.  If you came here expecting to pick an argument, then you are in the wrong place.  

As far as the instrumental music is concerned, I choose to worship without it.  I choose to concentrate on what God has commanded:  to sing praises to Him.  There are much bigger issues (means of salvation, the virgin birth, etc...) that the Christian world has a difficult time with, rather than the instrumental music issue.  I choose to concentrate on those issues.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by memmy on Aug 5th, 2003, 8:14pm
Hi Jeff, I am sorry if I came across as picking an arguement, as that is not my intention here at all.

I guess I have come here too late to join in, I thought this was a discussion board and not somewhere to argue.

Since this is a discussion board for "MJ" members then I will bow out as I was only joining in here to learn as well as try and share things that I have learned throughout my years as a member of the coC.

I do however come across this type of defensiveness alot when we get into discussions in my family, a long line of traditional coC members. When the discussions get "sticky" they tend to quit talking too.

Again, I apologize if I have offended anyone here and will stick to a more open discussion if it is so desired by whoever is wanting to discuss.   ???

Memmy     :)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Aug 5th, 2003, 8:31pm
Dear Jeff,

Does any modern day church greet fellow Christians with a holy kiss?  If not, using Chris's argument, then everyone is wrong.

As a matter of fact, that is not my argument at all. I was just following the logic of some folks here and their hermeneutics. Since we can't choose which command to obey, then we would have to obey all, and that includes the way we greet one another, the anointing of oil on the sick etc etc.

I am truly sorry that the discussion has turned sour. Perhaps we can turn it around like when the discussion first started. It was respectful and calm then. But do as you think fit. Lock it if it is in the best interest of MJ

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 6th, 2003, 4:45am
hey - call me crazy

so i was at work tonight and was kicking myself slightly for calling it quits.  so i'll stop kicking.

i realized a slight (or not so slight) disparity at work.  we went from discussing, with vigor, the worship practice of instrumental music to personal issues such as anointing or fasting or any other such thing.  this is inconsistent, and i believe that is why i felt so much pressure personally.  these are personal issues you speak of.  not simply beliefs but acts.  i cannot speak for another person or even a group, i only know how to answer for what is done in worship as a group.  the rest will have to be saved for a "todd burka:  sinner" message board   8)

and when i thought more about the different categories i wish to set forth here tonight, i realized something else.  what is the difference between big dan and i or any other religious person at home?  can you tell a methodist from a baptist in his daily behavior?  (dont get me started   :P )  but am i making sense?  this isnt about personal practice in the Word, it is my worship beliefs in contrast to yours.

i understand hermeneutic concepts.  i understand you wish to know why i have been taught one way from another.  the truth is, i have not been taught A way.  anointing the sick has never been a topic of education in my church.  i will seek justification for that though.

i am here to defend a capella worship primarily.  i would like a close to that before we begin on any large issues.  i would like more structure if we are even to delve into personal habits.  

we can all be called out as sinners for we all are.  i understand that believing what is correct is imperative as well.  that, we can discuss.  but outside of my church building, you wouldnt be able to tell me apart from yourselves, unless you wished to discuss how well my church's bass guitarist is.  then youd know what i believe.

also i am not fond of this if its right then its right kinda talk.  the whole "if instruments are wrong, then youre all wrong anyways for all this other stuff"  who is trying to smite whom?  i believe that leads to slight offense every time it is mentioned.  mention it seven or eight times each and its wholly frustrating.

memmy, you werent arguing.  you jumped in at an emotionally fragile  8) time for me and i shared that with jeff that morning and he took my defense.  i'll discuss anything with you.  be civil with me please, i am outnumbered.

i charge the whole discussion group to take this responsibility of communication more seriously.  realize that when you post, you do not post directly to a person, but to potentially everyone in the world.  also realize that i am a person with a night shift job and heartaches and flat tires like the rest of you.  i dont really care to hear how my intellect is to blame on any level, especially since i believe i do sacrifice time and energy in answering (albeit poorly at times) questions and queries.  if we were to divy up the respect for each defense by number of members, i deserve like respect to the fifth over here.   :P  i know i may sound like some papa roach cover band poster boy with fragile emotions, but thats not all - i am tender headed too, so dont pull my hair.  please.  i'll end my little soapbox-ette by urging new members to read every jot and tittle of our epic of epics discussion.  i know thats no small task for someone to discover our goings on today or tomorrow, but backtracking is simply beyond my realm of thought.  i mean look how far weve come!  this is craziness.  we all must be insane.  at least big dan and i.  well, make that me.

so, jeff, fear not.  i only needed to jolt myself back into action with a faux-retreat.  i hope to never grow tired of study.

by mulitple request, mr rondons (where is he?  i enjoy his posts) list (posted july 20):

Some inconsistencies:
1. Holy kiss (Rom. 16:16; 1 Cor. 16:20; 2 Cor. 13:12; 1 Ths. 5:26; 1 Pet. 5:14; cf. Acts 20:37).  
2. Holy hands (1 Tim. 2:8).
3. Anointing sick with oil (Jam. 5:14-16).
4. Laying on of hands (1 Tim. 5:22; cf. Acts 6:6; 13:3).
5. Foot washing (John 13:3-15).
6. Fasting (Matt. 6:16-18; cf. Acts 13:3).

holy kiss - personal behavior.  not my bag.   :-*

holy hands - unclear to me exactly the use or time for use.  perhaps figurative?

anointing sick - seems alright to me.  dependant upon request from ill person, making it personal behavior and still not by place to answer for them

foot washing - if you want me to, i will.  i enjoy the thought of Jesus teaching the value of service to others.  

fasting - i said it earlier, but whos counting.  fasting should be under the radar.  making it, when done correctly, less than easy to observe.  still, again, personal matters that i cannot vouch for or against.

musical instruments in worship is public.  i separated the church's behavior from personal behavior in one of my earliest posts.  yahtzee.

peace out brothers.  dont be dissuaded by my seeming instability.  i get rattled some times.  gimme some faith and please continue to pray for our well continuing in this effort.  *newbies have to pray twice!   :P  that was a joke.

goodnight or goodmorning as it suits you.  peace.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Aug 6th, 2003, 2:03pm
I apologize if I came across too harsh in my last post.  

My objective here is to keep the peace and to make sure this discussion board is in the best interest of Christianity as a whole and Mt. Juliet church of Christ as a locality.  One thing I don't want this to turn into is a topic like "Why I Left Church A." Such discussion is just not appropriate here.  

Feel free to continue the discussion.  I am all for free speech.  But always remember who's house you are in.  

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 6th, 2003, 2:56pm

I just read your last post and before I say anything else, I want to say this:  It was very encouraging to me.  It means a lot to know that even with all of the potential for hurt feelings that this discussion holds, you're still willing to press on.  Even though it may seem like there's no possibility for resolution and we're about to start talking in circles, I agree that there's something here worth continuing.  Maybe we do need some refocusing, like you said.  This discussion shouldn't be about picking at people's individual private practices and trying to determine who lives the holiest life.  This was never my intent.  For me this discussion has always been about exchanging ideas and seeing which ideas stood up to scrutiny, not which people stood up to scrutiny.  Todd's right, if that's what this were about, then none of us would stand a chance.  Early on, maybe back on page one (!) I remember Todd saying something about the reasons behind our beliefs and practices being important.  We should all have good reasons for what we believe.  By talking about it, we can see how good our reasons are.  Sometimes that talking about reasons can come across as a personal attack or a judgment on someone else's practice.  We should all be careful to avoid this kind of tone.  I'm all for new people coming in and posting, but they need to understand that those of us who have been in this since the beginning have some understanding of each other and some ability to read each others' tone and not misinterpret each other.  So new posters, especially, should be careful about how they ask questions and express opinions if we all hope to continue a gracious conversation.

If anyone needs to reframe a question or comment to fit in better with this discussion, then consider this your opportunity.  Here's an example.  Tim brought up fasting.  Todd is totally right that fasting is a personal issue and Jesus instructed us to keep it private and not make it a source of spiritual pride.  Todd feels like this question crossed over from talking about ideas, to talking about personal practice.  I can see how he would think that.  I don't want to speak for someone else here, but maybe Tim was more interested in what churches and individuals are teaching about this.  After all, Jesus did speak about it publicly.  It wasn't so private an issue that he wouldn't mention it at all in his teaching.  So maybe the question should have been something like "What would you say to a young Christian who asks you to teach him/her about fasting?"  I think that question is a little more suited to this discussion than one that singles you out and asks you to give an account for your private behavior.  But you may still be asking yourself, "What does this question, in any form, have to do with our discussion about instruments in church?"  Good question.  Here's the way I see it.  Tim understands that the coC at large and most individual coC members have a deep respect for God's word and a desire to follow its instructions as closely as possible.  This desire is what prompts many people to choose not to use instruments in church, because they feel that the Bible teaches them not to.  Having been raised with this same respect for the Word and this same desire to follow it closely, Tim was surprised when he realized that Jesus teaches people how to fast, and assumes that they will indeed use fasting as a part of their spiritual disciplines (Matthew 6:16 "When you fast . . ." not "If you fast . . .").  He wondered why his Bible-teaching church would neglect to ever say anything about this issue (maybe other coCs do, but his didn't, and neither did mine) and he saw this a sign that maybe there where other things about the Bible that his church got wrong.  It's more a question of doctrine than of practice.  Tim and I were always taught that our churches' doctrine was flawless.  Maybe other churches don't claim flawless doctrine, but when a church does and then one flaw is found, it brings up the possibility of others.  Maybe Tim can do a better job of explaining why he brought this up, but that's the way I see it.

Todd, you said, "i am here to defend a capella worship primarily.  i would like a close to that before we begin on any large issues.  i would like more structure if we are even to delve into personal habits."  As I said, I don't think this discussion should become about personal habits, even if there were more structure.  We all need someone in our lives that we can talk to about stuff like that, but those conversations shouldn't be plastered up on the internet for everyone to see.  While I agree with you on that, I feel that there are larger issues that are so closely related to the IM in worship question that we can't help but deal with them.  What I have in mind, of course, is the silence of the scriptures hermeneutic.  I don't see how we can ever get anywhere on the IM question unless we take some time to examine the SoSH question.  If we need to put this thread on hold and start a new one to discuss what God's silence teaches us, then we can do it, but my opinion is that we should have the SoSH discussion right here.  We've already started it here.  But if Todd and a couple of others would rather see a new thread, then I'm even willing to be the one to start it.  One way or another, we need to deal with the SoS issue.  If I'm way off on this and SoS isn't really the reason for not using instruments, then let me know.  

I'm sad to learn that some MJ members aren't posting because of the tone in this discussion.  My hope all along has been to see several people from MJ get involved so I could learn from all of you.  When I made my very first post, I was expecting to be totally outnumbered and I was fine with that.  I'm still hope to see some other MJ members start posting or at least thinking about these things.  I'll do my best to make the tone of the conversation more welcoming.  I'll leave you with this question, which I hope will help us to focus our discussion:  What role does SoS play in your belief that MI should not be used in church?  



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 7th, 2003, 6:55am
hey guys

way too many  :o smiley faces  ;D in that last post.  sorry  :-X

im encouraged to be known as an encourager of sorts.  thank you very much for your last post and question.  i needed that.

what role does scriptural silence play in the instrument decision?

this is a surprisingly hard question to answer succinctly.  i'll take another night at work to think about what needs to be said.

i hate to leave such an empty post... so i'll throw some more smiley faces in there.

:o 8) :'( :-[ :P :D ;) :o 8) ??? ::) :) :-/ 8)

better.  is it fair to desire an answer from Team Big Dan members?  if so, lead us off, random someone else.  im right behind you.  if no, then i'll be here soon.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 7th, 2003, 9:27am

is it fair to desire an answer from Team Big Dan members?  if so, lead us off, random someone else.  im right behind you.  if no, then i'll be here soon.

Yeah, I think it's fair.  I'm guessing that the question you have in mind is the one I left you with in my last post.  If so, then my answer is that silence of the scriptures should have no role whatsoever in our determining if instruments are allowed in worship because it is an invalid system of interpretation.  I don't know if I speak for anyone else here, but that's the way I see it.  I can get into reasons later if you like.  Go ahead and take your time answering this question.  I think it's important enough to wait for.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 8th, 2003, 5:41am
hey guys

i believe there is a place for taking the silence of scriptures into account in evaluating biblical issues such as musical instrument worship in Christ's church.

i also believe it is an invalid system for making decisions.  i believe it plays a part and cannot be relied on in full.  if we were to rely on it in full, the english language would be in trouble.  along with every other thing not mentioned explicitly in the NT...

so in context and conjunction with other aspects of judgement (i will compile my list, its rough now) sos has its place.  it is highly invalid on its own though.

i am interested in hearing your reasons for saying so, big dan, if they differ even only slightly from mine.

theres more to come.  day by day.  peace, guys.

(todd gets up from computer and goes out of town for a weekend.  amazing.)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 9th, 2003, 4:42pm
I hope Todd is enjoying his weekend off.  While we're waiting  for more information from him about the SOS question, I'd like to invite others to respond to this question.  What role should the silence of the scriptures play in deciding whether instruments should be used in a worship service?  

Todd gave a brief reply to this question, though I'm a little confused by it.  First, he said, " i also believe it is an invalid system for making decisions." Then he said, "in context and conjunction with other aspects of judgement . . . sos has its place.  it is highly invalid on its own though."  If a line of thinking is really invalid (and I think you're right about that), then I don't see how it can have any place in strengthening  an argument.  Maybe you're planning on expounding on that later.

I think we're now getting down to the heart of the argument.  I hope to see some more people posting, but I also hope that we can stay focused on this question for a little while.

peace,  danny

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 11th, 2003, 1:22am
hey guys

about the silence:  its not a guideline as much as it is a clue.  we cannot use it as a reference point for our lives, because virtually everything we are and what we do cannot be found within the new testament.  the city of nashville is not in the new testament... so can we really live here under God's authority?  silence is not a rule.  it is a clue.

it is used and useful when we are faced with the need for a solution.  it truly is an irrelevant form of judgement otherwise.  like a clue is immaterial without a case.

i cannot think readily of a time when i would turn to the silence of the scriptures for guidance outside of a discussion on whether scripture condones or does not condone a certain questionable behavior.

we have guidelines for judging right from wrong in the bible.  wisdom is shown to us there.  we dont need a verse that clearly says "do not preach from the koran".  we know where the Truth is, and we know the bible is the place for it - making other books unsuitable for doctrinal instruction.

i agree with and have thought about what you said when (someone) you made the point about instruments never incurring God's wrath in the past (and how you are looking not for their justification, but their incrimination.)  i agree that they have never been placed in an unacceptable light, but that is not sufficient for their admittance.  other factors, such as silence, are present and must be taken into account, i believe.

im sorry to our readers for being so sparatic and haphazard lately.  college starts in less than a week and i do not promise my busy state to lessen for at least 2 calendar weeks from now.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 12th, 2003, 1:42pm

I would probably agree that silence in the Bible is a clue.  And, like you, I wouldn't look to it for any more than that.  So what is this clue telling us?  If God allowed and even enjoyed the MI accompanied praise of his people in the Old Testament, and the praise of God that will go on eternally in heaven includes instruments, then could God's silence in the NT be a clue that he hasn't changed his mind?  If he were going have a different standard for this middle period, then he probably would have given us more than a clue.

But this question comes up:  Why didn't he just tell us in the NT, yes or no, whether instruments were allowed.?  This is a good question, but I see two reasons that God wouldn't bother saying anything on the subject.  1)  The history of his people already made clear that this was a good way to worship him.  Moses, Miriam, David, Solomon and the temple services show that God was not offended by instruments.  He probably didn't feel the need to spell it out.  2)  When he was seeing to the recording of the NT, there were more important things to worry about.  Just look at the pages of the NT.  It wasn't meant to answer every little that we could come up with.  It was meant to deal with some of the most important issues the early church faced.  Even when singing is brought up, it's not for the purpose of giving the details of how a church worship service should sound, it's telling people to sing with joy and gratitude toward God that comes from the Spirit and not from a bottle of wine.  God settled the issues that he thinks are important and he remained silent when it didn't matter to him or he had already made himself clear.  

So Todd, I know you're busy, but when you get a chance to reply, let me know if you think this is an accurate interpretation of the clue of God's silence about IM.  If not then let us know what the clue means and what evidence corraborates that interpretation.  I'm still hoping to hear from some others, too.  Andrew, Jeff, Tim, James, Linz, Brandon, Phil and anyone else, what do you think?

all my best,


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Aug 12th, 2003, 5:09pm
It is unfortunate that the NT isn't made up of a bunch of "thou shalt nots" and "thou shalts" to settle doctrine issues like these.  Then again, if it were a list of commands and restrictions, it would be like reading Deuteronomy.  Christianity can't be wrapped up in a nice neat little package.  Most of what modern Christianity (of any church group) is based on is examples set forth in the NT.  Since singing is referred to in the NT (Matthew 26:30, Acts 16:25), we can be reasonably sure that it is what God wants.  I think we can all agree on that.

Whether or not to use instrumental music in service is upto the individual congregational leaders, based on their intrepretation of the Bible.  I am certainly not going to condemn anyone for using a piano in service.  I base my beliefs on examples set forth in the Bible.  Instead I focus on what God commanded us to do:  sing.  That is enough for me.  I am certainly not in a position to try to read God's mind and try to figure out what He might have meant by that.  Sing with instruments or sing without?  Just sing.  That's all that I've been asked to do.  As far as the instrumental music issue is concerned, silence of the scripture is good enough for me.

Instrumental music is a hot topic among CoC's and their critics.  Friends of mine from different church groups tend to like to discuss this alot.  Part of my objection to it stems from how other churches use it.  You tend to see alot more performance oriented worship services where a soloist would perform for the congregation.  Their reasoning for it was to show off one's God given talents.  This runs counter to what I've been taught which is worship is a participatory action, and not a demonstration of talents.

Related story:  A CoC friend in college told me of a time growing up which he visited an instrumental church.  This was a smaller rural church.  It was on that particular Sunday that the piano player for said congregation didn't show up.  So that being the case, they didn't sing that particular Sunday.  It is unfortunate that they felt they had to do this.  Obviously they were relying too much on their piano player.

No one religious group is perfect, since it is run by imperfect people trying to serve a perfect Savior.  

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 14th, 2003, 11:22pm

Thanks for your post.  I'm glad that you leave the choice to the individual congregation.  I think that's how it should be with a debatable issue like this.  I also agree that it's not good for a worship service to become a performance where people are spectating rather than participating.  I can totally respect your choice and your congregation's choice to worship without instruments.  I would never look down on you for that decision.  I hope you can respect my decision, too, and refrain from judging me.  I believe that you do and I appreciate that.    

I'm still hoping to hear from some others on this.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Linz on Aug 15th, 2003, 11:44am
God's not an author of confusion. The bible is written the way it is because no matter what the question the answer can be found in i dont believe that God only put the "most important" issues in the new testament. About Him not having to spell everything out...I dont understand why it is ok to say MI are ok in worship when it just says to sing. People say that it doesnt condemn it so its alright. Well the bible states exactly what you're to do. I dont see anyone going around saying that its ok to eat peanuts with the Lords Supper so I'm going to do that. The bible would be infinately long if He had to state everything youre not to do.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 16th, 2003, 12:49am
hey guys

big dan, is it fair to say 'yes, silence is a clue' while still lending it no authority?  if it is, in fact, intentional content inspired by God, then what does it teach us to do?

i agree the new law is not as accurate as the old law, but that is no reason for us to disregard what is there before us.

i know of the example set by godly men and women of the past, but the fact is, we are not held to their laws.  i can take valuable lessons from their holy ways, but not from the exact way they worshiped God.

i hope im being relevant.  i feel so out of touch...  i trust you'll tell me if such is the case.

peace out

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 16th, 2003, 9:59am
Linz said:

The bible is written the way it is because no matter what the question the answer can be found in it.
I strongly disagree with that statement.  It's not a hard statement to disprove.  For instance, what color should the church carpet be?  Should I get cheese on my hamburger?  Should the church sing from hymnals or from memory? etc., etc.  There are plenty of questions that the Bible gives no answer to.  I do think, however, that the Bible is God-breathed, useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness.  I believe that it makes us thoroughly equipped for every good work, but that doesn't mean it answers all of our questions.

But I realize that the point you're trying to make is that the Bible does answer the question about music.  Though less strongly this time, I still disagree with you.  The Bible does say to sing, but nothing about what that word says or what it doesn't say must be taken to mean 'sing only.'  It is silent about accompaniment.  The question is, what does that silence tell us?  If it prohibits here, it must always do so.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Mlemon on Aug 16th, 2003, 12:49pm
Hello everyone,

I would like to introduce myself.  My name is Mark and I was introduced to this site by my friend Danny.  I, like Danny, grew up in the Church of Christ and have converted to Catholicism.  I have been reading the posts on the debate over instruments and there is a point that I would like to make.   It seems to me that the reason there is so much confusion is due to the fact that this issue is be debated on the theory of "sola scriptura" or by scripture alone.  I would like to pose a list of questions to be considered if this theory of "scripture alone" is truly God's intention.

1. Where in the Bible does it say "only the Bible" or "the Bible alone" or "Bible"?
2. Where did Jesus give instruction that the Christian faith should be based exclusively on a book?
3. Where did Jesus tell His apostles to write any of the Gospels or Epistles down?
4. Where in the New Testament do the apostles tell future generations that the Christian faith will be based on a book?
5.How could the Apostle Thomas establish the church in India that survives to this day (and is now in communion with the Catholic Church) without leaving them with one word of New Testament Scripture?
6. If God intended for Christianity to be exclusively a "religion of the book", why did He wait 1400 years before showing somebody how to build a printing press?
7. If the Bible is as clear as Martin Luther claimed, why was he the first one to interpret it the way he did and why was he frustrated at the end of his life that "there are now as many doctrines as there are heads"?
8. How did the early Church evangelize and overthrow the Roman Empire, survive and prosper almost 350 years, without knowing for sure which books belong in the canon of Scripture?
9. If Christianity is a "book religion", how did it flourish during the first 1500 years of Church history when the vast majority of people were illiterate?

The intent to the apostles was simple, the word of God was to be preached verbally, it is for this reason that out of twelve apostles who were with Christ from the beginning only two left us written gospels.  St. Paul tells us our faith is to be based on HEARING (this is verbal teach) St. Paul does not say nor did he ever intend faith to come from reading any written book or collection of books.  Maybe that is why himself did not write a gospel.  Of course, this should be obvious to any reader scripture Christ commanded them to "preach" and "teach", NOWHERE did Christ say to "write" and "read".  Maybe that's why Christ established  a Church instead of a book.  If the authors of the New Testament believed in sola Scriptura, why did they sometimes draw on oral Tradition as authoritative and as God's Word (Matt 2:23; 23:2; 1Cor 10:4; 1 Pet 3:19; Jude 9, 14 15)?
"If so ye continue in the faith, grounded and settled, and immovable from the hope of the gospel which you HAVE HEARD, which is PREACHED (verbal teaching not written) in all the creation that is under heaven, where of I Paul am made a minister." (Col.i.23)
"Faith then cometh BT HEARING; AND HEARING by their world of Christ.  But I say : Have they not HEARD? Yes, verily, THEIR SOUND hath gone forth into all the earth, and their words unto the ends of the whole world." (Rom.10:17,18).

The Catholic Church bases her teaching upon one source: The word of God.  This divine revelation is transmitted two ways: through Scripture and apostolic tradition.  Many assume that only the writing of the apostles are the Word of God.  However, their oral transmission of the faith is also considered the word of God (1 Thess. 2:13).
"But there are also many other things which Jesus did; were every one them to be written, I suppose that the world itself could not contain the books that would be written: (John 21:25)
"So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught by us, either by word of mouth or by letter." (Thess. 2:25)

I hope I have not written too much!! I just wanted to be sure that my points were understood. I respect  your enthusiasm in your search for the truth and hope that I may be able to be of some assistance in this journey!
In order to find the answer we must look to the Church which Christ established, the Catholic Church.

I would like to pose an additional question  for discusion in regards to the Bible. I feel it is crucial that we explore where we got the Bible. It is a fact of history that the
Council of Carthage, in 397 A.D., setteled the Canon
of the New Testament Scriptures. If you have patience
with me for a little while I shall prove to you that, just as the Catholic Church at the very beginning wrote and collected together the sacred books of the New Testament , so by her monks and friars and clergy generally she preserved them from destruction during the Middle Ages and made the people familiar with them, and, in short , that it is to the Roman  Church again under God that we owe the possession of the Bible in its integrity at the present day. The reason I bring this up, is the book that you are actually quoting from is the Catholic book. So if there are questions about what things we do that is right and wrong , we
cannot interpret the Bible ourselves. That is why we
have so many different denominations in this world.
We have to go back to the church for answers.
Im sorry if I am talking to much, I am not trying to start any arguments or anything, I just care about all of our
souls and want all of us to end up in the same place

God bless, Mark

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by brandon on Aug 16th, 2003, 2:28pm
Greetings, friends.

I continue to be amazed at this conversation. Thanks.

About the issue at hand...silence. I agree with Danny and Todd's points about the SOS being a clue into God's heart. I further agree with Jeff's statements regarding individual congregations have the freedom to choose. In fact, I agree with this wholeheartedly. As I have stated earlier, I can and have worshiped in non-instrumental churches...and I feel as though I am blessing God by my worship. However, I choose, and feel I have the freedom to choose, to worship regularly with instruments.

I wonder, is this one of those "disputable matters" to which Paul refers to in Romans 14? Paul refers to eating meat and vegetables, as well as worshiping on special days. He says "each one (person) should be fully convinced in his own mind." (v 5) I think we can and should apply the same principles that Paul is referring to to our conversation here. Now, don't read too much into one is accusing anyone else of their faith being weak. Just a principle I think we can apply.

What do you think...could this be a disputable matter?

Mark, welcome to our conversation. Thank you for your thoughts.

I need more time to process your statements, but I feel that the nature of your post is contradictory to what we have been trying to accomplish during this discussion. It has not been, nor should it be, pitting churches against churches...denominations against denominations...etc. I think the statement about the Book we are quoting is actually a Catholic book; therefore, we must return to the Catholic Church to find our answers is grossly wrong and opposite the spirit this discussion has up to this point maintained.

You state that because of different interpretations of the Bible, we have so many denominations. I agree. Then you state that we must go back to the church for answers...this is a circular and ineffective argument. The church is people...people interpret...yet you state we must return to the church for answers.

Could you maybe clarify?


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Mlemon on Aug 16th, 2003, 3:45pm

It is unfortunate that you feel the nature of my post is contradictory to this issue.  It is not my intention at all to pit the Catholic Church against sects. I do not see how you can claim that the statement that the Bible is a Catholic book can be grossly wrong.  I would love to give you the historical evidence to prove this fact. If you do not agree with the fact that the Catholic Church gave us the Bible by deciding the Canon of the New Testament and preserving it , copying it by hand, and distributing it, then please tell me who did? The reason I stated that we must return to the Catholic Church for our answers is because we  must go to the source for our answers.  The source should be the Church that Christ instituted, not our own self interpretation.  The Bible clearly states that we should not self interpret. Let me give you a few examples.
Proverbs 3:5-6 Trust in the Lord with all you heart, on you own intelligence rely not; 6In all your ways  be mindful of him, and he will make straight your paths.
2Peter 1:20-21 First of all you must understand this, that no prophecy of scripture is a matter of one's own interpretation, 21 because no prophecy ever came by human will, but men and women moved by the Holy Spirit spoke from God
2Peter3:15-16 5 And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you 16 speaking of these things as he does in all his letters.  In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures.

I must strongly disagree with your statement that "people interpret".  The statement that the "church is people" is also one that needs clarification.  The Church is the congregation of all baptized persons united in the same true faith, the same sacrifice, and the same sacraments, under the authority of the Sovereign Pontiff and the bishops in communion with him.    The Church founded by Christ is a visible organization, with certain distinguishing marks.  In other words we do not go to the people for the answers, we go to the original authority, the Church. So where is your authority?  My guess is that you are going to answer, the Bible, and if so then what authority compiled the Bible you are using?  How do you know that the books in your Bible are correct?  What authority decided this? The Bible did not magically drop down from Heaven ready-made.  I am just really wanting you to think the core of the matter that is being debated.  How did the people learn before the Bible was ever printed?  

God bless, Mark

P.S. I would like to restate that my intentions are not to cause a negative spirit in this discussion.  Please look at my contribution as a one of good intention.  

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Aug 16th, 2003, 5:55pm

i encourage you spread the good word about catholocism to a willing audience.  i enjoy your input, but it is out of place.  i dare say God led dan and i to begin something here, and i personally rebuke further content of similar type as you have previously posted here.  if dan would have it here, then i will too.  as for suggested positive action, i would start a discussion topic with a heading pertinent to catholocisms ultimate truth and wait patiently there.

i understand your zeal.  there is a time and a place for it.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 16th, 2003, 6:47pm
Wow, a lot has happened in the 8 hours since I last checked this board.  First, I may need to make a clarification.  Mark said, "I, like Danny, grew up in the Church of Christ and have converted to Catholicism."  Mark and I did both grow up in the church of Christ (the same congregation, in fact) but we didn't both convert to Catholicism.  That sentence could be a little misleading, I just wanted to make it clear.  If anyone is curious, I'm currently in an independent Christian Church.

About what Mark said in his two posts:  I think there's some interesting topics there, and I'd enjoy discussing them.  In fact, even now I'm resisting the urge to dive into the discussion right here.  But I agree with Todd that this may not be the right thread for it.  I would enjoy having you over to talk about it, or doing it by email.  It might even turn into a good discussion on the Mt. Juliet board under a different topic heading, if they're ok with that.  The Mt. Juliet members have been very gracious to me, even though I bring some ideas that are different that theirs, so they might extend the same courtesy to you, especially since the tone of your posts has been very good.

But the fact is, we've come to a very crucial time in our discussion on the isntrument issue.  It's taken 7 pages to get down to some of the core issues we're now dealing with.  I realize that you think our approach to scripture is a core issue to the discussion, and I think it should be discussed.  (As I type I keep thinking of things I would say if we were turning this into a discussion about Catholicism, so if you start a new thread, you'll see me there.)  But those of us who have been around for most of the 7 pages have come to agree on certain things in an effort to see what we can find out about IM.  

As much as I do want to discuss this with you and have everyone else's input, I think the IM thread should be given a chance to continue as it was going.  If you start a new thread I don't doubt that you'll have plenty of people interested in discussing with you.  I might even start the thread for you if you don't beat me to it.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 16th, 2003, 6:53pm
I think Brandon asks a good question about Romans 14.  Could IM be a disputable matter?  What (other) modern issues could the principles in Romans 14 be applied to?  My dinner is getting cold, so I'll be back to see what you think of Brandon's question and about my post in responce to Linz.

peace,  danny

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by brandon on Aug 16th, 2003, 8:42pm
I need to clarify something.

Mark, I did not mean to come down hard. Danny said what I had planned on typing anyway tonight. I feel that another thread or an email discussion would benefit us all regarding your statements. And I would enjoy it. But as far as the IM discussion is concerned, it was not the best time.

Sorry if I appeared harsh. I did not mean to. What Danny has said echoes my sentiments.


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Mlemon on Aug 16th, 2003, 8:49pm

It quite unfortunate that you are so unwilling to discuss the Bible with me, a Catholic. Furthermore, since you "personally rebuke" me further posting here and possibly enlightening some of the readers with the truth about the Bible I will take my "good news" as you call it about catholicism and discuss these issues with people that are educated on the subject and capable of answering the questions I posed.  If anyone would like to discuss this further I will leave the ball in your court and let any interested parties start a thread on the points that I have made previously.   Sincerely and God bless all of you.  Mark

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by dan_acc on Aug 18th, 2003, 10:28am
The discussion about the church and the Bible is now going strong under another thread, so we can get back to talking about IM.  

I'm interested to hear some more discussion on what Linz and I were talking about.  She said:

The bible is written the way it is because no matter what the question the answer can be found in it.

I disagreed.  What do you think?  Brandon's question about Romans 14 is related.  Could IM be a disputable matter?  

I'm looking forward to hearing some more discussion on this.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jamesishott2003 on Aug 18th, 2003, 3:27pm
This may be a little too late, but if you have any problems, refer to this. Have people asked any of you why the church of christ does things a certain way - like why we do not use instruments? Tell them this example. If you were going to write a letter to someone - say ... Phil. You would put his home address down, right? The mail man would not take it to Matt Ferrells house, would he? He would take it to the address on the envelope. I thought that this example would help you with your trouble explaining certain things with some of your friends that aren't new testament christians, and maybe even confused new testament christians. Tell me if it helps any! :)

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by LinzIsRad on Aug 18th, 2003, 4:34pm
Everyone on here agrees that you're supposed to sing in worship...and everyone knows that is commanded in the Bible. In my comment made about the bible can answer any questions, I dont see how you can disagree with that. I'm not talking about looking to it as a psychic or trying to find what color grapejuice cups they had. It's ridiculous that you'd interpret it that way. The Bible is all you have to go on, and even more so is the only thing you can use as your guide in order to get to heaven. No one on here has condemned musical instruments or said it was a sin. It's not for us to say that using them is right or wrong when the Bible does not in fact say either way. My point is though, if God did find the playing of instruments pleasing He would have commanded us to play them as well. All these arguments saying that God didnt say to use microphones, and books,'re still singing, these things just make it easier. The deal with MI whether they're an aid or not may or may not help you sing as you argue, but the fact is that you've added a complete other ACTION to the act of worship.  Back to my original statement. Everyone agrees that the Bible says to just do what it says and quit trying to find loopholes that justify what YOU want to do. I personally don't wanna play around and see what I can get away with and still get to heaven. By doing what I'm doing now, I'm sure I'm not doing anything unwanted.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Tim on Aug 18th, 2003, 6:26pm
Greetings friends.

I ignore the Internet for a few days (or weeks) and I miss a great deal.  Nonetheless, the pursuit of truth is admirable, and after eight pages we are making good headway.  I reiterate that these discussion boards are ideal for debating theology because we are able to think and write thoroughly, be relatively removed from emotional influences, and have the ability to refer to all comments made previously.  I want to stress that we are discussing IDEAS.  I clarify this because since my last post, Todd commented that my thoughts on fasting were getting too personal.  I apologize for the misconception.

Although Danny explained my thinking quite well, I wanted to clarify that I in no way intended to attack anyone's personal spiritual disciplines.  On this board, we are discussing ideas, and, as Danny said, I simply chose fasting as an idea in the Bible that did not fit into the way I was taught to interpret the Bible while growing up in the coC.  Claiming to need Scriptural authority even for constructing a church building, I found it odd that no one ever taught or talked about fasting DESPITE how clearly it is dealt with in both the OT and NT.  Prayer, another personal thing, was taught frequently, and I believe we can - indeed must - talk about personal spiritual disciplines to build one another up.  

Down to business.  All Scripture must be interpreted consistently.  We should focus on ideas, logical reasoning, and God's will as revealed through His word.  Does silence mean something?  Is silence a doctrine and theology we can consistently apply?

I hesitate to say silence is a "clue" because this word is too vague and seemingly allows us to choose when and where to invoke its "clue-ness."  It was said that "It is unfortunate that the NT isn't made up of a bunch of 'thou shalt nots' and 'thou shalts.'  I tend to disagree.  We don't want another law.  "The law brings about wrath..." Rom. 4:15.  "The powerless..." Rom. 8:3.  I do not believe I am pulling these quotes out of context.  If we have a checklist of things to do and not do, then anyone can fulfill the requirements without having any true honor or love for God.  We are not under a new law.  God has made a new COVENANT with us (it's never called a law), and it is more perfect because God looks at our heart rather than our deeds (which is good because we are all quite sinful and really can't hold to His law).

That having been said, I believe some read the NT as though it is a new dispensation of law.  The coC I grew up in certainly did this in deed, if not in word as well.  I make the claim that the NT is not a new law because many have said "The NT says to sing so that's all I'm going to do."  For reasons mentioned in the previous paragraph, I don't think this is a good stance to take.  We should not bind ourselves to a new law because it negates our faith (see Romans).  If the NT is not a law, it doesn't matter whether Paul writes to "sing" or "sing only."  Perhaps at the root of the silence issue is the idea that the NT is Leviticus, part II (as I've said before).  We invoke silence because we do not wish to possibly violate God's new law.  Perhaps the question underlying the silence issue is: "Is the NT a binding law as was the Mosaic law?"  I obviously believe it is not for reasons I have mentioned numerous times (lack of specificity, for example).

From a logical standpoint, someone could argue against what I have just said because if the NT is not a law, then are we permitted to be sexually immoral?  But, as is the case with most analogies, this argument would not be valid.  Sexual immorality is specifically condemned by God in both testaments of the Bible.  Musical instruments are not.  Rather they are condoned in BOTH testaments.  We talk about the Bereans, who searched the Scriptures to learn whether the apostle's claims were true.  These Scriptures were the OT.  So if Paul visited Berea and said instruments were displeasing, I, as a Berean, would search the OT and find that was a new policy and I would ask Paul why the sudden change.  Presumably, Paul would then need to clarify this issue with all first century churches, and I do not believe God would allow the NT to be constructed with no mention of His change in policy.

Todd, you said silence incriminates their use, but I simply don't agree.  I'm not saying silence admits instrumental worship; rather I contend they were already admitted when the apostles were establishing the church, and thus need to be clearly condemned in order to be incriminated.  If you believe the NT is a new law, separate and apart from all of God's previous revelation, then you would believe my contention is wrong.  But as we have established, the NT is not a law as was the OT.  We cannot ignore the OT because it was the only text the first century church had.  I believe the NT silence on the issue of instruments stems from its irrelevance to the establishment of the church coupled with God's clear opinion on it in the Scriptures to which the early church referred.  I believe some of these comments are echoes of one of Danny's previous posts, but it's hard to keep track.

Moreover, I would contend we all could live lives pleasing to God even if we didn't have the NT.  People did it for centuries.  What did the Ethiopian eunich have?  The OT and the gospel (which is basically a pretty simple story requiring no knowledge of IM policy).  And I am almost certain Ethiopia had a strong Christian presence in the first two centuries A.D.  Bottom line: I believe God wanted us to have the NT, but how could it be a new law if people didn't have it for centuries?

I am disheartened at Linz's recent comments: "Everyone agrees that the Bible says to just do what it says and quit trying to find loopholes that justify what YOU want to do. I personally don't wanna play around and see what I can get away with and still get to heaven. By doing what I'm doing now, I'm sure I'm not doing anything unwanted."  Again I am frustrated that my view on IM is regarded as trying to cater the Bible to my personal preferences.  These statements are also further evidence that, despite assurances to the contrary, many non-instrumental people believe instrumental worship is a salvation issue for which maybe, just maybe, God would send me to hell.  Our discussion cannot continue if such mixed signals continue.

Also, I'm not trying to "get around" anything.  As a whole, the Bible says to use instruments.  It's in the OT and NT.  I know how the coC perceives Revelation as a more figurative book, but the presence of instruments in heaven is clear.  I also need to state that I have not added another action to worship by using instruments.  Instruments were already there when Jesus died and the apostles began spreading the gospel.  In God's silence, I have chosen to allow them to remain and the coC has decided to remove them; thus the conflict.  Finally, the mail analogy is invalid because if the mailman delivers the letter to a different house, it is direct disobedience.  It cannot be shown that my use of instruments is a direct violation of a command of God.

I think we must ask ourselves what we would do if we were living in the first century.  All we have is the OT and the gospel.  Like the Ethiopian eunich.  If these two things were all we had, would we use instruments or would we eliminate them because Philip was silent about instruments when preaching to us?  Keep in mind that once Philip preached the gospel, the eunich went on his way with no written text other than the OT.

As always, let me know your thoughts, and I pray for wisdom from God as we continue our discussion.



Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by Chris on Aug 18th, 2003, 9:15pm

Todd, you said silence incriminates their use, but I simply don't agree.  I'm not saying silence admits instrumental worship; rather I contend they were already admitted when the apostles were establishing the church, and thus need to be clearly condemned in order to be incriminated.

Amen. I like the calm response and the clear logic. The entire post was good and I particularly liked the above.

Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by brandon on Aug 18th, 2003, 9:16pm
I think it's clear from Romans 14 that there are matters facing Christians today that are not clearly addressed in Scripture. Paul refers to these as "disputable matters." He says not to let them be be alert of where your brothers and sisters are not condemn, to not judge, etc etc...

I think Linz is doing a valiant job of trying to look at her life in light of Scripture. I do think it's unwise to believe every issue is specifically addressed in the Book, however.

I think there are more issues that are disputable. Alcohol and its consumption is a big one, it seems. Nowhere is drinking condemned, yet we condemn. Scripture says dont get drunk...

What does everyone else think??


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by toddman4000 on Yesterday at 12:37am
can anyone put their finger on the verse in the bible that authorizes musical instruments in worship in Christ's church?  i can find the one that says sing.

we do not live in the first century.  to act with a mindset as though we did would be to our discredit.

who can say what the Lord's policy is concerning individuals with alternate means and resources?  who can explain the Lords policy on a mute person who cannot sing?  a person who lives in a place where the Bible will never be brought or taught from?  we can never know these things.  the argument is then invalid.

i know i said this earlier, but cheering sections are not appropriate here.  bear in mind that everyone reads what you write to other individuals on this board.

by the nature of our beliefs previous to meeting on this board, we will reach a point where we simply cannot proceed.  if there were a logical answer to this dilemma we are in, would it truly exist to this day?  if it were plain, would we need 8 pages?


Title: Re: Instruments?
Post by jeff on Yesterday at 11:06am
Agreed.  We, being the members of the MJ church, are are here and will lovingly answer all questions and help seek answers to questions we don't know.  However we will not argue repeatedly with those who have ulterior motives.  I think everything that has been said about instrumental music has been said already.  

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