It’s Back… Musical Instruments in Worship


I remember my first visit to a no musical instruments in worship church of Christ several years ago.  I was new to a certain city, and was visiting churches, looking for a church home.  This particular church of Christ looked nice enough.  On Sunday mornings there seemed to be plenty of cars in the parking lot.  So I decided to pay them a call.  

My first impressions were very favorable.  The sanctuary was air conditioned and brightly lit, the people were very open, warm, and welcoming, and I enjoyed participating in the singing during worship.  

But the service was just so… quiet.  I found myself to be terribly distracted by the silence during key moments of worship – Lord’s Supper, during the collection of offerings, etc.  

It’s not that I was used to a lot of noise, but instrumental music has always been a part of the worship experience for me, and so (for example), when the men collected the offerings and there was nothing but silence, it was very strange to me.  I realized that music (be it organ, piano, guitar) helped me with focusing my thoughts on God during times like the giving of offerings or the Lord’s Supper.  

It was the last time I’d visit an assembly with the name, “church of Christ” on sign outside for quite some time.

It’s not that I had any thoughts whatsoever that the people in that church were doing anything wrong by worshipping without instruments.  As Romans 14 admonishes us, if it is what God has led them to do, then I had no problem with it.  But I didn’t find their arguments against using instruments in worship (the “Law of Silence”) to be particularly compelling, it was not my conviction, and frankly, not my cup of tea.

But, since starting to watch our three local TV hyperconservatives, and subsequently starting this blog, I’ve been introduced to people who apparently think Romans 14 was written for other people.  They feel this incessant need (insecurity?) to condemn those who use instruments as part of worship.  And then they seem to be surprised when people respond strongly back.  

Here is an article I found recently about this issue, with my comments in red:

By Eusebio Tanicala

A Baptist author directs his diatribe against Churches of Christ preachers who believe that it is wrong to have instrumental music in Christian congregational worship. He calls our position as “Instrumental Insanity.”

It would be nice to have some context for this comment.  What exactly did this Baptist author write that qualified it as a “diatribe”?  Is the “insanity” he mentions connected to the fact that people don’t use instruments or that many condemn everyone else who does?

Many instrumental music practioners in congregational worship argue that the term “sing” in its modern meaning automatically calls for an instrumental accompaniment or at least the instrumental accompaniment is not prohibited. It is argued that “where there’s no expressed prohibition a thing or action is allowed.”

This is an incomplete argument.  It’s not just that “instrumental accompaniment is not prohibited” – but it is authorized in the Old Testament, and that authorization is never removed.  Never.  So, musical instruments were a part of past worship.

Not only that, but it’s bookended.  Musical instruments will be a part of future worship.  Thanks to the Apostle John for giving us Revelations 5:8,9; 14:2,3; 15:20 and 18:22.  

These Biblical truths negate Mr. Tanicala’s following argument, but let’s take a look.  Let me preface it by saying that this argument to come is what the hyperconservatives ALWAYS fall back on – that somehow allowing musical instruments in worship will lead to jell-o wrestling during prayer and hamburgers and french fries as a part of the Lord’s Supper, which is simply ridiculous.

The above axiom is a dangerous guide in interpreting the Bible. It opens the gate to virtually any kind of faith and practice in the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. I suggest that we confront this axiom with this illustration.

Step number one: Let’s tell the mechanical instrument user: “Let’s follow your line of argument. You appeal that the modern meaning of ’sing’ calls for an instrumental accompaniment and anything that’s not expressly prohibited is allowed. Since instrumental accompaniment is not expressly prohibited, there’s freedom to use it.”

Step number two: “Churches believe in celebrating the Lord’s Supper. The modern meaning of ‘Supper’ in the Philippines includes serving a plate of rice for each individual, and participants in the Pinoy supper may be served chicken tinola soup, lechon kawali, chopsuey, sinigang na bangus, a glass of water, and softdrinks. These are not expressly prohibited in the New Testament, do you grant freedom to some who believe that the Lord’s Supper may include these food items? May I know your categorical answer please. #

Article found here.

All of this stems from the church of Christ hermeneutical creed, CENI (which stands for Command, Example, Necessary Inference).  The idea that if you don’t have a specific command for something, you mustn’t do it.   You can read more about CENI here.

Friends, if you assemble with a church of Christ that doesn’t use instruments in worship, then I support you fully.  If God has laid that conviction on you and your congregation to worship with just the voice, then go for it.  I love a cappella music, and used to be a part of a choir that sang largely in a capella style.  

But, understand this.  You cannot find any Scriptural justification for judging your brothers and sisters in Christ who choose to worship with instruments.  None.  You can bring up Nadab and Abihu, but it is not a correct understanding of what happened to those two men, nor is it a correct understanding of what most churches who use instruments do.   See this article to understand what I mean better.

What you are doing is in direct violation of Romans 14.  And I realize that a post like mine comes dangerously close to violating Romans 14 as well, but I am not trying to convince you to use instruments or to violate your conscience.  Rather, I am trying to get you to see that you have no grounds to stand in condemnation of your brothers and sisters in Christ.

I leave you with a passage that is becoming one of my favorites.  I’ve posted it before, and I’ll post it again.  

Accept him whose faith is weak, without passing judgment on disputable matters.  One man’s faith allows him to eat everything, but another man, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables.  The man who eats everything must not look down on him who does not, and the man who does not eat everything must not condemn the man who does, for God has accepted him.  Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To his own master he stands or falls. And he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand….

For this very reason, Christ died and returned to life so that he might be the Lord of both the dead and the living.  You, then, why do you judge your brother? Or why do you look down on your brother? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat.  It is written: 

‘As surely as I live,’ says the Lord, 
‘every knee will bow before me; 
every tongue will confess to God.’ “  

So then, each of us will give an account of himself to God.

Romans 14:1-4; 9-12 

For more good discussion on this subject, visit this website.

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46 thoughts on “It’s Back… Musical Instruments in Worship

  1. To those who insist that Music can NOT be played in church – prove that Paul was even addressing a so called worship service. Its quite odd that church of Christ Christians can go home and play their instruments of music, but don’t dare bring them into the church building, which btw we say is just a meeting place for Gods people. We pretend that we don’t put emphasis upon our buildings when in reality we do. I know for a fact that some church of Christ people play instruments at home to secular music – would they be sinning if they played Amazing Grace on their piano at home? What if a group of church of Christ Christian were at someone’s home – could they sing and play the piano to Amazing Grace, or must they only sing and play to secular music….this is about the craziest argument of all………..on one hand the church of Christ says its not the building that is the church, and then they will play instruments outside of the building as if that is different….come on folks….

  2. …far as I can see, altar calls ( church of Christ invitation song ), song leaders, Sunday school classes, signs on the front lawn reading “church of Christ”, business meetings, and other standbys aren’t clearly authorized either, but as far as I can see as well the coC isn’t throwing those out the window.

    When Paul writes to Colossae and Ephesus telling them to sing Psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Let’s say one Sunday, the church gets around to singing Psalm 150 -it would be strange to sing the Psalm and yet not be allowed to use musical instruments in the worship. I guess that Psalm would have to be ruled out, but wait… Paul said to sing the Psalms…I have a feeling that this Psalm is never used in church of Christ song books.

    Ask church of Christ preachers if they sing “A Mighty Fortress is our God?” And then ask them “Do you know where the melody came from?” It was a pop song. Martin Luther used it and put Hymn-type lyrics to it. Many hymns are set to borrowed pop song melodies. Like, “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” to “I have a Bonnet trimmed with Blue.”

    Ask a church of Christ person is it “authorized” for them to sing the Old Testament Psalms…..when they say yes, Paul commands us to do so, so we must! Then say turn to Psalm 150 and sing……they might change subjects at this point.

  3. Ephesians 5:18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Ok first to have some fun and take a radical CoC like position LOL! 😉

    When are the CoC going to be filled with the Spirit? Secondly since Music is not allowed when are they going to remove their hearts? 😉 And finally since I have always taken spiritual songs to mean singing in the spirit or speaking in a spiritual language in song?

    In reality since there are musical instruments in heaven and in the old testament music was allowed, why is it that God would have no music now during the time of grace through Jesus death? Are the harps in heaven only for show? Next to the CoC being named in the bible claim this is the weakest of there arguments and frankly I have to wonder if it is a monetary decision as much as anything since tithe is no longer considered valid today?! This would cut their expenses! Thirdly music is a container for the worship, it is not the worship itself. By not using a container that a seeker will be drawn to are you not making a unnecessary stumbling block for that seeker? By using a container they would be already in tune to you allow them to transition into the worship service and then begin the journey to God. By using no musical container or for that matter those who use a organ and other modes of containers who are no longer seen in secular music you make it harder for those who do not believe but are seeking to make the crossing into belief!

    For the offense this statement gives to some I am sorry but it is true non the less!

  4. Most Churches I see that are in their final death cycles also use older style containers. Their members are older and there are few middle aged members and fewer younger ones at all. Why would that be? Because the organ drives people of todays generation away and see the church as being out of touch with them.

    Jesus came to us, he took the hardest part of the journey from heaven to death so that we might have life, why is it that we insist on our comfort when worshiping God?

  5. Ephesians 5:18Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit. 19Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord, 20always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Actually I just read over this again and if I was going to take to to the extreme you would worship God in silence and only speak to each other using psalms, hymns and spiritual songs, if i do something in my heart am I really supposed to be vocalizing it after all? 😉

  6. I think Johnny thinks I was some spy or something when I visited them at their tent locations in Bassett and at Martinsville church of Christ, but honestly my motives were sincere. Where things turned for me was when I ask Johnny would I be rejected from the Lords Supper if I didn’t agree with his position, I also made it clear that I would still submit to their practices each Sunday because I do find it honoring Christ, but I disagree that one MUST take the Lords Supper each Sunday as he teaches. Without hesitation, he said yes I would not be permitted to join them in the Lords Supper, seeing I didn’t believe as they do, even if I still was willing to partake each Sunday. I would also not be considered a brother if I hold to the view that Music is ok in church, even if I sang only in their church. So, its not good enough that I partake in their practices with sincere motives, but I must also understand everything as they do………..or else be rejected….this my friends is legalism at its best !

  7. I happen to attend a church of Christ that does not use instruments, and I do know there are plenty of people in that congregation who believe like the people you cited. I, on the other hand, feel more like you in that singing without instruments is fine, but it’s not the only way. It is, naturally, the “safe” way. As you pointed out, the CoC always looks at things in terms of Command, Example, or Principle/Inference…since there is no direct command or principle/inference, most CoC folks tend to err on the side of “there’s no example of it in the New Testament, so I’m not gonna do it.” (Of course we know that these folks don’t follow that logic in many other areas, but that’s another topic.)

    I am a trained instrumental music teacher, as are both my parents, and at first this “no instruments” thing really bothered me. The way I see it now is that while I don’t happen to agree that using instruments during worship is a bad thing, I DO think that once using instruments in worship becomes a “performance” and not worship, then we’re pushing the boundaries a bit. I do not feel it is worth dividing the body over, however, so I keep my feelings in and sing with gusto every Sunday!

  8. Lee, I think if you have read anything from me, you would know I disagree with them on the things that would mark me as a coc person….least the ones in our area. For one, I would never say you aren’t a Christian, just because you don’t follow my supposed views. I disagree with them on baptism on some levels of teaching…and the Lords Supper, and Music. BTW, I was raised Pentecostal Lee….my dad is a pastor (40 years) at a Pentecostal church, and so is my brother. I played/traveled in a Christian Pentecostal band….so don’t think I am out to put you down or anything like that….I just am saying we can find good and bad in almost everyone…..I do agree with much of what Johnny stands for, but I am not one of the people sitting in his pews each week afraid to tell him they disagree with him about things….and trust me, there are some there right now who side with me, but aren’t willing to step out, because they know they will be rejected…anyways nuff bout this…..I have to go pick up a drum set…..ttyl

  9. “On August 6, 2008 at 8:39 am churchesofChrist Said:

    for those who want to hear some of the things we discuss, check out this site

    http://www.granbychurchofchrist.org/Sermons/NTPattern.htm

    If the message on singing he uses an example of buying fishing lizards from a catalog and getting something else.

    I have to counter this by saying the following:

    if you are taught how to call someone on the phone, once you learn how to pick up the phone and how to hold it to call them if I tell you to call another person would I tell you how to pick up the phone or just give you the number to dial, thus why should God waste time telling you something you should already now since he had instruments used in the old testament and also they exist in Heaven?

  10. Also lets not forget that those who believed were hunted and killed and music would cause more notice of their locations!

  11. Rev 22:18I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds anything to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book. 19And if anyone takes words away from this book of prophecy, God will take away from him his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.

    He uses the above passage but I have to ask, since God commands you not to forbid the speaking of tongues?

    1 Cor 14:39Therefore, my brothers, be eager to prophesy, and do not forbid speaking in tongues. 40But everything should be done in a fitting and orderly way.

  12. I’m not saying I agree with the links – I just think they will give everyone a heads up on where the church of Christ come from with many of their beliefs. Also, almost all church of Christ sites will send free audio/cd’s to anyone. I do admire them for that, because most want to charge people for this stuff. Johnny has given me too many cd’s to count as have other churches of Christ across the nation. I also order from other groups too….I like to see what each group, sect, denomination stand for and why…….

  13. One topic I don’t think has been addressed on here and that the topic of the rapture and the end times. I know the church of Christ do NOT hold to what most teach and it would be really good if Corey could weigh in on this subject. Are you out there Corey ?? Nathan, maybe you could address this topic a bit on here….btw, I thought you and Corey were planning a debate on here, what happened to that ??

  14. You know, I want to correct this sort of statement that JR and company always make.

    No – most Christian ministries don’t charge people for preaching tapes. They might ask listeners or viewers to give if they feel led, so that they can send out the tapes (CDs, DVDs, whatever). But I guarantee that if you call a ministry and tell them you don’t have any money but really want to hear Preacher X preach about salvation (or whatever), they will send you the CD.

    For example, the link over on the blogroll to Key Life Ministries – they will send out CDs for free, too. And they have a much, much larger audience than our local hypercons. They do ask for listeners to consider supporting them, but that is so that they can continue sending out free CDs. That’s no different than JR going to Texas to raise support from the generous Texas churches of Christ.

    Now, that being said, certainly there are other ministries that have made the selling of DVDs and CDs into a business. They package things up real nice and maybe include very well-developed study guides or even published books to go with the study. But those are typically ministries that have nationwide coverage, and so they have to charge for those items to avoid going into debt.

    And given, there are others that are in it all for the money.

    But our friends over at the hypercon cofC need to be honest in that they aren’t the only ones giving media away.

  15. Ok, most do use the phrase “send a gift or donation” and most will probably send stuff for free. I stand corrected

  16. I know my dads Church help a lot people too, and yes many others do as well. You make good points Nathan and as I said. I stand corrected.

    I do think the subject of the rapture or even end time teachings would be a good one, and I would love for Corey to weigh in on that. I have studied this mostly from a non-church of Christ view and haven’t heard Johnny and crew address this much either

  17. Yeah, I’m here. I’m trying to avoid getting into lengthy “discussions” (read: arguments) here, so if you want to know where I stand on the end of times and the false doctrine of the “rapture” you can watch Norm’s fairly exhaustive lesson on the subject here:

    http://www.youtube.com/view_play_list?p=7FBA8692198AFEFF

    His videos on the second coming of Christ are also very helpful. They’re found at youtube.com/preachernorm

    My general thoughts on the matter is that the “rapture” is “sexy theology”, that is, it is used to draw crowds and line the pockets of liars like John Haggee, Tim LaHaye and others because it is exciting and makes for good books/movies.

  18. When Jesus comes for the second time, it will be exactly as it is described in scripture.

    At the same time, it will be unlike anything that we have possibly come to expect.

    If His first coming fulfilled prophecy perfectly, but wasn’t what most people were looking for, why should His second coming be any different?

  19. On August 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm coreydavis Said:

    My general thoughts on the matter is that the “rapture” is “sexy theology”, that is, it is used to draw crowds and line the pockets of liars like John Haggee, Tim LaHaye and others because it is exciting and makes for good books/movies.

    – never heard it quite put that way. I do think some people teach this for book sales, but many honestly read the bible and believe it to teach this too. btw, I am emailing you in a few min. Corey

  20. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but…um…amen, Chris!

    When Jesus comes for the second time, it will be exactly as it is described in scripture.

    How true!
    1 Thessalonians 5:2
    For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night.

    No one can prepare for it. There will be no warning.

    Matthew 24:36
    “But of that day and hour no one knows, not even the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but the Father alone.

    Jesus Himself does not know when it will happen, but John Haggee can tell you! How arrogant!

    At the same time, it will be unlike anything that we have possibly come to expect.

    Again, so true. Those who are expecting signs to point to the second coming, or a “second chance” for those who are “left behind” will be sorely disappointed.

  21. thanks for helping me understand the second
    coming of christ.
    but the rapture isnt the second coming.
    i know theres nothing i can say to make you
    believe that. so i wont try. im sure that makes me
    “dishonest”
    lee

  22. The earliest Christians used musical instruments in their services.

    There’s no way that the hyper-legalists can deny this, just on basis of it not being described in scripture.

    “…as the Spirit urges those from all the earth who recognize this salutary mystery, the sufferings of Christ, through which He saved them, to sing and play the harp continually.”

    This, from the writings of Justin Martyr, around 155 A.D. Justin Martyr was a disciple of Polycarp, who was previously a disciple of John the Apostle.

    And then there is this bit from Lucian, writing a few years later:

    “It is impossible to sing without a lyre.”

    The historical record proves at just about every turn, when you look for what really took place in the earliest churches of followers of Jesus Christ, that they used instruments on a regular basis during their worship.

  23. Lee, like you, I too was raised with this teaching of the rapture, but is it biblical Lee? Block out the “left behind” books and things and prove that Jesus will come back, take the saved for 7 years, during this 7 years will be hell on earth, but also a time that the lost left behind can turn to Christ if they don’t take the mark of the beast 666, which would be worshipping the anti-Christ. After 7 years of hell, Christ will set up His kingdom on earth for a literal 1000 years. This is the most popular view ( pre-trib ), but there are others, like mid-trib, pre-wrath, post trib, and many more, wonder which is correct Lee ??

  24. first off,
    i havent read the left behind books.
    second i cant prove anything in the bible and
    neither can you or anyone else.
    at best its our interpretation.
    secondly its what i believe so i try and live like
    it could happen any time.
    some may find one day that it wasnt “false doctrine” at all.
    lee

  25. “On August 6, 2008 at 1:56 pm churchesofChrist Said:

    On August 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm coreydavis Said:

    My general thoughts on the matter is that the “rapture” is “sexy theology”, that is, it is used to draw crowds and line the pockets of liars like John Haggee, Tim LaHaye and others because it is exciting and makes for good books/movies.”

    Are you making the assumption that they are lying and not simply mistaken about scripture? And since they believe Jesus is coming back, to actually lie about the truth would cost them their eternal salvation would it not.

    I would assume that they are mistaken about scripture.

  26. who says their mistaken?
    “line the pockets of liars”
    so those are your general thoughts.
    well i gotta go, so much money to collect from
    the simple and so little time.
    lee

  27. On August 6, 2008 at 8:59 pm walkinlove Said:
    “On August 6, 2008 at 1:56 pm churchesofChrist Said:

    On August 6, 2008 at 1:38 pm coreydavis Said:

    My general thoughts on the matter is that the “rapture” is “sexy theology”, that is, it is used to draw crowds and line the pockets of liars like John Haggee, Tim LaHaye and others because it is exciting and makes for good books/movies.”

    Are you making the assumption that they are lying and not simply mistaken about scripture? And since they believe Jesus is coming back, to actually lie about the truth would cost them their eternal salvation would it not.

    I would assume that they are mistaken about scripture.

    – I think most of these people really believe this and are in fact mistaken and not trying to mislead people, but I am sure there are some who use this to sell books too. I know many people, including preachers that honestly see the scriptures to teach the rapture ( my dad for one ) and they arent out to sell books…they honestly see scripture to teach this…should we divide over this…I dont think so…

  28. A Question for CoC members, I was listening to a message on one of the above posted sites on Revelations and the intro said basically that Rev was written for the people of that day and not a prediction of future events to come.

    Is that correct according to CoC?

  29. From what I have heard – the book of Rev. is symbolic for things that already happened….if I am wrong, Corey could prob. shed some light on this subject

  30. I’ll sit on the pew with the gray of head and quietly worship He who rose from the dead. Without the din of childish fads and free from the chaos of today, I’ll direct my thoughts to Heaven where doth my treasure lay.

    -A little stream of consciousness from a happily graying Lipscomb grad.

    Jason Goldtrap

    JasonGoldtrap.com

  31. walkinlove wrote:

    “I was listening to a message on one of the above posted sites on Revelations and the intro said basically that Rev was written for the people of that day and not a prediction of future events to come.
    Is that correct according to CoC?”

    Yes, most CoC would agree with this statement…but what is really important is what Revelation actually says.

    Revelation 1:3 (ESV)
    “Blessed is the one who reads aloud the words of this prophecy, and blessed are those who hear, and who keep what is written in it, for the time is near.”

    Revelation 22:10 (ESV)
    “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal up the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is near.'”

    Twice in Revelation we are told that the time for the fulfillment of the things of the book is near. John is told not to seal up the book for this reason. This is interesting because Daniel is told to seal up his book (Daniel 12:4)…but some of what Daniel prophesied was fulfilled within several hundred years (he at least prophesied about Christ who came about 500-600 years after Daniel…unless you take the liberal date of Daniel at second century BC…then Christ only came 200 years after Daniel). According to popular interpretations of Revelation the things have still not been fulfilled 2000 years later, but John was told not to seal the book because the time was near? That doesn’t make sense after what God told Daniel.

  32. Chris,
    That was an interesting Justin Martyr quote (and Lucian)…does it prove that the early church used instruments? Hardly. Justin Martyr also said this: “Your public assemblies I have come to hate. For there are excessive banquets and subtle flutes that provoke people to lustful movements.” Now, he was talking here about pagan assemblies (idol feasts), but he still doesn’t seem to like instruments much.

    In addition… Clement of Alexandria (ca. 195) wrote these comments:

    “If people occupy their time with pipes, psaltries, choirs, dances, Egyptian clapping of hands, and such disorderly frivolities, they become quite immodest.”

    “Man is truly a peaceful instrument. However, if you investigate you will find other instruments to be warlike, inflaming to lusts, kindling up passion, or rousing wrath.”

    In commenting on the Psalms: “‘And praise him on the lyre.’ By the lyre is meant the mouth struck by the Spirit.”

    Also: “The one instrument of peace, the Word alone by whom we honor God, is what we employ. We no longer employ the ancient psaltry, trumpet, timbrel, and flute.”

    Perhaps Justin and Clement attended different churches…or maybe Justin was referring to singing and playing the harp continually in heaven…or maybe they just plain disagreed. But it is evident that many early churches did not use instruments.

  33. Chris,

    I should also add that folks like Irenaues (ca. 180) and Tertulllian (ca. 197) and Novatian (ca. 235) and Cyprian (ca. 250) all seem to indicate a distrust of instruments in general, or at least in Christian worship.

  34. This is all very interesting to read and learn from. But what worries me is: how far can we go in the use of and justification for the use of instruments in worship, considering that a place of worship is holy ground where together we invoke the presence of God? Could someone comment on the use of a full fledged band as found in many pentecostal churches? Your reference to Romans 14 is good, and yet we must be mindful that we are not to accept every teaching even when we see that it only pretends to give praise to God! Remember Matthew 7:21-23!

  35. The Prodigal Son parable starting in Luke 15:11, has the father celebrating when his son returning using music and dancing. While it is not a command about worship, I find it interesting that a story Jesus tells about the return of a lost son who was dead, read into an example of those lost today turning towards the father, that God the father is throwing a party for the lost son while we may not play music to celebrate in a church building.

    Somehow this seems disconnected!

  36. choward, I guess the simple question to ask about rev is, since it has happened how does CoC translate the casting into the pit and the new heaven and earth etc. It would seem hard to prove those to have already happened. I would appear that you would almost need it to be in two books to split the first part from the second and it is only a single book.

  37. I agree WIL, if God/Jesus thought music to be sinful in the assembles, you sure do not get that from this verse. Not sure if you know, but we have our ways around this verse. The church of Christ has heard each argument there is regarding music and have a rebuttal. My beef with music in the church is that it seems to be a show; a type of entertainment. I played in many churches over the years and it seemed like entertainment to me. But, I have heard some songs accompanied with music that was very heart touching and seemed to draw the mind to God. I rather not have music in the church, but that’s my opinion.

  38. On August 14, 2008 at 12:34 pm walkinlove Said:
    The Prodigal Son parable starting in Luke 15:11, has the father celebrating when his son returning using music and dancing. While it is not a command about worship, I find it interesting that a story Jesus tells about the return of a lost son who was dead, read into an example of those lost today turning towards the father, that God the father is throwing a party for the lost son while we may not play music to celebrate in a church building.

    If this is your example of introducing mech. instr. in worship, then what about the beef?

    Lu 15:23 And bring hither the fatted calf, and kill it; and let us eat, and be merry:

  39. Walkinlove,

    Interpretations differ on the casting of Satan into the pit. Some would say this is a brief picture for the first century persecuted church of what will happen to Satan at the end of time. Some say that this casting down took place when Christ died and resurrected…in other words it is symbolic of his defeat. Some combine these views in various ways.

    As for the new heaven and new earth…look closely at the text of Rev 21. In verse 2 we run across new Jerusalem coming down out of heaven…notice that it is not heaven, but coming down out of heaven. Hebrews 12:22 says, “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem…” The Hebrew-writer says we have already come to this city…as of the first century AD (or whenever you happen to think Hebrews was written).

    Keep reading in Rev 21…this new Jerusalem is called a bride. In Eph 5:22-24 the relationship between Christ and His church is compared to the relationship between a husband and wife…in fact, in verse 32, Paul says the mystery of marriage is great, but that it refers to Christ and the church. Paul says the institution of marriage in general is supposed to be a shadow or reflection of Christ and the church.

    Read some more in Rev 21…there is a loud voice in vs 3 that declares that the dwelling place of God is with man. First, the word for dwelling place is the same that John used in John 1:14 to talk about how Christ became flesh and dwelt among us…the word means to tabernacle, which is a reference to God’s OT dwelling place among Israel. Furthermore, Paul writes to the church at Corinth and tells them that they are the temple of God and God’s Spirit dwells in them. [1Cor 3:16] Even stronger for our purposes is Paul’s quotation of Leviticus 26:12 in 2Corinthians 6:16, the very same passage that John cites in Rev 21:3. And Paul does not apply the passage to heaven, but to the church, again calling them the temple of God.

    Again, Revelation 21:3 uses the familiar terminology “and they will be His people, and God Himself will be with them as their God.” This language is used in Jeremiah 31 to talk about the new covenant, the covenant which Hebrews 8 (quoting and explaining Jer 31:31f) and chapter 9 explain came through Christ, who is the mediator of the covenant by means of His sacrifice and priesthood…redemption through the atonement of His blood. Chapter 9 also says that the new covenant is like a will that took affect when Christ died. So, when the new covenant began and people came to God through it, through Christ, then they became God’s people and He became their God.

    The point is, the symbolism of the new heaven and new earth blinds people to the plain subjects of the following verses that explain the new heaven and earth. By the way…John uses this symbolism to remind us readers of Isaiah 65:17f…and in this passage, death still exists (v. 20), so Isaiah is not talking about heaven…and John, referring to Isaiah, is not talking about heaven (although the benefits and the new creation itself certainly lasts into eternity, just as we as Christians will last into eternity).

  40. Things do not need to be expressly mentioned in scripture in order to be forbidden. Not everything we should not do in worship is accompanied by a “thou shalt not”. I’m quite sure nobody in here would support substituting the bread and the fruit of the vine as the emblems used for communion with cinnamon rolls and Mountain Dew. To my knowledge there is no scripture that expressly forbids substitutions for the emblems used in the Lord’s supper.

    Inspiration said “sing” Inspiration never said “play” It’s all about glorifying God by worshipping him in the manner he has prescribed.

    We do not sacrifice animals in NT worship either. Paul was quite clear in Galatians when he told the Judaizing Christians that to bind things such as circumcision to Christians today carried the consequence of falling from grace. It would therefore be wrong to offer animal sacrifices in worship. Instrumental music in worship was absolutely a part of the Levitical system of worship. See 2 Chronicles 29:25.

    It is no less a transgression to use manmade instruments of music than it would be to offer a blood sacrifice upon an alter to God.

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