Instrumental Music in the Old Testament: Part 3 (Instruments and God’s Displeasure)

Instruments used ironically

Various writers use instruments as symbolic of a man’s contentment, often in an ironic sense. Thus, a rich man who is evil is often spoken of as enjoying instrumental music despite failing to honor God. The point in such passages is not that instrumental music is evil but that those blessed by instrumental music should remember to honor God. The irony arises from the conflict between living a blessed life (symbolized by instrumental music) despite not deserving the blessings.

(Job 21:7-13 ESV) 7 Why do the wicked live, reach old age, and grow mighty in power? 8 Their offspring are established in their presence, and their descendants before their eyes. 9 Their houses are safe from fear, and no rod of God is upon them. 10 Their bull breeds without fail; their cow calves and does not miscarry. 11 They send out their little boys like a flock, and their children dance. 12 They sing to the tambourine and the lyre and rejoice to the sound of the pipe. 13 They spend their days in prosperity, and in peace they go down to Sheol.

Thus, Job no more condemns instruments than he condemns safety as home, having many children, or having fertile cows.

Isaiah condemns those who celebrate with instruments while not honoring God.

(Isa 5:12-13 ESV) 12 They have lyre and harp, tambourine and flute and wine at their feasts, but they do not regard the deeds of the LORD, or see the work of his hands. 13 Therefore my people go into exile for lack of knowledge; their honored men go hungry, and their multitude is parched with thirst.

Isaiah sarcastically urges Tyre to “take a harp” to enjoy its days pending God’s destruction.

(Isa 23:15-16 ESV) 15 In that day Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years, like the days of one king. At the end of seventy years, it will happen to Tyre as in the song of the prostitute: 16 “Take a harp; go about the city, O forgotten prostitute! Make sweet melody; sing many songs, that you may be remembered.”

Amos demands that the people stop playing the harp, not because it’s wrong but because God will not accept the worship of the unrighteous even if holy in form. Amos also rejects the offering of fattened animals, even though such offerings are commanded.

(Amo 5:21-24 ESV) 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

Amos later condemns those who take their ease or enjoy instrumental music when God is planning to destroy them for their sin. His condemnation is not the instruments but the attitude of living in luxury  when the people ought to be in mourning.

(Amo 6:1-8 ESV) “Woe to those who are at ease in Zion, and to those who feel secure on the mountain of Samaria, the notable men of the first of the nations, to whom the house of Israel comes! … 3 O you who put far away the day of disaster and bring near the seat of violence?

4 “Woe to those who lie on beds of ivory and stretch themselves out on their couches, and eat lambs from the flock and calves from the midst of the stall, 5 who sing idle songs to the sound of the harp and like David invent for themselves instruments of music, 6 who drink wine in bowls and anoint themselves with the finest oils, but are not grieved over the ruin of Joseph! 7 Therefore they shall now be the first of those who go into exile, and the revelry of those who stretch themselves out shall pass away.” 8 The Lord GOD has sworn by himself, declares the LORD, the God of hosts: “I abhor the pride of Jacob and hate his strongholds, and I will deliver up the city and all that is in it.”

Amos no more considers instrumental music inherently sinful than he condemns eating lamb. He condemns the pride that is leading to the fall of God’s people. People should not celebrate while living lives that displease God!

The loss of instrumental music is a sign of unhappiness or God’s displeasure

Job cries —

(Job 30:31 ESV) 31 My lyre is turned to mourning, and my pipe to the voice of those who weep.

Isaiah’s prophecy of the fall of Babylon includes —

(Isa 14:11 ESV) 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.

And Ezekiel says regarding the fall of Tyre —

(Eze 26:13 ESV) 13 And I will stop the music of your songs, and the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more.

When Isaiah prophesies God’s destruction of the earth at the end of time (see John N. Oswalt, The New International Commentary on the Book of Isaiah Chapters 1 – 39, pp 444 ff), he describes it in terms of the end of instrumental music as punishment for violating God’s “everlasting covenant.”

(Isa 24:7-10 ESV) 7 The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. 8 The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled. 9 No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10 The wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter.

The same idea is found in the Revelation, where the fall of Rome (Babylon) is prophesied.

(Rev 18:21-23 ESV) 21 Then a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone and threw it into the sea, saying, “So will Babylon the great city be thrown down with violence, and will be found no more;  22 and the sound of harpists and musicians, of flute players and trumpeters, will be heard in you no more, and a craftsman of any craft will be found in you no more, and the sound of the mill will be heard in you no more, 23 and the light of a lamp will shine in you no more, and the voice of bridegroom and bride will be heard in you no more, for your merchants were the great ones of the earth, and all nations were deceived by your sorcery.”

The general theme is that God’s pleasure leads to celebration, which leads to instrumental music. When a person or a kingdom suffers God’s displeasure, they are no longer able to celebrate with instruments. Thus, the absence of instruments demonstrates God’s unhappiness and hence the need for the people to mourn and repent.

When people who ought be mourning because of their sins celebrate with instruments, God is unhappy. Their use of instruments evidences their obtuse, foolish refusal to understand and respond to God’s unhappiness.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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110 Responses to Instrumental Music in the Old Testament: Part 3 (Instruments and God’s Displeasure)

  1. aBasnar says:

    When people who ought be mourning because of their sins celebrate with instruments, God is unhappy. Their use of instruments evidences their obtuse, foolish refusal to understand and respond to God’s unhappiness.

    This would demand for instrumental churches to put the instruments aside whenever there is reason to mourn or to repent. And a-cappella churches should be very sensitive in selecting the hymns.

    As soon as we treat worship as a regular institution that follows a program/liturgy rather than the input of the Spirit according to a churches circumstances, we won't do that.

    As soon as we treat worship as something to attract unbelievers and seekers so that they feel invited and welcome, we won't do that either. In fact then we won't mix a church's situation with the evangelistic means of worship (that we put in it, not the Lord).

    Thus – in the end – the words of the prophets become obsolete as ever in the history of God's people.

    Another – more "global" view on the church of Christ:

    When God looks at the worldly church of today, do you pretend He is happy with us? When you look at the schism, do you think it is a time for rejoicing? The divorce rate – go and get the guitars!? Liberal theology undermining biblical truth – lift up His name with drums and keyboard?!?! Youth imitating Britney Spears rather that Christ Jesus – let's dance before the King?! Women being elected as pastors and preachers – lead us on, Miriam and … Jezebel?!?!? Rememeber: We can stir up our emtions by "mechanical worship" very easily and thus delude ourselves as if God were pleased with us and blessing us.

    Not that all of this applies to all uf us. God be praised that we are doing fine in some or even most aereas personally or as a local church. But THE church which we confess by our No-Name "Church of Christ" is apostate and in ruins. I don't think it is fitting, to get out the band equipment when I take the OT prophets seriously. Rather it is a time for mourning.


  2. Price says:

    Alexander…That's one way of looking at it… I on the other hand am beside myself with Joy and Praise for my God that would send His son to die for a sinner like me… I believe He sees me encapsulated within His Son… Is He displeased with me? How could He be..I'm within His Son…He loves me…Does he like my mistakes? No way, and He'll teach me through it but I have no more reason to fear my Father because I'm not perfect..It's a new day and new covenant of Grace and that my brother is Good News…Great News !! Hallelujah !! My cup ain't half empty…it OVERFLOWS !! I say if you got 'em, Play 'em…if all you do is sing…sing out !!

  3. Tom Forrester says:

    The scriptures above show that music is symbolic of celebration and rejoicing. But it also moves us in the direction of our heart. For example, if I enter the assembly with sorrow due to my sin, the music will bring out that emotion and help me move toward repentance. Perhaps music is also a tool used by God to work on our heart.

  4. guy says:


    Seems to me that though i could always celebrate what God did through Christ on the cross, the scriptures suggest there is nevertheless a very appropriate time to be mourning (2Cor 7; James 4).


  5. Theophilus Dr says:

    Alexander, you have made a number of interesting points.

    Alexander said, "Remember: We can stir up our emtions by "mechanical worship" very easily and thus delude ourselves as if God were pleased with us and blessing us."

    This can go several ways. If "mechanical worship" is literal for "mechanical instruments," I agree that emotions can be cranked up with the sensory overload of excessive amplitude, disco lights, and smoke and mirrors (literally). And one could say that God was pleased because they got real excited – maybe as excited as at a rock concert or football rally. But it's not the methodology, itself, that deviates from scripture, but the extreme that loses focus on Christ.

    But "mechanical worship" may also be figurative for a lifeless, "check the box and leave" type of worship that imagines God is pleased because the protocol is a "spirit and truth" two (a cappella) songs, a prayer, one song, Lord's Supper, song, sermon, prayer, home in less than 60 minutes. It is "we do worship right," and in this scenario outwardly expressed emotion is bad. Certainly we need to follow the scriptures, and everything should be based on scripture, but the extreme of that mindset is the construction of a legalistic hermeneutic that is binding on everyone if they want to be pleasing to God (according to our interpretation). Again, the extreme has lost focus on Christ.

    The "Church of Christ" in the past 100-150 years has swallowed a hermeneutic based on faulty assumptions of biblical interpretations, and the doctrine so produced is a ticking time bomb, about which too many well-meaning people are in denial. They create defensive excuses to explain the indigestion within the body, but what really needs to happen is for the bomb to be regurgitated before it explodes. Is that vivid enough? Should I draw a diagram?

    The bomb is that the Church of Christ has placed more of its identity on its interpretative doctrine than it has on the Spirit of God and the name of Jesus Christ as Lord. I agree that the direction of this slide is ruin. There is evidence of change for the better, but I don't know if it will be in time to escape the coming correction of God.

    The antidote for apostasy in our future is not a further reinforcement of the grip of legalism, it is increasing our grip on the Lord Jesus Christ. I used to think these went together, but they are opposites.

    Either approach, IM or AC, can be taken to an extreme until a focus on Jesus is lost. That loss of the centrality of Jesus can be independent of the methodology, especially if we think God is pleased with us because of "what we do and what we don't do" and "how we do it" rather than on "whose we are" and where we are headed .. Jesus Christ.

    Either approach can be blind if they don't see Jesus. Therefore, two blind methodologies, one based on IM and the other on AC, can be arguing with one another when they both fall into the ditch.

    Tick, tick, tick.

  6. aBasnar says:

    You got both sides, brother 😉

  7. Jay Guin says:


    It's a fact, I think, that God condemned those who played instruments when they ought to be in repentance, just as God encouraged those who celebrated to play instruments, but I find no command in this.

    Rather that commands, we find God working within the culture of the day. The reason instruments were a sign of celebration is not because God so commanded, but because that was reflective of the culture. God spoke in language that the people would understand.

    Just so, the reason removal of instrumental music was a sign of condemnation of a city was because that is the nature of the culture to which the prophets spoke.

    In modern times, we don't associate mourning with the absence of instruments. Rather, we associate mourning with a different style of music. Americans use instruments to mourn at funerals (not the Church of Christ, but the larger culture). In fact, organs and violins can be very mournful.

    But we have instruments and musical styles available to us that weren't available in the Iron Age. We can evoke any emotion known to man through IM. That evidently was not true when the Prophet wrote.

    Therefore, I find no command to use instruments to celebrate or to abandon instruments to mourn. Rather, we celebrate and we mourn as is appropriate in contemporary culture. After all, the real point is the celebration and mourning and not the particulars of how that is evidenced (or should we start wearing sackcloth and ashes to our funerals?)

    If the apostles banned IM in the First Century churches (which I doubt, but which is possible), then they did so for cultural reasons — reasons which no longer apply. If such a ban were intended to be for all time, it would have been stated plainly enough in scripture. In fact, the absence of such a command seems to me to plainly suggest that any instruction on IM was temporary.

  8. Price says:

    Isaiah 1 speaks to God being displeased with even prayer if the heart of the people was corrupt…Surely, because God was displeased with their prayer under those conditions we wouldn't assume that God is displeased with prayer at all ?? Isaiah indicates God was pretty much displeased with the whole of worship since it was done with an impure heart…We need to be careful not to through out the baby with the bath water…

  9. Anonymous says:

    Job may be the oldest story in the Bible: chapter 21 speaks of the fertility rituals (Cainites): They gave credit to the encomiast or praise singer and refused to give the Creator credit or even listen to His Word.

    Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth Job 21:5 .

    Even when I remember I am afraid, and trembling taketh hold on my flesh. Job 21:6

    Wherefore do the WICKED live, become old, yea, are mighty in power? Job 21:7
    Their seed is established in their sight with them, and their offspring before their eyes. Job 21:8
    Their houses are safe from fear, neither is the rod of God upon them. Job 21:9
    Their bull gendereth, and faileth not; their cow calveth, and casteth not her calf. Job 21:10
    They send forth their little ones like a flock, and their children dance. Job 21:11
    They take the timbrel and harp, and rejoice at the sound of the organ. Job 21:12
    They spend their days in wealth, and in a moment go down to the grave. Job 21:13


    Therefore they say unto God, Depart from us; for we desire not the knowledge of thy ways. Job 21:14

    What is the Almighty, that we should serve him? and what profit should we have, if we pray unto him? Job 21:15

    Of the Evil Lamech family or Cainites.

    Genesis 4:19 And Lamech took unto him two wives: the name of the one was Adah, and the name of the other Zillah.
    Genesis 4:20 And Adah bare Jabal: he was the father of such as dwell in tents, and of such as have cattle.
    Genesis 4:21 And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.

    Handle means "without authority." Taphas, similar to Topheth

  10. aBasnar says:

    But we have instruments and musical styles available to us that weren't available in the Iron Age. We can evoke any emotion known to man through IM. That evidently was not true when the Prophet wrote.

    Do you really believe this? As long as we won't find conteporary CDs from the time of David we can only guess. But we know from scripture that David's harp could cheer up a depresseive Saul, as well as it could be used to accompany a lament for Jonathan.
    I'd guess that the mood was reflected in the kind of music, even though it may not have followed our style. But the effect was the same.

    But my comment was on purpose:

    Here we discuss the validity of IM today based on OT-approval of it. I think that's the reason why you make this study. And I say: OK, if you take that road you must walk this road to the end. This means that the instruments would be removed and the joy must be turned into mourning and repentance if there is a reason for this.

    But this we don't do! Our worship is as loud and cheerful as ever. There was a divorce in our congregation? This won't change our worship. Someone left the church because he had issues with the elders. Come on, what has that to do with our music! You can imagine other disasters … NONE of them affects the way we worship.

    Of course this is true for a-cappella worship as well. But I do speak of IM worship now, and the words of the prophets addressing such situations. Has it ever happened that the elders opend a sunday morning worship with the words: "Brothers and sisters, we have serious sin in our midst; and as long as the persons have not repented we find it unfitting to sing joyfully as if everything was all right in the eyes of our Lord! So we asked the worship team to remain seated today. Instead we'll start with reading the prophets, then we ask you all to literally bow your knees … and whoever can shall weep."

    This is neither attractive nor "seeker sensitive", but this would be deeply honest.

    But many don't view worship this way. Worship – and IM-worship especially – is experieneced as a form of entertainment, it is set up like a concert with the option to sing along with the band. Many Christians choose their churches according to the quality of the music (I have witnessed that more than once). And thus the words of Amos become as true, as relevant and as to the point as back then in Israel.

    I don't see this discussion as a pro/con IM debate, but within the IM conviction. Again, if you want to show with this series that God approves IM based on the OT occurences, then you must also take the words of Amos seriously and put aside the instruments every time the church has to mourn or to repent from sin.

    What you did to avoid this conclusion actually backfires:

    In fact, the absence of such a command seems to me to plainly suggest that any instruction on IM was temporary.

    You reduce the word of God to cultural expressions of limited relevance, if I may be so bold. The reason? You don't seem to like the outcome of a too literal application. So on one hand you want to proove the acceptance of IM from the OT, but you are not willing to accept the limitations put on them by the prophets.

    When you then say: ANY instruction in IM was temporary (and cultural) then we can close our Bibles and stop "playing" Bible Study. Because then we are the ones who decide what is appropriate according to OUR culture. It's the culture then that is defining faith and worship, and sociologists enter the pulpits …

    Do you see that you are on the wrong track here? I am looking forward to your reply on Temple and Typology, because the answer lies here not in cultural assumptions.


  11. I agree with Alexander on one of his points. I have been in congregations where tragedy and sorrow strike (who hasn't)? Things like he mentioned: divorce, infidelity, death of a child, and so on. Those events did not change our worship assembly.

    I have never seen a song leader change the songs selected for the day in response to an event. Change from upbeat to sorrowful.

    Now I wonder why.

    Thanks Alexander

  12. Price says:

    @ Dwayne.. Good point…I don't think anyone disagrees with Alexander that there are times that each congregation has a distressed situation that calls for the church to address it and perhaps the music selection should be coordinated with the message of reconcilliation, or repentance, or mourning or whatever the occasion appropriately calls for…However, one would be, IMHO, going a little too far to remove the instruments or the song books or the cushions on the pews or whatever else one might think of to make sure the congregation is in the appropriate frame of mind… Talk about putting on a show !! Seems like the pendelum can swing too far either way… Besides, I think the scripture is crystal clear…the Lord isn't nearly as concerned about the "Do's and Don'ts" as He is about the heart of the person… Israel did all the worship rights correctly but in Isaiah 1..the Lord was so angry He could spit..Do that make it wrong to pray ?? Hardly…He was after the heart of the people…throwing out song books or IM doesn't get to the heart of the matter at all…it's an over reaction…

  13. Steve Wilson says:

    Brothers (and sisters), I find that much of this is a tempest in a teapot. If the driving interest in a congregation is for a shallow faith, the lack of instruments in the worship service is not going to fix the problem. If a congregation is interested in a deep expression of faith, the presence of instruments is not going to hinder it. When the command is to "do everything as unto the Lord" I don't think that either the OT or the NT set the use of instruments between the hours of 10 and 12 on Sunday morning aside as an exception to the rule. The CoC tenacious insistence on the superiority of acapella music is more often an expression of a sectarian spirit than it is an informed choice for spiritual discipline. Theophillus DR was too kind saying that it was the defense of a historically honored hermeneutic. It is more often unapologetic sectarianism.

    If there were some spiritual favor incurred in the heavenly realms because of acapella music, don't you think that 100 plus years of rigid enforcement and ridicule of others would have garnered some observable blessing by now? I am not suggesting that the CoC should abandon it's love of acapella music. It is a deep-seated and often beautiful part of the church's tradition and culture. What I am suggesting is that there be fewer theological gymnastics presented as airtight authorizations for condemning those who use instruments. If Paul was mature enough to eat the occasional hamburger that had been offered before an idol without feeling that it compromised his faith, then I would think that the spiritual maturity found within the church of Christ might be sufficient to allow both instrumental and non-instrumental music to be heard as part of everything-being-done-unto-the-Lord without running to Papa to tattle.

    I respect the mental and spiritual discipline that I have read in these posts immensely, but to say that it explains why most members hold to acapella singing over instruments is going a bit far. I would contend that the reason most CoC members hold to acapella worship is simply that they have been told that it is the only right way to worship and that everyone else is wrong, liberal, deceived and quite probably headed to hell. This collective defense of convictions by casting aspersions on every other group is not only logically dishonest it is the very definition of sectarianism in practice. The mature in Christ ought to be able to rise above such practices and ought to encourage other to do so as well.

  14. Bruce Morton says:

    There is more in the prophecy of Amos than you have noted/allowed. "Idle songs to the sound of the harp" has been considered a powerful phrase that talks about one expression of sin. No, the sound of an instrument is not inherently evil, but it can reveal evil. It can be the instrument of evil in the same way as are the "idle songs." I hope you allow Amos to say all that he is saying.

    Similar to the close connection in the Ephesian letter that you have resisted in this weblog previously. That Paul is tying song/music to the matter of religious right and wrong, good and evil. The West certainly presses against that message, but it is part of Paul's contrast — and a continuation of his overarching message having to do with sensuality in Ephesians 4:17ff. — and his focus on the importance of the unifying action of singing the Word of God as one way to "expose darkness" (Eph. 5:11b).

    And we face the same spiritual threat.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  15. Bruce Morton says:

    You have summarized well how often our look at Ephesians 5:18-21 can be like a rock skipping across water. The Restoration Movement (and the broad religious world) has often missed looking at all of the context and parallels associated with Ephesians 5:18-21. I have seen in Ephesians commentary after commentary I have read during the past 5 years. Quite a collection of writing over 75 years — and not once were the parallelisms discussed. I have come to conclude that the subject of Paul's teaching in Ephesians 4:17-5:21 has been one area where Satan has diligently sought to hinder, keep blindness in place in the West.

    Saw it yesterday as I taught an adult study from Ephesians 4:17-5:21. When we waded into the parallelisms and what they reveal, some people became visibly uncomfortable. It was obvious many saw the message — and preferred not to. I had to say very little. One precious sister spoke up in the class to announce, "but Paul is saying…" and beautifully summarized (and crushed her own previous conclusions). When I mentioned here summary was excellent — exactly what Paul was saying, she was actually stunned. Her mouth fell open and she was speechless. We really struggle with Ephesians 4:17-5:21 — probably because it announces too clearly exactly what is amiss in our society — and sometimes our worship and our song to God.

    We desperately need to see the close tie between Ephesians 5:18-21 and Ephesians 5:11. Taking time to consider the parallel helps unlock the reason Paul says what he says about the unifying action of singing the Word of the Lord. We have lifted Ephesians 5:18-21 out of Ephesians 4:17-5:21 without seeing that the teaching helps shows us why the early churches were a cappella in a Mediterranean world filled with instrumental music in worship settings.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  16. Theophilus Dr says:

    The discussion is beginning to get below the superficial layer. Like a cut to the skin, getting to deeper tissue layers evokes pain, and with pain a natural instinct to react to the intrusion and/or to avoid it altogether. But sometimes what needs to be done involves a behavioral life change or may involve surgical removal of a foreign object. In the case of a foreign object being an idolatrous attitude, it involves both change and surgery. And God doesn't always use anesthetic.

    When God spoke to Israel through Isaiah, Amos, Ezekiel, other prophets, about their use of instruments, it was in the context of the displeasing discrepancy between the Israelites offer of worship to God and their life behavior. God didn't like their use of instruments because they reflected praise, which is great as long as that praise reflects your life the rest of the time. It wasn't just instruments, God didn't accept their prayers, feasts, fasts, sacrifices – anything. Why?

    They got together at an assembly at the appointed time and went through the motions of their "acts of worship" according to the law (as they perceived it), all as if they were right with God, but then went out and acted in a manner indistinguishable from pagan behavior, or worse. God said their "public worship" was a sham and that their use of instruments was no different from the pagans — because their life behavior was no different.

    In some cases they had idolatrous gods to substitute for Jehovah God "during the week" Whether they sang AC or IM didn't made any difference, they were placing other gods before Jehovah, either literally or in attitude. They may have praised Jehovah on the Sabbath, but they praised pagan idols in the way they acted and treated their neighbor the rest of the week. God told them to change their public pretense of righteousness and, instead, mourn because of their unrepentant and self-excused sin.

    Trying to extract AC and IM authorization (or not) out of the message of the prophets is questionable exegesis. But one reason this exercise may seem attractive is that it is a lot easier to talk about superficial details than it is to prep for surgery.

    The following is intended as a "generalization" of my experience with multiple congregations of the CoC over many parts of at least 3 states over a period exceeding 60 years. It is not intended to indict every set of eyeballs that scan across these words. So, please, no "Well, where I go to church doesn't ….." or "I have never had this problem ….." or "Who do you think you're speaking for …." (If none of this relates to you or the church you attend, praise God; and I am speaking for myself).

    Hasn't "Sunday morning auditorium behavior" vs. "the rest of the week behavior" always been a problem? Look pious for Sunday assembly, then get about real life on Monday. Get the five acts of worship done in the right way Sunday morning and the Seven Deadly Sins Monday through Saturday?

    The traditional interpretation of "in spirit and in truth" used to be "get the five acts of worship done in the right way (truth, i.e., CENI hermeneutic), but think real hard about Jesus while you're doing it (spirit), on Sunday AM between 10 and 11am. This interpretation concentrated on the "correct worship" idol on Sun AM and didn't address the "pagan idol" during the week.

    There is an increased appreciation for the "living sacrifice as our worship (service)" to God (Romans 12:1-2), but too much of that segregation of behavioral standard still remains.

    Assembly worship either in the OT or the NT had something in common. Both were to be celebrations to God for His holiness in people's lives during the rest of the week and not a segregated assembly period on one special day to justify unholy behavior during the rest of the week.

    One thing that IM does is that it can help make the differential between Sunday AM "praise and worship" and any "unsanctified" Mon-Sat behavior seem even greater. From a human perspective, the change in behavior between a person who sits quietly, doesn't smile, and closes eyes at the right time on Sunday and then goes on Monday and cheats his brother or cheats on his spouse doesn't seem quite so great as the difference in behavior of a person who raises their hands and closes their eyes and jumps with the music (IM) and praises the Lord on Sunday but cheats their brother or on their spouse on Monday. I think God sees these scenarios as being the same; it is idolatry in both cases.

    And blaming the IM and calling it "unscriptural" wouldn't even address the problem, and anyone who thought that IM was the issue should get checked for spiritual blindness.

    What is an idol that needs surgical removal?

    Steve said, "a historically honored hermeneutic. It is more often unapologetic sectarianism."

    We can discuss (argue, debate – just generally take time and energy that avoids dealing with the real spiritual issues) the in's and out's of IM or AC until the CoC candlestick goes out.

    Focusing on IM or on AC from either position, condemn it or justify it, love it or hate it, — either way — can be idolatry. The only one who remains happy about it is the enemy.

    The consequences of the behavioral difference between Sunday mornings and M-S on the IM vs AC discussion are dwarfed by the consequences of our worship involving the Lord's Supper. "…eats and drinks judgment upon himself."

    As Alexander said, maybe we need to call for mourning.

    Now reread Steve Watson's post. (His is more concise).

  17. Anonymous says:

    It is amazingly true: God gave the supernaturally gifted leaders

    Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

    The Word EDIFY means EDUCATE: Romans 15 says you speak "that which is written" using one MIND and one MOUTH to educate.

    Eph 4:13 Till we all come in
    —-A. the unity of the faith, and of
    —-B. the knowledge of the Son of God,
    —-C. unto a perfect MAN,
    —-D. unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

    These leaders were tasked to prevent what too many churches want to impose:

    Eph 4:14 That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro,
    —-and carried about with every wind of doctrine,
    —-by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness
    —-whereby they lie in wait to deceive;

    If you define words by how they are used in parallel classical literature the warning is against: -Panourg-êma A. knavish trick, villainy, S.El.1387 (lyr.), LXX Si.1.6 (v.l.); sophistry, Gal.5.251; cf. panourgeuma.

    Jesus said that God hid Himself from the WISE or sophists:

    Sophia A. cleverness or skill in handicraft and art, as in carpentry, tektonos, hos rha te pas?s eu eid? in music and singing, tekhn? kai s. h.Merc.483, cf. 511; in poetry, Sol.13.52, Pi.O.1.117

    Ephesians 4 goes on to define the role of the assembly: assembly, gathering, coming together are synagogue words.

    1. A Christian is a baptized Disciple commanded to be taught what Jesus commanded to be taught.
    2. A Disciple is a student of Christ.
    3. Disciples (say the Campbells go to A School of Christ)
    4. Worship is Reading, explaining and musing that assigned passage.

  18. Bruce Morton says:

    Theophilus Dr:
    I read the below and want to ask something of you/
    "Focusing on IM or on AC from either position, condemn it or justify it, love it or hate it, — either way — can be idolatry. The only one who remains happy about it is the enemy."

    I am finding that people see the discussion differently when they are forced to see that all that Paul writes about song/music in Ephesians 5:18-21 is tied to the specific purpose he conveys in Ephesians 5:11. So, let's try something:

    When we calm (for seven seconds) our emotions, predispositions, personal preference, whatever, and just look at Paul's letter, what should we see about Paul's "exposing darkness" in his teaching and what does that have to do with song to one another and the Lord? When you listen to all the Lord is saying through Paul here, what do you hear?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  19. Theophilus Dr says:


    For me, the best exegesis is one that is consistent at multiple levels. That means the meaning of a passage should be consistent with a detailed unbiased examination of the Greek vocabulary; it should be consistent with the context within the book – theme, purpose for writing, topics addressed before and after the passage, etc.; it should be consistent with an overall spiritual principle that God has addressed in all scripture; and finally it should point to Jesus Christ in promoting peace, love and unity, attributes of a righteous and holy God (Eph. 4:24).

    This process requires continual spiritual awareness and discernment, because the are many side tracks and "rabbit trails" that have an appearance of holiness (leading to God), but they actually run laterally and eventually down. The scripture is filled with contrasting the path leading to God and the pasts that are delusions and distractions. The path to God requires perseverance and high energy and it is powered by the Holy Spirit. The alternate paths require less energy, are powered by the flesh and idolatry, and are subject to natural law such as entropy.

    Paul writes a lot about the characteristics of these two paths – the spiritual path to God and the natural, fleshly paths to entropy. ("to entropy" might be considered by some as a too polite and scientific way of saying "to hell.") Paul refers to commonly used names for these path, "light" and "darkness."

    One way that the name of the path (and therefore its direction) is by the scenery along the road. Paul describes the scenery that one would expect to see if they were on the path to God and also the scenery along the paths of darkness. Obviously the scenery on the dark path is more obscure and hard to recognize, especially if one is being led by an idol rather than Jesus. Satan, the deceiver, is saying, "This is not an idol, keep pursuing, you are doing well."

    Idols are evasive, sinister, and everywhere. They can morph and they can wear cloaking devices. They are deception and lies from Satan, and they obtain form when we give them some of our natural, fleshly, carnal man of Adam to work with. And they will be molded into a form which appears, from a fleshly perspective, like the image of God. Following that false image in the place of the true God is idolatry.

    So Eph. 5:18-21 is not only in the context of Eph 5:11, but both are in the larger context of the thread running through the entire book. Paul is talking about the road to God and the road of darkness. Paul prays for the church's being filled to the measure of all the fullness of God (3:19) and than the role of the church in working toward that goal by fitting everything together (4:1-16). After 4:17, Paul continues to describe the characteristics of the paths of light and darkness, and what to do to correct when the scenery starts to look bad. Paul describes those things that should be put off or discarded that are part of the fleshly nature, which have handles sticking out saying "Grab me, grab me" to the demon in charge of a dark path. Paul said leave them behind in your relationship one to another so the devil cannot gain a foothold.

    For me, therefore, Eph 5:17-21, describes characteristics of the body when the parts are functioning as described in Eph 4:1-16. Do this and keep on track. In this context, it is a stretch, at best, for me to read +/- instruments into the passage. (Although I used to do that. And it was crystal clear to me that I was correct).

    To my statement referred to in your post — "Focusing on IM or on AC" would be idolatry if I were to elevate the ubiquitously applied necessity of my interpretation of limited methodology over the necessity of keeping eyes on Jesus and the goal of being like Him. "You can't be like Jesus because you sing with a guitar." "Yeah, well we are more like Jesus than you are; besides, our church is growing faster than yours." "Yeah, well you are just a bunch of seeker friendly people pleasers." Eyes on methodology or eyes on Jesus? Jesus is Lord, or Jesus can only be seen through an image containing or devoid of an instrument. If I said this, I believe it would be idolatry of method to Jesus (in my opinion) rather than looking to Jesus, Himself. And I would divide the body and condemn a brother who didn't agree. Just speaking for me; not accusing anyone. Sad to say, I have done that.

    We make idols, and not God, and we can make idols out of something that started out as good. These are often the hardest to identify because they are transparent to us and we get defensive if someone else see them and points them out to us. Then go to the scripture and find something to defend my point — often using eisegesis.

    The Israelites had a problem from being bitten by deadly snakes, and many of them died. God has Moses make an image in the form of a snake, and anyone bitten who looked at the snake would life (Num 21:9). This was intended by God for the people's benefit, and it was also intended as a type for Christ (John 3:14), but over time the people glorified the snake (the methodology) instead of God and they made a idol out of the snake, so that it had to be destroyed (2 Kings 18:4).

    (Sorry, Bruce, for the lengthly reply. When a self-admitted pontificator sees words like "…all the Lord is saying…", that is almost an invitation for verbosity. Maybe that's an idol. Hmmmm.)

  20. Bruce Morton says:

    Theophilus Dr:
    I appreciate your relating Ephesians 5:17-21 to the broad context. As part of this, please fold in Paul's focus on unity as well. Stephen Guthrie's excellent article in JETS (2005) notes this. He argues that part of "exposing darkness" in the text is also related to a congregation functioning with unity — speaking to one another in song. It is as if we hear the verses, but we reason away from the message around them: SING! BE ONE! We keep arguing, "but… he does not say…. We get so busy arguing with our "howevers" that we are willing to let Satan pull us away from song to the Lord as a unifying action that exposes darkness by preaching the Word by our song (cf. Col. 3:16). I hope you reconsider where you once stood.

    I saw the fruits of where Jay and others encourage us to head — toward instrument-accompanied music in our assemblies. I decided recently to worship with a church of Christ that had both a cappella and instrument-accompanied assemblies. I had not done such and decided to do so. The first was filled with people singing — and smiles. The second? I sang in spite of the instruments. I was one of the few. And I noticed that all around me people stood stoic, no smiles, no emotion, or they were talking to people standing or sitting beside them. Quite a contrast.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  21. Todd says:

    And yet Bruce I have experienced the exact opposite. Dead emotionless unaccompanied singing and joy filled accompanied singing. Perhaps the issue is one of the heart rather than the instrument.

  22. Price says:

    @ Bruce….I must be really dense. As I have read Jay's comments I have been neither led toward or away from Instrumental Music nor have I been led toward or away from a capella. What I have been led toward is a more complete and accurate understanding of what the Word actually says and what it does not say about musical instruments in worship…

    What I have concluded from reading the exhaustive research and commentary of those more highly trained than I is that there is MUCH more freedom to choose than was ever taught in the CoC congregations with which I am uniquely familiar. It is clearly NOT prohibited or required either by actual instruction or by silence if that is one's hermeneutical preference.

    It is however very divisive. The question is… what is…"IT"…Is it a capella that is divisive or is it IM ?? It seems that both can be used as a tool to divide. When those that prefer a capella twist and manipulate scripture to cause one to believe that IM is prohibited by God they do a tremendous disservice to the body of Christ because that is just not so. Intentionally or unintentionally it is teaching a falsehood (IMHO)..When those that prefer the use of IM in worship attempt to have their way through the intentional disregard for long held and beloved traditions and debate the issue with a contentious and disrespectful approach then THEY do a tremendous disservice…So, I guess it's not the freedom that we have that is so divisive but the manner in which the freedom is used… Perhaps it is neither a capella nor IM that is divisive but rather the people who inappropriately support one or the other…..Just sayin.

  23. guy says:


    Have you ever heard Epic by Faith No More? Your post got me singing that song (Lyric: "WHAT …IS…IT? IT'S IT! What is it?") Great tune.


  24. Bruce Morton says:

    Whew! I can tell that in a progressive weblog talking about Paul's message of song and unity just does not seem to get much of a hearing. We seem to want to rush it out the window.

    Yes, certainly a heart problem can exist in a cappella worship as well. But you missed part of the message in my post. The heart problem also extends to a seeming indifference to strive for unity. It is not just about the music. It is also about part of what the song together is to accomplish. How about listening to Kinnaman, for example, when he writes about the negative impact on unity of bands up front in congregational assemblies. I have a hard time believing that you (and others) do not see what he has clearly articulated as a key voice in the emerging church movement. He is taking the path of Ephesians 4-5 and needs to continue to walk it.

    The Fiji islanders see the issue and teaching more clearly than do many Americans. All churches of all names worship with music in the SAME WAY in the islands — vocal music only. No instrumental accompaniment! Why? The Fiji islanders tell us, but sometimes we seem to not want to listen in the U.S. Vocal music builds a powerful, unique, and inviting unity. (You have a copy of the documentation regarding this; I hope you consider.)

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  25. Price says:

    Hey Guy…haven't heard of it but I'll try and check it out…Thanks…Hope school is going well for ya.

  26. Bruce Morton says:

    You see Jay as considering all the research/study on the subject? Jay has been clear with me in this weblog. He has had no interest in looking closely at the parallels that say much about Ephesians 5:18-21 (and I will share appear to represent unique study, based on Ephesians commentaries from the past 75 years that I have consulted). Jay's stance continues to strike me as interesting, especially since I recently heard from the Southern Baptist flagship seminary that they think enough of the work I authored that they will be reviewing this year in one of the two Baptist academic journals.

    Are you open to research different from Jay's? My offer to you of some weeks back remains open — and represents no cost to you. You can send me an email at MortonBLSL7 at if an interest.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  27. Price says:

    Bruce…when you begin your remarks on the importance of unity in the church by labeling people who have a different viewpoint than your own as progressives it's difficult for me to appreciate your sincerity…

  28. Todd says:

    Bruce I have kept from posting my opinion on this for a while for a number of reasons but since you have addressed it to me directly here goes.

    Which Unity are we striving for? Unity within a congregation? Within a denomination? The Body as a whole?

    If within my congregation, IM is a nonissue. We sing with or without it without comment or argument (yesterday was in fact acappella). As for denominational unity, we do not cast aspersions on those who determine to do without either and all we ask in return is basic respect for the decisions our elders have reached. We do not export our viewpoint, nor do we import the opposite. For us this is not an issue that touches on the Gospel or life in Christ.

    So does this stand make me divisive? Would I rather not become divisive if I had had the great epiphany you say I should have had through your book (which obviously I did not) and then begun to condemn my brothers and sisters for a settled practice without a clear and uncontestable Scriptural reason?

    Your research and study is wonderful and impressive, your conclusions less so. That you wish to push your viewpoint is understandable and makes you exactly like the rest of us. But please, no more crying that we are ignoring you. I have read your work and I disagree with your conclusions as they assume "facts not entered into evidence." The situation in Ephesus is historically settled. Paul did write with an eye to local circumstances – so did Jesus in the letters in Revelation. Paul's overriding concern in Ephesians is the glory of God and the unity of the Body as we live out the Spirit. But you assume Paul is making reference to the IM use in the culture and suggest (actually demand) he is building doctrine on it when there is no actual necessity that such be the case at all.

    Even if we are to take as given that Paul views singing as a key to greater unity and growth in the Spirit (and I agree he does) there is absolutely nothing in the letter which addresses the use or nonuse of a harp or tin whistle or orchestra.

    Now I am not saying that Paul could not be presenting the case you say, I am merely saying that I do not believe he is and after looking at your evidence I remain unconvinced. From my personal study and understanding your work is well researched (I will in fact use much of the history you provide the next time I teach Ephesians), well written and as to its ultimate conclusion wrong. Frankly it is merely the same old "Acappella only" approach writ large – the secret hidden doctrine Paul sews into the fabric of the Ephesian letter that we were all just too unfocused or self interested to see for ourselves. I feel somewhat less intellectually challenged when I realize that few or no others in the past 1900 years have seen it either.

    We may say what we wish about what is behind the text, or what is to be read between the lines of the text, or what we should have understood because of the culture out of which the text came but nothing that is clearly stated within the text condemns the practice currently in use in much of the Lord's Body. As such liberty is the only door available unless you wish to teach a new Gospel based upon your new and improved text.

    On a more personal note – we have not experienced the pride and infighting among our musicians that others say we should. Perhaps we are doing something wrong but it appears that Jesus is still the main focus of what we are about. I have however experienced the evil of pride and "me first-ism" in many a song leader, operatic back row prima dona, and though they are also safely hellbound and should not count as an example, many a praise team. Again it is the heart that determines whether God is praised or myself.

  29. Theophilus Dr says:

    Bruce, this is getting more interesting the further the discussion goes. Bear in mind that is a dangerous comment from a certified pontificator.

    I am right with you on your posts relating a cappella singing as an expression of unity. Many congregations in the CoC (general) seem to be losing the ability to sing together in parts, in harmony, in participation. Music is bonding, singing together is a symbol of unity and, more, of fellowship in the body of Christ. After all, participation, sharing, and fellowship are from the same word, koinonia. I see a trend in many churches, more outside the CoC (for now), of participation becoming performance.

    In my view, anything that promotes participation in congregational singing is good and anything that suppresses participation is bad. I might even go so far to say that its possibly "unscriptural." This is grieving to me.

    Are the use of instruments to blame? I have seen participation dampened by an AC praise team with the volume turned up too high. I have seen participation hindered by a praise team singing contemporary AC Christian music that no one knew the words to. That does the same thing.

    I have seen participation-interference occur when people's iphones are going off and they are reading and sending text messages. I think smart phones are as unscriptural as IM. I don't see Blackberry's as a necessary inference to singing. Let's stop being inconsistent. Obviously there is a principle here that is bigger than just IM.

    I personally prefer an AC service over an IM, but I am getting more used to both. Bruce, I have made the same observation that you described, of participation in the AC but not in the IM. But I have found few in the IM service who agreed with that assessment. For them, it is the AC service that is without spirit and it is the IM that is overflowing with praises. The difference in impact is so great that many people wouldn't come to an AC service if they had a choice. Is this people pleasing instead of God pleasing? I can find no scriptural justification for that judgment whatsoever. I realized some time ago that my view of AC or IM was not based on scripture, it was based on MY personal preference. And my preference does not speak for most people.

    If things were done according to MY preference, hymns would = Fanny J. Crosby and spiritual songs would = Stamps Baxter.

    What is the proper response to a threat to unity? Do we go to the scripture and construct an argument against instruments or do we shout "UNITY" from the housetops? Which one points to Jesus, arguing about IM or preaching unity in the body? Which one works to build the church into the full knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ? The damage I can do to the unity of the body of Christ by formulating a doctrine and preaching against instruments is far greater than using instruments. Saying it another way, there is not enough time before God's discipline will fall on the church in America for me to squander time on griping about IM instead of working for unity. For me, griping about IM is what would really be "unscriptural."

    Why would this position seem strange and inconsistent to some? Because they are drawing the line of the body of Christ around their doctrine, which is the same as saying, the CoC. If that is where the line is drawn, then IM becomes a big issue relative to the body of Christ. I once drew the line there and would fight anyone to the bloody death before saying anything else. Praise God, I now am the opposite. The body of Christ is universal and is based on Jesus Christ and not on some group's contrived doctrine from a legalistic hermeneutic that places its self-deified methodology as an idol above Jesus. That is a problem that dwarfs anything about IM.

    What will kill the CoC and extinguish its candlestick is not instrumental music, it is the ungodly self-righteous contemptible attitude that its doctrine defines the bounds of the body of Christ.

    We in the CoC are still dragging the chains of bondage from CENI induced interpretations about "the 5 acts of worship," water baptism, IM and other stuff. We are doctrine centered more than Christ centered. We have traditionally considered ourselves to be more scriptural and godly and saved than other Christians and, in so doing, we have divided the body of Christ. We've got major problems. Complain about IM? How about complaining about a gnat while standing in the way of an approaching tank?

    "Wow, tell us what you really think." I can't; Jay would have to open a new web site just for me. He probably wishes I would just go away and start another one.

    I talked to someone just yesterday who questioned how instruments could ever have been allowed in the door. I'll tell you what I said to them in another post. (Assuming anyone survives this one). 🙂

  30. Theophilus Dr says:

    The previous description of attitudes within the CoC is a generalization that some will say is uncharacteristic of them or of their congregation. If so, thank God; I pray that is the case. I pray for the day when this description characterizes no one. The problem is that in many cases it is there, but transparent.

    I was asked yesterday how a CoC could have an instrumental service. I related the following. I used to think that singing with instruments literally had the same consequences as Nadab and Abihu. It was God's grace that held back immediate payback, but eventually they were going to fry. At least I was consistent and realized this wasn't something that just applied to the auditorium. No, it was a sin to play church songs on a piano at home and sing along. I was appalled when I once went to a friend's house and his mother played the piano and people sang. I wouldn't open my mouth and backed away from the piano. And she was an elder's wife, too. Scandalous! I believed that using a pitch pipe to pitch the songs was sinful because this was an instrument – it made a mechanical sound in the auditorium. I maintained that opinion until the first time I had to publicly lead a song. I pitched it wrong. It was bad. So, I had to get a pitch pipe and, as a result, modify my theology to adapt. If I sounded the note so that only I heard it, it wasn't instrumental music. But if the microphone picked it up, that was sin. Some may think I am making this up. I wish I were.

    When I began to do my own thinking instead of running on pre-programming, I realized that I was casting judgment on other people and whether or not they were pleasing to God, were in the body of Christ, or even saved based on a doctrine of the "silence" of scripture. I became very uncomfortable with that attitude and thought that to judge other Christians based on what the scripture DIDN'T say was extremely shaky, at best. The Bible was not silent, however, on people who judge one another, condemn one another, and divide the body of Christ over it. The Bible had plenty to say about that. So, I decided I had to change. This was not my particular view based on my comfort zone and my opinion, and it was in no way binding on anyone else. Once I learned more about grace and freedom in Christ, I realized that God determined the bounds of His church, not me and not my doctrine. To not recognize the body of Christ as God defined it was to oppose God and to ask judgment upon myself.

    All the doctrines that had supported division of the body – me right, they wrong – had to be dismantled. Unity is based on Jesus Christ. Once we understand that, we are free to discuss the other things of lesser importance than Jesus that we might think differently about.

    Any doctrine that produces division in the body of Christ has to be suspect, because any doctrine based on Jesus Christ brings Christians together in unity. Any doctrine that elevates how someone does something until it separates Christians or makes one claim to be better than another (think Corinth) must have false doctrine in it. There are many doctrines that separate Christians, and many of these involve subjects that are important and scriptural. But our view about them must be reassessed by going to the Word again and again until we find out where our error is, because if there is division, there will be an error somewhere.

    Elements of worship and how it is done, speaking in tongues, water baptism, instrumental music and other issues must be reexamined and reexamined over and over by whatever group is promoting them until the true revealed meaning of the passages becomes clear. When this happens, the result is unity, not division. We have to keep searching.

    I hope my bluntness in some places has not offended anyone, and I apologize if that was received. 1 Cor 10 applies to us. God spoke to His people who were in rebellion through Babylon. We have a Babylon today. Don't think it will not happen. The time is growing shorter. Christians who cannot learn to live together in peace and unity will learn unity by dying together. I believe a feeling of urgency is in order.

    Blessings of peace and grace

  31. Anonymous says:

    A tidbit response to the question Bruce asked:

    Darkness of the Nether World: Israel had a covenant with death and is called a shadow or Skia means "a totally erroneous system." It was imposed because of musical idolatry at Mount Sinai. Amos warns specificially about the Marzeah (aka Agapae) which was a musical festival with and for dead ancestors.

    John called all of the religious teknokrats: speakers, singers and instrument players sorcerers: that is because Jesus is the LIGHT and the commanded, example and historic understanding was: Preaching is READING the Word as in the synagogue and commanded by Paul to timothy. If it is of the WORLD then Jesus said He would not even pray for them. Christ in Spirit spoke through the prophets and apostles.

    skoti-a , h(, (skotos)

    Thus saith the Lord concerning the prophets that make my people err,
    ……that bite with their teeth, and cry, Peace;
    ……and he that putteth not into their mouths,
    ……they even prepare war against him. Micah 3:5

    Therefore night shall be unto you, that ye shall not have a vision; and it shall be dark unto you,
    ……that ye
    shall not divine; and the sun shall go down over the prophets,
    ……and the day shall be dark over them. Micah 3:6

    Then shall the seers be ashamed, and the diviners confounded:
    ……yea, they shall all cover their lips; for there is no answer of God. Micah 3:7
    Catholic Johannes, music and worship in Pagan and Christian Antiquity p.39

    "The religious ecstasy induced by music expressed itself either in an outburst of emotions, thus giving rise to religious catharsis, or in a transfer to the state of prophecy.
    ……In this way music became an important factor in divination.
    ……In the mysteries of the Magna Mater (Rev 17)
    ……this relationship between music and divination is particularyl clear.

    ……Through the din of tambourines, cymbals and flutes
    ……the ecstatic worshiper of the goddess prophesied the future to those present.

    "From time immorial music had been especially valued in the service of prophecy. Pliny the Elder gives us a report of the cult of Apis: (Golden Calf).
    ……Consequently Apollo (Abaddon, Apollyon) was god of prophets and musicians
    Pan was god of medicine, music and divination.

    In fact Christ removes the "lamps" in Revelation 18.

  32. Bruce Morton says:

    I have not addressed "ignoring" a work to you and you should not take it as such. It has been Jay's decision and he has been clear about such (I have even told him that a review is his business — he has been clear regarding his general "take"). So, how about backing off and letting my comment stand. It was fair and represented Jay's actions.

    And those Fiji islanders and their views of unity and music? They must be blind too, just like me?

    Two young friends who are Baptists announced to me recently what would happen if the IM was "turned off" in their worship: the large majority of singing would be from the choir. Candid input regarding the issue of congregational unity in song. I continue to be hopeful that the work I authored will prompt some rethinking in the years ahead by some. But given emotions, the strong American bent toward freedom of expression, etc., it will probably will be challenging for many. I personally believe we are approaching something of the broad cultural mindset that led to the Catholic Polyphonic Controversy of the seventh and eighth centuries.

    Glad to chat more interactively anytime, brother.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  33. Jay Guin says:

    Dr T wrote,

    "It wasn't just instruments, God didn't accept their prayers, feasts, fasts, sacrifices – anything."

    Exactly. We can't make complaints by Amos and others about IM into an IM issue. God rejected the entirety of their worship, not because it was IM, but because their hearts were black.

    The sin described in Amos was a lack of social justice: the abuse of the poor and the powerless by the powerful — a sin so dark it eventually led to the destruction of Jerusalem.

    (Amo 5:11-12 ESV) 11 Therefore because you trample on the poor and you exact taxes of grain from him, you have built houses of hewn stone, but you shall not dwell in them; you have planted pleasant vineyards, but you shall not drink their wine. 12 For I know how many are your transgressions and how great are your sins– you who afflict the righteous, who take a bribe, and turn aside the needy in the gate.

    (Amo 5:21-24 ESV) 21 “I hate, I despise your feasts, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. 22 Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the peace offerings of your fattened animals, I will not look upon them. 23 Take away from me the noise of your songs; to the melody of your harps I will not listen. 24 But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”

    If we were to follow the logic of some comments, if there were sin at our churches, we'd not worship at all until we repent — not worship AC or worship mournfully.

    And Jesus seems to agree —

    (Mat 5:23-24 ESV) 23 So if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your gift.

    Of course, if we take the command too literally, only the perfect could worship! But Jesus' point is (of course) valid: God is not nearly as concerned with punctilious worship as with pure hearts and right relationships.

    We must be careful not distort the message into a message about the form of worship when God is urgently pointing us to the heart.

  34. Jay Guin says:


    (Eph 5:11-12 ESV) 11 Take no part in the unfruitful works of darkness, but instead expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to speak of the things that they do in secret.

    Tell me whether this is right: You figure that "unfruitful works of darkness … shameful even to speak of the things they do in secret" includes "worshiping God with instrumental music."


    If that's not your argument, please enlighten me, because I'm otherwise not following you at all.

  35. Jay Guin says:


    A couple of quotations from Guthrie —

    "Most of Ephesians 4 and all of Ephesians 5 address what it means to live as children of light, or more conventionally, what it means to live holy lives. Paul gives many commands and instructions, but ultimately men and women are made holy by the Spirit who is called Holy. Therefore Paul’s command in Eph. 5:18—“Be filled with the Holy Spirit”—is the culmination of these chapters, both rhetorically and theologically. The passive imperative—“be filled”—is followed by four subordinate participial clauses: (1) speaking to one another in songs, hymns, and spiritual songs; (2) singing and making music in your hearts; (3) giving thanks to the Lord; (4) submitting to one another. These participles are grammatically dependent upon the verb, and they give substance and content to the command to be filled with the Spirit. And remarkably, two of the four clauses—three of the five participles—have to do with making music."

    –Stephen R. Guthrie, “Singing, in the Body and in the Spirit,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46/4 (December 2003), 639.

    "Finally, it is at the climax of these warnings and exhortations [in Ephesians 4 and 5] that Paul writes: “Be filled with the Spirit. Speak to one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs. Sing and make music in your heart to the Lord” (5:18?19). In other words, to a Christian community surrounded by ignorance and immorality; to a people who themselves were prone to the blindness and indulgence of their former way of life; at the conclusion of a passage warning against irrationality and sins of the flesh—Paul urges singing and music making. . . . Paul shares the same broad concerns as Augustine and Calvin, but the recommendation emerging from those concerns is entirely different. To put it very crudely, Augustine says: “Irrationality is bad. Sensuality is bad. Therefore, be careful about music.” Paul on the other hand says, “Foolishness is bad. Sensuality is bad. Therefore, you had better sing.” "

    –Stephen R. Guthrie, “Singing, in the Body and in the Spirit,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 46/4 (December 2003), 638.

    I could not agree more. In fact, I find his entire essay a delight, indeed, a series of delights. I HIGHLY recommend it.

    Thanks for pointing this out to the readership. Here's the full text:

  36. Jay Guin says:


    The path to unity is not found in a uniform pattern of worship. We don't have to be exactly the same to be united.

    True unity is, first, the recognition of each other as fully brothers in Christ — imperfect but forgiven despite our disputes and disagreements. It's Romans 14 lived for real.

    Second, it's having love and patience with each other. It's Romans 12 lived for real.

    Third, it's working together in the vineyard of the Lord — to seek and save the lost, to help the poor and downtrodden, to show the world that believers are united in action. It's Matt 5:14-16 lived for real.

    The 20th Century Churches of Christ have proven beyond all doubt that it's possible to have extremely uniform worship practices and yet divide and divide again over fellowship halls, kitchens in the building, etc., etc. The unity we desperately need won't come from all singing a cappella. That's not the path.

  37. Jay Guin says:


    I've enjoyed today's comments immensely. Thanks for everyone's participation.

    As we say around here in West Alabama, we're finally shucking the corn, that is, we're peeling off the outside layers and getting to what really matters.

  38. Randall says:

    There have been times when I referred to an old adage that "the value of the ink used to write all the articles about IM exceeded the value of the issue itself." I still think that is generally true, but ….

    I am 60 years old and no longer attend a CofC, not b/c of the IM issue but b/c of multiple issues. I doubted I would ever see the day that someone had something to say about IM that was worth the time it took to read it.

    It seems I was wrong! Some of the responses to Bruce M. have been more than worth the time it took to read them. Thanks especially to T Dr and also a couple of others! Well said guys.

    Maybe the day will come when the CofC begins to focus less on minor issues and more on the major issues.

  39. Tom Forrester says:

    Wow – some great points brethren, but that's enough to consider for one night. So I'm going to get my guitar, sing a song to God and hit the sack. God bless all of you.

  40. Theophilus Dr says:

    Thank you, brothers. Your words are encouraging to me. We must keep lifting Jesus as Lord.

    Tom, strum a note for me. All I have is a pitch pipe.


  41. Bruce Morton says:

    You could not be more mistaken in your post; you are letting your "that's not the path" view miss crucial teaching by Paul. Song is NOT all there is to unity. I agree. But Paul is revealing how song together represents an experience that helps bind us together — like the other "one-another" statements in Ephesians. You mention Guthrie's article (finally), but did you not catch his focus on the importance of singing as a unifying action. Just song, Jay. I did not say it; Paul did. How about letting him speak, as the conduit of the Spirit.

    Randall's voice and others is teaching me that my posts often sound like "the Restoration Movement's old, worn-out message." I hear that from others as I teach. Some/many seem more ready to jump to "but…" as they study Ephesians 4:17-5:21. Others are telling me it is the first time they have seen the "music matter" in the light of a spiritual battle, in light of the context around it. I see it time and again; a pattern is forming; two dramatic responses. I am coming to believe it is one of the hardest passages of Scripture to read for some/many who have been part of the Restoration Movement.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  42. Bruce Morton says:

    I will be brief in response to your question, since I probably sound like a broken record to some/many.

    The question we should be asking is what is behind the parallelisms associated with Ephesians 5:18-21? And Paul's generalities. The answer we need to get a hold of is that the spiritual siege in Ephesus is related to the Asian cults. I am not convinced that is a remarkable, earth-shattering conclusion — anymore than seeing the ancient cults pressing against Christian faith in Corinth or Rome. I gather you have reached that conclusion as well. That's great.

    And the most powerful? Without question the Dionysus cult (read
    Bowden's recently released Mystery Cults of the Ancient World if a question). And we misunderstand both its power and how it "fit together." Its symbolism, ritual, music were all woven together — fueled by the powerful guild of the "Technitai of Dionysus" (professional "concert makers"). I am doing further research beyond a publication and that includes some (original) inscription translations associated with the Technitai. Interesting. But not ready to share any of that for awhile. I will let published study stand (or fall) in folks minds by itself at this point.

    If we think we could "extract" instrumental music in the first century from everything else, change "Dionysus" to "Jesus" and all is well, we are blind to the first century forward. There was no way — and the early churches knew it, as did Paul. The Dionysus cult, together with Jewish mysticism, probably fueled the powerful Gnostic movement of the second and third centuries — that may have eventually outnumbered the non-Gnostics. Was the Dionysus cult powerful as it "shaped" churches? Absolutely.

    And is instrumental music part of Paul's general warning? Despite all the opinions that press against the stance I have taken, yes it was. We misread the generalities (that also do not talk about the phallic symbolism; note: the phallic symbolism that also wove itself through Dionysiac ritual was NOT considered "shameful" to most Asians; they thought of it as naturally expressive, etc.). The cult was also why Clement of Alexandria wrote his similar warnings a hundred years later.

    I think I have said enough. Now, let the poking on my ramblings begin :-).

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  43. Jay Guin says:


    Your answer, I take it, is "yes." Right?

  44. Price says:


    Question…How do you reconcile the use of the term psalmos in Ephesians to eliminate IM ?? There has been a tremendous amount of scholarship reported and discussed lately that reports even Ferguson admitting that psalmos most likely included instruments… For your argument to work you have to distort that definition.. That's where you argument immediatley begins to break down..Paul didn't just say speak to one another…he gave a few examples of how..that included the possible use of IM.. He did NOT say anywhere..DO NOT USE INSTRUMENTS UNLESS YOU WANT TO GO TO HELL… that seems to have been added later from the CoC pulpit.

    Secondly, would God through His Holy Spirit encourage unity within the church by excluding instruments just to bring them back into the worship assemlby in heaven? That just doesn't make much sense to me.. You paint a picture of a God that can't make up His mind about salvation.. He commands musical instruments in worship in the Old Covenant, forbids their use in the New Covenant and then gives them to the Elders (can't take anything with you) so they can worship His Son with them in Heaven…What ?? !!

    I am convinced that you are as sincere as anyone could be expected to be…I believe that you love the Lord with all your heart and that you want to please him and see the body of Christ grow…I really don't doubt that anyone that really knows you thinks differently than that….BUT…the argument you make doesn't seem to be accepted by people and it's not that we're all "progressive" or blinded by Satan…The argument just doesn't convince me… It's not, as others have much more eloquently pointed out, consistent with the flow of scripture and it's teaching….IMHO.

  45. Alabama John says:

    How I wish I could get more of my family that have left the church of Christ to read what has been written here.

    Thank you all!

  46. Theophilus Dr says:

    Thank you, everyone, for your posts. I think that discussions like this are very important. The following reflects my opinion.

    (1) I believe that it is important to let members of the CoC know that it is way past time to rethink our traditional doctrine, but not to react to it and dump on it. That is the natural human tendency – jump to the opposite. The CENI hermeneutic was misdirected and (IMHO) infiltrated by the enemy. But it was done with an genuine attitude of finding the revealed truth. Many of the teachings from that hermeneutic were devastatingly focused on legalisms more than Christ, but at least some, if not many, of the interpretations, themselves, were insightful and more accurate than not. The interpretations were too often bent into a doctrine rather than the doctrine being formed from the scripture revealed by the Holy Spirit.. The members of the CoC must all get the message — "We must rethink any interpretation that produces division in the body of Christ" — and it is the universal body — the body of CHRIST and not the body of US.

    (2) I believe that it is important to proclaim to other members of the body of Christ (the "real" body, the universal body, the body defined by God and not by CoC) that the members of the CoC are in the process of recognizing that their historical doctrine has been too legalistic in nature and the division and hurt this has caused in the body of Christ has been sin, that we confess this sin, that by the grace of God we are forgiven so that we can be free to search the scripture in a new and fresh way empowered by the Holy Spirit who was, at one time in our history, doctrinally defined as having ceased.

    (3) I invite you to join with me(can I say, "us"?) in this search and rejoice with us in a new found freedom in Christ, which allows us, finally unencumbered ("Free at last, free at last; thank God almighty, I am free at last!"), so that we can combine our gifts and strengths for the glory of God and for our Lord Jesus Christ. Let us all "set aside those things that have so easily beset us" so we can work together for the glory of God and for building up the church into the full knowledge of Jesus Christ.

    (4) I ask every group of Christians, who gather together under an umbrella of a particular doctrinal approach to Jesus, to join with us in reexamining their doctrine for beliefs and interpretations that result in a division in the universal body of Christ. Having some interpretations that are functionally held higher than the name of Jesus is not unique to the CoC. Virtually every Christian group has some of the separating doctrines, and if they think they don't, they had better get their spiritual mirror cleaned. I plead with every Christian group to find and repent of any doctrine that has been used to divide the body, so that we can help one another to place all doctrine and all interpretations in submission to the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

    (5) We are one because Jesus is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

    …no one can say, “Jesus is Lord,” except by the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor. 12:3)

    ….I will know that you stand firm in one spirit, contending as one man for the faith of the gospel (Phil. 1:27)

    Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Phil 2:9-11)

    Now, let's discuss our different interpretations while we all bow at the name of Jesus.

  47. Todd says:

    But Bruce the entire point is we cannot make a law and bind it on others from inference. Paul told us to sing as a way of reinforcing unity- we are commanded to sing as a way to reinforce unity. Paul said nothing about IM one way or the other. There is no law pertaining to it. We may want one. We may think we see grounds for one. But without the express words – the same kind of direct words that forbid idolatry, adultery, laziness, deception, hatred, and arguing over meaningless words – we cannot establish a law and bind it on others.

    I know you are convinced that you know what Paul is saying to the Church at Ephesus and I truly understand the great "a ha" feeling of the pieces coming together in a study, but since Paul didn't clearly state what you say he meant, you can never be 100% sure that he actually meant it. Therefore no matter how strongly you feel the truth of your position you can't bind it on others.

    Making comparisons between the extreme use of phallic symbols in the popular cults of the day and their use of IM is not necessarily comparing apples to apples. For the early Church the use of phallics would have been clearly forbidden as idolatry in and of itself. The use of the phallus as an idol was nothing new – they were the symbol of Asherah as well. A 1st century student of the Scriptures would clearly see phallics condemned and IM approved in the Law of God that was read to Him on a regular basis. Paul would not need to outright condemn phallics for them to be condemned. God had already done so in the strongest terms and reinforced His commands with the example of what had happened to idolatrous Israel. Paul would however need to clearly state both that the second (IM) was condemned and then – as with other things he bound or loosed – give a reason for that condemnation. You say he provides the reason to the Ephesians and we can and should imply the condemnation. As I said in an earlier post, this is simply the same old acappella viewpoint written on a larger canvas. "The apostles did not have to be clear on their position on IM because their meaning should be clear to all of us." (Frankly a somewhat arrogant doctrinal stance.) This attitude has of course been expanded to cover a multitude of other issues and is not the sole province and possession of our own portion of Christendom.

    Again, your conclusion, though certainly possible, is not the only viable option. So long as viable alternatives exist in the mainstream we must allow liberty and in allowing liberty we will actually allow true unity.

    As to other groups use of and enjoyment of Acappella, I have no doubt of it. (43 of my 45 years were spent in exclusively acappella fellowships and I enjoyed most of it very much.) When God brings people together for His purposes and they act together to fulfill those purposes joy is the outcome. I do not post my contrary viewpoints to denigrate acappella but to point out that the supposed evils of IM are not issues with IM itself but with the heart of the worshipper. I have seen pride at work in singers, pray-ers, presiders, elders, preachers, teachers and little old ladies on the back row. I have seen deep humility in all of the above as well.

    In the end it will always be the heart that proves true or false. The fruit will prove what lies within.

  48. guy says:

    Dr. Theo,

    (1) While i agree with the generality, aren't there some doctrines that we must adhere to even if they cause division? What about something like Gnosticism in the first century? i take it John expected his hearers to separate themselves from those who claimed to be Christians but had rogue Christologies.

    (2) Even if a person agrees that historically the IM issue has been dealt with in legalistic ways and formulated according to sketchy hermeneutical principles, does that mean she must also believe that IM is okay? In other words, is there no non-legalistic grounds on which to still argue that AC is the better way?


  49. Todd says:

    If the hermeneutic doesn't work out and we aren't concerned with legalism why would we want to argue the point at all?

  50. guy says:

    (A) Perhaps a person thinks there are other hermeneutical principles out of which that conclusion arises.

    (B) Just because no one is going to be damned over it is not a sufficient reason not to try to do our best in the matter.

  51. Bruce Morton says:

    Yes, that is what I wrote. People are missing how IM was woven into the Asian cults and how it shaped the Gentile world. It is not that IM is inherently evil. But Aristophanes and Clement of Alexandria — centuries apart — announce the same message (that you and others seem to want to ignore). The Dionysus Cult used IM to the point of inventing new sounds to thrill audiences. It was part of the "hype engine" of the cult.

    Please, by all means, forget my ramblings. Open Aristophanes' The Frogs for yourself. Notice what multiple ancient critics wrote. It will take courage for many Americans to face the background. Experience is teaching me that we do NOT want to. Perhaps it reminds us too much of where/how we live. Satan is close (oops, I mentioned that spiritual siege issue again, just like Paul did in Ephesians 2 and 6.).

    I am not convinced that Dr. Ferguson is correct at that point — though I love and respect him (and he read the recent work I authored and recommended it for publication as original research, especially regarding the Asian cults. And he has recommended it for reviews.). Paul's focus is on song. I have heard few disagree with such — and they should not. The apostle talks about speech. And that is emphasized by his use of two Psalms and how he quotes from them. "Psalms" is not automatically "with instruments." It can also refer to a portion of Hebrew Scripture, as it does in Jesus' reference to it, as recorded in the Gospel According to Luke (Lk. 24:44).

    As for the subject of my sincerity (or lack of it), your words are kind, but I am well aware that is unimportant to this conversation. Right?

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  52. Todd says:

    But your herneneutic assumes that there is a "best in the matter." How can there be a best in a matter about which God has said nothing? We are seeking a limit where this is no limit so we can be pleasing to God because we observed limits. Doesn't Paul address the faulty logic of this approach in Col. 2:20-23?

  53. Todd says:

    Bruce, I am not denying that IM was a big part of pagan worship (and remains so.) I am saying that such is irrelevant to the way we consider its use in the Church. Common meals were also a big part of pagan worship. Prayers, singing, teaching, discipleship, and memorials were also a part of that worship. Do we discard these things as well? Or do we accept them solely because the Scriptures expressly frame them for our use?

    IM was a large part of the temple worship. The entire sacrificial system was intended to lead to common meals among the worshippers. These practices both informed the early Church's expectations and at the same time were irrelevant to those expectations.

    Common use does not necessitate common understanding or purpose. What blesses one may not bless another. What one finds offensive and counterproductive may be the very thing that builds faith in someone else.

    The Church was, is and always will be something new. We are Christ's vanguard breaking into every society and culture and place and time. The example of the apostles is a broad based approach that clearly identifies what is to be left alone while ignoring or even adopting some things that are helpful to the spread of the Gospel.

  54. Bruce Morton says:

    Separately, I am not convinced that I "paint a picture of a God that can't make up His mind about salvation." I will suggest that you have misread some of what I have written (but on the IM subject, I am beginning to understand more and more about that phenomenon — so I understand your post).

    Let me highlight something I highlighted in the recent Harding Lectures I gave. We read of significant spiritual corruption among the Ephesian Christians. We also read the words "To the saints" (Eph. 1:1). That announces to me clearly that with all of their spiritual flaws — foul language, immorality, and still living "as the Gentiles do" (Eph. 4:17) — God's grace continued to see them as His children. No different for me. But the test comes when we hear/read the Word. Do we hear it and let our hearts be open to it or do we allow spiritual blindness? Do we listen closely to what it says? (I am not thinking about Jay's "Regulative Principle"; I am thinking about Jesus' statement in John 14:30-31).

    I felt the same about the people I recently worshipped with who worshipped with instrument-accompanied song. I will NOT join the final judgement business regarding those brothers and sisters. But I will teach what the apostles taught. And from what I could tell that Sunday morning, actions revealed that many desperately needed to hear Paul's counsel about "one-another."

    As to the Spirit guiding us through a dark world to heaven, absolutely I believe that is happening. And I can think of more than the matter of music where we desperately need His guidance.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  55. aBasnar says:

    I am not denying that IM was a big part of pagan worship (and remains so.) I am saying that such is irrelevant to the way we consider its use in the Church.

    This is self-contradictory, Todd.
    If IM is still a bog part of pagan worship, then this is of tremendous relevance since we are to be clearly separated from paganism.

    I am sure you are not aware of what you are saying. Let me help you a bit. Music is not only bog business, it is cult. Casting shows like "American Idol" reveal that we are at the heart of idolatry here. All this Pop-Stars, this walk of fame etc. … this is a scoral form of idolatry, and it it is strongly, if not inseparably tied to IM. Not IM in general, but to a certain kind of IM that is promoting sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and rebellion.

    Maybe we can agree that imitating this cult(ure) in worship is absolutely inappropriate. Absolutely. This means we cannot have an IM-worship style that reflects this contemporary Dionysiac cult – this is like writing a Christian text to a tune like "Let's spend a night together". The music (and the style of the music) carries a message of its own which is not compatible to the Gospel of Christ.

    One of the main reasons I became more and more strict in opposing IM (besides church history) is that the introduction of IM usually goes hand in hand with the introduction of CCM – and this is the culture of secular idolatry. We cannot, no we MUST not have this in the presence of or Holy Lord. If it were just for the introduction of a guitar or a piano in order to serve (not dominate) the singing of hymns (not "songs"), I would not engage in such debates. But there is a lot more at stake.

    Now, Todd, tell me: Is this topic really irrelevant for the church today, or have we (the church in general, not you personally) just become so worldly that we cannot discern left from right anymore?


  56. Theophilus Dr says:

    How one looks at this partly depends on the approach: Do I establish the principle and the consider the details in light of the principle, or do I look at the details and define the principle based on my interpretation of the details and my prioritization of my perceptions. Inductive reasoning is risky here.

    If we start with the principle, as revealed to us, that Jesus Christ is Lord, what does that mean? Having a principle doesn't imply that we will understand what all of it means, but it gives us a standard to compare any "fill in the gaps with something I can understand" doctrines that humans fabricate. Humans have trouble understanding how Jesus could be completely God and completely human at the same time. I don't understand it either. But the Gnostic solution was to make a doctrine adulterating Christ with Greek mythology that denied part of the revelation of Christ – that He came in an actual human form as we. One doesn't deny part of Jesus and also claim Him as Lord with any degree of credibility.

    Paul said there was only one gospel of Jesus Christ (Gal 1:6-9) and that he received it through revelation (Gal 1:12). The church was established in unity that was based on "the apostles' doctrine" Acts 2:42. What was the "gospel of Christ" or "the apostles' doctrine" of the church? Peter gives the answer in his sermons – Acts 2:22-24, 31-32, 36; 4;10-12; 10:38-43 as examples. Jesus came according to prophecy as both Lord and Savior, lived as a human but did miracles as God, was put to death by sinful men, was raised from the dead by the power of God, now has all authority, is seated at the right hand of God, no one is saved except through Him. The scripture is true concerning His birth, His life, death and resurrection and concerning His pouring out of the Holy Spirit. I say that Jesus is Lord, I live in a manner that confesses Jesus is Lord of my life, and the fruit of that confession speaks for itself because it testifies of Jesus.

    Unity is people moving toward the same goal – the likeness of Christ. One can't define away part of the likeness and move toward the same goal, because the goal has been changed by human intervention.

    The Nicene Creed isn't scripture, but it expresses pretty well the basics of belief in Jesus as revealed in scripture.

    Jesus is Lord is the principle. Then we can talk about details, but our perspective about the importance of the details and our perspective about one another has changed because we both agree on the same #1 priority. We can talk about AC or IM because we both know that we do so out of love for Christ and for one another so that we can both walk more closely with Jesus, and also more closely with one another.

    Once two people agree they have a common belief in Christ and a common submission to His Lordship and a common acceptance of His gospel, then they are on a common journey toward the same goal. Now they are free to talk about some of the details of their journey that might be a little different. And they don't have to argue, because no one is better than the other. Unity is not uniformity. We often related to others who are more 'uniform" with us but that doesn't mean we reject others who accept Christ as Lord and Savior as we do. I used to do that. When Jesus said "I am the door" that meant there was only one way into the room and that way was defined by my doctrine, because my doctrine was provable by scripture (read CENI) and theirs wasn't. God whacked me with a spiritual 2×4 and showed me that was most incorrect.

    "Well, that means you accept those living in blatant sin and adultery and rebellion and you accept John Travolta and you accept Oprah and Fidel Castro and …. on and on." From what I understand of these people and their "testimony," I would start off rather doubtful that we would be unified in Christ. But instead of basing my fellowship in the church on that, how about the millions of people who do testify of Christ in their lives? That's the real question.

    Unity is an action and it starts with an attitude. I used to think there was sort of a"threshold" of uniformity between two parties that had to be established before they could be in unity. Unity in Christ is the other way around.

    As Todd has repeatedly said "The fruit will prove what lies within." People will reveal that is in their heart. Is Jesus Lord of their life or not?

    An attitude of uniformity looks for reasons to disagree and distinguish and separate. Don't want any false positives in the people who I define as Christians. Let me check out your doctrine.

    An attitude of unity looks for reasons to give praise to God for our common believe in Jesus Christ and His salvation and His grace and His power for our lives. Let's testify and encourage one another because of God's goodness and what Jesus has done in our lives. We may not even have time to get to things we disagree about.

    Let's say that an unbeliever is watching and listening to the above two interactions. Which one do you think he would be more impressed with in considering the value of Jesus in his life?

    John 17:21 …that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have
    sent me.

  57. Bruce Morton says:

    I appreciate your thinking with me and your seeing some of the background. I think I will say simply at this point that Paul was giving counsel in a region where sensuality probably reigned supreme. And much of the "credit" for the sensuality goes to one of the most powerful religions in all of human history.

    I am not convinced we are so different — including a younger generation drenched with media. And I believe (now including by experience) that we are blind to believe our understanding of the Word is growing and unity growing when people spend much of their corporate worship time listening to the band and praise team. Makes me think of Kinnaman's good arguments of how we listen… listen… listen. And that is all we do. Paul urges otherwise.

    I give thanks for your faith and your searching the Scriptures with me. Encourages.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  58. Theophilus Dr says:

    May I repeat a few comments I made previously on other threads? (Hope the answer is "yes" since I am doing it.)

    People who have the humility of Jesus don't have a problem with unity.

    Unity in Christ is the answer.
    Now, what was the question?

  59. Theophilus Dr says:

    Bruce, I feel your pain, brother, on trying to communicate something and people seem to respond to details and miss the bigger point. And in the process, the discussion gets drawn into answering the details rather than explaining the main point. I see that in the tread of posts, and in a way I did that as well in some of my posts, and I'm sorry for that. As you have continued to explain the setting for Eph 5, I have understood better the big picture you are addressing, and I have to say that I share a lot of your concern. People, including me, responded as if your posts were a theological construct to combat IM and that is not the case; it is a much, much bigger issue that you are addressing, of which the IM issue is a smaller part.

    As you have said the bigger concern remains whether we go IM or AC. It could happen either way – maybe faster with IM, maybe not. It is still something to be aware of. It is a trend that could carry problems with it. And if we miss the point because of defensiveness, the enemy will love it.

    Some posts, including maybe mine, seemed to be rather defensive for IM because it used to be condemned by our CENI hermeneutic, and that was used as sort of a "straw man" to react to. I understand better now that this a reaction was not your intent and not helpful to communication.

    But I am thankful to have had an opportunity to "get on the soapbox" about unity and about legalistic attitudes in our history that have to change. While I am glad to have those problems address, I am sorry that at least some of it may have come at your expense.

    But, isn't this a good example of Christian unity? We seemingly disagree on some issues, but we continue to talk and interact about it because we all have a higher goal of being one in Christ. And the more we talk, the more common ground we discover. How neat is that ??

    Now let's go love on some Baptists, Community, Assembly, Presbyterian, etc. etc.

  60. guy says:

    That's beside the point of the question. i never claimed everyone would agree with the hermeneutic or its conclusions. The only thing i stipulated was that the traditional hermeneutic was sketchy. My original question was just this: Are *all* cases of rejecting the use of IM in worship necessarily legalistic?

  61. guy says:

    But upon reflection, i'm a little surprised at your response. Do you deny that we can take virtues and principles like edification, love, humility, etc. about which the Bible does speak and apply those principles to matters about which the Bible does not explicitly address and come to some idea of what would be most in accord with those principles (or at least more in accord than alternatives)?

  62. Alabama John says:

    I know most are already loving on them and have been for practically all their lives.

    Attend their funerals for an eye opener.

    When most by far hear all are going to hell but us, they sit quietly but don't believe that at all. They leave final judgement to God, not the preacher.
    What and how we do in everyday life speaks far more than what we say on Sunday.

  63. Alabama John says:



  64. Todd says:

    Of course not. We will always use these virtues and principles to determine how we are to live out the Gospel. The point I am making is there is a difference between how I determine I must live out a Godly principle in my life and whether I have the right – according to those same principles – to bind my conclusions on another. Additionally I do have to accept that certain limits I place on myself even under those virtues and principles don't actually achieve what I desire. And as another brother has implied, if I reach a conclusion that moves me away from my brothers instead of towards them I must have reached the wrong conclusion.

  65. Bruce,

    I for one am incredibly thankful for all your research and study in Deceiving Winds, and all the historical and textual background you provide to understand what was going in ancient Ephesus and how it so much parallels what is happening in our postmodern culture and especially in regard to the music question.

    Hang in there brother. Don’t be discouraged. I’m glad we had the opportunity recently to visit on the phone and enjoy like-minded fellowship. Thanks again for the PowerPoint slides you shared with me from your lessons presented at the Harding 2010 lectureships.

    I would encourage anyone interested in hearing Bruce’s presentations to go to: to order the CD’s.

    Of course we both share similar concerns about the direction progressives want to take churches of Christ.

    I believe the flood gates are now open in many congregations for every conceivable innovation and aberrant doctrine. Take for instance Jay’s recent article dealing with whether or not the Lord’s Supper can be taken on another day beside Sunday. Only myself and Alexander the brother from Germany would contend for Sunday only.

    BTW, Alexander, great comments in response to Todd on IM.

    But this of course has already been happening in the larger “Christian community”, and in time will happen in some of our progressive congregations. For me what is sad is some of this utter rebellion to God is cloaked in a façade of spirituality.

    Now, of course, most of us agree that that fine-tuning of our hermeneutic and approach to scripture is necessary and good, but where some of the progressives want to take us will be into apostasy.

    It was Thomas Campbell who said in "The Declaration and Address" (1809),

    "Nothing ought to be inculcated upon Christians as articles of faith; nor required of them as terms of communion, but what is expressly taught and enjoined upon them in the word of God. Nor ought anything to be admitted, as of Divine obligation, in their church constitution and managements, but what is expressly enjoined by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles upon the New Testament church; either in express terms or by approved precedent."

    My dear progressive friends do you or do not accept this as heirs of the Restoration movement? Are we to be guided by what the Bible says or by what the Bible does NOT say?

    The New Testament is the new covenant of Christ under which we live today, not the Old Testament. There were instruments of music used in Old Testament worship. Why was it okay to use them? Because there was word from God approving such under the Law of Moses (read the Psalms). Why is it wrong to use them today? Because there is no word from God approving such under the law of Christ under which we live today.

    Faith only comes by hearing the word of God (Rom. 10:17). Where there is no word from God there can be no faith. Yes, people believe it is okay to use instruments of music in Christian worship but their belief is not based on the word of God. Faith based on the word of God demands word from God. There is no word from God in the New Testament regarding men worshipping him with instruments of music.

    Those who say the instrument does not matter know more than any man can possibly know. No man can know a thing with certainty about which God has said nothing

    I'll post more here in a minute.


  66. Todd says:

    No, not really Alex. My statement is quite consistent with my practical theology. If I am living for Jesus and am focused on Him what the world does or thinks is quite irrelevant to how I serve Him. His word is what matters, not their behavior or attitudes. So long as He does not forbid something, I will leave the door open and trust Him for the outcome.

    The world's use of IM does not keep me from stealing it back and using it for Jesus. I can do this without compromising myself or my principles or violating His law. I can be sober and self controlled and enjoy the music.I can listen and indeed worship without submitting to sensuality. And at the same time I can continue to teach about abstaining from the destructive influences of the world in our dress and behavior.

    You see this as inconsistent. I do not. My experience proves – admittedly to me – that is is not. The Scriptures that inveigh against pointless asceticism seem to support where I am going. There must be some balance between "comeout from among them" and the things "that perish with using".

  67. Let's talk some about unity and restoration history.

    Years ago, Ruel Lemmons in addressing the false unity being promoted by Carl Ketcherside and which now many progressives have openly embraced said:

    “In all our approaches to unity we must be wary of trying to work out compromises between men lest we wind up with a compromise of truth. Our fractions exist because groups substitute their opinions for truth and insist upon their being accepted as truth. There is plenty of room for re-examination of any ground we occupy—but only in the light of Scripture. “What does the Bible say?” must be our criterion and each must be true his faith and practice. Unity is wonderful, and much to be desired, but unity bought at the price of surrender of truth is not worth the price. There is too much of the wrong kind of unity.” (Reuel Lemmons, “Merger Verses Unity,” Firm Foundation, 1969)

    The late great Bible scholar from Oklahoma Christian University, Hugo McCord wrote years ago,

    “Personally, I resent criticisms of our forefathers in the faith with reference to the division. To imply that the division with the Christian Church occurred just because people in the two groups did not understand or love each other is an insult to both groups. They perfectly well understood each other, but could not walk together because they were not agreed (Amos 3:3). Sound brethren and digressives understood each other as well as they understood people in the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian denominations. Our faithful forefathers simply were as unwilling to compromise what the Bible said about worship for the sake of unity with the Christian Church as they were unwilling to compromise what the Bible said about how to be saved in order to have unity with the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians. They loved the truth more than they loved unity with brethren. Hence, the division was inevitable. One side would not give up the truth, end the other side would not give up the instrument.” (“Does Instrumental Music Matter?”)

    Brother McCord went on to provide the touching example of this case between the powerful scholar J. W. McGarvey and the Broadway Christian Church in Lexington, Kentucky.

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

    Brother McCord then observed:

    “The leaders loved the sound of a machine more than the fellowship of other Christians. In a glass case now in the library of Midway College is a melodeon "in a place of honor," in remembrance of what was actually a violation of the law of love. He who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen. We have this commandment from him, that he who loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:20-21).

    How about Alexander Campbell? He noted:

    “To those who have no real devotion or spirituality in them, and whose animal nature flags under the oppression of church service, I think that instrumental music would be not only a desideratum, but an essential prerequisite to fire up their souls to even animal devotion. But I presume to all spiritually-minded Christians, such aids would be as a cow bell in a concert…” (Millennial Harbinger, Series IV, Vol. 1, page 581).

    Like J.W. McGarvey opposed instruments, so did Moses Lard.

    Lard wrote

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

    In regard to this position that instrumental music is just “a matter of preference,” it was the great restoration preacher Ben Franklin who responded by saying:

    “If you prefer to worship without an organ, it is none of my business; and if I wish to use an organ, it is none of your business.” Franklin replied “But suppose we both meet in the same congregation, how can this rule be carried out? Can you worship with it and we without it? No sir; if you worship with it, we must worship with it!”

    How about outside the Restoration Movement?

    Many are familiar with John Price, the minister of Grace Baptist Church (Reformed but very much in the C.H. Spurgeon and his Metropolitan Tabernacle congregation's tradition of not using IM) Price is a minister in Rochester, NY and in his excellent book, “Old Light on New Worship” – Musical Instruments and the Worship of God, a Theological, Historical and Psychological Study.”

    He discusses this argument progressives in churches of Christ are advocating that the issue of instrumental music is just a matter of “preference" in light of the Old Testament evidence.

    Price launches into the theological section of the book, where he goes through every use / institution of musical instruments in the Bible (well, the OT seeing there aren’t any mentioned in NT worship!) and clearly shows that ‘there is no record in Scripture of a musical instrument ever being used in public worship without an explicit divine command’.

    He observes:

    “God has always regulated His worship even in regard to musical instruments in both the Tabernacle and the Temple. The use of musical instruments in worship has never been a matter of liberty for men to do as they please. The Lord has clearly placed instruments under His own authority in worship. God has regulated even the specific instruments to be used…..” (p. 25)

    Price further writes:

    “We have established an important biblical principle at this point in our study. The men of the Bible have always viewed musical instruments in public worship as under God’s authority. Their use has never been seen as a matter of liberty so that men may do as they please. It is important for us to note that nothing throughout the remainder of the Bible will change this perspective. Musical instruments in worship have always been viewed by the people of God as under divine authority. Those who assume that instruments in worship are a matter of liberty have adopted a view that is contrary to the men of the Bible and finds no support in the Word of God.” (p. 28-29)

    He further makes a very powerful observation and point:

    “There are many who claim that God no longer holds musical instruments under His authority in the New Testament. They say that He may have established His authority over them in the Old Testament but He has relinquished His authority in the New Testament. Those who make this claim must prove their case, not from humaning reasoning and evasion of the truth, but by the Word of God alone. They must go to their Bibles, as the final authority in all faith and practice, and show, by clear and convincing evidence, that God has actually relinquished His authority over musical instruments. The burden of proof rests upon them to show that it is so. Apart from such evidence, we must leave musical instruments where God has placed them, under His authority, to be used by His command only.”

    Some concluding thoughts.

    Years ago J.W. McGarvey I believe correctly noted about the push for instrumental music, “By the cry of progress and conformity, it is making its way over the heads and hearts of many of our best brethren and sisters” (Millennial Harbinger, April 1868, page 216).

    I don’t think this desire has changed much. I think many are being influenced more deeply than they realize by the surrounding evangelical culture (wordly and godless in many ways).

    I think many also feel like this is the only way we can retain our young people. Thus we’ve seen how the denominations have “praise bands”, and progressives have introduced “praise teams,” clearly over time the progression will lead to the former.

    Again I thank God for the work and research of men like Bruce Morton who are trying to get those who would introduce musical innovations with little reflection or discernment, apparently oblivious to the risks they are running towards with this “coarsening of worship” and the “trivializing of spiritual experience.”

    Bottom line: Not much has really changed. The same justifications for instrumental music are offered today as were in the late 1800’s. Those justifications work no better today than they did back then.

    Each and everyone of us needs to ask “What does God’s Word say about music in the worship of Almighty God?” When that question is asked, and sincerely answered, Ephesians 5:19 will continue to guide our efforts to worship the Lord: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord.”

    May the Lord bless us to simply do only what His Word has authorized: make music with our hearts to the Lord!

    Robert Prater

  68. Todd says:

    "Each and everyone of us needs to ask 'What does God’s Word say about music in the worship of Almighty God?' When that question is asked, and sincerely answered, Ephesians 5:19 will continue to guide our efforts to worship the Lord: 'speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your heart to the Lord.'"

    Exactly Robert, He says nothing about the use or non-use of the instrument at all.

  69. Theophilus Dr says:

    Alabama John wrote, "What and how we do in everyday life speaks far more than what we say on Sunday"

    Double amen, brother. If we don't speak love in everyday life, we've got nothing credible to say on Sunday.

  70. Randall says:

    Hi Robert,
    It is good to see that you read Thomas Campbell's Declaration and Address. It is not clear you understood the proposition that was quoted. Below I have cut and pasted a paraphrase of several of the 13 propositions in hopes that the paraphrase will make the original more easily understood. These are only paraphrases but they will do for the moment. Please note that one who says another can't use instrumental music when that command is absent from the text of scripture is the one binding his opinion on another. If one favors IM and insists/binds that practice on another that he is the person binding his opinion and practice on another.

    These are taken from the following web site and I omitted some in the interest of space:

    3. Therefore, nothing should be required to recognize, fellowship, embrace, work, worship and be in full visible unity with all Christians that is not specifically made a requirement by God through his word. Nothing should be required in the way local bodies of Christians operate that is not specifically required by Christ and his Apostles for the church. Furthermore, the chief requirements for full fellowship that God has decreed are our love for God and for people. This love is formed by our understanding of God’s love for us shown through Christ.

    5. The Bible does not spell out in detail everything Christians are supposed to think, do or be—that is just not the nature of scripture. When there are specific actions Christians are told to take, there is almost never a set of detailed requirements for how to do it. Humans often want more detail and try to expand on the specifics, often making them requirements for accepting other Christians or groups of Christians. That is wrong. Again, Christians are those who say they are Christians and who show that they are by the way they live. No one should be allowed to require anything for recognition and fellowship that is outside of scripture and its work of transformation.

    6. God gave us our ability to think and reason—that is a good thing. If, however, in the process of using our reason we come to conclusions that other Christians do not reach, and that causes us to reject them, we have been deceived by the evil one. Our pride has taken over and stopped our continued growth into the mind of Christ—a mind of complete humility and self-sacrifice. Human reason is not the ultimate standard for truth. Christians ought to be growing constantly in their understandings of the profound truths of the gospel—that’s part of our spiritual growth as communities. But requiring or even expecting others to be where you are is not conducive of the visible unity Christ so much wants.

    7. Again, it is a good thing to use the intellectual abilities God has given us to plumb the depths of the marvelous truths of God. It is a good thing to think, and struggle and write about these matters. Individual Christians and Christian communities can and should draw great benefit in their spiritual growth from such efforts. Statements of belief can be very helpful in drawing our minds to the unspeakable riches and blessings we have been given and of which we can and should tell others. However, we must realize that such statements are the product of our human reasoning which, like everything else human, is not perfect. Even when we reach a mature level of doctrinal understanding, we need to remind ourselves constantly that there will always be Christians at all maturity levels—but they are still all Christians!

    8. Once again, having an understanding of every Christian truth is not a requirement to be a Christian, a part of Christ’s church. No one who is trying to follow Christ ought to be forced to confess any belief beyond what they understand and know. All a person needs to know to be part of Christ’s church is that they are lost and that salvation is through Christ. When they confess that they believe in Christ and that they want to obey him fully according to his word—nothing else can be required.

    9. Everyone who can make the confession of belief in Christ and commitment to obey him, and who show the reality of their commitment by the way they live, should consider each other as the precious saints of God, should love each other as sisters and brothers, children of the same family and father, temples of the same spirit, members of the same body, subjects of the same grace, objects of the same divine love, bought with the same price, and joint heirs of the same inheritance. Whoever God has joined together this way, no one should dare divide.

    10. Division among Christians is a sickening evil, filled with many evils. It is anti-Christian because it destroys the visible unity of the body of Christ. It is as if Christ were cutting off parts of himself and throwing them away from the rest of his body! What a ludicrous picture! Division is anti-scriptural, since Christ himself specifically prohibited it, making it a direct violation of Christ’s will. It is anti-natural, because it makes Christians condemn, hate and oppose one another—people who are actually obligated in the strongest way to love each other as sisters and brothers, just like Christ loved them. In other words, division repudiates everything Christianity is supposed to stand for.

    Also, while McGarvey was not a proponent of the instrument (though he was a proponent of the missionary society) he refused to advocate separation from those that used IM. In fact, I believe he refused to write for the Gospel Advocate b/c he could not abide Lipscomb's exclusivism.


    Sometimes it is best to be careful who we quote or hold up

  71. Theophilus Dr says:


    To assist in communication, could you define exactly what you mean by the word "progressives?" I haven't found this word used by any of the historical Restoration figures you mentioned. Did I miss it? Does the word have a scriptural derivation? It seems to be used in your posts with a somewhat uncomplimentary connotation; is that a correct observation? It's hard to tell for sure.

    My dear progressive friends…
    ….the direction progressives want to take …
    …. now many progressives ….
    ….progressives have introduced ….

    You have previously referred to Jay as "my progressive brother."

    If "progressive" means "important and cutting edge" would you refer to Bruce's research as "progressive?"

    What is "unprogressive?" People who won't budge?

    I'm just trying to get a handle on the use of this word. Can you help here? Thanks.

  72. Bruce Morton says:

    Theophilus Dr.:
    I appreciate your post. Yes, you have summed well where I have been "coming from" as I discussed IM. Ephesians 4:17-5:21 encompasses far more than the matter of song. It gets at the heart of darkness in that world — and this world. And the Spirit is seeking to guide us out of that darkness. And part of that guidance includes speaking to one another in song.

    It is not a difficult teaching to grasp, but "what Paul did not say" (specifically) drives a great deal of our conversation — to the point that we stop listening to what he did say — and why.

    It was one of the greatest ironies that I have experienced to sit/stand in a church of Christ assembly with IM a recent morning. I experienced what I did not expect — even with IM. I sang in spite of the instruments and praised the Lord. What I did not expect was the isolation and aloneness I felt among so many people who just stood/sat and watched. Since that Sunday morning I have thought about how the (few) others who were singing that morning in the "IM-accompanied assembly" must have felt.

    But I want to be clear. A cappella assemblies are NOT immune to darkness just because they are a cappella. We are blind if we think that. I have sat in such — and seen the darkness there too. People not singing the Word and to the Lord. Just sitting/standing and looking around. People visiting with friends. That is darkness too. That is forgetting the love of "one-another" living and worship.

    I, for one, will line up with the Fiji islanders and their UNIVERSAL commitment to a cappella worship — adults, teens, children. They see what helps build congregational oneness.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  73. guy says:

    Well, first, i find this impractical as some applications will be corporate in nature rather than individual. And second, what if my brothers are wrong? Or does a majority determine the truth?

  74. Todd says:

    Guy, I am not sure we are communicating.

    Where Christ has clearly spoken we have right and wrong. Where Christ leaves us without instructions we have freedom. There is simply no right or wrong on those things. I will accept a good-better-best standard, but no law on a given issue means just that – no law. Now if I ignore what is plainly taught then you have a duty to show me my error and I have a duty to listen. If however there is nothing said on the matter we must trust that Christ is at work and look for the fruits we each produce. If the fruit is good we leave each other in peace. If not we seek a way to make necessary changes.

    I have said nothing about majorities in any situation. I believe that each individual must determine his own course subject to the Word and the Spirit. When we have corporate issues upon which we cannot agree we take it to our local eldership and they decide what is best – and we trust that decision as if it were from Christ. Then each eldership gives respect to the other elderships for the sake of Christ and we enjoy unity.

    We may not be able to "walk together" due to the depth of our differences (Paul and Barnabas come to mind) but we can both be pleasing to God in properly tuning our consciences to His will for us.

  75. Alabama John says:

    There is a very good lesson on Eph 5:18-21 by Al Maxey. Study the whole thought, not just 19 alone. Picking out verses is proof texting and you can prove most anything by that method. Donkeys can talk and I can prove it!

    One thought is McGarvey went against the qualified elders where he worshiped.

    You can act differently from tradition by going forward and be called progressive, but, you can also act differently from tradition by never changing or going backward and be called anti.
    Somewhere in between is usually the truth!

  76. Anonymous says:

    When Paul RODE into a town we know for certain that he did not ride on a motercycle because motercycles did not exist.

    The word PSALLO means pluck and we do not know what is to be plucked unless it is named. It never means "to play a harp." Even if it did the plucking is with the FINGERS and never with a PLECTRUM. You couldn't possible stretch that to hint at a drum or flute or even a guitar pick. That is because PSALLO speaks primarily of making a bow string twang to send forth a "singing" arrow into a literal heart.

    1. When the Father "breathed" on Jesus the Son, He spoke WITHOUT METER. That is the most common meaning of the word.
    2. There is no meter in any of the Bible: they could not and did not sing c.2011 because "melody as tunefulness belongs to the 19th century" say many resources.
    3. Harmoy did not exist until rich patrons imposed simple organs in the Cathedrals (located at Fair towns).
    4. The Catholics never "sang congregationally with organ accompaniment." Singing was by a clergy singer: McClintock says was "the first major heresy pervading the church."
    5. The first protestants did not SING: they could not because God gave them no tuneful songs: sing was the normal inflections of the human voice: speak was cantillation still preserved by Jews and Muslims.
    6. John Calvin permitted a radical rewriting of some psalms (only) set to a simple meter to be sung in unison (only). Harmony came later.

    * Christians are baptized Disciples.
    * Disciples are students.
    * Students attend Bible class–not a worship service meaning 'hard bondage, selling the free Word."
    * The Textbook clearly defined is "teaching what I COMMANDED TO BE TAUGHT." Paul in 2 Peter 1 defines the recorded "memory" without further expounding. That is the only AFFIRMATIVE teaching resource. God is never silent.
    * Christ condemned the instrument in all of the Prophets because the result in Amos and Isaiah was that the elite used wine, women and instruments on ungodly tithes and offerings and the DISCIPLES hungered and thirsted for the Word of God. Christ in Amos warned that the songs IN THE TEMPLE would become howlings (CCM?) and God said "I will NOT pass by here again.

    (Kenneth Latourette, A History of Christianity, p. 760).

    "In Gnostic circles religious poetry arose to compete with the Old Testament Psalms. Some Catholics therefore distrusted the composition of hymns after this pattern, on the ground that they might smack of heresy. Yet from at least the second century hymns were written by the orthodox which, like their Gnostic counterparts, employed the forms of Greek poetry…

    Until near the end of the fourth century, in the services of the Catholic Church
    only the Old Testament Psalms and
    the hymns or canticles from the New Testament were sung:
    the other hymns were for personal family, or private use.
    Gradually there were prepared versical paraphrases of the Psalms, hymns
    with lines of equal length, and hymns which were acrostic." (Latourette, Christianity. p. 207).

    Still no melody (a series of single notes) and no harmony: the Greek Sumphonia (music) means sounding together: the unison speaking of that which is written for our learning in Romans 15

  77. Randall says:

    Was there meter in Hebrew poetry. for example, the psalms as they were written in Hebrew? I am saying there was as I am simply not sure. Anyone know if that was the case or if the only aspect of Hebrew "poetry" was parallelism?

  78. guy says:


    This is good stuff, but gets complicated quickly i think.

    (1) You've used the phrases "plainly taught" and "clearly spoken." But surely you don't take it that all parties to the discussion will agree on which teachings do and don't fit into those categories.

    i took you to mean something like: things which get mentioned explicitly in the canon are candidates for the "plainly taught" category, and things without explicit mention are not.

    But i have doubts about that criteria. i think there are explicit mentions that we don't take as constraining (ex., holy kisses) and there are things we take as constraints but do not receive explicit mention (methamphetamine production, sale, or use). It seems to me that this criteria fails to capture what we take to be obviously correct interpretations about moral obligation. But maybe you mean this "plainly taught" and "clearly spoken" talk to be cached out differently than i've done here. (Or perhaps you do think holy kisses are obligatory, and methamphetamine use or sale is, in itself, morally permissible.)

    (2) If i genuinely believe that practice X is the most efficient way to please God and conform to principles He's given me over and against not-X (currently existing alternative), then when i encounter other disciples whose express aim is to please God and conform to His principles in the most efficient way, yet they practice not-X, doesn't my belief already imply that they are failing to please God and conform to His principles in the most efficient way? And if that's the case, why wouldn't i want to at least point out that there is a better way to achieve their desired end?


  79. Theophilus Dr says:

    Guy, if I can impose on your posting with Todd. You make an interesting point.

    Perhaps the best way to "point out to other disciples that there is a better way to achieve their desired outcome" is to use my own "practice X" approach in such a loving and effective way that the fruit of love and witness for Jesus is so obviously blessed by God and empowered by the Spirit — that they see this power at work come and ask me what I am doing because they want to be a part of it. I then share with them because the Spirit has already "pointed it out."

    If AC singing is what God wants, let us show the fruit of that by our praise to God and by our unity in Christ and by the power of the Spirit at work in us. If I cannot demonstrate the Spirit's power in what I do, what do I have to talk about?

    If IM singing is pleasing to God and better music, let us show the fruit of that by our praise to God and by our unity in Christ and by the power of the Spirit at work in us. If I cannot demonstrate the Spirit's power in what I do, what do I have to talk about?

    Instead of showing the power of the Spirit in our assembly, if we tie up our energy by arguing the worthiness of (either/ both / or neither) from our interpretation of scripture which we want to impose on everyone, are we not squandering the time that God has given us on this earth?

    Just a thought.

  80. guy says:

    Dr. Theo,

    Generally, i think that is a brilliant suggestion. And i think that was the general moral force of the first century church (and pacifism for that matter, if i can make a shameless hobby horse plug).

    But sometimes that's practically problematic. Some convictions are by nature corporate or social. That is, i can't exactly practice them all by myself. It would take a collective practice in order for it to be done in a loving and effective way such that other people see it that way. Thus, i might in a given situation have to start with convincing a couple other people first before it can even be put into practice.


  81. Todd says:

    And brother it will always be complicated. That is why we want to make all of the extra rules. The Pharisees led the way in this area making thousands of extra rules so they could be sure not to break the 600 or so that God actually gave. Great intention and yet Jesus condemned the practice because at its heart the extra rules show our inability to trust God and take Him at His word.

    Actually I do think Scripture is very clear on what matters. I admit this is not an understanding shared by all, but it is the basic frame work of my faith and practice.

    I was tickled by your choice of examples. I used to use the example of the holy kiss to try and get people to reconsider our judgmental attitudes:
    "Bro. X is doing something you feel is wrong but which isn't expressly condemned by the Scriptures. You are refusing to practice the holy kiss which is specifically enjoined by the Scriptures. You have many reasons for your disobedience which make perfect sense to you. He has many for his which make perfect sense to him. If we apply the same rules to all of us how can you condemn your brother and yet excuse yourself?"

    As for Methamphetamines- obey the government seems to handle that I think.

    Your question in (2) is well put, I think you should share your convictions, but unless you have a very clear "thou shalt" or "thou shalt not" you must trust your brother to his own conscience and to God's grace. If you can keep "walking together" do so. If you can't, trust God to be working within both of you in spite of your disagreement. God gave us unity as a grace. He did not give or promise 100% agreement on every issue. Our failure as a body to be the Body is when we try to make 100% agreement the criterion for unity. We are mere men, even when we are as full of the Word and the Spirit as we can possibly be we will still make mistakes and not see things eye to eye. I know this because it happened to our forebears in Christ – the apostles.

  82. Theophilus Dr says:

    I agree. The scenario I described is too ideal to be successful applied in every situation and one would have to have the discernment to know the proper balance between "show and/or tell."

    An example is the means of communication we are using on this site. It is about "tell" and little about "show" except through words.

    Many of the comments from individuals seem as though the individual is representing a corporate experience, probably often where they attend church. It could apply to their comments to the extent they are accurately representing the corporate behavior.

    And you are right that sometimes an entire corporate culture is what has to change, and that has to start small, maybe with a conversation.

    Hopefully, that is what we are doing here. I would like to think there is something positive being accomplished to show for spending all this time on the computer. 🙂

  83. Anonymous says:

    If you define the Qahal, synagogue or Church of Christ in the wilderness by direct commands of Christ, the synagogue was

    * INCLUSIVE of Rest, Reading and Rehearsing the Word of God.
    * EXCLUSIVE of vocal or instrumental rejoicing.
    * Neither the "ekklesia" nor "synagogue" both Greek assemblies had authority to compose the me. Neither permitted or had a rational for a "praise service."
    * Define ekklesia or synagogue and all of the discord ceases.

    Peter commanded the left "memory" of eye and ear witnesses as the sole authority: that included the prophets by Christ and the prophecies made more perfect by Jesus. If we obey Jesus and teach "what He commanded to be taught" there simply is no room for human assistance or charge. Paul defined "corrupting the Word" as "selling learning at retail." The only way the Scribes and Pharisees (hypocrites) could do that was to write their own long prayers or hymns.

    Disciples do not get any choice in the matter. In Isaiah 55 Christ PRE-designed the future REST from ceremonialism. He commanded us NOT to pay for the free water of the Word because:

    Incline your ear, and come unto me:
    ……hear, and your soul shall live;
    ……and I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
    ……even the sure mercies of David. Isa 55:3

    Is. 55:8 For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    ……neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.
    Is. 55:9 For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
    ……so are my ways higher than your ways,
    ……and my thoughts than your thoughts.

    The REST Christ PRE-patterned in Isaiah 58 outlawed seeking your own pleasure (the only role for music) or even speaking your own words: there is absolute direct commands for the assembly.

    Jesus who fulfilled or "further expounded" or made the prophecies more perfect said

    Matt. 11:28 Come unto me,
    ……all ye that labour
    ……and are heavy laden,
    ……and I will give you rest.

    A burden in both Hebrew and Greek was a form of singing which "created spiritual anxiety through religious ceremonialism."

    Phortos includes anything MADE by human hands such as the horns of a musical instrument, compose, write, poetry, dithurambo, komodian, tragodian (the goat song), represent in poetry, put ito verse, 3. of sacrifices, festivals, etc., celebrate,

    Heredotus 1: 23. Periander, who disclosed the oracle's answer to Thrasybulus, was the son of Cypselus, and sovereign of Corinth. The Corinthians say (and the Lesbians agree) that the most marvellous thing that happened to him in his life was the landing on Taenarus of Arion of Methymna, brought there by a dolphin. This Arion was a lyre-player second to none in that age; he was the first man whom we know to compose and name the dithyramb1 which he afterwards taught at Corinth.

    1 The dithyramb was a kind of dance-music particularly associated with the cult of Dionysus (The old wineskin god)

    Matt. 11:29 Take my yoke upon you,
    ……and learn of me;
    ……for I am meek and lowly in heart:
    ……and ye shall find rest unto your souls.
    ……[Ana pauo: stop speaking, singing, playing]
    Matt. 11:30 For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.

    Jesus provided the Elders (Pastor-Teachers) to "teach that which had been taught." No historic church ever misunderstood that: they simply had no respect for the word after Constantine began paying pagan Bishops whose temples the church robbed.

    We are commanded to set Jesus at the center of focus as the example; Jesus was not kind to the musical minstrels coming to His aid and He consigned the pipers, singers and dancers to the marketplace where all other traffic took place

  84. Anonymous says:

    Since none of the denominations which flowed into the Church of Christ (not part of the Disciples) used instruments, when instruments are IMPOSED they become a condition of fellowship. All of church scholarship used the word “Apostolic.” Those who IMPOSE something into a peaceable fellowship not REQUIRED to conduct “school of Christ” (the Campbells” this is the definitian of “sectarian.” The Bible, all of the church fathers and founders of denominations subscribed to what the Presblyterians label “regulative principle.”

    Paul had a pretty clear way to keep the unity of the faith and all “speak the same things” meaning “speak that which was written.”

    Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak,
    ……and not to please ourselves.
    ……(Areskos, Placeo=All performance arts and crafts which create mental excitement. The Laded Burden)

    Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.(Education for the ekklesia/synagogue)

    Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

    The Direct Command–always–for the Teaching, Admonishing and Comforting the Synagogue or Word-of-God-only School of the word.

    Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning
    ……that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.</b

    Romans 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation
    …..grant you to be
    likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

    Romans 15:6 That ye may with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH glorify God,

    This was understood always to mean the Inspired Text as the only resource. The word SPEAK is defined as the opposite of poetry or music, and this would exclude dozens of “mouths” created by complex harmony which is the ARESKOS which frazzles nerves. Ecstasy or “out of your mind” was the purpose driving and desired goal of all pagan worship.

    Stoma is the human mouth: a glossa or organ of speech. This is contrasted to the glossa or tongues of a wind instrument.

    …..(the only way to “praise” Him)
    …..even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

    Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision
    ……for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
    ……The Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 3) not the Davidic Monarchy)

    This is how Jesus Christ “sings unto the Father’s Name”

    Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy;
    ……as it is written,
    ……For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

    Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren,
    …..that ye also are full of goodness,
    ….filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

  85. Jay Guin says:


    Guthrie's article does speak of music as a part of our unity, but he said nothing of singing a cappella or even having uniform practices. Rather, he criticized Bonhoeffer's desire for singing in unity, noting,

    "Bonhoeffer is surely right to identify a connection between congregational
    singing and the unity of the church. However, his emphasis on unison singing
    represents a misunderstanding of the distinctive contribution of music to worship. It also points toward an inadequate view of Christian unity. Music
    provides a compelling sounding image of life together; but it is a shared life in which the distinctive voice of the individual is not negated by communion with the other. In music, we encounter identity which preserves particularity. As we sing together, different sounds—your voice, and mine—occupy the same time and the same space, without obstructing or negating one another."

    I think it's one of Mozart's operas where he has seven people singing seven different lyrics all at once — but in beautiful harmony. We do the same thing in many hymns, such as the "Love One Another" round.

    The unity, Guthrie argues, isn't in being all the same but in our ability to be simultaneously individuals and in community.

    Guthrie continues,

    "The unity of the Body of Christ is not a bland, undifferentiated uniformity,
    but a rich and manifold concord. Music is uniquely equipped to provide an
    aural image of this kind of community, in which union is not unanimity, nor
    multiplicity a cacophony. With every resonant sonority, music testifies to the
    possibility of this sort of life."


  86. guy says:


    You wrote:
    "As for Methamphetamines- obey the government seems to handle that I think."

    In the event that some government makes it legally permissible to sell and use Meth, does that thereby (for Christians living in that nation) make it morally permissible for Christians to use or sell them? That is why i added the phrase "in itself" to the previous post. If you take it that it would still be immoral such that it is obligatory on other Christians, then there's a case where we no longer need an explicit "thou shalt not" in order to have expectations of each other.

    i definitely don't believe 100% agreement is necessary or possible or practical, etc. And i agree the Bible places emphasis on some matters, is clear on matters even not necessarily emphasized, and is quite a bit less clear on some others. But i still don't see why i need an explicit statement in order to discover something that all Christians are very likely obligated to do or are at least that they should prefer over alternative courses of actions. [And if i genuinely believe i have discovered just such a thing, it wouldn't be very consistent with that belief, nor would it even be loving i don't think, for me to in turn act as though none of my brothers needed to take notice, would it?]

    And i can think of a good reason to think i shouldn't have that kind of expectations of the Bible. Many of the explicit statements we do have were written because a particular situation and occasion called for it. If it hadn't arisen (or perhaps if initial oral instruction alone had nipped it in the bud), then we likely wouldn't have some of those explicit statements. In principle, were an apostle or inspired writer alive today, for all we know our circumstances and needs could make it necessary for that inspired writer to give us even more explicit "thou shalt"s. Thus, just because something isn't currently stated *explicitly* ("thou shalt" or "thou shalt not" as you say), this doesn't necessarily mean we don't have an obligation in the matter. In other words, that point alone doesn't demonstrate that it's a non-issue that we should forego.

    I'm very interested in this distinction you've made though. i guess i never considered that there could be such a distinction. Could you say more about the difference between "walk together" and fellowship? Is there a difference? I just took you to be drawing a distinction because you spoke as though i can opt not to "walk together" with someone while you've also condemned division.


  87. Jay Guin says:


    If you find instrumental music in the worship of God to be an "unfruitful work of darkness … shameful to even speak of," I find your arguments beyond implausible. I've listened to Handel's "Messiah." I've listened to Bach. And there is nothing shameful in the Hallelujah Chorus — even with tympani and trumpets. In fact, it brings tears to my eyes to hear Jesus worshiped with such beauty.

    I read Aristophanes' "The Frogs" over lunch. I fail to see your point, and don't see how that pagan play could possibly tell me that it's sin to worship with a guitar.

    Now, I'm entirely willing to concede that there are some musical practices for the assembly that are better than others. Both IM and AC traditions are quite capable of abusing the music! The church I grew up in sang "Oh Happy Day" after baptisms at such a slow, rhythmless pace that it sounded like a dirge! The leader sucked all the joy from the song. I well remember the first time I heard the song on the radio and discovered the pleasures of that tune for the first time! Of course, it had an instrumental background, and so I found myself deeply conflicted (I was a teenager).

    So, yes, some IM churches use instruments in a way that is not expedient. It's fair to criticize such practices — if the point is to seek to find a better way. But you can't prove that all IM is sinful by anecdote, because I've heard it done very well indeed. It can be done.

  88. Jay Guin says:


    You wrote,

    "Just song, Jay. I did not say it; Paul did. How about letting him speak, as the conduit of the Spirit."

    But he did not say "just song." You read that into the text.

    You get upset when I say you adhere to the Regulative Principle (silence is prohibition), but how else do you add "just" to the text?

  89. guy says:

    Dr. Theo,

    Sounds good.

    And just to point out–i think any given practice that is good and fine and could be a beautiful thing can also be practiced in a corrupt way such that it is not good, fine, or beautiful. i think that's probably the plight of the Pharisees in some cases. Praying, fasting, and alms-giving are all good, Jesus said, but the way the Pharisees do all three really stinks.

    And i heartily concede that many CoC's have taken what could be very beautiful and morally-compelling practices and have learned to do them in very stinky ways.

    All i'd like to say is that even if Pharisees prayed in a crumby way, that's not a good reason to ditch prayer altogether. Analogously, the not-so-great way it has historically been done in the CoC is not a sufficient reason to give up on AC.


  90. Jay Guin says:


    I'm a fan of T. Campbell's Declaration and Address, and thank you for bringing it into the discussion. But consider carefully what it says.

    "Nothing ought to be inculcated upon Christians as articles of faith; nor required of them as terms of communion, but what is expressly taught and enjoined upon them in the word of God. Nor ought anything to be admitted, as of Divine obligation, in their church constitution and managements, but what is expressly enjoined by the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ and his apostles upon the New Testament church; either in express terms or by approved precedent."

    "Nothing ought to be … required … as terms of communion, but what is expressly taught."

    Campbell carefully rejects inferences as terms of fellowship. He removes all doubt a few paragraphs later —

    "6. That although inferences and deductions from scripture premises, when fairly inferred, may be truly called the doctrine of God's holy word: yet are they not formally binding upon the consciences of christians farther than they perceive the connection, and evidently see that they are so; for their faith must not stand in the wisdom of men; but in the power and veracity of God–therefore no such deductions can be made terms of communion, but do properly belong to the after and progressive edification of the church. Hence it is evident that no such deductions or inferential truths ought to have any place in the church's confession."

    He says, although inferences may well provide true doctrine, inferences are not "binding upon the consciences of Christians farther than they … see that they are so."

    In short, you can consider AC true doctrine if you think AC is to be inferred from scripture, but you cannot make it a term of fellowship or even consider the doctrine you inferred binding on other Christians who've not come to the same conclusion!!

    This is the genius of Thomas Campbell — to limit fellowship to the very basics and to refuse to divide over inferences.

    I'm proud to be part of the Restoration Movement — and wish that more within the Churches of Christ would return to it.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Since none of the denominations which flowed into the Church of Christ (not part of the Disciples) used instruments, when instruments are IMPOSED they become a condition of fellowship. All of church scholarship used the word "Apostolic." Those who IMPOSE something into a peaceable fellowship not REQUIRED to conduct "school of Christ" (the Campbells" this is the definitian of "sectarian." The Bible, all of the church fathers and founders of denominations subscribed to what the Presblyterians label "regulative principle."

    Paul had a pretty clear way to keep the unity of the faith and all "speak the same things" meaning "speak that which was written."

    Romans 15:1 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak,
    ……and not to please ourselves.
    ……(Areskos, Placeo=All performance arts and crafts which create mental excitement. The Laded Burden)

    Romans 15:2 Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.(Education for the ekklesia/synagogue)

    Romans 15:3 For even Christ pleased not himself; but, as it is written, The reproaches of them that reproached thee fell on me.

    The Direct Command–always–for the Teaching, Admonishing and Comforting the Synagogue or Word-of-God-only School of the word.

    Romans 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning
    ……that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.</b

    Romans 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation
    …..grant you to be
    likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:

    Romans 15:6 That ye may with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH glorify God,

    This was understood always to mean the Inspired Text as the only resource. The word SPEAK is defined as the opposite of poetry or music, and this would exclude dozens of "mouths" created by complex harmony which is the ARESKOS which frazzles nerves. Ecstasy or "out of your mind" was the purpose driving and desired goal of all pagan worship.

    Stoma is the human mouth: a glossa or organ of speech. This is contrasted to the glossa or tongues of a wind instrument.

    …..(the only way to "praise" Him)
    …..even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

    Romans 15:7 Wherefore receive ye one another, as Christ also received us to the glory of God.

    Romans 15:8 Now I say that Jesus Christ was a minister of the circumcision
    ……for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers:
    ……The Abrahamic Covenant (Gal 3) not the Davidic Monarchy)

    This is how Jesus Christ "sings unto the Father's Name"

    Romans 15:9 And that the Gentiles might glorify God for his mercy;
    ……as it is written,
    ……For this cause I will confess to thee among the Gentiles, and sing unto thy name.

    Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you, my brethren,
    …..that ye also are full of goodness,
    ….filled with all knowledge, able also to admonish one another.

  92. Jay Guin says:


    As much as I respect the work of the Campbells, it's clear their successors teach a very different doctrine.

    Consider the Lemmons quote from your comment —

    "There is plenty of room for re-examination of any ground we occupy, but only in the light of Scripture. … Unity is wonderful, and much to be desired, but unity bought at the price of surrender of truth is not worth the price."

    That seems to say that unity is impossible if we disagree on any teaching of scripture at all.

    Now, I doubt that you and your elders agree on EVERY single scriptural issue.

    Just so, you quote McCord as saying,

    "To imply that the division with the Christian Church occurred just because people in the two groups did not understand or love each other is an insult to both groups. They perfectly well understood each other, but could not walk together because they were not agreed (Amos 3:3)."

    Again, McCord begs the question: Just what must we be agreed on? Every doctrine? The meaning of every word in scripture?

    These are meaningless standards because they are so broad as to damn over anything someone feels strongly about.

    For example, it's commonplace among the Churches to tolerate disagreement over the personal indwelling of the Spirit. However —

    1. That's a question addressed in scripture in many places.
    2. Whoever is right has "the truth" of the matter, and whoever is wrong does not.

    As a result, I now see preachers damning other preachers over the personal indwelling. Teachings such as those you quote, consistently applied, compel exactly that result!

    What you've offered is a path to sectarianism, factionalism, and division — all on the entirely subjective basis of which truths I wish to divide over. There is a better way.

    And the better way is to stop quoting such people, return to scripture, and discover what errors and practices the Holy Apostles consider as damning. It's not enough to show something to be in error to make it damning — or else you have to damn over even the least error.

    Rather, the conservative position is hopelessly incoherent without a statement of a standard for how to tell which true things must be agreed to be saved and which true things don't have to be agreed — and demonstrate that distinction by scripture.

  93. Jay Guin says:


    I'm no Hebrew scholar, but my understanding is that there is no meter in Hebrew poetry. The singing of the Psalms was therefore very different from Western song styles.

  94. Theophilus Dr says:


    Amen to that! I totally agree.

    If the enemy cannot keep us from good things, he will try to push us to an extreme. It worked with the Pharisees, and it has worked with Christian groups today.

    "Can't keep you from praying? Okay then, just say that it has to be done in a certain way and everyone has to do it that way or else God doesn't hear them."

    (a) "The only prayer that God hears of an unbaptized (water) person is the prayer of Cornelius."

    (b) "The only prayer that God hears is one that is the prayer in the spirit." (meaning speaking in tongues)

    "Can't keep you from singing? Okay then, just say that the singing has to be AC or that it needs to be IM and make that binding on everyone unless they want to get fried."

    "Baptism? Just say it has to be done this way at this time by this person saying these words — or else it doesn't count for anything — and, by the way, this applies to everybody."

    God set up prayer and singing and baptism. Humans have responded to the enemy and corrupted what God has done perfectly. That example of corrupting what God has done is exactly what was started in the Garden.

    When the flesh is introduced to control or corrupt what God has perfectly created, the adulterous product is subject to natural law, which is entropy, which leads to degeneration, decay, and death. I think you said it more succinctly. You called it "stinky."

    But what God created in perfection isn't what is stinky. It is the humans who need to take the bath.

  95. aBasnar says:

    Dear Todd

    The world's use of IM does not keep me from stealing it back and using it for Jesus. I can do this without compromising myself or my principles or violating His law. I can be sober and self controlled and enjoy the music.I can listen and indeed worship without submitting to sensuality.

    Let's replace – for illustration's sake – music with metal:

    The world's use of METAL does not keep me from stealing it back and using it for Jesus. I can do this without compromising myself or my principles or violating His law. I can be sober and self controlled and enjoy the METAL.

    There is metal and the world's use of metal. While this statement of yours sounds convincing, what would you think of a brother who enters the assembly with a sword in his hands? You (probably) would ask him to wield it into a plough, but he might answer: "Hey brother, It's just METAL – shining steel; I won't use it the way soldiers use it. I think it is glorifying God when we look at the fine craftmanship God has put in blacksmiths. Only because in the world it is used to kill people, does not hinder me to glorify God with it."

    In the same way there is a huge difference between music and the way the world uses and composes music. The music popular today is extremly heavy loaded with a message, a life style. If you bring that kind of music along with the instruments typical for that music into the church, you also bring in at least the associations of this life style. Music is not neutral – it never was and never will be. Thus the kind of music we choose for worship is important.

    At the same time music loses its message, when the worldy rebellion progresses to different ways of expressing itself. Some of that music may be used decades later also for worship when it is really disconnected from its ideological roots – some may never be appropriate. This calls for spiritual discernment.

    What really shocked me was that I heard of worship leaders participating in "American Idol". Not only is this blurring the borderline between the world and God's Kingsdom, it publicly shows appreciation for this secular idolatry. And more than that: It shows the heart of the participants that longs both for fame in the world and fame in the Kingdom. Have you ever noticed that some worship leaders are almost treated like Pop stars? That there are "charts" of the best worship "hits" of the year? If this isn't worldly, pray tell, what do we have to do to be considered worldly?

    Please, don't fool yourself, Todd. Separation has become a meaningless world in mainlaine Christianity. The concept of being called out from among them has been totally lost. Consider the following passage in the light of IM and CCM:

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

    These worship leaders may not love the world (at least they would strongly deny it), but they love the THINGS of the world: This special kind of music which is an expression of a rebellious culture.

    The desires of the flesh? the Eyes? Pride? "American Idol" is full of that, isn't it?

    If we want to be judged with the world, all we have to do is to live and act like the world, If salvation is dear to us, then we MUST go out from among them and we MUST NOT touch that which is unclean (2Co 6:17).

    I am always quite puzzled how difficult this is for so many Chrsistians to understand …

    Think about it


  96. Todd says:

    Brother Alexander why is the sin of another my sin? How does the foolish pursuit of a "Christian" for worldly fame and glory keep me from doing what I am doing to glorify God? Apply your example to gluttony, greed, ignorance, laziness and see how far it goes. Another's abuse of what God has given does not keep me from enjoying what God has given. Your viewpoint leads us towards what Paul warns against in Col. 2 – meaningless rules that perish with using.

  97. Todd says:


    I agree with most of what you have written. I believe that if the apostles were around today we would have a different set of rules – as far as the things we debate are concerned – than we do now. After all we argue about the things they didn't say or those things they did say but which time seems to have passed by. I agree that we have to use the principles they gave us to find our way as society brings us new challenges that the text does not specifically address. I agree that we must in some way arrive at positions on those issues more broadly so we can get our work done. My sole requirement is that we place unity before our personal beliefs on matters not clearly addressed by Scripture.

    I do not see the "thou shalts" as the only rules applicable to Christian life. I do however see them as the only standard by which I can determine fellowship within the Body.

    I agree that there are things we must figure out for ourselves. I agree that we can and should feel strongly on these things once we find them. I agree that we should try to share what we have found with others. I do not believe we have the right however to take those conclusions and use them as a test of who does and doesn't belong to the Body or of who is and who isn't pleasing to God.

    I feel that on these other issues each Christian must be free to find His own way and when we cannot agree let our elders decide and submit to their decision. Then every eldership respects the decisions of every other eldership in Christ.

    As to the the distinction between unity and walking together:
    I think the desire of God is that we love one another, submit to one another and put up with one another. The truth however is there will always be folks who don't have the grace it takes to put up with me (and sadly it does take quite a bit). There will also be those with whom I do not enjoy hearty agreement. There is another class altogether whom I find annoying and even maddening. If I followed the world I would reject them completely and we would become enemies. In Christ however I must realize that, even though we may not like each other, we are family, we belong. We enjoy a unity that is based in Christ and we love each other for His sake. But because we are flesh, we still can't get along so while acknowledging our brotherhood and even for its sake we head to opposite corners of the vineyard and get back to work. Who knows maybe even over time we will begin to miss each other and begin to appreciate our distinctive gifts again.

    This sounds wrong doesn't it. We can, we must love each other. I must drop all of my annoying habits and tolerate every one of yours. I must always die to myself and give you everything you need to grow in Christ. Since you are my weaker brother (For who can confess to being the weaker himself?) I must always give place to your fear and your weakness and your hair trigger conscience. I must become all things to all men so that by any means I can win some.

    Yes, that is how it should be. But that is not how it actually is. My pride, my will, my selfishness, my own unloveliness will always break in and mar our relationship.

    But God has given us unity as a grace. He has made us His children by what He has done and set the standard for our participation in that family so low that anyone can become His and so that I can accept everyone as mine. He has made His house so large that there is room for all of us even when we can't actually "work and play well with others" at present. I believe when He comes again and the Bride puts on Her robes we will all see and be able to appreciate each other at last. (It would be wonderful if we could do it now, but I will settle for that day's revealing.)

  98. Theophilus Dr says:

    I tell myself with each post that it will be the last. But, no, "Just this one more," like I have become addicted to reading interesting and challenging posts. So, it's not my fault. "The posts made me do it."

    Alexander, it seems to me that bringing in the metal of the world into the church (building, assembly, or anything that was used in connection of worship to God) would be a problem if the people in their hearts allowed it to be one. There are some things, that have a greater association with what the world is doing, and bringing in these things (actual objects or attitudes or practices) into the church (building, organization, planning) presents a greater challenge of filtering out the worldly associations so the attitudes in the church are not adulterated. And there are some things that are already in the church which change to resemble something that is in the world. And some will justify that and say it is good for "outreach" because it gives the "unchurched" something within the church to identify with to get them in the door.

    Gold is not a problem, in itself, but the use of the gold could be. And bringing gold into the church might be a greater challenge to use it correctly than bringing in yellow plastic. God authorized the Israelites to have gold jewelry and dishes or whatever they could take from Egypt, but not to make a golden calf idol with the gold. It wasn't the gold, their hearts were corrupted before they thought of using the gold. The gold was something that could be used by the evil in their hearts for their idolatrous purposes. Let's pretend the Israelites didn't have gold jewelry, they had costume jewelry composed of yellow plastic made in ____. When they tried to melt the plastic, it turned to a blob. Would outlawing gold have prevented them from idolatry. With the idolatrous attitude already in their hearts, I think we would be telling today the story of the Israelites worshiping the yellow blob. "And Aaron, being a chemical engineer, fashioned ….. and all the people 'did the blob.'" Call Aaron the blobinater.

    (Alexander, I am agreeing with the points in your post, in case you can't discern that through all the silliness.)

    Your example of "worship leaders" competing in American Idol is revealing. It is a blending of the values and goals of a church (supposedly toward God) with the goals of the entertainment industry. Maybe they would say this is free advertising. Maybe they would point to how many people came to the assembly "praise time" because they wanted to hear some more of that good music. They wouldn't have gotten exposed to the message of Jesus otherwise.
    I have seen the next phase of that trend, which is to tone down the Jesus stuff or else they won't come back. Blame the instruments, ban the instruments and the problem goes away? The hearts of the people will be the same.

    We have been through the "have something that the world is interested in so they will come to church" thing before several generations ago, when Baptist churches had gyms. People will come to a gym who would never come to a worship service. But the hear about Jesus in the gym just the same as in a sanctuary. But the CoC where I was raised said that gyms are not authorized. The church is for worship and not entertainment. That is a misuse of God's money, and gyms are denominational, a label which as you know was equivalent to the kiss of death. But the approval of gyms experienced a resurrection when Baptist churches grew and their youth groups grew and some of our own CoC kids went to Baptist gyms and enjoyed themselves. There aren't many CoC today who would condemn a gym, since most probably have one, and if they don't, there is a basketball goal beside the parking lot. Parking lots are denominational, you know.

    All of these points discussed have something in common. Each problem relates to something that is "building centered." The idea of the great commission is "As you are going …….. teach …" Matt 28. Jesus told His apostles that their witness would spread "outward" from Jerusalem. And when they got too "building centered" a persecution scattered them (Acts 8:1).

    The bigger problem seems to be the physical building-centric nature of the whole thing about worship, praise, "missional," or whatever other intentional and authentic buzzwords we can "unpack" or use to "drill down" to describe what we are not doing but want to appear that we are ….. getting off topic onto a pet peeve.

    If we think that IM is the reason for the problem, we deceive ourselves. If we think that we can handle it and we won't have any problems, we are naive. If we think if we only have AC we will avoid the problem, it's la la land.

    Bruce Morton is correct to point out that this issue is part of a battle in the spiritual realm. Alexander is correct to point out areas where the church is intentionally blending methodology of the world to be seeker friendly. This is a concern because issues of the heart, greed, pride, ambition, can flow along with them. Todd is correct that these are issues of the heart and not of the physical apparatus that is carried in one's hands.

    This is rambling enough that maybe everyone is confused and I can justify one more post to explain myself. But I am now being intentionally called to unpack an authentic chore. 🙂

  99. Bruce Morton says:

    I wondered if you would be open to Aristophanes' critiques. It is there (1304ff.) and I am not the only one who has seen it (You have sources in your possession that show the study of classic scholarship of his plays. I hope you will take a look at the sources. And note: Some of the older translations of Aristophanes' work are more challenging to the Western understanding.). You also have documentation of the critique in Aristophanes' The Clouds (333ff.). A Scholion in The Clouds talks specifically about how Dionysiac music was "corrupting." See J.C. Franklin's 2004 paper presented at the Oxford Colloquium on Music: Song Culture and Social Change (you have that information as well). So is he critiquing the IM of the Dionysiac choruses? Absolutely.

    So, I am a little weary of the "implausible" conclusion, etc. I heard such Sunday too — including sharp "buts…" from people who I could tell were really struggling with seeing the background to Paul's teaching. I continue to believe that the idea of a spiritual siege scares folks silly — because they do NOT want to see where it takes them on this subject of music/song. I saw a group of people who literally looked like they were sitting on a hot tin roof Sunday and all I did was simply show the parallel between "exposing darkness" and Paul's teaching about the importance of song. But you would have thought I was announcing the end of the world. Perhaps I was doing so for them.

    In the middle of a spiritual war, Paul is revealing the importance of song as the Spirit's tool in building congregational oneness and renewing us. Simple message — that we will wrestle with greatly when we believe (or want to act like) the spiritual war that surrounds us is nonexistent or is in a galaxy far far away….

    I think that is probably all I should say now.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  100. Theophilus Dr says:

    So, one problem is being too building-centric in our "programs." Instead of taking the love of Jesus to the people, we take a missions collection for that and add to our building. None of these are wrong, but if becomes a heart focus, it's a problem.

    What is a characteristic exhibited by someone indicating that some church action might have become a "contestant" (pun intended) for the heart-focus award? Mention that as a possibility and see what happens. If a person responds with expressed concern, thanks, prayer, they are likely a person who can communicate without being threatened. If a person responds defensively and tries to justify what they are doing and discharges some sanctimonious buzzwords and imply that those fogies who disagree are the problem, they may be someone who has just had a heart idol threatened.

    Although it is the heart that holds the issue, there are some things that facilitate an idolatrous attitude to be expressed more easily that others. IM may allow more expression of idolatrous attitudes of pride of performance than a AC praise team, and that allows a higher chance of performance idolatry than one person holding a microphone who can't pitch a song without a pitch pipe, and that a higher chance than a congregational monotone chant. But getting rid of the object, or developing a doctrine that gets rid of it, doesn't address the real issue.

    The shift in thinking about IM in a church assembly has been generational. This is a generalization, of which there are always exceptions, but in my experience most, not all, of the people who favor AC music (and do not like IM) are over 50 years old and those who either prefer IM or wouldn't go to an AC are under 50. Those older people, including myself, who have seen a culture change from singing hymns in parts and harmony are primarily the ones expressing concern about the trends that are accompanying the use of IM. For those younger, who have grown up with loud music and rock bands and Lead Zepplin or whatever his name is, there is no change, because this IS their culture. I think a person who says they wouldn't come to an AC service needs an attitude adjustment the same as a person who wants to enforce a legalistic doctrine that says IM is a sin worthy of condemnation. Sometimes we are differing over our personal preferences and the size of our comfort zone rather than theology.

    Even as the IM issue is part of a larger issue of worship, even this issue is part of an even larger one of a continual blending of the boundaries between the church and the world. Worship teams competing on American Idol is a pretty strong signal. What about other things?

    Before the end of the first century there were already signs of centralization of authority in the church. The church at Antioch began to increase in authority and "bishops" as an office began to be separated from just "elders." Ignatius has this in some of his writings. The church became more and more like the model of the government – Rome. As time progressed, bishops developed head bishops, archbishops, whatever else up to the Roman Catholic Church. It started by adapting the organization of the civil culture.

    What is our pattern? Oh, it's the NT !! We have CoC associated universities training ministers to be CEO's. We have scholars who have come up with models of leadership, including elders and ministers, which are patterned after successful corporate America, claiming that the NT doesn't address church organization, so we have to fill the gap. I can take a rah-rah letter from a corporate CEO and change some vocabulary here and there and it will sound almost indistinguishable from one that might be sent out by a church.

    When we need some advice on how to run things, maybe we get some CoC consultants. Where do they get it? Where does the person above that in the information chain get it? Mostly from the gurus of corporate America. Look on the Internet at the gurus of church organization and planning and implementation. Maybe they will even quote Jack Welch. The church is becoming more like the civil model, just like the first century, except it was the Roman government in the first century and it is corporate America today.

    Alexander, if that is a correct assessment of the American church's prevailing attitude, any issue with IM and praise teams and TV shows is just a component of a much bigger problem. That doesn't mean the worship issue isn't real, but let's also look on the horizon and see the approaching tanks.


  101. Bruce Morton says:

    One further note. Please see Guthrie's comments about "singing people." We keep wanting to press more into that idea. But Paul's focus is on singing to the Lord and singing the Word. And Guthrie sees Paul's focus. I am not convinced he gets all the way to what Paul is saying, but he is on the way in a spiritual siege. He seems to have gotten to where Kinnaman got to in noting our great need for congregational unity — and the spiritual damage done by having the band at the front of the assembly.

    I keep wondering where America would be if churches of all names across the land filled their meeting places with a unified singing of Scripture. If Scripture got written on hearts week after week. And people grew in their understanding of the Word of God. What would American faith look like? I keep thinking about those Fiji islanders and their vocal music only decision/action. Any interest in talking about those Fiji folks, Jay? Pretty strong example from where I sit.

    In Christ,
    Bruce Morton
    Katy, Texas

  102. Brad Adcock says:

    Alexander, I get what you're trying to say and all, but I don't think your 'metal analogy' works. Plowshare or sword, it's still metal. You propose the metal is better used for a plow than a sword; so what you're implying is that you can take something the world uses for one purpose and retool it for a more 'Christian' purpose. That's Todd's point, I think.

    Also, let's look at plugging something else in the way you did with Todd. Last week, you had a discussion with, I believe, Guest for Truth concerning the Lord's Supper; specifically your use of watered-down wine instead of grape juice when you carry the LS to the shut-in and elderly of your congregation (and understand that I agree with your stance on that issue 100%). Using your own reasoning, seems to me you couldn't support your argument with GFT because wine is also used by the worldly to become drunk.

  103. aBasnar says:

    Brother Alexander why is the sin of another my sin? How does the foolish pursuit of a "Christian" for worldly fame and glory keep me from doing what I am doing to glorify God? Apply your example to gluttony, greed, ignorance, laziness and see how far it goes. Another's abuse of what God has given does not keep me from enjoying what God has given. Your viewpoint leads us towards what Paul warns against in Col. 2 – meaningless rules that perish with using.

    There are two anwers:

    1st – Don't view it on an individual, but on a corporate level – that's more in line with scripture and less in line with our contemporary mindset.

    2nd – We may include gluttony, greed, ignorance, laziness and the like – in fact we MUST, and we mustnot exclude our carn al taste foer worldly music. BUT here we discuss IM and CCM – and that's what#s on the table. We should not distract from these sins by pointiung to other sins, such a s the liar points to a murderer in order to excuse his lie.

    Music is not neutral – sorry to see that you were unable or unwilling to consider my arguments. But maybe yu need a little more time …


  104. aBasnar says:

    Blame the instruments, ban the instruments and the problem goes away? The hearts of the people will be the same.

    You are absolutely right, Theophilus. And the heart cries out: "I want my MTV" …


  105. aBasnar says:

    You're close, but not quite there yet.

    Metal – let's stick with this analogy first – is a material God put into this creation. We can make plowshares or swords out of it. This does not change the material.

    Music is something God put into creation, these are the sounds and harmonies, even some "laws" that go with it. But you can take these sounds and "laws" and assemble it it a peaceful or in a warlike manner. What is peacuful and whatis warlike changes with the cultural expression of emotions. The pop-music-style, that evoleved in the 60s and 70s and is the leading expression of cultural emotions today, is not neutral. It is warlike. It is an expression of rebellion. At the same time it is extremely powerful, because it appeals to our flesh.

    This is not like folk music, This is not like classical music either. And it is not like traditional church music which is a blend of both.

    Contemporary pop-music is all but innocent – and the style of music is inseparable from the message it was created to enhance and to support.

    CCM is attempting to imitate this worldly music, and in doing so it appeals to the flesh of us Christians, but not to the Spirit. It is idolatry brought into the church, although the lyrics are (for the most part) scriptural. But it is not only about the words that are sung. Christians went to war holding their swords in their hands and singing praises to God – an abonimation before the Prince of Peace!

    The way you do something is as important as what you do. This applies to worship as well. We cannot worship in a worldly manner.


  106. Brad Adcock says:

    One use for metal – as a sword – is evil (or can be); another – as a plowshare – is supposedly good (though beating a plowshare against somebody's head can still accomplish the purpose of a sword). Whether or not it's a sword or a plow – it's still metal; whether or not it's just a voice (created by God) or it's a voice with instrumental accompaniment (that are made with something else created by God) – it's still music. I'm not talking about CCM, or rock, or rap, or pop (or country music, for that matter) – just IM. I'm from the backwoods country, Alexander; even when I was part of an 'instrumental denomination,' nothing we did came close to that stuff. 🙂

    But I can recognize (and have) even small-town folks with the talent to sing beautifully can get wrapped up in themselves, whether they started out to simply honor God in worship or not – and whether they're accompanied by instruments or not. I honestly and truly do not see how anyone can argue from scripture one way or the other, and it has nothing to do with me advocating one side or the other, or desiring to be sensual in worship, or any of the other arguments raised. I've attended a bible college that advocated the AC-only view; didn't see it in my studies then, and I still can't shoe-horn it in now. I don't worship with IM now; nor do I advocate it. I wouldn't dare suggest to the church family where I preach now that we bring in instruments. I prefer AC, but simply because it's far more beautiful to me (in most cases; some people couldn't carry a tune in a bucket). It's amazing how little ability one can have when depending on an instrument to help you sing – something I'm painfully aware of now. I really appreciate your input, brother, even if we disagree sometimes. Iron sharpening iron…there's metal coming up again. lol

  107. Tom Forrester says:

    Well some have more talent than others whether AC or IM.
    So let's make a "joyful noise"

    Some with singing…
    Psa 95:1 Oh come, let us sing to the LORD; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!

    Some with a trumpet…
    Psa 98:6 With trumpets and the sound of the horn make a joyful noise before the King, the LORD!

  108. Anonymous says:

    Psa. 95:1 O come, let us sing unto the LORD: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation.

    Sing: 7442. ranan, raw-nan´; a primitive root; properly, to creak (or emit a stridulous sound), i.e. to shout (usually for joy):—aloud for joy, cry out, be joyful (greatly, make to) rejoice, (cause to) shout (for joy), (cause to) sing (aloud, for joy, out), triumph.

    Joyful: 1523. ly…ˆg giyl, gheel; or (by permutation) l…w…g guwl, gool; a primitive root; properly, to spin round (under the influence of any violent emotion), i.e. usually rejoice, or (as cringing) fear:—be glad, joy, be joyful, rejoice.

    Noise: 7321.ruwa roo-ah´; a primitive root; to mar (especially by breaking); figuratively, to split the ears (with sound), i.e. shout (for alarm or joy):—blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.

    However, Christ defined the Qahal, synagogue or Church of Christ in the Wilderness. The REST days were for rest and on that day synagogue was held in the local areas for READING the Word of God: what Jesus exampled and Paul commanded and the historic church practiced.

    The Synagogue on the Sabbath prohibited playing instruments and "work" outlawed "sending out ministers of God." Jesus died to give us the same REST from the kings and Levites.

    Num. 10:7 But when the congregation is to be gathered together, ye shall blow, but ye shall not sound an alarm.

    Alarm: 7321.ruwa roo-ah´; a primitive root; to mar (especially by breaking); figuratively, to split the ears (with sound), i.e. shout (for alarm or joy):—blow an alarm, cry (alarm, aloud, out), destroy, make a joyful noise, smart, shout (for joy), sound an alarm, triumph.

    Miqra (h4744) mik-raw'; from 7121; something called out, i. e. a public meeting (the act, the persons, or the place); also a rehearsal: – assembly, calling, convocation, reading.

    So they read in the book in the law of God distinctly, and gave the sense, and caused them to understand the reading. Ne.8:8

  109. aBasnar says:

    >blockquote>I'm not talking about CCM, or rock, or rap, or pop (or country music, for that matter) – just IM.

    And I am not talking about IM per se. But – accordinmg to my observations – the IM issue is closely tied to CCM. It is normally not about just adding a piano to our singing (or a simple guitar), but about putting a band on stage. I can live with a simple piano accompaniment. But that's not where the IMers normally head to. And churches that already have IM normally have constant debates on how much CCM they would have and which one or two of the old hymns may be preserved as an excerpt (e.g. verses 1 and 4).

    There are other reasons for AC, mainly based on typology and history; but these are not part of this particular discussion. So I argued from a position within the IM-conviction. I hope this clarifies a bit better what I mean.


  110. Todd says:

    But issues of conscience always begin with the individual. When I have reached the end of what revelation has given me I must decide how best to apply what I have been given to situations revelation did not directly address. Then when I have made my decision I am free to try to convict others of the same but I am not free to bind my conclusions on them or use those conclusions as tests of fellowship. My idea might be great. My idea might make a lot of sense. My idea might have a string of Scriptures that make it seem as strong as Scripture itself but it is still my idea and therefore my own private conclusion and not law for everyone else.

    If I ignore what God has said on this matter and do decide that my idea should be bound on others then I am duty bound to be consistent with how I apply that idea. This is why how we deal with the other sin categories matters. My logic for arriving at a conclusion on issue A must hold applicable to similar issues B, C, D, etc. Otherwise I am a hypocrite and fall under the judgment of Scripture. This has been the glaring hole in the application of CENI in our movement. As we move from one end to the other of our doctrinal spectrum no segment of our CENI focused brotherhood applies identical logic to all situations yet all segments insist that their conclusions are the "only" ones applicable.

    You have excellent reasons for your stance. You are entitled to your stance. You are entitled to try to convince others of your stance so long as you don't make it a point of salvation that you have added to the Gospel. Since you are not an apostle I am entitled to disagree with your stance if it doesn't comport with my own understanding of what God has to say on the matter. This is the essence of Christian liberty and according to Paul God will make both of us able to stand.

    Hold your convictions in an iron grip and live them in faith, but leave your brother alone and do not judge him on disputable matters.

    Why is this concept so hard to grasp?

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