I found an article which may be of interest, but is not presented here to “give ammunition” to one side or the other in the “consideration of instruments in worship.”
I have no idea where the article came from, although I think it came from a church bulletin somewhere.
Dad did speak to churches where instruments were regularly used. They kindly omitted the use of instruments while he was there, and he appreciated this. However, he didn’t berate them for their use of the instruments of music, he considered them his brethren… and he treated them as such.
He understood, as do I that it is the blood of Christ that puts one into Christ and His grace is that which keeps one in Christ… and that instruments are not an issue of salvation, even though their use divides many. He believed that the use of instruments and other methods or areas of differences should never… ever… be forced upon a congregation and if one congregation wants to use a certain method… it doesn’t mean all have to.
While Dad never spoke on the subject of “Instrumental Music in corporate worship,” but he thought it presumptuous of brethren who go to such extremes as legislating and trying to invade a Christian’s privacy… and forbid the use of a piano at home in private worship, or listening to Christian music over the radio while driving down the road, or cassette tape recording or cd… Dad believed in God’s grace. He understood and believed that we are not perfect in our understanding of everything in the Bible. He didn’t really hold to the “Better to be safe than sorry” idea… as so many Christians today. Why? Because that is not joyful, confident Christian living. (So while he was traveling down I-75 to Jacksonville to catch a flight to his next meeting, he was probably listening to his favorite singer George Jones singing Gospel songs…)
If you want to be safe rather than sorry… then you may not make it to the church building Sunday morning for fear of doing something wrong… Whatever happened to GRACE, and LOVING EACH OTHER, UNITY OF THE SPIRIT and CHURCH AUTONOMY?
Here is an article Dad found and used in his newsletter on month…
Three points by Tom Lawson, as to why he thought it better (at least occasionally) to leave out the instruments… Tom Lawson, was at the time of this article, the Minister of Music for an Independent Christian Church… (in other words he is a brother in Christ)… Of course the instrument is used where Tom worked at that time. Well he wrote an article pointing out three advantages of not using an instrument in worship. Here it is…
1. It tends to maintain the central leaders in worship as part of the congregation rather than performers up front. When the music of the worship is the music of the church itself, it seems less likely that we would move from worship, to watching worship. The worth of a particular service is, many times gauged by the quality of the performances. Applause is not merely tolerated, it is expected.
2. It tends to preserve times of silence within corporate worship. Not every moment must be programed with organ or piano music to affect my mood.
3. It tends to preserve simplicity of worship that may be increasingly attractive in our complicated age. I am baffled why some within the Church of Christ would pick this time to move toward inclusion of the instrument in worship. Times of silence may have an attraction as great as the “big performances.”
He then concludes, “To my friends within the Church of Christ, I would encourage you to think long and hard before you join the rest of the evangelical world in this area that so clearly impacts the entire worship service. I find myself wishing that. at least once in a while, we would close up the piano, turn off the organ, unplug the guitars, and just see what happens.”
Personally, I find this quite interesting and not bad at all! Now whether or not you agree with Tom, it seems to this scribe that there are some important things to consider along with this…
1. Brethren can and do often differ, and can still remain brethren based on the fact that they are added BY CHRIST to the body through his blood… not on whether they agree on everything all the time.
2. God IS the Judge in matters where frankly one has to admit, there is confusion even and impressive scholarship on both sides of the music issue.
3. There is such a thing as “Conscience Fellowship,” which does not split and divide the church. No one says you have to worship where the instrument is being used, but Jesus did command all of us to love the rest of us who are blood bought and stand in His grace.
4. Judging and condemning each other doesn’t help… Studying together does!
5. Sometime brethren must simply agree to disagree on a topic of confusion (which may be based on methods of interpretation of silence), and still love each other, and respect each other, and work together on other levels and especially in the area of reaching the lost.
6. Read the article “Black Balling”
These are just some of my thoughts. If you don’t agree, that’s okay… I may not agree with myself in a few days… but at least we can give each other time to study, grow in grace, and change down the road.