Instrumental Music

There is much confusion in the religious world about the use of mechanical instruments of music. Some say that they can be used in worship to God. Some of the old preachers for some of the denominations have come out against it. Some in the church say that it is a matter of conscience. You can use them if you want but if it is going to cause a problem then the best thing is not to use them. Several years ago a famous preacher said that about eighty percent of members of the church of Christ do not know why the church does not use mechanical instruments of music and do not care whether they are used or not.

Is this a subject about which we need to be concerned? Is it a matter of which the Bible talks? Does our worship to God make that much difference? Will people not come to the assemblies because the mechanical instrument of music is used or not used? This last question is the least of the worries that we ought to have. The other questions are extremely important and one in which we ought to be able to give an answer (1 Peter 3:15).

The Bible does mention the mechanical instruments of music. As far back as Genesis it is mentioned. Genesis 5:21 states, “And his brother’s name was Jubal: he was the father of all such as handle the harp and organ.” Another mention of mechanical instruments of music is mentioned in connection with King Saul. When he became upset David was sent in with his harp to soothe his savage soul. “But the Spirit of the Lord departed from Saul, and an evil spirit from the Lord troubled him. And Saul’s servants said unto him, Behold now, an evil spirit from God troubleth thee. Let our lord now command thy servants, which are before thee, to seek out a man, who is a cunning player on a harp: and it shall come to pass, when the evil spirit from God is upon thee, that he shall play with his hand, and thou shalt be well. And Saul said unto his servants, Provide me now a man that can play well, and bring him to me. Then answered one of the servants, and said, Behold, I have seen a son of Jesse the Bethlehemite, that is cunning in playing, and a mighty valiant man, and a man of war, and prudent in matters, and a comely person, and the Lord is with him.” “And it came to pass, when the evil spirit from God was upon Saul, that David took an harp, and played with his hand: so Saul was refreshed, and was well, and the evil spirit departed from him” (1 Samuel 16:14-18; 23). David also is mentioned as making the mechanical instruments of music a part of the Old Testament worship. Let us remember something about the Old Law. It has been nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14). Let us remember because of that, we are no longer bound by its laws and precepts. That being the case we can no longer use the Old Law as our standard for which we get our worship today. David offered animal sacrifices, burnt incense, and went to Jerusalem three times a year; do we need to do all of those things? Why would someone want to take part of what David did and apply it to the New Testament?

Instruments of music are also mentioned in the New Testament but never are the connected with worship. Since that is the case why do some want to add them to our worship to God? Simply because it is what THEY WANT TO DO TO WORSHIP GOD! It does not matter that it is not mentioned in worship to God in the New Testament. Some want to use the instruments and they will do whatever it takes to have it. Their minds are made up and that is the way it is going to be. It does not matter what God wants nor does it matter what God demands, it is what they want to do.

Let us try to make another point in the rest of this article. “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hears to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16). “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19). In either of these two passages or any passage in the New Testament where is the authority for only a few to play and the rest to listen? In these two passages there is the authority for everyone to sing. All are to make melody in our hearts to the Lord. All are to teach and admonish one another. To fail to do so is to go against what God said to do. It is like telling God, “I know what you want, but I am not going to do it.” It is rebellion against God and His Word. Who can say who can sing and who can’t sing? If all are to sing then all must sing. If these passage allowed us to play (they don’t, but let us make this point) on instruments of music then all must play! There would not be a person excluded from playing in a mechanical instrument of music. All must play.

Why is it when those who want to use the mechanical instrument of music in worship to God only want a select few to do so? One wonders if these are the same folks who think that only a certain few are to sing to God. They want choirs or a chorus to sing for everyone. Where is the authority for this? Who wants to decide who can sing and who can’t sing? Who could decide who could play well enough for the services of the church? One wonders when a religious group is selecting one to play an instrument who is the judge to decide who will play. One is good enough but another is not. We are not to be in the judging business and this is sure judging.

Let us do what those two passages listed above state. Let us sing songs, hymns, and spiritual songs to the Lord. Let us sing with grace in our hearts. Let us sing to God with all of our hearts. Let us all sing praises to God. Let us teach and admonish one another while we are singing. Let us worship God as He directs because it is His worship not our!

Love, Keith

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