New Wineskins: And So, In Conclusion

The final article in the issue is now posted, And So, In Conclusion …. This wraps up the series. I hope the series shed some new light on the subject for you.

The complete list is –

Introduction — The Instrumental Music Issue, by Jay Guin

On God’s Salvation, Galatians, and the Instrument, by Jay Guin

“Thy Kingdom Come” and the Instrument, by Jay Guin

The Early Church on Christian Music, by Danny Corbitt

Reconsidering Ephesians 5:19, by Clyde Symonette

Psallo: Lost in the Translation, by Danny Corbitt

Reflective or Regulative, by Al Maxey

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 1

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 2

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 3

An Afternoon with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, Part 4

Reflections on My Interview with Rick Atchley and Chris Seidman, by Jay Guin

David’s Psalms in the New Testament Church, by Clyde Symonnette

Beyond the Pitch Pipe, by Ryan Christian

And So, In Conclusion …, by Jay Guin

Avatar 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.
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133 Responses to New Wineskins: And So, In Conclusion

  1. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    It is disappointing to me that you couch the crossroads as "tradition" versus better serving others. This issue of New Wineskins and your conclusions (and those of others) misrepresent what Paul writes in Ephesians 4:17-5:21 — the parallels, the contrast, and the specific teaching regarding song. It also disappoints me that this issue of New Wineskins elected to not consider the recent research and background information documented in Deceiving Winds (Nashville: 21st Century Christian, 2009).

    Finally, I find it no less than astonishing that the issue failed to see all that Paul sees, guided by the Spirit, as he writes Ephesians. His writing about the crucial character of congregational song as part of the Spirit's unifying work is couched in the broader context of a spiritual war. It is little wonder that many folks struggle to hear the teachings. Given the accuracy of Andrew Delbanco's eye-opening study The Death of Satan, it is likely that the large majority of the nation — including many followers of Jesus — consider "evil" and a spiritual war to be mere language. By that reasoning Paul's teaching indeed sounds like no more than "tradition." I have wondered as I have read this issue of New Wineskins if I am reading the thoughts of brothers who have fully embraced postmodernism and the demise of "evil." If so then the cross of Christ and His victory over "the ruler of the kingdom of the air" (Eph. 2:2) are but "tradition" and mere language too.

    The issue you have edited and contributed to have urged congregations to more of a crossroads than you have seen or proposed.

    I am praying that our fellowship — and beyond — considers what Paul is saying regarding the spiritual dangers and needs of our worship assemblies. Otherwise, we face the very real threat of revisiting Ephesus. And that will not bode well for teaching the Gospel in a postmodern world — where Satan is myth and "evil" is virtually gone. More than ever congregations need to sing to the Lord and to one another and thereby both teach the Scriptures and show a struggling world the meaning of spiritual unity.

    (as posted in New Wineskins)

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  2. Royce Ogle says:

    Thanks Jay. These were some thoughtful and interesting posts but I seriously doubt that anyone changed their view one way or another.

    Bruce, I imagine, (I am not attempting to speak for Jay), that Jay simply disagrees with your conclusions in your book. If so, it would be odd for him to publish your views. I believe that Jay, like myself, agrees on the importance of singing together. We just arrive at that point from different angles.

    As for me, I'm quite tired of the whole IM issue. Our congregation will likely continue to sing A Cappella well into the future and I really don't care if others do or not.

    Royce

  3. Bruce Morton says:

    Royce:
    I do understand that Jay disagrees. But what surprises is that he did not note some of the findings which I will offer are not up for disagreement — and which are new to the discussion. The parallels in the text are clear and have been untouched in all of the commentaries/articles I have read on Ephesians (in the Restoration Movement and much beyond — a good many over 5 years). I think I know why the parallels have not been discussed, but that is unimportant at present.

    The parallels in the text and specifically between Ephesians 5:11 and 5:18-21 note two important messages regarding the text — and that have been rarely discussed. It is the reason why we should see what Paul is saying differently than we see the background of David's personal devotion and the Psalms he wrote.

    I appreciate your kind note. I believe I have said enough here.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  4. aBasnar says:

    For me this whole debate was quote eye-opening, however. Since I came to the churches of Christ rom an (instrumental) Evangelical background only 3 1/2 years ago – in Austria, where there are only three congregations in total – I was surprized about the diversity of the movement in the US.

    In the end you can say: Being a "church of Christ" does not mean anything necessarily. You can be as liberal as any other denomination, or as strict as other groups. Most of the debates therefore resemble other debates in other denominations. The real split is not IM or non IM: It is liberalism vs fundamentalism or (in other words) progressivism vs conservativism. There are clear black and white positions in this ebatesm but also many different shades of grey in between.

    The New Wineskin Issue (as far as I have read it and ebgaged in the discussion) was neither disappointing nor edifying for me. But what I saw is, that the progressive wing (moderate and extreme), psuhes a seemingly minor issue, forcing the conservatives to react to the other extreme. Although, non of the conservatives accused of this "flat reasoning" (Silence = Prohibition) seemed to have engaged in the discussions here. There were a lot of balancd-conservative contributions. But the answers to them were utterly dissatisfying! … Progressives want their MTV, and they'll get their MTV. At any cost.

    But IM is only the tip of the ice-berg. The more I learn about progressive churches of Christ and (especially) the progressive Christian Universities, the more I question the direction this wing of our movement is heading. The Split is NOT about IM or non IM, but about how we read the Bible (part of it just as cultural and not binding any more, or 100% to be followed) and how we realte to the world around us (contextualization vs separation).

    I am just reading Bruce Morton's Book "Deceiving Winds" and I can only say, that this book is very, very important to understand the background of all of this.

    Alexander

  5. Rose Marie says:

    I don't feel qualified to debate the nuances of scripture about this matter. I have grown up in the C of C a capella but no longer see this form of singing as a salvation issue. But what I do observe about the community around me is exactly what Jay described. The rest of the world does not especially like and appreciate a capella singing unless it is also extremely well-performed. I worship with a very small congregation and we are not able to perform at that level every time we meet. The question I asked the leadership at my congregation is: if this is such an important issue – maybe even for salvation – why are we not teaching each other how to perform it well? I have worshipped with congregations in the past where this teaching was considered important. Here I just get blank stares.

  6. aBasnar says:

    … unless it is also extremely well-performed.

    Dear Rose Marie

    That's exactly one of the problems: Worship is not about performance. It is not to be judged by outsiders, but by God. If we had to have good singing vboices in order to worship God, then a huge number of people would be disqualified for worship – this would make a new "clergy-laity" distinction: The new clergy is the professional worship band!

    Think that through, this is pretty close to the heart of the matter.

    May God bless you
    Alexander

  7. aBasnar says:

    Dear Jay

    These will be my final comments on this subject. I am through with it, and you convinced me. Of staying a-cappella with all my heart, mind and strength. The following quotes make me turn away is disbelief, in dismay, in horror, deeply concerned and terrified. This are the softest terms for what I feel; still I’ll comment for the last time in the hope that your eyes may be opened.

    Is the instrument a salvation or fellowship issue?
    Is the instrument sin?
    Is the instrument wise?

    We can add: Is it biblically/historically “proper” or “correct” (without being sin otherwise or even a salvation- or fellowship-issue). I believe in this option. So I don’t “judge” people who don’t understand this topic, because there really is a lot to research and to understand, which most people don’t have the time or the resources. Frankly, I was quite upset by the reasons presented in this New Wineskin issue. There was more wishful thinking than sound scholarship behind them.

    The independent Christian Churches, which are doctrinally very similar to the a cappella Churches of Christ other than the instrument, are growing rapidly. The a cappella Churches of Christ are in numeric decline.

    Isn’t it overly simplistic to say, growth is dependent on instrumental worship? The reasons not to grow may be somewhere else. We are a-cappella and had almost a growth of 10% last year. It is not about instruments, it is about love!

    This is a very human rationalisation, a very pragmatic viewpoint.

    The a cappella Churches of Christ have very few congregations over more than 1,000 members. The independent Christian Churches have far more.

    I don’t believe that Mega Churches are the best model for recreating New-Testament Worship. On the contrary. Again, this reason is no reason at all.

    This also is a very human rationalisation, a very pragmatic viewpoint.

    The largest a cappella Churches of Christ that have added an instrument, such as The Hills (formerly Richland Hills) Church of Christ and Farmers Branch Church of Christ, when they expand to a new campus, offer only instrumental services at their new campuses, because they find their growth coming largely in the instrumental services.

    If you offer the world what the world likes, you can lower the spiritual standards of a church and get in masses of people. Instruments are not the reason for growth! This is a naïve perspective.

    The fastest growing congregations outside of the Restoration Movement offer contemporary instrumental services. They may also offer traditional organ music or traditional hymns with piano, but they’ve all added contemporary instrumental services, because this is where their growth occurs.

    And that’s precisely been one of the reasons I left these denominations. Replace “contemporary” with “worldly” and you understand what I mean. You can get numbers with instruments, but you destroy the nature of God’s church by making their worship <ppeal to humans rather than to God.

    I recently interviewed a leader in church planting among Restoration Movement churches. His organization supports both a cappella and instrumental church plants. I asked whether the choice whether to use the instrument impacts the success of the plant. He listed the most effective, most evangelistic church plants he knew, and they were instrumental.

    This also is a very human rationalisation, a very pragmatic viewpoint

    A cappella music is very much outside the mainstream of American music. You’d struggle to find CDs of a cappella music in the record store. Few people outside the Churches of Christ could name an a cappella singer or composer. Therefore, when a church insists on exclusively a cappella music, it has to defend its unusual taste in music.

    Worship is not to be produced for record stores in the first place. Singing a-cappella is completely natural, because only the minority of people are capable or trained in playing an instrument, but the vast majority can sing (no all very well, but fair enough). If we however follow the world (MTV, charts, radio, disco-music, …) where does this lead our worship? Down the broad way to destruction, Jey! Follow the world and perish with the world! Wake up, brother!!! This is completely the wrong direction!!!

    In the minds of many in the Churches of Christ, a cappella music is a salvation issue. And that attitude is closely tied to the idea that only members of the Churches of Christ will go to heaven. Thus, a cappella music reminds many of the sectarian attitude that we are trying to escape.

    In itself a-cappella is not a salvation issue – but the way you and others plead and urge to “instrumentalize” worship, this may very well lead to damnation. Think about it, PLEEAASE!

    Don’t be afraid of being called a sectarian by those who indulge in worldly pleasures! They are of distorted minds unable to discern black from white! Focus on the narrow path, go out from among them and be separate! You argue for a way of worship that is appealing to the world, in which Satan might delight as well. Don’t say, these words are too strong, Jay! What I read in your conclusion, gave me the creeps!

    Please, wake up, Jay – you are such a fine brother, teacher and student of the world. But here you make a terribly wring turn!

    May the love and wisdom of our gracious Lord be with us all

    Alexander

  8. Aaron says:

    Jay,

    Please keep up the good work. I wish I had your courage to say what needs to be said, or the patience to deal with your detractors. Unfortunately, they still don't see sectarianism for the sin that it is. They won't until they realize that uniformity is not the same thing as unity. So long as they insist on uniformity at the expense of their brothers and sisters in Christ, we will remain divided. That is what Satan truly delights in…a fractured, ineffective body of Christ (not some contrived notion of "worldly" worship music).

    But what do I know? I must just have a "distorted mind."

  9. aBasnar says:

    I think there are two ways of using sectarianism

    a) When we Christians split according to preferences or special doctrines or follow after prominent leaders. In Acts Christians were viewed as a Jewish sect in this sense (just as the Essens, the Sadduzees orthe Pharisees were Jewish sects). Christ wants us to be one. He forbids therefore schisms and calls them sin. …. Triggering the IM debate over and over again IMO is a schismatic act that leads to UNNECESSARY divisions.

    B) Being viewed by outsiders of the faith as a sect. These people have no clue what truth is, they want us to conform to society in general. Everyone who steps out of the mainstream is a sectarian in their view. These are the ones with the distorted minds (according to Eph 4:17-19).

    A lot – an awful lot – has been argued that singing a-cappella is not in line with our contemporary culture. And I objected to this kind of reasoning with passion, because it makes the world and its cvulturte the standard kfor our worship. This cannot be, Aaron! It is as wrong as casting a golden cow (as your name-patron did). For the Israelites it was unthinkable to worship a God without the aid of an image (They even called the cow JHWH!) – and for many among ustoday it is equally unthinkalbe to worship withoutthe aid of instruments. In both instances the argument rests mainly on our contemporary culture.

    And this is an absolutely wrong approach to the whole subject of worship.

    Alexander

  10. Doug says:

    Alexander, what you must realize is that "Triggering the IM debate over and over again" has historically been a major growth producing factor for the Church of Christ. The Church of Christ has raised this issue time and time again as a rallying call to both keep it's membership and draw others, whom they have caused to be afraid to worship with IM lest they go to Hell, to it. It is a fact that this strategy is no longet working for the Church of Christ. It is also a fact that there's no reason to cling to this strategy for biblical reasons. Now, you can stay with this strategy for the rest of your life and experience the decline of this part of the Church of Christ if you wish. Many will undoubtably make that same choice with you. Others, however have began to reject this strategy and have chosen to go another way. There are many reasons why they have made this choice and so far, it has not been a "in your face" decision. If people want to continue their non-IM tradions in a Church that also offers a new IM tradition, they can do so. It is not those that have decided to offer IM services that are being schismatic, nor is it those that have decided to attend the IM services… it is those that rail against IM services and publish full page ads denouncing the inclusion of IM services that are the schismatics.

    IM worship has been around a long, long time and during that time, society and culture has changed quite a bit. I just don't see this as a cultural issue at all. Yes, our young people enjoy IM and desire to worship that way. Is it bowing to society to permit them to worship in the Church Building like they worship outside the Church Building? Do we really want to tell them "No – you can't worship with IM and if you want to go elsewhere just go right ahead but you'll go to Hell if you do?".

    Does the non-IM group really have to have their way on this issue to permit unity within the Church of CHrist?

  11. aBasnar says:

    It seems that you did not get my point, Doug.

    My concern is the kind of reasoning: Instruments by themselves don't produce growth – at least not the kind of growth that we call healthy and spiritual.

    As well as "Fear of damnation" (alone) does not produce a kind of growth that is pleasing to God.

    But following the world, usiong conmtemprary cuilture as an argument, might (or does) lead to growth by lowering standards – this I cannot left uncriticized.

    On the other hand: We do grow (thanks to God) in spite of being an a-cappella church.

    On the other other hand: One of the fasting growing churches in Vienna is a modern/contemporary worshipping church.

    On the other other other hand: Their growth is to a large degree by drawing people from other congregations. And these congregations, that lose these people also are "instrumentalized", but the musicians aren't that good. And the preachers aren't that eloquent …

    So, how shall I interpret this? It is a carnal attitude that majkes people leave from one congregation to another one, because "the music is better there". It is all about selfish preferences, Doug. Clothed in nice words amd statistics about "grwoth" – but I'm not impressed by numbers. I see this one prominent church in Vienna, see the move of Christians from other congregations to this one …

    You have that in the US as well, haven't you? Ask back where the people come from that are numbered in the statistics of growth. We have friends in Colorado, who changed churches quote often seeking the better "worship". These stories and observations make me feel sick, Doug.

    Not IM is a road to hell, but following after carnal preferences and the culture of this present age. There is a fine line between these two. I would not call IM-worshippers sinners per se; but I call this kind of reasoning presented here and on New Wineskins as unsound and dangerous. This is not only disturbing, it is schismatic.

    Alexander

  12. Doug says:

    I think I got your point, Alexander. That's why I said there has been IM in the Church for 1300-1400 years so the connection between culture/society changes and IM Church music is pretty ill defined in my opinion. IM in the Church might never have been an issue if someone (Calvin??) on the non-IM side hadn't raised a red flag and said "oh wait, that early, early church didn't have IM so we need to tear that pipe organ out".

    I think it ironic to walk into the young peoples room at my Church and hear IM blasting (electric guitars, drums, keyboards… the whole 9 yards) thru the sound system but before their worship starts the IM is turned off and the young people begin singing acappella. What in the world is THAT all about?

  13. aBasnar says:

    There has been Music in the churches in the WEST for 1300 years or so.
    The reformers (esp. the Swiss Reformers) objected strongly to music in the church.
    Churches of Christ ar by far not the only ones singing a-cappella. Conservative reformed churches share the same convictions (such as the Free Church of Scotland), conservative Anabaptists, and others … and not to forget the Eastern Orthodox churches … go around the globe: Maybe it's even the majority of Christians that sing a-cappella today.

    But when we speak about music today, there is another issue: It is not only about introducing an organ – it is about a new style of worship altogether: A band playing CCM – and we have to understand that it is in fact not only about instruments, but about "MTV" for Christians. And here it is mainly about "what we like" and "what is appealing to men". This kind of music is anything but neutral.

    You brought an excellent example:

    I think it ironic to walk into the young peoples room at my Church and hear IM blasting (electric guitars, drums, keyboards… the whole 9 yards) thru the sound system but before their worship starts the IM is turned off and the young people begin singing acappella. What in the world is THAT all about?

    Teach the young people NOT to imitate the world, Doug. Turn off the switch, throw out the drum set and electric guitars: This is not appropriate for disciples anyway!

    I thibk I know what you mean: In everyday life we indulge in the entertainment industry of the world, which is created by Satan to make us numb. And on Sunday we think it unfitting to sing a-cappella. Of course this is hypocrisy! Our lives inside and outside the assembly must match. But we don't preach on separation from the world anymore, do we? We don't question the media around us, do we? So our youngsters try to imitate the pop-stars of this age – and even Christian worship-leaders (I read) took part in "American Idol", which is nothing but contemporary idolatry. What made me really sad was to see how many Christians applauded to them!

    I said, this entertainmant industry is created and inspired by Satan to make us numb. Do you still feel anything when I mention this? Or do you just shake your head over my fundamentalistic stubbornness? Please, meditate with these youngsters the following verses:

    1Jn 2:15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
    1Jn 2:16 For all that is in the world–the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions–is not from the Father but is from the world.
    1Jn 2:17 And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever.

    Rom 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

    Eph 2:1 And you were dead in the trespasses and sins
    Eph 2:2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience–
    Eph 2:3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.

    Eph 4:17 Now this I say and testify in the Lord, that you must no longer walk as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their minds.
    Eph 4:18 They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart.
    Eph 4:19 They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.

    Speak to them about the origin of this modern music. Present to them the rebellious attitude of the 60s and 70s, the immoral life-style of the stars, the message of their songs and how this message is underlined, presented and enforced with the kind of music they chose.

    Ask them what to expect from a culture of darkness!
    Ask them whom, they want to imitate. Whom they want to impress.

    We are NOT to follow the things in which the Gentiles delight. Let revelry and debauchery be far from us, and also the kind of music which accompanies and stimulates such disbehavior.

    Challenge the young people to be really different! We are to be like sheep among wolves – we therefore should not be dressed up as wolves, for we are called to be slaughtered. This kind of entertainment however, makes us love the world and makes us no different than the wolves.

    Alexander

  14. Doug says:

    Alexander, with all the evil in the world today, IM seems to be a strange place for the Church to dig in their heels and say "Stop! No more". I mean I see people during worship at my Church texting and browsing the internet on their Iphones or scrolling thru their pictures. What's next? Iphone and non-Iphone services? We should be able to get a good conflict going by banning Iphones from Church.

    I think you have some very definite personal beliefs/feelings about this subject. But, the young people have their beliefs/feelings too. And in the absence of a "Thou Shalt" they should have the freedom to worship as best fits them. There is nothing inherently evil or worldly about an electric guitar.

    As for myself, I don't particularly like Rock & Roll Church music. I worship in that manner several months out of the year tho' and I survive better in it than I do in some poorly singing acappella worship congregations.

    I do like Acoustic worship, acoustic guitars and the like… maybe they are closer to harps? Ha! Peace be to you,,,

  15. Aaron says:

    Alexander,

    I suppose all that I can say is that I disagree. Trying to convince you would be futile, as would be your attempts to convince me. And that's all I have to say on the matter.

  16. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    Let me offer that you have laid out the background for the discussion of IM by your description better than you may have seen. You are correct by "all the evil in the world today" and your observation regarding how much happens in a worship assembly — including Internet surfing.

    My daughter communicated a similar example recently to me. Where she worshipped she watched while two elementary school-age boys played with their video game console (with earbuds in place) during the entire time of song and preaching. She would not judge their heart, but wondered where their minds were.

    We do indeed face a national situation, largely brought about by an indifference to not only spiritual song, but the Word of God. And why? People frequently believe a spiritual war is so much nonsense. And so is Christian faith. Children often see and feel no urgency.

    Paul is confronting a situation not so different, if for different reasons, in Ephesus. And what I find almost universally is that people do not see that. Paul's teaching about song parallels one specific teaching in the broader context of Ephesians 4:17-5:21. Specifically 5:11 and Paul's plea to the Ephesians to expose darkness (as compared to sounding like and acting like the darkness of the Asian cults). He is indeed urging a cappella by his parallels and contrast — though that message gets reduced hearing in our day of digital audio and technological possibilities.

    What we must hear is Paul's reasons. People desperately need to sing Scripture to one another. Children, teens, young adults, the elderly. And the second reason for Paul's teaching: congregational unity. All acting in the same way. All participating.

    Interestingly, the emerging church voice Dan Kimball makes that very point when he urges churches to put the band at the back of the auditorium. He is trying to build unity, but does not see the most powerful expression — the expression that fueled the earliest churches in a Mediterranean world filled with instrumentation. They sang a cappella together.

    Our congregations will grow — internally and externally — far more than we believe when we sing together and do a better job of sharing with people WHY we do what we do. I can vouch for doing both — and the results. The Katy congregation has a youth program of kids that LOVE to sing, and bring many visitors… who stay (one of the visitors put on Christ last week). The teens sing together every Wednesday evening, and it is remarkable how many visitors come, just listen for awhile, and find that 1) they want to come back and 2) they begin to sing more and more themselves… and are drawn to Christ.

    It does not take guitars. It takes the Word of God and the unifying effect of teens and others speaking the Word of God.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  17. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    I decided to place an addendum so that you would know my background re the IM discussion. I am well aware of how the "IM issue" sounds within the Restoration Movement. And that makes it doubly-hard to get folks to relook at Ephesians. But that is my goal. The question represents more than a matter of culture and more than has typically been discussed. I hope you will consider. Glad to discuss further with you one-on-one if an interest.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  18. aBasnar says:

    We have to put Stop Signs somewhere. The problem is, we don't. everything seems permissable, anything goes. Now the discussion is not about keeping the instrument, but adding them (and splitting churches by doing this). This is just another step twowards more worldlyness.

    And I would add: There are quite a number of steps we should take back as well … So, no, IM is not the most important question to deal with. But it is one area where we have to put Stop Signs in order to reverse a process that has been going on far too long already.

    Alexander

  19. aBasnar says:

    I mean I see people during worship at my Church texting and browsing the internet on their Iphones or scrolling thru their pictures.

    If you see them, talk with them. Preach about this if necessary. Exercise discipline where they ask for …

    Alexander

  20. JMF says:

    Everything is permissible…it just may not be beneficial. Therein is a healthy discussion. Otherwise, it is just you being a one-man pastor.

  21. JMF says:

    Doug/Alexander:

    Be careful about being too critical of these iPhone users during worship. After all, they may be like me and several dozen others at my congregation…and they are using the bible app that is ON their iPhone. It would be quite humbling to start lecturing a 12 yr old on his iPhone habits to have him show you that he was indeed reading scripture. We like to critique technology, but consider how amazing of a blessing it is to have teenagers that keep their bible on their phone.

  22. Doug says:

    That would be embarassing… But, in the cases I mentioned I was close enought to see exactly what was on the Smartphone and it wasn't a bible App.

    I guess all of us drift off sometimes during worship. These acts were willful but I'm still not going to jump on someone for doing them as Alexander suggested. That's not my in my job description.

  23. Doug says:

    Bruce and Alexander, I do believe that Spiritual battles are being fought all the time. I also know that while these battles are being fought, Jesus has already won the war and I have nothing to fear. You all may see IM as part of the spiritual war and fear it but I don't… I have too much experience with IM to fear it. My voice has been lifted up to God in both IM and non-IM worship and either way God was glorified.

    Out of respect for my Church and my Church of Christ brothers who serve with me, I lead singing at one particular service in acappella fashion. But, I know without a doubt that the singing would be better and hearts would be lifted higher if I led the singing with my trusty Martin HD28 acoustic guitar. I know this because I have done it many times before and I know that God was praised and glorified when I did it.

  24. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    You misunderstand my post. I do not fear IM or a spiritual war. But I am concerned when people allow experience to outweigh apostolic counsel. That is exactly what Paul is teaching against in Ephesians 4:17-5:21. He is fully aware that the Ephesians feel that their worship is acceptable to God. And it was not. That is not to say that every human experience clashes with God's counsel, but the Spirit through Paul is alerting us to the danger. And the only way we can avoid the danger? Listen to the Word of the Lord — and that includes apostolic teaching. Paul is being clearer about IM in Ephesians 4:17-5:21 than many have suggested.

    Let me highlight that Paul is not talking about our private devotion. He is being guided to counsel Ephesus (and beyond) regarding congregational song. Please give Ephesians 4:17-5:21 another look and specifically the parallelism of 5:11 and 5:18-21. To confirm I would be glad to discuss the text with you.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  25. aBasnar says:

    Jesus has already won the war and I have nothing to fear.

    So there is nothing to lose anymore? Brother, look at the desolation in the churches! Are the schism ar result of Christ's victory or a consequence of Christians not paying attention to the devil's temptations? Or look at the CHriostians entaglöed in sin – are they livin on the basis of Christ's victory, or have they been defeated by the enemy?

    If the battle is already one in this sense that we need not fear (sound very much like: We don't need to worry, nor watch, nor pay attention), then why are we called to fight? Why should we watch out for the enemies burning arrows?

    Alexander

    P.S.: As for the I-Phones: I first said: Talk to them. This can clarify the matter. But if people start playing aroundf in the service that is a serious matter. But also – as your description makes onbvious – using I-phones instead of Bibles is puzzling or even distracting. I would anyway tell them to return to real books, because of this and of practical reasons: You cannot flip back and forth differernt books and chapters with these i-phone-bibles; and you cannot underline texts.

  26. HistoryGuy says:

    Jay,
    I asked you about my Orthodox friends a short time ago (very real). I am sure that you have been asked before, but what is your position about incense with prayer. Incense is discussed in the psalms, and at times accompanied the psalms in the OT, like instrumental music. The New Testament does not have an explicit “thou shall not use incense” and incense is mentioned in Revelation. Essentially, take the standard IM position, remove IM and add incense to complete line of reasoning.

    Does God allow Christians to worship with incense? For example, if a congregation thought it could reach more people by offering incense with prayer and instrumental music with singing, and the whole congregation was in agreement, would you support their decision to add incense, like you support instrumental congregations?

  27. Todd says:

    As with all disputable matters refer to Romans 14&15. The answers are the same whether we discuss incense, IM or buildings and permanent ministers. Enjoy your freedom but love your brother.

  28. Todd says:

    As with all disputable matters refer to Romans 14&15. The answers are the same whether we discuss incense, IM or buildings and permanent ministers. Enjoy your freedom but love your brother.

  29. Doug says:

    The specific kind of behavior that Paul condems in these verses is: Sensuality, greediness, lying, stealing, coarse,bad or foolish talk, bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, malice, obscenity, coarse joking, idolatry, foolishness, drunkeness, and debauchery. If you were to watch and hear me lead music with my acoustic guitar, none of these behaviors is remotely present… none! It is a great stretch of any reasonable man's mind to connect a group of Christians singing in the manner that I lead IM to any of these behaviors. In attempting to justify your position, you are trying to make something that is beautiful into something ugly… and it just is not.

  30. Doug says:

    Exactly, that is why the song services that I lead outside the Church Building are sans IM. For the sake of "some" of my fellow Church members who can't get past the non-IM thing, I forgo what I know would be greatly improved singing and a more spiritual praise and worship time. But, do I have to like it? Maybe it is one of those "count it all joy" things?

  31. Todd says:

    The difficult bit is taking the part of the weaker brother. Seems with all the calls to be mature you can't adopt a permanently weak status on things. At some point you aren't my weaker brother, you are my developmentally challenged brother. Seems like different rules should come into play there. 600 little rules for everything = immaturity. 2 commands (love God, Love everybody else) for all of life = maturity. The rules we debate for Sunday mornings deserve the exact weight the Scripture gives them – very little.

  32. Keith says:

    My objection to your position, alexander, is that it is simply your position. You seem to have assumed or decided that all modern instrumental music is evil, irredeemable, solely the product of self, sex, rebellion and drugs. Because of where you live, you may not be aware that there has been Christian popular music (for better and worse) with broadcast radio stations that play it exclusively for years now in the U.S.

    The current generation of Americans – I think my two kids are fair examples – have no real knowledge or interest in the origins of popular music. They know the songs they like and why they don't like others – because of outrageous language or subject matter. Like you and me at that age, they are only interested in what has become their musical language.

    We don't sing lyrics in Latin in our a cappella services; it would make no sense. It makes no sense to this generation in the U.S. to be singing praise unaccompanied, or to have to do so only on Sundays at church. They can hear it accompanied any time on the radio and sing their hearts out right along with it. I, for one, am not going to tell them to stop or that they're sinning if they do, or even just that they're being disrespectful to church history.

    Just as the apostle Paul engaged the culture of Athens with a compliment about their religious fastidiousness and used it as an opportunity to engage them with the truth, I would prefer to engage current culture where it is and share the gospel … rather than argue about the merits of musical instruments in order to perpetuate a disagreement that has being going on for far too many years already.

    Love does not insist on its own way, and frankly, harping on instruments or a cappella praise sounds like insisting on our own way to folks with little or no exposure to the story of Christ. They seem to know instinctively that insisting on our own way isn't love, isn't right, and isn't Christ-like.

    ~ Keith Brenton

  33. Larry Cheek says:

    I have a challenge for any and all posters here. Can anyone find documentation from within or out of scripture that the Jews in the Temple during the time of Jesus and the apostles and their worshiping there, had quit using the instruments that were set in place by King David, and reproduced in detail as each new Temple was dedicated. Larry Cheek

  34. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    I appreciate your comment regarding sensuality;" it is indeed the central issue Paul is addressing. But it was not just tied to the list you give. And that is the key here. It was tied inseparably to the instrumentation of the cults — not just by Paul, but by other writers of the time as well. That is why he contrasts "debauchery" with song. For example, the cults used drums — long instances of drum music — to build deep emotional experiences (trances). The trances fueled the cults. People believed they were being drawn close to deity. Similar to the arguments we make in our day that people are going to be lifted "higher" by including the music from an acoustic guitar.

    Do you think the vast display of instrumental music in the Asian cults was considered ugly either? No, not by the cults. It was skilled and deeply moving. Indeed, the evidence from ancient inscriptions reveals that the Dionysus cult was especially popular in the Mediterranean world. Its music and theatrical production (mixed with some wine) made for powerful worship experiences.

    So, why does Paul even bring up song? What is with his concern with music? Why does he include the subject of music in the list of clear sensual dangers? What gives?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  35. Bruce Morton says:

    Keith:
    I am not answering for Alexander, but I do want to highlight a thought. We struggle to make sense of the "ethics argument" Paul is making in Ephesians 5:18-21. It just makes no sense to many… so we toss it. We judge it to be cultural.

    And certainly IM is not inherently evil. The Lord used such in Temple Worship. And David used such. And by the guidance of the Spirit, Paul is not addressing private devotion in Ephesians. He is talking about congregational assemblies and worship.

    I see Jay's comment in his Ephesians 5:18-21, Part 2 study that shows he sees the parallels and the contrasts in the text and sees how Paul was probably indeed addressing the sound of the cults. So, I think folks are getting hold of the text. But Jay's point now sounds much like what I frequently hear. Okay, so Paul is talking about the cults. But our situation is different. And I hear some of that in your post.

    So, gathering up the above pieces, let me offer something for consideration by the weblog participants. I believe what we are seeing in the Ephesian letter is nothing less than the Spirit guiding the Lord's people as the Gospel moves into the Gentile world. There is a lot in that thought, but that is the sum of it. Change is happening in Ephesians. Congregational Christian worship is to be simple and didactic. It is to be different — as it depends on the Spirit's power.

    Indeed, many of us probably struggle with the IM discussion because of the decline of simple song — in our homes and in our schools. That is one of the key losses in the U.S., according to numerous vocal music journals/bulletins I have read of late. And many educators are growing VERY concerned about the loss. I agree with them — for more than just social reasons.

    For me the "IM issue" will probably never become a wearying one — because I have now heard too many voices beyond the Restoration Movement saying the same thing. The loss of song — simple song — represents a grave national danger. That and Paul's powerful simplicity in Ephesians have made me sit up and take notice in my own singing in assemblies. It is where we preach the Word together as a group!

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  36. aBasnar says:

    I don’t know of any “documentation” other than the practice of the church of the 2nd century on to the middle ages and beyond. But there is a “common-sense”-approach to your question, too:

    The instruments in the temple were in the hands of chosen Levite families. You could not go into the temple and bring your guitar along. The 1st Christian Church in Jerusalem met in the temple, and they also circumcized their boys and followed the whole Law of Moses (boy, I’d love to hear someone of us protest against this!). This also means: When they met in their homes after temple worship, in order to have a meal together, to break the bread and to worship again, they had to do it a-cappella. The instruments belonged to the Levites in the temple.

    Alexander

  37. aBasnar says:

    I don’t know of any “documentation” other than the practice of the church of the 2nd century on to the middle ages and beyond. But there is a “common-sense”-approach to your question, too:

    The instruments in the temple were in the hands of chosen Levite families. You could not go into the temple and bring your guitar along. The 1st Christian Church in Jerusalem met in the temple, and they also circumcized their boys and followed the whole Law of Moses (boy, I’d love to hear someone of us protest against this!). This also means: When they met in their homes after temple worship, in order to have a meal together, to break the bread and to worship again, they had to do it a-cappella. The instruments belonged to the Levites in the temple.

    Alexander

  38. aBasnar says:

    The rules we debate for Sunday mornings deserve the exact weight the Scripture gives them – very little.

    … but still to be followed. "Teach them to obey ALL I have commanded" (Mat 28:20). To ignore one the very least of the comemmndments is not a sign of maturity (Mat 5:19). So we should be diligent in the minors but focus at the biggies at the dame time (Mat 23:23).

    Since the order of worship has been addressed in the letters – esp. 1Co and 1Ti – they are not to be regarded as minors. IM might be a minor issue in these regulations, but still there is a right and a wrong in this, we should be willing to discover, to accept and to do. Yet when I look at what else we ignore from the instructions concerning a worship-assemly, then there is so much to do, that we could put IM further down the list:

    a) Eating a real meal together
    b) Each one has a Psalm, a prophecy, a contribution for mutual edification
    c) Spiritual gifts are welcome! Do everything in love.
    d) A teaching shall be open to questtions (by the brothers – women should ask their husbands)
    e) Headcovering for women
    f) closed communion only for baptized Christians in good standing
    g) not limited to 1 hour

    It is not enough to have a-cappella worship, but ignore all the other regulations. I'd rather be in an assembly with instruments that practices all of this list than in an a-cappella church that is disobedient to these.

    Please note also: These instructions are the word of God. It is not about weaker or stronger brothers, but about following the example of the NT church.

    Alexander

  39. HistoryGuy says:

    Larry Cheek ,
    aBasnar made clear and practical points. I would like you to consider these additional points.

    The sources
    There is an older scholarly debate about instruments in Herod’s temple (time of Christ), although it is a minority view that has, for the most part been abandoned. It was a topic given the upheaval between the Jews and the Romans (Hardeman, N.B and Ira Boswell, Boswell-Hardeman Discussion on Instrumental Music in the worship, Bowling Green, KY: Guardian for Truth, 1923, pg. 103, 174, 186) Jack P. Lewis has noted the issue stems from the fact that there are no 1st century sources to describe instrumental worship at Herod’s Temple. Essentially, instruments are assumed to be present in Herod’s Temple based upon OT directives and later rabbinic traditions. (Jack P. Lewis, The question of instrumental music in worship, Searcy: Truth for today world mission school, 2008, pg27.

    However, the majority of scholarship agrees that there is ample evidence to conclude Temple worship was- business as usual -even in Herod’s Temple. For example, the earliest redaction of the Mishnah (200ad) describes the Temple size, order of rituals, and participants of worship, which included Levites, instruments, sacrifices, and incense. (James McKinnon, The Temple, the Church fathers, and Early western Chant Brookfield, VT: Ashgate Publishing, 1998, section VIII 160-164, section III 77-78)

    Some points to consider
    Jewish-Christians in the very early days after Pentecost who went to the Temple either participated in ALL of Temple worship or they remained in Solomon’s Portico praising God through prayer, performing miracles and preaching Christ. There is no evidence to suggest that they rejected some elements of Temple worship, but retained others like instruments, while at the Temple. Some scholars see a clear break in Jewish worship coupled with progressive revelation for the Jews climaxing with the destruction of the Temple. However, other scholars see a constant progressive revelation drawing Jews away from old covenant worship, but climaxing with the destruction of the Temple. Both affirm that the Bible is clear that by the late 60s, Christian worship and Jewish worship were different, and according to GOD, could not be combined (Heb. 13:9-13). What was done in the Temple, remained in the Temple. Regardless of the time before, during, or after the destruction of the Temple (70ad), Temple rituals (incense, sacrifices, instruments) were never made part of synagogue or early Christian worship.

    Paul Westermeyer says, “In response to Christ’s coming, the church sang canticles. The term 'canticles' refers to those texts in the Bible that were sung. In its broadest sense it includes OT as well as NT texts.” (Westermeyer, Paul Te Deum: The Church and Music Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 1998) As Bruce Morton said, the apostolic church was a didactic service focused upon word (scripture) and table (Lords supper).

    Larry,
    Can you provide any scholarly documentation that the church worshipped with instruments before the 7th century?

  40. guy says:

    How does insisting on acapella have any more or less potential for “insisting on your own way” than insisting on using instruments?

    Some Anglicans and Episcopalians are insisting that their clergy not include practicing, impenitent homosexuals. Are those people simply “insisting on their own way”?

    You might think there’s an obvious difference between homosexuality and IM/non-IM. But some of your brothers do see the IM question as ethical in nature. How, therefore, are they necessarily guilty of “insisting on their own way” by arguing for what they believe is right? How, in that sense, are they doing anything different in nature from those trying to argue against the acceptance of homosexuality?

    –guy

  41. guy says:

    Alexander,

    Is it your position that listening to/enjoying ANY instrumental music even outside the assembly and for entertainment's sake is wrong or sinful or unwise or ought to be avoided?

    –guy

  42. aBasnar says:

    No.

    But I would not recommend too much entertainment either. I hardly listen to the radion, don’t watch TV (except for some selected DVDs – mainly documentaries) … and so on. There are some reasons for that. the main point: Passive listening to worldly entertainment transforms the way you think and feel in a negative way. After all, this present age is dominated by darkness, thus most of our chultural products reflect values and transport messages that ar not pleasing to God. This has nothing to do with instruments in the first place.

    My main problem with instruments in worship is its connection with CCM that tries to imitate the worldly culture.

    Alexander

  43. Doug says:

    I've been leading hymns and spiritual songs for almost 50 years, most of that time with IM. So far, I have observed no paganistic trances. But, if one does occur, I'll immediately change my position on this matter and inform this blog of the same.

    Bruce, I'm getting the idea that you think music and IM in particular are intrinsicly evil. I,on the other hand, believe music was given to us as gift from God and that it's purpose is to remind us of the beauty and majesty of God. While any gift can be misused and/or misapplied, If you have ever sung a Hayden or Schubert Mass with orchestra or pipe organ surely you would understand this better. In fact, have you ever worshipped with IM at all?

  44. Doug says:

    You forgot:

    h) someone must fall asleep, tumble from a window and break their neck

  45. aBasnar says:

    That's an intersting response …
    Could you clarify what you mean with this?

  46. Doug says:

    Acts 20:9 Just having a lttle fun, Alexander.

  47. Aaron says:

    "You cannot flip back and forth differernt books and chapters with these i-phone-bibles; and you cannot underline texts."

    Umm…Yes, you can flip back and forth between books and chapters. And, Yes, you can underline texts. I'd argue that doing so is actually easier with a smartphone, and less disruptive (quieter, with no turning pages or other noises).

    Respectfully, Alexander…you seem to be against any form of technological innovation. What is your theological basis for this, if it is indeed the case? What makes using a hardcopy paper-bound book acceptable where an iPhone is not? neither one existed at the time of the apostles, and indeed, most Christians throughout history (and some even in the present) do not have access to either.

  48. Jay Guin says:

    HistoryGuy,

    In West Alabama, incense would likely be counterproductive. The appeal of instrumental music — properly done — is that it can speak to the hearts of the people we want to reach better than a cappella music.

    It's about contextualization of the gospel — and knowing the difference between culture and gospel. The choice of a cappella vs. IM is cultural. Therefore, we honor Paul's "all things to all men" to win them for Jesus.

    Personally, I hate incense. I refuse to go into stores with vanilla incense. I can't stand it. I find the odors suffocating (I think I smell things more intensely than others).

    Now, incense can be done in a wrong way. If we teach that God hears our prayers better because we burn incense or that burning incense is some kind of sacrifice that pleases God, we teach falsely — whether it's by word or deed.

  49. Jay Guin says:

    Todd,

    " At some point you aren't my weaker brother, you are my developmentally challenged brother." :)

    Some of us enjoy claiming "weaker brother" status, presuming that gives us power to get our own way. And that attitude truly shows us to be the weaker brother!!

  50. Doug says:

    I used to process and recess in the choir on Christmas Eve directly behind the incense burner. Trust me, incense does nothing for the singing voice…and that goes for IM or non-IM.

  51. aBasnar says:

    It's about contextualization of the gospel — and knowing the difference between culture and gospel. The choice of a cappella vs. IM is cultural.

    a) How can you be sure what is cultural and what not?
    b) A-Cappella is cultural? This is your opinion – according to the ECF it is typological.

    You see, this "Cultural Contextrualization" sound nice only on paper. It does not lead to certainty, because it is too much dependent on what a person regards as cultural and what not. Commands, approved precedents (the approval may come from church history, too) and (with caution) necessary inferences are a far better approach.

    Alexander

  52. Anonymous says:

    Bruce. I finally got around to reading you book. I must say that I appreciate your obvious respect for the scriptures. I will update you via email as I progress.

  53. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    Okay, since you will not wade into the questions I asked :-), let me tackle yours: No, not the case. IM is not inherently evil. The Lord used IM in the Temple; He commanded such.

    However, we are reading remarkable change in Ephesians. That is clear — and I have heard no one to date disagree with that conclusion. Doug, let's try something. As you read Ephesians, look at what Paul says versus what he does not say. And when you come to music, look at the positive message versus how we at times seek to hear the message in our culture.

    What does he say? He focuses on voices, no more than that (and he quotes Psalms that include reference to IM, but Paul changes the reference from IM to the heart). Not debatable; that is what he does, as various folks in this weblog (including Jay) have noted before.

    And finally Doug, I have a trumpet. I play the trumpet. But what is clear to me is the focus of Paul's message. In our congregational assemblies, he wants me to teach others, encourage others by my song. That is the simple, straightforward message of Ephesians 5:18-21.

    Enough for now.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  54. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    I also wanted to make sure I answered your question clearly. Yes, I have visited assemblies that included IM, on multiple occasions.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  55. Keith says:

    Guy, you ask, "How, in that sense, are they doing anything different in nature from those trying to argue against the acceptance of homosexuality?"

    Homosexuality is different from accompanied worship because homosexuality is spoken against in both the Old Testament (Leviticus 18:22) and the New (1 Timothy 1:10), while accompanied worship is commanded in the Old Testament (2 Chronicles 29:25) and barely mentioned prophetically in the New as a style of worship practiced in heaven as revealed to John (Revelation 15:2-3).

  56. Keith says:

    If the loss of simple song is a grave national concern, we should teach it in our schools. But to require that Christians teach a cappella singing and insist upon it as a style of worship while teaching this generation about Jesus simply makes the weightier task even more difficult.

    It jettisons a tool God has neither commanded nor condemned in this era, and I see no reason to turn over good and useful tools to Satan for his use toward his purposes.

  57. Laymond says:

    Jay, can instrumental music be done in the wrong way, or is any and all instruments acceptable ? If you accept IM do you need to place restrictions on which can be used.? how about blowing on a jug, or beating on a #2 washtub.

  58. Laymond says:

    Good point, who is going to decide which musician is accomplished to the point of playing for God.

  59. Laymond says:

    opps did not finish my thought, As we know God only accepted offerings without blemish, if I were to take my guitar upon stage I might be the first person in church to be struck by lightning.

  60. Mike Ward says:

    Laymond,

    Is standing during a prayer acceptable? Can it be done in a wrong way? Do you need to place restrictions on it? How about standing on your head, or standing on the back of the pew, or standing on someone else's shoulders?

  61. reborn1995 says:

    Keith,

    This begs the question. Those who support homosexual clergy in Anglicanism could give a similar response–that is, they could argue that the opponents of homosexual clergy are simply mistaken (they're misinterpreting scripture or the character of Jesus or what have you). So does that prove that those opposed to it are simply "insisting on their own way"?

    Keith, if you're right, then anyone who continues arguing for what they sincerely believe is right but who is simply mistaken in their position is "insisting on their own way" and thus unloving. Do you really think that's the proper conclusion of 1Cor 13?

    –guy

  62. aBasnar says:

    Is standing during a prayer acceptable?

    The scriptures are not silent on that:

    Psa 134:1 A Song of Ascents. Come, bless the LORD, all you servants of the LORD, who stand by night in the house of the LORD!
    Psa 134:2 Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!
    Psa 134:3 May the LORD bless you from Zion, he who made heaven and earth!

    Mar 11:25 And whenever you stand praying, forgive, if you have anything against anyone, so that your Father also who is in heaven may forgive you your trespasses.

    Luk 18:10 "Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.
    Luk 18:11 The Pharisee, standing by himself, prayed thus: 'God, I thank you that I am not like other men, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.
    Luk 18:12 I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I get.'
    Luk 18:13 But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, a sinner!'

    Can it be done in a wrong way?

    with a wrong attitude:

    Mat 6:15 but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.

    and with a wrong "attire":

    1Co 11:4 Every man who prays or prophesies with his head covered dishonors his head (= Christ)

    Do you need to place restrictions on it?

    May we take away the restriction God put on it?

    How about standing on your head, or standing on the back of the pew, or standing on someone else's shoulders?

    How about missing the point?

    In fact, Laymond asked a valid question. If we agree on allowing IM does that mean everything is commendable? Think about it:

    a) How about Highland Bagpipes?

    Too loud, too distracting and also to limited (playes only in one key)

    b) Drums, E-guitars and sythesizers?

    Too much similarity with worldly music (wrong assoziations), again too loud, too distracting … to much "stage-audience"-atmosphere.

    c) Trumpets, Susaphones … (brass band)

    Too militaristic …

    Before you shele your head over such questions, read again Clement's "Instructor" Book II, ch IV – neither musical styles nor instzrumentzs are really "neutral"; so the question needs to be askes as well, when we introduce IM.

    Alexander

  63. Michael Ward says:

    aBasnar, at first I thought you missed my point, but on further reflection I doubt that you missed it so I have nothing to add, but thank you for reminding me that you have read the writings of Clement more than once; sometimes I forget how much more you know than the rest of us.

  64. Doug says:

    Bruce, you said that you have "visited" assemblies that included IM but I asked "Have you ever Worshipped with IM?". The sports anology is playing the game vs. watching the game in the bleachers. Can you not worship when there is IM?

    I think what you are trying to get across to me from the Ephesians verses you mention is Paul is looking for a clear differentiation between Pagans and Christians. He doesn't want Christian Assemblies to include the orgies and drunkeness and other vileness that the Pagan Assemblies offered. Likewise he doesn't want Christian lives to display the vileness he mentioned and which were typical of the Pagan Lifestyle. But how you get from this to non-IM practice being the active ingredient in all of this is a mystery to me. I think the Churches I've worshipped with that used IM met Paul's desires as far as being non-pagan in their worship and as far as I could determine mostly non-pagan in the peoples personal lives. Of course, there was some problem with personal lives… it would be nice if sin didn't exist in people of the church but it does and I am unhappily part of that problem from time to time. But, there was no more sin in the IM Church than I see in the non-IM Church. I'm getting the idea that you think non-IM is a important in eliminating such sin problems? Tell me where you get that idea from in the scriptures?

  65. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    While I continue to believe you are ignoring some of what Ephesians is saying, let's spend some time with IM "speaking to the hearts." What do you mean? And how will you know it is "properly done" versus not properly done?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  66. aBasnar says:

    It's not that I know so much more (I would not think that way),m but that almost all of such questions have already been answered in the past.
    I object to the modern notion that finally we get everything right and are superior to our ancestors. Sarcasm is not leading to truth, Mike.

    Alexander

  67. Doug says:

    What about raising your hands while or during a prayer? Or raising them while singing a song? Try doing that in the non-IM CofC and see how many looks from others you will get. Sometimes we even sing songs that say "I will raise up my hands to the Lord"… but no one raises their hands. I do raise my hands but I certainly get the feeling that those around me are uncomfortable because of me doing that. I think they are worried that I will start speaking in tongues or dancing in the aisles. They are afraid! Why should God's New Testament people be afraid of worship?

    And that's a problem that I see in insisting on things like non-IM in worship… it ushers in a spirit of fear.

    I will dance
    I will sing
    To be mad, for my King
    Nothing Lord is hindering
    The passion in my Soul…
    And I'll… become… even more undiginified than this…

  68. Mike Ward says:

    Do you agree with all of the answers the AF gave to those questions, or do you hold them in esteem only when they agree with you? I doubt any ancient writer would even come close to agreeing with you on everything. While each of them may have understood a portion of your truth, you are the first person since the apostles to finally get everything right.

  69. aBasnar says:

    I do agree with most of what they wrote. I am not uncritrical towards them, but I am not so selfconfident as to assume I know better than they do either. And I am absolutely not selective – in fact they shaped my understanding of scripture, salvation and church to a very high degree. It was by their writings that I came to understand baptism and the necessesity of works in order to be saved, which was a hard lesson for an Evangalical to swallow.

    It is my way of seeking the truth that I question every modern teaching (or Bible Interpretation) that cannot be traced back at least to the 2nd century.

    I decided to learn from them rather than from modern commentators. This way I am quite of of step with contemporary Christianity – but i don't speak out of my own authority. I strive to be able to give all necessary reerences to each of my convictions. That's why I referred to Clement and did not come up with my personal opinion. I read, I struggled tro understand, and I agree with him. I think that's not the least an attitude of "I know better than you all", but rather a humble approach to accept teachers as authority who are in a better position to judge than I am.

    Thus I believe in pre-millenialism and not Dispensationalism (which I held to earlier in my life)
    Or that's why we practice footwashing (once a year) and eat a meal (every assembly) in our house-church
    That's why I hold to a-cappella singing and believe women should cover theuir heads
    That's why I neither believe in "Faith only" nor in "unconditional eternal security"
    That's why I believe in the literal resurrection of the flesh and an intermediate state between our departe and our resurrection
    That's why I don't hold to the Zwinglian understanding of the Lord#s Supper any more
    That's why I hold strongly to Nonresistance and Non-swearing of oaths
    That's why I am very careful concerning worldly entertainment

    The list could go on and on and on; but just do demonstrate that I Don't quote them only then when their beliefs suited mine. But they changed my beliefs considerably.

    My issues with many in this Blog is that they utter opinions that are sometimes poorly backed up by facts. What I have read on the New Wineskins was clearly disappointing for a person like me who would expect diligent and honest research on the matter. These ARE hard words, but I tried to point out the facts to the authors I debated with – in the end they backed away giving no answer to my criticism, nor did they admit that they were wrong.

    I hope this clarifies a bit.
    Alexander

  70. Keith says:

    Return to the context of what I said, first of all. What I was saying was that to those outside of faith, our wrangling and arguing looks like insisting on our own way. People who don't know Christ can (and do) have an innate sense of right and wrong, and when they see discord they know something's wrong.In response to you, guy, I answered that a scriptural case can be made to oppose homosexuality (though there is no excuse for not loving anyone who sins, sexually or otherwise). Disagreement can be handled in a Christ-like way or in a selfish way. Again, people outside of faith in Christ can tell the difference. Even when we aren't "insisting on our own way," it can sound like it. Clearer?~ Keith Brenton

  71. Keith says:

    Sorry … my response should have gone here but the button was grayed out originally.

  72. Rich W says:

    –Guy

    That's the point I tried to make a while back but without response. There are many negative ramifications for the positions presented here (heart only counts, interpretation is not a salvation issue).

  73. Doug says:

    Actually, they take the same scriptures used to condemn homosexuality and attemept to use them to prove that homosexuality is okay. First, they say that none of these scriptures were words spoken by Jesus. Second, they say that these scriptures only relate to indiscriminate homosexual relations and they don't condemn "committed relationship" homosexual relations. And thanks to liberal theology institutions turning out liberal theologians and priests, they have won the political side of the argument but the people have left their Churches in droves.

  74. aBasnar says:

    I'm absolutely with you on raising hands in prayer, since it it scriptural (1Ti 2:8). It is truly inconsistent to make a law from silence and to ignore a command that is clearly there in the NT.

  75. aBasnar says:

    Same situation as so often. When they can't answer they just disappear …
    It is a pity, since you made excellent points, HistoryGuy …

  76. Larry Short says:

    Above shows what I love about this website; reasonably friendly debate and scholastic help (now its HistoryGuy). I have great respect for AB but reach many of the same answers from different directions.
    Early church writings are not scripture to me. However, unlike Jay they may continue an apostolic tradition that just didn't show up in the NT. To me early writers give a push toward acapella.
    All choices are outs to make. Our society has good and evil, and just because its comtemporay does nto make it carnal. Several of our elders carry electronic Bibles and are very proficient with them. (Also some need just right size print, and a controlled zoom feature is handy!)
    Most comtemporary churches consider their services entertainment. While we don't have to be as boring as possible, I think participation and unity to be fine goals. Acapella does this well. In fact, the larger and louder the band, organ, etc. the lower the participation and less we are worshipping together, rather than attending a concert. We are a nation of services (most of our GNP), we preffer to pay someone else to do it for us. Ok for car repair, gardening, etc. but is is best for worship?
    I was traveling with some Congregational freinds, and one mentioned a favrotie hymn whicth I liked also, and then remarked that he wish he had his guitar so we could sing it. I laughed, and said you're in luck because I/m a C of Cer, and we can praise God just as we are, sing along with me. A couple people in the car were shocked how good it was and that we could do a hymn that way! If Paul and Silas had contemporary understanding they never would have sang in that jail. A c of Cer doesn[t need a backup band, only what God gave us and a willing heart.

  77. Doug says:

    Jay, a comment about the new blog format structure. After participating in this blog thread, I'm not sure I like it. The ability to reply to a specific post is okay but it also tends to hide the new posting in the middle of the blog notes and makes it more difficult to find the newer posts. Replies to postings were possible before by directing the reply to a specific poster but the newer posts were always at the bottom of the blog posts. I'm sure that others will probably say they love the new format so this is just my $.02 worth.

  78. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    I did worship in an IM setting — but it was very difficult to sing. I have not brought up my experiences as I want to focus on apostolic teaching. If you want me to share more, I will do so.

    Now for IM versus non-IM:
    1) I think most folks in this weblog now acknowledge that the background of Paul's teaching in much of Ephesians is the religious pull of the Asian religions — especially the mystery religions.
    2) Let me add that the TWO most important drawing forces in the mystery religions were a) theatrical dramas that included IM and chants, and b) the ubiquitious character of the assemblies — they were everywhere, penetrating all aspects of society.
    3) When we hold those facts in hand, it is easier to understand Paul's instructions regarding music in Ephesians 5.

    Here are two sources for your consideration/review:

    Johnson, William A. “Musical Evenings in the Early Empire: New Evidence From a Greek Papyrus with Musical Notation.” The Journal of Hellenic Studies 120 (2000): 57-85.

    Aristophanes, The Frogs 1304ff. represents one example of the close association of "debauchery" with the Dithyramb that was part of Asian mystery religion ritual. The Dithyramb was essentially a high-powered theatrical presentation, filled with IM music and drama.

    I can say with certainty that the Dithyramb, which was centuries old and deeply rooted in Asian culture, was the complete opposite of a simple congregational worship assembly and the idea of a cappella, It is probably what many folks in America would like Christian worship to become: a powerful spectacle. I hope thoughts of Corinth come to mind; they do for me (1 Cor. 1-2). btw: Corinth was the other hub of powerful, sensual Dionysiac religion.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  79. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    I agree with Doug; the new format can become confusing. I asked a question of you and decided to frame it in a new note.

    You said: "The appeal of instrumental music — properly done — is that it can speak to the hearts of the people we want to reach better than a cappella music." And I asked you, what do you mean? And how will you know it is "properly done" versus not properly done? I have other questions, but those first two are enough for now.

    Perhaps without seeing it, you have accurately framed exactly the subject of Paul's teaching in Ephesians 4:17-5:21 — and the character of American society. We are a nation drenched in emotional desires (i.e. sensuality) and expectations.

    I would guess that large majority of the hearts in the United States would prefer to have a (Dionysiac) Dithyramb chorus "properly done" make up their "worship assembly" versus simple singing and preaching. Indeed, I recently heard a young missionary within the churches of Christ announce on a college campus that preaching was "dead" in our time. He announced that we needed to immediately transition to other modes of teaching that better "fit" our age. I.e. dramas; theatrical productions. (I wondered if he realized what he was doing, "preaching" about the need to cease preaching?!)

    So, is he right? Do we need to do away with "preaching" and certainly that old, out-of-touch a cappella singing? Is that the way to reach hearts in our day?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  80. Jay Guin says:

    Bruce wrote,

    "As you read Ephesians, look at what Paul says versus what he does not say. And when you come to music, look at the positive message versus how we at times seek to hear the message in our culture.

    What does he say? He focuses on voices, no more than that (and he quotes Psalms that include reference to IM, but Paul changes the reference from IM to the heart)."

    Bruce,

    Are you arguing that IM is wrong because Paul is silent on IM? Because he only specifically approves vocal music?

  81. Jay Guin says:

    Laymond,

    I have trouble imagining anything that can't be done in a foolish way.

    We don't have to have a command from God to tell us that we need to exercise our freedom consistently with the gospel, with love for others, and with good sense. And yet … we sometimes act as though we've pleased God by singing AC even though we did it in a way that is not edifying to the congregation and that discourages hearts from responding to the good news of God. We sometimes obey the "rules" and yet have the wrong heart.

    Why ask about jugs and washtubs and not ask about songs led at an absurdly slow pace, off key, without the composer's intended rhythm, with no regard for the lyrics? Some AC is agonizingly bad.

    But God judges the hearts. No one is going to hell for bad AC music — but they may be very poor stewards of God's resources, taking what should be a blessing to the kingdom and turning it into a burden. And the same is true of IM.

  82. Jay Guin says:

    Mike Ward,

    In the Orthodox Church, they have two hour services and stand for the entire time. I'm not keen on letting them tell us how to conduct our worship services!

  83. Jay Guin says:

    Bruce wrote,

    "let's spend some time with IM "speaking to the hearts." What do you mean? And how will you know it is "properly done" versus not properly done?"

    Of course, we will have planned a service that's entirely consistent with and in furtherance of the gospel and the scriptural purposes of the assembly. That won't be an issue! How well it works will be a matter of experience and wisdom.

    It's not as though it's impossible to know whether a church service touches the members' and visitors' hearts. You can see it — and even if not, they will tell you.

  84. Jay Guin says:

    Alexander,

    How do we distinguish scriptural doctrine from culture? Well, here are a few guidelines (just a rough cut) —

    1. Is it in the Bible? Doctrines not actually taught in the Bible are surely cultural.

    2. Does it derive from the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it part of kingdom theology?

    3. Is it descriptive of changes in our hearts encouraged by the Spirit?

    4. Is it a corollary to "love your neighbor"?

    5. Is it consistent with the narrative of the scriptures, taken as a whole?

    (I'll spare you the details, but I find most of this in Gal 5.)

    Now, the AC vs. IM controversy ends at 1, I think, because you simply can't credibly make the argument without bringing in extra-biblical sources. Or else you're forced to create an extra-biblical rule, like the Regulative Principle. Or you have to depart from logic altogether.

    Clyde Symonette has shown that kingdom theology leads away from the AC-only interpretation. And there's nothing in the gospel itself that demands AC only.

    Read all the "fruit of the Spirit" passages and everything the scriptures say should be true of the heart, attitude, and behavior of the Christian, and you'll find nothing about IM vs. AC.

    There is nothing unloving about IM or AC. Of course, the attitudes that the fight has engendered are often very unloving, but there's nothing inherently unloving in either position – until you make it a point of division.

    If you read Genesis – Acts, and if you consider God's plan for humanity as shown through Gen 1 – 3, the Law, the Prophets, and Jesus, you'd never, ever imagine that God was working toward a plan that demands AC singing! The whole notion is utterly foreign to the whole of the scriptures.

    Indeed, if you respect the Revelation as the culmination of the Prophets and its picture of heaven as showing the fully realized Kingdom of Heaven, it's hard to imagine that its author would have considered IM as sinful when used in the worship of God.

    This leads to consideration of indicators that a practice is cultural —

    1. Was the practice consistent with the local culture?

    Well, in fact, Philo the Jewish philosopher was arguing against the instrument for reasons quite foreign to Christian thought. Many Hellenistic writers argued against IM because IM was used in cults that were offensive even to pagan writers. The Jews were on a path leading toward AC worship in the synagogue (whenever that happened). Greek Platonic thought tended to minimize the material and elevate the spiritual — creating a dualism that is often found in the writings of AC advocates even today.

    So, yes, there were strong cultural trends toward AC music utterly independent of Christianity, showing that, in that culture, at that time, IM was seen as immoral or unworthy by many.

    2. Do the scriptural writers argue from prudential grounds or gospel grounds?

    Well, the scriptural writers say nothing on the subject.

    So the AC vs. IM debate is cultural — what approach best allows the church to accomplish its mission in its community? It's a question of expedience, but expedience thought through in terms of mission.

  85. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    I will be glad to wade into your question, but let me note a question you did not address.

    Is preaching "dead"? (A growing number of folks feel our culture is revealing that it is and that their hearts would be better touched by a different teaching approach. Do people's feelings matter there too?)

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  86. Jay Guin says:

    Bruce,

    Are you seriously arguing that people's feelings don't matter? Is that what the Bible says?

    Do you seriously wonder whether I'm opposed to preaching?

    Here's the proper analysis. God cares about some things, not others. As those things where God has expressed his will, that's what matters. God settles the question. Human judgment can't override the expressed will of God.

    As to those things where God has not expressed his will, it's a matter of expedience. But even within the realm of expedience, there are principles that guide our behavior.

    For example, God has given us instructions about how to treat our spouses, but he's not told me what to buy my wife for Christmas. However, what I buy for Christmas must be consistent with the broad outlines God has given me for how to be a Christian husband.

    The same is true in the assembly. What has God commanded? As to what he hasn't expressly spoken, we have freedom — but a freedom that must be exercised consistently with our status as God's children re-created in the image of God.

    Therefore, saying that a question is a matter of expedience hardly means that there are no limits. Nor does it mean we should invent rules from silences or whatever. Rather, we should be prayerfully aware of why God wants us to assemble (which is revealed) and, within the limits of God's purposes, do our best to accomplish God's purposes — both not violating his expressed will and using our best judgment to honor God's purposes.

    It's tiresome for the a cappella advocates to argue: If a cappella isn't required, then anything goes! It's silly. It's just as silly as: If we can support orphans homes from the church treasury, we can support anything! Just plain silly.

    God has not expressed an opinion on the use of instruments in the assembly. Instruments are not inherently contrary to God's purposes. They are therefore a matter of expedience — permitted to be used, but only if they further God's purposes.

    But the same is equally true of a cappella singing. We may sing a cappella — IF that furthers God's purposes for the assembly.

    NEITHER is the default rule. BOTH must be tested against God's purposes. And among those purposes are whether the assembly encourages, edifies, strengthens, and comforts those present and whether the assembly shows the presence of God to visitors (1 Cor 14).

    Obviously, those can both be accomplished to a degree with either AC or IM. Then it becomes a question of the wisdom of the leaders as to which approach will BEST accomplish those goals.

    If you love God and honor his word, then you'll do your best to make the assembly just as encouraging, edifying, strengthening, and comforting as you can.

  87. Rich W says:

    Jay,

    A reflection here:

    I assume from your posts that you believe God is perfectly fine with the snake handlers that are common around my birthplace in Appalachian churches. They believe they are fulfilling Mark 16:17-18.

    I also assume you would not want to practice such a worship method. (smile intended here)

    Note: It's one thing to say it isn't a salvation issue, but I can't find anything within the hermeneutic presented here that can declare snake handling wrong or am I missing something?

    I don't consider it off topic to test a proposed hermeneutic with another situation. That's not silly.

  88. Jay Guin says:

    Rich W,

    What is your opinion regarding God's views on snake handling? Explain how your perspective handily solves this conundrum, and then we can see whether mine is any better at it.

    There is no merit in asking hard questions unless you can offer a superior way of dealing with the question.

  89. Mike Ward says:

    Jay,

    I'm sorry I must be stupid today. You've replied to two of my comments, and I don't understand either of them. I think the one about the Orthodox church is a joke, but I don't get it. Sorry.

  90. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    Do you realize that when someone asks you a question along the line of your thinking – and you do not like it/want to answer it — you sometimes choose to label (i.e. "silliness")? I am wondering if that is a form of evasiveness.

    For example, you say that one test of "proper" use of IM-accompanied music is whether worship reaches the heart — by people telling you it does. Correct? I want to test that suggestion a little. I do not think you broached the question I asked you regarding "preaching." And I believe the young missionary who raised the issue has a valid point. "Preaching" is indeed becoming out-moded in the minds of many in our day, replaced by the desire for powerful dramas/productions. I am certain a growing population of people would say that their hearts would be better reached if we would embrace dramas/theatrical productions to progress the Gospel and generally dispense with preaching.

    Should congregations begin the move away from preaching and instead use dramas and theatrical productions as a way to enlarge the "front porch" (i.e. Rick Atchley's contention re the value of IM in assemblies)?

    And yes Jay, I believe Paul is speaking specifically about song, but purposely generalizing about "sensuality." I have agreed that the apostle obviously does not specifically mention. However, his contrast announces the issue.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  91. Jay Guin says:

    Bruce,

    We were discussing your views on Ephesians and instrumental music. I had asked you a question about whether you are arguing from silence. You responded by asking about preaching. You changed the subject. I would like to stay with the original subject.

    I cannot distinguish your views on instrumental music from the Regulative Principle, and yet you deny that you teach the Regulative Principle. That means, I guess, that I don't understand your reasoning.

    Given that, in Ephesians, Paul specifically addresses many features of paganism that are objectionable and says nothing to criticize instrumental music as such, I just don't see how you toss instrumental music into the mix as though it's the same as, for example, debauchery or drunkenness. By what warrant do you conclude that instrumental music is of the same nature as debauchery and drunkenness — if not Paul's silence on the subject?

    In your most recent comment, you seem to argue that instrumental music in worship is necessarily "sensuality" as used in Eph 4:19. "Sensuality" translates aselgeia, meaning, according to Thayer, "unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, lasciviousness, wantonness, outrageousness, shamelessness, insolence."

    If instrumental music is necessarily aselgeia, how can you participate in instrumental music in any circumstance at all? I think anyone would agree that IM COULD be aselgeia, but few would agree that IM in contemporary culture is ALWAYS aselgeia.

    Therefore, I would readily agree that IM should not be used in worship (or anywhere at all!) if its use involves unbridled lust, excess, licentiousness, etc. But it's just not true that IM in worship necessarily involves these sins.

    So I guess I'm just not following your logic.

    PS — what I said is "silly" is the argument that if we can allow IM (or orphans homes or fellowship halls or whatever someone wishes to argue against) we must allow any and all things no matter how sinful.

  92. Rich W says:

    Jay,

    You work very hard to run away from what you believe is an over-constraining situation (the Galatian heresy). However, the reasoning given (heart only, interpretation doesn't matter) seems to be one that produces an under-constraining condition.

    I understand that snake-handling is a misinterpretation of Mark 16:17-18 based on the fact that we have no command nor example of the concept following Pentecost. This is overly simplified but gets to the point.

    So, how would you call it using your hermeneutic?

  93. Mike Ward says:

    I may not agree with Bruce, but I can still see that his question about preaching relates directly to the instrumental music question, and he is not changing the subject.

  94. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    If you look back up into this note chain, you will see that I asked you a question about preaching before you raised your question to me regarding silence and IM. And you have yet to answer. To be clear if you go back and look at my post, you will see the connection. It is related to your making decisions about "proper" based on what people tell you touches their hearts.

    While I know this weblog is yours, it seems to me that you need to act with the same candor you expect of all — and right now you are not.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  95. Doug says:

    Bruce, I imagine that somewhere in the world or in America there may be Christians who worship in a manner that mimics those Asian Mystery Religions that you like to mention. After all, somewhere in the world or in America you can find just about anything your heart desires. I am not an advocate of anything that remotely approaches worship that appeals only to the senses and creates a spectacle. I think I wrote earlier that I don't even like most of the "Rock and Roll" CCM, although their are some songs of that format that I do like. I also don't appreciate posturing and excessive gesturing from worship team members. The Church I attend sometimes has one guy who likes to strike Elvis like poses when he sings and I think he looks really stupid. If I were the worship team leader, I'd tell him to cut it out. You can always take things to excess and I'm not suggesting that be done. I don't see Jay suggesting that either, by the way. I am not a member of that congregation incidently and probably would never place my membership with a "Rock and Roll" Church. But, that style of worship does appeal to many so if the leaders of those Churches want to go that way, why should I say anything at all?

    But there are ways to use IM in worship that are tasteful and enhance the worship. One way is to start the song with IM and at some point change to acappella and then return to IM. I think acoustic IM is usually very respectful. But, that's just me. I understand what you are suggesting as far as the Pagan religions but I don't see a general rule of worship (acappella) as you obviously do. If you read Bruce Shelly's "Church History in Plain Language", you will see that the Church has always been in a state of change. The condtions that birthed the Restoration Movement existed for awhile and the Movement blazed but the Camp meeting style of preaching that produced repentance then does not produce the same results today… why should the music?

    I have seen more sucess in soul winning by talking to people outside of the Church building than by letting the Preacher talk to them inside the Church building. Yet, many in the CofC persist in thinking they are doing God's will by just providing a place where a person may wander in and perhaps encounter Jesus through the preaching they hear. Jesus went to people… he didn't wait for them to wander upon Him. The mega-Church is a new idea. Most have a professional class music team and an outstanding preacher but they grow though their small group ministries where people are talking to people outside the Church. When mega-Churches have run their course, I have no doubt that something else will appear because the Church will be in business until Jesus returns.

    I think we've run this thing up and down the flag pole and at this point no one is changing their salute so let me say that I respect your research and will look into the references that you mentioned and I wish you the peace of the Lord. Blessings…

  96. JMF says:

    Mike Ward:

    How does Bruce's point/question about preaching relate to IM? I don't follow that.

    Essentially, it seems to me Bruce is trying to set a trap by asking Jay would support teaching by drama instead of preaching. The false dichotomy will be a gross exaggeration of the drama — thus showing the superiority of preaching.

    Some how, we as Christians reach an impasse on these sort of arguments. It seems some can easily accept: IM can be done in a tasteful and Kingdom-thinking way, and it can be done in a destructive way. Just like drama can be done effectively, or it could be done ineffectively. And, no, this conclusion won't be the same for everyone. Ineffective drama for you may be effective for me.

    Bruce/Mike: Does what I wrote in the above paragraph make any sense? Does it seem illogical to you? Unscriptural? I'm beginning to think that the issue may not be one of scripture; rather, it is one of how we process information.

  97. Bruce Morton says:

    Doug:
    I appreciate your post and your spirit. Please feel free to contact me via email if you would like to see some of the research in bound/published form.

    You have nailed much of the issue well by your examples. And I do understand that we keep thinking we can bring in IM carefully and in honor to the Lord. However, there are deep reasons why Paul writes what he writes — and does not indicate that his teaching is culturally conditioned. He does not even mentioned the Asian mystery religions by name. But there is no doubt as to the background. Paul's word choices are clear.

    Beyond the background is the single overarching message. We are to see the Spirit's power through the unity of congregational spiritual song. In that way what Paul writes sounds much like 1 Corinthians 1-2. Interestingly, Paul was probably addressing similar issues in Corinth since Corinth was another hub of Dionysiac religious strength.

    I look forward to your email.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas
    MortonBLSL7@earthlink.net

  98. Mike Ward says:

    JMF,

    I don't know. Personally, I don't agree with anyone on this board as far I can tell. I think we make things WAY too complicated. I don't see silence as prohibitive nor examples binding in and of themselves and don't think I know anyone who believes otherwise all the time so I don't have a problem with IM. I find the New Wineskins issue to be the ultimate in making the simple complex.

    And I finally understand why a lot of taditionalst complain that progressives are trying to push IM on everyone else. Certainly not all progressives are: I'm not, but a lot are and before I always thought that attitude was just paranoia.

    Even so, I don't see the desire to push IM into the churches as motivated by worldliness. Really I find a lot of what is said on both sides of this issue to be silly. It amazes me that some people can find so much that is positive to say about IM and others can find so much negative to say about it when the bible and particularly the NT says so very little about it.

    So some people think that IM will help their evangelism. I think that's an example of people just believing what they want to beleive, but what does that matter to me?

    Regarding drama, personally I think it can be very instructive. I don't know that it really allows you to reach more people but so what, does power point reach more people? If something helps teach people, I like it. But I don't think drama is needed. I think a little of it is better than none, and a lot of it is too much, but that's just a persona judgment. I'm not going to campaign against either extreme because I really don't care.

    Anyway, back to your post. I think Bruce's question is fair because when a discussion gets complicated I think it's worth while to look at another issue and see if we are making the same application in that area as in the one being discussed. Maybe we are, but if not, why not? There might be a perfectly good reason why the two situations are not parallel, but then it could be that we simply aren't being consistant. But I'm getting ahead of myself. We won't get that far it the question is ignored for being supposedly off topic.

  99. HistoryGuy says:

    Jay,
    I wanted to respond to several points you made on Sat, Dec 5, 2:51pm, but after typing for awhile, I realized that I need clarification. There are several methods of reasoning to advocate IM. A few are contradictory. For example, one cannot believe that God has been “Silent” and also believe God has “Spoken” about IM in NT worship. These are two separate camps in the IM advocate group.

    As you know, there are many arguments. However, Silent based arguments generally lead to IM being opinion or cultural, while Spoken based arguments utilize implicit teaching such as Prophecy or Psallo. Here is MY issue that I need you to clarify.

    Sat, Dec 5, 2:51pm > Do the scriptural writers argue from prudential grounds or gospel grounds?… Well, the scriptural writers say nothing on the subject… So the AC vs. IM debate is cultural — Jay Guin

    but you also say

    Nov 26, 2010 (ephesians-518-21-being-filled-with-the-spirit-part-2) > Paul, therefore, writes…Eph 5:18b-21…“Singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks” is borrowed from…Psa 108:1-6…How do you sing and make melody with all your being? With the harp. With the lyre. Giving thanks. Singing praises. It all fits… — Jay Guin

    How can Paul speak on the subject, but say nothing on the subject? This appears to be a contradiction, but I admit I may not understand you. I respect you and would like to respond to you in a meaningful way, with points that will relate to your position and add to our conversation as we grow together, but I currently don’t know your position. Has it changed? We all change – so I am simply asking what your position is regarding IM.

    I previously posted some sources depicting the origination, progression, and abandonment of the Psallo/psalmos/psalms argument by IM advocates within the Restoration Movement. If your position has changed to a cultural stance, I would really like to share some points about it for your consideration. The cultural view was an extremely late comer, and was quickly abandoned by virtually all scholarly IM advocates since it was found to clearly be self-defeating. In a non-belligerent way, can you please state your current position?

  100. HistoryGuy says:

    Jay,
    I was reading my post to make sure it came off correctly. I need to clarify, when I say “In a non-belligerent way” I was referencing myself, in that I am trying to ask in a non-belligerent way

  101. Pingback: Not worth the fight | TimothyArcher.com/Kitchen

  102. aBasnar says:

    Dear Jay

    Your guidelines simply don’t work.

    How do we distinguish scriptural doctrine from culture? Well, here are a few guidelines (just a rough cut) —

    1. Is it in the Bible? Doctrines not actually taught in the Bible are surely cultural.

    OK: Headcoverings are taught in the Bible and they are regarded as cultural by many. This shows, that this guideline does not work.
    Are Instruments in the NT? This is highly debated. again, this guideline does not work.

    2. Does it derive from the gospel of Jesus Christ? Is it part of kingdom theology?

    If you understand the question in the light of types and antitypes, a-cappella actually does become a part of Kingdom Theology. You don’t see it this way – so how can this be a guideline?

    . Is it descriptive of changes in our hearts encouraged by the Spirit?

    I’d say: Yes. You’d probably answer in the negative. so this is not working as a guideline.

    4. Is it a corollary to "love your neighbor"?

    Is it loving your neighbour, if you play his or her music in the assembly? Or is this not blurring the difference between the world and the Kingdom? This is not a guideline for answering this question.

    5. Is it consistent with the narrative of the scriptures, taken as a whole?

    Yes – TYPOLOGY!

    Now, the AC vs. IM controversy ends at 1, I think, because you simply can't credibly make the argument without bringing in extra-biblical sources.

    A good deal of the New Wineskins-Issue was abeout Danny Corbitts misrepresentation of Early Christian sources. So it was part of the topic that I used the ECF extensively.

    But it is also my conviction that the NT was not written in a vacuum, but that the early sources provide important background information to the NT. Ignoring them leads to misunderstanding the Scriptures. That’s the way it is, Jay. The ECF also had the Spirit of Christ, knew Greek, grew up in churches founded and taught by the Apostles. Jay, we are so far removed from the origins, we’d better all shut up and listen to them. Especially when we look at the MESS our “Sola Scriptura” has created! We sit on ruins and claim to be the finest masons!

    Or else you're forced to create an extra-biblical rule, like the Regulative Principle.

    Distinguishing scriptural doctrine from culture is also an extra-biblical rule! The Apostles never treated the OT this way. That does not mean there is no valid application for this approach; but the same is true for the Regulative Principle. It does work and and is of great help when applied correctly. But it does not answer all questions, neither does the distinction between doctrine and culture.

    Or you have to depart from logic altogether.

    Was there anything in my comments that was out of step with logic or common sense?

    Clyde Symonette has shown that kingdom theology leads away from the AC-only interpretation. And there's nothing in the gospel itself that demands AC only.

    And still Clyde Symonette did make serious mistakes, he did not admit. His idea of IM being a fulfilled prophecy really lacks everything.

    Read all the "fruit of the Spirit" passages and everything the scriptures say should be true of the heart, attitude, and behavior of the Christian, and you'll find nothing about IM vs. AC.

    Don’t mix apples with pears. We speak about the assembly, about proper worship. The passages on the fruit of the Spirit don’t address details of worship or our assemblies.

    There is nothing unloving about IM or AC. Of course, the attitudes that the fight has engendered are often very unloving, but there's nothing inherently unloving in either position – until you make it a point of division.

    And it is not about love in the first place.
    The question is twofold: What is this original, historic and apostolic practice. According to all sources available it was AC.
    Are we called to imitate the original examples or to restore the “Ancient order of Things”? As a “restorationist” my answer is a resounding YES.

    If you read Genesis – Acts, and if you consider God's plan for humanity as shown through Gen 1 – 3, the Law, the Prophets, and Jesus, you'd never, ever imagine that God was working toward a plan that demands AC singing! The whole notion is utterly foreign to the whole of the scriptures.

    You are asking the wrong questions to the wring texts. God’s word does contain descriptions, ordinances and commands of Christian Worship, You can skip Genesis to Malachi for this. And then show me, where the church used instruments! You cannot make the silece disappear, Jay. It is there and it is quite loud, when seen in the light of the historic evidence.

    Indeed, if you respect the Revelation as the culmination of the Prophets and its picture of heaven as showing the fully realized Kingdom of Heaven, it's hard to imagine that its author would have considered IM as sinful when used in the worship of God.

    Jay, then go and BURN INCENSE! Don’t you see that Revelation uses the imagery of the OT-temple to describe worship in Heaven? TYPES – ANTITYPES! AS long as you don’t get this fundamental principle you will never grasp the topic.

    This leads to consideration of indicators that a practice is cultural —

    1. Was the practice consistent with the local culture?

    Well, in fact, Philo the Jewish philosopher was arguing against the instrument for reasons quite foreign to Christian thought. Many Hellenistic writers argued against IM because IM was used in cults that were offensive even to pagan writers. The Jews were on a path leading toward AC worship in the synagogue (whenever that happened). Greek Platonic thought tended to minimize the material and elevate the spiritual — creating a dualism that is often found in the writings of AC advocates even today.

    (You may bring extra-biblical sources???)

    So we don’t have to take much note of Philo, do we?

    Again you only take on half of the ECF (Hellenistic)‘s argumehts. You ignore their typological interpretation. But also the clear distance from the cults and their sensual worship (Bruice Morton’s Book is excellent) is very important, because we find the same principle of separation in the Scriptures.
    Since IM goes hand in hand with CCM, I warn strongly against IM. CCM is carnal worship imitating the most sensual and sensational music if the world. You can’t see it, because you obviously don’t understand the necessity of separation from this world.

    So, yes, there were strong cultural trends toward AC music utterly independent of Christianity, showing that, in that culture, at that time, IM was seen as immoral or unworthy by many.

    This does not rule out the strong Biblical reasons for AC.

    2. Do the scriptural writers argue from prudential grounds or gospel grounds?

    Well, the scriptural writers say nothing on the subject.

    And this is telling compared to the Old Covenant. It should lead us to the question: WHY?

    So the AC vs. IM debate is cultural — what approach best allows the church to accomplish its mission in its community? It's a question of expedience, but expedience thought through in terms of mission.

    It is cultural only in one sense: Contemporary Western Christianity is losing any sense of separation and conforms itself more and more to the world. Other than that, pointing to “culture” is trying to find an easy way out of the quest for the truth of the matter.

    Alexander

  103. Larry Short says:

    AB, how far do we take separation from the world. John.s wording is strong, be even he clarified that we don't need to leave. Purely on that understanding we should do everytiing different except physically separate. Should we give up cars and use donkeys? It would definately make a statement. Should we give up radio, TV, movies, DVDs, and any other commerical entertainment? Could religious programs be an exception? Etc.
    I do honor John's words by examing the reasons we do things, rather than wether our culture does it. I see IM as increased entertainment value, discouraging participation and unity of the body. The fact that the ECF considered this too and decided on AC for many reasons, makes it more important for us to decide if our logic is better than theirs. Everyone thinks their time is special and requires different answers than the past. Current snobbishness is not a Biblical principle. Jesus compared current to past lives of the righteous, as if differnt times is immaterial. If AC to avoid being like pagan ceremonies, then are today's pagan ceremonies mostly IM or AC? Has anyone heard acapella at the strip club?

  104. HistoryGuy says:

    Larry,
    I personally have not visited a strip club sense my conversion where I only returned to try and convert most in there… that said, I think Mötley Crüe was playing. I was asked to leave very shortly after my arrival.

  105. aBasnar says:

    I am afraid that separation is not really understood today. Some point to the Amish people as one extreme and ask: Do you really want to be like them? The others reduce separation to an inward attitude, that allows us to partake in everything externally.

    The answer is simple: Delighting in what God delights, shuinning what God shuns. Let's give some examples:

    Can you imagine God running for presidency? I can'nt and Jesus refused to be a King in John 6. So I am convinced, christians should not run for presidency and stay away from politics. That's separation.

    Can we imagine God wearing an Army suit and fuighting for the interests of any earthly government? By no means! He urges us to become a people of peace – so we cannot seve in the military either – that's separation.

    Can we imagine God cheering for one football team while wishing il for the other one? So we should avoid such spectacles as well – that's separation.

    You can create your own list. But there is a flip side:

    Can we imagine God becoming a servant rather than a tyrant? So let's follow His example – that's also separation from the world's understanding of power.

    Can we imagine God becoming poor for others? So let's follow His example – that's also separation from the world's ideal of getting rich.

    Again, you can make your own list.

    When talking about CCM anbd loosing our sense for separation, I say, that music is not neutral. The kind of music – called Pop- or Rockmusic – developed in the 60s is embedded in a movement of rebellion and immorality. the music is an expression of the mindset. If you take the music and put Christian words to it, you actually take Christian words and blend worldly emotions into them. You btring the world into the worship. That's not separation, that's – as John said – loving this world, its lust of the eyes/ears and the flesh and its pride.

    I hope this was clarifying
    Alexander

  106. Larry Short says:

    Thanks AB. I see more value in what we are trying to be (the light, aid to the sick, symphany with suffering, etc.) than separation. However John's words are real, in net, to remove ourselves from the lusts of the world. Rather than satisfying our never ending desires for things, sensual pleasure, power, etc. we should be as you said serving. When we do music, is it the volume, variety of sound or the unison of saints praising God we seek? What's most important the musical sheem or the words? I'm very much with the Westleys, great words to good tunes is a hymn. You see I almost always agree with you but from a slight different angle. May He make all righteous tries make the mark.

  107. Larry Short says:

    HistoryGuy, I'm surprised that you are the one to reply to the strip club question, however marching into hell for a heavenly cause…….
    I thought you might have noticed the anology to first century. The reasons that ECF passed on the instrument varied by each person; one said IM sounded too military, another like a pagan cult, another like the temple God allowed to be destroyed, etc. I'm sure AB would say it sounds like every commerical concert, night club, bar, strip club, etc. today.
    To HistoryGuy may I predict history, that the churches that get their services on the TV will be the ones with the greatest show. Satisfies those lusts that John said to separate from.

  108. Jay Guin says:

    Rich W asked,

    "You work very hard to run away from what you believe is an over-constraining situation (the Galatian heresy). However, the reasoning given (heart only, interpretation doesn't matter) seems to be one that produces an under-constraining condition."

    Rich,

    Did I ever say "heart only, interpretation doesn't matter"? I don't think so.

    What I say, repeatedly, is what Paul says,

    (Gal 5:6 ESV) 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.

    Call me "conservative," but I think that's what we're supposed to believe. I believe Paul to be speaking apostolic truth.

    Does that mean that the heart matters? Well, obviously. "Faith" includes many things, and among those these is a right state of heart. "Faith" is not purely intellectual (even the demons …). It includes things like trust and faithfulness. (There is more, of course.)

    And, of course, love also includes a heart element. So, yes, the heart matters. It's hard to imagine how anyone could read the Bible and deny the importance of the heart!

    (Mat 22:37-38 ESV) 7 And he said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment."

    But it's not all subjective. We just need to avoid being deceived into thinking that it's either all subjective or all objective. No, Christianity is a whole-person religion, and it touches the heart, the mind, the body, the will, how we live …

    Regarding interpretation, well, after typing a couple of million words on Bible interpretation, I think it's obvious that I think it's important to properly interpret the Bible! But I don't think you have to agree with me on every single point of interpretation to be saved.

    Neither do I think I get to decide which points are essential depending on high strongly I feel on the point or how certain I feel of my conclusions. Rather, Jesus promises salvation to all who have faith.

    (Joh 3:18 ESV) 18 Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God.

    Now, I've written extensively on the meaning of "faith" and it's not just intellectual assent. And I can't deny the plain teaching of the Bible. You can be wrong about a lot of things and yet get faith right. Therefore, there are some interpretations that matter but don't affect your salvation. Salvation isn't the only issue of consequence, you know.

    Therefore, if I misunderstand the assembly, denying the important of edifying and being a comfort to my brothers and sisters there, that matters, but it won't damn — even though it would be doctrinal error. But it would matter because my mistake would hurt my brothers and sisters and hinder God's mission by weakening his church. It matters, but it will be covered by grace.

    (1Co 3:12-15 ESV) 12 Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw– 13 each one's work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. 14 If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone's work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire.

    Obviously, I'm not writing a complete explanation of these matters, having barely touched on "faith" and "love" — which the Bible treats in great depth. But hopefully you see the outline.

    God cares deeply about many things, but for those saved, sins are forgiven. He cares deeply about every single sin, whether coming from weakness of the flesh or the intellect. And yet he forgives us. That's the meaning of grace.

    We can fall from grace, but not just any sin causes us to fall. We can get some things wrong and do some things wrong and yet remain saved.

    (1Jo 1:7 ESV) 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.

    The key, though, is to remain true to the faith through which God saved us in the first place. And that faith includes faithfulness. Hence, rebellion will damn us (Heb 10:26 ff), as will a loss of faith in Jesus (1 John 4:2-3). But not all sin is rebellion and not all error is a loss of faith.

    [continued]

  109. Jay Guin says:

    Rich W asked,

    "I understand that snake-handling is a misinterpretation of Mark 16:17-18 based on the fact that we have no command nor example of the concept following Pentecost. This is overly simplified but gets to the point.

    So, how would you call it using your hermeneutic?"

    There is, of course, a serious textual question as to whether Mark 16:17-18 is in the original text. Let's assume, for the sake of discussion, that it is. It says,

    (Mar 16:17-18 ESV) 17 "And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover."

    Now, if an eldership were to decide to permit snake handling at their church, they would not be damned for such a decision. Snake handling hardly rejects the faith, rebels against God, etc. It's just not damning in and of itself.

    Does that mean that snake handling is the Sixth Act of Worship? No. Nothing here speaks of the assembly, and the handling of snakes is not commanded. He just says those who believe will be able to do that.

    You see, we sometimes presume that X must either be a command or else prohibited. And that's just not true. X could well be a matter of expedience. Or it could be decision by God himself as to what gifts to give a given person.

    I'm not commanded to lead singing, but the scriptures certainly permit me to do so. But God didn't give me that ability, so that decision's already been made for me!

    So would I fellowship a church that is otherwise a good, Christian church even though they handle snakes? Yes, of course — but I wouldn't get anywhere near the snakes.

  110. Jay Guin says:

    HistoryGuy asked,

    "A few are contradictory. For example, one cannot believe that God has been 'Silent' and also believe God has 'Spoken' about IM in NT worship. These are two separate camps in the IM advocate group."

    Not really, although I'd concede that those who would permit IM aren't always as clear as they might be.

    1. As further studies are performed and we dig more deeply into the text, we learn things. And the case for express permission to use the instrument is building as dialogue pushes us more and more into the text and beyond the old arguments.

    2. Few if any in the "IM is permitted" camp (IMIP) would argue that IM is mandatory — regardless of what some believe they may have heard.

    3. Of course, those in the IMIP camp uniformly reject the Regulative Principle.

    4. Therefore, for those of us who consider IM permissible, it really isn't all that important whether we have silence or express permission. Either way, it comes down to expedience in light of God's mission. And, therefore, I've not focused that much on the question, because it makes no difference in the outcome of the discussion.

    Hence, Clyde Symonette would argue, I believe, that the scriptures expressly authorize IM, but he makes that argument to show that the inference of prohibition is wrong, not to require anyone to use the instrument.

    Now, someone who has bought the Regulative Principle argument has to have express permission to consider IM permissible. Therefore, someone in the RP camp reading the IMIP arguments would naturally focus on the question of express permission, but it's an irrelevant question to the IMIP camp.

    And I'd FAR rather spend my energies persuading someone to reject the RP than that IM is expressly approved. You see, the RP does great damage to the Churches in areas far removed from IM. It's the single greatest source of division in the Churches other than our misunderstanding of grace.

    Finally, there is no contradiction. Rather, when someone in the IMIP camp (such as myself) says that the text says nothing about the use of the instrument, we are speaking in terms of whether the instrument is commanded or prohibited, that is, speaking in RP terms for the sake of speaking to an RP audience.

    When the discussion is about command vs. prohibition, I can and do truthfully say I think the text says nothing because it says neither.

  111. Doug says:

    Oh yeah… that was really clarifying. Why don't we do this….Let's each come up with a list and then we can start a blog and argue over whose list is most correct or religious or conservative or more like the ECF's list. As for me, there's only 2 things on my list: 1) Love the Lord my God with all my heart and soul and mind 2) Love my neighbor as myself.

    Guys like you, Alexander, can fill out the rest of the list. Personally, I keep plenty busy with #1 & 2 above.

  112. aBasnar says:

    Now, if an eldership were to decide to permit snake handling at their church, they would not be damned for such a decision.

    By Jolly, this isn't about CHURCH! This is about e.p. Paul's encounter with a snake ob the isle of Melite. Or are wee supposed to drink poison in our assemblies as well? But there are accounts from the mission field where God's messengers were miraculously saved from attempts to kill them. Were all saved? No. Do all speak in tongues? Neither.

    But starting off to debate whether Mk 16 should be in the Bible is a very questionable place to start …

  113. aBasnar says:

    Guys like you, Alexander, can fill out the rest of the list. Personally, I keep plenty busy with #1 & 2 above.

    Have you ever heard the term "headlne-theology" – Probably not, because I just made it up. The whole Law is SUMMED UP in these two commands, but it can't be REDUCED to these two. For every-day practice these "headlines" are insufficient, they only point to our attitude but not to our actions. This sounds SOOO scriptural but it is in fact a cunning way to avoid obedience in all things.

    Alexander

  114. Doug says:

    The point I was making is some of us are concerned with Loving God and others and some of us are concerned about listing all of the Rules. Can you say legalism, Alexander?

    I

  115. aBasnar says:

    Can you show me the term legalism in the scriptures, Doug?

    Look here for lawlessness: Mat 7:23; Mat 24:12; Rom 6:19; 2Co 6:14; Tit 2:14: 2Pe 3:17; 1Jn 3:4

    Alexander

  116. guy says:

    Jay,

    You wrote:
    "3. Of course, those in the IMIP camp uniformly reject the Regulative Principle."

    Isn't this one now slightly strange in light of the fact that, as you pointed out, some reformed churches *both* accept RP *and* use IM? Obviously, at least as far as they're concerned, you don't have to reject RP to permit IM.

    –guy

  117. guy says:

    Jay,

    Also–i know i've already mentioned it, and i promise this will be the last time. Just wanted to report–i've tried the yahoo sign in and the open ID sign in, i've thoroughly checked my spam folder and filters, and i have yet to receive a single email notification despite subscribing every single time i comment.

    –guy

  118. Doug says:

    Sure, look under "Pharisee". They had lots of them thar rules. Jesus didn't take to them thar Pharisee's sometimes either.

    When you compile lists of rules, especially when a charismatic preacher type person compiles a list of rules, you've got the beginings of what causes division in the Church. Just look at Church history through the ages. But, as long as you keep your list of rules to yourself and don't expect anyone else to salute them, I guess that's okay. The thing is tho', based on your vigorous posting history, I wouldn't be too surprised if you desired (expected) others to salute that list of yours.

  119. guy says:

    Doug,

    There's a lot of rules listed in the OT. God wrote it and compiled it. Is God a legalist?

    i'd say there's a lot of rules listed in the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus authored that list. Is Jesus a legalist?

    Compiling a list of rules is not a sufficient condition for legalism.

    –guy

  120. aBasnar says:

    It is one thing to be pharisaic – which is a snare.

    But it is a completely different thing to teach obedeinece of faith or the commandmenmts of God.

    My examples of separation avove were basically commandments of God paraphrased or principles of Christian ethics applied to contemporary situations.

    Your approach to faith seems to be
    a) individuialistic – each one may follow his own "list" of things
    b) selective – just focus on love and don't go into details

    There is an intrersting statement in the verses I gave you to look up. I suppose you didn't do this, so I'll hold this one under your nose:

    Mat 24:12 And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold.

    What does this mean to you?

    Alexander

  121. Doug says:

    If one feels they are satisfying what God desires by living a life that meets the terms of some rules on a list, that is a sufficient condition for legalism. The first step in doing that is compiling the list. I'll leave it up to you to decide if God is a legalist but I'm sure glad I leave under His grace and not under His law. As for the the sermon on the Mount, Jesus was saying that checking off on a rule list was insufficent and what really matters was the internalization of Jesus like behavior. So I would say that Jesus was not a legalist. He wants us to live the laws of God not just obey the laws of God. That was obviously what God desired all the time also but we humans weren't ready for such a big step so the OT laws began to teach us until that Kairos moment when we were ready to move to the next step. I won't move backwards to living to a set of rules because it's not now nor was it ever what God wanted from us.

  122. Aaron says:

    I'm not Doug, but I don't see how condescension adds to the discussion, Alexander. It certainly isn't Christlike.

  123. Doug says:

    Matt 24:12 taken in context, i.e. the sign of the times and the end of the age, it means that as time goes on, people in general aren't going to get closer to God but further away.

    I'll let the post below speak for how I think God wants Christians to live their faith. Unfortunately, I have tried to live a Christian life by doing the right things… obeying some Church's list of rules. It didn't assist me in creating a Christ-like life. I don't operate from that perspective anymore.

  124. guy says:

    Doug,

    You wrote:
    "As for the the sermon on the Mount, Jesus was saying that checking off on a rule list was insufficent and what really matters was the internalization of Jesus like behavior."

    Actually i don't see where in the Sermon on the Mount Jesus said what you say He says. Seems clear to me though that He did give a much stricter set of rules than the ones He was quoting.

    Do you think there is something wrong or inadequate or flawed about the OT?

    –guy

  125. Doug says:

    Well, Jesus said unless the peoples righteousness exceeded the Pharisees righeousness they would not enter the Kingdom of Heaven. I take that to mean that Jesus was saying external rule keeping (Legalism) isn't going to get you into heaven. The only righteousness that that satisfies God's standard is faith in Jesus (Rom 3:21-22). I, not Jesus, said what matters was the internalization of Jesus like behavior and what I meant was the Holy Spirit through the renewing of ones mind goes to work with a person and permits a person to think and act like Jesus would think and act. I don't see Jesus as giving stricter rules in His sermon on the mount. I see Him telling us keeping the rules of the Law aren't really what God wants from us. What God really wants is sanctified people with minds like that of Christ and we can obtain that only through our faith in Jesus as the son of God and through the indwelling Holy Spirit.

    There's nothing inadequate or flawed with the OT. And there's nothing inadequate or flawed with the OT Law either except for the fact that none of us can meet its' requirements. So, the Law and all its' accompanying rule keeping is in that regard inadequate and flawed.

  126. guy says:

    Doug,

    First, what Jesus said was:

    "Therefore anyone who sets aside one of the least of these commands and teaches others accordingly will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever practices and teaches these commands will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven."

    Jesus premises His Sermon saying that keeping the rules is good. Breaking them and teaching others to break them makes you least in the kingdom. Keeping them and teaching others to keep them makes you great in the kingdom. *Then* He says the Pharisees' righteousness was inadequate. So what's His assessment of the Pharisees? The Pharisees did not keep the commandments nor teach others to do so.

    Jesus makes clear here and throughout Matthew that the Pharisees' problem was not that they stuck to the rules (notice in Matt 23:23, He implies they were right to be tithing their spices), but that they failed to keep the rules. They broke a great many rules. They broke rules concerning truth-telling, parent-honoring, and benevolence for instance. And they taught others to do so.

    Second, i assume you mean that because some of Jesus' words in the Sermon on the Mount focus on attitudes, thoughts, or other mental states, this means Jesus calls for "internalization." Perhaps. But Jesus gives stricter rules regardless. Saying i shouldn't lust is surely stricter than saying i shouldn't commit adultery. That is, the former prohibits a *greater* number of actions on my part than does the latter. Or saying i shouldn't be angry with my brother is surely stricter than saying i shouldn't commit murder. The former prohibits a *greater* number of things i could do than does the latter. Jesus' rules are clearly more restrictive than those He is quoting.

    –guy

  127. aBasnar says:

    I don't think this verse is speaking of people in general, but of people who have love that can grow cold: Christians, into whose hearts the love of God had been poured. So this is referring to church in her way to apostasy.

    And how does this apostsy come about? By not doing what God said – lawlessness. I fear that Evangelical theology in general which abhorrs the idea that obedience was necessary for salvation is a theology of lawlessness, clothed in nice and inviting words such as love and grace. But this is a fake and misleading grace, a false love they preach! The outcomes are Christians who choose when and what to obey and justify this misbehavior by boasting to be not legalistic. And they label others with this unbiblical term in a kind of self-defense, because these others point to the fact, that they deny the Lordship of Christ by their actions, which – if they don't repenet – will lead to their damnation (Mat 7:21).

    Please, check that out: Biblical love is obedient love (John 14:21) and biblical grace enables and prompts us to fulfill God's Law (in the way the Sermon on Mount explains it) (Rom 8:1-4; Php 2:12-14).

    Alexander

  128. Doug says:

    If we make Christianity into a set of rules, we'll come to the same end result as the Pharisees. The rules will become our idols and we'll end up worshipping the rules, relying on the rules, trusting in the rules instead of Christ.

    I can see this discussion turning into another endless Works vs. Faith thing and I don't see merit in going there again. I'll conclude by just saying if the rules are written on a Christians heart, that Christian will obey the rules in the manner that Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount. If the rules are not in a Christians heart, that person will struggle to obey whatever rules he/she thinks need to be obeyed to be a Christian and will ultimately fail in that task and along the way will make himself/herself miserable.

    The Law, the rules are fufilled only in Christ Jesus. I'm planning on doing what the bible tells me to do but I am wholly trusting in Jesus to make that possible. I'm not going to trust in Guy's or Alexander's set of rules for living a Christian life.

  129. aBasnar says:

    The problem with the pharisees was not that they followed rules, but that they changed and added to God's Law.

    Neither Guy nor me "made" a list; we simply pointed to some Biblical Commands and principles – why do you oppose them? On what grounds? On one side you say you are planning to do everything the Bible tells you, but if someone else tells you what the Bible tells us, you frown at them. Why, Doug? I've seen this so often in "Faith Only" people (you are not the only one), and I simply don't understand this reaction.

    Please don't make a BIG word out of "list". The sermon on the mount contains a "list" of those who are blessed – is it a complete list? No, as other scriptures show. The same sermon also contains a list of Laws in a much stricter interpretation (But I say unto you) – is this "list exhaustive"? No, they are examples – and they teach us how to read, understand and apply God's will in the OT Laws.

    We actually don't need a list, but the attitude exemplified by these lists. We are called and shall be instructed to obey ALL the Lord has commanded (Mat 28:20). This ALL means EVERYTHING. We can try to make a list out of this or just cultivate the attitude: There it is in the Scriptures, and thus I'll do it. Period.

    But many (misled) Christians answer: All you need is love. They stick with a summary of the Law, refusing to accept that the Law contains a number of specific commands God is very serious about. They also say, it is all about the Law written in their hearts … but they don't do it.

    I don't know you well enough to say anything about you. But your answers and reactions reminds me of these Chrsitians.

    Alexander

  130. Doug says:

    Alexander, your inital rule "List" had these three things: 1) Christians can't be involved in Politics 2) Christians can't serve in the Military 3) Christians can't cheer for a Sports team.

    Now I suppose if I am to be a member in good standing in "your" congregation, I'd need to agree with these 3 rules which you claim God supports. I disagree with your claim that the word of God supports these rules. We are called to "render unto Ceasar" and that can certainly include both military and political service. Also, God certainly took the military field in support of His chosen people time and time again.

    As for Sports events, the bible without stretching it toooo far, seems silent to me. Unless you are invoking the RPW, that rule is very questionable.

    I am not a faith only person but my works are mine and I'm not going to share them on a blog or make a rule and a case that others should also share in those works…neither should you.

    I'm pretty sure you'll insist on the last word so I'll let you have it. Blessings!

  131. aBasnar says:

    Just a short last word:

    Christ says: Love your enemies – so how can you serve in the military?
    Christ says: Don't swear oaths – so how can you be a politician (or any other profession) where you have to swear oaths?
    Christ says: God sends rain to the just and the unjust – so why should we wish well to one team and ill to the other one?

    Of course these topics are a little more comlpex, but as a starting pointm, you may devote a few days for these … try to grasp the concept. It has to do with a paradigm shift for most American Christians.

    Alexander

  132. Meish says:

    Is there a way to get these articles while Wineskins website is down? I read them several months ago and kept the links and am kicking myself for not printing them then.

  133. Avatar of Jay Guin Jay Guin says:

    Meish,

    Sorry, but the articles are unavailable until we get the site back up. I don’t have access either. But it shouldn’t be much longer …

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