As before, I’ve edited out portions of Robert’s comment from yesterday, not out of lack of respect, but to simplify the reading. And I’m not going to respond to arguments I’ve already responded to. And this discussion is not about the sinfulness of instrumental music; it’s about whether such a sin damns. Hence, I’ll not address those arguments. The full text of Robert’s post may be found in a comment under Part 5.
<snipped presentation of familiar arguments for the sinfulness of instrumental music in worship>
This attitude leads to the conclusion that instrumental music is a perversion or corruption of New Testament worship, and I will not openly fellowship those who promote it. Whatever is sinful is a barrier to fellowship with God.
If you mean what you just said, you’ve denied all grace. We all sin. Yes, sin is a barrier, but a barrier that’s been removed by the blood of Jesus. Otherwise, we would all be damned. I mean — do you seriously contend that you cannot fellowship those who sin? Just who do you fellowship?
<more arguments previously made>
I agree completely when Dr. North goes on to write concerning the issue of fellowship: “Should those who oppose the use of instruments, then, extend their fellowship to those who do? Fellowship implies approval.
I’m sorry, but everyone with whom I’m in fellowship is a sinner. Fellowship implies that I consider them saved by grace — not that I consider them perfect. Do I approve their sin? No. Neither does God. But he’s in fellowship with them, and so am I.
(Rom 3:23-24) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
In 1 Corinthians 5, Paul addresses the question of fellowship with the man who has his father’s wife. He says that even the pagans do not approve of such behavior. For the Corinthians to continue to fellowship him would be to send a message of approval for something even pagans condemn. Paul then commands them to withdraw from him.
You will notice that this is not a good faith doctrinal dispute, but a very wrongful celebration of an abuse of grace to willfully sin. Of course, Paul opposed all willful sin. You see, as taught very plainly in Heb 10:26 ff, willfully continuing to sin can cause us to fall away. When we see a brother on the path toward such destruction, we take desperate steps to rescue him — even removing him from our fellowship in hopes of bringing him to repentance before it’s too late. The goal is repentance, and hence the problem being solved is impenitence.
Paul also writes in 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15 that “if anyone does not obey our instruction in this epistle, take special note of him. Do not associate with him, in order that he may feel ashamed.” To associate with those who have strayed, Paul says, is to send the message of approval of what they do.
The “instruction in this epistle” in context is clearly refusing to work while expecting to be supported by the church. Paul is certainly not saying that we must disfellowship all who sin. And he’s not talking about doctrinal error. He’s talking about rebellion — a hard heart. It’s the same teaching as in 1 Cor 5. Or would you insist that all sinners be disfellowshipped? And if not, which sinners?
In the same way, John tells Christians that if someone “comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take him into your house or welcome him” (2 John 10).
“This teaching” is the incarnation of Jesus. We’ve covered this. As I said before, if this passage applies to all doctrinal error, then we must disfellowship all whom we disagree with on every point — which is surely not what John meant. But you’ve not offered a sensible interpretation, just asserting that this applies to whatever error suits your argument, while refusing to explain how this applies to instrumental music and not to all disagreements.
Again the point is clear, to extend fellowship implies approval. This does not mean, of course, that we can have no contact with such people, but does mean that we do not extend to those who are engaging in a practice which is not in harmony with scripture the same fellowship we would to those who are in such harmony.
So we are back to the beginning. Do we disfellowship all error? Or do we disfellowship only certain kinds of error? And what is the Biblical standard for deciding which error to disfellowship?
It’s obvious that you have no answer. Rather, you pick whatever error is convenient to the result you want and recite those passages that can be read as meaning “all error damns” or “all error must be disfellowshipped,” and you apply the “grace covers error” passages to other errors. It makes the decision of whom to fellowship and whom not entirely subjective, depending solely on which verses you wish to use — making you, not God, the judge. It’s very wrong.
Once again, I urge you to limit your doctrine what you find in the Bible. Until you show from the Bible how you condemn or disfellowship over this doctrine and not that, you are simply making up rules as you go along — and not teaching scripture.
(Mat 15:9) “They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.'”
I’m still waiting on a scriptural argument for why instrumental music damns even those who participate in good faith and yet not all error damns. So far, I’ve only seen references to other writers, history, and tradition — men. And you’ve continued to assert that all error must be disfellowshipped, which is obviously not true.
If those not believing the use of instruments is God’s plan for Christian worship extend full fellowship to those who do, by such fellowship they indicate that they consider the matter of no consequence. For them to extend their fellowship, indeed, is an encouragement to use the instrument. If it makes no difference in fellowship, then it really makes no difference.
So when Jesus ate with sinners he was approving their sin? I’ll follow Jesus’ example rather than your graceless teaching that no error may be fellowshipped.
<snipped arguments previously made and answered>