The Argument From Silence is Invalid

Discussion in 'Other Christian Denominations' started by JSM17, Oct 10, 2009.

  1. JSM17

    JSM17
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    The Argument From Silence is Invalid

    Some, in trying to get around the plain New Testament teaching on the type of music to be used in the church, have endeavored to argue from silence. According to this method, because the New Testament does not say, "Thou shalt not use the instrument," and since there is no express condemnation of the practice, it must be acceptable to God. This is a false conclusion derived from the erroneous premise that the silence of the word of God is as much a guide for men as its positive commands. In other words, some wrongly believe that a thing is all right for worship unless explicitly forbidden. But it can easily be demonstrated that this type of reasoning will not work.

    When God commands men to do anything specifically, everything else in the related category is excluded. For example: a) Bread and fruit of the vine are the elements God has ordained for the Lord's Supper, according to Matt 26:26-39. The specific divine requirement for these elements excludes everything else. No one would be foolish enough to insist upon adding meat and potatoes to the Lord's table because the New Testament doesn't expressly prohibit their use for this purpose. b) When God commanded the children of Israel to use a lamb for the Passover feast (Exodus 12:3), every other kind of animal was automatically excluded. God did not have to expressly mention all the animals that were not to be used; the kind specified excluded all others.

    There are two kinds of commands in the Bible: specific and generic. For instance, Make thee an ark of gopher wood (Gen 6:14) is a specific command. God specified the wood, and that settled the question of the kind of wood. God did not say, "Thou shalt use no other kind of wood;" but the fact that God limited the wood to gopher wood forbade use of any other kind. Now if God had said, "Make thee an ark of wood," the use of any kind of wood would have met this generic command.

    If the New Testament had simply said, "Make music," the commandment could have been complied with by making either vocal or instrumental music, or both. God, however, did not say that. He said sing, and that restricts the music to vocal music. The specification and limitation is as clear here as it was in the command to build an ark out of gopher wood.
     
  2. just-want-peace

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    Wow!! I guess that settles it!! :rolleyes:

    However, a reference would be nice for this "command", since you did reference the other two illustrations.
     
  3. Revmitchell

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    Does the Church of Christ ignore the fact that instruments were used in the OT?
     
  4. Tom Butler

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    Yes it does. On purpose. The C of C basically holds that nothing in the OT is binding on NT Christians.

    The problem is that the NT doesn't ignore the OT. In Ephesians 5:19, it says
    Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord.

    The Psalms are often accompanied with instructions to sing them accompanied by musical instruments. For instance, Psalm 5. It is preceded by the instruction, "To the chief musician with stringed instruments."

    So here we have Paul instructing NT believers at Ephesus to sing psalms, which are accompanied by instruments.

    Aha, one might reply, it doesn't say sing the Psalms, it says speak to each other with Psalms, etc. But the context is corporate worship, at which the chief musician has a role. Speak it or sing it, musical instruments are involved.

    Oops, I've helped derail the thread, so let me add a thought to get back on track. Yes, arguments from silence are weaker than arguments from clear evidence. But they should not always be completely discounted.

    There, back on track.
     
    #4 Tom Butler, Oct 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2009
  5. Salty

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    Moderators - can we please keep this thread to under 50 pages this time! Please


    JSM,

    So based on your theory, you do not have Sunday School or church buildings - as the early church met in homes.

    Salty

    PS - by the way, your denomination is Church of Christ.

    Main Entry: denomination [​IMG]di-+n@-mu-!nA-shun
    Pronunciation: \ di-ˌnä-mə-ˈnā-shən \
    Function: noun
    Date: 15th century
    Results
    1.
    2. 3.
    4. 4a religious organization whose congregations are united in their adherence to its beliefs and practices

    A denomination does not require "control" by a denomination "headquarters".

    Many Baptist do not like to use the "D" word either. Like it or not, the COC is a denomination.
     
  6. sag38

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    Your yelling from the roof top has not produced one bit of credible evidence. We hear you screaming the doctrinal stance of your church (not Biblical doctrine) loud and clear. When a wall is clearly red and you keep saying that it is blue, yelling it over and over again, "The wall is blue" doesn't change a thing. The wall is still red. And, your yelling at us that musical instruments in the church is un-Biblical doesn't change a thing. There is no prohibition against musical instruments in the church except that which has been imposed by legalistic man trying to add to the Bible that which isn't there. Shame on you!!! Is that loud enough for you? Can you hear me now?
     
  7. Eric B

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    "Plain New Testament teaching"? You're dismissing the need for a scripture saying "you shall not use instruments", yet THAT is what would be a "plain teaching"! You're admitting it is not there, but then you're saying it is not needed, yet still claiming to have some "plain teaching". Hence, you are the one making "an argument from silence"; not us!

    The command to sing is different from the command to observe Lord's Supper. Singing was done in the OT, and it did often have accompaniment by instruments then. If something changed where instruments were no loner authorized, then there should have been a clear forbidding of them.
    The Lord's Supper was a new ordinance, which symbolized the Lord's death, and also superseded the Passover. In that observance, unleavened bread and wine were used alongside flesh and blood, which they represented, and it pointed towards Christ's body and blood. The bread and wine celebration was retained, now, to point back to Christ's death. In all cases, bread and wine were what were always mentioned, in BOTH testaments. So changing those to something else has nothing to do with continuing to use instruments with singing. In your example is where there is an unauthorized change, not in our practice, which continues what was always done. So there is just no correlation.

    So just what is this incessant harping on instruments about? (All the other debates with other groups that used to rage on here have died down, yet this one keeps going on and on). That you and your group are better than everyone else? You alone are obedient, and everyone else wrong? We're supposed to preach the Gospel to the world, but for the CoC, do you really think that means preaching to Christians about instruments? What is that to accomplish (other than just showcasing your supposed status as "the only true Christian church"--1 John 2:19)?
     
    #7 Eric B, Oct 10, 2009
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 10, 2009
  8. webdog

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    So...your entire post condemning instruments is an argument from silence :laugh: Wow...
     
  9. billwald

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    Sometimes argument from silence is valid. For example, the NT doesn't describe "worship" because everyone knew what worship was. It doesn't define "wine" as alcoholic because everyone knew what wine was.

    The NT only defines that which constitutes a redefinition of an existing word/concept, love, for example. "Neighbor," for another example.
     
  10. DHK

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    The argument from silence, as is noted, is indeed invalid.
    Therefore to argue from silence that instruments are invalid, is an invalid argument. That should settle the argument. Technically at this point I should close the thread because there is nothing more to say. But I won't. :)
     
  11. sag38

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    Don't close it. Let him dig himself further in the hole.
     
  12. gb93433

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    Didn't you know they are dispensationalists and have done away with the OT?
     
  13. gb93433

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    How much gopher wood did you use in your home?
     
  14. webdog

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    Please don't lump all dispensationalists in with the OP. I'm such and haven't "done away with" the OT.
     
  15. billwald

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    Noah cut down every gopher tree and that's why gophers now live underground. Gophers messing with your lawn? Blame Noah.
     
  16. Jedi Knight

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    Psalm 150: 3-4 Praise him with the sound of the trumpet; praise him with lute and harp. They knew how to Jam for Jesus .......and in spirit and truth.
     
  17. gb93433

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    I was being sarcastic. C of C folks are not typically dispensationalists.
     
  18. Jkdbuck76

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    Correct. I grew up in C of C. I know of only ONE C of C minister that is dispensational.
     
  19. Johnv

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    It's NOT an argument from silence. Psalm 150 expessly invites the use of musical instruments as a part of worship. There is nothing in the NT that invalidates Ps150.

    Frankly, this topic is just plain silly. If using instruments in worship is a sin, then I shall sin boldly.
     
  20. DHK

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    If you are going to debate the COC argument for use of instruments in the NT church, you cannot go to the OT. There was no church in the OT. All church polity and order is given in the NT. Thus, where in the NT do we have any precedent set for use of instruments in NT churches of today? That is the question.
     

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