The February 2007 issue of the Gospel Advocate includes an editorial by the owner and editor, Neil Anderson, commenting the decision by the Richland Hills Church of Christ to add an instrumental service. They will continue to offer two a cappella services.
Br. Anderson twice declares instrumental music in worship not only error, but “apostasy.” “Apostasy” is an anglicized form of the Greek “apostasia,” translated “rebellion” in 2 Thes. 2:3, referring to the “son of perdition” (KJV) or “man of lawlessness” (NIV). In short, Br. Anderson is unambiguously declaring the Richland Hills Church of Christ damned for their decision to have an instrumental worship service.
He concludes that “we must reject every compromise that leads away from the clear teaching of the Bible.” I’m sorry, but just where is it in the Bible that the necessity of a cappella music is a “clear teaching”? Don’t we argue from silence? And silence is not a clear teaching. It is, in fact, silence.
Perhaps the “clear teaching” is that we should not do things in worship that are unauthorized, but I’ve not seen that verse either. Both arguments are inferences from scripture, and neither is either clear or a teaching.
It’s a sad day when we grossly overstate our arguments in order to damn our brothers in Christ. The case against the instrument has always been, at best, an inference built largely on the teachings of uninspired early Christians, being many of the same people who brought us infant baptism and celibacy. We really need to get back to the Bible and stop trying to damn based on Tertullian and Theodoret.
I highly recommend to your listening the three-part sermon series on the Richland Hills website, “Both/And.” http://www.rhcc.us/audio.php?pagecount=3&a=1&b=2. It’s the best discussion of the subject I’ve ever heard. Don’t judge these people until you’ve heard their explanation for their decision.