Richland Hills, Instrumental Music, and the future of the Churches of Christ, Part 1

Angel with harpIt’s well known among the Churches of Christ that our largest congregation, the Richland Hills Church of Christ in Ft. Worth, recently decided to add an instrumental Saturday night worship service to their two Sunday morning a cappella services. I understand that the decision cost them 200 members, but that, in less than six months, they regained at least that many and are poised to continue their growth. But, then, they were out of room at their two Sunday morning services and couldn’t have grown at all without adding a third service of some sort.

Not surprisingly, many congregations are now wrestling with the question of whether to introduce instrumental music or a separate instrumental worship. The theory is that most church growth and most conversions occur among young couples and that popular music—essentially always instrumental–is very, very important to the generation presently coming out of college.

And these are manifestly true statements—proven by social research and personal observation: ask any parent or minister who works with the young.

The natural mode of thinking in the Churches of Christ is to immediately delve into the theology and hermeneutics, which I’ve discussed elsewhere. (Do We Teach Another Gospel? and the posts listing in the Index under “Instrumental Music”) As I’ve already argued at some length, there really is no scriptural basis for declaring instrumental music in worship sinful. Therefore, the appropriate discussion should be one of practice: what best effects God’s purpose for the church?

Given the naturally rebellious nature of many us (myself most certainly included), it’s easy to leap to the conclusion that we should, by all means, jump on the instrumental band wagon. It’s permissible and it’s evangelistically beneficial. Q.E.D.

But, much to my own surprise, recent events have led me to a somewhat different conclusion. This is partly based on four stories.

The first happened when my law partner and I built our law office. By then we had 12 or so people working for us, and we met with them all to discuss designs for the new building. My partner very badly wanted to install Musak for the staff. I hate working with someone else’s music playing, and so I campaigned against the idea.

We asked the staff for a show of hands: how many would like music piped in through speakers in the ceiling? EVERYONE but me raised their hands. My partner grinned at me, assured of his victory.

I asked, “How many want country? How many want classical?” and continued through a list of musical styles. Two or three hands went up with each listed style, and soon the staff was arguing—very bitterly—over which style we should play. I grinned at my partner, assured of my victory.

We asked everyone to bring a radio to play in their offices so they could all have their own preferred choice of music.

Lesson learned
: People really like music and are quite emotional on the subject. But musical tastes are highly divided. People like instrumental music, but they don’t like each other’s instrumental music at all.

Last weekend, I traveled to by nephew’s wedding. His parents are very devout, very active members of a large Baptist church. The church has a band and plays only contemporary music. Their son was marrying a girl who’d also grownup in that church, but the parents were just learning that the new couple would likely worship at another church. You see, they don’t like the music at their old church. They want a congregation that rocks!

Lesson learned: There is no musical style that will make everyone happy. Therefore, just because you change from the a cappella style to the contemporary style doesn’t mean you’ll become attractive to all who happen by. You’ll have just shifted from one “market segment” to another. Of course, if you have multiple services, you’ll have now become more attractive to two market segments, but that’s just two out of dozens.

A teenager from our congregation is about to graduate from high school. As teenagers go, he is not as into music as many. However, in visiting the college he is about to attend, he advised his mother that he’d likely attend the Baptist Church rather than the local Church of Christ, because he likes the music better.

Our church has excellent, state-of-the-art congregational a cappella music. We attract many from outside the Churches of Christ despite having no band or organ. Obviously, he was looking for something more like the music he listens to on his CD player.

However, he visited the college’s Church of Christ campus ministry and discovered 250 students at an a cappella devo—with music not as good as ours. And yet he was convincingly sold on attending this church, despite its less-than-state-of-the-art music. Why? Because he found a community.

By “community” I mean a group of people willing to socialize and help each other. Although he’s a high school senior, the college students he met took him out for coffee, introduced him to someone in his major, and accepted him into their social network.

Lesson learned: Community is more important that music. Community is not just numbers, but numbers matter. Community requires being open to newcomers in an active, not just superficially friendly, way.

My wife asked my youngest son, a high school sophomore, where he’d like to go on vacation this summer. In all seriousness, he said he wanted to have six or seven friends over to the house for week—rather than going to the beach or DisneyWorld.

Lesson learned: Friends are more important to this generation of kids than Mickey Mouse. Community is the force that drives this generation. This can also be seen in the Facebook phenomenon, World of Warcraft, and other social networks now on the internet.

Therefore, I conclude that a mere change in musical styles will not be the solution to the desire for church growth. However, figuring a way to create real community will.

This is not to say that music doesn’t matter. It matters a lot. It’s just not the most important thing.

Satisfaction vs. Dissatisfaction

I read a book on church leadership a while back that broke church growth issues down into matters of dissatisfaction and matters of satisfaction. Dissatisfaction matters are things that annoy members or interfere with their enjoyment of the congregation. An inadequate air conditioner or lack of parking would be dissatisfaction problems.

Satisfaction issues would be such things as whether the church has an effective missions program, helps the poor, provides community, has a good teen ministry … the things people look for, as opposed to the things people will avoid.

I’m thinking that people don’t look for instruments. They look for great worship. More importantly, they look for community and great programs. Some look for programs that help them with problems—divorce recovery, for example. Some look for programs that meet family needs—marriage coaching, parenting classes, teen and children’s ministries. Some look for programs that help others—evangelism and benevolence.

There are, of course, some people for whom musical style is most important. I know one couple that drives an hour to church to get old fashioned, Church of Christ hymns.

But I think most people put musical style more in the dissatisfaction category. Bad worship drives people off. Good worship doesn’t drive people off. Great worship doesn’t attract that many more. It helps, but it’s not enough. Rather, most people have higher priorities.

Fitting the church’s mission into the equation

At this point, we need to talk about real theology. You see, Biblical Christianity is not really about market segments, satisfaction, and dissatisfaction. These are useful tools to help think about church, but they can’t be the drivers. They are not what church is really about.

Rather, whenever we find our thinking being about providing what the people want, we are becoming worldly in our thinking. The command is for us to provide what Jesus wants—which may not be popular at all. He wasn’t that well received, you know.

When we decide to change musical styles as a marketing decision, we are dangerously close to a worldly decision. When we decide to stay a cappella because it’s safe, easy, or popular, that’s also worldly. Rather, the decision has to be driven by truly Biblical principles.

There is no Biblical command that our church should grow. THE church should grow, but not necessarily our congregation. If all that we do is cannibalize other churches in town by being better marketers, we’ve secularized the church. We must be Kingdom minded.

People brought to Jesus is a far better indicator of church health than people brought to the building. Good done for the needy is far more important than good done for the pewsitters.

A church that has decent but not all-that-good worship but which has great community—where people easily make friends and feel supported—will thrive. But even then, the church will just be a well-managed social club unless it also learns to effectuate its mission. I’ve discussed this before (An Unconventional Approach to Mission). In short, I believe that the best way to make friends and form community is to do so as part of doing mission.

The best friends you’ll ever make are the friends who travel with you to Romania or Fiji or the Bahamas to do mission work or who go with you to the inner city to teach children or literacy. Shared experiences and shared emotions form a genuine, spiritual bond that lasts for a lifetime.

Therefore, a church that focuses exclusively on classes and small groups that are run like classes will not as easily create community as a church that has a common vision of helping those in need and that actively works in concert to do exactly that. After all, as great as community is, even better is a mission–feeling needed and valuable, feeling that what you do makes a difference that will affect generations upon generations, is a blessing that few churches offer.

How mission is done will necessarily vary by age group, as different age groups have different abilities and levels of maturity. But all age groups will seek community and seek mission, given the chance.

Community is most important among the teens and other younger members, and being truly motivated by mission is something teens, college students, and even young couples and singles have to grow into. You start with community and then build mission into the community (you don’t pull kids out of community to do mission). As mission is integrated into the DNA of the community, the community becomes stronger.

For example, in recent years our college ministry has recruited students to do mission work in Fiji. They were required to spend months in training to go, learning to do one-on-one Bible study.

And the training and hard work and commitment of the campaign drew them closer as a group and helped build better and deeper community. The program also trained students to do evangelism, and a number have now gone into fulltime missions.

Community and mission should be synergistic, with each building on the other. The wise leader never sets one in opposition to the other.

Heading toward some conclusions

And so, what about instrumental music? Is it smart to keep our a cappella practice rather than bring in a rock band? The answer will be shown by history, but here’s what I think—

  • A weak church isn’t going to fix anything by bringing in an instrument. A lack of instrumentation is not the great barrier to growth we sometimes imagine. Rather, we struggle for other reasons.
  • On the other hand, bad music of any kind is a horrible mistake, and our children will not stand for it. If you can’t do a cappella well, do something else.
  • Variety is perhaps more important than picking the fashionable style. Variety meets the needs of young people, who are accustomed to all sorts of visual and auditory stimulation from the internet, video games, movies, etc. And it means that while you’ll never please everyone, you’ll be more likely to hit a responsive chord with more people by doing more kinds of things. Do the same thing all the time, and you’ll leave most people unhappy with whatever choice you made.
  • Within the a cappella tradition, we can have much more variety than we often in fact enjoy. Solos, meditations sung by a quartet or praise team, duets, and other special music should never replace congregational singing, but done well, such things can add variety and greatly enhance the service. Choirs are utterly out of fashion outside of churches and have been for 50 years, and so I think churches who have a choir make a mistake.
  • Most significant, perhaps, would be varying the structure of the service itself. I think all denominations have a running joke equivalent to our “three songs and a prayer.” When every service is like the one before, other than the songs chosen and the sermon, it gets rote for everyone—not just the young people. There are lots of other ways to do a church service. For example,
    • A communion service. Begin with the sermon and point the songs and readings toward the communion, which is at the end.
    • A prayer service. Skip the sermon and interweave prayers with songs.
    • A service focused on missionaries. Have missionaries lead communion via an internet video feed. Have films from missionaries (get past the old slide mentality). Educate the church on missionaries being persecuted and martyred. Talk about missions other than your own. Pray for missions, for martyrs, for opportunities to go to Moslem lands, etc.
    • A confessional service. Rather than asking members to come forward, offer them the opportunity to meet in a side room or in the back with elders or ministers for prayer—do this early in the service so members don’t have to ask the church to be late for lunch so they can meet with a leader.
    • An ordination service. Focus the service on charging missionaries, or new deacons, or new elders. Make this not an interruption in the service but the focus of the entire service.
    • A service focused on benevolence. Educate the church with pictures and video about the needed good works in the community. Have multiple speakers from church ministries or social service agencies. Have testimonies from people helped—or helped by helping.
    • A testimonial service. Have members (in person or via video) talk about what God has done in their lives.
    • A song service.
    • A service on giving. Have testimonies from those blessed by being givers.

    I have great respect for preachers and the good that can be done through sermons, but the sermon was never meant to always be the focus of the service. The Catholic Church has focused their services on communion for 1,500 years or more. The idea of building the service on the sermon started with Calvin and reached its nadir with Frontier Revivalism in the 19th Century. The invitation, an element of Revivalism, is a practice only about 200 years old.

    There are other ways to do church.

    And there are other ways to do music. Four-part harmony, a cappella music is wonderful worship. But we can supplement and add variety musically as well—

    • Songs can be interspersed within a sermon or, viewed another way, a sermon can be interspersed among songs (or prayers).
    • A solo or group song can be used to illustrate or reflect on a sermon thought or the communion.
    • A solo or group song can be used in lieu of or to work with a communion meditation.

    Now, I’m hardly the most creative person when it comes to these sorts of things. I only give these examples to point out that we tend to be a bit stultified. Worship involves music and meditation and prayer and instruction, among other things, and these all lend themselves very well to creativity. There are lots of ways to mix and match the elements. And yet we just can’t seem to keep ourselves from making this week just like last week.

    Some people find comfort in the sameness, but others find it suffocating. The solution is to be somewhere in between, which should satisfy about 80% of the folk, which is about as good as you can hope to do. Add variety but don’t add so much that people get disoriented.

    Just refuse to be lazy. When your worship team meeting is all about picking songs rather than designing services, it’s time to make some big changes.

    And so, this is all a rather long way of coming to these few somewhat tentative conclusions. This is not theology from the mountaintop, just where I am in my own thinking—

    • Think very, very hard about how to create community in age-appropriate ways, especially among the congregation’s younger members.
    • Don’t let the idea of community devolve into a mere social club. Jesus didn’t die for that. Rather, although at some age levels you may have to start at a largely social level, carefully blend in missional activities, such as short-term mission trips and meaningful benevolence activities, especially activities that involve working closely with the people being served.
    • Among the a cappella churches, don’t run headlong toward instrumental music as though it’s going to solve all your problems. A cappella music is not the problem—at least, not nearly the biggest problem or the highest priority.
    • On the other hand, if you have truly bad or uninspiring music, fix it. No church is going to do well for long with an inadequate song service.
    • Long before I’d add instruments, I’d add what’s sometimes called “special music,” that is, solos, duets, quartets, and such. This should never supplant congregational singing, but can be very powerful used thoughtfully in moderate doses.
    • And I’d add much more variety to the worship service. Get away from “three songs and prayer.” But don’t go overboard. Some sameness is good—just not too much.
    • Beware the temptation of the paid staff to think that their parts of the worship service are the only parts of real importance. The paid preacher and paid song leader quite naturally spend their time preparing the sermon and the song service. Get them to think as worship leaders, that is, someone responsible for the totality of the service, who thinks communion is at least as important as preaching. And get someone with an artistic streak—preferably someone who isn’t afraid of being disagreed with—on the worship planning team.

    Once you mastered community, mission, and the art of worship, then perhaps the next step is to think about an instrumental service. But if you aren’t doing mission and community, then you aren’t really even doing church—not the church Jesus died for.

    Profile photo of Jay Guin

    About Jay Guin

    I am an elder, a Sunday school teacher, a husband, a father, a grandfather, and a lawyer. I live in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, home of the Alabama Crimson Tide. I’m a member of the University Church of Christ. I grew up in Russellville, Alabama and graduated from David Lipscomb College (now Lipscomb University). I received my law degree from the University of Alabama. I met my wife Denise at Lipscomb, and we have four sons, two of whom are married, and I have a grandson and granddaughter.
    This entry was posted in Instrumental Music, Richland Hills, Instrumental Music, and the Future of the Churches of Christ, Uncategorized and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

    0 Responses to Richland Hills, Instrumental Music, and the future of the Churches of Christ, Part 1

    1. Kevin Riner says:

      I was at a friends house the other day and saw the book Dave Miller wrote. I have been doing some in depth studies on music in the church, and I found your blog searching for this book on the internet. (Do you know a way I can get a hard copy?)

      I attend a church that has instrumental music. I must say, you have a very refreshing voice coming from a church of Christ member. I am very well pleased so far at your thoughts on this subject. You are so right on when you make known that the music styles are just as divisive as music in the church itself.

      Thank you for your thoughts.

    2. Jay Guin says:

      Kevin,

      I've not seen a hard copy. It may be that they can be ordered from Apologetics Press.

    3. William T. Hall says:

      This is an interesting, if for the Churches of Christ somewhat meaningless statement. "The theory is that most church growth and most conversions occur among young couples and that popular music—essentially always instrumental–is very, very important to the generation presently coming out of college."

      During the "heyday" of the congregations of the Churches of Christ most congregations were quite small. Of course there were exceptions. Preachers entering the work could not expect to be gratuitously rewarded for their work. But look at the competition now — and look at those mega-churches with their thousands. And just look at those salaries.

      If 300 leave, but more come back because of the new entertainment value, I am not sure what has been gained. But the contributions are back up and the preacher is happy.

      By the way, who, exactly, are you trying to unite. I have not problem reuniting with the IOC if it returns to its NI restoration roots, for instance. Is that what you meant.

      I have just discovered this web site trying to understand exactly what is a "contemporary" Church of Christ service. O.K. We can drop some of the sappy Stamps-Baxter stuff that has no meaning to our younger people, and substitute stuff that has no particular meaning to anyone.

      Young people are not in charge for a reason.

      12 Male singers — what?, no altos.

      This site is about as screwy as piney.com; put you together, and like the weather, you average average.

    4. Joe Baggett says:

      William:

      Without young people your congregation has no future. Many of them have left their respective congregations and some faith all together becuase of the attitude that seems evident in your comments. i may be wrong. You wrote.
      “Young people are not in charge for a reason.”
      It is the attitude and not the insturmental music that is the key. When people feel they are valued, that their thinking counts, then they will be there whatever the congregation is acapella vs. insturments.

    5. Jay Guin says:

      Kyle,

      I don't really understand it, but countless CoC websites make a point of telling people that this congregation does not ever, in any circumstance, entertain its members.

      Here's a post that explains why it just doesn't make sense. http://oneinjesus.info/2007/04/26/entertainment-a

    6. Kyle says:

      I agree with Joe….young people are not in charge for a reason….I think I actually find that offensive.

      Is there some reason that we have to seperate entertainment and worship?

    7. very informative and encourages me to study more. the issue about the instrumental music is not new in my place, cebu city, philippines. personally am not judgmental to those who are using it because the basis of my salvation is Christ. I belong to HIM and that is my assurance of going to heaven.

    8. Jay Guin says:

      Maricor,

      It's great to have you as a reader — and I'm encouraged by your understanding!

      May God bless the Philippine church.

    9. Ken says:

      Miller loses the high ground–along with most non -instrumentalists –by agreeing with Richland who claims that GOD COMMANDED INSTRUMENTAL PRAISE as the OLDEN patternism for Worship.

      Being a New Testament Church most of us never did Synagogue or Ekklesia and totally missed the status of the Civli-Military-Clergy complex which was a goyim or national system imposed because of the fall from grace at Mount Sinai. The "becauseof transgression" was the musical idolatry of the Egyptian (etal) trinity under the image of Apis a real bull calf engraved in stone or gold.

      Merging the "worship practices" under the Law with the Church of Christ has been high on the agenda of some of the once-Christian colleges.

      The Highland man was "borned" into the Christian church and had a not-too-hidden agenda to REUNITE with the Christian church. It took 12 years of blowing the winds of change to pull it off. The false teaching and urge is to UNITE to groups which had absolutely nothing in common in the beginning but a sentimental attachment to "unity" which had to give up speaking about doctrine. Alexander Campbell made great fun of the notion that a few handshaks UNITIED that which was clearly NOT united or the 1832 meeting would never have occurred. Unity always demands conformity to the instrumental position.

      What became The Church of Christ was never "uninioned" with what became the Disciples of Christ. The Church of Christ was built on the universally-taught CENI principle which prevented people from IMPOSING their private diversites. The Christian Church called itself a "church" because it evolved with evolution and culture. NOT IMPOSING that which the Bible does not IMPOSE (meaning of a sect) is what the Disciples called a SECT or CULT.

      The Christian Church did not exist until beginning in 1927 and ending in 1971 when the Disciples quit counted them as they had always tried to count the Churches of Christ.

      The groups have radically different foundations.
      http://www.piney.com/Hamm-Disciples.html

      The Disciples had four "sources" of revelation as explained by Richard Hamm:

      "The first is Scripture, which for Christians means, of course, the Holy Bible (which is to say the whole Bible: the Hebrew and Christian testaments).

      The second is reason
      and the third is experience. We Disciples are quite appreciative of these sources. Our movement was born within the philosophical context of John Locke who said that truth can be known through reason tempered with experience.

      The fourth is tradition.

      The Holy Spirit, the Spirit of the Living God, uses these four sources of revelation to teach us who God is and who we are.

      ————————————————————————–

      Modern "scholars" reverse the charges! It was the Disciples which used HUMAN REASONING as defined by John Lock. They also claim ownership to TRADITIONALISM. When these permit IMPOSING something over the heads of people practicing Sola Scripture that is defined as SECTARIANISM. The imposed upon who did NOT introduce something can never honestly be accused of sectarianism or heresy.

      The Disciples alway confess to making even joint participation between the two groups: when William Miller announced that the Lord would return in 1843, the Disciples panicked and formed a "society." As with the Jubilee concept, the return of Christ was IMPOSSIBLE before they converted all of the Jews. The Millenniel Harbinger (contrary to histories and encyclopedias) used the term Milllennial Harbinger to OPPOSE the Disciples conversion to the Millerite Thesis which became the SDA teachings.

      After 25 years the NACC's effort to UNITE by subsuming the ANTI-instrumental music churches and imposing instruments was confessed to be a failure and did more damage than good.

    10. Regan Lick says:

      Most an informative post and supporting comments that you have here. I should point out that other people have proposed a varying case, particularly in regards to natural health. Have you found more information on the Web, and will you point me in that direction?

    11. Scott Walton says:

      Jay,

      Just found this post, I know it's old and not sure you will get this comment. First I completely agree, it's about the "community" not the instrument or lack there of, and it's about the "quality".

      I became a Christian in an a cappella church, but after getting married we moved to a different community and when kids came we decided to go to a Church in our community, both a cappella churches where too sectarian for us to worship with, so we went the independent route.

      I don't mind instruments, I would rather have more vocals and less band, but that's my preference.

      The church we worship with now is no different than most CoC's that I've been at, except for the instruments. The big thing that's lacking as with most churches is community. We come together for 1 – 1.5 hours and sit in one directions sing, break, sip, give, listen, pray, and "gossip". A lady passed away this week and I knew who she was, but didn't really know her, she came to the Bible class that I taught, but because of the modern culture, with lack of true fellowship, I didn't get to know her. There are lot's of people in my small congregations that I don't know, because we have a very big lack of fellowship and real community and this greatly saddens me.

      As far as mixing the worhip up goes, I can remember making fun of the same old worship pattern, until I had children. We would keep the kids in worship until after communion and then send them to children's church. When the worship leader started changing things around, I had a grumpy little 3 year old who wasn't used to sitting through an adults preaching time. I say this to warn those who don't have to watch their children, while they are leading (or performing) on stage.

      But thanks for this blog, it has really helped me in my wrestling with my IM issues.

      God Bless,

      Scott Walton

    12. Price says:

      Jay, when Paul spoke of order within the church in I Corinthians he spoke of each of us might have something different to bring to the worship service (v26) and that everything should be done for the building up of the body…It seems to me, theological novice, that Paul didn't suggest that we all do things alike according to the tradition of the elders…He said that when the Holy Spirit is moving within us individually and as a group that He might use us and our gifts in different aspects of worship.. Paul seems to indicate a preference for order but yet also for appreciating the individual contributions of others…

      Also, when I insist on a worship style that is favorable to me then I make MYSELF the object of worship rather than God… We allow our youth groups and the youth minister to lead worship from time to time and it would drive me out of my mind to listen to the music they prefer at all of the services..But to see their faces as they and their preferences are accepted into the whole congregation…to see the older faces with smiles on their faces if not fingers in their ears as they see their sons and daughters, the future generation, leading worship is a blessing to behold…Each has a song, a revelation, a tongue…let all be done in a manner to build up the body…If we err should we not err on the side of appreciation for each other ? I just don't see that it's that big of a deal to work out if we wanted to.. In fact, Richland Hills is apparently working it out which means anybody could if they really wanted to…

      I think it's high time we went back to the NT example of worshiping God instead of ourselves and our man-made traditions…

    13. guy says:

      Price,

      you may be right, but it also takes for granted that all parties involved agree that the position for which they're arguing is a man-made tradition. A great many don't. If you genuinely believed that what you were arguing for was God's will in the matter, would you just let go and give it up?

      –guy

    14. Price says:

      Guy….that's an interesting phrase that you used…"a great many." If one considered the whole of the universal church, the number of those that believe that the Bible teaches against the use of IM in worship would NOT be considered a great many…It would be considered an extreme minority…perhaps an insignificant few.. Within the CoC alone it is considered by MOST a tradition, and NOT a command…At least that's what I heard…which is less than highly reliable I admit…Not sure if an accurate poll has ever been done.and I guess it would depend on which sect of the CoC.. but my point is that those that believe IM is forbidden by God in worship represent an ever decreasing number of people and the greatest threat to their belief is knowledge.. Only arrogance or false pride would allow a few thousand people to maintain their superiority of Biblical understanding over all that claim Jesus as Lord in the face of such overwhelming disagreement…

    15. aBasnar says:

      If you speak of the "universal church" you have to count all geherations through the centuroes as well. the 1st 13 years were almost exclusively a-cappella. And the Eastern churches, along with quiote a number of Protestant denominations are still a-capella.

      All in all the IM position is the minority view … ;-)

      Alexander

    16. guy says:

      Price,

      i understood this was a post about RH CoC. What about the majority of people involved in *that* controversy? Those that don't have a problem with IM probably aren't largely involved in the controversy since they see it as a non-issue (perhaps save RH itself). So which party is raising the stink? The ones who believe IM is forbidden. That's what i understood to be the scope of this discussion.

      (By the way, are you counting the entire Orthodox Church in the assessment of majorities?)

      Majority or not wasn't the point. So say it's only 3 people. If those people genuinely believe that their position reflects what God wants all His followers to do, what would you have them do? Just pretend He doesn't?

      Do you take widespread disagreement to be an indicator that you can't be certain of a position you hold? (i'm asking in reference to your statement about arrogance and false pride.)

      –guy

    17. Alabama John says:

      I would like to ask how you all feel about musical accompaniment at home or other gatherings where we meet to discuss, pray, and sing.
      I'm referring to other than (meaning Sunday morning and night and Wednesday night church services)?

    18. Price says:

      guy, of course I don't think that widespread disagrement certifies either opinion but when you're opinion isn't shared by hardly any outside of the organization you belong to then it ought to give one pause… It should cause even greater concern when it's not universally upheld within one's own sect….If it's religious versus secular, then that's one thing but when one's viewpoint is in contradiction to almost ALL others then one should take a close look at what they believe and why they believe it.. That's why, IMHO, people are changing from a viewpoint of that it's condemned to one of freedom to choose… The escape argument has always been that the majority opinion doesn't make it right…I agree…but neither does it make it right that only 3 people believe it… However, I guess people can believe what they want… the fruit of that belief is there for all to see…

      Alexander…I hate disagreeing with you because you are one that challenges yourself and your thinking by study and I know that you are a man of faith…but…we always live after the but don't we…lol I believe your statement was a little misleading…the first few centuries were indeed almost exclusively a capella but as the historical record reflects, they didn't quote scripture as to the reason they didn't use IM..It was a choice..They assumed freedom to choose…the record is quite convincing in that regard as has been reflected here and by others… And just because a church chooses to use a capella doesn't make them a believer in that it is against God's law to choose IM …as the example of the Richland Hills church suggests…It's obvious even from looking at the debate WITHIN the CoC that the arguments against IM aren't that convincing..Now, that could be because a greater number of people within the CoC are becoming apostate heretics or that the evidence is weighing more heavily on the side of freedom to choose…

      I could care less whether you use IM or not as long as you don't condemn me to hell for using them…I actually at times prefer a capella in worship… but, to disfellowship, condemn and all that stuff without a definite, "Thous Shalt Not" is again in my opinion arrogant…

      Back to Guy…it is not arrogant to believe what you wish to believe…that is just a matter of being right or wrong…but it is arrogant to condemn another to hell for believing something different and over which there is considerable disagreement. I believe the Apostle Paul makes that point on several occasions….perhaps that is the point you wish for me to clarify…

    19. guy says:

      Price,

      i'm not concerned about people having some right to believe what they wish. i just mean, if God told you and only you something (say you're one of the OT prophets), and what He told you meant that other people needed to change their ways, but then they all ended up disagreeing with you, what would you do? "You guys are probably right, i shouldn't have been so quick to assume what God told me was right." Or "It doesn't matter if none of you agree, God said it, and you need to change."

      Listen, the person in question might be wrong. They just might be mistaken. But most of the discussion that goes on here seems to take for granted that everyone involved can see that IM is a disputable matter with no clear position being right. But that's not the understanding of those traditionally opposed to IM. They genuinely believe that IM is wrong. Not that they simply don't like it. Not that they simply prefer AC. Not that IM night not be sin but AC is better. They believe it's wrong. If that's what they believe in their heart of hearts, is it any surprise when they can't approve of or support their brothers' IM? What i'm getting at is that i don't see how they're acting inconsistently with their belief.

      And i definitely don't see how that necessarily makes them prideful or arrogant. Given a certain scope, we could say there's wide scale disagreement about the authority of the Pope. Just because a lot of Catholics think that the Pope is Christ's vicar on earth, that honestly doesn't give me pause to doubt my position that he's not. Even if another billion people converted to Catholicism, i'd still be convinced he doesn't have the authority they ascribe him. Does that necessarily make me arrogant?

      Maybe a person could be arrogant. But it doesn't prove that they are. And i think it'd always be better to give people the benefit of the doubt.

      –guy

    20. HistoryGuy says:

      …the first few centuries were indeed almost exclusively a capella but as the historical record reflects, they didn't quote scripture as to the reason they didn't use IM…It was a choice…

      Price,
      This comment is not directly related to RH. I appreciate you, brother. However, your statement above is 100% false.

      First, there is 0% evidence in the Biblical and historical records that the first 600 years of the church had any IM. Furthermore, the evidence for AC stemming from the time of the apostles is so overwhelming that the best scholars of church history and musicology give a strict AC practice 99.9%, and will go so far as to say IF IM ever occurred, it was abnormal and unorthodox.

      Second, I have quoted countless ECFs that present an AC practice in the late 1st century as an apostolic tradition, and explain the AC practice as early as the mid the 2nd century. The ECFs noted cultural issues, but did not consider AC/IM to be a cultural issue. Rather, it was a God issue. I have quoted multiple ECFs, using a variety of hermeneutics, who give commentary on Scripture in support of their AC [a cappella] practice. I am happy to post the quotes again.

      Third, if you or I had lived in the first 600 years of the church, IM would not have even been an option.
      While the ECFs claim a Scriptural OC/NC contrasts for AC, they are overlooked in favor of using IM, even though IM was introduced through Papal authority, not Scriptural authority or apostolic tradition. I continue to be shocked by those using a Reformation hermeneutic of Sola Scriptura, yet embracing an IM practice that was forced upon and divided the church through Papal authority.

      IM is not a salvation issue, but it is a truth issue dealing with nature of Christian worship. The truth is IM is the result of several domineering Popes, who borrowed a few OT practices and divided the church 700-1500AD. At the Council of Trent (1500s), the banning of IM almost passed because of (1) its OT nature and (2) a 700yr history of causing division after its entrance into the church. The Orthodox never used IM because they (1) denied Papal authority (2) upheld the ECF claim that AC is apostolic.

      Protestants who desire IM act as though the issue cannot be settled only because their Reformation hermeneutical framework prevents them from arriving at the conclusion they actually desire. Specifically, they want IM, but cannot figure out how to allow it while being true Reformation hermeneutics. As a note, arguments like getting IM from the OT, prophecy, psallo, and/or psalms are examples of IM debates [1780-1990], created by IM advocates, within a Reformation hermeneutic that demanded an appeal to some essence of Biblical authority. I hope by now you see the IRONY. ~ Those debates not only denied the original [Papal] authority for introducing IM, but they sought authority for IM using a hermeneutic that will never allow it (lol).

      Sadly or smartly (?), people have wised up to this and started abandoning or greatly modifying the classic Reformation hermeneutics. The Reformation appeal to Sola Scriptura will never grant IM. An appeal to apostolic tradition will never grant IM. There are only two authoritative appeals for IM, which are self or Papal authority. The original Reformers were honest enough to remove IM because it was not an apostolic or Scriptural practice, nor did fit with the didactic nature of Biblical Christianity. At least the church 700-1500AD was honest enough to admit they used IM because the Pope authorized it. I wish more IM folks would be that honest today.

      Again, this has not been about RH, but I hope it brings us closer together.

    21. Price says:

      @ Guy..are there people that you believe that God has spoken to regarding IM ?? Probably not…It appears that it’s just another example of how you have difficulty with arriving at a definite conclusion…why is it preferrable for you to be in a quandry? One day you may have to teach this to a son or daughter or friend or brother…what are you going to say? When you have to be responsible to someone besides yourself you’ll have to determine what you think…until then you can continue to be indecisive and continue to defend the nuetral position…

    22. Price says:

      @ History Guy..I would love to see your quotes from the ECF's that quote a particular scripture saying that IM was forbidden…Thank you for offering to supply it…I'll compare it to the article that Danny Corbitt presented that suggested just the opposite of your claims..It should be interesting to come to a certain conclusion if indeed that is possible..personal opinion and fact seem to be confused at times so this should be interesting…

    23. Price says:

      @ Guy..are there people that you believe that God has spoken to regarding IM ?? Probably not…It appears that it's just another example of how you have difficulty with arriving at a definite conclusion…why is it preferrable for you to be in a quandry? One day you may have to teach this to a son or daughter or friend or brother…what are you going to say? When you have to be responsible to someone besides yourself you'll have to determine what you think…until then you can continue to be indecisive and continue to defend the nuetral position…

    24. guy says:

      ?? Price? What are you talking about?

      i wasn't talking about God literally speaking to anyone. It was an illustration. i'm not even sure why you asked the question.

      i am personally opposed to the use of IM in worship for several reasons. i don't, however, believe that anyone will be damned merely for the use of IM in worship. That's what i think and have thought for several years now. Is that definite enough for you? When did i ever say i was indecisive on this issue?

      And none of that is the point. i'm not talking about myself. i'm talking about people that you've accused of being prideful and arrogant. Are some of them? i'm sure they are. i'm sure some who use IM are also. But i'm unwilling to charge all of them with such a condition, or say that their convictions can only be explained by bad hearts. i don't think it's appropriate to speak against brethren that way, and i didn't read any evidence in your post that would justify making that claim about the hearts of the people involved in this matter. That's all i meant to discuss. i'm at a loss for why the indecisive accusation came up.

      –guy

    25. Price says:

      Guy, you and I just aren't on the same page of the song book, brother. If I offended you I'm sorry.

      Let me clarify once again.. I am speaking against people who would condemn to hell those that don't agree with their positions of IM… I don't give a rat's patoot what they believe personally, it's the condemnation of others that I believe is extraordinarily arrogant. That certainly is not to say that they shouldn't be allowed a place at the discussion table.. All should be welcomed to discuss their beliefs.. but, the reality of the situation, in comparison to your illustrations, are that many a person has been driven from fellowship over a theological position that has difficulty in making its case and over which there is considerable disagreement…the CoC is notorious even within its own party with regard to the IM debate and the division it has caused. The FRUIT of this conflict is clear to all who would examine it…

    26. guy says:

      Price,

      The same case could be made among a lot of churches about homosexuality or even belief in the literal/historical resurrection of Christ. There are people who take themselves to be Christians, yet deny the historical resurrection of Christ. There are people who take themselves to be Christians, yet deny that there's anything wrong with their homosexual practices. And those two issues have been very divisive and have considerable disagreement surrounding them among the people involved.

      i do not consider myself in fellowship with people who ascribe to those positions. And i don't think i make that judgment out of any sense of arrogance or pride. It has nothing to do with me or my attitude. That has to do with truth. And, *so far as i can genuinely tell,* those positions are dealbreakers.

      While you and i might agree that there is a tremendous difference in the evidence between these two issues and the use of IM, there are people involved in the debate who understand the IM issue to be a dealbreaker as well.

      You may claim not to care what people's personal beliefs are, but arrogance and pride do refer to internal mental states. Thus, i understood you to be saying:

      "IM-opposers who maintain that position despite disagreement and who believe IM-accepters are lost–the *only* possible internal mental states those people could have back of their position is pride and arrogance."

      Is that true? Did i misunderstand? Are you making this claim or not?

      –guy

    27. guy says:

      Price,

      Forget my last comment, i think we just tend to get muddier. Here's what genuinely concerns me about this issue.

      (1) Impugning each others' motives. While people can be mistaken, they can be sincerely mistaken. Being mistaken doesn't necessarily mean you've got a bad heart. i hope to God it doesn't or i'm doomed. i think there are people in the anti-IM camp who genuinely and sincerely and *humbly* believe that they are simply trying to defend the truth. Because of that possibility, i don't think it is at all a brotherly thing to do to try and impugn their motives and assign to them attitudes that i don't truly know they have. (i also seriously doubt any IM-accepter would find it appropriate for the anti-IM-ers to in the same way impugn the motives of the IM-accepters. So i believe we're all obligated to follow the golden rule here.)

      (2) Progress. Will it help or edify anyone if both sides simply sit back and hurl accusations or condemnations or rejections at each other? Will that unify us? Will that teach us to love each other? Are there anti-IM-ers who are divisive? You bet! But what should *i* do? Just be divisive right back to them? That's hardly a Christ-like strategy.

      It seems the method of choice among some people so far is just to back away and say, "well, they'll all die off eventually. So who needs 'em?" or "well, they'll eventually split off and become their own organization eventually, so just wait it out." i find that callous and tragic. Would i ever act that way about my kids or my uncles or my sisters? i think we are obligated to think and speak with an aim toward winning each other first, and the debate second. If we win the debate but lose our brothers, then in what sense is that a "victory"? i don't think blanket statements about people's attitudes will accomplish the real victory we ought to be seeking.

      –guy

    28. Price says:

      Guy…

      I Cor 10:29 For why should my liberty be determined by someone else's conscience?
      Rom 8:33-34 Who shall bring any charge against God's elect? It is God who justifies. Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died–more than that, who was raised–who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us.
      Rom 14:4-5 Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.

      On what basis does a Christian condemn a fellow Christian to hell for something which lacks a specific command ?? I have already said I honor their right to work out their own salvation…I just reject the priviilege they give themselves to work out mine…

      You say in point (1) " Being mistaken doesn't necessarily mean you've got a bad heart"…. Well, what does it "necessarily mean" when that person who you are definding, who doesn't "necessarily" have a bad heart quite clearly and vocally condemns another believer to hell and refuses to fellowship with them because they fail to agree ?

      Do I understand that you are attempting to defend someone that condemns another brother to hell over a disputable theological matter for the sake of unity ?? Really ? Perhaps it would do you some good to walk a mile in the shoes of those who have been damned to hell.

    29. HistoryGuy says:

      Price,
      Thank you for your reply on Feb 24 10:01 PM.

      After looking at the log, I see that we have gone through this several times before. Please recall OUR conversation at http://oneinjesus.info/2010/03/instrumental-music

      I then posted two quotes from ECFs giving commentary on Scripture for YOU at http://oneinjesus.info/2010/11/new-wineskins-a-th… @ 01/28/2011 06:53 PM Please review that post for the two quotes. I am happy to discuss them with you further or provide you more and/or earlier ECF quotes. You can disagree with their conclusion, but to say the ECF appealed to choice instead of God is simply untrue.

    30. guy says:

      Price,

      "Do I understand that you are attempting to defend someone that condemns another brother to hell over a disputable theological matter"

      Does that "someone" believe that it's a disputable matter? No.

      Would you condemn someone over something you believe is *not* a disputable matter? (For instance, the literal resurrection of Christ). i take that as a yes.

      How then have they done anything different than you or i would do?

      –guy

    31. Price says:

      Guy…you avoided the question of what gives that person the right to condemn to hell another brother for disagreeing with him….

      Secondly…the Bible is crystal clear on the necessity of believing in the resurrection… Are you defending and granting a person the right to condemn to hell any brother with whom he disagrees over anything that he thinks is important ?? One cup, no kitchen, etc., ad nauseum ?? that's what has been happening and why the CoC is now in 2 dozen sects… Don't you think that should end sometime soon ??

    32. guy says:

      Price,

      Have you ever argued for something you genuinely believed was the truth and then later you found out you were sincerely mistaken? i have.

      Do you think that means you must have just been proud or arrogant while you were doing it? i don't.

      Is it possible that the people we're talking about could be sincerely mistaken despite arguing for something they believe is the truth? i think so.

      Then, we can't say for sure that they're just being proud or arrogant. And making that claim isn't going to help anyone–us or them–follow Christ any better.

      –guy

    33. Price says:

      History Guy…..I've been looking through the posts…all I can find is where you use EXAMPLE…I have yet to find the scripture which you say is there…but I'm still looking… Of course one must assume that psalmos doesn't include IM for there to be even a remote exlusionary example from the NT itslef and that definition doesn't seem to merit the same understanding and loyalty of the majority that psalmos DID include IM…

      Plus,,,hasn't this whole discussion both here and at wineskins clearly indicated that IM WAS a part of OT worship…at a very minimum an allowable part of NT worship and clearly symbolized if not actually used in Heaven in the future….ALL with the approval of God !!!!

      Clearly the move by the majority of those who study what we've been looking at is toward more freedom of choice than slavery to tradition. I personally would be much less inclined to condemn someone to hell for using IM without a clear and undeniable "Thou Shalt Not" but to each his own…

      Many ask themselves….What Would Jesus Do….and for some reason, He never even brought it up…Would it be fair to assume that if He never discussed it that it was a matter of little if any significance ?? Really, how can one condemn somebody to hell over a matter than Jesus never even bothered to talk about ?? Doesn't that seem a little drastic ?? Seriously…

    34. Price says:

      Guy…how many times do I have to say that it's not arrogant to have a belief..Nor, to defend one's belief…..it's arrogant to condemn another to hell for not accepting your belief…I've clearly stated that now in several posts. Or, perhaps I thought I stated in clearly…Perhaps this post will clear up the misunderstanding ?

    35. guy says:

      Price,

      No i wasn't 100% clear on that distinction, only suspected it. But i still disagree.

      i believe people, even if they consider themselves Christians, who deny the literal, historical resurrection of Christ are lost. But i do not believe that means i'm necessarily arrogant or proud. Thus, i don't take it as necessarily arrogant to condemn someone else for not accepting a belief i hold.

      –guy

    36. HistoryGuy says:

      Price,
      Thank you for the reply. Perhaps in the midst of your conversations with multiple people you forgot your comment to which I was responding.

      To clarify, you made the following statement to Alexander

      … the historical record reflects, they [ECF] didn't quote scripture as to the reason they didn't use IM…It was a choice…

      Therefore, I responded with two examples showing the ECFs based their reasoning on Scripture, not mere choice.

      Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339), giving commentary on Psalm 91:2-3 says, "Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshipping with symbols and types it was not inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and kithara and to do this on Sabbath days…We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living kithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety, we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms"

      John Chrysostom’s (345-407) commentaries on the Psalms are identical to Eusebius. Therefore, also consider his work from Exposition of Psalm 41, in which he includes commentary on Psalm 41, Eph 5:18-19; Psalm 91(92) saying, "Here there is no need for cithara or for stretched strings, or for the plectrum and technique, or for any musical instrument; but, if you like, you may yourself become a cithara by mortifying the members of the flesh and making a full harmony of mind and body."

      You are free to disagree with the ECFs AC reasoning from Scripture, but that is quite different from your original statement.

      As to the rest of your statements… I am inclined to think that you have read very little of what I written on this forum.

    37. Price says:

      Guy, seriously dude, anyone who would compare the use of IM in worship with the denial of Jesus as the resurrected son of God hasn't any business condemning anyone for anything…one is so vague that even the CoC faith heritage doesn't unanimously acccept accept it…the other the whole of the Christian faith proclaims it… but if condemning people to hell is your preference for evangelism, so be it…Maybe you'll get back to us on how that's working for you..It seems to be a cancer within the CoC that many within it are trying to remove..

    38. Price says:

      @ History Guy…I've been reading and doing my best to follow but perhaps I haven't done a very good job…Even now as you recall and repost I find no specific reference from the ECF's to a scripture that requires them to not use IM in worship…I see them quoting the Psalms (which you gotta admit is a strange selection to try and base a theory of IM prohibition on) and then deciding for themselves that it would be good to not use them…I find that to be a clear indication of the freedom they felt to change the way God had commanded worship to be… Again they do not say "God said do not use IM here in this scripture"…It seems to me, however incorrectly I may be assuming, that you are using the PREFERENCES that they had for an exchange of a specific prohibitive scripture that they base the prohibition on… Neither of the two examples you reposted were anything more than an expression of personal preference… While they may have felt that "here there was no need" their personal opinion absolutely has no authority nor does it convey the will of God.

    39. guy says:

      Price,

      First, i already told you once that that isn't my position. i just think you saying people are necessarily proud and arrogant for taking that position is just plain immoral. How's *that* working for you when it comes to winning those brothers?

      Second, i guess i still haven't said it in a clear way yet. i'm not at all telling you i think the historicity of the resurrection is on par with IM. i agree whole-heartedly on that one with you.

      But let me try one more time. Suppose someone who considered herself a Christian yet denied the literal resurrection of Christ (she believed it was only metaphorical or something) were speaking with you about the matter. You told her what you thought. And then she said this:

      "Price, don't you know that there's wide disagreement about this matter? Lots of people who consider themselves Christians don't believe that the resurrection referred to in scripture is literal or historical. It's clearly a disputable matter. How then can you condemn me to hell over a disputable matter? Isn't that just arrogant?"

      What would you say to her?

      (And more importantly, how would your response differ in any significant way from the response of an anti-IM-er addressing you?)

      i'll let you have the last word on this one.

      –guy

    40. ClydeSymonette says:

      HG,

      Last year, when we began these discussions, I questioned your sincerity and your love of truth. Although we are as far apart on this subject as the day we began, I see that I was wrong in misjudging you. Your challenges have made me a more careful researcher; and I appreciate that.

      In differing with my Wineskins article, a Harding professor and pointed me what he called "non-canonize scriptures;" i.e., the writings of the ECFs. His implication is, I believe, the fundamental source of our differences. As he suggests, there are more scriptures to be considered. So, those who have been proclaiming that "The scriptures are our only authority," have in this matter sought a separate authority. Consequently, we do not have a singular authority.

      Price requested examples of ECF's using scripture as their reasoning for AC. You responded with two examples. They follow.

      "Eusebius of Caesarea (260-339), giving commentary on Psalm 91:2-3 says, 'Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshipping with symbols and types it was not inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and kithara and to do this on Sabbath days…We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living kithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety, we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms'"

      "John Chrysostom’s (345-407) commentaries on the Psalms are identical to Eusebius. Therefore, also consider his work from Exposition of Psalm 41, in which he includes commentary on Psalm 41, Eph 5:18-19; Psalm 91(92) saying, 'Here there is no need for cithara or for stretched strings, or for the plectrum and technique, or for any musical instrument; but, if you like, you may yourself become a cithara by mortifying the members of the flesh and making a full harmony of mind and body.'"

      You characterize them as "two examples showing the ECFs based their reasoning on Scripture, not mere choice" and " the ECFs AC reasoning from Scripture."

      I believe that you know that I've read just about everything you've written on this forum, but like Price, I do not understand any of the above as reasoning "based on Scripture." Eusebius says, "The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable." Says who? Chrysostom says, "Here there is no need for cithara or for stretched strings." Is that an example of authority based on scriptures or opinion?

      What is happening is these 3-4th century ECFs as commenting on scriptures and stating why they THINK portions of the passages should be disregarded by the church. Their reason? "It's all allegory." Says who?

    41. Price says:

      @ Guy…last time..If I can't do it here then we should just drop it…I have no desire to just argue for the sake of arguing….

      I do NOT think badly of a person for having a differing opinion than me..They are as likely to be correct as they are incorrect. Agreeing with me might be to their disadvantage !!

      What I DO believe is arrogant and prideful is someone that VERBALLY CONDEMNS THAT PERSON TO HELL… I don't believe the Bible gives he/she that authorization of judgment. I don't believe it is the model of evangelism offered by Jesus. I HAVE seen it do quite a bit of damage to the church body.

      My approach is to set forth my opinion, if that person cares to know what my opinion is, based on my understanding of the scripture. It is not for me to condemn. It is their responsibility to find the truth. Perhaps God, through His Holy Spirit, will open their eyes to the truth…perhaps He will open MY eyes…However, neither the love of Christ nor the truth of the Word is advanced by people running around CONDEMNING one another over matters with which they find theirselves in disagreement…..The fruit of that contempt for one another is division, discord and chaos to name a few. In contrast, the "banner" , the identifying sign that we are believers, that we are followers and disciples of Christ…is LOVE..

      Best I can do bro….

    42. HistoryGuy says:

      Clyde,
      Thank you for your kind words. I love this place and this discussion. I look forward to the CORDIAL questions and challenges to my view, which keeps me coming back. I learn from and respect everyone here. I hope you [Clyde], Jay, Alexander, Bruce, and MANY others know this.

      I have saved this link, Price’s question, and your thoughts/questions. They are very good and clear. I will respond ASAP, hopefully within the next day or so. At that time, I’ll send you an email alert, my friend.

    43. Jay Guin says:

      HistoryGuy,

      I got to go with Price on this one. Neither of the quotes you provided (4th and 5th Centuries) argues from scripture. They just assert. And mere assertion isn't even an argument, much less an argument from scripture.

    44. HistoryGuy says:

      Jay, Clyde, & Price
      You all have asked good subsequent questions, but also seemed to confuse the original issue to which I was responding. I have not had time to write a formal response [Clyde], but since the voices are mounting allow me to point out the original issue between Price and me.

      – The original issue is NOT what is MY view
      – The original issue is NOT is there explicit Scripture rejecting IM
      – The original issue is NOT is there implicit Scripture rejecting IM
      – The original issue is NOT were ECFs affected by culture
      – The original issue is NOT various ECF hermeneutics
      – The original issue is NOT do you agree with the ECFs assertion of Scripture

      – The original issue is Price said the ECFs did not quote Scripture as THEIR REASON for rejecting IM, but rather to the ECFs it was a CHOICE. I quoted two of many examples proving this was false.

      Here is another example, though I struggle to find sources that everyone can access. Niceta of Remesiana (335-414) is a late example, but very clear on where he is getting his views. View McKinnon, MECL, pg. 137 http://books.google.com/books?id=BJFvpm9K7i0C&amp… A portion is below-

      …It is time that we must also present something from the NT in confirmation of the Old, lest one think that the office of psalmody is to be curtailed, inasmuch as many of the Old Law usages are now abolished. For what is carnal has been rejected, for example, circumcision, the Sabbath, sacrifices, discrimination among foods, trumpets, citharas, cymbals, and tympana, all of which are understood to reside now in bodily members of man and there better to sound… the other things which are spiritual – faith, piety, prayer, fasting, patience, chastity, praise – have been increased [in the NT], not diminished.

      Let’s break down the original issue and put it behind us:
      – Did the ECFs discuss IM & cultural immorality? Yes
      – Did the ECFs approve of IM as cultural art/education (even Clement)? Yes
      – Did the ECFs ascribe their view of IM/AC to culture? No
      – Did the ECFs ascribe IM/AC to OT/NT Scripture? Yes
      – Did the ECFs ascribe their view to choice? No
      – Did the ECFs ascribe IM/AC to God’s acceptability? Yes
      – Are there 2nd & 3rd century ECFs comparing OT/NT worship? Yes
      – Are there more examples than the three I listed? Yes
      – Do you agree with the ECFs comments/views on Scripture? (Your decision)
      – Does your disagreement eliminate ECFs on Scripture for THEIR view? No

      I hope this has clarified the question/response to the specific point: ~ Did the ECFs reference Scripture as their reason for rejecting IM, or was it choice?

    45. Price says:

      HG…I stande corrected…You have clearly presented that some of the ECF's did in fact quote or comment on a particular scripture in their explanation of their personal preference for lack of IM…I should have said more clearly that the ECF's didn't use a particular passage of scripture as a definitive prohibition of IM…And even that may be incorrecrt but neither of the two original quotes you were kind enough to submit were passages that anyone would read a prohibitive stance on the use of IM entirely from the scripture quoted..

      At least Clyde and Jay seemed in agreement that the ECF position was one of personal preference rather than a divine prohibition from the Psalms..that doesn't even make sense and their agreement keeps me feeling entirely foolish with disagreeing with your assessment….The latest quote from Niceta I was unable to get from your link but managed to find it elsewhere..I think… did in fact reference Eph 5:18-19 and I Cor 14:15 but it seemed, at least in the McKinnon article that I read, to be a refutation of "spiritual singing", that is without voice, which Niceta rejected…HIs does mention the Cithara and contrasts the proper congregational singing with the "vulgarity of the Cithara." It's clear from the context that he is using the passages of scripture he quotes not to point out the vulgarity of the harp but rather to object to those that would prohibit any singing by the actual voice. In fact, the "vulgarity" that he associates with the cithara is once again an obvious personal opinion and one not taken from scripture….at least none that he quoted.

      I still must insist, until you provide a more applicable quotation, that there is no ECF argument against IM in which one says that "Paul or Jesus or some other divine author prohibited IM by this quote from scripture."…which one would think they would do if they intended to prohibit IM from scripture rather than from personal preference or cultural concerns. However, I fully expect that you might be able to produce one as you seem to be a functioning enclyopedia of knowledge with clear advantages over my frail understanding and knowledge. And, it could be possible that one out of the hundreds of church leaders during the 5 centuries of commentary could have provided some thought the clear majority did not agree with…Again, I am at a disadvantage to your base of knowledge but overall I am unconvinced that the majority of ECF opinion was that IM violated clear guidance of scripture but rather was a freedom of choice that they felt very comfortable with when they moved away from previously commanded use of IM in worship…

    46. Price says:

      History Guy….Well, ole Clyde jumped in and did you a favor and slapped me down like a red-headed step child…LOL…. Theodoret did in fact do what I had been unconvinced had been done by any ECF when he used Amos 5:23 as scriptural support of the prohibition of IM… Whether or not I agree with his exegesis (most do not) is not the point that you were responding to as you politely noted… I readily concede that point !!

    47. aBasnar says:

      but neither of the two original quotes you were kind enough to submit were passages that anyone would read a prohibitive stance on the use of IM entirely from the scripture quoted..

      The problem is that the ECF don't argue 8or even rason) the same way we do. So when we ask for claer allownaces or prohibitions they asked entirely different questions. They more sought to understand the difference between the covenants, the types and antitypes. The conclusions they drew from these were sufficient to be applied in the sense of prohibtion of IM.

      Thus they don't meet our expectations, but they made their point in a clear and straightforward manner – all we need to do is to undertand their approach, which – if we are honest – comes pretty close to the way of thinking in the 1st century texts of the NT.

      Alexander

    48. Price says:

      Alexander….I am perhaps the least educated among the commentators on this blog so please have patience with me….but I think you perhaps paint the ECF's with much to broad a brush… Surely, over the course of 500 years these men would have had different cultural and denominational influences that would have caused them to have independent viewpoints and means of expression… If I read your last comment correctly, you seemed to think that they ALL acted in concert with one another. I would probably doubt that they had this much consistency… And, it seems that some looked more at the cultural times and some looked at O.T. history and others to a conflict within the church community as the priority surrounding their thinking…

      I don't think it's unfair to ask them to give us support for their thinking since they were not to our knowledge divinely inspired writers and were merely men as you and I so that as the Bereans we can test their logic and reasoning…So far from what I've seen submitted by much more intelligent and studied persons than me is a mixture of men from various educational backgrounds, cultural influences, etc., etc., that seemed to have their own personal opinions regarding IM. Seems that they weren't so much different from us… And, for the most part, at least from my viewpoint, I see men who felt they had the freedom to choose and decide on IM based on their high regard for the reputation of the church and its separation from immoral cultural influences. I see very little hard reference to scripture (although I concede one O.T. reference, and perhaps there are more) for their decisions…It seems far and away a very clear choice from personal preference… with absolutely NO binding effect on another….

    49. ClydeSymonette says:

      Price:

      Quit with the INSINCERE self-deprecating remarks! LOL.

      You said:
      "So far from what I've seen submitted by much more intelligent and studied persons than me is a mixture of men from various educational backgrounds, cultural influences, etc., etc., that seemed to have their own personal opinions regarding IM. Seems that they weren't so much different from us."

      No so much different from us … Correct my brother… absolutely correct. We are all no more than commentators feeling our way through this thing.

    50. Price says:

      eah right !! You guys have forgotten more than what I'll learn on this topic and likely many others… But, I've been listening to Charlie Sheen on TV and perhaps I could try and be a little more self assured and assertive!! LOL You guys just keep it up and some day I'll be much more knowledgable and arrogant !! Maybe I can get a TV show…2 1/2 Deacons !! LOL

    51. Theophilus Dr says:

      No personal offense intended toward anyone whatsoever, but for those folks who apparently like to spend so much time and energy trying to decide if something in the ECF is in the shape of a larynx or a guitar, how about this one?

      If I say that singing with an instrument in Sunday morning assembly is the same as offering strange fire to God, if I will not tolerate even the sound of an instrument inside the auditorium, and if Jesus returns on Sunday morning with the sounding of the trumpet call of God, will I be left behind?

      Before anyone comments that the above is sarcastic, let me ask the real question:

      If I spend my time arguing about instrumental music instead of doing the real work of God, and if Jesus returned anytime, will I be left behind?

      If the ECF didn’t disclose what is “the real work of God,” I think the scriptures did quite well. Where does continuing a century of arguing about instrumental worship stack within the “good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do”? Eph 2:10

      Is this society getting better because we do or do not use instruments?

      Brothers, we aren’t going to have this luxury much longer before God’s righteous discipline will become obvious and painful. Having “hell to pay” will take on a new meaning and not just that of a slang expression. The day will come when Christians will long to have back all the time spent on disproportionately amplified doctrinal arguments of local importance instead of dealing with the damage that the enemy is accomplishing in our society.

      We are blind, in denial, and without excuse, because God’s plan is all laid out in His word and it is consistent with the things that He has made.

      A blind man singing a cappella leading a blind man strumming a guitar shall both fall into the ditch.

      God help us.

    52. aBasnar says:

      you seemed to think that they ALL acted in concert with one another.

      In fact that's how it was, at least to a significant degree. Take for instance Irenaeus. He was Bishop or Overseer in Lyon. But he was raised in Smyrna. He wrote around 170, and his works were read in Carthage and Rome a few decades later (Tertullian and Hippolytus).

      So, first, they were in contact with each other and respected one another.

      Irenaeus was a disciple of Polycarp. And Polycarp was a close companions of the Apostle John and knew other Eye-Witnesses of the Lord personally. Irenaeus grew up in the church where Christ (in the letters of Revelation) saw no reason for rebuke (!).

      So, second, most of the authors of the 2nd century were very closely linked to the Apostolic origins.

      The third point is even more striking. Irenaeus says in his works "against the heresies" that if a church was uncertain in any matter of doctrine or practice they would consult one of the oldest churches, the apostles personally taught. He was referring to Rome (thus the Roman church abuses his words), but also to Ephesus and unnamed other churches. In fact that's what Tertullian did, when he was examining the question whether the prayer veil applies to married women only: He asked the church in Corinth, how they did it.

      So, third, the churches did everything to be as united as possible in their beliefs and practices.

      Letters from Ignatius to various churches were copied by the Smyrnaean churches and passed around, the church in Rome wrote a letter to the church in Corinth, writings like Hermas, the Didache, the letter of Barnabas were sometimes even considered as part of the New Testament (imagine the circulation of these). In fact the writings of the ECF we still have reflect a consensus among all churches of Christ at that time.

      Otherwise they would not have found that circulation, but had met strong words of criticism. But these authors, that we call for brevity's sake ECF, were highly respected, and their (preserved) writings reflect pretty well the convictions and practices (including some minor differences) of the churches of Christ back then. Comparing this with all the splits and schisms of not only autonomous but even self-sufficient or autokratic churches it is hard for us to imagine, that churches at a time agreed on so many issues – AC-worship being only one of these.

      Alexander

    53. aBasnar says:

      You are absolutely right, Theophilus. All the ECF said about AC-worship mybe fits on a handful of pages. But what they said about serving the poor and living straight lives, fills volumes.

      On the other hand: Who destroys the temple will be destroyed by the Lord (1Co 3:17). Since IM/AC is a very divisive matter in the CoC, this verse gives us a warning. I have no issues with churche who don't know any better and worship with instruments from the bottom of their heart.

      But I do have issues, if amomg the churches of Christ brothers want to change not forthe better but for the worse. So far IM has brought schisms and alienation on one side, and CCM (= worldly Pop-culture) on the other side. Both are ugly fruits by which I judge the tree.

      So, if the IM-question ever can be seen as a salvation issue, then only in this context: If you risk a church split, you may be in great danger.

      Alexander

    54. Guestfortruth says:

      THE FUTURE OF THE CHURCH

      Marvin L. Weir
      There are many glorious truths that we can know about the church of our Lord because divine revelation has revealed them to us. The church has always been a part of the eternal plan of God. The apostle Paul records, “And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ: To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God, According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord: In whom we have boldness and access with confidence by the faith of him” (Eph. 3:9-12).
      Not only has God always intended that the Lord’s church exist, but He knew that it would be the place where salvation is located. Salvation is IN Christ (2 Tim. 2:10), but Christ has promised to save only His body, the church (Eph. 5:23; 1:22-23). It is therefore imperative that all men willingly submit to the gospel “for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16). The Bible plan of salvation is as follows: all must hear God’s Word (Rom. 10:17), believe (Mark 16:16), repent (Luke 13:3), confess Christ (Rom. 10:10), and be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Bible baptism is a burial [not a sprinkling] (Rom. 6:4) and is the final submissive act that puts one into Christ (Gal. 3:27).
      One who genuinely obeys the Gospel plan of salvation becomes a member of the kingdom — the church, the body of Christ (Matt. 16:18-19; Col. 1:18; Acts 2:47). But what is the future of the Lord’s church? To a great extent, the future of the Lord’s church is up to you and me. It is true that the church of our Lord will always exist in this world, but its members will determine just how effective each local body will be. Jesus commands those who follow Him to be the salt of the earth and the light of the world (Matt. 5:13-16). To young Timothy, the apostle Paul said, “But if I tarry long, that thou mayest know how thou oughtest to behave thyself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15). Children of God are to behave differently from the world as they live on this earth! As a member of the body of Christ, a Christian has the obligation and responsibility to fulfill the requirements of membership. In this sense, the future of the church depends entirely upon the attitudes and actions of its members. We know well of the willingness of Christ to give and sacrifice so that we might have eternal life (Rom. 5:8-10). Do members today feel compelled to give and sacrifice so that the Lord’s church might be glorified? Peter reminds the Christians to whom he wrote, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1 Peter. 2:9). It was also Peter who admonished, “Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby” (1 Peter 2:1-2).
      The future of the Lord’s church today is not nearly as promising as it was in the 1950s. Fifty or sixty years ago the church was growing, members were convicted and willing to sacrifice for the cause of Christ, and most congregations believed the essentiality of 1 Corinthians 1:10 (unity). They also believed the truth stated in Ephesians 4:4-7. Very few members of the church of Christ sixty years ago believed instrumental music to be a matter of preference or that there were Christians in man-made churches!
      What is the future of the church as far as you are concerned? Can the church depend on you? Will you be an asset or a liability to the cause of Christ?
      Each member of the Lord’s church needs to ask himself the following questions:
      If everyone attends services as I do, would the doors of the church building remain open?
      If everyone’s interest were as great as mine, would there even be a Gospel Meeting?
      If everyone prepares and studies as I prepare and study, would there be any Bible classes taught?
      If everyone did as I do during the song service, would there be a sound heard?
      If everyone’s attitude toward the authority of the Scriptures were as mine, would the Bible even be consulted or needed?
      If everyone stands for truth as I do, would truth ever prevail?
      If everyone opposes false teaching as I do, will false teaching ever be confronted or stopped? Brethren, are we interested in glorifying God or self?
      Will we support preachers of truth and mark preachers of error? The future of the Lord’s church depends on you!

    55. Guestfortruth says:

      THE CHALLENGE TO JESUS’ AUTHORITY

      Marvin L. Weir
      During Jesus’ earthly ministry, the Jews were constantly challenging His authority. The Jews claimed to believe the Old Testament Scriptures, and yet they rejected and refused to follow the very One (Messiah) for whom they looked. There was no reason for Jewish believers to not recognize the Son of God. Jesus observed, “…These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me” (Luke 24:44). Sufficient information regarding the Christ had been revealed in the Law of Moses, the Psalms, and by the prophets. It did no good to claim to honor Moses and then refuse to believe what Moses said about the Christ.
      The Jews ask Jesus, “…By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things” (Mark 11:28)? Jesus knew these Jewish rulers would not believe His claim of Deity or His claim of being the Messiah. A debate or further dialogue would be useless. If Christ claims His authority comes from heaven, the Jews will accuse Him of blasphemy. If the Lord claims Rome as His source of authority, the Jews will have turned Him over to the Roman authorities. Such being the case, Jesus says to these rulers, “…I will also ask of you one question, and answer me, and I will tell you by what authority I do these things. The baptism of John, was it from heaven, or of men? answer me” (Mark 11:29-30). This question caught the Jewish rulers by surprise and caused them quite a dilemma. Thus, “…they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say, Why then did ye not believe him? But if we shall say, Of men; they feared the people: for all [men] counted John, that he was a prophet indeed” (Mark 11:31-32).
      Think about this question as you ponder the Jewish ruler’s dilemma. “Tell me, have you stopped beating your wife?” A “yes” or “no” answer to this question simply points to one’s guilt. If the Jews said John’s baptism was from Heaven, then why had they not obeyed God? If they said John’s baptism was of men, they feared the people (even being stoned to death, Luke 20:6). Thus, these Jewish leaders who took great pride in their knowledge, answered “We cannot tell” (Mark 11:33). What an answer! They presume to sit in judgment on Jesus, and yet cannot reach a simple conclusion regarding John the Baptizer and his baptism.
      Failure to accept the undeniable truth of God’s Word does not change the facts. The authority of Christ is challenged today just as it was by the Jews of Jesus’ day. The Scriptures make it clear that Christ has all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18). Although Christ has ascended back to the Father (Col. 3:1), His Word remains as our guide (Col. 3:16). The Lord reminds all today of the power of His word in saying, “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” (John 12:48). No one has the right to “add to” or “take from” the Word of God (Prov. 30:5-6; Rev. 22:18-19). Neither must the Gospel be ignored (2 Thess. 1:8-9) or perverted (Gal. 1:6-9).
      Let us now observe how many today who claim to believe in Christ and His Word, yet challenge His authority. People say:
      1) I believe in Christ, but I don’t believe I have to attend church services to be saved. Answer: One does not believe the Lord who willfully forsakes assembling with the saints (Heb. 10:25; 1 Cor. 11:18-20).
      2) I believe in the one Christ, but I do not believe in just one body. Answer: Christ, as head of the church, has only one body (Eph. 1:22-23; Eph. 4:4; Col. 1:18).
      3) I believe the blood of Christ saves me, and it does not matter which denominational church I attend. Answer: Christ promised to build only His church (Matt. 16:18), and to save only His church (Eph. 5:23) [the one blood-bought body, Acts 20:28].
      4) I believe in Christ, but I feel that I can worship as I please. Answer: One must worship “in spirit and in truth” (John 4:24) in order for such worship to be acceptable to God. God’s Word is true (John 17:17) and not necessarily what man thinks.
      5) I believe in Christ, but I do not believe baptism is necessary for salvation. Answer: The Lord said, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned” (Mark 16:16).
      6) I believe in Christ, but I believe that women can serve as elders or leaders in the Lord’s church. Answer: Only men (1 Tim. 3:1) who are “the husband of one wife” (1 Tim. 3:2) can serve as elders. Women are not to teach men or assume a leadership position in the church (1 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 14:34).
      To profess to believe in Christ and then reject and ignore His authority never honors the Lord!

    56. Guestfortruth says:

      A LOVE LETTER TO NON-CHRISTIAN FRIENDS AND FAMILY

      Brad Harrub

      Dear friend,
      I have been contemplating this letter for a long time, and have only now gotten up the courage to write it. Even as I pen these words, my stomach churns in nervous anticipation. The reason for it is quite simple. I want you to know about the very best thing that has ever happened in my life. I want to make sure before I die that I introduce you to my “first love.” You often comment that I seem so happy all the time. Allow me a few minutes to explain why. But before I explain, let me share with you why it has taken me so long to write this letter.
      Our relationship stretches back through many smiles and many tears, and throughout that time I knew that you were someone I could count on. Each one of those smiles and tears represents a lifetime of cherished memories. You know my favorite foods, that I love lasagna and don't like liver. You stood by my side on several occasions when it seemed like the entire world was against me. You have lifted my hand high as we celebrated victories and held my hand through my defeats. In many ways we are like two peas in a pod. And, it's this relationship that has kept me from writing this letter. I cherish our relationship so much that I don't ever want anything to jeopardize it or see it falter. So I beg you to read the remainder of this letter full of love, compassion, and an open mind — knowing that it was written out of my love for you.
      You and I have a tremendous amount in common — always have, and probably always will. However, there is one thing that we don't have in common. A while back I made a decision in my life that started me down a different pathway — a pathway on which I desperately want you to join me. Some time ago I began studying the Bible, and I soon realized that I was only “playing” Christian. I was a “member” of a strong local church that had many members, and was there almost every time the door was opened. However, it became evident fairly quickly that the church that I was attending was doing things that were not described in the Bible. Sure, we met each Sunday for worship, and we sang songs of praise, but a great deal of the service was devoted to traditions that men had incorporated into the worship service. In fact, a large part of the worship service could be classified as entertainment. As I read through the New Testament, I quickly discovered that entertainment, and these traditions of men, were not a part of the original church that Christ established.
      You and I both know that religions are a dime a dozen these days. Seems like there is a church building on almost every street corner. But I began to ask myself if all of these religious groups were the same in God's eyes. After looking through the Scriptures I realized they were not. Even though many of them do very altruistic acts for the needy, and even though they have many sincere people in their pews, they still were not carrying out Christianity the way God Himself ordained. They are sincere — but they are sincerely wrong according to the Scriptures.
      So, here's what I did (and what I encourage/beg you to do). I began looking in the Bible for examples of the church that Jesus built. In Matthew 16:18, Christ told the apostle Peter that “upon this rock” (the rock of truth that He was the Son of God), He would build His church. So I began investigating the details about His church. I read in Acts chapter 2 where it was started in Jerusalem. I continued reading in Acts to see how those early Christians worshipped and how others became Christians. And, I began to see a divine pattern. I quickly realized that many of the books in the New Testament were written to different congregations of the church that Christ had founded. In fact, many of the books in the New Testament were letters written by Paul to various churches that were scattered abroad. In each of those letters, there are instructions and commands of things that we should and should not be doing.
      For instance, I know that in many churches you officially “join” the church, or they vote you in. But I never found this process in my study of the New Testament. In fact, the New Testament is very specific that God is the one who adds people to the church (Acts 2:47). However, He only adds those who have complied with His will. And dear friend, it is with a humble and compassionate heart that I admit that I am scared that maybe you have not complied with His commands. For instance, the Bible instructs that we must hear the Gospel (Rom. 10:14-17; James 1:21-25), and we must believe in Jesus Christ (John 8:24; Mark 16:16). And, while many people have done these steps, relatively few have taken the next steps of repenting of their past sins (Acts 3:19; Luke 13:3; Acts 17:30) and confessing the name of Jesus Christ (Matt. 10:32-33; Rom. 10:9-10; Acts 8:36-38). After someone has done this, they are ready to be buried with Christ in baptism so that past sins can be forgiven. This act of baptism, for the remission of sins, is mentioned throughout the book of Acts (see chapters 2, 8, 9, 10, 16). The importance of being immersed can be identified by the words of Jesus found in Mark 16:16 when He declared: “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.”
      In Matthew 16:18, Christ said he would found one church — “my church.” In Ephesians 1:22-23 we read where the church is called the body (with Christ being the head). A few chapters later, in Ephesians 4:4, we are told there is only one body. My plea with you today is that you will do whatever it takes to make sure you are in that one body, and ensure that God has added you to the church (Acts 2:47). Read through the New Testament and see for yourself what the Bible says regarding the church, and then ask yourself this simple question: Am I a member of the church that Christ purchased with His blood? If not, why not?
      It's funny that I can talk to total strangers about this — and have done so many times in the past and yet I remain silent around those to whom I am closest. I never talked to you about heaven and eternity because I didn't want to mess up what we had here on Earth. But see, I realize that this earthly relationship is temporary. One day the memories that you and I share will fade away. And, I don't want to leave this life without telling you about Christ and how He changed my life. Therefore, I am penning this letter in hopes of extending our friendship into eternity.
      Please allow me to paint a picture so that you can understand the genuine urgency of this letter. Suppose you were sitting in the first class section of a luxury Boeing 747. There you are sipping on a drink, relaxing, reading a magazine, when all of a sudden someone comes up, and tosses a parachute into your lap without saying a word. You might become a little agitated that someone would toss a bulky parachute into your lap, and then just walk on by. You might even decide to push it aside or onto the floor so that you could return to your drink and magazine. That parachute would be nothing more than a nuisance. And, after a while you might even resent the person that tossed it in your lap. Now, suppose the person who had given you that parachute also took the time to tell you the airplane was going to crash. How different would your attitude be towards that parachute and the person who gave it to you? Well dear friend, one day soon, our plane will go down. Hebrews 9:27 states very plainly that “it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” I simply want to make sure you have a parachute that will save you from destruction. Don't resent me for delivering the message. Please understand that I am simply wanting to do what I can while I still have the chance.
      While the world around us thinks the majority of people will end up in heaven, this is not what Jesus Christ Himself told us. In Matthew 7:13-14, He cautioned us to: “Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat. Because strait is the gate and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it” (emp. added).
      Please do not be mad at me. Please do not shy away from me. Please do not despise me. For this letter was not written to drive a wedge into our relationship. But rather it was written out of love and compassion, hoping that we can stand hand-in-hand before Almighty God. Yes, I am a happy person — because I know and love my Savior, and He is my best friend. Please consider what I've said. Look through the Scriptures on your own. Examine where you stand. I want nothing more than to introduce my earthly best friend to my spiritual best friend and savior Jesus Christ. Thank you for allowing me this short opportunity to tell you about Him.
      Sincerely, Your friend
      (brad@apologeticspress.org)

    57. Jay Guin says:

      Guestfortruth's comments copying entire articles by others are deleted as being beyond the bounds of the fair use rules of the copyright laws.

      While I appreciate attribution to the true author, you can't post the entirety of the works of others. It's against the law.

      You are welcome to post a link to the works of others.

    58. Price says:

      Alexander…pretty amazing…given the fact that most CoC churches take such pride in their autonomony and don't listen to anybody..LOL. Interesting how things changed…almost suddenly.. Music came into the worship services and permeated nearly every organization… What was once discouraged, within just a few hundred years, became the "norm."

      I also find it curious that where the CoC find agreement with the ECF's on music, they completely reject the ECF's position on the active role of the Holy Spirit. In regard to Music many speak of thier respect and character and training under the Apostles…when it comes to the Holy Spirit, these same men are reduced to heretics and liars… Odd, don't you think ? We accept their preferences for the use of music with "scant" (out of respect to H.G.) mention of authority for scirpture and yet we totally reject their eye witness accounts of the outward manifestation of the Holy Spirit…For those of us less trained….our reverence for these men and their opinions seem to be determined by topic…and whether we agree with them or not… but, it's been an interesting learning experience… I am aware of many, in addition to myself, who have benefitted from this discussion.

      However, the feedback I've gotten is that even though a person may still have a PREFERENCE for a capella music, they have reconsidered their previous position that it was wrong or sinful… Perhaps that is a beginning to a wider acceptance of brothers and sisters in Christ who have different practices than those that we prefer.. It would seem to me that in the CoC we have historically had little regard and almost no patience for those that exercised their freedom for "preference." Thus, the 2 dozen divisions or so… I wonder what would happen if we served communion from one cup and also many cups and just gave people their choice… chaos? I guess by the time we divide up the Sunday morning services to allow for ALL of our preferences, some would end up having church on Monday… Sad.

    59. Theophilus Dr says:

      I agree with all you said. It's not a matter of "if ….church split," it is "how many thousands have and will continue to occur?" Jesus prayed for unity of believers, not uniformity over singing/instruments. If we say that issue was what Jesus intended to address, we are placing our argument about IM and our opinions as idols above unity in the body, which is what Jesus prayed for. I agree that IM/AC is an matter than has been a source for division in the CoC. I agree there are schisms and alienation and I agree that people are seeking to bring elements of a worldly culture into the church under the labels of freedom, worship, etc. I agree with your observations of the ugly fruit of the tree.

      We discuss (argue, fight, split) the IM/AC matter partly because is can see, read, speak, and conceptualize. It is much easier to limit our focus to that issue rather than to the "unseen" spiritual battle that is destroying us.

      Usually we read James 4:1-10 and think those verses apply to someone else. Some greedy, proud people in the first century. "What causes fights and quarrels among you?" Is it an object or a subject or an issue that causes the quarrels? The verse says, "Don't they come from your desires that battle with in you?"

      Instrumental music doesn't cause arguments, schisms, or splits. The carpet color or the building sign doesn't cause splits. People cause splits.
      And people cause splits and quarrels because they choose to do so.

      "Oh, no! It is this important issue. The world is coming in!" The issue about IM/AC or anything else doesn't make people choose to quarrel or divide the body. It is people who have made the choice to place that issue as an idol above Jesus Christ as He prayed for the unity of all believers.

      I would suggest that the threat of this doctrinal idolatry, and the quarrels and chaos and division that occurs as a result of an idolatrous choice has far greater consequences to the church than CCM, itself, would ever have.

      Unity is looking for ways that we can be one in Christ because unity is the goal and NOTHING else can be above that. Unity is not positioning myself so that I can say that you are doctrinally wrong when the division hits. Division is your fault, and I told you so.

      If CCM brings worldliness into the church, it is not the CCM, it is the idolatrous attitudes of those already in the church. When AC-only believers argue their position and think they are defending the faith, they are defending a doctrinal idol in their heart.

      If unity is the top priority, then we set aside those issues that hold us back and pursue the last thing Jesus prayed for before heading to the cross. There is no "unity under my terms" or "unity under this way of looking at because Paul looked at it this way and the ECF's this way and whoever else." Just say, "We will have unity under the banner (idol) of my opinion in this matter." We couch it in different, more ecclesiastical, terms, but James 4:1-10 cuts through all that.

      Idols are transparent to the people carrying them in their heart. The book of Isaiah matches today's situation and attitudes just about step by step. God's description of the idolatry of Israel applies to us.

      And what I am saying is that their result will apply to us as well. Paul said that also in 1 Cor 10:1-13.

      So we agree. But I am saying this is not the level of the real spiritual battle. Whoever "wins" the AC/IM argument will be immaterial compared to the consequences of losing the spiritual battle that we can't seem to see because we are too busy keeping eyes on each other.

      Two people can argue about which house has been build to the architectural standard. It doesn't matter if a fire comes and wipes them both out. They didn't see the fire because they were arguing with one another.

    60. Price says:

      Dr. T…excellent points that I'm sure most agree with but the problem is in the foundation of the theology…IMHO….a RULES based theology cannot give an inch or it admits a failure and a failure admits that someone who came before and has since died, got it wrong and is thus condemned. Where did we lose the first century focus on Grace ?

    61. Guestfortruth says:

      Theophilus Dr,

      In the O.T the idolatry was material like a golden calf and Now in the Christian age idolatry is Spiritual. Contrasting both positions IM/AC.
      Which one is the most idolatrious practice? one that you can see their fruits in the denominational side: like Christian Pop, Christian Rap, Christian Rock etc… You see the fruit of those practice in the denominations.. In the RM we have recorded when the first instrumental music was introduce in the coC. On february 22, 1851 in kentuky and J.B. Henshall speaks out. Brother Henshall said : " We are far in the rear of protestants on the subject of church music" (One is remainded of Israel's desire for a king in order to be like the other nations around them) 1 Samuel 8:5. today in the denominational world churches of Christ are distintive because Jesus is the head of the church and not a fallible man like all man made denominations. the difference between the intire religious world: How does God Authorize? The Bible itself teaches that God authorize by what He says – not by what he does not say! They are the people who introduced mechanical instrumental music into christian worship, and in so doing they tore the church of our Lord asunder. The division that came out with mechanical instrument was not what actually caused the division in RM. That is, the instrument itself was not the real problem. The division was the consecuence of the change in actitude toward the matter of Bible Authority: (1) The Authority that comes from christ mt.28:18 written in the whole N.T. for all that we teach and practice. 1 pet. 3:15., and (2) How Bible Authority is established. The Instrument was simply the horse upon which the division rode out.
      Isaiah 5:19-21
      19 That say, “Let Him make speed and hasten His work,
      That we may see it;
      And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw near and come,
      That we may know it.”
      20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil;
      Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness;
      Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!
      21 Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes,
      And prudent in their own sight!

    62. Theophilus Dr says:

      Price, I agree. It is out of the fleshly nature that we create idols of the heart, and it is the "deceiver" who makes them transparent to us. Anything that is placed above Jesus Christ as Lord of everything is an idol. "My interpretation of the best way to Jesus is better than yours" is an idolatrous statement; the sentence itself starts off with the name of the idol. If my way really is better, then I should show that in my life and behavior so that you see it and ask me what I am going. Otherwise I should keep my mouth shut. Christians have unwittingly bought into the idols of the world. The CoC hasn't taught or said much about idols. That's not good because it allows them to stay transparent. Legalism is idolatry. A cheap grace that frees me to do whatever I want to do is idolatry.

      One can make a case for the importance of AC vs IM. And it isn't a trivial question and it does have spiritual consequences. But let's not kid ourselves that, by expending so much time and effort on AC/IM issue, we are making a difference in the big battle having consequences greater by many orders of magnitude.

      It is more a perspective of the importance of the AC/IM issue compared to what will make a real difference in the survival of the church as we know it.

      And the focus on the AC/IM issue is only one example of the tradition of the CoC of "majoring in minors."

    63. Guestfortruth says:

      Dr. T,

      Are you saying that legalism is a sin 2 Tim. 3:16.? Is a sin departure from the Authority of Jesus in his kingdom Mt. 28:18? The bible does not talk about the grace being cheep? where do you get that statement from the scriptures 1 peter 4:11? The grace is our undeserve gift from God that is our salvation! but those who live according to their fleshy nature can fall of the grace mainly if the flesh desire an mechanical instrument. the scripture speaks " the heart as the spiritual instrument" and our voice is not an idolatrous instrument. Is part of the New Testament Teaching (The whole Gospel of Christ)!! as the whole counsel of God!! Acts 20:27. Your interpretation is not good if is an opinion! as many opinions I have seen here! Opinions twist the realmeaning about what the scriptures teach, and those opinions can cause a heresy! from Gk. hairesis "a taking or choosing," from haireisthai "take, seize," 2 Pet. 2:1. The church that belong to Christ has always taugh by apostolic example Act. 2:42 recognizing that Jesus is the head of his church and not a fallible man a pope,patriach,president,councils, synods etc. There are some that were among us trying to restore the New Testament Church but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us 1 jn. 2:19. but they decide for Ecumenism instead restore the new Church of Christ as is mention in the New Testament in his simplity. all with the excuse of the normative principle that lead the apostate catholic Church the way it is today. ignoring the Authority of Jesus descrip in the New Testament of our Lord Jesus Christ. (The will of Christ) the Doctrine of Christ. The doctrine of Grace is still teaching but not the way the denominations teach it! The teaching of once in grace always in grace is a theological fallacy that many believe in the Denominational Bodies! and we believe that all that the lord Love he discipline.Hebrews 12: 3-11. the denominational world see the bible just like a Love letter but they don't want to see the discipline of the Lord.

    64. Theophilus Dr says:

      GFT

      Thank you for your inclusion of a broad spectrum of quotes of other people's statements, which make for very interesting reading as one attempts to discover the small jewels of relevance to this topic. The sum of the posts is impressively vertiginous.

      GMT said: "In the O.T the idolatry was material like a golden calf and Now in the Christian age idolatry is Spiritual. Contrasting both positions IM/AC.
      Which one is the most idolatrous practice?"

      What difference does it make? Is this an option we present to God, or what? Can you find where the children of Israel asked God that question? "Lord, if we worship one of these idols, which one would you recommend, Baal idol A, or Baal idol B?"

      Which one is the most idolatrous practice? Than answer is "Yes." You don't have go any farther than your statement "Contrasting both positions…." Idolatry is spending all your time arguing about this AC/IM issue, as well as many of the other issues once deemed as equal to Jesus which were covered in the quotes you posted of other people's work. They say that your idol is revealed by your checkbook register. Your idol is also revealed in what you go to battle for and what you spend your time and energy on. You address this question in the nature of your posts.

      GFT quoted: "What is the future of the church as far as you are concerned? Brethren, are we interested in glorifying God or self?"

      These are questions from one of your quotes that should be answered.

      "If everyone spent their time and energy as I do "defending the faith" (as defined by those whom I quote) will the church even have a future?"

      Thank you for providing such an outstanding illustration of my point.

      An A-slop fable:

      There was a battle going on outside a building. Attackers wanted to overtake the building and destroy it. Those on the defense should have been on the attack, but too many of their number were inside the building instead of in the battle. They were on the defensive because their force was weakened by non-participants busy doing something else of vital importance – to them. The people inside the building were playing a video game called "Name that Music." One of the joystick controllers was AC and the other was IM. They play against one another. Others watched and cheered. The battle raged outside.

      The attackers overcame the defense of the building and burst inside the door, guns blazing. Some of the people inside said, "No, you can't shoot us! We were winning the video game."

      You finish the ending.

    65. Guestfortruth says:

      The Deadliest People On Earth

      If a person were asked, “Who are the most dangerous people on earth?”,
      perhaps he would say, “terrorists.” Another person might say, “serial killers.” When
      we think of dangerous people, it is natural for these types of people to come to
      mind. Since September 11, 2001 our country has become much more aware of the
      realities and horrors of terrorism. The news media often bring people to our
      attention who commit horrible crimes such as murder. Surely murder is one of the
      worst crimes that one human being can commit against another. However, as
      horrible as murder is, there are people who do more harm than merely taking
      physical lives – there are people who lead others to eternal Hell! A murderer could
      take the life of a faithful Christian, only to result in the Christian going on to eternal
      bliss. However, a false teacher does not merely take one’s life; he effectively takes
      one’s eternal soul! The effects of false teaching are infinitely more devastating and
      far reaching than murder! That must be why Paul spoke so strongly against those
      who brought a perverted gospel to the churches of Galatia: “But though we, or an
      angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have
      preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If
      any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
      accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9). These erring brethren of Galatia still believed in Christ,
      but after their conversion they were misled into a perverted version of the Gospel,
      and they had fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). Because false teachers are so
      deadly, we should become familiar with some of their traits, so they will not take
      advantage of us: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant
      of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
      False teachers appear to be the best people on earth – Early in the
      ministry of Jesus, He began warning His followers of false teachers who would look
      like followers of God: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
      clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Notice what Jesus
      said about false prophets in Luke’s Gospel account: “Woe unto you, when all men
      shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
      Paul also warned us about the innocent looking disguises of Satan and his
      ministers: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves
      into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an
      angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as
      the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2
      Corinthians 11:13-15). False teachers do not wear t-shirts with the words “I AM A
      FALSE TEACHER” on them. If they did, they would not be effective. Like Satan,
      they use subtlety (Genesis 3:1). For the sake of those being led astray, false
      teachers need to be exposed. However, if one were to publicly say that Joel Osteen
      is a false teacher, it would probably be difficult to continue speaking over the
      listeners gasping for air and murmuring about the comment. The truth is that people
      like Joel Osteen and Billy Graham are those “angels of light” who are spreading
      Satan’s false doctrines! For example, millions of people are being told to pray the
      “sinner’s prayer” to be saved, and they are being deceived into thinking they are
      saved when they are still lost! False teaching is horrible! Although members of the
      church of Christ love these men, we hate what they are doing: “Through thy
      precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104);
      “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate
      every false way” (Psalm 119:128). If these men would repent, obey the truth, and
      begin teaching the truth, faithful Christians would be behind them one hundred
      percent, but as it stands now, “they are the enemies of the cross of Christ”
      (Philippians 3:18).
      False teachers influence great numbers of people – According to
      Wikipedia.org, some 76 million people in the U.S.A. profess to be Catholics, who
      consider the pope to be “God on earth.” One may wonder how many people have
      filled stadiums to hear Billy Graham preach a diluted, perverted gospel. Authors like
      Rick Warren and Max Lucado have no doubt made great fortunes on all the books
      they have sold. False teachers often make use of the television to broadcast their
      “We’ll make you feel good if you will just send us your money” programs to
      thousands upon thousands. So many refuse to believe that a certain preacher or
      religious group is in the wrong, simply because they have large numbers of
      followers. The truth is that God’s people have always been in the minority (Matthew
      7:13, 14), and truth should be our criteria for religion rather than numbers!
      False teachers speak smooth things that people want to hear – Many
      false teachers are nothing more than motivational speakers who will throw in a
      Scripture or two for “that religious effect.” If they did not use any Scriptures at all,
      they would be much easier to detect. By throwing in a few Scriptures into their “feel
      good” speech they make some people believe they are sound preachers of
      righteousness. We need to remember that even the devil used Scripture, although
      in a twisted way (Matthew 4:6). The time of which Paul wrote is here and now: “For
      the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own
      lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall
      turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,
      4); “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet
      pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
      False teachers condone what God condemns – Notice this warning from
      Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light,
      and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
      Most false teachers are able to attract large crowds of followers because they
      refuse to take a firm stand against sin. They preach a message of “love and
      tolerance,” when the Biblical message of love says nothing about tolerating sin. Sin
      should be addressed (albeit in a loving way), but addressed nonetheless! Paul told
      Timothy how godly preaching was to be done, and it often involves reproving and
      rebuking: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,
      exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). Not only do false
      teachers tolerate sin, but they actually teach that certain sinful things are
      acceptable in the sight of God, such as religious division (denominationalism), manmade
      religious names, man-made plans of salvation, man-made ways of worship,
      etc.
      False teachers try to make faithful Christians look like the “bad guys” –
      False teachers take advantage of our “politically correct” culture, in which it is not
      socially acceptable to point out false teachers, even if millions are being led astray
      by them. When faithful brethren expose false teachers as the Bible exemplifies and
      commands, faithful brethren are often accused of being hateful and intolerant.
      However, this is nothing new – Satan has always tried to make good appear to be
      evil. In the Garden of Eden, Satan tried to make God look like He was the evil one:
      “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know
      that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as
      gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4, 5). Ahab tried to make Elijah out to be
      the troublemaker: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto
      him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel;
      but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the
      Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:17, 18). Jesus commands us to
      “judge righteous judgment,” and He said that false prophets can be identified “by
      their fruits” (John 7:24; Matthew 7:15-20). Please notice that Jesus commended the
      church at Ephesus for putting false teachers to the test and discovering they were
      liars: “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not
      bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and
      are not, and hast found them liars” (Revelation 2:2). In that same text, Jesus went
      on to name the specific names of an individual and a group who were posing
      threats to souls with their false teaching (“Jezebel,” and “the Nicolaitans,”
      Revelation 2:6, 15, 20). Paul exposed false teachers like “Hymenaeus and
      Philetus” by name (2 Timothy 2:17, 18). When will people realize that the enemies
      are not those who point out false teachers, but rather the enemies are the false
      teachers themselves? If we love people, we will warn them, just as Jesus and Paul
      did.
      False teachers are the deadliest people on earth. If there is good news in all
      of this, perhaps it is the fact that false teachers, like Satan, are limited in their
      power. Although they have a powerful influence in this world, they cannot override
      our free will. We must search the Scriptures, then “buy the truth, and sell it not”
      (Acts 17:11; Proverbs 23:23). Let us do as John commanded: “Beloved, believe not
      every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false
      prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

    66. Alabama John says:

      This has been debated for years.

      The chance that any one person has it all just right is pretty slim to none.
      So, is it better to be a teacher and probably teach something not just right which to some would be a false teacher or to not teach at all? Funny how our understanding and teaching changes with age.
      Also to listen to a teacher and believe him when he was wrong on some subject, would you be held accountable or the teacher?
      None of us are inspired like the apostles. When we teach, the difference in us and Billy Graham to God is not much different. We both are trying our hardest and doing out human best which is always not up to the apostles with the guidance provided them.

      The way to never be a false teacher in some respect is to never teach, keep our mouths shut and pens in our pockets!

    67. Price says:

      AL John… I'm with you for the most part… IMHO, there should be some measure of confidence in the person teaching or the majority should not allow the man (or woman :o) ) to teach… That being said, it certainly is the responsibility of the one being taught to examine the teaching. The Bereans come to mind…

      Also, it's difficuilt to consider the Apostle Peter and expect a man to be perfect or to fully grasp everything fully in order to teach. Here God was using him to pen inspired words and the dude just couldn't be perfect if his life depended on it.

      Whatever the Latin learning equivilent to caveat emptor is…that's what is important…Most important however is Grace !!

    68. Alabama John says:

      Price,

      AMEN!

      Since you are using foreign language words, I'll use the ones I'm most familiar with that applies here.

      Semper Fi

    69. Guestfortruth says:

      Alabama John & Price,

      Sure, none of us is infallible (inspired) but the word of God is and is reliable. do you remember the teaching of our lord Jesus said? if a blind guide the blind both will fall in the dich? (Mt.15:13-14;Mt.23:15-16). That show acountability for both. The sound doctrine has been taugh (Titus 2:1; 2 Tm. 4:3), but people always want to do his own will and there is an obsession about to form a union and not unity according to the will of God (1 Cor. 1:10) . What is the result from "Unity in diversity" is a union called Ecumenism. and that is not what the lord Jesus pray. Did you know that some brethren had the oportunity to talk with Billy Graham and because of his proudness he did not want to correct his false teaching? He did not love the glory of God. (Jn.12:43). He was more afraid about what the people is going to think about him so he continue in his own will. God let the good seed and the tares grow together and the harvest is the end of the age. (Mt. 13:13-37; Mt. 7:21-23) "Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’" Today, the denominations teach "Once in grace always in grace" is a theological fallacie (Hebrews 2:2-4), Because the word of the Spirit teach clearly the way God wants us to be that if one is not living according to the will of God can fall from grace and also getting false teaching like Judaism,Catholism or protestantism all the modern fads. (Gal. 1:6;Gal.5:4). "Semper fi" to Christ and his Authority!! ( Acts 2:42; 2 Jn. 1:4,9, Rev. 2:10).

    70. Guestfortruth says:

      God will finish the ending!!

      If a person were asked, “Who are the most dangerous people on earth?”,
      perhaps he would say, “terrorists.” Another person might say, “serial killers.” When
      we think of dangerous people, it is natural for these types of people to come to
      mind. Since September 11, 2001 our country has become much more aware of the
      realities and horrors of terrorism. The news media often bring people to our
      attention who commit horrible crimes such as murder. Surely murder is one of the
      worst crimes that one human being can commit against another. However, as
      horrible as murder is, there are people who do more harm than merely taking
      physical lives – there are people who lead others to eternal Hell! A murderer could
      take the life of a faithful Christian, only to result in the Christian going on to eternal
      bliss. However, a false teacher does not merely take one’s life; he effectively takes
      one’s eternal soul! The effects of false teaching are infinitely more devastating and
      far reaching than murder! That must be why Paul spoke so strongly against those
      who brought a perverted gospel to the churches of Galatia: “But though we, or an
      angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have
      preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If
      any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be
      accursed” (Galatians 1:8-9). These erring brethren of Galatia still believed in Christ,
      but after their conversion they were misled into a perverted version of the Gospel,
      and they had fallen from grace (Galatians 5:4). Because false teachers are so
      deadly, we should become familiar with some of their traits, so they will not take
      advantage of us: “Lest Satan should get an advantage of us: for we are not ignorant
      of his devices” (2 Corinthians 2:11).
      False teachers appear to be the best people on earth – Early in the
      ministry of Jesus, He began warning His followers of false teachers who would look
      like followers of God: “Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's
      clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves” (Matthew 7:15). Notice what Jesus
      said about false prophets in Luke’s Gospel account: “Woe unto you, when all men
      shall speak well of you! for so did their fathers to the false prophets” (Luke 6:26).
      Paul also warned us about the innocent looking disguises of Satan and his
      ministers: “For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves
      into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an
      angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing if his ministers also be transformed as
      the ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works” (2
      Corinthians 11:13-15). False teachers do not wear t-shirts with the words “I AM A
      FALSE TEACHER” on them. If they did, they would not be effective. Like Satan,
      they use subtlety (Genesis 3:1). For the sake of those being led astray, false
      teachers need to be exposed. However, if one were to publicly say that Joel Osteen
      is a false teacher, it would probably be difficult to continue speaking over the
      listeners gasping for air and murmuring about the comment. The truth is that people
      like Joel Osteen and Billy Graham are those “angels of light” who are spreading
      Satan’s false doctrines! For example, millions of people are being told to pray the
      “sinner’s prayer” to be saved, and they are being deceived into thinking they are
      saved when they are still lost! False teaching is horrible! Although members of the
      church of Christ love these men, we hate what they are doing: “Through thy
      precepts I get understanding: therefore I hate every false way” (Psalm 119:104);
      “Therefore I esteem all thy precepts concerning all things to be right; and I hate
      every false way” (Psalm 119:128). If these men would repent, obey the truth, and
      begin teaching the truth, faithful Christians would be behind them one hundred
      percent, but as it stands now, “they are the enemies of the cross of Christ”
      (Philippians 3:18).
      False teachers influence great numbers of people – According to
      Wikipedia.org, some 76 million people in the U.S.A. profess to be Catholics, who
      consider the pope to be “God on earth.” One may wonder how many people have
      filled stadiums to hear Billy Graham preach a diluted, perverted gospel. Authors like
      Rick Warren and Max Lucado have no doubt made great fortunes on all the books
      they have sold. False teachers often make use of the television to broadcast their
      “We’ll make you feel good if you will just send us your money” programs to
      thousands upon thousands. So many refuse to believe that a certain preacher or
      religious group is in the wrong, simply because they have large numbers of
      followers. The truth is that God’s people have always been in the minority (Matthew
      7:13, 14), and truth should be our criteria for religion rather than numbers!
      False teachers speak smooth things that people want to hear – Many
      false teachers are nothing more than motivational speakers who will throw in a
      Scripture or two for “that religious effect.” If they did not use any Scriptures at all,
      they would be much easier to detect. By throwing in a few Scriptures into their “feel
      good” speech they make some people believe they are sound preachers of
      righteousness. We need to remember that even the devil used Scripture, although
      in a twisted way (Matthew 4:6). The time of which Paul wrote is here and now: “For
      the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own
      lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall
      turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables” (2 Timothy 4:3,
      4); “For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet
      pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ” (Galatians 1:10).
      False teachers condone what God condemns – Notice this warning from
      Isaiah: “Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light,
      and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!” (Isaiah 5:20).
      Most false teachers are able to attract large crowds of followers because they
      refuse to take a firm stand against sin. They preach a message of “love and
      tolerance,” when the Biblical message of love says nothing about tolerating sin. Sin
      should be addressed (albeit in a loving way), but addressed nonetheless! Paul told
      Timothy how godly preaching was to be done, and it often involves reproving and
      rebuking: “Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke,
      exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine” (2 Timothy 4:2). Not only do false
      teachers tolerate sin, but they actually teach that certain sinful things are
      acceptable in the sight of God, such as religious division (denominationalism), manmade
      religious names, man-made plans of salvation, man-made ways of worship,
      etc.
      False teachers try to make faithful Christians look like the “bad guys” –
      False teachers take advantage of our “politically correct” culture, in which it is not
      socially acceptable to point out false teachers, even if millions are being led astray
      by them. When faithful brethren expose false teachers as the Bible exemplifies and
      commands, faithful brethren are often accused of being hateful and intolerant.
      However, this is nothing new – Satan has always tried to make good appear to be
      evil. In the Garden of Eden, Satan tried to make God look like He was the evil one:
      “And the serpent said unto the woman, Ye shall not surely die: For God doth know
      that in the day ye eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and ye shall be as
      gods, knowing good and evil” (Genesis 3:4, 5). Ahab tried to make Elijah out to be
      the troublemaker: “And it came to pass, when Ahab saw Elijah, that Ahab said unto
      him, Art thou he that troubleth Israel? And he answered, I have not troubled Israel;
      but thou, and thy father's house, in that ye have forsaken the commandments of the
      Lord, and thou hast followed Baalim” (1 Kings 18:17, 18). Jesus commands us to
      “judge righteous judgment,” and He said that false prophets can be identified “by
      their fruits” (John 7:24; Matthew 7:15-20). Please notice that Jesus commended the
      church at Ephesus for putting false teachers to the test and discovering they were
      liars: “I know thy works, and thy labor, and thy patience, and how thou canst not
      bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and
      are not, and hast found them liars” (Revelation 2:2). In that same text, Jesus went
      on to name the specific names of an individual and a group who were posing
      threats to souls with their false teaching (“Jezebel,” and “the Nicolaitans,”
      Revelation 2:6, 15, 20). Paul exposed false teachers like “Hymenaeus and
      Philetus” by name (2 Timothy 2:17, 18). When will people realize that the enemies
      are not those who point out false teachers, but rather the enemies are the false
      teachers themselves? If we love people, we will warn them, just as Jesus and Paul
      did.
      False teachers are the deadliest people on earth. If there is good news in all
      of this, perhaps it is the fact that false teachers, like Satan, are limited in their
      power. Although they have a powerful influence in this world, they cannot override
      our free will. We must search the Scriptures, then “buy the truth, and sell it not”
      (Acts 17:11; Proverbs 23:23). Let us do as John commanded: “Beloved, believe not
      every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false
      prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John 4:1).

    71. Theophilus Dr says:

      Once I was. An A-slop fable:

      There once was a person who was a guest
      For the truth he was on a quest;
      But when he found what he searched for, it was what he already “knew” was true,
      So his circular thinking was flawed.

      There once was a person who was for,
      Who thought he had all the truth,
      He quoted verses out of context and made platitudes
      That carried little meaning but to himself.

      There once was a person who uttered truth,
      Or at least that’s what he believed he had;
      So protect it, he did, or so he thought,
      Without recognition of the division it wrought.

      “None of us is infallible," except, of course, me,
      Because I understand all of God’s word;
      Let me quote other people, who have been equally misled,
      As I place my indefensible views on my throne.

      There once was a person who said, “You’re all in a box!”
      But the sound was muffled, from where did it come?
      Oh, it came from within that cardboard crate,
      over there.

      Lord, I lift my view on high,
      I will love to sing (AC only) my praises;
      Everyone else is wrong; straighten them out, I will;
      As I love to praise my own proclamations.

      It is good that the mansion has many rooms,
      Because I will need one all to myself;
      I cannot stand other people who are wrong, and there are so many,
      According to my own opinion, which is written on the tablets of my heart.

      To the one who has ears to hear,
      Let him hear;
      To the one who has a functioning auditory cortex,
      Let him understand.

      According to the ECT, the above ode is to be chanted, with sound emitted only by expelled air flowing past laryngeal folds, and not accompanied by any instrument whatsoever or by the sound of anything that might resemble an instrument. No clapping of the hands, blowing of the nose, or Bronx cheers.

      It is sobering to realize that, except by the intervention of the grace of God, the above could describe anyone, especially me.

      Once I was, but now I am. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.

    72. Price says:

      Guestfortruth…

      I hope you aren't too offended by my remarks but you're a spiritual jerk. You use scripture to literally condemn those that don't agree with you and define them as heretics and false teachers.. The definition of which is someone that disagrees with what you believe… What you mean when you say that the Word is infallible is that YOUR INTERPRETATION of the word is infallible.. You find comfort in condeming people like Billy Graham..a man who spent his entire life preaching the same sermon…Jesus Christ.. Was he imperfect. Absolutely… Was Peter ? Give me a break… You might as well be condemning Mother Teresa for some theological imperfection… You embarrass yourself. Jesus told his disciples to lighten up on those that weren't a part of their group.. Mark 9:40 Give it a rest my friend.. Live your conscience but let go of the condemnation.

    73. Alabama John says:

      I sure would not qualify to throw the first stone at anyone.

      Depart I never knew you was a warning to those that saw THEMSELVES as just right. None of us are. If I had to pick the apostle that was closest to being like me it would be Judas hands down. Paul the chief of sinners, ha, most of us would give him a run for the position. That is why I need help, and grace and ask for it constantly. Given a choice, those come way ahead of knowledge.

      Sure some preachers specialize in certain teachings and some criticize them for not teaching it all. I've heard many times sermons against the man at the football games holding up the sigh saying JOHN 3:16. The sermons were that he didn't go far enough and that was wrong, misleading and thus sinful..

      Sometimes education is not a good thing especially if it brings a wrong attitude. The most humble and spiritual Godly people I have ever known were the least educated. I look forward to seeing them again in heaven.

      I know from the Bible the same was true with Jesus. When asked, two commandments led them all and are so easy to understand.

    74. Theophilus Dr says:

      GFT

      In case the message above in "poetry" is too subtle for you and since we seem to be now "dealing in spades," I will add a few more direct comments for your consideration.

      The condescending and condemning attitude that you display is somewhere between disgusting and contemptible. It reminds me of an old 1972 Ford pickup chugging down the road that needs a tuneup and new points and plugs so bad that black carbon smoke is pouring out the exhaust. When it takes off from a stop, so much pollution comes out the back you can't stand to be behind them.

      Jesus Christ didn't condemn like you think you have the authority to do. Just who do you think you are? Your attitude personifies what Satan has used to divide the CoC over the last 50 years and to cause people to leave to find a Christ-centered church instead of one that elevates a self-deified idol of their own interpretation.

      I probably find the valueless comments you make particularly irksome because many years ago I would have done the same thing, all for carrying the battle flag of God. God, through His mercy and grace, saved me from that, and I pray that you can find salvation also – salvation in Jesus Christ and not in your inflated opinion based on what other people have poured into your head and that you have not thought or prayed about yourself

      Think about it. The condemnation you measure out will be returned to you. Do you want that? If you think what you say has the authority of God's word, you are absolutely delusional. If God reached Saul of Tarsus, and if God reached me, God can reach Guestfortruth. I entreat you to get on your knees before God and repent.

    75. Guestfortruth says:

      Price,

      I think there are many things that you don't know and by circunstance of the life you are heading to Ecumenism. And that is not the Unity that the lord pray for. I don't know what do you understand about Love God and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27. I don't know if you are under the impression about "Universal Salvation" granting Salvation for those how live in the error the message of grace came to me and I accepted the grace of God now I am justified keeping my Salvation by not compromising the Word of God ,and granting salvation for those who has not obey the Gospel of Christ. We live under the word of his grace Act. 20:32. and not the way the denomination has taugh "Once in grace always in grace". The love of our father is tough Love is not the way has been says" Come to Jesus and all your problems will be resolved" God teach us Acts 14:22 "strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” as at mention before "we believe that all that the lord Love he discipline.Hebrews 12: 3-11. the denominational world see the bible just like a Love letter, but they don't want to see the discipline of the Lord. If we are going to walk the way of our Lord Jesus 1 Peter 1:21. Our Lord always taugh the truth and he pray to separate his disciples by the Word of Truth (Jn. 17:17) some of you has been infected by the teaching of our disgresive brothers like Carl ketcherside, Leroy Garret,Lynn Anderson,Rubel shelly, Max Lucado et al. They never understood the meaning of contending for the faith (Jude 1:3) by fame or popularity decide to follow the winds of Doctrines They did not imitate the apostles and those men of the scriptures , Col. 1:5-7. We need to be awake in this world because this brothers under the face of Godliness has torn the body of Christ and we have teaching from the apostle Paul "17 Now I urge you, brethren, note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them. 18 For those who are such do not serve our Lord JesusChrist, but their own belly, and by smooth words and flattering speech deceive the hearts of the simple. 19 For your obedience has become known to all. Therefore I am glad on your behalf; but I want you to be wise in what is good, and simple concerning evil. Romans 16:17-19"

    76. Price says:

      GTF… You know…here I was thinking that I was saved by Grace through Faith in Jesus and that was about as good as it got.. But, now I find out that according to you I have one more step in my sanctification process and that is reaching the level of perfection and truth that you are at. Poor ole Rubel and Max…they've spent their entire life trying to bring sinners into the kingdom and they didn't realize that there was an upper room where you reside.. Probably ole Al Maxey and Edward Fudge are down here in the basement with the rest of us as well but rest assured…I am going to pass along this information to them and we all promise that we'll do everything possible in our flesh, without any assistance from the Holy Spirit who died out back in 90-something BC, to earn our way into that coveted Upper Room… and forever leave those dern denominationalists behind to rot… Who would ever have thought that they would get past St. Peter having loved the Lord their God with all their heart, soul and mind and even their neighbor they loved as themselves…but there was that dang piano…Oh, how we long for that Upper Room…

    77. Theophilus Dr says:

      Guestfortruth, responding to Price:

      GFT said, "I think there are many things that you don't know…"

      I would think this statement could be applied to everyone who has lived or will ever live on this earth except Jesus Christ. However, your attitude reveals to me that you think you are a human exception and equal in knowledge to Jesus Christ. Just because "the word is truth," does that mean your interpretation of it is infallible also? To think otherwise would be inconsistent with statements you have made such as "I speak the truth."

      GFT said, "And that is not the Unity that the lord pray for"

      What do you think would be the unity that the Lord prayed for. Could you provide your definition of the meaning of "unity?" I do not see any passage in John 17 that says, "Let them be one based on the interpretations of GFT."

      GFT said, "I don't know what do you understand about Love God and your neighbor as yourself. Luke 10:27"

      I don't know what you understand, either. Exactly how do you "love God" and exactly how to you "love your neighbor." Who do you think that your neighbor is? Please give your definition of "neighbor."

      GFT said, "we believe that all that the lord Love he discipline. Hebrews 12: 3-11."

      When discipline comes, and it will, one of the root causes will be the idolatrous attitudes of people who place their interpretations above the centrality of Jesus Christ and foster division in the body of Christ.

      "We must through many tribulations…" Please consider your own role in providing those.

      GFT said, "…some of you has been infected by the teaching of our disgresive brothers…"

      Please consider that you need to get out of the pride of yourself and become infected with the love of Jesus Christ.

      GFT said, "They never understood the meaning of contending for the faith (Jude 1:3)

      Do you suggest that you understand this verse? You seem to have misread the verse as saying "being contentious for the faith."

      GFT said, "We need to be awake in this world because this brothers under the face of Godliness has torn the body of Christ…."

      Can you share any testimonies as to how you have promoted a "mending" of the body of Christ? Please do not include any examples of promoting "a form of godliness" by being contentious for your own interpretations.

      GFT said, "…note those who cause divisions and offenses, contrary to the doctrine which you learned, and avoid them."

      Amen. We have taken note.

    78. aBasnar says:

      I just stepped over thim remarkable either-or in the conclusions, Jay. Of course put in a question, but nonetheless revealing. But this one sentence really sums up my deepest concerns in this debate over IM vs AC:

      Is it smart to keep our a cappella practice rather than bring in a rock band?

      I have said frequently, that the issue is not about adding a piano to assist weaker singers, but about introducing a worldly music-style that is utterly incompatible with the Kingdom of God.

      In this Bruce Morton's book "Deceiving Winds" is of fundamental importance, because he stresses the Pagan Cults and the music that was tied to them to evoke sensuality as the straight opposit to a word-centered singing. The instuments and the rhythms of the Dionysos-cult are (in their effect) closely related to Rock or Pop music. Even the motto is similar: "Fertlity, wine, exstatic music" equals "Sex and Drugs and Rock'n'Roll". There is NOTHING new under the sun.

      That's one of the main issues in the ECF as well. Pagan music-styles that are tied to such cults and sensuality are totally inappropriate for the church. That's one of the reasons why they shunned all instruments that were culturally connected with these cults and morals. So the LEAST we mus do is to shun and to ban every musical instrument that is culturally tied to immorality and rebellion, that is the typical instruments used in Pop- and Rockbands (drums, electric guitars, …). But far from that the debate – again! – is inconsistent. While on one hand the IMer stress that the opposition of the ECF to IM was primarily cultural, the yfail to see that we face the same cultural issues. So the ECF are purposely misused in order to "prove" that there is no biblical command for AC-worship, but they are ignored when it comes tio matters that are biblically commanded (separation, nonconformity to the world), where they apply these commands to IM in a way that has striking parallels to our times. I simply cannot follow your logic here, Jay and all the other IMers.

      And here we go: You argue for IM as if you were trying to introduce something that could be justifiued by scripture – and maybe, in a very narrow sense, it could be – but in fact it is about CCM, about bringing in a Rock Band, the world and its lifestyle.

      Another key difference: A Rock Band plays on a stage. A church sings in unison. In worship there is no stage. But in CCM-"worship" you have a stage, and you have charts, and you have stars, and you have merchandizing … and these naive "worship leaders" even patricipate in worldly casting shows like "American Idol" (the name says it all).

      Brothers, BROTHERS! This is going DOWNHILL! Go out from among them and be separate, says the Lord! Be different, don't imitate the wicked ones!

      Please, I plead with you, open your eyes and recognize the Devil's Face it all of this modern nonsense!

      Alexander

    79. Price says:

      Alexander… some of your arguments are expertly reasoned and require all that read them to study….this isn't one of those remarks…

      Drums and guitars and used by immoral people that's for sure.. They are also used by praise bands all over the world and the last time I looked, Christian radio stations were doing quite well, even in a difficult environment, playing Christian music with guitars and drums and organs and whatever else they can play skillfully that causes people to want to hear it more often… To suggest that these instruments are now recognized as totally pagan and to be rejected is just not very well reasoned…

      I've noticed that Jay and most other "IM'ers" (why we must come up names to call each us is beyond me but whatever) do not attempt to bring IM into the worship but rather they just bring a complete and factual teaching that clearly reflects that it is a NON-SINFUL alternative and/or addition to those individual churches, house churches, small groups, student activities, etc.,etc., that would like to include them. You said >>>>And here we go: You argue for IM as if you were trying to introduce something that could be justifiued by scripture – and maybe, in a very narrow sense." Now, it's pretty clear to most that when one looks at the entire teaching from scripture on this topic that there is a clear approval from God for its use both in the Old Covenant, the New Convenant and in Heaven…If it is indeed justified even "in a very narrow sense" as you suggested then it is definitely NOT the "Devil's Face." If it is as you suggest barely permissible based on scripture (my words) then how much more thin is the argument against them… While there is an abundance of scripture pointing to their approval there is only the VERY twisted use of scripture to try and IMPLY their disapproval…

      Your desperation on this matter is surprisingly evident. Seriously, would you reject IM based upon a STAGE and approve AC based on a PULPIT ?? Please…

      Lastly, what disappoints me most is your evangelism for anti IM.. Why ? Why are you not content to use AC only within your congregational community? Why must you attempt to influence another autonomous congregation of their "wickedness" for using IM ? I thought the CoC took great pride in its NON-DENOMINATIONAL status.. Would you prefer that it WAS denominational ?? If after extensive study, the Elders, Deacons, and the Members of the church at Richland Hills decided to add IM to a service in order to increase their success with the un-churched.(saving their enternal souls from damnation)..why would you call that wicked and of the Devil ?? What has their decision to do with your decision in a non-denominational environment ??

    80. aBasnar says:

      Well, yes, I was quite emotional, wasn't I. But I am serious, too.

      See, if you grow up on a farm, you don't smell the pigsty any more. But any vistor passing by can notice even 100 yards away from your home that you have lifestock. The same principle applies here. As long as you dopn't step out of our modern day culture and fill your lungs with "pure mountain air" until you become more sensible again to the odors of life, you are too numb to notice it.

      That's why some may respond as you do, while others (as I got an E-Mail) say: "You are clear-thinking, brother, and it is going to take such voices to help many sift through the strong current of music in popular religion in America."

      We must take note that we still are in the flesh and that our flesh has its own desires. The music style I criticize the most (pop- and rock music) developed as an act of rebellion against the conservative society and the Christian roots and values that were still (at least in part) present in the 50s and 60s. I say: No wonder we like it! I am a musician myself, and I know how to express emotions by music, and I know how the flesh can express itself by it, too. Music is not neutral, Price. So we have to consider the cultural background and message of it. We desperately need spiritual discernment.

      Therefore we cannot allow any kind of music in church. I'd also say: Ban patriotic songs from the worship as well, and speak clearly the every brother and sister who pledges allegeiance to the flag (which is idolatry, too). There is a lot at stake, and there are many battle-lines. But here it is about music.

      Stage music and performace cannot be equaled with someone standing up front helping the congregation to start at the same point in the same key (song leader). The point of AC-singing is singing together. But a rock-band – and I am very serious about that – is a "sing-along"-kind of worship. The volume of the speakers normally drowns the voices of the singers. But more thatn that: The appearance is not worship, but performance. It looks like a rock-concert, it sounds like a rock-concert, people even tend to behave like in a rock concert (lifting up the arms to the stage, swinging in the rhythm) … so what is it? Worship? No. A rock concert. And what does rock music express? The rebellious desires of our flesh.

      Why do we love it anyway? Because we still are in the flesh and this kind of music appeals to what is in us.

      Why don't we see this as evil? Because we grew numb to the differences between the world and the kindgom.

      Let me challenge you: What is it that the world is so evil in the sight of Gof? Why are we to be separate? Can you explain to others, your kids, your congregation, what these biblical commands mean and how to apply them? The lust of the eyes? Of the flesh? The pride of life?

      Go on vacation, I recommend. Go up on this mountain and breath the clean and undefiled air. Stay there for a week or two, or longer. Then return to the pigsty and tell me how it smells.

      Alexander

      P.S. I think I once recommended Dan Lucarini's book before Why I left the Contemporary Christian Music Scene before. A young brother in our church, who also dreamed of introducing a worship band in our church, read this book … and was healed ;-)

    81. guy says:

      Alexander wrote:
      "Ban patriotic songs from the worship as well, and speak clearly the every brother and sister who pledges allegiance to the flag (which is idolatry, too)."

      Amen. i'd say at least half of the regular church-goers i worked with in full-time ministry were undoubtedly Americans first and Christians second. Many of them expressed far greater offense at criticizing America in any way than they ever did any doubt over cherished CoC doctrines. This is clearly a matter of divided allegiances and it seems to me only a minority see it as such.

      –guy

    82. aBasnar says:

      Antother example: My wife and I were onece invited to stay a few days at a Hutterite colony near Brandon, Manitoba. These are Anabptists who dress plainly and have a very different but serene life style. We enjoyed the fellowship very much. Especially their open faces.

      When after a few days we returned to the "civilized world", we really were shocked by the immodesty we saw everywhere. The way people dress today (esp. women) is completely diferrent than the way Christians used to dress for 1950 years! It's a parallel develeopment to our musical culture. Pop and Rock music promotes immodesty – and society in general adopted this message.

      Please note: The most drastic changes took place only in the last generation or two, and the churches were not prepared to withstand the power of society. Why? Mark this: Since Constantine (4th century) everyone in society was called to at least outwardly conform to Christian Standards. Christian moral values formed the Western Culture up to the 20th century – a dramatic side effect: Separation from the world became obsolete, because now we were to conform to s (so called) "Christian Society". Now that this society turned apostate from the 50s onwards, the church habitually (!!) followed the world in this. That's why most churches today are to be labeled as worldly. There is almost no visible distiction between Christians and the world. Only a remnant still calls for separation, sometimes going into other extremes.

      This is devastating to the Kingdom! What really strikes me, is the clear warning in the scriptures, that the majority of the church will fall apostate in the last days. I think, I can see this – can you, too?

      Or have we grown numb to this? Do we smell how this stinks? Think about it, Price.

      Alexander

    83. aBasnar says:

      One last contribution. I want to reemphasize Dan Lucarini's work, and found a good commentary on his follow-up book (which I haven't read, yet):

      For now I want to point out his follow-up book, It’s Not About the Music (Darlington: EP Books, 2010). In this book, Lucarini debunks the modern notion that the heart of worship is music. He quotes a CCM musician to prove his point, who said CCM artists gravitate “toward a U2-esque sound built around a true worship song, giving the listener a deeper worship experience.” I know quite a few Christians who would agree: the heart of worship is our singing to God, and the better we feel about it, the better the ‘experience.’ Lucarini disagrees (as do I!).

      “We live in an … age where music performance is the focal point and given the lion’s share of time, energy, and praise at most worship services and religious gatherings. No wonder that we fight over it, given the over-sized importance we have assigned to it. But what if we’re missing the point entirely? What if music is not the main thing about worship?”

      “If there is one thing you learn from this book, let it be that biblical praise is all about the words, not the music. Praise must be centered first around fitting and honorable words.”

      Lucarini also notes how the centrality of music has pushed other parts of worship to the side. He recounts how the worship leaders swap places, bands shuffle music, and sound guys tweak the settings while the pastor leads in prayer. This should repulse us: while the pastor is praying to the living God for spiritual growth, lost souls, and other such serious things, people are dinking around in the background.

      Another lamentable aspect about modern church music is that it has to do with the cult of youth. Rather than respect the elderly (5th commandment) and rather than minister to the whole flock, the worship leader and/or pastor puts the attention on the music of the youth. The youth-centric culture of America is driving much worship music; Lucarini makes a good point here. How many of America’s favorite Christian artists don’t look youthful and hip – highlights, makeup, tattoos, and all the rest?

      (From: http://reformedreader.wordpress.com/2010/12/11/wo

      Pigsty? Smell? Seriously, Price, this is very serious.

      Alexander

    84. Randall says:

      Alexander,
      Please allow a point of clarification – are you opposed to ALL musical instruments in worship or just the rock band type of instrument and style of music – or any similar and possibly "rebellious" type of music?

      Is Handel's Messiah with a full orchestra acceptable or is it to be banned too? Traditional hymns accompanied by traditional instruments such as piano, organ, traditional stringed instrument as well as brass and woodwinds and perhaps tympani drums that provide a traditional "Christian" style of music – is this permissible, indeed even glorifying to God or not?

      I don't mean this to be smart mouthed. I simply want to understand your position.
      Hesed,
      Randall

    85. aBasnar says:

      OK for clarification

      I am not a hard-liner in general. I see very valid reasons from typology and church history to keep or even restore a-capella worship.

      Personally I could live with a kind of "serving" musical accompaniment such as a piano in order to help a congregation sing, but not to dominate the worship.

      I see that the discussion pro IM not really means a piano in the above mentioned sense, but goes for CCM. That's why I pointed out Jay's alternative (put in a question, but quite revealing):

      Is it smart to keep our a cappella practice rather than bring in a rock band?

      This is crossing a borderline, as I tried to point out.

      Handel's Messiah is definitely NOT worship for a ciongregation, but performance music. We don't have to make a difference here, because the difference is already there and should be obvious.

      Alexander

    86. Jay Guin says:

      aBasnar/Alexander wrote,

      "So, if the IM-question ever can be seen as a salvation issue, then only in this context: If you risk a church split, you may be in great danger."

      Every single eldership within the Churches of Christ is deeply concerned about the risk that ANY change might split their congregation. No eldership has instituted IM (or a fellowship hall or support of an orphanage) without prayerful weighing of the risk of a split.

      However, we need to be very, very clear: If a church splits, the sinners are those who, in rebellion against their elders and in violation of the scriptures, leave over the decision to use IM (or a fellowship hall or support of an orphanage). These are NOT salvation/fellowship issues, and those who insist that they are have BADLY misunderstood the scriptures and the heart of Jesus.

      We are like a three-year old, who hits his brother for playing with his truck — and then insists that his brother MADE him hit his brother. No, if you hit your brother, you made a choice to hit him and it's your own fault. Just so, if you leave a congregation — and take 100 with you — over IM, YOU split the church, not the elders, and the condemnation of 1 Cor 3 is yours, and not theirs.

      I would only blame the elders if they'd failed to teach the grace of God before deciding to add IM (or fellowship halls or the support of orphanages). If they taught grace and you chose not to listen and chose to instead split the church over such things, then you stand judged by Paul's words. You made the bad choices and you will suffer the consequences —

      (1Co 3:16-17 ESV) 16 Do you not know that you [plural] are God's temple and that God's Spirit dwells in you? 17 If anyone destroys God's temple, God will destroy him. For God's temple is holy, and you [plural] are that temple.

      I can't think of nothing more sinful than someone saying, "If I don't get my way, I'll split the church" and then blaming the elders for the split when they refuse to capitulate to his demands. The elders cannot let someone so unspiritual impose his will on the church.

    87. Randall says:

      Guy,
      Above you suggested that for some in the CofC the issue of IM may be just as significant as endorsing homosexuality and then went on to say “because of that you are ascribing ill-will to them that they don’t necessarily have. *That’s* un-Christ-like if anything is.”

      The real issue here is the view that has been held by many in the CofC that all doctrine is “flat,” that is, that all doctrine is of equal importance. Regrettably, this perspective has been endorsed by many influential men in the CofC in years gone by. And as you already know it leads to problems regarding the visible unity of the body.

      The focus on relatively minor theological issues, while tolerating heterodoxy on major theological issues (the Trinity, the dual nature of Jesus, sinful nature of man, God’s grace) is what led to the the criticism that the CofC has “majored in the minors and minored in the majors.” To the extent that a person continues to pass this argument off as valid they may continue to contribute to the problem. FWIW
      Hesed,
      Randall

    88. guy says:

      Jay,

      "If I don't get my way,
      I'll split the church"

      That's really a gross mis-characterization. i'm guessing there are things even you would leave a church over. Why? Probably because you thought the decision in question really was contrary to Christ's will and would result in lost souls or un-Christ-like-ness. If you ever did so, would it be fair or loving for those you left to say, "Well Jay just thinks if he doesn't get his way, he should split the church" ?

      If my eldership tells me (and the congregation) tomorrow morning that fornication and homosexuality are not sin, and people who are actively participating in those things will be appointed to leadership–what would you have me do? Should i stay and submit to my eldership and just defer to them? Sorry, no. i might try and appeal to my elders and plead with them to reconsider. But if it moved forward, i'd have to go. And not because i'm insisting on my own way in the sense of selfishness or self-centered-ness.

      "But there's a difference between homosexuality and IM in that regard."

      Yeah—TO YOU there is. (and to me for that matter.) But not to the people you're talking about. And because of that you are ascribing ill-will to them that they don't necessarily have. *That's* un-Christ-like if anything is.

      –guy

    89. Alabama John says:

      Agreed Jay if all elders are in agreement and you leave, but a split in the elders is usually what brings on a church split in my experience. Or worse, a church with no elders splitting. The members follow the one(s) they MOST agree with after much arguing and choosing and recruiting sides.

      Sounds like an 'Ol auctionneer friend of mine: Who'll give me twenty,.. thirty, , , 40, or who'll give me more?

    90. Randall says:

      Alexander,
      Thanks for the reply and clarification. You commented that "Handel's Messiah is definitely NOT worship for a congregation, but performance music. We don't have to make a difference here, because the difference is already there and should be obvious." Yes, I agree that it is usually performed by professionals rather than as congregational singing. However, it is still worshipful and glorifying to God, both for those performing the music and those listening to it. Would you agree or is that going beyond what you think would be appropriate?
      Hesed,
      Randall

    91. Price says:

      Alexander…your emotion is indeed seaping out on this topic… and I think it's clogging your reasoning…

      You admit that you might be OK with IM if it were your preference..but if it were not your preferred musical style then you would prevent it.. Really? What if it were chanting ? What if it were Monk Music with all the humming and groans? What about sitting on the floor with our legs crossed? I would dislike that as much as Rap music but it was the preferred music in worship for a former generation.. For every young person who likes a certain genre of music there is an uncle who hates the very same. There is no accounting for taste…but there is an accounting for how once uses things… If I were some Devil worshipper it's possible that I could find some way to take your favorite church song and misuse it… right? But then there are others who take "rock music" and use it to praise God and draw attention to Jesus in a culture that flocks to that type of music. Most church of Christ people know the words to songs by the favorite Christian groups of the day….. I just find it totally unreasonable to build a foundation upon which to reject IM based on one generation's preference for style over another… besides to call something wicked based on your preferences seems to put you in a position of being called wicked by the other side based on their preferences, and without scriptural authorization, you're both correct. You've stopped worshipping God and started worshipping yourself and your preferences. And as Dr. T says…that's idolatry.

      And the bottom for me is Unity… It just plain disgusts me that there could be THIS MANY divisions in the churches of Christ…Good heavens men !! What's up with all the condemnation? The church of Christ salt has lost its flavor…If I had any reason to believe that adding a IM to an existing or other worship service would open up a new avenue to encourage the non-believing public to come learn about Jesus….or if I new for a fact that the next generation of my people were leaving my faith heritage….I think I'd try and do something about it… OK. so you've tried condemning people to hell ….how's that working for you? Not very well. Will you stay the course and continue into total irrelevance? That's where you're headed.. Malachi said unless the father's turn their hearts toward the children that He would come and curse the people… Maybe it's time to look at see what kind of fruit your message of "YOU'RE GOING TO HELL" is producing..Actually all you have to do is read…the unbelieving public is being taught by those damned to hell denominations because people prefer going there…and your own kids are leaving by the droves…. I guess they're going to hell too… And all of those other churches of Christ with their sinful multi-cups and kitchens…Oh, they're gonna burn !!

      It looks like to me that personal preferences are driving more people to hell than they're saving… now that's one nasty tasting fruit !! And that fruit smells just as bad up on your mountain top as it does in the sewer…

    92. Jay Guin says:

      Randall and Alexander,

      I've been a part of a church that routinely sang the Hallelujah Chorus in its assemblies — and sang it very well.

    93. Randall says:

      Jay,
      If a person doesn't like the music, or supporting the orphanage or the whatever it is they are unhappy with and they leave – that may be a good thing. The person who leaves and goes somewhere else is happier with their new congregation (until they discover something there they don't like) and the congregation that they left is also happier, or at least more harmonious. I realize that may sound a little flip or uncaring, but I don't intend it that way. It is simply the way things are. With so many congregations around there is no need that a person remain at one and demand their own way about secondary issues. Worse, when they remain they sometimes try to stir discord while they remain there.
      Hesed,
      Randall

    94. Price says:

      Jay….did you see this over Christmas… Hallelujah Chorus at Macy's…look at the faces on these people !! Sinful isn't the word that immediately comes to mind… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wp_RHnQ-jgU

    95. Randall says:

      Guy,
      Above you suggested that for some in the CofC the issue of IM may be just as significant as endorsing homosexuality and then went on to say "because of that you are ascribing ill-will to them that they don't necessarily have. *That's* un-Christ-like if anything is."

      The real issue here is the view that has been held by many in the CofC that all doctrine is "flat," that is, that all doctrine is of equal importance. Regrettably, this perspective has been endorsed by many influential men in the CofC in years gone by. And as you already know it leads to problems regarding the visible unity of the body.

      The focus on relatively minor theological issues, while tolerating heterodoxy on major theological issues (the Trinity, the dual nature of Jesus, sinful nature of man, God's grace) is what led to the the criticism that the CofC has "majored in the minors and minored in the majors." To the extent that a person continues to pass this argument off as valid they may continue to contribute to the problem. FWIW
      Hesed,
      Randall

    96. Price says:

      Guy…really…do you expect your Eldership to proclaim fornication no longer a sin ? I Timothy 5:19-20 is how we are instructed to handle an errant Elder…but that's not really your point is it…you just want to defend a person's right to walk out over any issue which the leadership doesn't agree with them on… Isn't that what your argument boils down to ?

      I'm not sure I totally disagree…If one considers the church a much larger body than the four corners of one building and a family decides to move to a different 4 corners…have they left the church? If they move from under one group's authority to another group's authority, have they rejected authority ? If one has a very poor and mis-managed youth program and a family wants to make sure that they involve their children in something that they wish to participate in and find educational and supportive…is it wrong to go to a different church that has that ? What if one has a deep desire to sing in a choir? Can't do that much at our beloved CoC…What if the issue over the cups and all that is just too unbearable to put up with…Jay, I'm not sure that moving to a different part of the "church" is the same as "leaving" the church…

      According to C.S. Lewis it's just moving down the hall to a different room in the same building…

    97. guy says:

      Price,

      You wrote:
      "Guy…really…do you expect your Eldership to proclaim fornication no longer a sin?"

      Have you been following what the Episcopals and Lutherans have been going through in the last few years?

      –guy

    98. guy says:

      Randall,

      i believe i'm on board with all of this–well said.

      Even if you and i are both right about this criticism of traditional CoC-ism, that does not in any way, so far as i can see, permit us to assign to them bad hearts or motives even in their promulgation of a bad doctrine.

      Here's some bottom lines for me.

      i think traditional conservative CoC's are mistaken about quite a bit.
      i think progressive CoC's are mistaken about quite a bit.

      But the fact is, so far as i can tell, both sets of people are my family. Thus, i'm obligated to them. i'm obligated to love them.

      i believe love gives the benefit of the doubt, sympathizes, listens, is patient and long-suffering, tries to believe the best, is welcoming, and more.

      If i (or anyone) decides to say, "those conservatives are all just being selfish or stubborn," best as i can tell, that is a failure to love my family.

      If i (or anyone) decides to say, "those progressives are all just being irreverent or rebellious," best as i can tell, that is a failure to love my family.

      And i don't see how either sentiment will promote unity among the family. So why say it? Who did it honor? What purpose did it serve? Who did it edify? We're not nearly as hesitant as we should be to speak ill of each other (James 4:10f).

      –guy

    99. Price says:

      Guy…yes I have… I wasn't thinking about another entirely different High Church denomination..nor was I thinking that was the point of this discussion…I was thinking that the general line of thought was focused on the CoC…but perhaps I was mistaken..

      Yes, of course I would in that instance, after making the appropriate overtures as instructed in the scripture, leave without hesitation based on sound scriptural teaching…IMHO…It would still not be just a preference of mine but rather a cyrstal clear teaching of the Bible… In this instance entire churches are leaving that particular sect and they will in the end profit from their fruit. As for me personally, I could not pray to Jesus' mother either…not allow any man to serve as my "go-between" with me and God…but that is quite a different thing than a preference for worship 'style'…isn't it… Can one really argue that a piano is as sinful as an openly gay person preaching that it's OK to be gay from behind the lectern ?? Hard to imagine…

      But, then again, it's hard for me to see how my faith heritage could have allowed itself to go from a "Restoration" movement to one that in the end is perhaps the most splintered of the religious groups.. Obviously, there is a serious lack of teaching and where every man's opinion counts as much as the other, whether informed or not…Clearly, it isn't working… I guess we can compare the fruit of Richland Hills with others and make some broad assessment as to whether or not Jesus is honored..it appears there is much good coming from what they did…They did find a way to accomodate differing points of view without dividing the whole church into a bitter dispute…but in regard to IM I still believe it is a matter of the heart, congregational mission and personal freedom to choose…I trust people will choose wisely for their communities and local church…

      I am not quite convinced that moving is wrong if one moves under the authority of another group of leaders… That seems to be more restrictive than I would argue for..at the moment..given my preferred definition of "The Church." Perhaps we'll get some more teaching on that particular topic on another post.

    100. guy says:

      Price,

      You wrote:
      "not allow any man to serve as my "go-between" with me and God…but that is quite a different thing than a preference for worship 'style'…isn't it… Can one really argue that a piano is as sinful as an openly gay person preaching that it's OK to be gay from behind the lectern ?? Hard to imagine"

      It may be hard to imagine for you that someone could see those things as equally bad. But people who adhere to the "flat" doctrine Randall mentioned may be equally puzzled at how you and i don't see them as nearly the same.

      Thus, when they decide that the right thing to do is to leave over IM, they could be acting with all the very same noble intentions and attitudes that you or i would when we would leave over something like Mariolotry or homosexuality. And because of that possibility, i don't believe it is right for me or anyone to defame their hearts or attitudes or characters blanketly.

      –guy

    101. Theophilus Dr says:

      Comments on Attitudes and Splits

      Guy, your list of "bottom lines" is very good, as is your admonition to think the best of one another rather than make "uncharitable judgments." A number of comments have associated "splits" with someone leaving because of a doctrinal position (as opposed to the color of the new carpeting, which has been a focus for division, also) held by the leadership (aka eldership in most CoC's).

      I tend to define a "split" a little differentially, having gone through multiples of them in CoC congregations. Some congregations have major splits; some split at somewhat regular intervals because they continue to recycle the same problems; some congregations have small groups who leave (a split-lette); and some just "spew," meaning there is a regular outward flow of individuals or families. I have seen them all; some churches have more than one.

      To me, a "split" occurs when the number of members (often 30-40% of the congregation) who leave is large enough to substantially impact attendance, Bible school teachers & other volunteers, and the contribution, including missions – who can continue to be supported. Often splits occur at a certain generational age range (10-15 year spread) because the people have common issues (youth of same age range; all deacons, etc.). Sometimes, a split can be so devastating that neither group survives.

      Some observations based on three splits and two split-lettes that I have personal knowledge of over the last 50+ years. Four of five of these directly involved a minister; all five involved leadership decisions and involved splits in leadership. Three of five involved splits in the eldership; two of five involved elders vs either deacons as appointed or a group of people of that age and activity category (deaconoids). Of the three major splits, with the worst consequential results, all three started in the eldership. In one case, the eldership was divided about 70/30 and in the other two cases about 60/40. Each eventual congregational membership split was to the exact same proportion. In one case, a very strong "missional" congregation was destroyed into two smaller groups, and one barely survived. The church in that city has never been the same and that was 50 years ago. In two cases a group started another congregation in the area.

      A characteristic common to all the five instances is that control and pride are the basic issue, even though the face of the issue may be the minister or may be a point of doctrine. Common to these instances are phone calls, selective meetings, complaining, slander, gossip, uncharitable judgments, chaos, and idolatry expressed as people are trying to recruit other congregational members to be angry and also leave. In three of the major splits that started in the eldership, some of the "minority opinion" elders were among the active recruiters and/or promoters of discord and spreaders of rumors. Another characteristic is that many members who were of the same congregation before the split have difficulty fellowshipping members of the other group after the split and sometimes will not do it – even to splits between friends and family. Clearly the characteristics of the enemy at work.

      I wish that what I have experienced are unrepresentative bad examples. All of these congregations have been "strong churches" by measurable standards. I have enough "insider information "about happenings in other congregations to know that the above descriptions are representative of most (almost all?) splits in the CoC and probably in Christian churches and others with autonomous governance. Satan eats our lunch while we argue over whether or not a fork is an instrument.

      Can you imagine what the church could do if these works of the flesh could be prevented from taking control? That is why I do not believe that IM or CCM is the big issue. This issue is worldly acting, idol carrying, fleshly controlled people in the church, which as some point could be anyone, including any of us. If anyone thinks they are too spiritual to used by the enemy, they had better take the course "Get Real 101." IM or CCM may be the focus on some occasions, but if IM were removed from the scene, worldly acting people will focus on something else for division if IM isn't there.

      IMHO, that is a big reason why the church today is in big trouble and why it continues to have at best a compromised relevancy to the mission of Christ.

    102. Jay Guin says:

      All,

      I wrote,

      "Just so, if you leave a congregation — and take 100 with you — over IM, YOU split the church, not the elders, and the condemnation of 1 Cor 3 is yours, and not theirs."

      Leaving a church and splitting a church are two different things.

      Case 1: I disagree with the doctrinal positions of my congregation, I meet with the leadership and express my disagreement, no changes are made, and I quietly leave.

      I don't see this as a division violating 1 Cor 3:16-17. Indeed, very few people would refer to this as a "split."

      Case 2: I disagree with the doctrinal positions of my congregation, I meet with the leadership and express my disagreement, no changes are made, and I persuade as many as families as possible to threaten to leave if changes don't occur. Changes don't occur, and so we all leave and found a new congregation.

      This is a classic split. The usual approach is to justify the departure or not based on whether you agree with the position of those leaving or not. In other words, in the minds of those splitting the church, if they think they are right on doctrine, we typically say they should think themselves right to leave.

      And on this approach, EVERYONE splitting a church considers himself justified because he thinks his doctrinal views are right. If we justify any split by those who think themselves right, then we've justified all splits.

      Well, that's hardly a satisfactory rule. Indeed, such a rule would never prevent a single split at all.

      I agree with Dr T that most splits involve personality conflicts, struggles for power, etc. They do, and while not all involve doctrinal disagreements, most around here do. Sometimes the doctrinal dispute is a cover for a desire for power by some leaders, but most involved in the split actually think they're leaving over principle.

      And often the doctrinal disagreement leads to personality issues, because those who are unhappy with the status quo feel they have to play power politics to "win."

      Here's what I think is a better approach:

      * There are very few doctrinal disagreements that justify a split. Those would be doctrines that violate faith in Jesus, that is, that deny that Jesus is the Son of God, that deny our hope in the resurrection, or that deny our obligation to honor Jesus as Lord (or that justify rebellion against the authority of Jesus and his apostles). (More on "hope" later.)

      Of course, in the Churches of Christ, the controversy will nearly always be over whether a congregation is honoring the Lordship of Jesus or rebelling against his Lordship.

      There are two possible approaches —

      * ANY error denies Jesus as Lord. This is, of course, completely unworkable and contrary to Rom 14.

      * Most errors do not deny Jesus as Lord. Romans 14 commands us to get along and stay united although we disagree about "disputable matters."

      The fact that we are disputing about the truth of doctrine X proves it's disputable — if we both remain Christians despite our disagreement, that is, if neither of us is in rebellion against God (as a matter of the heart), if we continue in our faith in Jesus, and if we continue in the hope of the resurrection. (More on "hope" later.)

      That seems incredibly broad, I'm sure, but I figure if we should consider each other saved, we should remain in fellowship if at all possible.

      Now, implicit in what I've said is grace — and a church immersed in the grace of God can disagree about quite a lot and do very well as a faith community. I know.

      The harder case is a graceless church. You see, to my way of thinking, a far greater sin than error in worship is error regarding the scope of grace. Indeed, the Galatian heresy is adding conditions to salvation beyond faith in Jesus. You see, when we start piling conditions on top of faith, we destroy hope. Indeed, many members of the Churches of Christ are among those with the least hope — feeling incapable of ever knowing or doing enough to be saved.

      Since the Galatian heresy is a false gospel, it can't be tolerated. The best solution is, of course, teaching, but sometimes the elders are so entrenched in their heresy that they won't allow better teaching. In such a case, it's time to leave.

      It doesn't matter whether you agree with the elders on how to worship and how many children an elder may have — they aren't teaching the true gospel. If they won't give the gospel a hearing, you have to go.

      Finally, there may be cases where despite a solid grasp of grace a church takes on practices I can't participate in in good conscience. A grace-filled church might adopt a style of worship that violates my conscience.

      In that case, I may have to leave, but if so, we part as brothers who love and respect each other despite our disagreements. I don't get mad, I don't gather a group of supporters, and I don't play politics.

      Then again, neither do I slip away silently. I think that if I choose to leave because of a disagreement, I should meet with the elders before leaving and explain my concerns. This is not to set the elders up for condemnation but to be certain the elders are aware of my concerns. Love can do no less.

      If I love my elders and my church, I'll meet with the elders to explain my concerns — even if I'm certain no change will come from it. And it's just possible that the elders will persuade me of the merits of their thinking. Sometimes the elders are right, you know. It happens.

    103. Theophilus Dr says:

      "Amen" to Jay's comments. One of the ways the church must differ from the world is how we handle conflict. Jesus said conflict will happen as long as we are in the world. But Jesus left us His peace, not that of the world, so that we do not have to be OF the world. Do we make that distinction in our practices in the church, or do we act in a way indistinguishable from that of the world?

      I used to think that peace was the absence of conflict. But how can that be if Jesus said we would have conflict? The peace that Jesus left is not the absence of conflict, it is the presence of God within conflict.

      "And now I will show you the most excellent way." 1 Cor 13:1. Peace, love, and unity (one) are the character of God. These three are attributes of God's righteousness and holiness, expressed in terms of relationships, modeled for us in the flesh by Jesus Christ. God is love, the Father and I are one, My peace I leave with you; the Prince of Peace. May the God of peace be with you, have love one for another, I pray that they may be one.

      For us, these three attributes are verbs – actions. We do love; we do peace; we do unity — all by actions of love, peace and unity, toward one another. As we do love, peace and unity toward one another, we become more into the character of God, for which we were created (Eph 4:24). These attributes are different in our definition of behavior, but they are inseparable, because they are God.

      We cannot show the love of God without peace or unity. We cannot be one without love or peace. We cannot live in the peace of God without unity and love. Paul links them together in Eph 4.

      I believe it is the responsibility of the eldership to model for the congregation what a relationship of peace, love, and unity looks like. If the eldership does this after the example of Christ, then the eldership has the spiritual authority to hold the congregation to the same standard. If the eldership doesn't do this, what authority or credibility do they have except an earthly office?

      That is the basis on which elders should be appointed. That is why the "qualifications" are given. Which aren't "qualifications" per se, and if we treat them as such within the limits of our interpretation, we will get people as elders who may seem to have good qualities, but from a human perspective. It isn't a "bottom up" process – use the "qualifications" like a filter. It is a "top down" process – understand the role of an eldership and then know what these passages in 1 Tim and Titus mean and how they apply to a selection of an individual.

      People who say that the NT doesn't address what elders and an eldership is supposed to do in the church, and therefore we can make up our own model, need to go back to their NT. The alternative would seem to be to model our church governance like corporate America.

      This problem strikes at the core of church leadership, and this problem and its consequences are larger than any problem of IM. This is one reason why the church seems adrift and looking to the world for answers. IMHO.

    104. Randall says:

      Guy,
      As background, you should know that I no longer attend a CofC. The CofC is my church heritage but I consider the CofC to be my dysfunctional "family." I know them quite well and love them, but I dare not spend too much time with them. I frequent this site from time to time, and occasionally make a few comments. Then I depart for a while to return to more sane discussion with others – under strict orders from my spouse.

      The notion that some have a poorly informed and distorted concept of what is theologically significant and what is not is no justification of their thinking, nor of their actions. Because they are family and we love love them does NOT entitle them to remain ignorant of what is and is not important, nor to be arrogant in their demands that others treat them as more special than others in their relatively petty idiosyncratic beliefs.

      Yeah, I still love them, but they really oughta grow up and act like adults!
      Hesed,
      Randall

    105. aBasnar says:

      I do agree, Rancdall – and furthermore: Back then the society was still "theocentric", and most arts were used to glorify God, which is reflected in the styles as well.

      The problem is that our society is no longer God-centered, but men- and pleasure-centered. The arts today in general are used to express this new world view, and certain styles were developed to be purposely immoral and anti-Christian.

      This is the great shift that took place in the last century, and – as I said – the church was used for about 1500 years to conform (!) to the world, because the word was forced (!) to conform to Christian standards. Today the church still conforms to the world, although the world no longer follows Christian standards.

      I fear there is only a fraction among the teachers in Christ's Church who realize this and act and teach accordingly.

      Alexander

    106. aBasnar says:

      Yes that might be working. But in general Handels Messiah is not for general singing but for listening.

      Alexander

    107. guy says:

      Randall,

      You wrote:
      "Because they are family and we love love them does NOT entitle them to remain ignorant of what is and is not important, nor to be arrogant in their demands that others treat them as more special than others in their relatively petty idiosyncratic beliefs."

      Absolutely. Nor does it entitle us to sin against them with our words. Someone else's sin doesn't make it permissible for me to sin.

      Nor does it entitle us to judge and assume that all people who have idiosyncratic beliefs hold such only because of bad attitudes or motives.

      –guy

    108. guy says:

      Jay,

      i think this all sounds very good to me.

      But i think there's a third case that's worthy of consideration. i guess technically it fits into your case 1, but has distinctions worth noting.

      Case 1a: i have a disagreement and meet with the elders and it is unresolved for me and i leave, but as it turns out, many other individuals in the congregation went through the same process over the same issue. This is distinct from case 2 in that i did not make any concerted effort whatsoever to gather supporters or start a faction or any such thing. All those people were going to do the same as me whether i ever spoke to them or not. What is the proper analysis of this case?

      Case 1b: Take case 1a, and add something further, after all the people who individually decided to leave found out about each other, then they band together and form another congregation. Still seems to me that such a case is distinct in the relevant way from case 2.

      i don't doubt for a second that tons of examples could be cited of real splits involving real bad hearts and attitudes. i concede that whole-heartedly. What i find simply not good to say is blanket judgments about all such events and all such people. i don't feel anymore conscientious about such statements as i would about saying "All women think such and such" or "All black people behave this way." Those kind of statements will always reveal more about my heart than about the class of people they reference, and what it reveals will likely not be good. And more to the point, such statements are hardly conducive to unity or reconciliation.

      When i was in preaching school, some guys there would regularly make fun of "liberals"–laugh about their positions or ways of thinking. It really bothered me. Would you make fun of your mother or brother that way? i wouldn't. Or if i did, i certainly wouldn't feel very good about myself for having done it. Especially if my mother and i or brother and i had had a falling out.

      Since i've left preaching school and been involved with my current congregation that has both conservatives and progressives among our membership, i hear the same kind of joking but being done by people my own age against conservatives–mocking their positions or ways of thinking. Would they ever insult their grandparents that way? Would they mock their uncle or father that way? May be. Maybe i would–but i can't imagine trying to justify that it's the Christ-like thing to do given the relevant circumstances.

      i think James 4:10f should move us to be far far more afraid of speaking ill of each other than we tend to be. In my estimation, even in the church, we speak as though we have a right to free speech. i wonder where we got that very unbiblical notion.

      –guy

    109. Nancy says:

      Uh wait…are we not suppose to listen to others praising our Lord either? How do we accomplish that? Ear plugs?

    110. Jay Guin says:

      Guy,

      The doctrine that makes unity possible is grace. Without a rich, healthy doctrine of grace, unity is impossible.

      In the typical Case 1a or b, the reason people want to leave is because the church doesn't live the gospel of grace. I don't know of a single instance of a church filled with the gospel of grace where people also filled with the gospel of grace wanted to leave en masse.

      I know of cases where members rejected the grace taught by their leaders and so left. I know of cases where leaders rejected the grace their members were begging for, and so the members left. I know of no case where both leaders and ember were rich in grace and a split occurred — not in the Churches of Christ.

      There are cases among other denominations where the leaders have rebelled against apostolic authority, while relying on grace to permit sin, and members have left such churches en masse. But using grace to excuse license is just as much a false gospel as adding legalistic requirements to the gospel.

      The cure for splits, therefore, is not conflict resolution or respect for the elders' authority, but the gospel of grace — the gospel that teaches us to grow in Jesus while extending grace to those who aren't just like us but who are also growing in Jesus. Nothing else will work.

      Once we've found the gospel of grace, we can work things out – through conflict resolution processes, through respect for the authority of God's leaders, etc. Conflict will still arise, but people taught to love by the gospel can find a way to get along.

      That doesn't mean there will never be a reason to leave such a congregation, but such departures will be among beloved brothers who respect each other — not bitter, caustic splits.

    111. aBasnar says:

      The doctrine that makes unity possible is grace. Without a rich, healthy doctrine of grace, unity is impossible.

      What's the role of order and submission then?

    112. Jay Guin says:

      aBasnar/Alexander,

      Unity starts with grace, as explained by Paul in Romans 14-15. That hardly contradicts the importance of submission to Godly leaders. But to impose submission outside of grace is to create an authoritarian structure, even a cult.

      You see, it's grace that allows leaders to be servants —

      (Mat 20:25-28 NIV) 25 Jesus called them together and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

      Why would someone follow a servant or a slave? Only because they've been taught that submission is not about the exercise of power by a leader but the honoring of gifts given by God by those who follow.

      You see, it's not the structure that gives authority but God who gives gifts of leadership — which Spirit-enabled followers see and so follow.

      And when leadership is from God, it's easy to follow, because God-given leadership will be gracious leadership.

    113. Theophilus Dr says:

      Yes. We can work toward unity in the Spirit because there is one Spirit and because there is one Lord. He is Lord because God's grace was extended out of His love to us through Christ. We submit to leaders as they, themselves, submit to one Lord, Jesus Christ. All this is according to the order that God set up in the church. "Order" is the same as "peace" and is the opposite of chaos.

      Love, unity, and peace are the character of God, modeled as relationships between Jesus and the Father. We are to exercise these relationships on one another so that we can, together as the body, grow up into Christ.

      An eldership is to model these relationships for the congregation to emulate. That submission to Jesus as Lord is the source of their authority.

    114. Bruce Morton says:

      Jay:
      Was interesting to read "You see, it's not the structure that gives authority but God who gives gifts of leadership — which Spirit-enabled followers see and so follow." Hmmm. That is a careful, inviting bit of writing. But does not seem to fit what I read as Paul blends together a message of grace AND authority in Ephesians — including a clear structure and content of teaching that he "insists" on (4:17-5:21).

      So, Jay, were the Ephesians that Paul critiques and counsels in Ephesians 4:17-5:21 Spirit-enabled (I suspect they thought they were)? And if so, why does Paul have to speak with the powerful, authoritative imperative he uses? ("and I insist on it!.."). Yes, trouble right there in the river city of Asia….

      Brother, this is what makes your weblog spiritually crumble at times (but not always :-). Your focus and language about grace seems blind to a spiritual siege and the necessity of Godly authority (and structure) — Christ's, apostles', and congregational leaders'. Sometimes you sound a little like McLaren, who has the audacity to suggest that the first-century mystery religions were "partners" in the Gospel (A Generous Orthodoxy)! An astonishing suggestion by him.

      Yes, Jay, I believe in the grace of God and I also believe His grace is being hindered by Satan. And that includes our ignoring apostolic teaching — especially where it gets culturally uncomfortable. Apostolic teaching is an expression of grace AND authority mingled. How about leaving them woven together. Authority always reveals structure. No, the structure is not all-important. But it is not something we can "toss" either. It too is part of authority, just as Paul reveals in Ephesians. Sure does not announce what some want to hear in a postmodern world. But that could be because Geddes is correct when she announces that the taproot of postmodernism is the simple belief that Satan is dead… and we can all do as we wish!

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    115. aBasnar says:

      Well, so far no one reacted to the connection between CCM and the "cult of youth". I see this as one of the roots of evil in this issue. Young people who want their "MTV" push and shove until they get their self-will.

      Godly elders – firmly rooted in scripture (knowing and understanding the importance of typology, church history and the snares of the world and the flesh) will be able to answer and give direction. Yes, in a friendly and loving manner – but straight against the flesh, which WILL hurt.

      I wouldn't stress "grace" where the scripture stresses leadership by Elders (= older ones).

      Jay, there is so much at the stake here!

      Alexander

    116. Jay Guin says:

      So, Bruce, what do you make of —

      (Mat 20:25-28 ESV) 25 But Jesus called them to him and said, "You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. 26 It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, 28 even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many."

      Could it be that part of the way to win the spiritual war is to rid ourselves of worldly, humanistic models of authority and instead shift to a spiritual model? Or could the spiritual war be won using Satan's methods?

      (Eph 4:11-12 ESV) 11 And he gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the shepherds and teachers, 12 to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ,

      A shepherd receives his office by gift from God. His task is that of a servant — to equip others. And his work is respected because the church sees God working through him. If not, he has no business being an elder. Elders who govern based on the power of their office rather than the power of their Spirit-giftedness shouldn't be elders.

    117. Bruce Morton says:

      Jay:
      Certainly, grace is part of the elder office and role. And your focus on servanthood is important. However, in your good focus on servanthood, it seems to me you are missing the very clear words of Paul to the Ephesian elders regarding dealing with a spiritual siege.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    118. guy says:

      Jay,

      i'm been swamped with school.

      What do you think about these two posts from imonk?
      http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/arant-from-a-
      http://www.internetmonk.com/archive/let-me-restat

      Written by either a current or former Lutheran (not sure), but entirely relavant to the
      CoC issues about worship, splits, and loving each other. Do you think the author is way
      off?

      i must say, i think his analysis and defense of the older woman musician is spot on.

      –guy

    119. Price says:

      Guy, interesting comments on the links you posted…I got a good sense of what the gentleman didn't think was good but I didn't see any solutions offered by him.. I was curious…If you were in charge of the worship service for a new church…how would you design it so that no one was left out or offended ?

    120. Jay,

      Jay,

      Me thinks this "if you don't like it, leave it" approach and that this is not divisive so long as you don't cause a split or recruit others to follow you is just a red herring. This is in fact a divisive approch to take and I believe is condemned in principle of 1 Corinthians 1:10-13.

      BTW Jay, what if 200 or 300 members (out of a congretion of 1500 or 200) feel such way and voice their concerns to the eldership? And they say that the only option that they have, if they are sincerely and in good conscience and faith against instrumental music, is TO LEAVE.

      Is that still not causing division on the part of the eldership who seeks to bring IM into the congregation?

      Some of us "divisive sinners":) who oppose IM and this progressive takeover that is happening in many congregations of our Lord know our restoration history a little bit more than to accept this foolish and dangerous reasoning.

      I always keep going back to the touching example of the powerful scholar J. W. McGarvey and the Broadway Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

      “McGarvey had assisted in the founding of the congregation in 1870, but in 1902 he had to move to another congregation because, in spite of all of his teaching and protests, the church voted in the organ. This great Bible scholar saw it as both unscriptural and divisive, and as a cause for withdrawing fellowship. He stated, “The party which forces an organ into the church against the conscientious protest of a minority is disorderly and schismatical, not only because it stirs up strife, but because it is for the sake of a sinful innovation upon the divinely authorized worship and the church; and, inasmuch as the
      persons thus acting are disorderly and schismatic, it is the duty of all good
      people to withdraw from them until they repent.” (J. W. McGarvey, Apostolic Times, 1881, pp.4,10, Kurfees p. 236).

      Now, I know, I know, my progressive friends quickly run to the argument of “Well, brother McGarvey never made IM a test of fellowship with those who used it,” consider this.

      There is a statement attributed to McGarvey, which if is accurate and truth, then it indicates that he felt that he had made a mistake in his approach to fellowship and the use of the instrument in worship. That he came to see the inconsistency of his course.

      Jesse Sewell, former president of Abilene Christian University (1912-1924) said the following about a conversation he had shortly become McGarvey’s passing:

      Brother McGarvey said to me: “Brother Sewell, I want to say something to you,
      if you’ll accept it in the spirit in which I mean it.” I told him I’d appreciate anything he had to say to me. He said about these words, “You are on the right road, and whatever you do, don’t ever let anybody persuade you that you can successfully combat error by fellowshipping it and going along with it. I have tried. I believed at the start that it was the only way to do it. I’ve never held membership in a congregation that uses instrumental music. I have, however, accepted invitations to preach without distinction between churches that used it and churches that didn’t. I’ve gone along with their papers and magazines and things of that sort. During all these years I have taught the truth as the New Testament teaches it to every young preacher who has passed through the College of the Bible. Yet, I do not know of more than six of those men who are preaching the truth today.” He said, “It won’t work.”

      Sewell then concluded,

      “That experience has been an inspiration to me all the days of my life since. It has helped me, when I was ever tempted to turn aside and go along with error, to remember the warning of this great old man” (Sewell, Jesse P. Harding College Lectures 1950; Searcy, AR: Harding College Press, 75)

      It seems McGarvey learned the hard way that when a person's teachings and fellowship are in conflict, his influences goes with his fellowship.

      Some of us in churches of Christ still thankful agree with what McGarvey taught:

      "It is manifest that we cannot adopt the practice without abandoning the obvious and only ground On Which a restoration of Primitive Christianity can be accomplished, or on which the plea for it can be maintained. Such is my profound conviction, and consequently, the question with me is not one concerning the choice or rejection of an expedient, but the maintenance or abandonment of a fundamental and necessary principle." (J. W. McGarvey, Apostolic Timer 1881, and What Shall We Do About the Organ? p. 4, 10)

      Many of us in churches of Christ will not as a matter of faith, teach, practice or give open ended fellowship with that which is not written. (Rom. 10:17; 16:17-18)

      Sincerely,
      Robert Prater

    121. Randall says:

      Robert,
      I'll try to be brief as I don't wish to get into a protracted discussion. I trust your sources regarding McGarvey, but they are not the only sources nor are these the only things McGarvery said about IM. In Leroy Garrett's history of the Stone- Campbell movement he states that McGarvey did believe the "instrument in worship was sin and not merely an expedient, but he not want it to be an occasion of division and was unwilling to make it a test of fellowship. He would not hold membership in an instrumental church if he could avoid it, nor would he serve as a pastor … [there] but he would never sever fellowship and he continued to visit and preach among instrumental churches until his death, insisting that they not silence the instrument in deference to him." He was chided by anti IM editors in Nashville for his position. Garrett goes on to say that McGarvey was adamantly opposed to IM in the earlier years of the controversy but said little about it afteryears, leading some to suppose he no longer opposed it, which was not the case. Garrett describes McGarvey as the movement's champion anti instrument man.

      McGarvey ministered off and on for 19 years at Bethlehem church near Lexington so the members had plenty of time to hear and understand his arguments against IM. They nonetheless decided to use an instrument. Garrett adds "it is not not likely that they had a different attitude toward the Bible than he, but simply that they did not agree with his conclusion."

      McGarvey also was opposed to a plurality of cups for the Communion and he strongly favored the missionary society. Robert, I am guessing you don't have any interest in arguing along with McGarvey on those issues.

      There is much more about McGarvey in Garrett's history that I am sure you find interesting. Of particular interest might be his discussion with A.S. Hayden over whether IM in the OT was commanded or used as an expedient. McGarvey claimed it was commanded and Hayden claimed it was only used as an expedient as Moses never commanded it but David introduced it. Hayden pressed McGarvey for proof that God ever required instruments and McGarvey failed to provide the text. Hayden's point was that instruments have "never been a matter of legislation but of propriety, so their presence in the Old Testament and their absence in the New Testament proves nothing."

      It is easy enough to support one's case if we get to cherry pick our quotes. It can be more difficult if we present a wider picture.

      Y'all realize this controversy has been going on for 150 years? Is it worth it? Is it glorifying to God and edifying to man?
      Hesed,
      Randall

      P.S. Nearly all the text above is quoted from Garrett's book. What isn't a direct quote is very close to it.

    122. Todd says:

      Yeah right. So long as we're not talking about unwritten buildings, ministers, hymnals, song leaders, pitch pipes, carpeting, pews, the Lord's Supper without a love feast, a rigid assembly without mutual sharing (1 Cor. 14:26ff), multiple communion cups and a handful of other things that we have magically decided God didn't mean to condemn when He didn't approve them. Whatever.

    123. Price says:

      Mr. Prater… Are we to understand that you believe that the Elders and leadership of the Richland Hills church should have refused to lead the church in the direction that they felt that God was calling them to lead it in because a significant minority of the membership disagreed with their prayerful conclusion???? Not that IM was forced upon those that disagreed as there were other serivces that were totally a capella… Does the congregation get to vote on EVERY item that the Elders decide is appropriate and insist that there be 100% agreement ?? Wouldn't that put the congregation in charge of the church instead of the Elders? Have you ever known a church to always be in 100% agreement on every disputable issue ? I just can't find any scriptural authorization for the church congregation to be in willful rebellion to the leadership of the church…perhaps you could show me…

      I read your last paragraph and quite honestly it made me sad.. The division that the personal opinions of a few have caused over the last 100 years of the church is remarkable… The things that the CoC has divided over would be laughable except for the emotional pain it has caused… I'm sure Satan is tickled pink every time one brother refuses to fellowship with another brother over a plastic communion cup or a bathroom or a piano…

    124. Jay Guin says:

      Thanks for the links, Guy. I'll post something in a day or two on those links. Most interesting …

    125. Bruce Morton says:

      Todd:
      I have a friend who grew up Lutheran and offered her candid assessment of the impact of IM on an assembly. I asked her if IM encouraged congregational song. Her response? No, never; it encourages listening.

      I got the same response from two young Baptist friends of mine. They commented how different congregational song was from what they were used to hearing/doing — and they liked.

      Do you believe their experiences represent the exception versus what is common?

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    126. Bruce Morton says:

      Price, Jay, et.al.:
      I have noticed in all of this IM matter discussion, we keep focusing on the real issue of division… and urge that folks not cause division when a congregation's leadership decides that IM is fine.

      Interestingly, isn't selfless, unifying action part of Paul's focus on congregational song?

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    127. guy says:

      Price,

      Sorry i am uber short on time for about the next two weeks at least.

      i don't think it's as simple as just reshuffling a worship service. The author points out that a web of at least three concepts have been re-defined (worship, church, and pastor/pastoral ministry). Worship services being inclusive is only a fraction of the problem. All three need repaired in concert.

      –guy

    128. Todd says:

      I have only been at an IM congregation for a year and a half so I can only tell of what I have noticed. Overall the congregation I am currently with sings about the same as the ones I have served with before with one difference – the volume of the instrumentation. When the piano is banging at full volume folks get overwhelmed. When we use only an acoustic guitar they join in with a will. So, so far, no difference with the simple addition of the instrument, big difference if the instrument player decides they are the focus. (But truthfully…and you already know what I am about to say…that difference is also found in a non-IM setting where a handful of singers decide they're at the opera instead of in Church.)

    129. Todd says:

      On the pro-IM side: My G-grandmother used to lead singing at the local CoC in Dongola. The only problem was she didn't know it. She was mostly deaf and totally atonal so once she found out which song was being sung she jumped in with a will – every verse – and the song leader and congregation did their best to keep up. Now if that little church had owned a huge air driven organ with 200 pipes they could have drowned her out and sung those songs properly. Or not…

    130. Guestfortruth says:

      Price,

      DOES WHAT WE BELIEVE MAKE ANY DIFFERENCE?
      There are many different things that people believe in religion. There are different kinds of churches teaching different doctrines, and practicing many different things. All of these conflicting views are not taught in the Bible. The message of the gospel is recorded in the scriptures, and it has never changed. But what about all of the other views taught in the world today? Can we believe something different from what the scriptures teach and still be right with God? Does it make a difference what we believe in spiritual matters?
      What we believe, one way or the other, certainly doesn't change the truth. Believing something doesn't make it so, and not believing a thing does not make it false. Right and wrong are determined by God's word. Whether or not you believe the truth does no change what God has said. So in that sense, it doesn't make any difference what we believe, because we will still be judged by God's word. Whether we believe it or not does not change God's standard of judgment (Jno. 12:48).
      If you were to believe that 2+2=7, it wouldn't change the truth that 2+2=4. Believing that 2+2=7 will not make it so. Believing a thing to be true doesn't make it true. The answer to 2+2 will always be 4 no matter what someone might believe about it.
      Believing a thing to be false doesn't make it false. Once it was considered false to believe that the earth is round. Also, it was thought to be false to believe that the earth revolved around the sun. The common belief was that the earth was flat and that the sun revolved around the earth. However, that didn't change the truth.
      It does make a difference what we believe in reference to our being saved or being lost. God saves through faith in the gospel and those who do not believe the gospel will be condemned (Mk. 16:15-16). Notice some things that would be true if it makes no difference what you believe in religion.
      If it makes no difference what you believe:
      1. Believing there is no God would be as good as believing in God.
      "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.(Heb. 11 :6).
      2. Believing in error would be as good as believing in the truth.
      "—if ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. " (Jno. 8:31-32)
      3. Believing a lie in religion would be as good as believing the truth.
      “And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. " ( 2 Thess. 2: 11-12)
      4. Believing a false teacher would be as good as believing a true teacher.
      "Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world." (1 Jno. 4:1)
      5. Believing in someone else would be as good as believing in Christ.
      "—if ye believe not that I am he, ye shall die in your sins. " (Jno. 8:24)
      6. Believing "'in any book would be as good as believing in the Bible;
      "Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. "(Jno. 17: 17)
      "All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works. " (2 Tim. 3:16-17)
      7. Believing in many gods would be as good as believing in one God.
      "—we know that an idol is nothing in the world, and that there is none other God but one." (1 Cor.8:4)
      8. Believing in any other gospel would be as good as believing the gospel of Christ.
      "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed." (Gal. 1 :8)
      "And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned." (Mk. 16:15-16)
      9. Believing the doctrine of men would be as good as believing the doctrine of Christ.
      "But in vain do they worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men. " (Matt. 15:9)
      "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. if there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him Godspeed: for he that bideth him Godspeed is partaker of his evil deeds. "(2 John 9-11)
      10. Believing the deceptions of the Devil would be as good as believing the simple truth of Christ.
      "But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtility, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is. in Christ." (2 Cor. 11:3)
      Religious people who are religiously wrong need to be converted to Christ. Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9) needed to be converted to Christ even though he was a religious man. Cornelius (Acts 10) needed to be converted to Christ even though he was a religious man. It does make a difference what we believe in religion.
      We will all be judged by the word of God regardless of whether or not we have believed it. In order to be ready for the Judgment Day, we need to believe and obey the truth, which has been revealed to us in the scriptures.

    131. Dbnewhouse says:

      Todd

      My blessed mother of 89 does the same thing. It sounds awful, but I love to hear it.

    132. Price,

      Who can argue with Rick Atchley and the eldership of Richland Hills and their decision to introduce IM, I mean, come on, after all, did the Holy Spirit Himself give Rick “a word,” that he would need to preach in favor of IM???

      And we shouldn’t concern ourselves with a confirmation of such assertions, espieally in actually listening to the inspired written words of Holy Spirit pertaining to the kind of music He has commanded us to offer to God? (cf. 1 Cor. 2:10-13; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16)

      But then again, I’ve heard some progressives affirm openly their belief that the miraculous spiritual gifts are for the church today, so maybe the Holy Spirit is still directly speaking to some of them personally:)!

      Seriously what a sad joke for this man to even attempt to justify his beliefs with the old "But God told me so.” We can only wonder how often the Holy Spirit talks to him personally or what He says:).

      My dear friends, this issue always come back to the question of authority. The crux of the matter centers on the questions “What does God, through the Bible, authorize?” and “Is our practice of worshipping God with/without instruments of music that which is authorized by God in the New Testament?”

      The undisputed fact is that instruments of music were not a part of the worship of the New Testament church even though first century Christians new of them and had access to them. The ECF speak of their absence. Surely those who lived so close to the actual time of the apostles would know the practice of the apostles’ and early church’s worship habits and practice.

      If one's aim is to restore the purity of New Testament worship then instruments of music have no place in the worship.

      Moses Lard once wrote, “The question of instrumental music in the church of Christ involves a great and sacred principle … That principle is the right of men to introduce innovations into the prescribed worship of God. This right we utterly deny” (Lard’s Quarterly, Vol. IV, No. 4).

      Now, it’s been pointed out that Richland Hills elders have urged members who disagree about IM to attend the non-IM service. But can one remain at Richland Hills, giving his money to support the work of that church when it practices and teaches what one believes to be error? It seems like they have forced members to choose silence despite their conscientious view of how we should worship God.

      Certainly faithful elders deserve our respect and cooperation as they shepherd and oversee the congregation. They are set to "watch for our souls as they who must give account. . ." (Heb. 13:17). But they are not set over the church as official interpreters of the Word. And they have no arbitrary authority. Christ has all authority (Mt. 28:18). Elders have the charge to rule the church under Christ and in harmony with His Word, just as the wife is told to submit to her husband "as it is fit in the Lord" (Col. 3:18). And when elders demand that the congregation submit to their decisions which is in direct contradiction and violation to God’s Word and which causes division in the congregation, members have no obligation to obey them in such matters. In fact, such elders should be disciplined and rebuked. (cf. 1 Tim. 5:19-20)

      MORE RESTORATION HISTORY (some seem to have forgotten)

      Here’s a couple of more incidents from our restoration history about who in fact, are the “trouble makers” and caused the division.

      The story is told about J. W. Harding, father of James Harding who Harding School is named after, was a preacher and elder at the Court Street Church of Christ in Winchester, KY for twenty years. He helped establish this congregation in 1887. He and fifteen others were driven off by those wanting to bring in the organ. A delegation was sent to Harding with the following ultimatum:

      “We love you, Brother Harding, and you know that we do. But if it must come to a choice between you and the organ, we will have the organ.” (cf. http://johnmarkhicks.wordpress.com/2009/01/19/div

      Yet this seems to expresses the attitude of some even today. When it comes to a choice between what God authorizes in the Scriptures and the organ, many are saying, “We will have the organ.” (excuse me, rock n’ roll band with keyboards, trumpets, drums, and you name it).

      Or what about the tragic story and the infamous phrase “Play On, Miss Bertha!” This tells the story of Add-Ran Christian University at Thorp Spring, Texas and the division and heartbreak that occurred over the introduction of instrumental music in the worship. Of course, those who know restoration history, know this ultimately led to the estaslibment of Texas Christian University (a Disciple of Christ affiliated school) at Ft. Worth, TX and the establimsent of Thorp Spring Christian College.

      Former president of Abilene Christian University Don Morris (1940-69) wrote about the history of “Add-Ran and Its Heirs.” (cf. Don H. Morris, “Add-Ran and Its Heirs,” Restoration Quarterly, 6 (Fall/ Winter 1973): 268)

      Reuel Lemmons called this “one of the greatest historical documents of the church west of the Mississippi.” (Firm Foundation, October 9, 1973) It tells the story of division and heartbreak that occurred over the introduction of instrumental music into the worship.

      Anyway, the story is told about those who were opposed to the introduction of the organ in 1895. When members came to services on a Saturday night to hear W. M. Davis, minister of the First Christian Church in Dallas who was to begin an evangelistic effort, they found the instrument inside waiting to be used. When services were ready to begin, a Miss Bertha Mason took her seat to play.

      A. J. Clark… led a fervent prayer. He followed this by reading a document which he had prepared. The lights proved too dim for his old eyes, so he asked Pleas Taylor to complete the reading.

      It was a petition signed by 230 members of the congregation, asking the instrument not be used. After the reading, Addison merely looked to the organist and said, ‘Play on, Miss Bertha.’

      Around 140 members rose and quietly left the building. (For more about this story and its history see also J. L. Clark, Thank God We Made It! A Family Affair with Education, (Austin: University of Texas Press, 1969)

      Yet, it is so common to hear progressives attack and label us who in good faith and conscience oppose instrumental music in worship as essentially being trouble makers or legalists or causing division over alleged such matters of stated “freedom” or “liberty” This is simply not the case. This is a mischaractiziation and rewriting of our history restoration.

      Why should those who scripturally and conscientiously oppose IM in worship be forced to surrender their convictions and to accept what they cannot in good conscience approve and to go along with what they believe to be unscriptural additions to worship.

      But while we are expected to give up our opposition, there seems to be little demand for the other side even to examine the issue, much less to ask them to give up their instruments for the sake of unity

      Ben Franklin wrote “We can remain on safe ground, the common ground and the ground on which we have stood in peace and war – on what is written” (Ben Franklin, ACR, May 24, 1870, page 164).

      To me this assertion that we who oppose IM are causing all the division and splits reminds me of the story in the life of the prophet Elijah as of course he had many confrontations with King Ahab and his wife Jezebel. There was the occasion when Ahab met face to face with Elijah and this is what he said to the prophet of God: “Is that you, O troubler of Israel?”

      Elijah responded: “I have not troubled Israel, but you and your father’s house have, in that you have forsaken the commandments of the Lord and have followed the Baals” (1 Kings 18:17, 18).

      Those of us who continue to speak out against the use of the instrument in the worship assemblies are not the ‘troublers’ in the church today; rather it is those who are advocating its use and dividing the church that are the real ‘troublers’ in “spiritual Israel.” (cf. Gal. 6:16)

      Sincerely,
      Robert Prater

    133. Just a quick brotherhood news note:

      Don Vinzant passed away in OKC today.

      Don was an Associate Minister (former pulpit minister) at Edmond Church of Christ and former full-time faculty member at Oklahoma Christian University. Don is a cousin to Howard Norton (former dean of Bible at OC and currently at Harding University) and along with he and Glover Shipp (former editor of Christian Chronicle) were some missionary pioneers in São Paulo, Brazil in the 1961.

      Several who comment on this site know about their work. I was blessed to be able to go to Brazil on a mission trip while at Harding years ago with Glover Shipp and learned much about their work mission work. (Rex Butts who comments here frequently and whom he and I went to school together at Harding School of Biblical Studies also went on that mission trip).

      Don was faithful proclaimer of the gospel who never softened on the truth of the gospel. He was always concerned for what was right and yet did so with a gentle spirit and communicated with kindness and love for Christ. I’m thankful I was able to sit at his feet and learn some at OC and wish to be more like him in spirit.

      Funeral – Saturday 3:00pm
      Edmond Church of Christ in OKC

      (cf. http://brotherhoodnews.com/2011/03/10/edmond-ok-m

      This afternoon I am remembering a great man of faith and his family who loved the Lord's church and was committed to the spirit of the restoration movement.

      Humbly,
      Robert Prater

    134. Todd says:

      No Robert, for you the question comes back to one of authority. For others of us who reject CENI and the Regulative Principle (as matters of law) it comes down to how best to get the job done.

      The troublers are those they have always been. Those who scour the Bible looking for rules they can construct to bind on others. The funny thing is that Jesus and the Apostles did not say anything about instruments, they did however condemn adding to God's Word.
      Robert that is exactly what you are doing when you declare God's Word contains a law that it clearly does not and then use your self declared law as an excuse to despise your brother. The upholders of this law are the modern Judaizers- forcing the Church into old wineskins of graceless man made law.

    135. Hey Todd,

      Are ill-will and name calling (I’d call “modern Judaizers” a derogatory term ) toward those who cal for “book, chapter and verse” tenets of my progressive, grace-filled brethren? Sometimes the heart of progressive brothers are exposed by their words.

      So, Todd, do you then deny the need to have New Testament authority in matters of faith and practice? Or are you just completely without law?

      Would you not characterize "abiding in the apostles' doctrine" as "law"? (cf. Acts 2:42; Romans 16:17)

      Seems like I read somewhere in the NT where Paul affirms that we do have a law in the New Testament when he says:

      “To the Jews I became like a Jew, to win the Jews. To those under the law I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. 21 To those not having the law I became like one not having the law (though I am not free from God’s law but am under Christ’s law), so as to win those not having the law.” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21 NIV)

      Of course Paul is simply saying he did not offend in customs to the Jews or Gentiles. But, notice that he did say that there is a New Testament law. Not the law of Moses but the law of Christ.

      Paul's statement shows that he is under law to God and this "under law to God" finds its explanation in his being under law to Christ. James refered to God’s word as “the perfect law of liberty.” (James 1:25)

      Those in the Restoration Movement accepted the accepted the view toward Biblical authority as Zwingli, Calvin and others. Their goal was to follow God's commands completely without adding to or taking away from the Scriptures in any area. The result of this view towards Biblical authority caused them to reject the use of instruments.

      I stand on that same ground. You obviously don’t.

      One more thing Todd,

      Rick Atchley, in his infamous “The Both/And Church” sermons he preached attempting to justify Richland Hills adding an instrumental service. When he comes to the very end of his three-part sermon series attempting to try to prove that instrumental music is justified according to the N.T. At the end of his sermon series, he comes to what he calls the “bottom line” of the issue.

      He says:

      “For all the emails I’ve gotten “The authority to forbid instrumental music must be established apart from a clear command of God. You can’t open your Bible and show me where God forbids it. He says, ‘All the emails I got from critics never mentions the verse where God says He forbids or condemns instrumental praise, because it’s not there.”

      (cf. Rick Atchley's three lessons on the "Both/And Church")

      Bottom line, after all his arguments, he comes down to the old, worn out, denominational line and finally admits, “It just says you can’t do it.”

      Don’t know if you know this or not, but Richland Hills has produced a brochure (don't know if Rich Atchley wrote it or not), entitled, "Does Anything Happen at Baptism?" But it is Richland Hills perspective on baptism.

      In that brochure, it explains that infants are not subjects of baptism for many reasons. It then reads:

      "Though these reasons are why we believe infant baptism was begun, there are many who practice infant baptism today simply as a dedicatory rite. We believe this also is WITHOUT BIBLICAL PRECEDENT (emphasis mine-rp) and therefore, we do not practice it."

      There is not one word in the NT of condemnation concerning infant baptism.

      God does not authorize of give His permission by what He does not say. God authorizes, requires, and gives permission by what He says.

      "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name (i.e. authority-rp) of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him." (Col. 3:17NIV)

      Sincerely,

      Robert Prater

    136. Alabama John says:

      I'm curious, does other things I see different among churches of Christ fall under these same verses presented like Col 3:17?
      Things like hand clapping, raising arms, saying amen when you agree on something said whether in a sermon or not.

      Far more that is differed on and cause for far more divisions and splits than instrumental music.

      Verses used and positions taken are the same though.

      Seems sometimes it is better to be one of those that have no law and be a law unto yourselves than to be judged so harshly by having the LAW.

      Wonder if being confused by all these different intelligent points causing confusion among those of us that are pretty simple puts one in the having no law category by not having the mental ability to discern what is correct?

    137. Todd says:

      Robert,

      You trumpet your respect for the law of God and yet you end your note by committing pious fraud. Col.3:17 does not in any way, shape or form mention authority. The idea of authority is totally absent from this passage and has only been added by those trying to enslave the children of God. Col. 3:17 is a command to do everything we do in His honor and for His glory. It is only about authority if you stuff several other verses into the text at this point.

      You hypocrite, you get your feelings hurt because I call you a Judaizer and yet you are free to call me a troubler? So only those with the "right" argument are allowed to cut their opponents and call them names?

      Never in any post I have every made in this site have I denied the fact of NT authority. What I consistently resist is exactly what you did to Col. 3:17. You want something to be so, so you twist and contort the text until you get the decision you want. You need the apostles to condemn the instrument so you squint real hard and focus on a handful of texts and then quote a few scholars from that past century who agree with you. To see that such is wrong all you actually have to do is listen to Jesus or the apostles. I do not reject the authority of Jesus or the apostles. I reject the authority of the modern pharisees who invent new rules to have an excuse to hate their brothers.

      Again and again I have said the same thing. The only law we can bind on each other is that which is plainly set out by the "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots" in the text. Everything else – everything else – is subject to liberty. To decide otherwise and to set up your opinion as a necessary part of the Gospel brings you directly under condemnation by the Apostle Paul. And brother this is not Todd twisting the text to agree with him. This is exactly what Paul writes and what Jesus makes fun of throughout His ministry. (Talk about calling people names…)

      One issue I want you to answer is one that I have never heard anyone of your persuasion actually confront.

      OK – I give up, I am condemned by my use of IM. So tell me o wise one in the ways of the Lord…

      How do you survive condemnation worshiping in a building bought with funds the apostles wanted used for the poor and the ministry when the clear example is that the early church met house to house and in borrowed venues?

      How do you survive condemnation for having an assembly where only three or four men are allowed to speak when the express command of Paul is that "each one" is to bring a song or word or prayer to share?

      Do you expect those who pray publicly to do so with raised hands? If not why do you disobey the direct command given to Timothy?

      Do you greet with the holy kiss? If not by what right do you change the greeting commanded in five different places by two different apostles?

      We must do everything with authority right? Don't argue with me for my sin – explain to me why – from the text – you are not condemned by your decision to ignore the commands of the apostles?

      (Oh and by the way – sometimes people use the same old tired arguments because they are actually the same old right answers to the same old pointless questions.)

    138. Price says:

      Robert, all I can say is that you haven't been reading what I've been reading here on the many posts concerning IM.. You have dug in your heels and there just isn't a scripture that you will pay attention to that points away from your conclusions..And you have to add to what the scripture does NOT say to come up with some sort of random rule that hardly anybody can justify believing in any more. It's pretty obvious my friend… Just because YOU say that the scripture disallows IM just frankly doesn't make it so.. You want us to worship like the first century church on the things you approve then you dismiss as irrelevant those things which you don't wish to abide by. Your reasoning is so hypocritical and inconsistently applied that it has divided your faith heritage into two dozen different sects all of whom call the others false teachers. The Old Church of Christ has become irrelevant..The only question is will it change and survive or become as the other no-name sects that have long sense ceased to exist.

      Perhaps it is because you ARE NOT being lead by the Holy Spirit that you so embittered toward your brothers and sisters in Christ. For you, a third of God died in the first century…Sorry brother but that just ain't so… He's alive and well and working in and among his people like He always has. Yes, I do believe God speaks to us and guides us today as He always has outside of the universal Law. He spoke and guided His people well after the Law was given through Moses. Why would He stop communicating to His people in a covenant of Grace ??

      Your beloved ECF's wrote of His activity among the churches for nearly 500 years after you say He quit being God. Sorry, you can't refer to these men as highly respected guardians of the Truth regarding their traditions on IM which you command others to emulate and then turn around and call them liars and heretics regarding the manifestations and activity of the Holy Spirit which you reject and expect anyone to take your seriously… Or, maybe you do…but we don't.

    139. Jay Guin says:

      Guestfortruth,

      You copied this post from http://www.bentoncoc.com/14.html without citing the source and without regard to the rights of the actual author. I've repeatedly asked you to stop this unethical practice.

      Therefore, I've blocked you from further postings here. I'll reconsider that decision if you'll email me privately at jfguin(at)Comcast(dot)net and demonstrate that you understand why plagiarism is wrong and assure me that you'll stop.

    140. Theophilus Dr says:

      Thank you, Jay.

      Too bad it's not a copyright infringement when someone plagiarizes the Pharisees. Or maybe it is; just of a different "law."

    141. Bruce Morton says:

      Price:
      I read your comment that Robert has "dug in his heels." I am not sure passion is necessarily a terrible thing. Seems to me that Jay, you, myself, and others probably have sounded that way too in some of the posts. And while we are on the subject of "digging," You will not even accept the offer of a free publication (i.e. the "radical" one – that you are judging without even browsing through it first)? What a deal; read it for five minutes and then toss it in the trash can, if you wish. Always interests me how the sides of this music matter can wrestle with this and reveal clearly distinctive perspectives. The IM side focuses on freedom and because the text does not specifically talk about IM, they judge the other side to be…. The a cappella side focuses on authority and judges the other side to be….

      Both have importance when we approach apostolic teaching. So does context. Right? But I have been judged "radical" when I suggest that we look at the music/song/IM subject against the backdrop of a spiritual siege and the parallelisms in the text of Ephesians 5:18-21. That informs some questions that it seems to me Jay's weblog have asked very little as he has approached this subject. But I am not convinced the questions are as radical as you and others have suggested.

      When I approach Ephesians 5:18-21 and ask what all of this has to do with a spiritual siege, then Paul's teaching takes on a bit of a different look. Now I begin to think about music and song in the context of good and evil — which is the contrast of Paul's message and at the heart of the text. I begin to think about how song contributes to "exposing darkness" and guiding Christians out of the sensuality and deception that are the subjects of the context. I know those questions have certainly changed me and how I see our congregational song together.

      Has surprised me how Jay has been willing to really dig into Galatians and see the message more clearly, but how little he has seemed to want to assess the message of Ephesians 5:18-21 against the backdrop of a spiritual siege. But I know this is a tough area for many. I have seen it in others too; the questions startle them. Makes us ask questions that get at more than music. The questions begin to get at the very roots of our society — of which music is but one facet.

      I think enough from the "radical" brother.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    142. Price says:

      OK Bruce…send it my way.. I'll look at it for one reason and one reason only…because you think it's important.. I will try to keep an open mind regarding it although that's probably somewhat difficult for me to do.. I believe the overwhelming amount of information that we have out in the open points to a freedom to choose our worship style and I am skeptical that God would mysteriously "hide" something which might adversely effect my salvation. But, you are persistent and you are my Brother in Christ… my email is pfutrell@charter.net

    143. Todd,

      Your statements say more about you than they do me. It is easy to slander another by accusing him of Pharisaical practices, as you have done me and more than likely Theophilus Dr in his vile comparison of me being “someone plagiarizes the Pharisees.”

      I shall hold my tongue (keyboard) and not respond to such a derogatory labels and ad hominem against me.

      And All of this I’m sure causes some progressives who read this blog to laugh at mine and other conservatives positions, but the fact remains I do not see where you have revealed to me where I have as you accuse me of committing “pious fraud.”

      Just because you say Col. 3;17 does not in any way, shape or form mention authority doesn’t make it so. Maybe you confuse 1 Corinthians 10:13 that says “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

      Jesus glorified and honored God ultimately by doing the will of His Father in heaven. “But the world must learn that I love the Father and that I do exactly what my Father has commanded me.” (John 14:31)

      But back to Colossians 3:17. In context, Paul is writing to the Colossian church about maintaining proper relationships. After telling the church to put on things like mercy and kindness and humility and forgiveness and love, Paul tells them to teach and admonish one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs.

      He then reminds them in verse 17 that everything they say and do must be done in the name of the Lord Jesus. In the remainder of the chapter, and on into chapter four, Paul takes up specific relationships – husbands and wives, children and parents, servants and masters, Christians and unbelievers – telling the church what God expects them to say and/or do in those relationships.

      Concerning “in the name of the Lord”, R. C. H. Lenski writes, "It means that absolutely everything… is to be done in the light of the revelation of our Lord and harmonize with that revelation. It ever reveals Jesus as our Savior-Lord to whom we belong absolutely and altogether." (The Interpretation of St. Paul's Epistles, Colossians – Philemon, 179)

      F.F. Bruce says:

      “The basic principle, as opposed to a set of specific rules, is this. We should say all words and practice all deeds in harmony with the revelation of Jesus Christ, namely, under His authority and as His followers. The "name" comprehends everything revealed and known about the person bearing the name. Moreover we are to do all with thanksgiving to God. (Bruce, F. F. "Commentary on the Epistle to the Colossians in Commentary on the Epistles to the Ephesians and to the Colossians 1968. p. 285)

      My friend the “name of the Lord Jesus” means under the authority and approval of Jesus. Everything we do must fall under the motivation of the approval of Jesus. This will clarify any doubt of selfishness in our service to him. The approval of Jesus gives dignity and purpose to all that we do for him.

      But in the name of means by the authority or approval of the one named. It doesn’t mean we can just do whatever we want and say we are doing it in his name and that makes it OK (cf. Matthew 7:21).

      And yes, it means that Christians must teach and admonish one another in music by singing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to one another (3:16). Verse 16 is in keeping with every other scripture that relates to spiritual music in the New Testament. Worship with instrumental music does not harmonize with the revelation of our Lord.

      Let me ask you a question: What about infant baptism?

      Interestingly, you say “The only law we can bind on each other is that which is plainly set out by the "thou shalts" and "thou shalt nots.”

      Where’s the “thou shalt not” statement regarding infant baptism. You didn’t think the Richland Hills position accepting instrumental music but rejecting infant baptism was inconsistent?

      Todd, your current course of action and practice of IM are inconsistent with the truth revealed in scripture regarding instrumental music, apostolic authority and NT examples. In addition to standing on the wrong side of most historians and scholars regarding instrumental music in the early church to say nothing about our own restoration history which you seem to flippantly dismiss with arrogance implying, an “I know better” wave of the hand “

      Your statement about me quoting “a few scholars from that past century who agree with you. “ is just laughable and reveals much about what you think of such great restoration giants and men who had the courae to confront error in denominations in deabes, writings, etc. as Campbell, Lard, McGarvey, Limpscomb, and other more recent scholars like McCord, Ferguson, etc. whom will forgot more than you and I will probably have know.

      Todd, maybe one day someone will quote all our great "writings" and works a hundred years from now, huh?

      My brother, the fact remains regardless of how many names you call those of us who oppose IM. There is no biblical authority for instrumental music in Christian worship. All your quibbles and red herrings and excuses won’t change that fact. No authority for instruments has ever been shown. There is no principle, no command, no precedent, no logical implication that will show scriptural approval for the practice.

      All your old tired arguments about “where is the authority” for pews, song books, church buildings, are just red herrings. You’re comparing apples and oranges.

      But let me address them nonetheless.

      You apparently do not wish to make any distinction between aids and additions. Between general commands and specific commands. General (or generic) authority is where God gives us a command to do something and does so in a broad way, allowing the individual the option to carry out the command it the best way in their sight.

      Specific authority is where the Lord gives the details of a command. He tells the how as well as the what of the command. In most cases the commands of the Lord are a combination of both general and specific authority. (cf. case of Noah and building the ark)

      Your old classic “straw man” case about church buildings is a case in point. We are under commandment to assemble with the saints to worship God (Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 14:26). But where, what kind of building, etc. are left to the judgment of each congregation. A church may rent a place to meet. Another may build a permanent facility. Still another may meet in a home. All are allowed — authorized — as means of carrying out the commandment to have assembled worship.

      Todd,

      Many of us who hold to the CENI or regulative principle are not arguing that every “example”, every incident, every activity that are mentioned in the New Testament are binding.

      It is commands that are to be obeyed, an example is binding only when it is a demonstration of required obedience. When there is evidence that the New Testament church practiced a certain thing because it was something bound on the church everywhere and always, that practice serves as an example for us to follow. A binding example is one that has a universal divine command behind it.

      Not included, would be many of the numerous examples of actions which were merely incidental, local in application, or simply expedients.

      Take for instance, the example of Act 20:7. We follow that pattern not because the example in itself alone binding, but because what was being practiced there was consistent with apostolic instructions.

      As far as “lifting up holy hands” the emphasis is not on the hands but on the holiness (quality) of the person doing the praying.

      Just like with the “holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). The customary form of greeting at that time, and still now in some Asian cultures, is a kiss to the cheek. (It was, incidentally, performed only between people of the same sex.) The emphasis is not on the manner of the greeting but the quality of the greeting. If Romans 16:16 were written today in our Western culture it would likely say, “greet one another with a holy handshake.”

      Regarding 1 Corinthians 14:26, ach one" is to bring a song or word or prayer to share, yes the text points out that each person had a custom of bringing a song to the assembly. The idea in that description was that the promoter of a specific song would present that song to the church. Paul does not tell us how each song was handled, but early church fathers show us that responsorial singing and antiphonal singing were common methods of congregational singing in the early church.

      And yes, I believe each Chrstian should come to worship with a "song on their heart" and lips, whether all of them get sung or not in one service is not the point.

      Finally, Todd, please hear me. I don’t claim as you sarcastically say to be ‘o wise one’ and in any way to “have it all figured out.” But I know Who does and I know where He had it written down. I will always turn to the inspired word of God for what I do and I know that as long as I can verify what I am doing by that word, I will be counted faithful by He who gave it.

      Humbly,
      Robert Prater

    144. Todd says:

      Robert "Your old classic “straw man” case about church buildings is a case in point. We are under commandment to assemble with the saints to worship God (Heb. 10:24-25; 1 Cor. 14:26). But where, what kind of building, etc. are left to the judgment of each congregation. A church may rent a place to meet. Another may build a permanent facility. Still another may meet in a home. All are allowed — authorized — as means of carrying out the commandment to have assembled worship."

      And somehow IM doesn't fit in here?

      My point Robert is that you (or those you agree with) have made arbitrary choices about how scripture should be read and understood and then expect everyone else to go along as if there is no other way to possibly read or apply that passage. No matter how many experts you quote the outcome will still be wrong because the underlying view of Scripture is wrong. The Regulative Principle and CENI will always produce bad results because they represent a faulty hermeneutic.

      Robert:
      "Take for instance, the example of Act 20:7. We follow that pattern not because the example in itself alone binding, but because what was being practiced there was consistent with apostolic instructions.

      As far as “lifting up holy hands” the emphasis is not on the hands but on the holiness (quality) of the person doing the praying.

      Just like with the “holy kiss” (Romans 16:16). The customary form of greeting at that time, and still now in some Asian cultures, is a kiss to the cheek. (It was, incidentally, performed only between people of the same sex.) The emphasis is not on the manner of the greeting but the quality of the greeting. If Romans 16:16 were written today in our Western culture it would likely say, “greet one another with a holy handshake.” "

      This is your interpretation on these issues Robert. There is nothing in the text that says "apply these for now, apply these for the next few centuries, this stuff will apply forever. Oh this stuff is cultural – whatever your culture decides is fine". This is the loosey-goosey theology that CENI folks use that drives me crazy. And every one of you is absolutely right and condemns every other follower of CENI who approves something you condemn while condescendingly accepting (like some crazy aunt) those who are more strict than yourselves.

      This is not of Christ or the Apostles – it is of yourselves. It will never lead to unity because there will always be someone to the "right" of you pointing to something you aren't seeing that the text says and you will always be pointing a condemning finger to the left because we don't agree with what you see. You have turned the New Testament into the Torah without any authority to do so. It just doesn't work. It was never intended to.

      Oh, thank you for sparing my feelings and not calling me names – this time.

    145. ClydeSymonette says:

      Hi Robert:

      I've been reading your comments for some time now (hard to miss them!) but always felt that it was best that I not comment since you've always been busy in the midst of some battle with the "progressives;" a favorite term of yours. I've questioned the wisdom of engaging you in conversation, but as I have misjudged others, perhaps (once again) I have misjudged you – so here we go :). I invite you to lay the labels aside – as they are not helpful to this discussion. A search for truth suggests that we do so through an honest examine scriptures.

      Firstly, I believe the very passage that you use to condemn worship instruments (Col 3:16, Eph 5:19) authorize them.

      I refer you to Thayer’s definition of the word psalm (psalmos) “a striking, twanging; specifically, a striking the chords of a musical instrument; hence a pious song” (J. H. Thayer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament, 675, 676)

      The BDAG says psalmos “in our literature” refers only to “songs of praise, psalms in accordance with OT usage.” (BDAG, 1096)

      The psalm by its nature is historically connected to musical instruments (see Psalm 50). The connection is explained in the reading of 2 Chronicles 29:27-28, 30. Those verses read:

      When the burnt offering began, the song to the LORD also began with the trumpets, accompanied by the instruments of David, king of Israel. While the whole assembly worshiped, the singers also sang and the trumpets sounded; … Moreover, King Hezekiah and the officials ordered the Levites to sing praises to the LORD with the words of David and Asaph the seer.

      The “words of David and Asaph” referred to in verse thirty of the text are what we know today as the book of Psalms. “The song to the LORD” accompanied by trumpets and various “instruments of David” is what the Septuagint and consequently Paul refer to simply as “psalms.”

      Second, some non-instrumentalists advocate that the word psalmos was not used in connection with musical instruments by New Testament times.

      Not true.

      Josephus (c. 37–97, i.e., New Testament times) wrote that Elisha was seized by the Spirit of God while he was engaged in “??????.” [psalmos]. (Gerhard Delling, “The Songs of Early Christianity,” Theological dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT), 8:491. Please not that Elisha was playing on a stringed instrument. Flavius Josephus was a Jewish author who wrote in Greek after spending over 20 years in Rome in a Greek-speaking environment.

      Now, as others have, you may be inclined to respond with a diatribe on psallo. That is NOT the word to which I refer.

      The definition of psalmos is unmistakably unambiguous.

      Trench notes that the psalms were not called “psalms” in the Hebrew Old Testament but obtained the name when they were referenced in the Septuagint; after which, he explains the etymology of the word. He says the word psalmos came from psa? (???)-to rub, to wipe off. He explained that psalmos was first used for:
      Touching,
      then touching the harp or other stringed instruments,
      then the instrument itself, namely, the psalterion—a ten stringed instrument,
      and finally it was used of a Song sung with the musical accompaniment.

      Trench notes that it was at this last stage that psalmos was adopted for use in the Septuagint.

      According to the definition of psalmos, what Paul is telling us through Col 3:16 is this: Sing psalmos (a song devoted to God that is accompanied by instruments), hymnos (a song of praise that may or may not be accompanied) and songs with gratitude in your heart to the Lord (not to idols).

    146. ClydeSymonette says:

      Robert:

      I'm sorry … I know that it is hard (for me at least) to respond to multiple conversations/post. When you have time, feel free to respond to my comment

    147. Theophilus Dr says:

      Robert said:

      " It is easy to slander another by accusing him of Pharisaical practices, as you have done me and more than likely Theophilus Dr in his vile comparison of me being 'someone plagiarizes the Pharisees.'"

      Firstly, I made a comment of a general nature in response to Jay's post, and I have reexamined it carefully and do not find any reference whatsoever to you or your posts. However, if you choose to identify that phrase with yourself, that is certainly your prerogative. Of course your label of "vile" is part of that capture, which is not a word I would use to describe your posts, but, again, it is your freedom choose that label for yourself as you see fit.

      Secondly, I would agree with the recommendation to avoid labels. I have asked before for you to kindly define what you mean by "progressive," which, if you have done that, I missed it. "Progressive" with respect to what? If someone disclaims being "progressive," then what are they, ….. "retrogressive?" Or, since "a" as a prefix often means "neither," perhaps just "aggressive?" Ambiguous terms makes communication more difficult, and they are used more often by those whose position arguments are otherwise weak. Again, use of labels is your choice, depending on your assessment of the merits of your presentation.

      Thirdly, I have always heard that if one refers to themselves as being "humble," they have just proven that they are not. Of many ways to characterize your posts, I would suggest "humble" is not one of them, and to use it does not help credibility.

    148. Todd, Theophilus Dr.,

      I honestly admit I sometimes get a little “fast on the trigger.”

      You each clearly see a spirit that is in me that is neither loving, humble or kind in our differences and I believe when 2 or 3 witnesses speak in agreement (cf. Matt. 18), a person more than likely stands condemned.

      I my future posts and discussions with you good men and others, I shall leave the unkind labels alone and heated words off. I know in my heart they neither honor God, contribute to the unity of His people and are fair to you whom I disagree with.

      It is apparent that we have both examined these topics with a sincere respect for God’s Word and yet have arrived at different conclusions. In spite of our disagreement, I think its fair to say we both are striving for the truth and basing our viewpoint on Biblical evidence.

      It is to my fault and shame that we haven’t been able to come away from these discussions mentally stimulated, but rather more often “provoked” in a spiritually unhealthy way and a lack of mutual respect not deepened in spite of our disagreements.

      I love the Lord with all my heart and soul and only sincerely desire to serve Him in a way that honors and glorifies Him with Christian love and dignity.

      To the degree I have failed in doing this, I ask your forgiveness and vow to speak more kindly in tone and grace with you my brothers despite our differences.

      In the future I resolve to do better.

      I think Everett Ferguson’s conclusion in A Cappella Music, is fitting:

      “We are on good historical and theological grounds to engage in a cappella music in our public worship. This is safe, ecumenical ground that all can agree is acceptable. Instrumental music cannot be confirmed as authorized in the text of the New Testament. It did not exist in worship until centuries after the New Testament was written. Vocal music is more consistent with the nature of Christian worship. Neither side of the instrumental music controversy has had a monopoly on Christian love and humility, and neither side has reason for pride. My hope is that we can go beyond our recent history of bitterness and unite on the original undivided ground of the Restoration Plea. This should not be done out of he spirit “one side is right and the other wrong.” But let us be New Testament churches – in practice and in attitude, in loyalty to the Bible, and in the exercise of Christian freedom.” (A Cappella Music in Public Worship)

      Now while I contain to affirm and maintain the first part of brother Ferguson’s position regarding instrumental music and my conviction that there being not a shred of authorization for it in the New Testament and neither historical evidence for its use centuries following the apostles.

      Yet I have obviously as have been pointed out by others failed in the second part of what he encourages regarding the bitterness and issues relating to attitude between brethren who disagree over this issue.

      Todd, you make some very good points and counterpoints to my posts. I think at the minimum to say the least, we disagree strongly with many of positions and viewpoints we hold. There will always been extreme positions and brethren on the far right and far left, this though I believe doesn't invalidate the middle and moderate positions which foster more balance.

      Now you and I simply don't apprach the scripture in the same way. Which maybe is where we should spend our discussion time.

      I love the body of Christ (as know doubt most others do as well) and the churches of Christ fellowship of which I am so blessed to be apart of. I am deeply committed to the principles found in the Restortation Movement which I believe represent some of the best models to seek genuine unity among believers by returning to the New Testament of Jesus for all our faith and practices.

      Yes I do grieve at what I believe are harmful departures from the truth and division being caused in many of our more "progressive" congregations. It recently broken my heart to read in a post where Jay asked about whether taking the Lord's Supper on other days beside Sunday is acceptable. Hardly a peep from most reading and commenting on this blog rising in defense of the signifance and theology between Sunday communion. Just an example and I know still sincere disagreements exist on that issue. But this is just my perspective okay.

      Now this term "progressive" is often used by Jay and others to describe themselves) Yet I understand that it is still a label nonetheless and is often undefined in many ways and very broadly applied and used by me in a way towards thsoe whom I disagree in a very unproductive way apparently.

      Usually it centers around our approach to scripture and issues pertaining to the music question, the role of women, weekly observance of Lords' Supper, pluraity of elders, plan of salvation, etc. these more "traditional" identifying marks of churches of Christ in the past 100-150 years.

      But anyway, there can be more discussions another time on this subjects, right:)?

      I do feel rebuked in my tone and attitudes at times towards those whom I have strongly disagreed and especially as I attend the funeral of Don Vinzant tommorrow a wondeful preacher and missionary who was alway gracious and kind with those he strongly disagreed with.

      Just wanted some to know that.

      "How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity" (Ps. 133:1)

      Please accept this from your brother with a grieved and broken heart,
      Your brother,
      Robert Prater

    149. ClydeSymonette

      I appreciate your comments to me also especially once again regarding leaving the “labels” alone. I hope and pray you have not “misjudged me” as well:)

      You make some very interesting points and observations especially regarding psalms not used in connection with musical instruments by New Testament times.

      But nonetheless, I still believe you to be mistaken on this point. And that psallo did not carry the inherent idea of the use of instruments in the NT period.

      You might remember that the first edition of Arndt-Gingrich, in 1957, said of psallo: "in our lit., in accordance w. OT usage, sing (to the accompaniment of a harp), sing praise" (p. 899).

      But the second edition, in 1979, they corrected many errors of the first edition.

      They wrote: “in our lit., in according with OT usage, sing, sing praise. . . In the LXX ps. freg. means "sing," whether to the accompaniment of a harp or (as usually) not (psalm 7:18; 9:12; 107:4 al). This process continued until ps. in Mod. Gr. means "sing" exclusively. . .it is likely that some such sense as make melody is best here. Those who favor "play" . . . may be relying too much on the earliest mgn. of psallo (p. 891).

      Thayer also said: in discussing psallo, after commenting upon the word’s use in classical Greek, and in the Septuagint, he notes that

      "in the N.T. [psallo signifies] to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song. . . " (p. 675).

      Vine, in commenting upon psallo (under “Melody”), notes the classical sense, the Septuagint usage, and then says: “… in the N.T., to sing a hymn, sing praise” ( p. 730).

      Vine explained the matter more fully: “The word psallo originally meant to play a stringed instrument with the fingers, or to sing with the accompaniment of a harp. Later, however, and in the New Testament, it came to signify simply to praise without the accompaniment of an instrument”

      So it seems that the OT usage of psalms sung with instruments Paul specified how they were to be used in New Testament worship, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord…” (Eph. 5:19; see also Col. 3:16).

      If the inherent meaning of “psalms” requires mechanical, instrumental accompaniment, there would be no other way to sing or read a psalm, right??

      But the context says to sing. The inherent meaning is to twitch or twang something. YES, it was used to refer to musical instruments in the Old Testament, but how is it applied in the New? How did Paul tell Christians to psallo or to use psalmos? By “singing and making melody in your hearts.”

      Which instrument have Christians been told to use: the heart or the harp?

      Respectfully,

      Your brother,
      Robert Prater

    150. HistoryGuy says:

      Clyde,
      If you noticed, I have not been around much. We will pick up again soon. I hope you are doing well.

      You said: … in Col 3:16 Paul is telling us – "Sing psalmos (a song devoted to God that is accompanied by instruments)." Perhaps you meant to word that differently?

      Quick – sincere – question
      Are you saying that (#1) psalmos is a song devoted to God accompanied by IM [IM required] or (#2) psalmos is a song devoted to God that may or may not be accompanied by IM [IM optional]… To be clear, in your understanding, do I disobey Paul when I sing psalmos AC?

      Thank you in advanced for your clarification.

    151. Alabama John says:

      For a different thought, we have a deaf congregation near here and they don't make a sound when "singing". No instruments, no voices.

      Yet, to look in their window, you would see much movement of their bodies especially when they stand to "sing".

      Singing can be in and of the mind and not with instrument OR voice and to most of us that is what we are really doing as we sing either with an instrument or without one. Either way, we are "singing" praises to our Lord.

      So, is that wrong for going the other extreme to loud music and making no sound at all?

      I think not.

    152. Todd says:

      Robert,

      May the Lord's peace be with you. The attitude that allows other possibilities is a blessing to all. For my part in fanning flames I also ask forgiveness.

      Yes we do approach Scripture differently and looking at everything written these differences are long standing within the Body. Did the Apostles set up a system by which men must be saved or is salvation found in simple relationship with Christ and daily following Him whereever the Spirit leads? As with all things the truth is somewhere in the middle.

      My biggest difference with what I perceive as the CENI approach is in allowing brothers who disagree with me to remain my brothers. This seems to always be a problem with those who choose to lean too heavily on the belief that salvation is based on a system. If the system is salvation then failure to follow the system puts one in jeopardy. To be true there are points at which this will indeed be true – we cannot drop the fact of a Creating God, a Begotten Son or a Holy Spirit which are all God. We cannot drop the virgin birth, Jesus in flesh, His death, burial and resurrection and glorification and return to judge all. We cannot let go of the idea that He established one holy Church and that it is through baptism that a sinner enters a saved relationship – by grace through faith. We cannot let go of the indwelling of the Spirit in every believer. These things are the faith once received, the clear uncontestable teachings of the Church from the very beginning. Everyone who accepts these truths is indeed by brother or sister in Christ.

      The problem arises in the details – when we argue how the virgin brith was accomplished (The Theotokos debate), when the resurrection and return will take place and what will be the nature of His Kingdom, whether Jesus died on a Friday or a Thursday, what the indwelling means and how it presents, what form is required for baptism to be effective and what actually happens in the water, how frequent should our communion observances be – less than every Sunday or perhaps every time we meet, what form should our music take – plain chant, multiple harmonics, with or without instruments, how many elders are a plurality, how do we interpret and apply the qualifications Paul gave, is an elder an elder for life or for a set time.

      These issues have come up continuously over the past 2,000 years precisely because we have to decide what the Scripture actually says about them. Now for you and for me some of these are huge issues while others are "so what's" but you know as I do that for others our "so what's" are vital issues and our huge things are "so what's". The important thing is that no matter how strongly I feel about one of these less than clear isues I must extend to you the grace I expect to receive. I have many dear brothers who strongly disagree with me on many of my positions. We do not agree and yet we remain brothers. (I am aware that some of us view certain issues as settled – but the mere fact that large numbers of equally sincere God seeking believers who are equally devoted to God'sword disagree requires us to humbly admit that our position might be the best one, but there must be room for and accceptance of others.)

      What alarms and strongly offends me is when we take any one of these issues and decide that because of our viewpoints we cannot be brothers. Now in truth because of the way our differences must be expressed we may have to be in different assemblies but that does not cause us to not be brothers any more than the strong disagreement between Paul and Barnabas caused them to cease being brothers though they had to go their separate ways.

      When I hear such language I do not hear the voice of Christ or the Apostles. I hear the voice of the enemy.

      It has been pointed out that in our fellowship we extend grace to the "right" and condemnation to the "left." We tolerate and pity those folks who are harder on certain issues than we are while we judge and reject those who are more liberal. My sole request of you and others who feel as strongly as you do is that you extend the grace in both directions. Unless someone is denying the core truths of the faith accept them – love them – try to teach them better if you must or can – but do not let go of them for anything.

      The time is short and the day is coming when we will need all of us to withstand. The day is coming when we will have to lay aside our debates on other issues because the Church will be fighting for its very life. We will win because of the faithfulness of Christ but those who remain will be a much purer version of ourselves.

      Again, may God's grace and blessing be with you.

    153. Theophilus Dr says:

      Thank you, Robert, for your words, written from a heart desiring to glorify our Lord Jesus Christ. That common desire, that common love, is the basis for unity in Christ. If we can put Jesus first, everything else that we may disagree on takes a proper perspective of submission to Jesus, instead of the other way around.

      I appreciate what you said and the testimony it presents.

    154. ClydeSymonette says:

      Hi Robert:

      I appreciate the tone of your last response to Todd and Theophilus. Good for you. You have brought tears to my eyes – but hey, I'm a softy. And thank you for responding to my post.

      I will comment on your references to psallo and conclude by answering the question both you and my well researched brother and friend -HistoryGuy – asked about the necessity of the instrument in the singing of psalms. But first, let's revisit psalmos. If you refer to my previous post, I wrote the following:

      "Now, as others have, you may be inclined to respond with a diatribe on psallo. That is NOT the word to which I refer."

      As I feared but expected (because so many do) you responded with an exposition of psallo. I invite you to check the definition of psalmos; it is different from psallo. Here is Ephesians 5:19, showing the placement of the respective Greek words:

      Speak to one another with psalms (psalmos), hymns (hymnos) and spiritual songs (ode). Sing (ado) and make music (psall?) in your heart to the Lord, always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.

      As further clarification of psalmos, I refer you to TDNT, BDAG and Thayer.

      • Gerhard Delling in an article in Theological dictionary of the New Testament (TDNT) said the psalm was “[a] song accompanied by a stringed instrument.” (Delling, TDNT, 8:494.)
      • BDAG says psalmos “in our literature” refers only to “songs of praise, psalms in accordance with OT usage.” (BDAG, 1096) The expression, “in accordance with OT usage,” means that the New Testament’s use of the word and consequently the definition can be determined by how the word is used in the Old Testament. The host of Psalms, 2 Chronicles and other passages illustrate the Old Testament usage.
      • Thayer in his definition of hymnos (page 180), describes a psalm as, “a song which took its general character from the O.T. ‘Psalms’" (although not restricted to them).

      The definition of psalmos is unambiguous.

      Before commenting of psallo and the expression "in your heart," I believe it is important for us to have an understanding of the other words (hymnos, odes) from the passage. Understanding those words enables our understanding of psallo and, yes, the expression, "In your heart."

      Hymnos

      At its root, the psalm was a sacred song of praise, i.e., it was devoted to the God of Israel alone. The hymn was not; it came to include praise of God. On page 637 of "A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament" Thayer defines the hymn as “a song in praise of gods, heroes, conquerors.” Thayer’s definition is not unusual. BDAG defines it as “a song with religious content, hymn/song of praise especially in honor of a deity.” (BDAG, 1027) The question is: "Which deity?" We (you and I) assume that the hymn was sung in praise of the ONLY LIVING GOD. However, we assume incorrectly. On the second line of Thayer's definition of hymnos he wrote: “cf. [compare] Trench as below, p. 297,” and again on the last line he wrote, “See Trench, Syn § lxxviii.” In the definition of hymnos to which Thayer refers, Trench wrote:

      It was of the essence of a Greek ?????? [hymn] that it should be addressed to, or be otherwise in praise of, a god, or of a hero … (Richard Trench, Synonyms of the New Testament (LXXVIII), 297-298)

      Paul wrote:
      You know that when you were pagans, somehow or other you were influenced and led astray to mute idols. 1 Corinthians 12:2

      You see, brother, the Gentiles Christians who came out of paganism were accustomed to singing hymns to Greek gods, i.e., idols. Understanding the historical context makes clear that what Paul is really saying in Ephesians 5:19 is this:

      If you sing a psalm (instrumental) or a hymn (instrumental or non-instrumental) or a spiritual song (either); whatever you do Gentiles, in your heart offer it to God—not to idols.

      How do we know that a 1st Century hymn was instrumental or non-instrumental? Well, let's consider how it was used. First, Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (ca.35-ca.100). He wrote:

      So too Timagenes asserts that music is the oldest of the arts related to literature, a statement which is confirmed by the testimony of the greatest of poets in whose songs we read that the praise [hymnos] of heroes and of gods were sung to the music of the lyre at the feasts of kings. (Butler, Quintilian with an English Translation, 1:165.)

      Note the musical instrument. Second, on the third line of his definition of hymos, Thayer explains to his readers how the word hymn was used in Scriptures. He said: as used in the “Scriptures of God,” a hymn is a “sacred song.” Greek Scriptures are inferred in the words “Scriptures of God,” namely, the New Testament and Septuagint (LXX). Understanding that the leading idea of a hymn was a song in praise of gods, heroes, and conquerors—not in praise of God, Thayer qualifies the New Testament use of the word hymn with the phrase, “in the Scriptures of God; a sacred song, hymn.” Beginning at the second paragraph of the same definition, he goes on to say: The term “songs” is generic while “psalms” and “hymns” are specific. He explains that the word "songs" is generic in the sense that it describes any type of song. Ah! Now we understand why the apostle used the “spiritual” qualifier. Paul was not advocating for any kind of song. The AYBD states:

      The term ?d? (or song) seems to be generic. The fact that Paul feels the need to add the adjective pneumatik? (“spiritual”) seems to corroborate this view. It was not an ordinary or secular, pagan, heathen song that they were to sing, but a spiritual one, that is, one that had Christian orientation. (Limburg, “Book of Psalms”, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, 3: 350).

      Now, regarding the more specific definitions, Thayer said psalm “took its general character from the O.T. ‘Psalms’”, although the words are not limited to those of the Old Testament Psalms. The hymn, Thayer said, is a song of praise to anyone. Then Thayer quotes Lightfoot’s explanation of the forms of a psalm and hymn, and cites Lightfoot’s commentary on Colossians 3:16 with the words, “(Bp. Lghtft. on Col iii. 16)”. In his commentary of Colossians Lightfoot wrote:

      The leading idea of ?????? [psalms] is a musical accompaniment and that of ?????? [hymns] praise to God, ??? [song] is the general word for a song, whether accompanied or unaccompanied, whether of praise or on any other subject … The third word ????? [songs] gathers up the other two, and extends the precept to all forms of song, with the with the limitation however that they must be ??????????? [spiritual].” (J.B. Lightfoot, Saint Paul's Epistles to the Colossians and to Philemon, 225.)

      Lightfoot (to whom Thayer refers) said the leading idea of a psalm is a musical accompaniment; the leading idea of a New Testament hymn is praise to God; and a song (accompanied or unaccompanied) could refer to a song of praise or an otherwise spiritual song. So, if we cite Thayer's remarks, we must keep them in context.

      Odes (songs): In his definition of Odes, Thayer makes reference to several scriptures that utilize ?d?: Revelation 5:9; 14:3; 15:3; Ephesians 5:19; and Colossians 3:16. Alford’s Greek Testament tells us that these are the only uses of ?d?s [?????] in the New Testament. (Alford, Alford's Greek Testament, 3:134-35.) Some non-instrumentalists contend that in the New Testament, singing a song necessarily infers that the song is unaccompanied.

      Not true. Far from true.

      All of the passages cited establish a connection of the song and instruments. Revelation 15:2-3 read:

      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.”

      Whether literal or apocalyptic, in the church or out of it, the salient point is this: The above passage confirms that the first-century usage of the word “song” or “sing” did not demand a vocals only definition. Why do we assume that when the words “song” and “sing” are used in the New Testament they exclude the use of musical instruments? Can a song can be sung accompanied. Can a song be sung "in the heart" while it is accompanied? Sure!

      Psalm 138:1 reads,
      I will praise you, O LORD, with all my heart; before the “gods” I will sing your praise.

      Psalm 108:1 reads,
      My heart is steadfast, O God; I will sing and make music with all my soul.

      When David wrote those, was he inferring that he would not clap his hands or play an instrument when he praised God with his “heart” or “soul”?

      When David said, “I will sing your praise” (Psalm 138:1) and “My soul will be satisfied as with the richest of foods; with singing lips my mouth will praise you” (Psalm 63:5), was he suggesting that he would sing those praises without instruments or clapping?

      When Paul wrote, “Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts” (Colossians 3:15), was he forbidding anything but the negation of peace ruling in the heart?

      When he told the Colossians, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men (Colossians 3:23), was he forbidding the use of any instrument, tool, or aid in doing their work with all their heart?

      When we read, “…like slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart,” (Ephesians 6:6) should we infer that any contrivance—songbooks, chairs, buses, buildings, or whatever—is forbidden when doing the will of God from the heart?

      No, no, no and no. How, then, can such an inference be drawn from Ephesians 5:19 or Col 3:16. The expression “in your heart to the Lord” was not intended to restrict the use of musical instruments but to exalt the Lord and forbid idolatry in the hearts of His people. Deuteronomy 30:17 reads:

      But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them…

      Now about psallo. Robert, as you have done, the phrase, “in the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song” (encircled on the excerpt) is routinely quoted in the writings of those who suggest that Thayer’s definition indicates a New Testament non-instrumental use of psall?. Did Thayer intend to preclude any instrument from the New Testament use of psall? as some assert? No. We have already seen Thayer’s definition of the terms hymn, song, and sing. None of those exclude the instrument. So what instrument does the phrase “in the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song” exclude? None. Thayer is simply telling his readers that THE NEW TESTAMENT’S USE OF PSALL? refers to the singing of hymns or songs ADDRESSED TO GOD ALONE.

      In the LXX, psall? was the verb form of psalmos. In the New Testament, however, psall? also represents the verb form of hymnos (instrumental or non-instrumental)—both psalmos and hymnos have praise as a leading idea. In fact, the LXX has one reference to the instrumental psalms of David and Asaph as hymns. Nehemiah 12:46 (LXX) reads:

      For long ago, in the days, there had been directors for the singers and for the songs [hymnos] of praise and thanksgiving to God.

      Delling tells us:

      “There is nothing to suggest that ?????? [psalms] and ????? [hymns] relate to texts of different genres.”( Delling, “The Word Groups in the New Testament” TDNT, 8:499)

      I agree with Delling; both psalms and hymns are songs of praise. But, a 1st- Century reference to hymns must be qualified.

      If you look at Thayer's original explanation of psallo, you will see that two definitions are given. The first is introduced with a bold font, lowercase letter "a," and the second with a "b." I have summarized each definition in the following:
      a) To pluck off, to pull out
      b) To cause to vibrate by touching; to play on a stringed instrument; to play the harp, etc; to sing to the music of the harp; in the New Testament to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.

      In the supporting text of definition b, which has as its leading idea, “To cause to vibrate by touching” or “to play on a stringed instrument,” the lexicographer makes the statement: “In the N.T. to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.” As he state elsewhere, hymns and songs could be in praise of anyone, so what Thayer is telling us is this: Psall?, as used in the New Testament, has nothing to do with definition a, i.e., “to pluck off, to pull out.” Nor does it have anything to do with the hymns to which Aristotle, Plato, Plutarch, and Arat refer (he cited them in definition b). Instead, psall? as used in the NT refers to hymns sung “in honor of God” exclusively. Therefore, the statement, “in the New Testament to sing a hymn, celebrate the praises of God in song,” is a qualifier intended to speak, not to the issue of instruments in New Testament worship, but to the New Testament usage of psall? as singing hymns or songs to God.

      Considering the historical and literary contexts, and a definition of words, verse 17 of Col 3 should be understood as follows:
      Whether you sing a psalm (a psalm is sung with instruments), a hymn (i.e., with or without instruments) or a spiritual song (likewise, with or without instruments), whatever you do (in the specific context, anything you do relative to the singing of psalms, hymns and songs), do it in the name of the Lord (not idols).
      I can reasonable translate verse 17 as follows: “Whatever you do, in word [the vocals] or in deed [the accompaniment], do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus [to His glory, for His sake, on His account].”

      Now, regarding the question about the necessity of the instrument in the singing of psalms. The instrument inheres in the psalms, but please note that Paul said, “Sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs … Whatever you do [accompaniment/unaccompanied], do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus.” This passage neither compels nor precludes worship instruments. However, in the words: psalmos, hymnos and odes, it authorizes them.

      In the scriptures, Psalmos is unquestionably defined as instrumental praise. Now we can play tricks with words and in doing so define a car without wheels or a guitar without strings, but before what message did scriptures intended to convey? That is the question.

    155. HistoryGuy says:

      Clyde,
      I know your busy getting ready for Sunday and talking with Robert. I tried ask a very quick question 3/12/11 [Today] 05:51 AM. The response would only be sentence or two. Can you clarlify what you meant for me? Thank you.

    156. Anonymous says:

      Guestfortruth,

      You cite Romans 16:17-19 about those who cause offences contrary to the teaching they had received. I ask you: Does the teaching they had received include Romans 14:1 – 15:7?

      Please think on the context and full range of Scripture – and not just quote verses, assigning meanings to them that probably never entered the mind of the authors or those who, in the first century, received these letters.

    157. Theophilus Dr says:

      I keep trying to find a way to express the lost perspective of spending time on IM/AC disputes instead of being about the real work of God.

      Can anyone watch the video in Jay's post, "Speaking of Translations –" (http://vimeo.com/17025038) without being moved by the simple joy of these people finally having God's word? These people have had one talent; God has given us five. They will take their New Testament and make 10 talents for God unless someone from a five talent country goes there and tells them that they need to spend their resources building big structures and to spend their time arguing about IM. What have we done with our five talents– haven't they been spent down to two talents? We're not even keeping up with "talent inflation."

      Can you see some CoC person going to this tribe in Papua New Guinea and telling them they are sinning when they beat some drums and whistle through some sticks in praise to God? "Now that you understand about grace, let me tell you what's really important." God help us, people have done that very sort of thing!

      What joy do WE have over God's word? "Yeah, yeah, I'm glad they have that to read; now over here in Ephesians we have this word, and this ECF source said that Paul meant this, so you are wrong when you say….."

      If God is truly no respecter of persons, what is right for the people in the video should be right for us, and vice versa, IF it truly matters in the first place.

      And all the "Well, God judges people on what they know …." and "It's a cultural thing …" and "Well, we could stop arguing about this if you'd just shape up…" are no excuse.

      Our society is on a self determined road that is headed for hell in a handbasket, and we argue about whether or not the handbasket is in the shape of a guitar???

      Matt 12:36 "But I tell you that men will have to give account on the day of judgment for every careless word they have spoken. 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

      May God have mercy on us, because the time is coming when we are really going to majorly need some. People facing death are not likely to continue to argue about who has the longer toenails. If we can't change our perspective of what is important in the kingdom of God, then God will change our perspective for us.

    158. Alabama John says:

      T. Dr.

      Very good post. You express thoughts very well.

      Its good we can discuss here, but really the fertile ground is in so many other places. We express our thoughts on line but who has changed their mind based on anything learned from the Internet? Where the rubber meets the road is where souls are won.

      Nothing has changed as 2000 years ago different men taught things differently or why would the question be asked: Who are you of and three names given?

    159. ClydeSymonette says:

      HistoryGuy:

      I'm sorry. An oversight. I intended to address it in my post to Robert. You asked:
      "Are you saying that (#1) psalmos is a song devoted to God accompanied by IM [IM required] or (#2) psalmos is a song devoted to God that may or may not be accompanied by IM [IM optional]… To be clear, in your understanding, do I disobey Paul when I sing psalmos AC?"

      Here is my understanding. Psalmos is a song of praise to God that was accompanied by IM. So (#1) the DEFINITION of psalm requires the instrument – yes. An unaccompanied song of praise is called a "hymn." So, answer to you final question: If I sing an unaccompanied song of praise, I sing a hymn – so I obey Paul. If I sing it with an instrument, I sing a psalm and I obey Paul.

      As I said earlier, psalmos is unquestionably defined as instrumental praise. While it is possible to define a car without wheels or a guitar without strings, those definition will not adequately convey that which we are describing.

    160. Anonymous says:

      Dr. T,
      In keeping with your thoughts on labels and their meanings I would like to ask: Is the opposite of progressive congressive?

    161. Bruce Morton says:

      Clyde:
      Regarding your suggestion that "psalmos is unquestionably defined as instrumental praise":

      Certainly, the Classical definition of the Greek word included instrumentation, but the Biblical use changed from that to some degree. Psalmos (Gk.) does not necessarily include strings/instruments in later use. The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, 8:498ff. has a good overview of the subject. As Gerhard Delling notes, sometimes the "strings" can be figurative, not literal.

      As the notes in TDNT 8:499 summarize, Greek-speaking Judaism appears to have used "psalms" and "hymns" as synonyms versus adopting rigid use of Classical Greek. And sometimes psalmos (Gk.) is used to refer to the collection of writings/songs (as in Luke 24:44). There is a good bit more in the area, but decided to highlight the above for your consideration.

      Glad to discuss further.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    162. ClydeSymonette says:

      Bruce

      You said:

      Greek-speaking Judaism appears to have used "psalms" and "hymns" as synonyms versus adopting rigid use of Classical Greek.

      I agree; as witnessed in the writing of the Jewish-Alexandrian philosopher Philo (c.20 BC) and others who were influenced by his writing (for others, see Danny Corbitt's article "The Early Church on Instrumental Music"). About five hundred and seventy years after the Exile, Philo, Juxtaposing Jewish and Greek thought, promoted the Jewish chant as hymns of praise. He wrote:

      “It is said in the Psalms, ‘Thou shalt give me to eat bread steeped in tears’ and again, ‘My tears have been my bread day and night’ for the food of the mind are tears such as are visible, proceeding from laughter seated internally and excited by virtuous causes, when the divine desire instilled into our hearts changes the song which was merely the lament of the creature into the hymn of the uncreated God. (C.D. Yonge, Works of Philo Judaeus, II:78)

      In the above example, Philo is promoting Israel’s lament as a “hymn [song of praise]” to God that proceeded forth from internal laughter that was excited by divine desire. Israel’s chant was not praise. It was the lament of a nation that was taken away from its homeland and enslaved because God had issued it a certificate of divorce since it would not turn from its ongoing adultery (i.e., idolatry). Philo's writings influenced early ECFs. However, the prophets (Jeremiah, Isaiah) promised a restoration of Israel's praise WITH instruments, not the relabeling of mourning as praise.

      You said:

      And sometimes psalmos (Gk.) is used to refer to the collection of writings/songs (as in Luke 24:44).

      Again, we agree. According to the Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary (AYBD), the the "collection of writings and songs" was first called Sefer Tehillim (Hebrew) or “Book of Praise” because the title reflects a collection that is characterized by many expressions of praise to God (Limburg, “Book of Psalms”, The Anchor Yale Bible Dictionary, 5:523). Limburg writes:

      The English title “Psalms” is derived from the Greek psalmoi, “songs of praise,” by way of the Latin Liber Psalmorum, “book of psalms.” Among ancient Greek manuscripts of the OT, psalmoi appears in Codex Vaticanus [4th-Century] as a title for the book. Codex Sinaiticus [4th-Century] has no title, though “psalms of David” appears at the end. Codex Alexandrinus [5th-Century] has as the title for the book psalterion, the name of a stringed instrument and the basis for the English “psalter”; psalmoi appears at the conclusion (ibid)

      Bruce, what you ought not to miss is this: to the collection of writings/songs unquestionably advise the use of instruments.

    163. Bruce Morton says:

      Clyde:
      I know you have focused a good bit of time on (Gk.) psalmos. I believe you will find the TDNT article to be an important input and corrective. Believe I should leave it at that for now.

      And I would urge that we keep Paul's contextual counsel and the matter of a spiritual siege in view. It is driving what he writes.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    164. HistoryGuy says:

      Clyde,
      Thank you for your very clear reply on 03/13/11 @ 6:19PM. I thought I understood your explicit position [it was very clear], but after reviewing the latest posts between and you and Bruce, I am again confused (ha ha). I know that you want to obey Paul. We are both trying. I had another question to ask about a Bible verse, but did not want to ask until I understand your view on psalmos (ha ha).

      To be clear- I am confused, so please correct and/or clarify my understanding of your view. in my post 03/13/11 @ 5:51 AM, I asked you if psalmos requires IM or leaves IM optional. In your 3/13 reply, you said psalmos required IM and hymns are unaccompanied [IM optional].

      However, when talking with Bruce, you agreed that psalms and hymns were used synonymously. If something is synonymous it means the same thing. You then said "notice… the collection of writings/songs unquestionably advise the use of instruments" Advise and require are very different terms.

      If psalms and hymns are interchangeable, then psalms cannot require IM while hymns leave IM optional. The logical conclusion would be that either psalms/hymns require IM or psalms/hymns permit IM [IM optional]. So, in regards to IM, in one post I understand you say they are different, but in the next post I understand you to say they are the same. Hence, my confusion.

      I am NOT attacking or insulting you. Where have I gone wrong about your statements which seem to be contradictory? Did I miss you making a distinction about Classical vs Koine Greek, or perhaps your opinion that Philo changed the term from its Biblical usage? [help me, brother - lol] I don’t need you to cite any sources since I am only asking for your specific view, like when you did the #1 or #2 earlier [that was very clear] — until the next post.

      I would really appreciate you clarifying my confusion about how psalmos requires IM, but can be used interchangeably for hymn, which does not require IM. – Thank you.

    165. Doug says:

      I have to admit that all this writing back and forth is just simply tedious to me. I wonder if God truly wants His people to worship him "correctly" or simply worship Him with all their heart. I think the latter.. God doesn't want us to sin but he is faithful to forgive our sin so if I am sinning one way or the other, I turst that He will forgive me.

      While most of the year I worship Him in a non-IM worship fashion, I do worship Him in the winter months in a IM fashion (complete with drums, keyboards and guitars and multiple worship leader singers). In both worlds, my eyes see the on going worship of His people. I have my preferences, of course, but I am just content to worship Him regardless.

    166. Price says:

      Hey Doug…I feel your frustration and even that of some of the others on here with soooo much focus on IM when there are so many other areas that we could spend our time on but….given that sooo many people have been taught that Thus Sayeth the Lord…IM in worship will send you to hell….then that needs to be examined… the discussion goes on and on ad nauseum and perhpas it's because no one is listening to one another… I've been educated on this issue in the past 3 months like no other time in my life.. I had no idea there was so much information available and the likely reason is that people get so worked up about it. Lines are drawn in the sand, fellowship is curtailed, etc.,etc., and that's just from bringing it up in discussion…All we do is throw scripture verses at one another..

      I'm glad we can cover it in depth and amazing detail…This would have taken 6 months in a Sunday School environment.. and who gets to sit on this kind of class with as many informed people? But thanks to Jay's patience and the informed input of many, we now have available a tremendous amount of information on this topic… I like that Danny compiled and condensed what he had and certainly over at Wineskins they did a good job of getting many qualified persons to contribute from their perspective but there just isn't a "normal" person who wouldn't be more informed if they went back and read all of this stuff…Some old arguments are sound..other old arguments are not…it's way past time going through and weeding out the misinformation.

      Hopefully, one day soon we'll ALL be more informed and the family squabble will go away…or move to a different topic…LOL. My guess is that bringing out such a historically divisive topic out in the open for full examination is a good thing.. even if we all don't handle it exactly as we should from time to time…

    167. ClydeSymonette says:

      HistoryGuy:

      You said, " I am NOT attacking or insulting you."

      Earlier, when I wrote that I had misjudged the intent of your questions in our early conversations, I meant that. I have long since left the thought behind me!

      Now to your question, which I will answer directly: My answers to your questions stand as is.

      Now allow me to clarify what you read as a contradiction – though in fact it is not. My response to Bruce is that I agree that GREEK-SPEAKING JUDAISM (Philo for one) appears to have used "psalms" and "hymns" as synonyms since they often referred to OT psalms as hymns (Philo uses ????? [hymnos] regularly for the OT Psalms and Josephus also calls the songs of the OT ????? [hymnoi]). Why? Because "hymn" was native to the Greek language. I was not agreeing that they are synonymous – In my post to Robert I explained the differences.

      Additionally, you quoted me as saying "notice… the collection of writings/songs unquestionably advise the use of instruments," and stated that "advise" and "require" are very different terms. You know what? I was not thinking about that term when I wrote it. Psalms 150:3–5 says:

      Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with tambourine and dancing, praise him with the strings and flute, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.

      If I had thought about how "advise" would have been read, I would have used "commanded" instead.

    168. ClydeSymonette says:

      Hey Price:

      You are a voice of sanity brother! You have adequately expressed what I have been feeling. thank you.

      Clyde

    169. Kfrank says:

      Tedious indeed. This thead is now over 3 years old and I don't remember anyone persuaded in changing their positions. However I have found it eye opening and refreshing that I have found brothers and sisters in Christ that believe as I do and that has given me the freedom and boldness to worship our God in a much more edifying manner.

    170. Jay Guin says:

      Kfrank,

      I would not want to argue the "not tedious" side of the case, but I have received private emails from individuals who have been persuaded from "IM is sin" to "IM is not sin" by the exchange.

      If nothing else, I'd like to think that the level of discourse has been considerably elevated — thanks to thoughtful writing from all sides of the issue.

      Personally, though, I'm through with the IM issue for now. I'm about to start a series on worship, but it's not a proxy for the IM/AC debate. It'll be about the same issues that nearly all denominations are wrestling with.

    171. Doug says:

      Jay,

      I've only been reading your blog for a short time but I have learned a lot from you and the others who post here. And while I find the non-IM vs. IM discussion tedious, it is likely because of my former background in the Independent Christian Church. The discussion has opened my eyes to the background of those raised in the Church of Christ. I understand their struggle with the changes they see going on the the Church of Christ better as a result of these discussions.

      I would just say if people really want to understand more about worship with IM, they should spend some time worshipping in that manner. Not just a quick in and out to say "I been there and done that" but enough time to get to know those that worship in that tradition. I think many in the Church of Christ would be surprised at what they would learn and experience if they could could bring themselves to that experience. And, I think the only thing that holds many back from that experience is they fear they would never be looked at in the same way by their CofC brethern….and that is sad!

      What I have experienced the last several winters while worshipping with an IM congregation is a group of people who have experienced life changing conversions. Their conversions have been obvious to their friends and they have resulted in more and more conversions. They are living for and in Jesus and the effect on this congregation has been infectious. The congregation has grown from around 300 Average Sunday Attendance to over 750 in just a few years. It's just fun to be in a congregation that is growing both spiritually and numerically. My non-IM congregation hasn't grown numerically in 25 years. I suspect that this is at least part of the rationale behind the change at Richland Hills… they want to convert people, to change people, to experience exuberent growth.

      Peace to all….

    172. Bruce Morton says:

      Doug:
      Here is a further input into all of the IM discussion for you to consider. I have two young Baptist friends at growing churches. Certainly, IM fits our society better than a cappella. IM is everywhere. Correct? No question and it is likely that numerical growth will happen more in IM religious groups than in a cappella groups in our day. After all, candidly a cappella requires an action on our part — an action of singing that is less comfortable in our day. But one consequence? Both young friends have shared that in summary the unified action of congregational song has all but disappeared from where they worship. Paul's one-another teaching in Ephesians 5:18-21 is virtually lost in those groups. I know Jay and others do not want to acknowledge that such happens. But it is not a surprise, given the role of the choir and the presence of the band/orchestra and given our society.

      I have appreciated the candor of young Baptist friends. They indicated that they experienced something singing with an acappella group that they liked (and I think longed for… hmmm). Strange isn't it. What Jay and others seem to want with passion for missional and other reasons in this weblog is what seems to others to bring a vacuum over time.

      So, no issues from the demise of congregational song in the name of numerical growth? All is well with such an approach and decision?

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    173. HistoryGuy says:

      Clyde,
      Thank you for the clarification and affirmation of your position on 03/12 & 03/13 that psalmos requires IM, but hymns are IM/AC optional.

      How would you explain the singing of the Last Supper in Mt 26:30?
      During Passover, the Hallel [psalmos 113-118] were sung with IM at the Temple, but sung AC in the family setting that night [scholars and Talmud will attest to this]. While Mt. 26:30 says Jesus sang a hymn, we know that the hymn that Jesus sang was psalmos 113-118. Further, in keeping Jewish Passover custom the night of the Last Supper, Jesus sang the Hallel psalmos AC.

      To be clear as to what my struggle is regarding your view:
      Mt. 26:30 not only uses hymn to synonymously describe the singing of psalmos, but the singing of psalmos in a setting that every original Jewish reader knew was AC. Are you sure that psalmos "requires/demands" IM?

      Also, you seemed to focus on psalmos in Eph. 5:19 & Col. 3:16, but did not cite Paul’s usage of psalmos in 1 Cor. 14:26. When you examine (1 Cor. 14:15, 26) do you consider the psalmos of v26 to be OT only, or does psalmos include both OT psalmos and inspired NT songs, like those of v15?

      I hope this is clear and short so that you don't have to write 500 words [ha ha].

    174. Price says:

      History Guy…Question regarding I Cor 14:26…do you believe that the construction of the sentence suggests that Paul actually believed that EVERYONE in the Corinthian church was wanting to individually sing a separate Psalm? It almost seems to be a sarcastic question he raises to point out the absurdity of everyone wanting to teach or prophesy or sing or take some other public role all at the same time.. But perhaps the language does indeed suggest that Paul believed that EVERYONE wanted sing a separate song..Seems odd but I'm no Greek expert..

    175. Price says:

      H.G…your question to Clyde was very interesting regarding the Hallel singing at the Passover dinner… I looked up some references and my limited understanding of it all prompts another question to you and perhaps to Clyde as well…

      The Hallel as you correctly mentioned is a series of chapters from the book of Psalms…113-118… The Hebrew word of Hymn is supposedly "Tehillah" (Strong's 8146) developed from the Hebrew word Halal…. Is it possible that when the writters recorded that Jesus sang a "Hymn" what they intended to indicate is WHAT they sang, not how they sang it ? To clarify my question…Was the word HYMN meant to direct the reader to understand that Jesus and the Disciples were singing the Hallel, rather than indicating that they were singing without instruments ??

    176. Doug says:

      Bruce,

      I hear you loud and clear and in fact, I have witnessed some of this in the Church I have attended this winter (a IM Church with a praise band). Sometimes, I look around and am dismayed by how many people are just listening to the music. But, other times the spirit moves through the congregations and they really sing and lift hands up and yes… even dance. It just seems to happen and when it does, it is really something.

      I should add that when I led acapella singing at my non-winter Church, I also was a liitle surprised at how many people in the congregation were not singing. Some looked downright stricken!

      I guess what I am saying is when it comes to Church congregations, one size might not fit all.

    177. Bruce Morton says:

      Doug:
      You have highlighted one of the dominant issues in our day… and how it affects our worship in music. (As I have noted in this weblog previously) Paul's teaching in Ephesians 5:18-21 is set against the background of a spiritual siege (hence the parallel with Ephesians 5:11). In this country I grow more convinced the idea of such a siege is mere words to a growing number of people.

      And it shows in how they see the one-another teaching in Ephesians 5:18-21. I continue believe that a unified commitment to congregational song reveals people who see no need for instrumental music. They do not even miss it. But the reality that people do not sing urges leaders to figure out how to cover over the mumbling or quiet with something.

      The issue, as you have described well, goes much deeper than IM or AC. It reaches to the context of Ephesians 5:18-21 and Paul's overarching look at the power of darkness. Start with that and we will see with greater clarity why he writes what he writes in Ephesians 5:18-21.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    178. HistoryGuy says:

      Price,
      I fear that if I respond, I will interrupt the good Q&A that Clyde and I have going. It is not yet my turn to give my view [ha ha]. If you give me an email address or email me at historyguy007+yahoo.com, I am happy to send you my response, including words, word families, and the passages. Once Clyde responds, I will post the results of my study here, for comparison. In the meantime, I can answer part of the 1 Cor. 14:26 question and clarify your question on why I mentioned psalmos IM/AC.

      In I Cor. 14:26, you are asking about who had a psalmos (v26) and/or psallo (v15), while Clyde and I are discussing the definition and use of psalmos. I will avoid definitions until Clyde responds, but will say that Paul’s application was very serious (v37), and not sarcastic. Paul is giving apostolic instructions to "everyone" [who has something to bring to the assembly] due to the abundance of spiritual gifts in the Corinthian church.

      Clyde’s position is that psalmos "requires/demands" IM, but hymns are IM/AC optional. I cannot answer your questions without defending my questions for Clyde, which would be unfair to Clyde. If I am going to state my position before he is finished stating his, then I should NOT ask him questions [ha ha].

      However, I can clarify two points for you tonight
      (1) Regarding Mt. 26:30, I did NOT say the word hymn or psalmos means AC, nor have I stated my position about the words.
      (2) Hymn indicates they sang, but the Jewish audience knew and preserved the historical setting of Passover, which reveals WHAT Jesus sang [Psalms 113-118], WHEN they sang [at Temple & private], and HOW they sang > psalmos with IM at the Temple and psalmos AC at home that evening as they ate the lamb [Last Supper].

      I hope this helps for the moment. If not, send me an email while we are waiting on Clyde to respond to my post 03/17/11 3:14 AM. Again, after Clyde responds I will post my view.

      Grace and peace-

    179. ClydeSymonette says:

      HG

      I acknowledge your post my friend, but I'm unable to respond at this moment.

      The answer, however, is quite simple; my post regarding the reference to psalms as hymns explains it.

      I will post a response late Monday evening/early Tuesday (Lord willing)

    180. Canberramitchells says:

      I’m so glad I got my wife and kids out of the the CoC! I was caught up on all this as well. For 20 years I wrestled with the CoC doctrine, trying to understand why it always seemed to leave me feeling a little bit sick, like someone was trying to get out of facing reality. Eventually I realised that the whole rules based approach is at fault in the new covenant of freedom in Christ. The idea that God wants us to recreate or copy a law of religious practises where he hides convoluted teaching in biblical text to struggling early churches. The presupposing that we are meant to get into a first century pattern for an hour or so a week, and go on a sort of easter egg hunt through the bible in order to figure out the correct practices to copy for the magic hour. Its the man made pattern idea that is the core fault with the CoC creed. Then it’s multiplied and compounded with silliness’s like saying we are not a sect or denomination or we have no creed. Don’t be gullible or persist in brain washing each other – strive for honesty and integrity – get independent assessment of how the creed looks to others, examine its intellectual quality and integrity. The CoC is surely one of the most sectarian organisations around, even challenging the Church of Rome for the claim to be the one true church with rules that if you leave the CoC you are leaving God! – not only sectarian but a bit cult-like. There are good people in the CoC please don’t abuse them with such doctrine – test your creed books against other people’s ideas – listen to others – learn the weightier matters and consider if God wants us to spend our time arguing about aids in how we conduct our meetings. The musical instruments argument is a fear of shadows argument – its not there but its still a fear that it might be. We are told to sing Psalms in both the old and new testament and the Psalms themselves call for instruments. Its such a dodgy doctrine – show your creed and its proof texts to a person who has no background in all this as ask them do they consider it allows instruments in rock music at home but only song books and video projectors in your meetings. If they look at you like you’re off the planet consider the possibility that they are right.
      What if Jesus instead actually wants us to go into the world and be an agent of good! What if church meetings aren’t the key thing but just an input, like way of getting equipped and refreshed. What if the CoC teaching is false and presupposes a man made creed of first century pattern worship?

    181. HistoryGuy says:

      Clyde,
      No pressure! I understand the time issue. I hope my post with Price did not muddle my two or three quick questions for you. My primary question is how your view that psalmos requires IM can explain Jesus singing psalmos 113-118 "without" IM.

      Secondary questions pertained to other matters in Mt. 26:30 and 1 Cor. 14:26, which are all in my previous post directed toward you. I reviewed your previous posts, but I still don’t understand how you harmonize these matters. Take your time to respond (really). This is our hobby, not your work (lol). Send me an email to let me know when you respond (please).

    182. Price says:

      H.G… Thanks for the “side bar”..lol Since I don’t get all bent out of shape about how someone chooses to worship God, I really do enjoy the back and forth instead of being frustrated by it… As long as it’s in a spirit of friendly debate. Appreciate all you guys and your willingness to share what you’ve learned…no matter how far from my opinion (and the truth) you stray…LOL

    183. Bruce Morton says:

      Canberramitchells:
      I am not going to respond to all that you write at this time. But I will note that what you write below is simply not correct:

      "We are told to sing Psalms in both the old and new testament and the Psalms themselves call for instruments."

      Note: Not all the Psalms were even sung with instruments by the Hebrews.

      And as one who has spent some time looking at Ephesians 5:18-21, let me ask that you see the positive teaching by Paul as other than a "fear of shadows." The matter of congregational song is dying in America; that is a fact, which Baptist friends of mine have announced clearly to me. And they have acknowledged that vocal music only congregational worship represents a good encouragement to all to sing! What a thought. I am not convinced that urging congregational song is such a terrible thing (especially since the apostle to the Gentiles was encouraging it :-). I will leave you with that for now.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      East Fifth Street church of Christ
      Katy, Texas

    184. Canberramitchells says:

      Bruce, Yep, not all worship practises of the Hebrews were to the same pattern. In fact I think God was calling for innovation not pattern worship when he inspired Psalm 150: “Praise him with the sounding of the trumpet, praise him with the harp and lyre, praise him with timbrel and dancing, praise him with the strings and pipe, praise him with the clash of cymbals, praise him with resounding cymbals.”
      Not sure what you are saying is wrong with my point? do you think that this Psalm does not call for musical instruments? or that it is excluded from the Psalms? or do you mean that we are to sing it but not mean what we say. Like swearing by the gold on the temple; that we are to cry out for instruments and innovation in our worship but not mean it and in fact condemn our own words?
      I think (1) we are told to sing Psalms in both the old and new testament (2) and the Psalms themselves call for instruments. Which bit don’t you get – if you mean not all Psalms call for musical instruments then yes – I agree you can sing with or without instruments just as you are allowed to sing without other supporting tools eg song sheets. If that is what you mean then I agree it is ok either way. You would agree that it is ok to call for a doctor and use medicine if someone in the church is sick rather than be limited to calling for an elders and the laying on of hands?
      What is not ok is condemning people who see the freedom or belittling those who are immature in their understanding. My point wasn’t actually to argue about these things but to call for a step up to something better – the weightier matters. Do you think God is really excited to look at churches spending years arguing about these convolutions of swearing by the gold on the temple or do you think he is after more important thing of justice and mercy?

    185. Bruce Morton says:

      Canberramitchell:
      First, let me confirm that I am not in the “condemning” business; I leave the final judging to the Lord. But that is different from a focus on apostolic teaching (which is my goal and the goal of many within churches of Christ — and Independent Christian churches, Baptist churches and many others; a good goal, to my mind).

      As to psalmos (Gk.), let me point you to an excellent article in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (vol. 8) that corrects the broadly-believed conclusion you mention. It notes that the word use in the NT and Judaism of the time does not automatically include singing with instruments. Indeed the Jewish Therapeutae worshipped without instruments in all the Psalms they sang and they urged the practice by all.

      If you look back into some previous posts, you will see that I have a somewhat different view of Ephesians 5:18-21 than some/most. I see song as indeed part of the weightier matters as one of the “one-another” teachings by Paul in Ephesians. And when we look at the parallel between Ephesians 5:11 and 5:18-21, then we begin to see just how weighty is this teaching. Paul’s focus is on song as one means to address a spiritual siege. I believe one of the reasons many wrestle with the matter of congregational song is related to the broad American struggle about the reality of spiritual darkness that surrounds us.

      I realize that all of this becomes a freedom versus “everyone doing the same thing” issue for many. But Paul does not start where Americans often start in his teaching. There’s more, but trying to keep brief for you/et.al.

      I understand you do not want to discuss this more. I am the author of a publication by 21st Century Christian (Nashville, TN, 2009) that looks at Ephesians 5:18-21 and the context a bit. I will offer to send a copy as a gift. If an interest you can email me at MortonBLSL7 at earthlink dot net.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    186. Randall says:

      @ Canberramitchells,
      Perhaps there are more than a few in the CofC that do have the insight into what others mean by the term "weightier matters." I suspect that if many in other denominations were to read this blog they might find little of interest. However, Jay makes it clear that "This site is dedicated to members of the Churches of Christ searching for a deeper understanding of God's grace, the Holy Spirit, and more." So I guess it is only natural that the focus is on issues that may be unique interest to the CofC.
      Hesed,
      Randall

    187. Canberramitchells says:

      So Bruce you are agreeing? that
      (1) We are told to sing Psalms in both the old and new testament; and
      (2) the Psalms (eg Psalm 150) themselves call for instruments.
      but you make the statement that it is simply not true to write: "We are told to sing Psalms in both the old and new testament and the Psalms themselves call for instruments"

      Is the basis for my error the casual linking of these two phrases? Is that an unsubstantiated or unreasonable inference or is it that you wrote an article saying sometimes Psalms have been sung without instruments? I would love to read it one day but please take it as read that I agree. In fact I have personally experience of this fact, having heard them sung myself both ways, but I would need to understand your point relating to this topic. I'm struggling to find the thing that is simply not true.

      I understand Randall's point that if the CoC defines musical instruments as a weighty matter in their creed then it becomes of interest to those who hold them the CoC creed as infallible; although I would suggest that this may be a circular argument. It has used for kitchens in buildings and similar circular convolutions.

      However these matters of worship practise auxiliary support tools used a few minutes a week don't seem to be listed amongst the more important things that Jesus mentioned, although perhaps there could have been some small manuscript errors or deletions of kitchens and musical instruments from the Gospels? Do you think they fit the model that Jesus was describing as more important? or perhaps the exact opposite? Do you think it was so weighty it couldn't actually be simply stated?

      Could it be that the response of it's really a weighty matter is more likely CoC paranoia chasing its tail in fear of shadows? Do you think Jesus wants worship to be innovating and exciting like in Psalm 150?

      Could you tell me the error you are fixing for me?

      ahh, Now I'm getting caught up in it again.
      cheers and God bless :)

    188. Bruce Morton says:

      Canberramitchell:
      To clarify, it is incorrect to conclude that apostolic teaching that encourages singing the Psalms therefore requires the use of instruments. That is why I directed you to the TDNT (vol. 8) article. It summarizes well all of this area. The Jewish Therapeutae are an example of singing Psalms without instruments in the apostolic period.

      The weighty matter I am highlighting in all of this is the one-another teaching in Ephesians 5:18-21. It represents a specific outworking of love, similar to the other one-another teachings in Ephesians.

      Just trying to be brief for you as know you probably want to consider this wrapped up.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    189. Canberramitchells says:

      Thanks it sounds like we agree; the Psalms (eg 150) call for musical instruments and oppose pattern based worship but these things are not a requirement – either way.

      As for the weighty matters argument, you're being sarcastic and joking right? You're not telling me you can't understand the difference between Jesus emphasis and the mint and cumin representations. Tell me you can distinguish representational religious practices in worship from the more important things that God wants. "I desire mercy not sacrifice" ring a bell? – also both old and new testament and quoted by Jesus. Are kitchens in the right place the way of representing our righteousness also more important weighty matters. The things he most wants in our impact on the world – the result of the depth of caring and love for the world? I think Jesus constantly opposes this thinking then and now.

      Good luck with your ways and I know that we are all wrong on so many matters but also lets allow ourself to drop creeds that don't hang together rather than reinforce them with arguments that undermine the more important and Godly messages of Jesus, replacing the purity of his core message with a recreated law of repeating representational practices. I think swallowing these camels whilst straining gnats is counterproductive.

    190. Bruce Morton says:

      Canberramitchell:
      I think we are not connecting well via this initial weblog conversation — and the conclusions you have reached about what I am saying. That happens easily in a weblog. So, decided to tackle in a further note and leave you to consider.

      No, I am not being sarcastic. The weightier matter of love gets applied by the risen Lord in multiple ways in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. That is my focus in these interactions with you. And yes, I believe much of the believing world is ignoring the "one-another" teaching in Ephesians 5:18 — and therefore the counsel to love in song that the risen Lord desires us to show. The listening only that is happening in some/many churches in the nation represents just as much a weighty matter ignored as when we do not care for the physical needs of others. Paul is directing us to one way we need to care for the spiritual needs of those around us.

      Two young Baptist friends have been candid with me re where they worship. They have noted that the choir and band are pragmatically aiding in the demise of congregational song. I believe they are correct.

      My offer in the above note still goes, if an interest.

      In Christ,
      Bruce Morton
      Katy, Texas

    191. aBasnar says:

      …do you believe that the construction of the sentence suggests that Paul actually believed that EVERYONE in the Corinthian church was wanting to individually sing a separate Psalm? It almost seems to be a sarcastic question he raises to point out the absurdity of everyone wanting to teach or prophesy or sing or take some other public role all at the same time. …

      I sometimes have the imüpression that whenever Paul or Jesus say something that does not fit our convictions and practice we think they must have been kidding, sarcastic or "ironic" (as Jay put it in the context of Christ instisting on obeying His commands [plural]).

      But if you read

      a) the whole paragraph (or the whole chapter – or even chapters 11 through 14) you will notice that an early Christian assembly was open to mutual participation. So indeed each one could present a Psalm. In fact it could be either a solo or a suggestion for congregational singing (as is clear from the ECF, esp. Tertullian and Clement of Alexandria who gove the most detailed descriptions of a "love feast"). The same is true for prophecy, prayer and other words of edification. The only limitation to this is that sisters are not allowed to teach – but the silence in 1Co 14:34 was never meant to be absolute (as you see in 1Co 11:2-16).

      And if you read

      b) Col 3:16 and Eph 5:18-19 you will notice the phrases "speak to ione another" and "teach one another". This, again is pointing to mutual edification through the various gifts of the Spirit.

      So, what I find "ironic" is that so called "Bible Believing" Churches defend their own man-made traditions as if they were biblical by making the words of Scripture sound "sarcastic". And those who claim to be a "fully restored NT church" and only have a handful of brothers lead a congregation in worship are truly kidding ….

      Alexander

    192. Price says:

      Alexander, not sure what you point was. I simply asked a question. Then you answered a question I asked of History Guy by suggesting that…"The only limitation to this is that sisters are not allowed to teach" which in matter of fact is incorrect. The verses following 26 speak to an obvious problem of those that had a song, had a prophecy or wanted to speak in a tongue, doing it all at the same time…Chaos was a result. Paul gives them instruction (limitation) as to how to go about doing it in proper order and emphasizes his instruction by saying that God is "not the author of confusion" (vs.33)… My question was did Paul simply acknowledge that they were all trying to do what they thought was an act of worship at the same time…and ask them essentially did they really believe they should be doing that in such a way…in light of the subsequent verses which correct the problem I think he was pointing out in vs. 26… Not being an expert in the Greek language I thought it was a fair question.
      Obviously, you wished to make some point which remains obvious only to you.

      Perhaps you could explain how you and perhaps a handful of brothers go about organizing the speaking of tongues which this passage of scripture instructs you not to forbid…in your effort to "fully restore" NT worship. Do you limit words of prohesy ??

    193. abasnar says:

      I think I reacted too strongly to the word "sarcastic" and "absurdity", because it really grieves me that (perhaps not you, but quite many) brush aside biblical examples with such comments.

      But one cannot understand these verses unless you start doing them. And so, from our experience, this is how it can work:

      We start with a prayer and a children devotion, so the kids get attention at the beginning and are being kept busy during the assembly with coloring a picture, while they sit with us around the table. Then a brother would suggest a song, maybe this is followed by another song – sisters may also suggest songs, someone might pray after that or share a concern or good news. A brother will open the scripture for a reading or a (short) teaching; again song or prayer may follow, or he can ask a question and a short discussion will take place. It may be followed by a time of prayer, or another teaching from a different brother, another song, a testimony … after we close this part of our worship after one and a half hours we serve food and break the bread.

      None of this is organized ahead. No brother knows what the others will teach, and still the Spirit guides us and most of the time it fits together remarkably well.

      Our church BTW numbers around 120 souls (kids included), but this is how it is done when we meet in our houses every other sunday. This does not work well in a big assembly, and that's why they still are done in a traditional way. But we do know that this is not how it was at the beginning of Christ's Church. That#s why we changed/reformed/restored our church structure.

      Now if there were someone speaking in a tongue – e.g. Nigerian – he would need to find a translator. Just for clarification: It is my conviction that the gift of tongues still refers to real languages, and "interpreting" the tongues really means translating them. This may be, if God gives this gift – we wouldn't hinder it – but we'd do it according the order put forth by Paul. At the moment no one among us claims to have this gift.

      You are right, that this order is also a limitation, but not in the same sense as I used it concerniung the sisters. I used "limitation" more in the sense of "prohibition".

      But I do stress that what traditional churches do in worship has almost no resemblance to the "pattern". And I have heard it more than once that some brush aside this text in 1Co 14 as being "ironic" in order to justify their traditions. The better way would be to examine ourselves whether what we do really is what God wants us to do.

      Alexander

    194. Clyde Symonette says:

      HistoryGuy:

      Good morning brother. I'm sorry about the delay. I was invited as a guest speaker to address a very conservative congregation on a dicey subject (not instruments). I did so successfully on Sunday past. In my final preparation, I did not want to be distracted with other things.

      In a previous post, I wrote:

      Now allow me to clarify what you read as a contradiction – though in fact it is not. My response to Bruce is that I agree that GREEK-SPEAKING JUDAISM (Philo for one) appears to have used “psalms” and “hymns” as synonyms since they often referred to OT psalms as hymns (Philo uses hymnos regularly for the OT Psalms and Josephus also calls the songs of the OT hymnoi. Why? Because “hymn” was native to the Greek language.

      You said, "During Passover, the Hallel [psalmos 113-118] were sung with IM at the Temple, but sung AC in the family setting that night [scholars and Talmud will attest to this]." The scholars and the Talmud may be correct. Note that the author of Matthew 26:30 refers to the singing (perhaps AC) of the words of a psalm (as per Jewish tradition) as a "hymn." Price is correct: the reference to Jesus and his disciples singing a “Hymn” indicates WHAT they sang. They sang a song of PRAISE. By definition a hymn is a song of praise (as is a psalm). The hymn however, could be sung with or without instruments. Pulling out references to songs of praise (AC/IM) as "hymns" only supports my view. What should debate are those references to non-instrumental singing as "psalms."

      Regarding the Jewish tradition of singing songs of praise without instruments; as I have argued, this practice began in Exile and continued even into the synagogues. God promised the restoration of Israel's praise in the New Covenant.

    195. Royce Ogle says:

      The oddity in these comments is the pretense that it is impossible for brothers and sisters to have the same "one-another" dynamic with each other if singing is done with instruments as if the singing were a cappella. It just isn't true. It is easy to cite examples for one view or the other. I think some common horse sense is all that is needed to make the case.

      The utter shallowness of the traditional point of view is that in the oft cited Ephesians passage almost all of the emphasis is on singing and the command to be filled with the Spirit is all but ignored.

    196. abasnar says:

      I think the "one another" was a bit off-topic. This (indeed) has nothing to do with a-cappella, more with stage/pulpit/pews vs. a table to sit around.

      Alexander

    197. Kent Gatewood says:

      What is the status of vocal singing at Richland? Quail has followed Richland's example, and our vocal singing service has done another step down to around 100.

      Since it has gotten to be such a low number, I should ask the others about their plans and morale.

      It can be daunting being in a room that once could have held 2000.

    198. Price says:

      Alexander… I wasn't being coy with the scripture…I really wanted to know if Paul was asking them in the today's vernacular…"Are you kidding me…you ALL want to do what each of you want to do AT THE SAME TIME !!" It seemed to me that the verses following instructed them as to how it should be done properly in contrast to verse 26… That's all. Not trying to make any other point. Just a question directed to somebody that I thought had some background in the Greek language…

      I don't get tongues… wish I did.. but I don't.. so I have no idea what Paul is talking about when he says that he can pray with understanding and pray without understanding…I have no idea what the tongues of angels would sound like or how one might interpret it… I have seen enough to allow me to believe that the Holy Spirit is still very much involved with His people so I try not to judge things that I don't understand.. I'll let God handle that…

      One question for you…if Paul says that we should teach each other through our singing…Does that prohibit women from singing if the singing teaches ?? What if she sings a solo..is she then not teaching by herself ? If not, why not.. Again, I don't anticipate your answer and I'm not trying to stir up trouble…just trying to understand your position on women teaching however, this post might not be the best place to ask that question so feel free to disregard.

    199. abasnar says:

      In my understanding there is no problem with sisters singing – in fact not even the strictest church of Christ forbids women to sing based on 1Co 14:34. As well, someteimes there is "special music/singing" in the church, where someone sings a solo forthe edification of a congregation. To my knowledge hardly anyone objects to sisters doing this.

      But sometimes we have an understanding of "taking authority" which is a bit weird. If someone is praying we assume he is "leading" the church in prayer. This might be the case in a setting where prayers are only offered from the pulpit/stage. But when we have atime of prayer-fellowship there is no one "leading", but we all pray.

      The same is true for teaching. Not all teaching is authoritative in the sense of "binding" for the church. In fact we cannot draw a clear line between prophecy and teaching. But we can see a distinction between the two ore three prophets (part of the church leadership) who shall have time to speak and the allowance for all to prophesy.

      Applied to singing, I'd say it is not on an authoritative level, even though it is or may contain doctrine.

      Alexander

    200. Alabama John says:

      When we have a woman teacher of an adult class with both men and women in it, I asked her to hum a little as she teaches or speak in a tune so it would be scriptural.

      Ridiculous isn't it!

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