Question #55

Isn't instrumental music just a matter of choice?

No music? Why? If the answer is "it's not written in the NT,” then neither is electricity or air conditioning. In all respect- David used a musical instrument in his music. Psalms were used with a musical instrument. I do understand that it can take one away from worship, but to not use it should be a personal choice since it is not said in His word to not use musical instruments.

The Answer:

Rather than repeating prior answers to similar questions, I invite your attention to the responses to Questions 7 and 35. They adequately respond to your question. I will add two other matters.

First, your reference to “no music” is incorrect. New Testament churches of Christ do have music. You probably meant “no mechanical instruments of music,” which is accurate. The music in New Testament churches of Christ is acapella, meaning “as in the chapel.” It was the music used in the church until man changed it.

As for the use of mechanical instruments in worship to God being a matter of opinion, I invite your attention to the following article:

What's wrong with using a piano in worship?

A woman who has been a long-time member of a local congregation of the church of Christ was reported to have recently said in a Bible class, "I don't see anything wrong with having a piano up there [in worship]." It is not clear how many (or few) may feel the same, but some observations are in order.

First, the statement uses the wrong standard of judgment. The proper standard is not now, has never been, and will never be what "I feel." When one starts with that standard it is hard, if not impossible to reach a conclusion that does not agree with how "I feel." If your feelings are amiss, your conclusion will be also. Just this moring on one of the major networks there was a report on counterfeit medicines. There are companies around the world who manufacture such pills (they really aren't drugs). They look exactly like the real thing. They are packaged exactly like the real thing. But they don't work. Some of the counterfeits would not even qualify as placebos. The yellow color in one pill came from yellow lead-based highway paint! While a placebo will do the taker no harm, the little yellow pill gives the taker a disease in addition to the one for which the taker was taking it. One of the illustrations was a cancer patient who was taking a counterfeit cancer pill. The real thing had been prescribed. She "felt" she was taking the real thing. She died "feeling" she was doing the right thing. Feelings are a poor guide.

Second, the standard is not now, has never been, and will never be human reasoning. Human reasoning often goes astray because humans often "guide" it to get where they want to go. In short, they do not reason properly. They assume as true facts that need to be proved. They ignore true facts that do not agree with their pre-determined conclusion. The statement being discussed illustrates such a fallacy. There is a big difference between "I don't see anything wrong with . . ." and the statement "Is there anything wrong with . . . ." When you start with the former the only way you will ever reach the truth is by accident, i.e., your pre-determined conclusion and the truth just accidentally happen to coincide. People who begin by assuming as true that which they are required to prove have committed the logical fallacy of "begging the question." As a result they reject certain arguments because those arguments reach a conclusion different than the pre-determined conclusion with which they began their "search" for truth. One man recently suggested that the church should re-examine "our position" on mechanical instruments in worship, adding that "we are still making the same old arguments that we have always made." He made at least two mistakes. One, the rejection of mechanical instruments in worship is not "our position"; it is Scripture's position. Two, he failed to notice that the "same old arguments" still respond to and defeat the "same old justifications." Since all (except the rankest of advocates) admit that New Testament worship was acapella and that it remained so for centuries, those who advocate the introduction of mechanical instruments have the burden of proof for the change that they advocate. They have never ever met that burden. The only reason that the issue has to be fought over and over is because some of God's people still long to be like the nations round about. Unfortunately, the "pro-piano" people know that time is on their side. Their battle cry now is that the "breach" between the Christian Church and the church of Christ is now 100 years old and that it is time to get over it. They even advocate fellowshipping the Christian Church, or at least the conservative wing. If the breach is to be healed, would it not be better to heal it by a return to admitted New Testament practice?

Finally, the fact that one does not see anything wrong with a piano misstates the issue. If the piano itself is the issue, it may seem a small thing to make such a big fuss over. However, the issue is not the piano; the piano is simply the subject matter of the issue. There are many other subject matters that fall into and illustrate the same issue. What then is the issue? The issue is the authority of the word of God! If the word of God can be set aside to bring in the piano, then what other matters can be set aside? The liberal wing of the Christian Church was at least honest enough to recognize that, once the authority of God's word had been set aside, there was no logical stopping place, including the diety of Jesus Christ. Nadab and Abihu though it was a "little thing" to offer strange fire on the altar of God. Those who know their Bible history know that God did not consider it so small. Leviticus 10:1-2. (Oops! That is an old time-worn argument. True, but it has never been answered!) Moses probably (almost certainly) thought it was "no big deal" when he struck the rock at Kadesh instead of speaking to the rock as God commanded. After all, God intended to provide water for the people and the people got their water. God, however, felt differently. God said of Moses' little change: "And Jehovah said unto Moses and Aaron, Because ye believed not in me, to sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them." (Numbers 20:12, emphasis added.) With God, it was a big thing because it demonstrated unbelief and a failure to sanctify Him as God. God proved true to the judgment pronounced upon Moses. Deuteronomy 32:49-52.

The true issue has been revealed -- the authority of the word of God. You either bow before the word of God and the God of the word, or you reject Him and His word for your own feelings and desires. You are a free moral agent and have the power to do so. Perhaps such unbelief and failure to sanctify God as God (God's words, not mine) would be without consequences if either you or the god whom you have erected had the power to save yourself, or if you were perfect and didn't need a Savior. I venture a guess that such is not so. So instead of recognizing your rebellious unbelieving spirit described in the examples of holy writ, you will accuse me of being a narrow-minded bigot who doesn't live in the modern world. It's always easier to blame others. The time will come, however, when you will stand before the God whose authority you have rejected, and you will have no one but yourself to blame for where you stand in that day.

"Who are you to judge," you ask? I openly and honestly tell you that I am no one to judge. I do however point you to the word of God and the God of the word: "He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my sayings, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I spake, the same shall judge him in the last day. For I spake not from myself; but the Father that sent me, he hath given me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak. And I know that his commandment is life eternal: the things therefore which I speak, even as the Father hath said unto me, so I speak." John 12:48-50.

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)