[an error occurred while processing this directive] Why I Am a Member of the Church of Christ  Lesson 26 LESSON 26

Why I am a Member of the Church of Christ


by:  Bill Cantrell

The Kind of Music Set Forth in the New Testament.
It's Historical Aspect.
Arguments used in Favor of it's Use.
Arguments in Opposition to it's Use.


1. All religious groups that I am aware of acknowledge that music has a place in Christian worship, but are extremely diverse in whether it is to be solely vocal or vocal accompanied with instrumental.

2. This question has generated extensive interest on the part of people. You can go on a home bible study and you will frequently encounter a question about instrumental music.

3. The church of Christ is not guilty, as some have accused, of not believing in music.

A. We do not believe that all music is sinful. There is some music that God authorizes.

B. We do not contend that all mechanical music is sinful.

There are some things that in and of themselves are not wrong, but if used in worship to God is sinful.

(1) It is right to eat ice cream and cake, but it is wrong to use it in the Lord's Supper.

(2) It is all right to kill animals and eat meat, but it is wrong to kill animals and eat meat in worship to God.

4. The purpose of this lesson is to:

A. Encourage each of us to make a careful and honest study of the subject at hand.

B. Help prepare us to handle the question in a bible study situation.

C. Show that the use of instrumental music in worship to God is sinful.

5. My prayer is that we will always abide by the principle "SPEAK WHERE THE BIBLE SPEAKS AND BE SILENT WHERE THE BIBLE IS SILENT".

6. In our study we will consider:

A. The kind of music set forth in the New Testament.

B. It's historical aspect.

C. Arguments in favor of it's use.

D. Arguments in opposition to it's use.

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A. Matt 26:30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives. (KJV)

B. Acts 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. (KJV)

C. Rom 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name. (KJV)

D. 1 Cor 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also. (KJV)

E. Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; (KJV)

F. Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (KJV)

G. Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee. (KJV)

H. Heb 13:15 By him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is, the fruit of our lips giving thanks to his name. (KJV)

I. James 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms. (KJV)

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A. The American Encyclopedia Vol 12, page 688 "Pope Vitalian is related to have first introduced organs into some of the churches of Western Europe, about 670AD; but earliest trustworthy account is that of the one sent as a present by the Greek Emperor Constantine Copronymus to Pepkin, King of the Franks, in 755AD".

B. McClintock and Strong's Cyclopedia "The Greek word ya'hhw is applied among the Greeks of modern times exclusively to sacred music, which in the Eastern Church has never been any other than vocal, instrumental music being unknown in that Church, as it was in the primitive Church. Sir John Hawkins, following the Romish writers in his erudite work of the History of Music, makes Pope Vitalian, in A.D. 660, the first who introduced organs into churches. But students of ecclesiastical archaeology are generally agreed that instrumental music was not used in churches till a much later date; for Thomas Aquinas, A.D. 1250, has these remarkable words: "Our Church does not use musical instruments, as harps and psalteries, to praise God withal, that she may not seem to Judaize". From this passage we are surely warranted in concluding that there was no ecclesiastical use of organs in the time of Aquinas.  It is alleged that Marinus Sanutus, who lived about A.D. 1290, was the first that brought the use of wind organs into churches, and hence he received the name of Torcellus. In the East, the origin was in use in the Emperor's Courts, probably from the time of Julian, but never has either the organ or any other instrument beem employed in public worship in Eastern Churches; nor is mention of instrumental msuic found in all their liturgies, ancient or modern". Vol VIII  page, 739.

C. These quotes show that instrumental music in the worship of the New Testament Church was unknown.

D. During the restoration movement the question of instrumental music would become a focal point of controversy. In 1851 Aylette Raines was preaching in Millersburg, Kentucky and advocated bringing a melodeon into the church. Opposition resulted and the matter was dropped. The question of the instrumental music again surfaced some eight or nine years latter, when L.L. Pinkerton introduced the melodeon in the church at Midway Kentucky, Ben Franklin wrote in opposition to the introduction of the instrument in Christian worship in his paper called the "AMERICAN CHRISTIAN STANDARD" which started in 1856. Pinkerton wrote a response to Franklin and said "As far as known to me, or, I presume to you, I am the only preacher in Kentucky of our brotherhood who has publicly advocated the propriety of employing instrumental music in some churches, and that the church of God in Midway is the only church that has yet made a decided effort to introduce it". The controversy over the instrument gained momentum in 1864. J.W. McGravey entered the battle, and had a discussion with A.S. Hayden on the subject in 1865. The instrument in Christian worship was a wedge that split the church of the Lord and still serves as a wedge that keeps it divided.

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1. Some people have the talent to play the instrument.  Should we not let them use their talents? Some also have the talent to dance, juggle, do gymnastics etc.  Should we allow them use their talents in Christian worship.

2. We have instruments in our home; so, why can we not have them in our worship services?

A. In the first place I do not believe the singing of sacred songs with the instrument is proper anywhere, in the worship or at home. 

B. For the sake of argument, grant that it is proper to sing scared songs with the instrument in the home, this doesn't justify it's use in the worship of the church. We have pets in our home, but we do not have pets in the church. We wash feet at home, but, we do not put feet washing in the church as an act of worship etc.

3. There will be instrumental music in heaven,

Rev 14:2 And I heard a voice from heaven, as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder: and I heard the voice of harpers harping with their harps: (KJV)

so, why can't we have such in worship? Doesn't the Bible teach the Lord's will is to be done on earth as it is in heaven?

A. If there will be instruments of music in heaven, it will be because God has willed it. The reason we do not have them in the worship of the church is because God has not willed it.

B. Note the A.S.V on Rev 14:2 "And the voice which I heard was the voice of harpers with their harps".

C. Rev 5:8 And when he had taken the book, the four beasts and four and twenty elders fell down before the Lamb, having every one of them harps, and golden vials full of odours, which are the prayers of saints. (KJV)

Speaks of incense being in heaven; we also read of a white horse being there.

Rev 19:11 And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war.  (KJV)

We recognize that these are figures of speech. Such is also the case with the harps in Rev 14:2.

4. People used instruments in the Old Testament in worship.

A. That is true, but, they also burned incense,

Psalms 66:13 I will go into thy house with burnt offerings: I will pay thee my vows,  14 Which my lips have uttered, and my mouth hath spoken, when I was in trouble.  15 I will offer unto thee burnt sacrifices of fatlings, with the incense of rams; I will offer bullocks with goats. Selah. (KJV)

and the males went to Jerusalem three times a year.

Exodus 23:17 Three times in the year all thy males shall appear before the Lord GOD.  (KJV)

Is such advocated today?

B. The Old Testament has been removed or abrogated.

Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross; (KJV)

Eph 2:15 Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; (KJV)

Rom 7:1 Know ye not, brethren, (for I speak to them that know the law,) how that the law hath dominion over a man as long as he liveth?   2 For the woman which hath an husband is bound by the law to her husband so long as he liveth; but if the husband be dead, she is loosed from the law of her husband.  3 So then if, while her husband liveth, she be married to another man, she shall be called an adulteress: but if her husband be dead, she is free from that law; so that she is no adulteress, though she be married to another man.  4 Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God. (KJV)

5. God did not specifically condemn it.

A. The Bible does not specifically say thou shalt not "baptize a baby", "Thou shalt not sprinkle for baptism", "Thou shalt not use corn bread and buttermilk on the Lord's table" etc. Are we going to permit these because they are not specifically forbidden.

B. We are to do in religious matters only that which is authorized.

Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.   (KJV)

6. Isn't the instrument inherent in the word "Psallo"?

A. The standard lexicons of our day say the word in the New Testament means to "sing a hymn" or "sing, make melody".

B. If the instrument is inherent in the word Psallo, then it becomes mandatory rather than optional. 

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A. Instrumental music in the worship is sinful because it constitutes an addition to God's word.

1. All the passages in the New Testament (as already considered) says "sing, sang or sung" with one exception in Heb 13:15 which says "the fruit of our lips".

2. The scriptures specifiess singing, man says sing and play. In singing and playing we: 

     a. Add to God's word and thus stand condemned.

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:  19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book. (KJV)

      b. Renders our worship vain.

Matt 15:9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. (KJV)

B. Instrumental music in worship is failing to abide in the doctrine of Christ.

1. To fail to abide in the doctrine of Christ is to sever fellowship with God.

2John 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  10 If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed:  11 For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds. (KJV)

2. Sufficient warning has been given not to go beyond the things that are written.

1Cor 4:6 Now these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and Apollos for your sakes; that in us ye might learn not (to go) beyond the things which are written; that no one of you be puffed up for the one against the other. (ASV)

C. Instrumental music in worship is engaged in without divine authority.

1. Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (KJV)

2. Lev 10:1 And Nadab and Abihu, the sons of Aaron, took either of them his censer, and put fire therein, and put incense thereon, and offered strange fire before the LORD, which he commanded them not.  2 And there went out fire from the LORD, and devoured them, and they died before the LORD.  (KJV)

Serves as a warning regarding doing that which is not authorized.

3. We are to walk by faith.

2Cor 5:7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:)   (KJV)

Faith comes by hearing the word of God,

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. (KJV)

thus, to walk by faith is to walk as God's directs and authorizes in his word.

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1. Consider: Things which are in Christian worship which are without divine authority are things which are sinful.

Col 3:17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (KJV)

2John 9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. (KJV)

Instrumental music in Christian worship is without divine authority.

Therefore instrumental music in Christian worship is sinful.

2. Let us take heed not to go beyond that which is written.

1Cor 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another. (KJV)

Why do that which is at best questionable, when we can do that which is beyond question.

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