Music In Worship

J. C. Choate
Minneapolis, Minn.

The Bible teaches that the Christian should sing praises unto God. (Rom. 15.9). All will readily admit that this is a part of true worship. (John 4:24.) However, the question arises as to whether this part of the worship should be limited to vocal music or whether the singing should be accompanied by mechanical instruments of music. Needless to say, there has been much controversy over this matter, with the religious world being split asunder.

Should God be given the final word, the question would be solved immediately. Please note:

1. The Christian is commanded to sing. Paul says, "Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord." (Eph. 5:19.)

2. The Lord has commanded vocal music only. The apostle has said, "I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." (I Cor. 14:15.)

3. The melody is to be made within the heart-not on some mechanical instrument such as the piano, organ, violin, etc., Read Eph. 5:19 again.

4. Since singing is commanded that automatically excludes mechanical music. (Col. 3:16.) For example, when God commanded Noah to build the ark of Gopher wood that excluded the use of pine, oak, poplar, and so on.

5. God has commanded and man must obey. This is to be done without addition, subtraction, or substitution. (Rev. 22:18, 19.)

Although the Bible teaches singing and singing only, man is not content with this. He is determined to go on and have his way about it. Consequently, the majority of religious people sing with the accompaniment of some type of mechanical instrument of music.

These people offer a multitude of arguments for their practice. At this time we shall examine a few of them.

1. "Music was used in Old Testament times." That may be true, but we are not living under the Law. (Col. 2:14.)

2. "The Book of Psalms endorses instruments of music." It also endorses other Old Testament customs and practices, but that doesn't mean that we are at liberty to follow such a pattern. Even though some would have us believe that Psalms was no part of the Law, nevertheless, it was. (Lk. 24:44.)

3. "Instruments of music were used in the days of Christ." But you must remember that Christ lived under the Law of Moses. It was not until he had died on the cross that a new law was put into effect. ( Heb. 9.)

4. "I like mechanical music." Yes, and I like cake and milkshakes but that doesn't mean that I can substitute them for the Lord's Supper. (Matt. 26:26-28.) The same principle applies to singing.

5. "I can sing better where I am accompanied by mechanical instruments of music." You think you can but it is a recognized fact that the prettiest music on earth is the blending of human voices apart from mechanical music. God knew what he was doing when he commanded vocal music only. (Heb. 13:15.) He desires that which comes from the heart rather than that which comes from a cold, lifeless, soulless, man-made instrument.

6. "The Bible doesn't say not to use mechanical music." Oh yes, it does. It says to sing and that excludes the other. ( Eph. 5:19.)

7. "If one can use it in the home then it can be used in worship to God." No, that won't work. A lot of things can be done at home that can't be done at worship. For instance, one can wash his feet, eat a meal, play games, etc. at home but he can't do those things in worship to God. A distinction must be made. (I Cor. 11.)

8. "1 don't see any harm in it." If that be true it is mainly due to the fact that you have not made a study of the subject or else you have been deceived. It is a serious matter when one fails to follow the Lord's instructions. For example, read Lev. 10:1, 2.

9. "Paul refers to Psalms in Eph. 5:19." That's true, but not in the sense of binding the Book of Psalms on anyone. He merely had reference to a particular type of song.

10. "But there'll be music in heaven." There may be but you can't prove that there will be mechanical music in heaven. However, if you could prove that there will be such in heaven that wouldn't justify it here. Read Rev. 5 :9.

Yes, there are many arguments for mechanical music but none of them are sound. Mark it down, there isn't one soul who can scripturally justify the use of mechanical instruments of music in worshiping God. It has been tried, but to no avail.

Now before closing this study please notice a few reasons why it is wrong and sinful to use mechanical music:

1. It is questionable. Just about all of those who go along with it will admit that it is a matter of opinion only. (Rom. 14.23.)

2. It is unscriptural. If there is no scripture to back it up then it must be unscriptural. (Matt. 7:21-23.)

3. It is all addition to God's word. To bind something that God has not commanded is condemned. (Rev. 22:18, 19.)

4. It is a stumblingblock. (I Cor. 10:32.) It has caused much confusion and division.

5. It is unnecessary to worship and salvation. All will admit that they can worship without it and can be saved apart from it. If such be true then why fool with it?

6. It does not pertain to life and godliness. The Lord has given all things that pertain to life and godliness but he has not given mechanical music. (2 Pet. 1 :3.)

7. It is not profitable. Why? Because it is not of God. (2 Tim. 3:16, 17.)

8. It is not authorized by the Lord. He has all authority but has not authorized mechanical music. (Matt. 28:18.)

Friends, Christ has commanded singing. There's no question about this. Why take a chance by espousing a man-made theory? Be on the safe side-stay with God on this matter, as well as on all other matters.

Truth Magazine III:10, pp 20-21
July 1959