Richland Hills, Instrumental Music, and the future of the Churches of Christ: In Reply to HistoryGuy

[HistoryGuy's extensive comment below requires more words for response than the comment engine will allow, and so I'm responding with a post. HistoryGuy's comment argues his case extensively and, I believe, merits a comprehensive response.]

Angel with harpHistoryGuy wrote,

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

O%? No evidence of any kind at all?

How do you erase the Odes of Solomon from church history?

Ode 26

I poured out praise to the Lord, because I am His own.
And I will recite His holy ode, because my heart is with Him.
For His harp is in my hand, and the odes of His rest shall not be silent.
I will call unto Him with all my heart, I will praise and exalt Him with all my members.

It’s not 0%.

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

Even Everett Ferguson concedes that the instrumental music in worship was not taught by the early church fathers until nearly the Third Century. Earlier criticisms of instrumental music dealt with idolatrous pagan banquets and such like.

Some argue that their silence is due to the uniformity of a cappella music and hence the fathers had no need to argue the case — which may or may not be true. Silence is, you know, silence and hardly proves a claim to apostolic tradition.

Third Century and later claims to apostolic authority regarding instrumental music are unpersuasive because the church at that time credited all sorts of teachings to the apostles that are obviously not traceable to them at all. See part 1 and part 2 where I give extensive examples of this phenomenon.

Third, if you or I had lived in the first 600 years of the church, IM would not have even been an option.

Clearly true from about 200 AD to 600 AD. The first two centuries are less certain, and Paul is as far removed from Clement of Alexandria as the Civil War is removed from us. A lot can happen in 150 years.

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

Oh, please … You can’t seriously be arguing that Richland Hills only uses instrumental music because of a decree from the Pope 1,500 years ago. And there’s no evidence that the instrumental music divided the church — the church remained united for hundreds of years after the organ was introduced! And if the Pope is the only reason we use instrumental music today, why are many synagogues instrumental today?

“Sola scriptura” is the not the same thing as the law of silence. The Lutherans produced such great composers of instrumental Christian music as J. S. Bach.

As Martin Luther said, “The true rule is this: God’s Word shall establish articles of faith, and no one else, not even an angel can do so.” Amen. That hermeneutic makes the early church fathers ultimately utterly unpersuasive.

IM is not a salvation issue, but it is a truth issue dealing with nature of Christian worship.

Amen.

The truth is IM is the result of several domineering Popes, who borrowed a few OT practices and divided the church 700-1500AD. At the Council of Trent (1500s), the banning of IM almost passed because of (1) its OT nature and (2) a 700yr history of causing division after its entrance into the church.  The Orthodox never used IM because they (1) denied Papal authority (2) upheld the ECF claim that AC is apostolic.

Not familiar with that aspect of the Council of Trent, but not that interested, either. The Council of Trent concluded some false things and some true things. I’ll not be persuaded by pro- or anti-Catholic sentiments.

If I find the early church fathers interesting but ultimately without persuasive authority (a la Martin Luther), I’m sure not going to be persuaded by what did or didn’t happen in the Council of Trent or what a Medieval Pope did or didn’t do. It just doesn’t matter.

The reason Richland Hills and so many other churches want to add instrumental services is because that is what “music” and “singing” mean to most Americans — and God has gifted countless Christians to worship him instrumentally.

It’s a question, first, of freedom in Christ and, second, mission. And Richland Hills very much sees this as about being effective in their mission to a lost world. It has nothing to do with the Pope or the Council of Trent. Indeed, in that part of the world, the Church of Christ’s refusal to use instruments is strongly associated with legalism and sectarianism — a perception they find interferes with their ministry and mission. (And they’ve concluded that it’s entirely scriptural.)

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

By “Reformation hermeneutics” I assume you mean the Regulative Principle, brought to us by the Reformed Church of John Calvin and Ulrich Zwingli. And their arguments are simply not scriptural. We’ve considered them extensively here many times. The scriptural arguments for “the law of silence” do not stand up to inspection — but at least they’re arguments from scripture. And I’d far rather be talking about the scriptures.

No one is arguing that the question can’t be settled. Most believers find the issue completely settled. Only a small minority are still fighting over it — and I’m only interested in the question because how utterly divisive and counter-productive the “law of silence” is to our work as the body of Christ. The Regulative Principle or “law of silence” does great harm to the cause of the Kingdom and therefore has to be opposed — whether the topic is instrumental music or fellowship halls or basketball goals in the parking lot.

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

Where the Bible speaks, we speak; where the Bible is silent, we are silent. Thomas Campbell intended this to be a rule of freedom and unity, and it was corrupted into a rule of division and sectarianism. I’ve had all of that I can bear. I’ve seen the fruit of the Regulative Principle — and it is division and wrangling. Even now the Memphis Churches of Christ have been torn up over whether the re-affirmation of elders is scripturally permitted — and it’s become a fellowship issue in the minds of many. And that’s just wicked and obviously sinful. But the argument is that the scriptures are silent on re-affirmation and if we had to split over the instrument … (It never stops, does it?)

No, the “law of silence” is deeply mistaken, impossible to apply consistently, not found in scripture, and divides the body of Christ. Even when not considered a fellowship issue, it creates fights over “authority” when we should be talking about mission and God’s purposes. The sooner we rid it from our churches, the better. We took a seriously wrong turn when we decided to fight over what is and isn’t authorized rather than what is and isn’t consistent with God’s redemptive plan and purposes — the gospel.

The argument from scripture is simple enough. It’s not that “silence is permission” but that instrumental music fulfills the God-given purposes for assembly — if done right. The discussion begins and ends in scripture — and the hermeneutic is simple: figure out how the New Testament writers determined what is appropriate in the assembly and use their standard. Ignore all man-made standards. Think in gospel terms, not Reformation terms.

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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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60 Responses to Richland Hills, Instrumental Music, and the future of the Churches of Christ: In Reply to HistoryGuy

  1. David says:

    I love those last two paragraphs. Though our forefathers took the road led by silence out of fear….we should strive to listen to the voice of the gospel that is entreating us to think in terms of joy for what God has been at work throughout history to redeem all people by the blood of the lamb….and for what the Lord is currently doing through the Spirit in our bodies….we are free from the second death and alive in Jesus Christ….we are free in Jesus Christ……we should begin to think like God……..our whole purpose should be to glorify the Lord as we strive to immitate his desire to bring the sheaves in. It is about bringing in the sheaves…..not rules. We are free. Our emphasis should be bringing in the sheaves.

  2. aBasnar says:

    How do you erase the Odes of Solomon from church history?

    What I don’t understand, is how could one overlook the clearly figurative use of instrumengts in the Odes, with the exception of one single verse ( and still: It it poetic language!). This is the earliest reference to the typological interpretations we find later in church history and thus it is an indirect proof for the figurative understaning of instruments in the NT-church. Indirect, because these Odes are shaped like the Psalms and poetic in language. They do not attempt to describe Early Christian worship practices. That instruments are mentioned is due to the fact that they imitate the Psalms; but HOW the instruments are mentioned (in the Psalms a great variety, in the Odes merely one or two different instruments; in the Psalms 2.5 times more often than in the Odes) however is an indicator rather for a-cappella worship than for IM-worship.

    But since the Odes seem to be something like a last straw to hold on to, they become of vital importance for IMers – with the Odes they can nullify the testimony of those men who were respected leaders and teachers in the Church of Christ of the 2nd and 3rd century.

    … caused a drum and the reed pipe or aulos to be played before worship.

    It would be interesting to read the primary source to this. Anyway interesting: “Before worship” is not the same as “in worship”. This does not add anything to the discussion – and since Origen followed Clement of Alexandria, we know where he stood. Why he did not address this comment of Celsus in his reply to him remains unanswerable.

    Anyway: I am quite sure that we will arrive at 0 %, but even if it’s only 0.2% we MUST conclude that AC was handed down from the Apostles. Why? Because HOW could a practice in the empire-wide church of Christ (remember: all “autonomous”, all of them claiming Apostolic origin, all of them EXTREMLY conservative) be changed or unified if the practices and traditions had been diverse?

    This is like the claim of the Muslims that the Bible had been changed! We know this is impossible from the Manuscript-evidence. We cannot claim AC was introduced after the Apostles, also because of the manuscript evidence: It was there from the beginning with 0% (or 0.2%) exceptions. You cannot explain that away, unless you change and alter the evidence, as some try to do with the Odes.

    Alexander

  3. ClydeSymonette says:

    Jay wrote:
    "The argument from scripture is simple enough."

    Indeed Jay. Indeed.

    The elevation of non-scriptural sources and what the Bible purportedly does not say about MI continues to fuel the opposition to MI; to the degree that what the Bible says is IGNORED.

  4. ClydeSymonette says:

    Jay wrote:
    "The argument from scripture is simple enough."

    Indeed Jay. Indeed.

    The elevation of non-scriptural sources and what the Bible purportedly does not say about MI continues to fuel the opposition to MI; to the degree that what the Bible says is IGNORED.

  5. Bruce Morton says:

    Jay:
    I have noticed something the last few days in your/others posts regarding music: Freedom of expression! Temple Worship. The feeling of joy from instrumental music! Unity between religious groups! Those have been the overarching themes, correct?

    But none of those themes get at the background to Ephesians 5:18-21. All that Paul writes is written against the backdrop of a spiritual siege. If we ignore the background, talk around it, etc., then I am becoming more convinced we will rush past the message of Paul — no matter how much we research/wrestle/talk about this subject.

    The Spirit is showing us that unified singing of the Word is a powerful means of revealing evil. Forgetting for a moment the "silence" discussion, that is what the text is showing us.

    But perhaps I am asking too much of folks — especially in a nation which generally does not believe a spiritual war is real. We are far more comfortable talking about "silence" etc. For example, I asked a precious sister in Christ a question along that line recently. She studies the Scriptures, has been a Christian for many years. I asked her if she believe Satan existed. Her answer? "Bruce I used to, but I am not sure now." (!) Her response blew me away — shocked me. And I saw the same thing Sunday when the subject of spiritual siege surfaced. VERY uncomfortable people. Does not even take the subject of music to get us there. Seems that the idea of a spiritual war is quite enough to cause culture shock.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  6. Jimkuy says:

    Jay
    It has been awhile since I last posted but this has brought me back! I agree with you totally. As a church leader that has been a part of making the change as Richland Hills did, I can tell you from first hand knowledge that this move was not done lightly, quickly, and not without a lot of prayer. It has been a somewhat long process and yes, it has had some consequences in that we have lost some members. Not many, but some. Some because it was "the way they were raised" and others because "we just like that old time religion." None were lost to the Kingdom, but just to our fellowship. I am sorry that they left, but I a rejoice in those I now see coming in. I rejoice in those I now see visiting, being actively involved in worship, etc, etc, etc, I rejoice that we are "more" user friendly, that we are reaching out more to our community and that we are more relevant to others for the cause of Christ.
    I thank God for his guidance.

    Was it scary, yes. Was it painful, yes. We were apprehensive, fearful, afraid of what others would think, say, and do. I am sorry to say that we may have even been more afraid of what our "brethren" would think or say than of how we would be judged. Now that I am on the other side of the decision and the implementation of adding an instrumental service to our accapella service, I am thankful to God for what he has done. I believe that our members sense a new mission – to get out of the building and into the community. A mission to reach outward instead of staying inside and waiting for the unsaved to come to us!

    Jay you are so right when you talk about "freedom in Christ and mission" That is what it is all about. I contend now, as I always have. This Gospel was always supposed to be so simple and pure that an ordinary fisherman could drop his net and simply follow Christ! So too must we.

  7. Howdy everyone! Thanks for the wonderful discussions. I enjoy reading and seeing what everyone thinks and how they formulate their evidence, etc.

    Personally, I don't think we should appeal to history (though I have in the past). This is why:

    "Pay careful attention to yourselves and to all the flock, in which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers….I know that after my departure fierce wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock; and from among your own selves will arise men speaking twisted things, to draw away the disciples after them.
    Therefore be alert….And now I commend you to God and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance among all those who are sanctified." Acts 20.28-32

    Paul told those Elders that people were going to come in and try to change things and he pointed them to God and His Word as the authority.

    We should not take history as evidence, because we could end up using something that Paul was describing, the evidence of something that was changed. What we have to do is appeal to God and Scripture. God is the only authority.

    I have studied this subject (IM) for myself pretty extensively and I enjoy reading what others think about it. I do not believe it is a matter of salvation, as many don't. Over the years, I have learned many things from the Scriptures that weren't taught to me in the cofc. As most people will admit, there is an unspoken understanding in most cofcs that you are not to ask certain questions or discuss certain topics (at least in every congregation I have been a part of).

    All the Jewish believers in Jesus were zealous for the law (Acts 21). They followed the law (it was given to them and it was an "everlasting covenant"-Isa 24:5) and instruments were used in the Temple where they worshiped (vs to come). They were not told to stop observing the Law, Paul (Acts 21) was told by James to perform a vow with some other guys to *prove* that He upheld the *Law*.

    Earlier in Acts, when there was a dispute because some of the Jews wanted to "prostelyte" the Gentiles and cause them to be circumcised and keep the Law before being allowed to be Christ's disciples, it was decided in Acts 15 by James (approved by the Apostles, Elders, and Holy Spirit):

    "Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, but should write to them to
    abstain from the things polluted by idols,
    and from sexual immorality,
    and from what has been strangled,
    and from blood.
    For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues." Acts 15.19-21 (I listed the verse)

    It is clear that the 1st Century leaders of the church expected the Gentiles to do a minimum of 5 things, or rather, abstain from 4 things and continue to learn more by studying the OT. Do we even understand these 5 things?

    Now, we all know that *Jesus is our righteousness* and you can't be made righteous by the Law, but they were still expected to learn from the OT. Jesus Himself said that He didn't come to abolish the Law, but to fulfill it. He fulfilled the sacrifices that were required for the people to be considered righteous (He also fulfilled prophecies, etc.).

    I am NOT saying that we have to keep the old law, that was covered in Acts 15, but if you are a Jew, you are to continue in your heritage, WHILE believing in Jesus and knowing that your righteousness comes from Him. That is why the Jewish believers in Acts were still worshiping at the Temple and following the Law. They knew their righteousness was from Jesus, they were expecting Him, but they also knew that the things God had taught them through the Law were good and still pleasing to Him.

    This is the thought behind Jesus' statement:
    "Jesus answered, "The most important is, 'Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one.
    And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'
    The second is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12.29-31

    And the thought behind Paul's statement:
    "For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." Gal 5:14 (& Rom 13.9)

    Paul is quoting Leviticus 19.18 "You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against the sons of your own people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD."

    And what do we think James is talking about when he uses the phrase "royal law" when he refers to Lev 19.18?
    Jas 2:8 If you really fulfill the royal law according to the Scripture, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself," you are doing well.
    Jas 2:9 But if you show partiality, you are committing sin and are convicted by the law as transgressors.
    Jas 2:10 For whoever keeps the whole law but fails in one point has become accountable for all of it.
    Jas 2:11 For he who said, "Do not commit adultery," also said, "Do not murder." If you do not commit adultery but do murder, you have become a transgressor of the law.
    Jas 2:12 So speak and so act as those who are to be judged under the law of liberty.

    When the writers of the NC quote the Law (approx 40 percent of the NC writings are OC quotes), we think that those are the only things we have to continue to follow from the Old Covenant, but these only serve as examples for them as they are teaching those they were writing to. The scriptures that the Berean's were so diligent to study daily weren't what we call the NC, it was the OC. Just like the Gentiles were expected to learn from back in Acts 15/21.

    That we are SUPPOSED to learn from the Old Covenant (It was not nailed to the cross, our sins were-after all, the Law/Commands were "holy" "righteous" and "good" and "spiritual" Rom 7), brings me to the verse where it is shown very clearly that Jehovah COMMANDED instruments to be utilized (as well as a choir, btw):

    2Ch 29:25 And he (Hezekiah) stationed the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, harps, and lyres, according to the commandment of David and of Gad the king's seer and of Nathan the prophet, for the commandment was *from the LORD* through his *prophets*.

    The COMMANDMENT was "from the LORD". How can we claim that God "changes not" and then turn around and claim that what pleases Him has changed? The only reason we don't have to offer sacrifices is because Jesus "fulfilled" that requirement for us to be "righteous".

    Sorry this is so long, I felt it was necessary to get across my thoughts and how we need to shift the way we view the scriptures. We can twist many things to our own destruction…

    Blessings!

  8. Twistersinbama says:

    Always saddens me to see how we pick apart the scriptures to get what we want. IM, AC – who cares?

    What about all the direct, obvious, blatant stuff we just ignore? Isn't this the plank/speck of which Jesus talks?

    Let's say that IM/AC really does matter. Do we think it matters more than caring for the widow and orphan? Do we think it matters more than selling our possessions to care for the poor? Do we think it matters more than our failing marriages? The lawsuits between Christians? The wars we wage in the name of greed and self-preservation?

    I don't know about yall, but it seems to me that we CofC's spend way too much time and energy on this topic and not near enough time on the others. And that is if you actually believe that the IM/AC debate is of any significance.

    As for me, I couldn't care less whether my church uses instruments or not. Maybe that is sinful, maybe not. I figure once I/we get the big stuff right – you know, like loving our brothers, caring for the dispossessed, getting rid of our stuff, praying and worshipping without ceasing – then we can move down the list of other stuff.

    As for me, maybe its immaturity, maybe its lack of intelligence, maybe its pure selfishness, but I desire to emulate Jesus in all aspects of my life equally, not giving overt attention to a part of my life that only includes a couple of hours a week.

  9. Guestfortruth says:

    Jay,

    I know how much you desire unity in the Church, but what you see as unity is “Union” you said “And there’s no evidence that the instrumental music divided the church — the church remained united for hundreds of years after the organ was introduced!
    Answer: The IM practice began in 800 A.D. Mechanical Instruments of music were first introduced apparently by Cultural Acceptance by Pope Vitalian I, in the year 670 A.D. its use was threatening division in the Roman Church, so the practice was discontinue at the time in order to preserve peace and unity in the Roman Church. More that 100 years later, however , the organ was reintroduced over some opposition. The Greek church refuse it then and still refuses its use today. Mechanical music in worship is not of divine origen, but Originated in Rome. The New Testament Authority is to sing (Eph.5:17-19; Mt. 26:30; 1 Cor. 14:15; 1 Cor. 14:26;Col. 3:16;Heb. 2:12)
    (1).- V.E. Howard. What is the church of Christ?

  10. Price says:

    @Guestfortruth…you're kidding right ? IM originated in Rome ?? Jay just got through with a whole series of discussions that clearly indicate by scriptural reference that IM was introduced, yea verily commanded, by God first in Jerusalem long before the first Ceasar…

    @ Jimkey…Thank you for sharing your experience.. It seems the Armageddon that people fear just doesn't happen when the leadership brings the discussion out into the open before the congregation, teaches the truth of what scripture does and does not say and establishes community outreach as a priority over personal preference and tradition.. Many will hear the truth and good news of Jesus that perhaps may never have…
    But, O Shucks…you're gonna loose your listing in the official CoC directory…:(

  11. Norton says:

    From I Cor we are almost certain that The church, having approval from the apostles sang, prayed, and prophecied in unknown tongues in their assemblies. Is that a tradition we should continue? I guess that depends on your view of whether such gifts of the Spirit still exist. If we believe tongues have ceased it raises a pregnant question. Are we even expected to have our assemblies patterned after that of the early church? If God Himself caused the assembly to change, the answer is, No.

  12. Price says:

    Norton….exactly. Having been created in God's image I wonder why we think we all belong in a box…He obviously refuses to stay in one..:)

  13. HistoryGuy says:

    Hi Jay…
    Yes, too much info to cover within a post. Why don’t you save the text and post one point at a time? Here are some surface level thoughts in under 998 words (lol)

    Ask me for sources anytime. 0% is 0% in the worship of God, which Ferguson, McKinnon, and other scholars will affirm. 0% does not apply to any setting since Christians used IM in secular settings. Even Clement of Alexandria, like other ECFs, advocated IM as an art/education.

    Some controversy surrounds the Odes, so I have historically limited my comments on them. While I note your interpretation of Ode 7 & 26, it fails to realize that IM can be literally and figuratively possible, but was not actually literal, given the allegorical framework. What scholar supports your interpretation?

    Origen studied under Clement of Alexandria, clearly affirms AC, and selectively dealt with claims from Celsus. I am familiar with the works of both Celsus and Origen, but don’t know what Danny Corbitt is referring to in Christopher Page’s book. Today I purchased & overnighted the book, will examine pg 32, source documents, and respond accordingly [exciting!].

    Maybe Ferguson can personally respond about his views? He affirms (1) no evidence for IM in worship until the 7th century (2) though AC worship, some cultural displeasure with IM in early 3rd century (3) It is not just silence about IM in worship, but explicit positive evidence revealing an AC practice in the 1st and 2nd century and beyond. I have cited other scholars like McKinnon & Smith for a deeper study of positive evidence for AC as early as the late 1st century.

    Silence does not prove AC or apostolic tradition, which is why I rely upon and written evidence. I don’t make arguments from silence. However, silence within a historical investigation is more telling than when silence is applied to Biblical hermeneutics. The ECFs had divergent views on some issues, but not everything. AC was virtually a universal view. Even though there is positive evidence for AC as early as the late 1st century, unanimous agreement, and a claim of apostolic tradition among the ECFs spanning centuries, region, culture, and personal preference, you continue to disagree with the church of the 1st 600 years.

    I agree a lot can happen in 150yrs, but I have given you info to get you within 50yrs of the Apostle John. Also, when looking at the AC topic within the 1st-2nd century we must consider – apostolic plausibility, implicit Biblical teaching, historical universal testimony, early origination date, and explicit claims of an early practice from early Church historians like Eusebius.

    By the time the Pope added IM, there was an unofficial split between east and west. There was NOT Scriptural debate like in the Reformation; IM was added because Papal authority in the West simply took precedent over Scripture and ECFs views of AC. I am happy to talk with you about the division that followed IM in Catholicism, even the Council of Trent. The congregants were upset, remained visibly unified though divided internally, and embraced Papal authority until the Reformation. You don’t have to be persuaded by Catholic sentiments, but their history is vitally important to understanding the Reformation, and even why the Orthodox are vastly different than Catholic and Protestant. You don’t care? Let me know when you do.

    I agree that Sola Scriptura is not the law of silence. However, the RPW & NPW, whether strictly or loosely applied, are founded upon an appeal to the Biblical authority, supported by church history, as opposed to Papal authority. All the original Reformers rejected IM. Even Luther rejected IM, though the Lutherans adopted IM. Forms of the RPW that use IM and the NPW continue to be a Reformation hermeneutic because they appeal to Biblical authority. The catch is that the appeal for IM is pulled from the [explicit] OT practice, not silence, which establishes the Biblical article of faith for IM. Groups doing this find it acceptable because they normally employ the hermeneutic within Covenant Theology.

    My post specifically said it was not directly related to RH. RH stated their method of authority for IM in a series of sermons and subsequent articles. They are a prime example of a group using a Reformation hermeneutic that will not allow them what they desire. They used almost every Reformation IM argument to appeal to Scripture for authority, like psallo, prophecy, and psalms, then ended by reversing their claim and saying the NT does not forbid IM so they are free to use it. How RH arrives at IM, and how the Lutherans arrive at IM are quite different.

    Some forms of the RPW grant IM so I believe that you are only upset with the stricter forms. RPW does not equal AC, and AC has been upheld in non-RPW hermeneutics. IMO, all hermeneutics that fail to consider and be tested by church history are problematic. Thomas Campbell opposed IM, believed in strict patternism, and his slogan supported his view [not yours]. While a brilliant man, he went too far in some areas [Solo vs. Sola Scriptura] while wearing rose colored glasses.

    From the bottom of my heart I empathize with your struggle to find a hermeneutic. However, your statements presuppose a Reformation worldview. An argument from Scripture must be either explicit or implicit or it becomes an argument from silence. However, you don’t believe silence is permissive… [Why not?] Why don’t you embrace the NPW? The NT writers received what was appropriate from God so they did not have to figure things out. When we try to figure out the standards and applications of NT writers while disconnecting ourselves from universal testimonies of church history, we will arrive at the wrong conclusion. Thus, we are again plagued by interpretive authority. As I have said before, though living in an IM world, the first 600 years of the church was "missional" and a cappella.

  14. Price says:

    @ History Guy….before I wear out your kind patience I must ask a question…..you said "Silence does not prove AC or apostolic tradition, which is why I rely upon and written evidence." To me that's the crux of the matter…

    All of the evidence you present, even if accepted without argument, would do nothing more than clearly present what was, at that time, a Tradition. I find nothing in the evidence you present for an authoritative prohibition of IM and even the lauded and respected Ferguson allows for psalmos to have been understood by the people to have allowed IM if I understand Corbitt correctly.. Whether they chose to use it is an entirely different matter than being forbidden to use it…correct ?

    Admittedly, you would allow that the church somewhere around 600 AD changed its traditional AC style and began to include IM…

    So, exactly why would you suggest to a believer in 2011 that he/she should choose to identify with the musical worship style of one period of time over another in the absense of a clear directive from God the Father, and no mention of it whatsoever from God the Son and what appears to many to be language inspired by God the Spirit to allow it. Would you tell a person that IM is a clear violation of God's word thus making it a sin or just a much beloved tradition of the very early church ?

    When I read this it sounds combative.. That is not the spirit in which I write it. Nor would I chose to disrespect your viewpoint or the obvious research that you have done. However, I still reserve the right to object to the conclusions you may make as to whether or not a tradition or a "law" is established by the evidence submitted…Of course, I am nobody with whom you should worry about my agreement.

  15. aBasnar says:

    I rejoice that we are "more" user friendly, that we are reaching out more to our community and that we are more relevant to others for the cause of Christ.

    Of course this will happen. If you change the direction or focus of a church from being "restored" to being "seeker-sensitive" this will and must happen. But the point is that it is not only a change in worship style, but a change in ekklesiology! A dramatic change, that (I suppose) took place long before the introduction of IM.

    This seeker-sensitive approach is not only totally incompatible to all the temple signified of God's Hoilöiness and the strict cionditions under which men can enter. It also forces the church's worship to be (at least to a much larger degree) men-pleasing in their worship.

    You head the road of modern Evangelical Churches, and you will reap the fruit they will reap. As I see it, it boiles down to more numbers and (at the same time) more ordinances and commandments of our Lord being neglected. This won't happen at once, but gradually. The worship service will cease to be patterned after the NT, baptism as a requirement to partake in the Lord's Supper will become more and more obsolete (because you cvannot excvlude the visitors after you have included them), followed by a watered down view of salvation (baptism being one of the first victims, followed by obedience "in all things" which will be cut in pieces so it's easier to pick and choose …).

    At the end you most likely will join Bill Hybel's sad conclusion: "We made numbers but not disciples."

    I hope your church will not end the way I pictured in darkest black. But this is the direction such a move points to. Watch out: What will be demanded next by the flesh of the people of God? Once you give in to the flesh, you will be enslaved to it … introducing IM is a first step. CCM, wordly po-culture, follows en-suite. Life-Style and mind set of 21st century America will enter swiftly after both. Gone is separation, muzzled the Spirit of God who cries out in pain. Who is the victor?

    Keep this post and reread it in 10 years. May God grant that may prophecy is untrue.

    Alexander

  16. Price says:

    Alexander…you did not just put forth the ole "slippery slope" argument…really? Jimkuy and the leadership of his church spent what appears to be a long time in preparation, planning, implementation, teaching, and prayer in order to find a way to be more CHRIST-like (rather than reformed, restored, seeker-friendly, or some other man-made term).

    I find it interesting that when Jesus Himself was being "seeker-friendly", going into them homes of "sinners" that he was condemned as a drunk and over-eater. Seems the Pharisees had an issue with anyone, including prophets and workers of miracles, from stepping outside the traditions of men to reach the lost…

    Slippery Slope !! really ?

  17. Jay Guin says:

    Alexander,

    For the Odes of Solomon and Celsus to be 0.2% of the evidence, there'd have to be 1000 pieces of evidence going the other direction. In fact, there are very nearly none.

    There are zero First Century sources asserting AC only in the assembly.
    There are zero early or mid-Second Century sources asserting AC only in assembly.

    It's not until we get to Clement of Alexandria and Origen that arguments are made relating to the assembly. They are generally dated in the 3rd Century, but could be late Second Century.

    Hence, we have 2 for IM and 2 against, making it 50/50 – in the first two centuries — placing Clement and Origen in the Second Century.

    And the chronology matters. The 2 for IM predate the 2 against.

    It's not much evidence at all, of course, and hardly enough to build a doctrinal case. And the third century is, of course, a long time after Paul — 150 to 250 years later.

    Now, it's fun and interesting to speculate how the church became AC in the Third Century — and we'll likely not know until we are at rest with Jesus. But speculations about how a doctrine came to be 150 years after Paul is not the proper foundation for any doctrine.

    Indeed, we have better, older patristic evidence for triple immersions, immersions in living (running) water, and a bishop over the eldership.

    We are very, very selective in the ECFs we find authoritative and those we dismiss.

  18. Guestfortruth says:

    Price,

    I am sorry, but I have not been following the discussion closelly. That is what I found in the book What is the church of Christ? written by our deceased brother V.E. Howard a great gospel preacher from the past. A great restorer from the New Testament Church. Jay said that there is not anything that has been a treatened to unity and our brother V.E. Howard show the evidence and Still mention those that split because of I.M. the evidence is that the Greek Church has not introduced I.M. to their worship services.

  19. guy says:

    HistoryGuy,

    You wrote:
    "Even Luther rejected IM, though the Lutherans adopted IM."

    Could you give a citation for Luther's rejection in particular? i've heard what you claim, but have never been able to find reliable documentation. The only exception was like a third hand source. Do you have Luther himself stating his own rejection of IM?

    –guy

  20. aBasnar says:

    For the Odes of Solomon and Celsus to be 0.2% of the evidence, there'd have to be 1000 pieces of evidence going the other direction. In fact, there are very nearly none.

    That depends
    a) On how one vies the Odes and the side remark of Celsus – for me they are all but conclusive for IM in worship, and I tried diligently to communicate my reasons ;-)
    b) the written records of the ECF reflect the common practice of 1000s of assemblies/churches. These are not isolated opinions, but represantive tetimonies.

    Indeed, we have better, older patristic evidence for triple immersions, immersions in living (running) water, and a bishop over the eldership.
    We are very, very selective in the ECFs we find authoritative and those we dismiss.

    I am absolutely with you on this, but maybe (most likely) heading the other direction. I'd be ready to model our mode of baptism more to the example of the ECF, because there are no detailed descriptions of how exactly baptisms were performed in the NT. If we want to restore the NT church, the NT leaves many details unanswered that become clearer by the writings of the ECF.

    Here lies our difference: I'd rather change things according to clear historic examples than to "freedom" based on "silence", which is the Regulative Principle read backwards.

    Alexander

  21. HistoryGuy says:

    Guy,
    I will look at my source on Luther.

  22. HistoryGuy says:

    the quote about CELSUS

    Jay,
    There are four categories of issues surrounding this quote, though point 4 resolves the issue.

    (1) The author [Page] sees conflicts between what became orthodoxy and his theories on variances about earlier practices, in light of the reliability of the Canon, ECF Commentaries, and apocryphal gospels. By the time pg. 32 arrives, which is where Page discusses Celsus, he is very adamant about Orthodoxy vs. earlier practices. He specifically says, "It would be just as mistaken to interpret the range of the earliest Christian music in terms of what the mainstream church found acceptable." While scholars like McKinnon grant connections from early centuries, Page frowns on McKinnon and desires greater attention be given to IM and dancing in the apocryphal writings. In history, this is the equivalent of Conservative vs. Liberal theology. My point is that reading Page is not like reading McKinnon. After all, when we read John Dominic Crossan we value his work, but also take into account how he handles sources.

    (2) The quote itself. I realize that you copied the quote from Danny Corbitt’s PowerPoint, slide 19, available at missingmorethanmusic.com/Research/Summit-EarlyChurchHistory.ppt, but there are several problems with it. I am sure it was an accident, but the quote is a bit misleading because it fails to reveal to the reader what Page sees as fact in contrast to speculation. Compare the original quote at the top of the page, with my additions from the book in [brackets]. I also added some thoughts.

    (2a) "One of the charges laid against Christians by Celsus, perhaps in the 170s, is that the officials of the communities caused a drum and the reed pipe or aulos to be played before worship [like priests of Cybele, to induce a state of orgiastic frenzy.]" – I really hope current readers don’t believe that orthodox/faithful Christians of the time were using IM to induce a state of orgiastic frenzy. One must consider what is being contrasted and even if Page used a good translation.

    (2b) "When Origen quotes the passage about the aulos and drum in his rebuttal of Celsus, he does not deny the charge [Perhaps he thought the comparison between Christian presbyters and the priests of Cybele so wide of the mark that it was beneath contempt; it is impossible to say]" – First, assuming IM existed because Origen did not respond to it is an argument from silence. Second, Page admits the IM claim may have been untrue. Third, Page used a poor translation. Fourth, Origen and his faithful pupil Evagrius of Pontus explicitly affirm elsewhere an allegorical interpretation, singing AC, and a OC/NC contrasts as seen in works like Commentary on Psalms 33:2-3 "… The musical instruments of the Old Testament are not unsuitable for us if understood spiritually…"

    (2c) "There were probably as many varieties of Christian music and performance in the first two centuries as there were competing groups who claimed the name of ‘Christian’. [and it would be unwise to rule anything out of nascent mainstream practice on the grounds that it seem anomalous when judged in terms of later traditions.]" First, remember point one; Page does not believe that mainstream orthodoxy coincided with early practices. Second, Page does not cite any primary sources for his view of early variances, except a poor translation of Celsus and unorthodox apocryphal gospels. Third, Page embraces the evidence that mainstream Christianity did not have IM in worship (pg. 60, 62, 64 citing listings from Pliny, Justin Martyr & Tertullian). Fourth, he admits that if IM were used, it would be "out of the ordinary"/unusual compared to mainstream Christian practice.

    (3) Celsus made true and false claims about Christianity. At times he confused Jews, Christians, and Gnostics, as well as their practices (Ferguson, Backgrounds of early Christianity, pg. 599-600). Though not intending a one-for-one comparison, at times Celsus compared Christian practices with ancient pagan worship practices.

    (4) Page cites Origen, Contra Celsus, Book III, Chapter XVI as his proof of IM in Christian worship. I’m serious, that is his so called proof. Page completely missed the contrast. Even worse, he used a poor translation. It was the priests of Cybele that had IM. Page based his view on a translation from (Contra Celsum, by Henry Chadwick, pg. 137-138) which is different from http://www.newadvent.org/fathers/04163.htm , http://www.earlychristianwritings.com/text/origen… , and http://www.ccel.org/ccel/schaff/anf04.vi.ix.iii.x

    I ask everyone to read the whole context, but the so called proof [or lack of] is quoted below –

    Origen Contra Celsus, Book III, Chapter XVI… And if he should reply, that we weave together erroneous opinions drawn from ancient sources, and trumpet them aloud, and sound them before men, as the priests of Cybele clash their cymbals in the ears of those who are being initiated in their mysteries, we shall ask him in reply, Erroneous opinions from what ancient sources? …

    After reviewing Page’s primary source [Origen, Contra Celsus, Book III, Chapter XVI] and getting some background on it, I hope we can agree that Celsus does NOT give evidence for IM in Christian worship Jay, can we agree on Celsus?

  23. Jay Guin says:

    HistoryGuy,

    I've reviewed every translation of the Origen Against Celsus I can lay hands on, and none support the Page translation. The translation in Ante-Nicene Fathers footnotes the original Greek text, presumably because the translation is doubtful. Nonetheless, I have to agree that Page's reference to Origen Against Celsus is unpersuasive given that most translators have a different take on what Origen actually wrote. My Greek isn't good enough, especially for a Second Century writing, to test what appears to be the majority interpretation.

    Thanks for the correction.

    However, I do agree with this quotation from Page —

    It would be “mistaken to interpret the range of the earliest Christian music in terms of what the mainstream church eventually found acceptable.”

    Page, The Christian West and Its Singers: The First Thousand Years, p. 32.

    There are plenty of references to singing in the First and Second Century literature, but nothing saying Christian worship was exclusively a cappella singing. It is, after all, only the Church of Christ ear that hears "sing without instruments" when the writer just says "sing."

    I believe it's a mistake to read 3rd Century attitudes back into the First Century.

  24. Guestfortruth says:

    SINGING
    What a joy to lift up our voices with the whole congregation in praise and adoration to our heavenly Father. Two verses especially give us direction in our worship in song: Ephesians 5:19, “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” and Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.” From these verses we learn that acceptable worship in singing is done by the whole congregation singing together, not special groups of singers such as choirs, choruses, solos, duets, etc.
    We learn that the songs used are limited to psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Songs of patriotism or ballads of secular interest have no place in God-ordained worship.
    We learn that our singing is to be acappella; that is, without the accompaniment of mechanical instruments of music such as a piano, guitar, drum, etc. Acappella is simply the human voice speaking WORDS wherein we, as well as others, may learn (be taught) the will of God. This does not include sounds such as humming, whistling, imitating mechanical instruments, clapping, stomping, beating, or whatever. “Words” communicate thoughts and concepts. They teach and admonish. Other sounds do not. Humming does not teach. Clapping does not instruct. Cornelius was instructed that Peter would come and tell him WORDS whereby he and all his house may be saved (Acts 11:14). If Peter had hummed or played a harp when he arrived in Caesarea, Cornelius would not have learned what he needed to do to be saved. He had to speak WORDS.

  25. Jay Guin says:

    Guestfortruth,

    You've just plagiarized Garland Robinson at Seek the Old Paths. http://www.seektheoldpaths.com/stopn05.htm

    This is the last warning. If you quote material without attribution, I will block you.

    There are two reasons.

    First, if the quotations are long enough to violate the copyright law, it's a crime.

    Second, it's immoral and unethical to quote material that's not yours without attribution. People are entitled to credit for their work — and your readers need to be able to see whether your sources are reliable and quotations taken in context.

    I would really hate to have to block you, but I cannot allow this to continue. PLEASE stop.

    Here's the rule —

    * If you quote someone or take information from someone else that's not common knowledge, give your source. Provide the link so readers can go to the original. If the source is not on the internet, give the name of the book or tract, date, and author.

    * Do not copy large portions of the works of others. http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/fair-use-r

    There is no hard and fast rule, but lengthy quotations are almost always a problem.

  26. ClydeSymonette says:

    Jay, History

    It would be good to see Ferguson post a response for himself on this forum. Until then, we can assume, however, that his posted position will reflect his published position, a position – it appears – that is very close to that of Mckinnon's.

    Jay wrote, "Even Everett Ferguson concedes that the instrumental music in worship was not taught by the early church fathers until nearly the Third Century."

    Here are a few excerpts from Mckinnon's "Music in Early Christian Literature." They require very little commentary.

    "Patristic musical Puritanism did not come about in a cultural vacuum; there were precedents for it in both Greco-Roman and Jewish society." Pg.1

    "Without doubt both pagan and Jewish moralism contributed each in its own way to the patristic position." Pg. 2

    "The first hint of the polemic against pagan music appeared in the work of the late second-century converted rhetorician Tatian." He said, "The polemic grew in explicitness and intensity throughout the third century, particularly with Latin Africans like Tertullian and Arnobius, and became a commonplace the major figures of the fourth like Chrysostom, Ambrose and Augustine." Pg. 2.

    "Why the polemic should have been ABSENT (emphasis mine) from the writings of earlier church fathers and so prominent in those of later ones is not easy to explain." Pg. 2

    "There is hardly a church father from the fourth century who does not inveigh against pagan musical practice in the strongest language." Pg 2.

    Patristic musical Puritanism was NOT the result of apostolic instructions. Apparently it was not the result of apostolic tradition either.

  27. Price says:

    Gentlemen…this is good stuff…Clyde/HG/Jay…perhaps I'm too quick in this assessment but it seems that lately (except for a few starry hosts comments) that there has been a civil search for truth and I'm quite grateful for the opportunity to learn from you.. Thank you… I trust my inadequate questions and lay comments haven't distracted from the conversation… I just like the chance to learn without having to dodge bullets…thanks again…

  28. Bruce Morton says:

    Price. Jimkuy, Jay, et.al.:
    Let's try something — that perhaps some will consider off subject, not relevant, whatever. I gather that you all believe IM will be just fine if leadership prepares for it. (Hmmm, I can think of multiple historical examples where that appears to not be the case.)

    So, tell me something. Why do you believe Paul linked all that he wrote about music/song to "exposing darkness" in Ephesians 5:11? There is NO question that he did. So, how about taking some time to explore more than (supposed) silence and more than the historical Restoration Movement IM/AC arguments. Why did the apostle write what he wrote about song? What has singing Scripture to do with exposing darkness in the first century — and now?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  29. HistoryGuy says:

    Jay,
    Thanks for the agreement. I wanted to talk with you about it, but I have not been able to reply… yet. I'll reply soon.

  30. HistoryGuy says:

    Clyde,
    I am working on your other reply (lol). Thank you for your citations. One can view MECL at http://books.google.com/books?id=BJFvpm9K7i0C&amp

    … Patristic musical Puritanism was NOT the result of apostolic instructions. Apparently it was not the result of apostolic tradition either…

    Clyde,
    I agree with the quote in McKinnon’s context. However, I believe that you have associated AC worship with Patristic musical Puritanism in MECL. If that is the case, then you have misunderstood McKinnon. Please examine with me, what McKinnon says about puritanism and its relationship to the AC worship in the apostolic church. ** If you have NOT equated AC worship and musical puritanism, I am sorry, please go to next quote ** (lol)

    MECL is very easy to read and miss-read due to its structure. Pg. 1 starts with the priority to introduce four broad categories: (1) denunciation directed against pagan music customs (2) a seemingly contradictory stance; ECF accept IM as an art/education (3) musical images & figures of speech, like allegory & OT typology (4) passages on primitive worship/liturgical chant.

    When McKinnon says that Patristic musical puritanism did not come about in a cultural vacuum… First, he does so within the context of category #1, pg.1-3, and does NOT apply to every category. Second, McKinnon says IM were being used by the majority of society, even Pagan sacrificial cults (top of pg. 3). Third, musical puritanism existed before, during, and after the 1st-4th century, and remained a minority view. Fourth, the same ECFs, even Augustine & Clement, who condemn IM in pagan worship, embrace IM as an art/education, which is seen in category #2, pg.4-5. Fifth, the context is cultural settings; Christian worship is NOT under consideration. Sixth, McKinnon is NOT saying that puritanism affected ALL the ECF or in every cultural setting, but rather only some ECFs in some cultural settings.

    McKinnon answered why musical puritanism is absent from the writings of earlier ECFs, compared to later ones, with three possibilities (pg. 2-3). First possibility, mass conversions from Paganism needed a defense of Christian practices and reminder of what they left behind. Second possibility, the latter ECFs were generally converts from educated classical traditions, more affected by musical puritanism, and known by their contemporaries. Third possibility, IM was a metonymy for or closely connected to the sacrificial cult, immorality, & idolatry. — These three possibilities are within the cultural context of musical puritanism against IM in pagan worship. Thus, it in other cultural contexts [arts] the ECFs embraced IM.

    McKinnon does not discuss the ECF documents on apostolic tradition in MECL. However, on the bottom of pg. 3, before ending his discussion on Patristic musical Puritanism, McKinnon asks if there is a connection between the polemic against IM in Pagan worship and the A Cappella singing of the apostolic church. He answers by saying NO, there is not a connection. While some misapply his statement, in context McKinnon’s view is significant. McKinnon says there are two phenomena that we must acknowledge: (1) Christian condemnation of IM in the context of pagan worship [starting 2nd century] (2) a cappella singing of sacred music and ecclesiastical psalmody free from instruments in the primitive church [before 2nd century].

    First, assuming McKinnon’s argument true, one cannot use it to claim musical puritanism affected the AC practice of worship, because “they are not connected.” Second, a cappella Christian worship existed prior to the condemnation of IM pagan worship in the 2nd century. Third, ECFs DID embrace IM in some cultural settings. Fourth, McKinnon says AC [may - may] have been a worship doctrine (pg. 4). Fifth, McKinnon admits that some ECFs believed IM were abolished in the Christian age [pg 6-7; see also, McKinnon, The Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant, section IV, pg. 76-77].

    Sixth, most importantly, McKinnon says the evidence indicates a primitive [apostolic] church that sang A Cappella (pg. bottom 3, top 4, 6-9, 12-17); Elsewhere McKinnon says (1) there is no evidence for IM in the primitive church; it was a cappella (2) in the primitive church IM was simply irrelevant (3) Christians [during 2nd Temple] sang psalms, canticled scripture, and had no need of IM [McKinnon, The Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant, section III, pg85; section VII, pg239; section IV, pg73; VIII, pg 185-186; IX, pg94-95]

    Ferguson… his posted position will reflect his published position, a position – it appears – that is very close to that of Mckinnon's.

    I love that alliteration! Ferguson and McKinnon both agree that the 1st century church was AC, something that I wish you and Jay would accept [ha ha]. However, they have two different conclusions regarding – "why". McKinnon concluded that IM was simply irrelevant due to the nature of the Christian assembly [see above]. Ferguson agrees with the ECFs in that instruments were abolished with the other shadows of the Old Covenant. I know that you’re in the islands so here is a list of sources to choose from supporting Ferguson’s conclusion.

    [Ferguson, Everett. A Cappella Music In The Public Worship Of The Church: Revised Edition, 1972, pg. 95. | Ferguson, Everett, Jack P. Lewis, and Earl West. The Instrumental Music Issue, 1987, pg. 100. | Ferguson, Everett. Early Christians Speak: Vol. 2, 2002, pg. 186. | Ferguson, Everett. The church of Christ: a biblical ecclesiology for today, pg. 270, 272-273.]

    I pray that you have found this post friendly and informative. my brother.

  31. ClydeSymonette says:

    HG:

    Thank you for a well thoughtout, informed response.

    You said, "I pray that you have found this post friendly and informative. my brother."

    Indeed. It was friendly and informative.

    Suggestion: Although many of us use abbreviations, uncommon abbreviations such as MECL referring to Mckinnon's Music In Early Christian Literature" may be better spelt out on first use. Just a suggestions.

    I agree with your summary of Mckinnon's 4 categories of ECF's references to music. He said, "In working with early Christian references to music one comes gradually to distinguish four principal categories of material" (Pg1). Observe however, that the last 2 lines of my post, "Patristic musical puritanism was NOT the result of apostolic instructions. Apparently it was not the result of apostolic tradition either," specifically limits the quotes I posted and the concluding remark to category 1.

    It appears then that we agree that category 1 – the category in which ECF associate instruments with pagan musical practices (late 2nd- century) – was not based on apostolic instructions or traditions? Do we agree? Additionally, can we agree that the statement, "Why the polemic should have been ABSENT (emphasis mine) from the writings of earlier church fathers and so prominent in those of later ones is not easy to explain" (Pg. 2) represents an evolution of the ECFs objection to instruments?

    Now, with regard to a cappella, I am aware of McKinnon's reference to A Cappella as separate from "musical puritanism" or for that matter "early Christian psalmody" for he says, "Before leaving the category of polemic (category 1) there is a final question to be raise: what relationship is there between the polemic against instruments and the a cappella performance of sacred music?" (pg. 3) We will see below that the words, "The a cappella performance of sacred music" do not refer to 1st Century church music, nor does "early Christian psalmody." I agree, however, that they both refer to traditions of non-instrumental music in the early (relative) church.

    In the SECOND CATEGORY, he suggests that ECF's, as part of a compromise that the church made with classical learning, accepted music as an academic discipline while rejecting pagan musical practices.

    Regarding the 3RD CATEGORY, allegory/symbolism, he said that for the first 3 centuries, ECF's references to instruments were merely musical imagery (pg. 5) that saw "material objects as signs of spiritual reality." We see this especially in their psalms commentaries. This method was influenced by Platonism and employed by Hellenistic scholars (like Philo) who used it to interpret the OT (pg. 6). Like Philo, Clement and Origen did the same; thus establishing a basis for "Christian" biblical exegesis. Their exegetes ignored the historical usage of instrument in Israel and contemporary usage in pagan society. The question then is this: In the context of category 3, can we agree that ECF's allegorical method was not following apostolic instructions or traditions; instead, as Danny Corbitt suggests in his Wineskins article, it was influenced by Greek and Jewish philosophy. Can we agree to that?

    Still within the context of category 3: Mckinnon asserts that a minority group that includes Chrysostom and Theodoret wanted a more literal and historical interpretation of scriptures (essentially rejecting what was merely allegorical). Mckinnon then quotes Theodoret who he says offers an "instructive" view of the ECF's view of instruments. In the quote, Theodoret suggests that God did not want instruments in Israel, but he allowed it because it was a lesser evil than idolatry. Hmmm … Back to Price's point and my question: says who? God? The prophets? The Apostles? Or Theodoret says – based on a misinterpretation of Amos 5:23. (In that vein, I would have to concede that this is one example of an ECF using scripture (albeit incorrectly) to support his disagreement with instruments.)

    Lastly my friend, CATEGORY 4. ECF's reference to "Early Liturgical chant." Mckinnon says, "It remains the one [category] where the least progress has been made to date" (pg. 7) Note his characterization of the sources in this category:
    • "The evidence – plentiful for some periods, but more often scarce – generally fragmentary in character and widely scattered in the sources" (pg. 8)
    • "In general the subject is much more difficult in its earlier than its later phases" (pg. 8).
    • "The second and third centuries are silent on some of the most essential question" (pg. 8).
    • He suggests that the difficultly in arriving at a specific early liturgical musical practice was because a practice was "not yet fixed" (pg. 8).
    • "While the lack of material from the second and third centuries makes the historian's task only marginally easier than for the Apostolic period, what we do have points to common meals rather than the Eucharist (Lord's Supper) as the principal context for Christian song."
    • "An important question which unfortunately the evidence presented here does little to advance is that of non-biblical hymnody in the primitive church. It is maintained by many WITH SOME PLAUSIBILITY [emphasis mine] that this was more common at the time than the singing of Old Testament Psalms." (pg. 8)

    In all of the above, I read Mckinnon as saying what Ferguson said:

    “We are denied the omniscience which would permit us to say instruments were never employed in the early church’s worship.” (A Cappella Music in the Public Worship of the Church p. 58)

    That is; we do not have the evidence to make such a statement. As Mckinnon suggests, evidence that presents itself in the 4th and 5th centuries allows historians to "speculate" about earlier periods (pg. 9); and that is what opponents of MI have been doing *smile*.

    Finally, I would like to comment on non-biblical hymnody for a minute. With regard to the same; although the hymn was traditionally sung in praise of gods, heroes and conquerors, we know that Paul instructed the church to sing "hymns" in their hearts TO THE LORD" (Eph 5:19) – not to pagan gods with which they would have been accustomed. Thayer defines the hymn as “a song in praise of gods, heroes, conquerors.” Marcus Fabius Quintilianus (English: Quintilian) (ca.35-ca.100) exposed the common, first-century use of hymn, when he wrote,

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

    Note the instrument.

  32. HistoryGuy says:

    Clyde,
    Thank you for your reply [Put it on me, baby - ha ha]. I read all of it several times. In the future we’ll talk about the other sources, words, and questions. I’m trying to remain focused on McKinnon. Allow me to use my previous post as a reference. Thank you for the pointed questions, I prefer them.

    I agree that musical puritanism [MP] was not an apostolic teaching, within the context of what McKinnon says. I think we disagree on the application of MP, which is why I keep qualifying my answer. Specifically, MP was NOT a blanket statement about IM in every setting; MP spanned centuries; was NOT connected with the reason for AC worship; MP applied only to a few ECFs; AC worship came before MP; ECFs rejected IM in some cultural settings, accepted IM in other cultural settings, and all while worshipping AC; worship is not under consideration. When this context is understood, then I agree MP was not an apostolic teaching. MP was clearly a cultural philosophy about cultural settings.

    McKinnon answered why MP is absent from the writings of earlier ECFs, compared to later ones, with three possibilities. I would not call MP an evolution because it was not a universal ECF issue. MP only applied to a few ECFs within a few cultural settings. Since MP existed before the 1st century, ECFs could have always used it, but not all of them did. Also, AC worship was not under consideration.

    I want to make sure that we are not mixing apples and organs [ha ha]. Discussing whether or not "MP was an apostolic tradition" [which it was not] does not answer the question "was AC worship an apostolic tradition?" As McKinnon said, the two [MP, AC worship] are not connected and separate phenomena.

    Regarding the ECF OC/NC contrast in Category 3… I agree that some ECFs had divergent views and bad interpretations of some Scriptures, just like you and I. This is why I point out that AC worship was a universal view. Further, if one looks at the complete testimony of the ECFs on the OC/NC contrast, they will see its existence regardless of hermeneutics from the early 2nd century into today. Since McKinnon is examining singing, there are many other documents on OC/NC contrast that he does not mention. Justin Martyr (100-165AD) contrasted spiritual praises [prayer, song] with carnal OT sacrifices in (Dialogue with Trypho, 116-118) some 250 years before Theodoret & 50 years before Clement.

    Regarding hermeneutics We should use caution less we be guilty of that which we accuse others. Martin Luther used the allegorical hermeneutic for a period of time. You and I use a historical-literal approach like Justin & Chrysostom. People using the same hermeneutic disagree at times. Sure, culture does affect us, but ones hermeneutic does not make him completely untrustworthy.

    Attacking the hermeneutic does not attack AC worship [non sequitur] for at least four reasons: (1) McKinnon says AC worship existed amongst hermeneutical differences (2) Some ECFs [Justin, Eusebius, Chrysostom] used both an allegorical and literal-historical hermeneutic while embracing AC worship (3) AC worship was a consistent Christian ritual regardless of century, region, culture, and hermeneutic, which means AC worship was not hermeneutic dependent. (4) Christian practices can be apostolic even if someone uses a faulty hermeneutic to defend it.

    For some reason your Ferguson quote was cut off before the sentence ended. Ferguson said, we are denied the omniscience which would permit us to say instruments were never employed in the early church’s worship, we can say that one is hard pressed to find a reference to it [IM]. Elsewhere Ferguson says the ECFs listings of worship reveal IM had not been used and that IM did not become part of the church worship until the 7th century.

    Regarding McKinnon’s view that the 1st century church was A Cappella, I ask you to review the citations in my previous post and from [Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant] below. You don’t have to agree with him, I am just asking you to read for yourself McKinnon’s own words. He says IM was not there [evidential fact] because IM was irrelevant [his personal view].

    Not only was it [worship] predominantly vocal, but it was so exclusively vocal that the occasion to criticize the use of IM in church never arose… a close look at the transition from Jewish to primitive Christian worship reveals… The unaccompanied psalmody and the cantillation of Scripture readings which constituted the earliest Christian liturgical singing was… [Primitive Christians] had no thought of opposing IM of the Temple, but simply continued a form of worship which happened to have NO NEED of IM (IV, pg. 73).

    This is not to declare absolutely that some individual at some time or another might not have used an instrument in early synagogue or church [1st century]. But there is little evidence to suggest isolated incidents of this sort, no compelling musical motivation for their occurrence to any appreciable extent, and much to be said against them from the demonstrable a cappella practice of both later synagogue and church (III, pg.85).

    I pray that I have remained on topic of McKinnon. At this time, I have a question.
    – I am not asking if you agree with his conclusion on HOW they sang AC
    – I am not asking if you agree with his conclusion on WHY they sang AC
    – I am asking: Do you acknowledge that McKinnon says the 1st century church [earliest liturgical worship] sang A Cappella?
    – I am asking: Do you acknowledge that McKinnon says IM was irrelevant in the 1st century church [earliest liturgical worship]?

    I acknowledge that McKinnon says the 1st century church sang A Cappella, and did so because IM was irrelevant. I agree with his conclusion of HOW, but I disagree with WHY.

    I’m enjoying the discussion, thank you.

  33. ClydeSymonette says:

    HG

    Very well written my friend. Thank you.

    You asked:

    Do you acknowledge that McKinnon says the 1st century church [earliest liturgical worship] sang A Cappella?

    and

    Do you acknowledge that McKinnon says IM was irrelevant in the 1st century church [earliest liturgical worship]?

    Based on the quote from McKinnon’s “Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant,” whirch reads:

    “Not only was it [worship] predominantly vocal, but it was so exclusively vocal that the occasion to criticize the use of IM in church never arose… a close look at the transition from Jewish to primitive Christian worship reveals… The unaccompanied psalmody and the cantillation of Scripture readings which constituted the earliest Christian liturgical singing was… [Primitive Christians] had no thought of opposing IM of the Temple, but simply continued a form of worship which happened to have NO NEED of IM (IV, pg. 73).”

    I am compelled to acknowledge that a) McKinnon says “earliest Christian liturgical singing” was exclusively vocal and b) and earliest Christian liturgical singing had no need of IM.

    However, as you correctly observed, I disagree; taking issue with the term “earliest.” McKinnon’s quote acknowledges the church’s transition from Jewish [Temple IM] to what he calls “earliest Christian” worship. He speaks as if Christian worship began AFTER they left the Temple. That’s NOT what Luke tells us. As you are aware, Luke writes, “They [the earliest Christians] stayed continually at the temple, PRAISING God” Luke 24:53. He said, “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, PRAISING God…” Acts 2:46–47. (I commented on this idea in a previous post to which you responded with the idea of progressive revelation).

    Christian worship is what God, through the prophets, promised for the New Covenant period. McKinnon, on the other hand, is using an academic term to characterize Christian worship outside of the Temple period, because, academically, Temple worship is categorized as Jewish. What he is telling us is subsequent to the period of Temple worship (a period throughout which the earliest Christians embraced and “took no thought of opposing IM”) they continued a form of worship which had “no need of IM.” Ok. I accept the former as biblical fact and the latter as “evidential” and circumstantial (Jewish mourning) fact.

    Finally, once again, you’ve pushed my research limits; I have ordered the “Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant.” Thank you brother.

  34. Guestfortruth says:

    Thank you jay for the advise: next time a will put my references and also I want to ask you for your references for about some affirmations done by you in your blog!! We remain faithful to the Lord Authority Mt. 28:18 !!!

  35. ClydeSymonette says:

    HG

    Very well written my friend. Thank you.

    You asked:

    Do you acknowledge that McKinnon says the 1st century church [earliest liturgical worship] sang A Cappella?

    and

    Do you acknowledge that McKinnon says IM was irrelevant in the 1st century church [earliest liturgical worship]?

    Based on the quote from McKinnon's "Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant," whirch reads:

    "Not only was it [worship] predominantly vocal, but it was so exclusively vocal that the occasion to criticize the use of IM in church never arose… a close look at the transition from Jewish to primitive Christian worship reveals… The unaccompanied psalmody and the cantillation of Scripture readings which constituted the earliest Christian liturgical singing was… [Primitive Christians] had no thought of opposing IM of the Temple, but simply continued a form of worship which happened to have NO NEED of IM (IV, pg. 73)."

    I am compelled to acknowledge that a) McKinnon says "earliest Christian liturgical singing" was exclusively vocal and b) and earliest Christian liturgical singing had no need of IM.

    However, as you correctly observed, I disagree; taking issue with the term "earliest." McKinnon's quote acknowledges the church's transition from Jewish [Temple IM] to what he calls "earliest Christian" worship. He speaks as if Christian worship began AFTER they left the Temple. That's NOT what Luke tells us. As you are aware, Luke writes, "They [the earliest Christians] stayed continually at the temple, PRAISING God" Luke 24:53. He said, "Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, PRAISING God…" Acts 2:46–47. (I commented on this idea in a previous post to which you responded with the idea of progressive revelation).

    Christian worship is what God, through the prophets, promised for the New Covenant period. McKinnon, on the other hand, is using an academic term to characterize Christian worship outside of the Temple period, because, academically, Temple worship is categorized as Jewish. What he is telling us is subsequent to the period of Temple worship (a period throughout which the earliest Christians embraced and "took no thought of opposing IM") they continued a form of worship which had "no need of IM." Ok. I accept the former as biblical fact and the latter as "evidential" and circumstantial (Jewish mourning) fact.

    Finally, once again, you've pushed my research limits; I have ordered the "Temple, the Church Fathers, and Early Western Chant." Thank you brother.

  36. Price says:

    Question…. I may have missed this in a previous series Jay, so please direct me if I missed it….but…

    What impact do you believe the Roman persecution had, if any, on the use of musical instruments in worship. It seems to me that if I was so worried about being used as lion bait should I be discovered that I would worship in an underground cavern with rotting corpses that I probably would not have wished to clearly identifiy myself or give away my only meeting place with the sound of music and singing…

    Thoughts ??

  37. HistoryGuy says:

    Clyde,
    I think and HOPE that we are learning how to comfortably communicate with each other. I hope the format of WHAT does X say, WHY does X say it, and this is where I agree/disagree with X is helpful.

    I acknowledge that our conversation has been about McKinnon’s views, and not directly about IM/AC [ha ha]. I acknowledge that you acknowledge McKinnon’s statements, but you disagree with some of his views based on several reasons that you listed in your previous post 03/02/11 8:50AM. I know that you are prepared to give an in-depth outline and defense of your view [ha ha]. I thank you for taking the approach "here, read this evidence, now what do you say." Thank you for your patience with me, and for telling me that my Internet etiquette needed to be developed since nobody can hear my tone or see my smile.

    Take some time and read through the book once it comes in. I will send you another article in email, just so you can have it. I need some light discussion for a few days [ha ha] so that I can get some other work done and respond to other folks. I am waiving a white flag, you have worn me out [ha ha]. Talk to you soon, my friend.

  38. Jay Guin says:

    Price,

    Certainly fear of persecution might have been an issue. I think it's more likely about the size the meeting space. They met in homes — and a large home in those days couldn't have held more than 30. Many were smaller.

    Thus, a church of 1,000 likely had 40 or 50 homes to meet in. Imagine the logistical problems!

    In particular, how many churches would have had skilled lyre-players and other musicians for each house? How many would have had the money to buy that many instruments given the relative poverty of the early church?

    Therefore, you have to figure the early church leaders developed a singing style that did not depend on musical instruments or great talent purely out of necessity.

    Over time, the simplicity of the early house services became doctrinalized. The ECFs rarely cited a scripture but they knew that this is how the church worshiped, and they justified it as best they could. It was, to them, beyond dispute because it had always been this way.

    Just so, for us today, Sunday night and Wednesday night services are sacrosanct. There's no scriptural mandate at all, but you risk splitting a church should you dare to change them!

    Similarly, the invitation is an innovation from the 19th Century, and yet many consider the "giving of the invitation" apostolic and unchangeable.

    It's human nature. We figure the way it's always been is the way it must always be.

  39. Jimkuy says:

    Jay and all –

    Last night I had the opportunity to host a table at our New Member Information Dinner where we invite our guest to eat and learn more about the church, ministries etc. etc. etc.

    I had the oppotunity to talk about Christ, his church, his work to a young couple at out table that had been visiting for three weeks. They were not raised in church, had no spiritual background (and no church baggage!!).

    They came to us because they were invited and liked the instrumental service, felt very welcome, and wanted to know more. They wanted to know more about Christ and about being baptized……. It wasnt the instrumental service, but that sure connected them and was something they liked. Did it bring them back, maybe, That and the friendliness of the members but it all worked together. They felt comfortable with the service and that opened the door for them to know more. We are known more now for what we believe in (Christ) than for what we dont believe in (instruments). I thank God for that! Last night we had several place membership and three baptisms! Plus the couple I was speaking to will be meeting with us this week!

    Everything that we have been through as a church in making the decision, and transitioning into a new era of outreach, all became quite clear to me when I realized that talking to that couple who may have never been here without someone inviting them to a service they liked – THIS IS WHAT IT'S ALL ABOUT! THIS IS WHAT WERE HERE FOR! THIS IS WHAT WE WERE TOLD TO DO!! It really is about freedom in Christ and the mission!

    To all my brothers who differ, I appreciate your point, and want to always fellowship with you, but I Know both sides now and I am for whatever it takes to reach those who do not know Christ. How many unchurched people are we reaching? There are so many people that don't know Christ – and perhaps so little time………..

    Blessings

    Jimkuy

  40. Bruce Morton says:

    Jimkuy:
    I am not attempting to be unkind, but the past five years looking at the background of Paul's letters to Ephesus has helped me see a side of the "music issue" I had not seen (and that has rarely been discussed within the Restoration Movement, from what I can tell). Paul connects his teaching about song to the subject of a spiritual siege — a subject that gets less and less mindshare in this nation (and I believe even in our congregations). And according to Andrew Delbanco (and I agree with him), we are blind to just how much the idea of a spiritual siege gets buried by our "likes" and "wants" in the early twenty-first century (See his The Death of Satan, How Americans Have Lost the Sense of Evil).

    I am hopeful that you are not suggesting that providing "likes" to seekers represents a key foundation of mission. Indeed, it is likely that was what was strangling the young Ephesian congregation. The "needs" of the people you are reaching out to seem more important. And they NEED to sing the Word of God, just as did that Ephesian congregation 2000 years ago. But based on the large majority of studies, our decline as a singing nation represents where most are. Most do not want to sing and so we reason that it is a wise path to make things more comfortable for folks. Right?

    We are probably getting closer to Ephesus and the characteristic of sensational worship and life than we want to acknowledge (Ephesians 4:17-5:21). Ephesus bore similar characteristics to our time. A city filled with religious IM music — and lots of "concert" experiences that folks flocked to hear.

    Until we get a clearer view of the siege that lays behind Jesus' ministry, death, and resurrection, we will have a tough time wrapping our minds around just how important it is to speak and sing the Word. And as a result it will be easy to get comfortable hearing how IM is comfortable to others… instead of helping them see the miraculous work of the Spirit in congregational song together.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  41. Price says:

    Jimkuy…..Thank you for sharing your recent experience.. I can only imagine the smile on God’s face as you spoke the living Word into the hearts of these people. I can hear the angels praising God as more and more in your community are drawn to the heart of God… I guess you could go back to condemning people for using IM to reach the lost but I’m guessing that’s not even a remote possibility.. Freedom is a very difficult thing to sacrifce in order to measure up to someone else and their personal preferences or traditions. I wish you every success as you re-establish your church mission.

    Bruce…Of course he’s saying that he’s using the “likes” to draw people in !! If it’s not a violation of a command from God then he has the freedom to choose… What wouldn’t he use something attractive to invite others to come and see ?? You and an ever declining minority desperately want others to accept your murky view of the IM Divinci Code but it’s not a convincing argument so it’s being rejected time and time again.. IM is in plain view throughout the history of God’s people as an acceptable praise and worship style.. Get over it. Or, not.. But, criticizing the obviously effective means of bringing lost people into the Kingdom is an odd way of trying to win others to your point of view. Reminds me of Jonah and the disconnect he had with God’s love for the Babylonian people…

  42. Price says:

    Jimkuy…..Thank you for sharing your recent experience.. I can only imagine the smile on God's face as you spoke the living Word into the hearts of these people. I can hear the angels praising God as more and more in your community are drawn to the heart of God… I guess you could go back to condemning people for using IM to reach the lost but I'm guessing that's not even a remote possibility.. Freedom is a very difficult thing to sacrifce in order to measure up to someone else and their personal preferences or traditions. I wish you every success as you re-establish your church mission.

    Bruce…Of course he's saying that he's using the "likes" to draw people in !! If it's not a violation of a command from God then he has the freedom to choose… What wouldn't he use something attractive to invite others to come and see ?? You and an ever declining minority desperately want others to accept your murky view of the IM Divinci Code but it's not a convincing argument so it's being rejected time and time again.. IM is in plain view throughout the history of God's people as an acceptable praise and worship style.. Get over it. Or, not.. But, criticizing the obviously effective means of bringing lost people into the Kingdom is an odd way of trying to win others to your point of view. Reminds me of Jonah and the disconnect he had with God's love for the Babylonian people…

  43. Laymond says:

    Yeah Bruce, don't you remember all those mountian side concerts Jesus had in order to draw a captive audiance for his message. hummm I can't recall any either. I believe Jesus said no one comes to me except he be called by God.

  44. Randall says:

    Laymond,
    Be careful with statements like "Jesus said no one comes to me except he be called by God." Unless you think God calls all people with equal effectiveness (which then takes the meaning out of the statement) that statement could well be understood as being consistent with Calvinism.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  45. Price says:

    Well Laymond…until you and I can heal the sick on command, walk on water, or turn water into wine we just have to do what we can do…. Seriously, you want to compare our present day evangelism and it's effectiveness to how well the son of God could do it…Please

    I'm thinking that God said that faith (the thing that saves you) comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom 10:17_…Any chance you want to explain how someone might be saved absent hearing the word preached…Perhaps you could answer Paul's question to the Romans…"How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? Rom 10:14

    It just amazes me that people are brought into a saving faith with our Lord and Savior and you and Bruce are bellyaching about it…

    Luke 15:7 "Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous persons who need no repentance."

  46. aBasnar says:

    The problem I see can be summed up in a testimony by Lee Strobel, a quite famous authour and apologist. In his documetary "A Case for Christ" he sahred his first impressions of a service at Willow Creek. He said:

    Wow, they play my music!

    Well, while God used this for His Glory in Les's Life, I have some very strong feelings about a statement like this.

    It is not proper to imitate the world, to follow their style and to appease to the flesh. Period. Yes, Lee came to Christ. And – more important – he really made the transtion into the Kingdom of God. BUT – and that's a öoud and strong BUT – for many the difference between the world and the Kingdom gets blurred and they stay "semi-converted" with one foot in the world and one in the Kingdom.

    We must be very, VERY careful, because if anything has been speklled out more than one in scripture, it is separation from the world.

    Alexander

  47. Price says:

    Alexander. you are absolutely correct. We need to be very careful about letting the immoral aspects of the world change us.. We need to be in the life changing biz and not let them change us… but let's consider a couple of things.

    First, your example of Lee Stroebel is a great example…for IM…here a person is attracted first by the music who then goes on to become engaged and eventually ends up bringing untold numbers of people to the Lord as a result of his apologetic books. God used him and undoubtedly continues to use this man to change the world….and the initial beginning was that he liked the sound of worship… Are there really people who would grumble at that ?

    Secondly, there are items in the world that are used by crass and immoral people that we as a church people also use and choose to depend on….i.e., electricity, phones, copy machines, faxes…I bet these are all also used in the Playboy Mansion and by Al Queda…. We have carpet, and sound systems, vacuum cleaners… Are these products of first century religion or are they secular products? Are we to avoid them ? Surely not… Just because it seems popular in Hollywood for entertainers to wear their underwear on the outside of the clothes doesn't mean we shouldn't teach our children to be properly clothed does it ?
    I'm guessing that every woman in your congregation uses some sort of makeup or skin care. Don't hookers do that ? It seems to me that everything that we as a church people would use in the function of being a church could be abused by evil people… Just how does one go about avoiding that conflict ? It seems to me that most people could tell if a woman were wearing makeup to put forth her best self versus one that would use it to represent a loose and available woman for hire… So, if we are able to be in the world, and use the things of the world that evil people use and yet no one think us evil for using them…how is that wrong ? It's not… So, what is there about playing IM to praise and worship the Creator of all life that is wrong or something that we need to be careful about ?? It's not… any more than we should be careful about turning on the lights.

    I think the world could use a few more Lee Stroebel's..

  48. HistoryGuy says:

    Laymond, Be careful with statements like "Jesus said no one comes to me except he be called by God." Unless you think God calls all people with equal effectiveness (which then takes the meaning out of the statement) that statement could well be understood as being consistent with Calvinism. Hesed, Randall

    Randall,
    Be careful with statements like "Unless you think God calls all people with equal effectiveness." That statement could well be understood to confuse the Calvinistic doctrine of the General and Effectual Call of God, which is not about equality, but rather two calls with two different effects. After all, when God effectually calls a person they have to respond (right?). Clearly that is not the general call given to all people.

    If Calvinist would have limited the gospel proclamation when they limited the atonement, they could have avoided the need to fabricate the general and effectual call. However, since they don’t know who the elect are, I see the logic in keeping the Biblical affirmation that the Gospel is for all mankind.

    Yet, since Calvinist affirm the gospel is a genuine call for ALL mankind, but must explain why ALL mankind does not respond, and since man’s ability to freely respond to God is not an option in their system, I understand that the creation of the general and effectual call fills the gap quite nicely.

    I hold a Classical Arminian perspective.

  49. Bruce Morton says:

    Price:
    I, for one, believe your post about my "IM Divinci Code" represents one of the most important I have read. Is there something in Paul's words about the Spirit's work in unified song that you find unsettling? Better to focus on freedom of expression in this nation? I believe the Spirit's work in unified song is all I was encouraging Jimkuy to consider. That is Paul's focus in counseling the Ephesians in a spiritual war. Your post sounds like Paul's counsel is not quite enough (for our day). So, yes, I am glad to be part of the suggested declining minority. I believe a spiritual siege is real and I believe it is squeezing the life out of the nation and out of congregations — and silencing song in people.

    You might recall that I have offered to share the ancient evidence (Aristophanes, Clement, others), and you did not indicate an interest. The offer stands. But I am gathering that you are more willing to critique a brother with sarcasm even when you have not read all the background material he has suggested for consideration (pasts posts have represented only a slice). Interesting decision.

    In all of this, Price, I wonder how children see the IM coming to some assemblies. The Fiji islanders are becoming legendary for their attention to the sensitive voices of their children as one of the reasons for their unified song in churches of all names; we need to take a lesson. Perhaps there is more in Paul's "live as children of light" (Eph. 5:8) than many have considered. I, for one, do not hear light in the sarcasm of your post. Your words sound more like the slander and malice Paul warns about in Ephesians 4:30-31. Not the "be kind and compassionate to one another" (Ephesians 4:32) he encourages.

    I hope you consider.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  50. Price says:

    Sorry Bruce…It is almost beyond my ability not to be somewhat sarcastic…You are convinced that you have "uncovered" a secret theology hidden within a passage of scripture that for a thousand years no one else uncovered. If there was any consensus about your discovery I would indeed be interested in reading your suggested material however there seems to be little if any affirmation of this theory…Besides, the word of God over the centuries forms sort of a tapestry, the Truth consistently woven over time and by numerous inspired authors and this hidden language you suggest exists is in contrast to the obvious and out in the open words of God that suggest an entirely different appreciation for IM in worship both in ancient history and in the Kingdom to come…so, no…I'm really not interested in reading about some radical examination of scripture. But, I appreciate the offer…

    Actually, Bruce, I do appreciate you, at least I'm trying to..I know that you love the Lord. I know you have drawn your opinions based on what you believe to be consistent study and an appreciation for the history of the church…I should indeed be very cautious in my criticism of a brother who is walking as best he can by faith…I'll try and do better about that…But, one thing that you can do to help me…quit condemning those of us who disagree with you. If you believe you have the right to draw your own conclusions, then allow the rest of us to do the same…Fair enough ? When you suggest that those of us who don't agree are somehow diluting the Truth or teaching False Doctrine then you sort of deserve whatever response that another man of faith might be compelled to offer in self defense….

  51. Randall says:

    @HistoryGuy,
    I believe Laymond was referring to John 6:64-65:
    But there are some of you who do not believe." (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.) 65And he said, "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." the text is copied from: http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=John+

    As a classic Arminian I assume you affirm the doctrine of Total Depravity, but then employ the concept of Prevenient or Prevailing Grace to enable man to overcome his depravity and choose God, should he exercise his "free" will and do so.

    So how do you understand verse 65? "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father." Do you rob it of its meaning and suggest it God grants it to all men with equal effectiveness? Do you place more weight on other scriptures (and less on this one) that are more consistent with the Arminian perspective? I don't mean that as criticism as we all place more weight on some scriptures than others – it is sometimes necessary to arrive at a conclusion. I would like to know how you understand this scripture.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  52. Bruce Morton says:

    Price:
    Let me clarify something for you/et.al. I do not believe we need to understand the religious background of Roman Asia to read Paul's words clearly. I believe the apostle is clear in urging the Ephesian congregation to sing to one another and to the Lord. No one that I know disagrees with that simple conclusion.

    As to "secret theology" or the like…
    I am not convinced some of this is really as earth-shaking or "secret" as you are suggesting. I do agree that parallelisms in the text have been given little or no attention in the studies I have read. And I will suggest that the link between "expose darkness" and 5:18-21 is important to better understanding the teaching. But "secret" I do not buy.

    As to the cult background, if you would take up my offer, what you would find in a publication is documentation of a significant number of folks (including a well respected Classicist) who have seen the ancient issue clearly — and highlighted it. Now I agree that it has not been brought to bear on Ephesians 5:18ff. from what I can tell. Yes, that may make my position a bit unique. But "hidden" or whatever? I think the raving lunatic has said enough; I will stop.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  53. Bruce Morton says:

    Price:
    Separately, let me note that I have always believed the word "condemn" to be incredibly strong. And I do not find an example in my posts where I have used such — or suggested such.

    As to all of this music discussion, let me highlight what I highlighted in the Harding Lectures I gave recently. With all of the issues the Ephesian congregation was facing, the Lord through Paul still says "saints" in Ephesians 1. And the Lord is still counseling by the writing of the Revelation. But we also see that grace has limits in the letters.

    I leave the final judging business to the Lord. But I will continue to highlight what I see apostolic teaching to be saying. And I will speak up to suggest that the decline in singing Scripture is aiding the wearing away of American faith.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  54. HistoryGuy says:

    Randall,
    I know to what possible passages that you were referring and all of them would have the same outcome. The purpose of my post was to point out your treatment of Laymond, which I found interesting. I am a bit surprised that you used Jn. 6:64-65 as opposed to Jn. 6:37, 39. Still, nothing in John 6 requires a Calvinist perspective to agree that "nobody can come to God unless called" and "nobody can come to God unless granted." Even Calvinist do not disconnect God’s granting from God’s calling. Both calling and granting are gracious acts of God. The rub is WHO and HOW God grants and calls. Therefore, your question relating to exegesis of John 6 falls under what I previous wrote regarding the gracious call of the gospel versus the Calvinistic view of the general and effectual call.

  55. Randall says:

    Hi HG,
    I used John 6:64-65 b/c I think that is the passage that was referred to by Laymond. I could have used any number of passages in John's gospel or even other texts from other books. But I didn't want to dodge or shift to a different passage. ( As you may know, I have claimed that many non Calvinists talk very much like Calvinists until it is pointed out that they are doing so – and then they back off their original statements.) I simply wanted to know your take on the passage in reference.

    Some choose to acknowledge it for its plain sense meaning and some prefer to empty it of its plain sense meaning or simply dodge it. Since you didn't deal with it, it seems apparent you prefer not to. That's OK as you are under no obligation to deal with it. I simply asked your understanding b/c I wanted to know how you understood the passage as well as your understanding of doctrine of total depravity and prevenient grace. (I brought those up when you claimed Calvinists "fabricatred" a distinction between a general call and an effectual call and wondered if prevenient grace was any less "fabricated.") It does support my perspective that non Calvinists are happy enough to talk like Calvinists until it is pointed out to them – and then they back away. Not a problem at all as we are all inconsistent at times and I make no claim to be all that systematic or consistent in my every one of my beliefs.
    Hesed,
    Randall

  56. HistoryGuy says:

    Randall,
    I can never quite tell when you are being authentic or overflowing with sarcasm. Either way, I hope this genuine response is helpful. First, I answered you and dealt with it 03/09/11 5:11 PM & 03/10/11 10:00 PM. While, I am truly sorry that you cannot see the explanation and connection to a variety of verses that you could choose [Jn. 6:44, 65; 8:43, 47, etc] it is fallacious to say that I have not dealt with "it". Second, there is nothing for you to dodge or shift since you named the passage, not Laymond. All he did was make a statement. You inserted a specific verse for Laymond as quick as you insert general and effectual call into any passage saying "God grants or calls." You have done this with Jn. 6:64-65 while calling it a plain sense meaning. Third, you merge WHAT God does with the BASIS/HOW God does it, though the two are separate issues.

    Fourth, fabrication has both a positive and negative use. You failed to notice that I used fabrication and creation synonymously. I truly hope that you are not denying Calvinism fabricated/created the term general and effectual call. Arminianism and Calvinism both believe in prevenient grace, the dispute is whether or not it is resistible. Fifth, as I said previously, since there is no room for (response – resistible grace) in Calvinism, Calvinists fabricated the general & effectual call to explain why the Gospel is truly for ALL people [elect and non-elect] but only some [elect] come to faith [effectual call]. Sixth, point out a specific inconsistency of mine on this topic and I am happy to deal with it, but please don’t use generic claims. Classical Arminianism and Calvinism read from the same Bible, quote the same Scriptures, and sound similar at times because they both deny Pelagianism and Semi-Pelagianism.

    In regards to your recent questions-
    To be specific, I hold a Classical Arminian view, with two distinctions rooted in Orthodoxy: (1) Total depravity, but Ancestral sin not Original Sin (2) a high view of baptism (noted in other series). You can google these terms, as well as "what is prevenient grace" for a better understanding. Jack Cottrell, Roger E Olson, and Robert Picirilli are reliable sources to read. Though written from a Calvinistic viewpoint, http://www.gotquestions.org/prevenient-grace.html gives a fair description of the variances on prevenient-grace

    Are you a 5point Calvinist holding to Supralapsarianism or Infralapsarianism?

  57. Randall says:

    HistoryGuy,
    Please forgive me if I have offended you or you feel like I have misrepresented you in any way. That was not my intent. I am being authentic, though I don't claim to have never been a little sarcastic in my life.

    Laymond made the following statement; "I believe Jesus said no one comes to me except he be called by God." I took his statement to be an allusion to John 6:65 in which Jesus states: "This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father."

    Granted it is not an exact quote, but it seemed to me to be the verse to which Laymond alluded rather than one of the other verses that you suggested. However, I readily admit he could have had John 6:44 in mind (No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.) John 8: 43-47 is consistent with the idea expressed by Laymond, but I did not think it was the passage he alluded to. I'll quote it here: 43 Why is my language not clear to you? Because you are unable to hear what I say. 44 You belong to your father, the devil, and you want to carry out your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 45 Yet because I tell the truth, you do not believe me! 46 Can any of you prove me guilty of sin? If I am telling the truth, why don’t you believe me? 47 Whoever belongs to God hears what God says. The reason you do not hear is that you do not belong to God.”

    It seems to me that the plain sense meaning of the text is that man (or woman) is unable to come to God unless God has granted it – and granted it in a way that He has not granted it to every other person that ever lived. If God had granted it to every human w/o exception then the concept as expressed in these scriptures is emptied of any real meaning. I was curious as to whether you acknowledge that or not. Of course, you are under no obligation to see it that way, and if you saw it differently then I wondered what you thought the verse actually meant. I am not exactly sure where you stand on this concept but I think you believe God draws every person with equal effectiveness and the real difference is that some people employ their "free" will to resist the call and others employ their "free" will to accept the call. I don't mean to speak for you and feel free to correct me if I have stated your belief inaccurately. I would not be surprised it my explanation required a little tweaking.

    I do describe myself as a Calvinist as I am not particularly bothered by many labels. I also affirm the hypostatic union and the doctrine or the Trinity. I do not believe any of these doctrines to be w/o problem passages found in scripture. I find all of them to be the worst possible explanation of theological truths except for all the other explanations I am familiar with. With regard to soteriology and the sovereignty of God I find little to admire in Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism. I have relatively little trouble with classical Arminianism – we simply fall off on different sides of the fence with regard to who ultimately decides who is saved. I think it is God and I think an Arminian logically must give some of the credit to man since man's "free" will was actually the deciding factor. It is a tough call and we all makes our choices as we read, study and pray. Ultimately, I think we all place a little more emphasis on one scripture than another.

    I guess I am a five pointer rather than a four pointer. I agree with Lewis Sperry Chafer who said something like the fifth point (Limited Atonement) is of little practical value whereas the other four points have great practical value. We all believe the atonement is limited (except universalists), it is just a matter of whether the atonement was limited by design or intent by God and application by the HS or whether it is limited by the poor (depraved) choice of man who rejects the offer.

    As to the lapsarian issue: Several decades ago I think I fell off on supralapsarian side. Certainly, this is not a issue that is edifying to every person that pauses to consider it. In the CofC it is considered laughable by the very few that are even familiar with it. I guess that is just part of the anti-theological stand of the CofC. To consider the logical order of the divine decrees is edifying to me. It points me to the immense intellectual ability of the mind of God and how puny my own intellectual ability is. At this point in my life I am content to recognize I am incapable of taking one side of the issue as being more logical than another and planting my opinion in concrete. But I do not think I have ever suffered harm from considering the magnitude of the divine attributes.

    I'll be happy to give you the last word.

    Hesed,
    Randall

  58. HistoryGuy says:

    Randall,
    You have not offended me, but I was misunderstanding your intention. I am sorry for assuming. I am happy to talk with you, really. You said some things to help me understand what you are asking of me. A little later tonight I will respond with some examples and key words that cause us to fall on different sides of the fence. BTW: I don’t mind sarcasm as long as you let me know with a symbol, and you don’t get upset when I put it back on you (ha ha).

  59. HistoryGuy says:

    Randall,
    Those on both sides of the issue try to make a case from the immediate context. I say that just to note that we both bring baggage from other verses, but that doesn’t mean the immediate verses don’t teach something as well. I have talked about your reading into a text the general and effectual call and merging of WHAT vs. HOW God does things, not as an insult, but to show where we disagree. The 4th paragraph of your last post is a good example.

    In my view, the plain meaning is that nobody can come to the father unless he draws/grants them, which requires God to be the first mover. However, the verse says nothing else. WHY can nobody come? WHO does the father draw? HOW does the father draw? What is the BASIS for the drawing? Is the drawing resistible? These and many more questions are not discussed in this passage.

    Denying the Calvinistic view does not diminish the meaning of the verse. Calvinist are generally very cautious with their words to ensure that the general call to all [elect & non-elect] is a sincere call. However, sincerity includes God’s grant to come to him. Therefore, if God does not grant (in some sense) all to come to him, then the general call is insincere.

    Upon that thought, it is said, "the problem is not with God, but rather with the sinner," which sounds very Arminian [ha ha]. At that juncture a shift normally occurs emphasizing a problem with the sinner, not God, and the distinction between the general resistible call and the effectual call/drawing/granting which is irresistible. Since nobody will come through the general call, God irresistibly grants/draws the elect. Of course this takes the focus off the question about God’s sincerity and granting of the general call.

    While Calvinism focuses on the distinction of God’s call, Classical Arminianism focuses on previant grace. In my view, God does not give faith like in Calvinism, but rather gives faith in that he enables a person to choose to believe. God graciously draws all people to himself through the gospel- some believe and some don’t. While this is synergistic, it is NOT a human centered theology because the free choice is only made possible by God’s grace. Previant grace is like God’s reset button, pulling back of the veil, or opening of the sinner’s heart to Adam’s state before the fall. Just as Adam chose good and evil before he became sinful, previant grace "enables" sinners to accept or reject God’s call.

    If God was not drawing us, nobody would ever seek him. If God did not enable us, nobody would ever choose him. The central issue of the disagreement most likely begins at the nature of foreknowledge and flows into other concepts.

    Though Jack Cottrell does not hold to previant grace, a book worth adding to you library is http://books.google.com/books?id=QM6f2m053bUC&amp

    grace and peace,

  60. HistoryGuy says:

    Randall,
    Those on both sides of the issue try to make a case from the immediate context. I say that just to note that we both bring baggage from other verses, but that doesn’t mean the immediate verses don’t teach something as well. I have talked about your reading into a text the general and effectual call and merging of WHAT vs. HOW God does things, not as an insult, but to show where we disagree. The 4th paragraph of your last post is a good example.

    In my view, the plain meaning is that nobody can come to the father unless he draws/grants them, which requires God to be the first mover. However, the verse says nothing else. WHY can nobody come? WHO does the father draw? HOW does the father draw? What is the BASIS for the drawing? Is the drawing resistible? These and many more questions are not discussed in this passage.

    Denying the Calvinistic view does not diminish the meaning of the verse. Calvinist are generally very cautious with their words to ensure that the general call to all [elect & non-elect] is a sincere call. However, sincerity includes God’s grant to come to him. Therefore, if God does not grant (in some sense) all to come to him, then the general call is insincere.

    Upon that thought, it is said, "the problem is not with God, but rather with the sinner," which sounds very Arminian [ha ha]. At that juncture a shift normally occurs emphasizing a problem with the sinner, not God, and the distinction between the general resistible call and the effectual call/drawing/granting which is irresistible. Since nobody will come through the general call, God irresistibly grants/draws the elect. Of course this takes the focus off the question about God’s sincerity and granting of the general call.

    While Calvinism focuses on the distinction of God’s call, Classical Arminianism focuses on previant grace. In my view, God does not give faith like in Calvinism, but rather gives faith in that he enables a person to choose to believe. God graciously draws all people to himself through the gospel- some believe and some don’t. While this is synergistic, it is NOT a human centered theology because the free choice is only made possible by God’s grace. Previant grace is like God’s reset button, pulling back of the veil, or opening of the sinner’s heart to Adam’s state before the fall. Just as Adam chose good and evil before he became sinful, previant grace "enables" sinners to accept or reject God’s call.

    If God was not drawing us, nobody would ever seek him. If God did not enable us, nobody would ever choose him. The central issue of the disagreement most likely begins at the nature of foreknowledge and flows into other concepts.

    Though Jack Cottrell does not hold to previant grace, a book worth adding to you library is http://books.google.com/books?id=QM6f2m053bUC&amp

    grace and peace,

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