|Volume 21 Number 10 October 2019||
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Anyone who respects the authority of the Bible—God’s Word—acknowledges that Almighty God condemns the sinful act of homosexuality (Genesis 18:20; 19:1-25; 2 Peter 2:6; Jude 7). “Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 NKJV).
Various individuals may be born with physiological weaknesses or lesser tolerances for certain life situations. For instance, some people apparently have a greater physiological intolerance for the consumption of alcohol or other drugs, though alcohol and recreational drugs harm anyone who uses them. Yet, despite the likelihood for some people more easily to become alcoholics once they begin consuming alcohol, they first must make the poor choice of drinking alcohol before they could succumb to its affect and become alcoholics. Possessing a weaker tolerance for alcohol does not make one an alcoholic; choosing to drink alcohol and subsequently being overtaken by it makes one an alcoholic.
Likewise, irrespective of any physiological tendency toward homosexuality—if such truly exists, and that is questionable—only the choice resulting in the act of homosexuality is observable as sinful. Of course, one may fill his mind with thoughts that are sinful also, which are merely precursors to sinful actions in many cases (Matthew 15:19). Environment (family, friends, community mores, etc.) rather than physiological attributes with which one may be born affect a person more thoroughly.
No, one is not born into homosexuality. One makes a choice to become a homosexual, though one’s environment may heavily influence that choice. Fortunately, our loving God forgives the sins of those who repent and are baptized irrespective of what sins were committed—even the sin of homosexuality. The apostle Paul noted that even former homosexuals in Corinth were forgiven. “And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
Instrumental Music in Funerals?
Louis Rushmore, Editor
Some brethren are concerned about whether instrumental music can be used in funerals. Apparently, these brethren feel so strongly instrumental music must not be used in funerals that congregations of God’s people divide over this issue.
Religious questions deserve Bible answers, including this question. So, what does the Bible or even more specifically, the New Testament, legislate concerning funerals? Nothing! Therefore, practice regarding funerals becomes a matter of personal judgment. Hence, brethren ought not to divide God’s people over this—or anything else about which the Scriptures do not teach.
Strictly speaking, neither weddings nor funerals are religious events prescribed in God’s Word. They are not equivalent to congregational worship, for instance. Yes, instrumental music in congregational worship is not authorized, and another form of music instead has been authorized in Scripture for Christian worship—singing (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16).
However, it is possible to interject aspects of Christian worship into a funeral (i.e., hymns, prayer, preaching). All of our acts of worship at all times and in all places ought to conform to what is authorized in Scripture for Christian worship. It would not be harmonious with Scripture regarding hymns sung during a funeral to be accompanied by instrumental music. It would be a matter of (poor) judgment in a setting such as a congregation’s auditorium, in which it ordinarily worships, to use instrumental music even if it did not accompany hymns; Christians and non-Christians alike would get the wrong idea about worshipful music.
Funerals are not always conducted in meetinghouses for God’s people (i.e., outside, funeral home, at home, etc.). Culturally, some funerals typically include a procession to the cemetery, during which instrumental music may be played. It is totally a matter of personal judgment in these areas aside from worship and pertaining to something about which the Bible teaches nothing whether instrumental music may be used in a funeral. Brethren may disagree as to whether one’s judgment is poor judgment or simply okay, particularly in view of how non-Christians may perceive funeral activities. Nevertheless, without biblical legislation and other than the principles noted above, to use or not to use instrumental music in a funeral is not something over which Christians ought to divide.