|Vol. 15 No. 7 July 2013||
Arlis D. Richardson
First, let us realize that we are not speaking of whether or not it is enjoyable. Most of us would agree that such is very enjoyable, though some enjoy one type and some another. Some prefer Rock and Roll; others prefer Jazz; still others prefer Classic Country. The question does not concern our preferences, but whether or not we are practicing things that are pleasing to God in worship. Nothing else is under consideration here. Let us realize, that our future home in eternity depends on whether or not we are pleasing to God. We are not interested in winning an argument but rather in doing what is required by God to save our own souls and those who confront us with this question are asked to always bear this in mind. All our souls are at stake for Satan wants us to violate God’s will, even as he went about convincing Eve that because that something seemed good she should eat it – and thus brought sin (separation from God) into this world, and mankind has suffered its consequences ever since.
A question often heard from people is, “Why do you not use instrumental music during your worship?” Since the burden of proof is upon the shoulders of those who engage in a practice, a better question might be, “Why do you sing only?” Or, “Why do you use them?”
To answer the question partially, consider that the Bible clearly teaches that sin is a transgression (going across) of the law (1 John 3:4). When we do that which is a violation of the law of God (the Gospel of Christ for this age), then we are guilty of sin. The one basic reason why men should not use instrumental music in worship is that it is sinful to do so! We hope to show why in the remainder of this article.
It cannot be done by faith! Faithful Christians “walk by faith, not by sight” (2 Corinthians 5:7). To “walk by faith” has a unique meaning to God’s children. The apostle wrote in Romans 10:17, “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” To do a religious thing by faith simply means that you have been authorized to do so by Holy Scripture.
Can God’s church worship Him today with instrumental music and do so by faith? To do so one would have to find the practice authorized in the New Testament. Such authorization would be in one of three forms (1) An approved apostolic example (2) a direct command (3) a necessary inference (implication). None of these modes of authorization can be discovered for instrumental music in New Testament worship!
Jesus does not authorize Instrumental Music. Upon His Ascension and coronation, God, the Father, made Jesus to be Head over all things to the church (Ephesians 1:22). The New Testament of Jesus plainly teaches us to speak “one to another in psalms, and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the LORD” (Ephesians 5:19).
If one is determined to have instrumental music accommodating song service in worship, he must do so without divine authority. Paul warned us to not go beyond what is written in Scripture (Galatians 1:6-10). John declared that to go onward and abide not in the teaching of Christ leaves one without the approval of God and His Son (2 John 9).
May we never forget why we worship as we do. It is not custom, culture or personal preference that should be our rule. Members of churches of Christ (Romans 16:16) worship only with verbal singing. Everything unique about us is so because of our respect for God’s Word. We follow the idea that music in worship is for teaching our fellow worshippers and praising God, not for human entertainment. With simple singing we walk by faith and not by sight. With human additions, others do the opposite.
For Further Consideration: Secular history shows that instruments were not introduced in worship until the 16th century, when an apostate religious leader desired to do so. Even today, the Greek Orthodox Church will not use instruments in worship. Is God pleased with your music?
The Christian faith stands or falls on the truthfulness of Christ’s resurrection. It is a cardinal doctrine of Christianity. Every year many people recognize and celebrate Jesus’ resurrection from the dead in special “Easter” services. Though Christians are not authorized in Scripture to celebrate Easter (or Christmas either) as special holy days, we ought to be happy attention is being given to spiritual things and that belief in the resurrection doctrine is being promoted.
Easter is a word that likely comes from the name of a Teutonic goddess of spring. Easter is not a biblical term. Pascha, the Greek word for Passover, is mistranslated one time in the Authorized Version (KJV) as Easter (Acts 12:4). The other 28 times this word occurs in Scripture, it is correctly rendered Passover. Again, there is no authority in God’s Word for Christians to celebrate the resurrection on “Easter” as a religious holy day.
Christians are to remember the Savior and proclaim his death till he comes again in the Lord’s Supper each first day of the week (Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 11:23-26). This does not lessen the importance of the virgin birth and the triumphant resurrection. In point of fact, the truthfulness of the miraculous birth and the reality of the resurrection are vital truths taught in God’s Word.
The resurrection is important because it is proof of the power of God and proof that Jesus is the divine Son of God. The resurrection of Jesus is cause to believe and know that we will be raised from the dead in the last day (1 Corinthians 15:20ff). Since Christ was raised, we can be forgiven of sins when we obey the Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:17; cf. Acts 2:38; 22:16). From the time Jesus was raised and ascended back to the Father, He has ruled and reigned over His kingdom as King of kings and Lord of lords (Acts 2:32-36; 1 Timothy 6:15). Because of the resurrection, God gives us the victory over death and sin (1 Corinthians 15:57).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the “best attested fact in human history” according to Professor Thomas Arnold, world renowned historian of Rugby. If Jesus was not raised, our faith is vain and we are still living in sin (1 Corinthians 15:17). If Jesus was not raised, Christianity is a phony religion no better than any other religion. If there is no resurrection, our trying to live faithful Christian lives is a big waste of time. However, the truth is: He is risen (Matthew 28:6)!