A Vitally Important Subject . . . But Do It For The Right Reason!

Phil Grear

  The right thing must be done for the right reason. We have long stood solidly against instrumental music in worship to God, and rightfully so. Sadly, many well-meaning Christians have offered invalid arguments. There are wrong reasons to oppose instrumental music.

Some oppose it because “The Church of Christ does not believe in it.” Right or wrong is not determined by what the church of Christ does or does not believe. The church is not the authority in deciding worship practices. Would it become “right” if the church of Christ suddenly did believe in it?

Some say we should not use instrumental music because “It has never been part of our tradition.” This implies that we have no real Biblical reason, but simply would be uncomfortable with the change. Human traditions are not the source of authority for any religious practice. Human tradition can render our worship vain. (Matthew 15:7-9).

Some insist on vocal music because “It just sounds better.” That makes it a matter of personal taste. If God had instructed the use of instrumental music, our preference for vocal would carry no weight at all. If worship is only a matter of personal taste or preference, then we cannot oppose anything, because there is always someone who “likes it.”

Some have opposed instrumental music because “It would cause unnecessary division in the church.” In other words, they have no real convictions about it, but would not want to divide God’s church over it.

I have often wondered just what percentage of Christians could give a solid, Biblical reason for opposing instrumental music. Do we really know why we do not use it?

The above reasons are flawed and should be avoided in discussing this vitally important subject. They are all merely personal opinion and preference, and, as such, they carry no real weight. So why do we stand solidly opposed to instrumental music? Why do we take such an uncompromising stand, even when it divides us from those who disagree with us?

We oppose instrumental music for one conclusive reason. There is absolutely no Biblical authority for its use. We are authorized to sing. “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” (Colossians 3:16). One cannot use any other form of music than singing and still be doing what God authorized. Playing an instrument would be doing what God authorized (singing) plus something (playing) God did not authorize. When we use an instrument, we are doing more than God said to do.

Those who use instrumental music in worship must produce the Biblical passage or principle that provides the authority.

Our opposition to instrumental music is not based on personal preference, tradition, or a desire for peace. It is based on a sincere desire to stay within what God has authorized. Stand solidly against the use of instrumental music, but do it for the right reason. -2863 East High St. Springfield, OH 45505. churchchrist@aol.com

Return to West Virginia Christian