Gospel Gazette Online
Volume 17 Number 8 August 2015
Page 10

Yes, We Have Music!

Mark T. Tonkery

Mark T. TonkeryWhat is so different about the Laings (Ohio) Church of Christ than any other church? Well, the first thing people seem to notice about it is that we do not use instruments in our praise and worship to God. When people see this, they think that we do not praise God or do not have any type of music. This is far from the truth, because the churches of Christ have the best music and the largest chorus in town (everyone is included).

The type of music that we use is very biblical, and it is how the first century Christians also praised God. The type of music we use is called congregational singing or a cappella music, which means in the likeness of the church, vocal music or without instrumental accompaniment. The meaning of a cappella comes from the historical way that the Christians in the New Testament sang to God. The church has not always had instrumental music. Although instrumental music has been around since Genesis 4:21, instruments were not brought into the church assembly until hundreds of years after Christ built His church (Matthew 16:18). This means that this was a new practice humans brought into the worship assembly, rather than something introduced by Christ. If Christ had authorized instrumental music, He would have taught about the use of instruments in worship.

In reading the Bible, we can see why the first century Christians were known for their a cappella music and why it is important for us today to sing without instruments. The Bible would have us to sing without instruments because: It is the sacrifice of praise to God, which comes from the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15); it shows our spiritual emotion (James 5:13); it shows our unity (Romans 15:5-6); it is not only done with the mouth but with our minds (1 Corinthians 14:15); it shows that the Holy Spirit dwells in us (Ephesians 5:19-20); it is a way to encourage one another (1 Corinthians 14:26); and it shows that we are heartfelt in our faith, and the way to teach one another the faith (Colossians 3:16-17). These verses teach us why we are to sing with our mouths and minds because it is to be done to honor God, show our faith in Him, give thanksgiving to God and to show our love for God.

Not only is a cappella music biblical, but the Bible says, God inhabits the praises of His people (Psalm 22:3). That means He lives in MY PRAISE, not in the instrument nor can someone else do my singing for me, just as others cannot be baptized for me. As I worship God I must give Him my heart, mind and soul. If we do not praise Him, the Bible says that the rocks will cry out in praise (Luke 19:37-40). God wants to hear us! One of the many problems with the instrument is that the people who use the instrument in worship will let the instrument worship for them. You can’t do that with the voice because God inhabits the praises of His people. God wants us to praise Him, rather than to sit there and let a piano do it while we mutter a few words in between. The Lord wants us as Christians to sing from the bottom of our hearts and souls with the fruits of lips that Christ is our Lord and King!

Train Up a Child in
the Way He Should Go

Sunny David

Recently, when a city in the United States of America exploded into rioting and anarchy over the weekend following the death of a young African-American man in dubious circumstances at the hands of the police, hundreds of African-American agitated youths swept across the city burning and destroying properties and looting at will. However, the young man who was chased down by the police and killed had been arrested eighteen times previously by the police and had several convictions, mostly for drug possession and distribution. It also turned out that he had a difficult childhood. However, the person who was grabbing the headlines, around the same time, was the mother of another African-American 16-year-old boy who publicly smacked her son for taking part in the riot. She was caught on camera berating and clobbering her son and chasing him home after she spotted him carrying rocks to hurl at the police. She was even heard saying, “That’s my only son and at the end of the day I don’t want him to be another Freddie Gray.” The question is not just whether the young man was killed by the police, but what caused him to get to the station in life where he was chased down by the police.

The wise one at Proverbs 22:6 wrote, “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Parents are custodians of their children. To them it is enjoined that they train and bring up their children in this world of vanity to keep them from sin and the snare of it. “He who spares his rod,” says Proverbs 13:24, “hates his son, but he who loves him disciplines him promptly.” It is the parent’s rod, not the rod of an enemy, that must be used by wisdom and love designed for good. It is good to begin correction and discipline with necessary restraints of children from that which is evil before vicious habits are confirmed. The branch is easily bent when it is tender. Parents who do not keep their children under a strict discipline, by all proper methods, pretending to be fond of them, ignore making them sensible for their faults. Maybe parents are afraid of offending them or that they would regret in their later years were they to discipline their children.

In the Old Testament Book of 1 Samuel in its second and third chapters, we read about the two sons of Eli, who was one of the judges that ruled over the nation of Israel before kings were appointed to rule over them. The sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the Bible says, were corrupt, and they did not know the Lord (1 Samuel 2:12). It is parents’ responsibility to instill the fear and respect of God in their children. Eli’s sons committed grievous sins because they did not know the Lord. They treated the Lord’s sacrifices with contempt (1 Samuel 2:3-17). They were very immoral. They gave into lusts and indulged in all kinds of vices (1 Samuel 2:22). Yet, the most tragic of all was, the Bible says, “his sons made themselves vile, and he did not restrain them” (1 Samuel 3:13). Again, it is the parents’ awesome responsibility to raise their children in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), and among other things that means restraining them. They should not be left to do and to have everything they desire. When we fail to raise our children in the discipline of the Lord, we are honoring our children above God (1 Samuel 2:29). Our world today is being influenced by immorality on television and in the movies, pornography in reading materials, and in music, and the deification of human bodies along with the making of worldly pleasure the highest priority. “Evil companionship corrupts good morals” (1 Corinthians 15:33).

There is an urgent need in our day for parental restraint of their children. There is a strong tendency to do evil, and this is aided by so many examples of evil in our world and by so many temptations. Parental restraint is imperative. As parents, it is our duty not only to the children but also to God to rear our children properly before Him. To omit or to neglect parental restraint is ruinous not only to children, but in many cases to parents also (1 Samuel 3:13).

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