Instrumental Music in Christian Worship

It is always important to understand the need for Bible authority to direct our faith and practice. Faith must be consistent with practice. Paul wrote,

“And whatsoever ye do, in word or in deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him” (Col. 3:17).

Doing what is done in word, teaching or preaching, in the name of the Lord means one must adhere to the New Testament for New Testament teaching. Doing what is done in deed is doing what the New Testament authorizes. Those who respect the authority of Jesus will not add to nor take from his magnificent teaching. The apostle Paul wrote,

“For I will not dare to speak of any things save those which Christ wrought through me, for the obedience of the Gentiles, by word and deed” (Rom. 15:18).

The question of instrumental music being used in Christian worship has often been ignored because of the long tradition is holds in religion. The thrill of a huge pipe organ sounding out sacred melodies that stir the soul is commonplace. The question is not whether music is soul inspiring or not. The only question is can it be done in the name of Jesus Christ.

One who reads the New Testament with profit will find no sanction at all for the use of instrumental music in Christian worship. Like counting beads in the rosary, lighting candles, and burning incense, it is simply not a New Testament practice.

The first organ ever used in worship by those claiming to be Christians was introduced during the papacy of Vitalian I, circa 760 A.D. It caused considerable division.

From a website, Catholic Culture, the following is lifted:

“At what period was the organ admitted into our churches? It is impossible to answer the question with absolute certainty, but it would appear that Pope Vitalian first gave it right of citizenship in the Christian assembly.” - http://www.catholicculture.org/docs/doc_view.cfm?recnum=3662.

An article written by John H. Lienhard, University of Houston, tells of significant opposition.

“But after Rome adopted Christianity, the organ died out. St. Augustine was troubled by music. It could, no doubt, provide us with a wink of Heaven, but it was too seductive -- more likely to break our concentration on God than enhance it.”

Without controversy, the New Testament Christians did not use mechanical instruments of music in worship. Those who intend to imitate the New Testament church today must reject it also.

The New Testament Christians worshiped God through music, but consistently the scriptures specify singing. (Please read: Matt. 26:26; Acts 16:25; 1 Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; Heb. 2:12; James 5:13.)

One justification for it is the absence of any direct prohibition against it. Christians are not obligated to prove what is wrong in religion but to “prove what is well-pleasing unto the Lord” (Eph. 5:10). Without question singing can be shown to be pleasing to God, but there is no proof that substantiates the addition of instrumental music in accompaniment of singing.

If any reader finds this to be wrong, according to the scripture, we ask them to show us the error of our thinking. We do not oppose mechanical instruments of music in worship because of our tradition or our dislike for it. We love good music. Due to our loyalty to the word of God, we will not add that which is personally enjoyable to the sacred worship of the Almighty. Questions about this article are welcome. Email us: Valley Church

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