Instrumental Worship - is it Biblical?

Discussion in 'Music Ministry' started by IfbReformer, Mar 30, 2005.

  1. IfbReformer

    IfbReformer
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    Hi all,

    I just finished a long study on music, but I am not a music historian - so if any of you are I would greatly appreciate your comments, or even constructive critisism of my new article on this subject.

    It is a work in progress, and I am perfectly willing to make edits to it if good, compelling information is given to me.

    Anything you might think would strengthen it would be appreciated as well.

    Even if you are not a music history expert, take a look and let me know what you think.

    http://www.ifbreformation.org/Church_Music.aspx

    Thanks

    IFBReformer
     
  2. ScottEmerson

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    Very nice, IFB. Good article.
     
  3. Aaron

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    The fact of the matter remains, they are not commanded in the NT and were shunned for the first centuries of Christianity.

    Those who use them do so not because it is what God desires, but because it is what they desire. But if using instruments causes my brother to offend...

    There is no way around that fact. You cannot make a Scriptural argument for the use of instruments in Christian worship. One can, and the Early Fathers did very well to do so, show where instrumental worship introduces more problems than benefits.

    The kingdom of God is not harps, flutes or viols, but love, joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. If their use causes division, then burn them all. (They will all burn up in the End, anyway.)

    [Note: You cannot from this post know whether I use instruments in worship or not. What I am doing is not the issue. What the Scriptures teach is.]
     
  4. ScottEmerson

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    Apparently the Harps don't, since they will be used in Heaven. If it's good enough for the angelic throng to worship, it's good enough for me. Now, hand me that 12-string guitar for a second...
     
  5. gb93433

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    Psalm 150 "Praise the Lord! Praise God in His sanctuary; Praise Him in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre. Praise Him with timbrel and dancing; Praise Him with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the Lord!"
     
  6. Archeryaddict

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    I have a Violin waiting for me when I get home :D
     
  7. IfbReformer

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    Bus ministries are not commanded in the New Testament - maybe we should'nt have those if someone is offended?(And Primitive Baptists are just one group of Christians that are offended)

    Christian schools are not commanded in the
    New Testament - maybe we should't have those either?

    Sunday School is not commanded in the New Testament? Some(primitive baptists) are offended by that and maybe we should not have that either?

    What about the evil Vacation Bible School?

    None of these things are commanded but we use them in obeying the greater general command to preach and teach the Gospel of Christ.

    Just as we use intruments to worship God in fulfillment of the general command sing and make melody in hearts and as I and many many other Christians have pointed out the word we translate as psalms most often refers to music with singing and instruments.

    So God does not desire us to worship him with instruments? Funny how he desired David to worship with him with instruments and how he desires the saints and angels to worship in heaven with instruments and even gives them instruments, he will even introduce his second coming with instruments yet you and the early fathers falsely claim we must stop worshiping him with instruments? The early fathers all but ignored the instruments being used to worship God in Revelation as you apparently have done as well.

    If my worship of God offends my brother he needs take his sin before the Lord and repent!

    Actually harps are in the Kingdom of God:

    "I saw in heaven another great and marvelous sign: seven angels with the seven last plagues–last, because with them God's wrath is completed. And I saw what looked like a sea of glass mixed with fire and, standing beside the sea, those who had been victorious over the beast and his image and over the number of his name. They held harps given them by God and sang the song of Moses the servant of God and the song of the Lamb: 'Great and marvelous are your deeds, Lord God Almighty. Just and true are your ways, King of the ages'."
    Revelation 15:1-3

    So if truth causes division we just surrender it or burn it up as you say?

    "18In the first place, I hear that when you come together as a church, there are divisions among you, and to some extent I believe it. 19No doubt there have to be differences among you to show which of you have God's approval"
    1 Corinthians 11:18-19

    We should stand for truth, and if we believe God wants to be worshiped with instruments as is clearly seen the Psalms and in the book of Revelation we should stand for that truth against those who oppose it.

    And just for those who will say Psalms is Old Testament and does not apply, we will agree there is the Old Covenant and the Mosaic Law which we are not under in the New Convenant, but there is also universal moral law in the Old Testament and universal instructions for worship that do not change.

    The scriptures tell us that God took away those things which were contrary to us, is worshiping God as David wrote under the inspiration of God contrary to us?

    I understand where you are coming from with this statement often times we attack the person making the argument or look for inconsistanies in their own life to disprove what they believe and I have done my best to not do this. However I think there is a danger of making our arguments only theorectial and never practically apply them to real life situations.

    IFBReformer

    [ April 01, 2005, 10:53 AM: Message edited by: IfbReformer ]
     
  8. rlvaughn

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    Hi, Larry. I'm going to jot down a few notes about your article "Should the New Testament Church use Instrumental Music in Worship?" Even though I don't agree with many of your conclusions, I think it is a good addition to the internet resources on the subject.

    1. Go through the article carefully and correct all typos. They may not necessarily change your meaning, but they can be a distraction to many people. For example, I was in a meeting last week in which a consulting group was giving a preliminary report criticizing our district (they are to find problems and make recommendations to improve the way we do things). Because many of the people there have backgrounds in teaching, they almost couldn't get beyond the many typos to address the real substance of the report.
    2. To me, I find it confusing to come to the chapter "Musical Instruments in New Testament Worship" and find you immediately skipping over this issue (which I think I'll be reading) and going to worship in heaven (which is a different thing). I realize that you are tieing these thoughts together - if used in heaven why not on earth. I guess maybe I find that a "letdown".
    3. Consider some footnotes or references for things that are not specifically supported in the text. For example, in "So when did instruments finally come into the church?", where did you find the information that "harp was used by monks in monasteries very early in the church", "somewhere between the mid 7th and mid 8th century A.D. the organ was introduced into the church", or "In America, the cello, flute, clarinet, bassoon, and violin all started being used in worship during the late 1700's." Give references.
    4. Consider revising this: "It is interesting to note that most attackers of using instruments in church will briefly address the scriptures - misapply their rule of exclusion, and then spend the majority of their articles quoting church fathers and historians about the non-instrumental position." While you may have found it true in the articles you've researched, I find it questionable (and believe you would be hard pressed to prove) that MOST of the articles favoring non-instrumental vocal worship are as deprived of scriptural argument as you present here. Maybe just changing "most" to "many" would make it less pejorative.

    Thanks again for adding to the internet resources on the subject. Thanks for listening.
     
  9. MargoWriter

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    I believe one of the NT words used for 'testify'
    (or some related word?) in the original language refers to a stringed instrument, indicating that the person testifying was playing and probably also singing . I could be wrong.
     
  10. Bro. James Reed

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    Here are a couple of writings from Primitive Baptist Elders refuting the use of musical instruments in the worship service.

    Article by Elder David Pyles

    Article by Elder Zack Guess

    They are a bit lengthy, but they both give excellent biblical support for our view.

    Bro. James
     
  11. Dale McNamee

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  12. IfbReformer

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    Thanks! I will have to take a closer look at this site.

    IFBReformer
     
  13. IfbReformer

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    Thanks Brother James,

    I did come across these when doing my study.

    Here is a quote from Elder Zack Guess

    Here with his quote I have included in brackets the context of each one these statements.

    All except 3 are examples of believers singing and not commands to sing. The three verses that are commands are not given as worship instructions for the organized assembly but are instructions to believers in general. If they apply, they would apply at all times, and not just during formal worship.

    So how then can this elder come to this conclusion that instruments can be used to worship God in the home?

    Elder Zack Guess gives us his assesment of the Harps in Revelation:

    Before I respond to his assessment here, I want to make something clear. There are as we have pointed out, several passages that have New Testaments saints singing and only 3 passages that command New Testament saints to sing.

    The singing, whether in jail, or in the assembly in these example passages shows us singing is permited in formal or home worship. Examples permit actions by us, commands require us to peform certain actions.

    Most Non-instrumentalists will do as this Elder as done and state all these verses of examples of saints singing and infere these examples in fact form commands as to how we are to worship.

    But when they come to examples of saints worshiping God in heaven with instruments, the non-intrumentalist says these examples do not command instruments in worship in the New Testament church(which we agree) and he says they don't even permit singing in the New Testament church - this is where we disagree.

    Can have I have beasts and incense in my worship service? Sure if I can find some. Believe me, the way some people smell in church, would'nt mind some good incense.

    Again, examples permit an action by us, as long as those examples are looked on as positive by the scriptures of course, and commands require that action of us.

    So when I see the harps being used in heaven, I am permited to use the harps, but not required as I am not required to have the beasts or incense.

    I will continue this in another post as this one is getting to huge.

    IFBReformer

    [ April 07, 2005, 05:04 PM: Message edited by: IfbReformer ]
     
  14. IfbReformer

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    Hi, Larry. I'm going to jot down a few notes about your article "Should the New Testament Church use Instrumental Music in Worship?" Even though I don't agree with many of your conclusions, I think it is a good addition to the internet resources on the subject.

    1. Go through the article carefully and correct all typos. They may not necessarily change your meaning, but they can be a distraction to many people. For example, I was in a meeting last week in which a consulting group was giving a preliminary report criticizing our district (they are to find problems and make recommendations to improve the way we do things). Because many of the people there have backgrounds in teaching, they almost couldn't get beyond the many typos to address the real substance of the report.
    2. To me, I find it confusing to come to the chapter "Musical Instruments in New Testament Worship" and find you immediately skipping over this issue (which I think I'll be reading) and going to worship in heaven (which is a different thing). I realize that you are tieing these thoughts together - if used in heaven why not on earth. I guess maybe I find that a "letdown".
    3. Consider some footnotes or references for things that are not specifically supported in the text. For example, in "So when did instruments finally come into the church?", where did you find the information that "harp was used by monks in monasteries very early in the church", "somewhere between the mid 7th and mid 8th century A.D. the organ was introduced into the church", or "In America, the cello, flute, clarinet, bassoon, and violin all started being used in worship during the late 1700's." Give references.
    4. Consider revising this: "It is interesting to note that most attackers of using instruments in church will briefly address the scriptures - misapply their rule of exclusion, and then spend the majority of their articles quoting church fathers and historians about the non-instrumental position." While you may have found it true in the articles you've researched, I find it questionable (and believe you would be hard pressed to prove) that MOST of the articles favoring non-instrumental vocal worship are as deprived of scriptural argument as you present here. Maybe just changing "most" to "many" would make it less pejorative.

    Thanks again for adding to the internet resources on the subject. Thanks for listening.
    </font>[/QUOTE]Thanks for the suggestions, I will take them under advisement.

    IFBReformer
     
  15. IfbReformer

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    One final area I wanted to address here in the article by Elder Guess is the argument from silence section:

    I completely agree with the author here that there are "two kinds of commands in the Bible: specific and generic".

    I addressed this in my article:

    IFBReformer
     
  16. IfbReformer

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    I have a correction to make to one of my statements in a previous post:

    I meant "and he says they don't even permit intrumental worship"

    IFBReformer
     
  17. Aaron

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    I want to make a general reply and will go into detail in the future if you wish.

    I'm glad to see that your use of Revelation as a way to say that God desires worship with instruments has been answered. Anytime instruments are mentioned in the NT, if it isn't historical narrative, it is figurative—especially in Revelation, the chief characteristic of which is allegory.

    One critical fact not revealed by your study is that not even the Jews used instruments in the synagogue. The music in the synagogal tradition was plainsong only, and the Early Church emulated that style. They did not shun instruments because of persecution or other unfavorable circumstances as you theorized.

    As far as organized worship is concerned, instruments were relegated to the temple. They understood that when David organized the Levitical choirs and instrumentalists, they were intended to accompany temple worship, i.e. sacrifices.

    God has just as much pleasure in the sound of the psaltery and harp as He does in the blood of bulls and goats.

    None.


    But just as the blood of bulls and goats is symbolic, so is the sound of the psaltery and harp.

    I didn't expect this from you, but you're showing here a more consistent theology, even if it is erroneous. Our CCM promoters here are probably cringing—the more rational ones anyway. I have asserted from the very beginning, that the Scriptures used to justify CCM (but in this case, merely instruments) will also be used to justify the use of incense and other shadows of the law in Christian worship. And you're doing just that.

    Not sure what you meant by "using" beasts in worship, but it isn't a large step from where you're at to say one is permitted to sacrifice a dove in church.

    [BTW]The argument that blood sacrifice is different than music has been tried and found wanting. Christ ended the temple. That means not only no animals, but also no priests, no priestly garments, no altars, no shewbread, no candlesticks, no incense.[/BTW]
     
  18. rlvaughn

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    Aaron's post made me think about something I left off. Larry, this I should have addressed in point no. 2 and failed to mention:

    For the utility of the article, it would be good for you to address in more depth why that the musical instruments in heaven prove your position. Are they literal or figurative? Why should we take those passages literally? If they are not literal, do they still have the same strength for your argument?
     
  19. IfbReformer

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    Did the Jews use instruments in their synagogues? This is a debated topic even among Jews. There is no debate that instruments ceased to be used after 70 A.D. and destruction of the temple - this was order as an act of mourning for the destruction of the temple by Rabbis.

    Some maintain the Rabbis had forbiden music a few centuries earlier, but again this debateable.

    My question is, why would the early fathers rant against the Judizing of the their worship if the Jews did not use instruments in worship? Some might argue they are simply refering to temple worship - again this is a debatable point.

    Did the early church learn plainsong from the Jewish synagogues? Again we do not know for sure.

    Another important point that you can find in many Jewish articles is that synagogues were looked at as place of instruction more than a place worship. The Temple was the place seen as the place for worship.

    Where is our place for worship today as the New Testament church? It in the assembly of believers, we are not restricted to any particular building or place as the Jews were.

    By the way on the Revelation issue I am a Historic Premillennialist - this means I view Revelation a literal book. Might there be some imagery in this book? I do not say there is not, but on the whole I regard it as literal.

    There is no reason to say the harps are not literal harps, the only reason you need to say that is to dismiss them from the argument.

    Even so - we would all agree that allegories can be used in the Bible in a negative or postive sense, the positive sense would mean approval of course, the negative would mean something we should not do.

    Even If these instances are allegories, are they positive or negative?(though I strongly believe they are not allegory.)

    I would love to see New Testament Scripture that compares instrumental playing with the sacrifices of bulls and goats - the problem for you is you don't have any.

    God has no pleasure in the harp ah?

    Oh, but this just an allegory, right, there were not really saints who had harps given them by God to sing to him. God really did not have pleasure in harps - right?

    Allegory, or literal passages like this drive a steak through the heart of your position.

    You have made brass statements that show God has no pleasure in instruments(such as the harp), but have shown no scripture(allegory or otherwise) to support such a position. I have.
    Have a nice day.

    IFBReformer
     
  20. IfbReformer

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    I didn't expect this from you, but you're showing here a more consistent theology, even if it is erroneous. Our CCM promoters here are probably cringing—the more rational ones anyway. I have asserted from the very beginning, that the Scriptures used to justify CCM (but in this case, merely instruments) will also be used to justify the use of incense and other shadows of the law in Christian worship. And you're doing just that.

    Not sure what you meant by "using" beasts in worship, but it isn't a large step from where you're at to say one is permitted to sacrifice a dove in church.

    [BTW]The argument that blood sacrifice is different than music has been tried and found wanting. Christ ended the temple. That means not only no animals, but also no priests, no priestly garments, no altars, no shewbread, no candlesticks, no incense.[/BTW]
    </font>[/QUOTE]Actually we are not permitted to do any kind of animal or atonement sacrifices as Christ was the lamb offered once and for all - and that is not even in the context of these passages in Revelation. Show me animal sacrifices in Revelation? Where are they?

    I think something that is greatly missed here that New Testament worship is not the formal worship we see in the Old Testament. Now before one of you jumps on this let me explain.

    Anything regarding the sacrificial (or atonement)system must be done away with, as Christ is our one and only sacrifice.

    What I am saying is that Paul gave no litergy, no order of service - there were strict orders of service(so to speak) in the Old Testament for worship.

    I find it interesting that the same people who argue about how God is so strict as to how we worship him and they argue from the Old Testament that God is strict, then dismiss all the practices of that same Old Testament that show he was strict. Yes we agree the sacrifical and atonement items of are gone in the New Testament era, and I would argue that none of the Old Testament worship is required of the New Testament Church.

    But is any of it permitted? Do we see anything in the New Testament that seems to indicate a strictness for New Testament worship as we see in the Old Testament Temple worship?

    Can we include(things from the Old Testament) which do not conflict with commands for the New Testament church?

    This all goes back to the disagreement between Luther and Calvin on this issue.


    IFBReformer
     

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