Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 12 No. 9 September 2010
Page 16

Questions and Answers

Send your religious questions to rushmore@gospelgazette.com

How Serious Is the Use of Instrumental
Music in Christian Worship?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Louis Rushmore

(1) Instrumental Music is not allowed or authorized to use as per the New Testament doctrine. (2) Those who use instrumental music [but in] every thing else [worship] as per New Testamemt doctrine [where] will they go to [in] eternity? (3) Is that a Great Sin that a person can not [go into] eternity [with God]? ~ Joe David, Chennai, India

It is accurate that the use of instrumental music in Christian worship is not authorized in the New Testament. Instead, vocal music, namely singing, is authorized in the New Testament for Christian worship (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Therefore, to do something that is not authorized in worship of Almighty God, in direct opposition to what is authorized in worship of Almighty God today is sinful (Leviticus 10:1-2). The apostle Paul wrote that there is a penalty for sin of spiritual death (Romans 6:23). Sin has always separated between God and mankind (Isaiah 59:1-2). Any sin, irrespective of what sin that might be, if not repented of, has the capacity of condemning a soul to hell (Revelation 21:8).

What Happens in Eternity to Souls
Who Never Heard the Gospel?
Do Christians Have a Responsibility
to Teach the Gospel When
Their Lives Are Endangered?

Louis Rushmore, Editor

Dear brother Rushmore, Greetings! I am are a member of the Lord’s church here in [city withheld by Editor], Saudi Arabia. In one of our studies of the Bible, we were confronted with a question (from our visitors) that I believe is not discussed in many articles I have read from religious websites, so I decided to ask you the question/s through e-mail. This is in reference to the situation of the people in isolated or far-flung areas not reached by the gospel. There are countries like Saudi Arabia whose citizens and expatriates are not allowed to express their own religious beliefs other than Islam. Some people also do not have the opportunity/chance to hear the truth (i.e., in the mountains). What will happen to them on judgment day? Are we (churches of Christ) accountable? Hoping and praying that you can enlighten us on this matter before we resume our Bible study this coming Thursday. In Christ, [name withheld by Editor]

Souls are not lost simply because they do not obey the Gospel of Jesus Christ (2 Thessalonians 1:8; 1 Peter 4:17); they are already lost (Ecclesiastes 7:20; Romans 3:23), and that is why Jesus Christ came to earth (Philippians 2:5-8), so that souls could be saved (Luke 19:10; 1 Timothy 1:15; 1 John 4:14). If it were the case that souls who never hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ would be excused for their conduct and for not obeying the Gospel as they stand before the Judgment Seat of our Lord (2 Corinthians 5:10), then the most benevolent action Christians could perform toward the ignorant masses would be to withhold the Gospel from them. After all, even Christians can fall away from the Gospel and be lost (2 Peter 2:20-22), in which case it would be better for them not to have heard of the Gospel in the first place – if it were true (which it is not true) that anyone not knowing about the Gospel would be excused in Judgment.

Immediately preceding His Ascension back to heaven, Jesus Christ gave one job or mission to the apostles – what we refer to as the Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16; Luke 24:47). The fact that our Lord gave the apostles only one mission to perform does not diminish the essential or obligatory nature of worshipping God correctly (John 4:24), practicing Christian living (Titus 2:12), performing Christian service (Hebrews 12:28) and demonstrating proper Christian doctrine (Titus 2:1). The one job or mission that Jesus first gave to the apostles passed to other Christians in the first century as well when the apostle Paul wrote to the young evangelist, Timothy, “And the things that you have heard from me among many witnesses, commit these to faithful men who will be able to teach others also” (2 Timothy 2:2). Not only were first century Christians responsible for evangelizing the world, as well as teaching about worship, Christian living, Christian service and Christian doctrine, but those responsibilities extend from one generation of Christians to another – all the way to the present day.

Only Christians truly can evangelize the world with the pure Gospel message, and if Christians do not take the Gospel to the world, the world will not know about the God-appointed way for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). The first century world and the many decades following were so brutal toward Christians that the motto arose, “The blood of martyrs is the seed of the kingdom.” Early Christians were murdered in so many horrendous ways.

However, Jesus said, “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves” (Matthew 10:16). We are not expected to dispense with caution, such as placing ourselves unnecessarily in harm’s way, but rather choose our opportunities carefully when in the most repressive environments. Yet, as Christians and the churches of Christ, we must evangelize the world with the Gospel. Furthermore, though we have exercised the best human judgment we can in practicing Christianity faithfully and trying to lead other souls to Christ, if we are discovered, we must nevertheless remain faithful – not recanting Christ – even if our faithfulness will result in our deaths (Revelation 2:10).

Pray tell, what excuse could Christians and the churches of Christ that are not in perilous environments offer to Jesus Christ in Judgment for not fulfilling the Great Commission? Christians and churches of Christ that do not attempt to evangelize the world with the Gospel are essentially on strike against the commandment of the Great Judge (Matthew 28:18-20); how do you think that dialogue will play out before the Judgment Bar?

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