Where It All Began

James Sanders
Crane, Texas

The apostasy of the Christian Church is dated in the 1860s by most historians. The crystallizing ingredient was instrumental music as worship. The aim was to improve the singing; the result was open rupture and division. The instrument was not like a song book-a harmless aid to singing. The instrument was a different species of music. No song book could produce music by itself; the instrument could. The instrument was as much an aid to worship as the golden calf was at Sinai. The golden calf was not thought of as another god-it merely represented the Lord. It was a symbol and nothing more. "Tomorrow," said Aaron, "is a feast to the Lord" (Ex. 32:5).

So it is with the instrument. Melody is to be made in the heart; not upon the keys of a piano (Eph. 5:19). Here is the difference and that difference is vast.

A Melodeon At Midway

A congregation at Midway, Kentucky, was the first to use the instrument (1859-1860). A few churches had attempted earlier to introduce instrumental worship; some as early as 1851. But these were only spasmodic efforts-skirmishes to test the enemy's strength. The main invasion was at Midway.

L.L. Pinkerton, the preacher at Midway, endorsed the instrument. Others in the congregation suggested the need for instrumental worship and Pinkerton was sympathetic. He wrote in an article: "So far as known to me, or I presume to you. I am the only preacher in Kentucky of our brotherhood who has publicly advocated the propriety of employing instrumental music in some churches, and that the church of God in Midway is the only church that has yet made a decided effort to introduce it. . .@

The picture below is of the melodeon which was used at Midway. A melodeon is a small reed organ-small enough to be carried by one man. This actually happened with the Midway melodeon. Not everyone at Midway approved of instrumental worship. One elder became so exasperated that he took the melodeon home with him late one night! The others retorted by buying another instrument. Flood controls are useless when the dam gives way.

"The facts about Midway are gleaned from The Search For The Ancient Order by Earl Irvin West, vol. 1; pp. 306-312.

Truth Magazine, XVIII:17, p. 2
February 28, 1974