Baptists and Instrumental Music

William V. Beasley
Oak Ridge, Tennessee

In his book, Church Manual Designed For The Use Of Baptist Churches, J. M. Pendleton presents a beautiful, scriptural argument which, when consistently applied shows that mechanical instruments of music in worship to God is wrong. In writing of the truth that baptism is for penitent believers only Mr. Pendleton says, "It may be laid down as a principle of common sense, which commends itself to every candid mind, that a commission to do a thing authorizes only the doing of the thing specified (all emphasis his). The doing of all other things is virtually forbidden. There is maxim of law, that the expression of one thing is the exclusion of another. It must necessarily be so; for otherwise there could be no definiteness in contracts, and no precision in legislative enactments or judicial decrees" (p. 81). He then illustrates this truth with the command to Noah to build the ark of gopher-wood-"The command, however, is positive, and it forbids the use of every other kind of wood" (Ibid, p. 81). He continues with illustrations of Abraham offering Isaac, the Passover, etc.

Mr. Pendleton's arguments are valid (scriptural) concerning the proper subjects of baptism and just as valid in regard to the kind of music pleasing to God. The "expression of one thing (singing, Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; etc.) is the exclusion of another (mechanical instruments of music)."

In an article similar to this, although shorter, in the local newspaper we concluded with: "Would any of the Baptist preachers in Oak Ridge like to tackle this?" None did.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:40, p. 11
August 15, 1974