A Brief Abstract On Worship
It would be difficult to hear of a more complete
absurdity than the modern palaver that there is no divinely
authorized order, principle, or pattern set forth in the New
Testament for Christians to adhere to in worshipping God. I will
state the case thusly: There is a stated form of worship set
forth in the inspired word to govern me as I worship God, or there
are no principles to which I must subscribe as I worship Almighty
By the foregoing statement, I do not mean to convey
the idea that there are no rules to govern our worship as to
HOW, WHO, WHEN, and WHICH activities to be engaged
in by the worshipper. There are some incidentals to be sure as we
think about worship.
There is no mandate for every congregation to meet for
worship at the same time each Lords Day. We do not subscribe
to the idea that each action of worship must be followed by the
same acts of worship in each congregation. Different acts of
worship can be participated in as the first acts of worship in some
congregations whereas the same acts can be seen engaged in as the
last activities of worship in other congregations. Insofar as I
know, the Bible does not mandate that we are to follow the same
procedures in our worship each Lords Day. On one Sunday we
might begin our worship services with the singing of some good
scriptural songs. On another Sunday we might begin the worship
period by having a good brother to lead the congregation in prayer.
Who can say that such is unscriptural?
Every child of God will admit that there is a command
as well as a privilege set forth to worship or there is not
any mandate stated for man to worship God.
Suppose we contend that there is not any Bible
instruction given for man to consider as he contemplates worship.
In other words, we do not have any information relative to worship
which might guide us along the way. If there is no information
regarding worship, can there be any such thing as disorder or error
when we worship? Can there be innovations in worship if there are
no instructions pertaining to worship? We insist that there can be
no transgressions concerning worship, if there is no rule or law
regarding worship. What is disorder, but acting contrary
to order? What is transgression, but allowing self to go
across the line, rule or realm of authority? We engage in error
when we stray away from the scriptural standard.
A very pertinent question would be, Why do
children of God assemble together to worship on the first day of
the week? If there is no pattern or information regarding
Lords Day worship, may all Christians refuse to meet together
for worship on the first day of the week?
People tell me that I am supposed to meet with the
saints of like precious faith on Sunday (Heb. 10:25). Since there
is no pattern for worship as some say, can I willfully refuse to
assemble and fail to participate in any activities of worship?
One fellow in our area, who appears to be real smart
according to some people, seems to be happy saying, I reject
pattern theology. If there is no pattern for worship, will it
suffice for a few people to assemble some morning and sing for two
hours and then go home? Would it suffice for a group of brethren to
meet together and read for two hours, and then adjourn to their
home? The Christian Scientists will tell you HOW to
read. Is there any specific law which regulates how we spend our
time in worship on the Lords Day? How can Christians violate
a rule that does not exist?
The Bible teaches that there are specific acts of
worship which the early church engaged in. Those acts comprise the
actions of worship today. We are not at liberty to dispense with
them. If the acts of worship are divinely taught in one
congregation, then such acts are uniformly found in all other
congregations where faithful saints are found.
If no established rule or standard is given for men
to assemble and worship God, then it would follow that all sorts of
mundane activities could be followed as the whims of men dictate.
A worship service without rule or reason is irrational and foolish.
How completely unreasonable do men become when they
declare that God must be worshipped but He has not told us HOW
to worship Him. We must never become disposed to tell God
HOW He should be worshipped. Such amounts to sheer
mockery of the truth which declares, God is a Spirit and they
that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth (John
Thank God for the truth which tells us WHO
is to be worshipped and HOW He is to be worshipped.
It is truly sad that a few men will presume to cast
the truth aside, and tragically, they can always find any number of
supporters to encourage them. Try to imagine the Bible being silent
on WHO and HOW to worship.
If we are not instructed by the Bible regarding our
worship, then we are no better off than those who read the Book of
Mormon, Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures and the
God is the object and the Truth is our guide in
worship. Which can we cast aside?
In order to make the worship of God of no value and
without merit, Satan has convinced many people to continue to
observe the old Jewish law regarding the Sabbath day.
The Lords Day or first day of the week is
completely rejected by Sabbatarians. What would some liberal
brother say to people who insist on keeping the Sabbath Day? If one
would object to the Sabbath keepers, why would objections be made?
Sabbath Day keepers kindle fires in violation of the
law (Exodus 33:3). They refuse to abide in their houses on the
Sabbath (Exodus 16:29). They bear all kinds of burdens as needs
arise. All kinds of work is performed on the Sabbath Day or
Saturday. It is a fact that all normal persons violate the Sabbath
laws of the Old Testament.
The Sabbath Day was given only to the Jews. Moses
wrote, And remember that thou was a servant in the land
of Egypt and that the Lord thy God brought thee out thence through
a mighty hand and by a stretched out arm; therefore the Lord thy
God commanded thee to keep the Sabbath day (Deut. 5:15).
The writer also said, Wherefore the children of Israel
shall keep the Sabbath to observe the Sabbath throughout their
generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and
the children of Israel forever (Exodus 31:16-17).
The Gentiles were not brought out of Egypt and the
Sabbath was never given to them as a sign. Moreover, the Gentiles
were charged in the New Testament with committing numerous sins but
not one time were they ever charged with violating the Sabbath. The
Sabbath Day sustained the same relationship to the Jew as
circumcision. Neither was a part of the new covenant.
The Sabbath was one of many Holy Days to be observed
by those under the old law. Christians were never instructed to
observe a single one of those holy days. May we ask why? Early
Christians were careful to meet on the first day of the week to
worship. They did not do so by any principle contained in
Moses law. It seems strange that God would set forth laws and
regulations for the people to worship Him under the Old Covenant
but keep completely silent about the manner of worship under the
When Peter preached on Solomons porch, he quoted
Moses who wrote, For Moses truly said unto the fathers,
A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your
brethren like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever
he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul
which will not hear that prophet shall be destroyed from among the
people (Acts 3:22-23).
Under the new covenant, there was a new table for
Christians to gather around. The apostle wrote, Ye cannot
drink the cup of the Lord and the cup of devils: ye cannot be
partakers of the Lords Table and the table of devils
(I Cor. 10:21).
I would make a strong appeal for each child of God to
make every effort to worship God in an orderly manner (I Cor. 14:40). We need to be overly cautious as we plan and prepare for
We know the apostles did not sit by and allow the
Christians to worship in a wrongful manner. Luke records,
Upon the first day of the week, the disciples met together to
break bread and Paul preached unto them (Acts 20:7). The
purpose of meeting together was to break bread. Of course Luke did
not say, each and every first day of each and every week.
It happened that on the first day of the week, Paul was present to
break bread with the disciples. Luke did not need to spell out
EVERY first day of every week. Among those who object to
members of the church of Christ breaking bread each Lords Day,
the same can be said about meeting on the first day. The hue and
cry is made that we must assemble together. Sincere people say,
If we do not habitually meet together, the preacher cannot
receive his weekly check, but we do not have to keep the communion
If assembling together was a mere matter of opinion,
so was the communion and vice-versa. By what authority do people
gather together on Sunday? If the disciples did not break bread
each first day, they did not meet together each first day. If they
met together each first day, they broke bread each first day of the
week. The two stand or fall together.
Please consider that the inspired apostle used the
definite article -- the -- which denotes a stated time.
Luke did not say, Upon a first day of a week some disciples
met together. The disciples who met together were
in Troas. They were not in Corinth, Laodicea or Rome. A stated time
was given by the use of a definite article. The purpose of the
assembly in Troas was to break bread. The time of the assembling
was upon the first day of the week.
When Paul wrote to the church in Corinth, he attempted
to help the congregation which was having trouble concerning the
communion (I Cor. 9:2). It is actually declared that some will say,
when the apostle declared, As oft as ye eat, he meant
that the apostle gave brethren the liberty to eat when they wanted
Again there are those who say that the frequent
observance of the Lords supper on each Lords Day, will
cause the great event to lose its solemnity and it becomes rather
commonplace. According to the idea of some folks, the utterance
means, the more frequent, the less solemn. The opposite
would be, the less frequent, the more solemn. Such a consideration
is not worthy of ones time or attention. Does it really follow
that the less we pray, the more precious prayer becomes? Does the
preacher who palavers against the weekly communion observance try
to get serious about the weekly collection? Sometimes we wonder
whatever became of common sense.
In my library are several different creed books. Each
one is different from all others. Also, each one attempts to
present a plan for man to worship God.
It is still true as was taught by our Lord hundreds
of years ago, and we need to give heed thereto. Jesus declared,
But in vain they do worship me teaching for doctrines the
commandments of men (Matt. 15:9).
705 Hillview Dr.
Mt. Juliet, TN 37122
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What Some Denominational People
Instruments Of Music
Garland M. Robinson
The vast majority of denominational churches today use
instrumental music in worship. However, the church of Christ does not use it. The Lords people are content with the
original New Testament practice of congregational singing.
As far as history records, mechanical instruments of
music did not have their introduction into any type of Christian
worship until about 670 A.D. And even then, it was met with violate
opposition. That means for well over 600 years, instrumental music
was not used in worship. It was man who introduced it, not God. It
did not gain widespread acceptance for 1,000 years after the church
was established in the first century.
There is not one shred of evidence in the Bible from
Matthew 1:1 through Revelation 22:21, that it was ever
commanded or that it was ever practiced, nor is it
even implied! God specifies the kind of music he wants
and in every passage it is always SINGING, never playing!
Since its first introduction in the 7th century, many
since then have opposed its introduction and use in worship. It is
interesting to note what some of these well-known religious
reformers in centuries past have said on the subject. And, even
though their words are quoted here, it is to be understood that
mechanical instruments are wrong and sinful because the Bible gives
no authority for them, not because these men opposed them. However,
to show that members of the church of Christ are not alone in
recognizing this basic Bible truth, note what many others have said
concerning the use of instruments of music in worship.
Adam Clarke, recognized by many to be a
distinguished Methodist scholar, made these comments concerning
Amos 6:5 (Clarkes Commentary, Vol. IV, p.684): ...The use
of such instruments of music, in the Christian Church, is
without the sanction and against the
will of God; that they are subversive of the spirit
of true devotion, and that they are sinful. ... I
am an old man, and an old minister; and I here declare that I
never knew them productive of any good in the worship of God; and
have had reason to believe that they were productive of much evil.
Music, as a science, I esteem and admire; but
instruments of music in the house of God I abominate and abhor.
This is the abuse of music; and here I register my protest
against all such corruptions in the worship of the Author of
John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church
said: I have no objection to instruments of music in our
chapels, provided they are neither heard nor
John Calvin, founder of the Presbyterian
Church (John Calvins Commentary, 23rd Psalm): Musical
instruments in celebrating the praises of God would be no more
suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, and
the restoration of other shadows of the law. The Papists,
therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other
things, from the Jews.
Charles H. Spurgeon preached to 20,000 people
every Sunday for 20 years in the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle in
London in the 1800s and never were mechanical instruments of music
used in these services. When asked why, he quoted I Corinthians
14:15, I will pray with the spirit and I will pray with the
understanding also; I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing
with the understanding also. He then declared: I
would as soon pray to God with machinery as to sing to God with
Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Church,
opposed the use of the instrument in worship (McClintock & Strong,
Vol. VI, p.762). He called the organ an ensign of
Baal. An ensign is a flag, banner, sign, signal or
badge. Luther called the organ a banner of idolatry, a sign or
signal of sin.
John Knox, a Presbyterian preacher called the
organ a kist (chest) of whistles.
(McClintock & Strong, Vol. VI, p.762).
W. J. Conybeare and J. S. Howson, both
of the Church of England commented on Ephesians 5:19 by saying
(Life and Epistles of St. Paul, Vol. II, p.408): Throughout
the whole passage there is a contrast implied between the Heathen
and the Christian practice. ...When you meet, let your enjoyment
consist not in fulness of wine, but fulness of the Spirit; let your
songs be, not the drinking songs of heathen feasts, but psalms and
hymns; and their accompaniment, not the music of the lyre, but the
melody of the heart; while you sing them to the praise not of
Baccus or Venus, but of the Lord Jesus Christ.
J. H. Garrison from the Christian Church said:
There is no command in the New Testament, Greek or English,
commanding the use of the instrument. Such a command would be
entirely out of harmony with the New Testament.
Lyman Coleman, a Presbyterian scholar
commented: It is generally admitted that the primitive
Christians employed no instrumental music in their Christian
worship. Neither Ambrose, nor Basil, nor Chrysostom, in the
noble encomiums which they severally pronounce upon music, make any
mention of instrumental music. Basil condemns it as ministering
only to the depraved passion of men. Musical accompaniments were
gradually introduced; but can hardly be assigned to a period
earlier than the fifth or sixth centuries. Organs were unknown
in the church until the eighth or ninth century. Previous to
this they had their place in theater rather than in the church.
They were never regarded with favor in the Eastern Church, and were
vehemently opposed in many places in the West.
Joseph Bingham, who was of the Church of
England: ...music in the church is as ancient as the
apostles, but instrumental music is not.
John Giradeau, a Presbyterian professor wrote
that the Church, although lapsing more and more into defection
from the truth and into corruption of apostolic practice, had
no instrumental music for twelve hundred years.
The Jews did not use mechanical instruments of
music in the tabernacle and the synagogue -- although it was used
in the temple. Winford C. Douglas, in Church Music History and
Practice, p.15, states: The synagogue music was an
adoption without musical instruments of the temple music.
It wasnt until 1815, in Berlin, that the first
instrument was introduced in the Jewish Synagogue under
violent opposition by many of its members. The first use of it in
America by Jews was in Charleston, South Carolina, in 1840. There
was bitter opposition to it resulting in a court trial with the
ultimate victory given to the instrument.
Alexander Campbell wrote: I presume,
to all spiritually-minded Christians such...would be as a cowbell
in a concert.
David Lipscomb wrote: The church that
adopts instrumental music goes into apostasy.
People today may quibble and bicker over the use of
instruments of music in worship and say that the practice must be
acceptable to God if it comes from the heart, but the silence of a
thus saith the Lord cannot be ignored.
It must be remembered that the apostles were inspired.
They were guided infallibly by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit
in teaching the Will of God and showing the church how to worship.
Bible history and secular history both bear out the fact that
mechanical instruments of music were not used in the worship of God
in the church. This point is insurmountable and overwhelming.
Regardless of what men may say about this verse or
that verse or this argument or that
argument, the apostles were guided into all truth
(John 16:13). However, they were not guided to use mechanical
instruments of music. Therefore, their use is sinful since it
stands without any inspired authority.
They stand on nothing more than mans whim. They
are plants that our heavenly Father did not plant and in the end,
they shall be rooted up and cast into a furnance of fire along with
those who use, endorse, propogate and defend them (Matt. 15:13)!
Jesus clearly taught about the danger of manmade
doctrine when he spoke to the religious leaders of His time. He
said: But in vain they do worship me [God], teaching for
doctrines the commandments of men (Matt. 15:9).
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What Does Colossians 3:17 Have
To Do With The
Garland M. Robinson
Colossians 3:17 states a principle: And
whatsoever ye DO in WORD or DEED, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. To do
something in the name of means by his
authority. When you send someone to the bank to do some
business for you, they act in your name or upon your
authority. When the police go to someones door, they can
say, open in the name of the law. That means, they have
the authority to command you to open your door.
Colossians 3:17 demands that we have a thus saith
the Lord for all we SAY and DO. Since singing is something we
do, we must have a thus saith the Lord for it. So, the
question is, where does God tell us to use mechanical instruments
of music in worship? The answer is NOWHERE. If we use them, we do
so without his authority because we cant point to any place in
his word to authorize (prove) it.
Some say, God didnt say not to use
them. But, consider this, if you take a prescription to the
pharmacist and he returns it to you with two or three other
medicines, you will certainly ask why did you include
these other drugs? He may reply by saying, the doctor
didnt say I couldnt add them. He would be in big
trouble because he acted on his own. He did not have authority from
the doctor to make additions. Why isnt it the same way with
God? Who are we to act on our own and add to what God has
The following verses condemn acting on our own.
Rev. 22:18-19, For I testify unto every man
that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man
shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the
plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall
take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God
shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the
holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
II John 9, Whosoever transgresseth, and
abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that
abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the
Some contend that since we are to use psalms in our
singing (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16) and psalms are found in the Old
Testament, then we can use anything else out of the Old Testament,
including instrumental music. However, psalms can be used to sing
praises to God because Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 tell us
to sing them. These passages do not tell us to
play them. What men like or what sounds good to
us is not the point. The question is, what does God tell
us to do? Also, consider this, for one to appeal to the Old
Testament to support playing instruments of music, shows that
nothing can be found in the New Testament to authorize their use,
for if it could, they would point to it.
Some also contend that mechanical instruments are used
in heaven; therefore, we can use them now. However, the question is
not what may or may not have been done in the
Old Testament or what may or may not be done in
heaven. The question is, what does God tell us to do NOW, in
the church? I dare not take it upon myself to add to Gods
word nor take from it. If God wanted us to use mechanical
instruments of music, he certainly would have told us to.
Those who contend for a thing have the burden of
proof upon them to support their action. So, if you support
instruments of music being used today, we challenge you to simply
point to a passage that authorizes their use. But, well tell
you up front, IT CANT BE DONE.
Table of Contents
Marvin L. Weir
The above title is from an article by Rick Atchley
that is proudly posted on Abilene Christian
(www.acu.edu/acutoday/summer2006.html). ACU honored Rick with a
Distinguished Alumni Citation in 2006, and the article
contains his comments upon receiving the award. Rick credits ACU
with influencing him until his graduation in 1978, and then
continuing to influence him through Bible Lectureships,
relationships with professors, and insight from the books they
have authored. He states that there are five themes in
[his] ministry -- big thoughts -- and the seeds for them were
planted through my relationship to the university. I want to
put at least three of Ricks big thoughts that he and
ACU are so very proud of, under the microscope of Gods Word.
1) First, the gospel of Christ is bigger
than all other doctrines. I didnt know that when I first
enrolled at ACU. I used to think that all biblical interpretations
were equal in importance and in relation to salvation. My view was
quickly challenged by the diversity of views I encountered in my
It is obvious that Rick was better off before
enrolling in ACU than after enrolling! Does the Bible say the
gospel of Christ is bigger than all other doctrines? No, but
Atchley does! Both gospel and doctrine refer
to the same thing -- Gods truth that saves! What is truth?
Gods Word is truth (John 17:17). The Gospel is Gods
revelation to man. It is a reference to the way, the plan, the
system, the scheme God has designed, devised and delivered to make
man righteous (System of Salvation, James Boyd,
p.8). Is one part of the Gospel that God has devised to make man
righteous bigger than another part? I think not!
John says, Whosoever transgresseth, and
abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that
abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the
Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine,
receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he
that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds
(II John 9-11). The doctrine (KJV) or teaching
(ASV) is the teaching Christ did personally through Himself and His
apostles. Regardless of what Atchley would have one to believe,
there is no big or little teaching or doctrine
of Christ! One who will not abide in all the teaching or doctrine
of Christ is not to be fellowshipped.
Atchley quips that when Jesus was asked about the most
important law, He did not reply, Well, theyre all
equal. Instead, Atchley rightly notes that Jesus answers the
scribe, saying, The first is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord
our God, the Lord is one: and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with
all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and
with all thy strength. The second is this, Thou shalt love thy
neighbor as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than
these (Mark 12:29-31). Is it not obvious that Jesus is
teaching that this is the foundation for all other matters? Proper
love for God will motivate one to do all that God would have him to
do. As Jesus said, If ye love me, keep my
commandments [not just the big one] (John 14:15).
Acthley has decided that the emphasis a
subject deserves in [his] sermons is based on its proximity to the
cross. The closer it is to the cross, the more I must talk about
it. The gospel of Christ is bigger than all other doctrines.
It is obvious that for Atchley and his followers the
Gospel is believing in Jesus Christ and His death, burial, and
resurrection. Atchley has decided he and his brothers are
not going to agree on everything. We are going to be wrong on some
things, but hes my brother if hes right on Jesus.
Atchley is famous for quoting himself and absolutely no
Scripture! One cannot be right on Jesus and not abide in
the doctrine [teaching, ASV] of Christ (II John 9)!
2) Second, the grace of God is bigger than
any sin or mistake. Atchley credits Lynn Anderson for
helping him understand that his salvation didnt
depend on [his] moral or doctrinal perfection, but on [his] faith
in the perfect Son of God. Atchley then says,
Before I knew that, I would have had no good news for the
woman who was married five times.
The liberals teach that Gods grace covers sins
of which sinners refuse to repent. Christ did not say to the woman
to whom Atchley refers, I have good news for you. You may
because of my grace remain with the one you now call your
husband. Christ did say, Go, call thy husband, and come
hither. The woman answered and said unto him, I have no husband.
Jesus saith unto her, Thou saidst well, I have no husband: for thou
hast had five husbands; and he whom thou now hast is not thy
husband: this hast thou said truly (John 4:16-18). The Bible
teaches it is repent or perish (Luke 13:3), not remain in
adultery and be covered by Gods grace!
3) Then finally, at ACU, I began to
understand that the kingdom of God is bigger than we realize.
Atchley then refers to the incident in Mark 9:38-40 and
declares, It took me a while, but I finally understood
that just because someone is not one of us doesnt
mean they are not one of Christs. It will never again be my
agenda to oppose anybody who is doing good in the name of
The one who did not follow the apostles was simply not
one of them. It is obvious he was not a false teacher or member of
a denomination. First, he cast out demons, a power given to the
apostles (Mark 3:15) and seventy others (Luke 10:1ff). Second,
Jesus commended his work, thus, he could not have been a false
Atchley and ACU believe the kingdom of God is bigger
than the Lords church! Obviously, Atchley and his followers
desire to fellowship those who abideth not in the
doctrine/teaching of Christ. The faithful will not partake of
his evil works (II John 10-11). Atchley should study
instead of glance at the Holy Scriptures!
1272 Bonham St.
Paris, TX 75460
NOTE: Rick Atchley and the Richland Hills Church of Christ
in Richland Hills, Texas, has introduced mechanical
instruments of music into their worship and have also
included a worship service wherein they observe the
Lords supper on Saturday. Please pray that Rick, the
the whole church will see the error of their ways and repent
before its too late. --editor
Table of Contents
The Fight Is On
The battle rages, and the Captain of our army encourages us
to stand in the gap, to put on the whole armor of
God...and having done all, to stand.
A recent bulletin reported that the Episcopalian
Church is on the verge of allowing homosexuals into their
pulpits. Another bulletin reports that the Catholic Church
is about to capitulate on this same moral issue. Meanwhile,
toleration is in, opposition is out, and it is apparent that our
brethren are about to succumb to the same kind of
pluralistic thinking that is sweeping our society.
Judge not that ye be not judged has become the
battle cry for those weak of spirit. Controversy is no longer
politically correct, whether it be in the political or the
religious realm. I, for one, am grateful that neither Jesus, nor
His apostles, ever adopted such a philosophy in order to promote
and promulgate the faith once for all delivered to the
saints (Jude 3). Had the restorationist pioneers held to the
same attitude toward religious division and error as some of our
brethren do today, they would never have gotten to first base in
bringing about a restoration of the ancient order of things.
J. S. Lamar wrote the following approximately 30 years
after the death of Alexander Campbell. I share it for no other
reason than to show that firm conviction and a stalwart stand for
the truth is the only way by which the citadels of error will ever
be torn down and the truth of God exalted. Here is what brother
Every party had made its own creed, and set forth
its conception of Christianity in a form chosen by itself. Every
builder had erected a structure in accordance with his own
architectural ideas and designs; and the results were satisfactory
to the builders and really, for human structures, very good. It was
while resting in fancied security in these corrupted and beautiful
temples, the product of their skill and the pride of their hearts,
that Alexander Campbell, as with the voice of Gods thunder and
the sword of Gods Spirit, broke upon them, and aroused them to
a sense of their danger. Now, if instead of thus assaulting them,
he had been content to accept their gauge, and to meet them on
their own chosen ground, both the conflict and the result had been
different. They were fully prepared to contest the question of
comparative merit; and if the issue had been, for example, whether
the English church was better or worse than the German; whether the
Methodist had more or less truth than the Presbyterian; whether the
creed, the doctrines, the practices, of any given sect,
approximated in more respects than those of some others to the
apostolic model and teaching -- in such case the conflict would
have been most welcome. But Mr. Campbell did not condescend to
engage in any such useless strife. The peculiarities of sects and
their varying degrees of excellency were treated only as
side-issues and incidents, while with ponderous and pounding logic
he battered upon the very basis of sectarianism -- contending that,
whether they had more of the truth or less, they were still wrong,
fundamentally wrong, wrong in being sects, wrong in not being what
Christ had founded, while yet assuming to occupy the place, to
command respect, and to wield the authority of the divine
institution. And now the fight was on. It was Alexander Campbell
against the whole sectarian world -- and all this world combining
to resist him.
Thank God for such men as Mr. Campbell, Racoon
John Smith, Barton W. Stone, and a host of courageous men who
refused to bow to the pluralistic mind-set that so
dominates our world, yea even our own brotherhood at this very
It is readily admitted that when we take a stand on the
side of truth, we will be criticized. But at least we know we stand
with good company, for so persecuted they the prophets
that were before you (Matt. 5:12b). And, should it be
our lot to stand alone, or at best with the minority, and should
the host of the armies of darkness assail us, we can be assured
that in the final analysis, when all has been said and done, and we
stand before the Captain of our army, we will hear the sweet words,
Enter thou into the joys of thy Lord. It will have been
a well fought battle, and the victory shall be ours to enjoy for
Wherefore, my beloved brethren, be ye
steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord,
forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the
Lord (I Cor. 15:58).
Table of Contents
Instrumental Music In Worship Is Sinful
Kenneth E. Thomas
Mechanical instrumental music in worship is wrong
(SINFUL) because of at least the following reasons:
1. Its Use Does Not Respect The Silence
of the Scriptures (I Peter 4:11).
The oracles of God have been revealed, i.e. His Word
(Jude 3; Heb. 1:1-2; II John 9; Eph. 3:1-6; I Cor. 2:1-13). The New
Testament is called the Perfect Law of Liberty (James
In the New Testament we find no mention of mechanical
instruments, so, they cannot be used and still speak as the
oracles of God. Likewise, we cannot claim to believe in the
perfect law of Christ while using something unauthorized
therein (Luke 6:46)! See II Timothy 3:16-17 and II Peter 1:3.
Mechanical instruments in worship cannot be defended
as a part of the revelation Jesus called all truth (John
16:12-13) because they are not mentioned therein!
The will of Christ is based on what it says, not on
what it does not say (Heb. 7:14)! Why were there no priests from
the tribe of Judah under the Old Testament? Because Moses spake
nothing about such, thats why! Men must learn to respect the
silence of God as well as when and what He
2. Its Use Violates The Principle of Walking
by Faith (II Cor. 5:7).
Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the
word of Christ (Rom. 10:17; John 6:44-45; Matt.
28:19-20; Rom. 10:14-15).
Since not one passage of Scripture authorizes the use
of mechanical instruments of music in worship, it cannot be an act
of faith. Paul says whatsoever is not of faith is
sin (Rom. 14:23). No act can possibly be an act of faith
without any Scriptural instruction. See II John 9.
The New Testament authorizes singing (Matt. 26:30;
Mark 14:26; Acts 16:25; Rom. 15:9; I Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col.
3:16; Heb. 2:12; Heb. 13:14; James 5:13). Singing is vocal music.
Playing is mechanical instrumental music. That is adding another
kind of music. It is impossible to obey the Lords
commands in these passages by playing a mechanical instrument! One
must sing to do what is commanded in them. Dont forget Cain as
well as Nadab and Abihu as you consider your actions in this
matter. See Revelation 22:18-19 and Leviticus 10:1-4.
3. Mechanical Instruments Violate the Principle
of Promoting Unity Among Followers of Christ.
All Christians are encouraged to have the mind
of Christ (Phil. 2:5). If in fact we do, we will desire and
work for unity among His followers based on His apostles words
just as He prayed we should (John 17:17,20-21). We will be content
to abide in the apostles doctrine as did early
disciples (Acts 2:42). Paul, an inspired apostle, admonishes us to
all speak the same thing and have no divisions among us
(I Cor. 1:10). He calls man-made divisions a sign of
carnality, not of spirituality in (I Cor. 3:1-3).
Wherever the instrument has been introduced into
assemblies among brethren, it has caused division. Those who opt
for its use admit that the Scriptures are silent about its use.
They also admit that it is scriptural not to use it. They still,
however, attempt to justify its use as an expedient. Some equate it
with a song leader, lights, notes, the parts such as bass, alto,
tenor or soprano. The fact is that when we use all of those things
which are indeed aids to singing, all we have done is to SING! When
an instrument is added, you have another kind of music. See?
There are three rules by which we may determine an
expedient: It must be lawful (II John 9; Col. 3:17). It must not
destroy the faith of brethren (I Cor. 1:8-13; 10:32-33). It must
not cause division (John 17:20-21; Eph. 4:1-2; I Cor. 1:10).
4. Mechanical Instruments Destroy The Fundamental
Principle of Worship. We Must Worship in Truth! (John 4:24)
The standard of truth is Gods word (John 8:31-32;
The truth only authorizes singing (Eph. 5:19; Col.
Instrumental music in worship belongs to the doctrines
and commandments of men which Christ Jesus says renders ones
worship vain (Matt. 15:9).
Table of Contents
[EDITORS NOTE: In the March 2007 issue of the
Mailbag, I printed a letter from Dee Brown where he requested that
I remove from the mailing list the Bayside congregation located at
1682 Weeksville Road, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. I should not
have printed the entirety of his comments and apologize to the
church there for doing so. None of the brethren from the church
there has requested that they be removed from the mailing list.]
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