A couple of years ago I was having a visitor in my 3rd – 6th grade class at church, a little boy who had never visited the church of Christ before. His father was a new Christian and he began to bring his children to class and worship. His son, my new student at that time, is a bright boy and understood everything that I taught my other students. However, one morning as I taught on what we have authority to do in the church of our Lord he became upset. He was upset because I told my class that we do not have authority to play instruments of music in worship. He told me that he loved instrumental music and did not want to worship God without instruments. I told him that we have to care more about what God wants than what we want. I did not have time that morning to go into detail from the scriptures, so I sat down and wrote him this letter.
My letter was fruitful. Not only did it teach my little student, but his mother read it and it taught her as well, resulting in her obeying the gospel. I am putting it here on my blog in the hopes that it will help someone else.
I hope that the following will help you understand what God's will is concerning how He wants His people to worship Him today. Don't take my word for it (I Pet. 3:15). Get out your Bible and read the verses for yourself. I hope I have written this in a way that you can easily understand.
The question is:
"Does Christ authorize the use of instrumental music in the worship of God today?"
First of all we have to recognize that Jesus Christ is our authority:
Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
God has spoken to us by His Son, Jesus Christ:
Heb 1:2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;
The religion of Christ is one of FAITH:
Heb 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.
Faith comes by hearing God's Word:
Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.
When we "walk by Faith" we cannot walk by our opinion, or by other's opinions. We walk by faith when we do only what has been authorized by God. What has NOT been authorized by faith is not of God (Heb. 11:6).
When we worship God by faith, we must worship Him in spirit and in truth:
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. This means, we must worship God in the right manner and doing the right things.
Joh 17:17 Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.
Nowhere in the New Testament is instrumental music found. When we use a musical instrument we are not walking by faith, but walking by opinion. Why?
The New Testament ONLY AUTHORIZES SINGING:
1Co 14:15 What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also.
Eph 5:19 Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;
Col 3:16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.
Jas 5:13 Is any among you afflicted? let him pray. Is any merry? let him sing psalms.
Act 16:25 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them.
Mat 26:30 And when they had sung an hymn, they went out into the mount of Olives.
Rom 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy; as it is written, For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.
Heb 2:12 Saying, I will declare thy name unto my brethren, in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee.
Some people want to use the following argument to say using instruments of music in worship are okay -- they say, "Well, playing musical instruments to worship God was done in the Old Testament."
To that we can say "Yes, they did use instruments of music under the Old Law." However, if we use that argument we would also have to accept and do animal sacrifices, incense, multiple marriages, infant church membership (the Jews became God's people at birth), and many other things they did to keep the Old Law.
We are not under the Old Law today. God took away the Old Covenant and established a New Covenant when Jesus Christ died on the cross:
Col 2:14 Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross;
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Some people say, "Well, the New Testament doesn't say we can't do it." But this creates a respect for what the Bible DOES NOT SAY, rather than what it DOES SAY. The Bible says we are not to go beyond what is written in it:
2Jn 1:9 Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.
1Co 4:6 And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
Some people may say, "Well, I can play my instrument at home." -- but, there are many things one can do at home that are not right or authorized to do in the Lord's church. One can have a cook stove and cook at home, one can tend to a baby at home, one can do all manner of hobbies and sports at home, but all these things are not works of the church because God has not authorized us to do them in His church. Instruments of music are not wrong within themselves. They are only wrong when used in worship to God because GOD AUTHORIZES SINGING.
Some people may say, "But it is only an aid to our singing. We can sing better with it." But, instrumental music is not an aid, it is another kind of music. When we use a songbook to aid us we have only sung. When we use a pitch pipe to get the key the song is written in we have only used an aid to pitch the song -- one doesn't play an entire song on a pitch pipe, so it has not added to the command to sing.
God wants us to all have UNITY when we worship Him. This means we are to have the same standard and do the same things. The standard we have is the New Testament. 1Co 1:10 Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.
Joh 17:20 Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word;
Joh 17:21 That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me.
How important is it to do exactly what the Lord says? He tells us that He will judge us by HIS WORDS:
Joh 12:48 He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.
I hope that what I have written is understandable to you _________ and that now you understand why we cannot use instrumental music in the Lord's church to worship Him.