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Speaking When God Has Not Spoken
Speaking When God Has Not Spoken
In his third speech to the children of Israel, Moses stated this great truth in Deuteronomy 29:29, "The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but those things which are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.” In short, there are some things that God has revealed to us through the Holy Scriptures for us to know and to do while He has chosen not to make known all of His infinite wisdom. The apostle Paul wrote in I Corinthians 2:11, "even so the things of God knoweth no man.” The only way we can know what God wants us to know of the things that pertain to life and godliness is through the word that the Holy Spirit has given us (II Timothy 3:16,17; II Peter 1:3; II Timothy 2:15). Yet it is very common to hear denominational preachers assert that God has spoken to them directly and that their hearers should accept that as a matter of fact. I suppose that we can expect this of men who are not satisfied with the Holy Scriptures. But it is very disappointing to read where a brother in Christ has spoken when God has not spoken on some subjects.
This brother, like so many brethren of the liberal persuasion, has been very critical of the slogan that we have used over the years and that is to speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent. In particular he has reference to the use of instrumental music in our worship assemblies. He wrote, "Most of the old arguments were lame, built on shoddy understanding.” He would declare that our argument on the silence of the Scriptures regarding instrumental music would indeed be faulty. Yet he has the audacity to speak where the Bible is silent on this matter of the use of instruments in our worship assembly. He writes, "So here’s my take on instrumental music: GOD DOESN’T MUCH CARE” Now how does he know that? Where in the Bible is it written that God said He doesn’t care if we use instrumental music in our worship services? Furthermore this brother wrote, "So God bless the drums/guitars/saxophones that are played for the glory of God.” Well if God doesn’t care, why not use an entire orchestra when we are singing during our worship. My brethren it is no wonder that so many of our young men and women have no problem with the use of instruments in our worship services when this brother, who is a preacher/educator and editor, and others like him write in this manner and speak the same from the pulpits.
This brother speaks of the church as having a "heritage of being a cappella” and our being in "the a cappella tradition.” In other words he is saying that the church is simply a denomination and that we have a heritage and tradition of singing chapel style, that is, without the addition of instrumental music. And that we "don’t need to be ashamed of it.” This brother would assert, that "Preserving this a cappella heritage isn’t as important to me as it is to others.” He would also write of the nonuse of the instrument, "That doesn’t mark us as being the REAL people of God or as being RIGHT.” The use of instrumental music in the worship assembly did not originate with the first century church nor was it condoned in the word of God. It was a tradition that began in the Roman Catholic Church, and it was centuries later that the protestant churches began using it in their worship services. Since this tradition is an addition to the worship of the church that has not been ordained of God, it is a violation of His word. Jesus condemned such when he used the words of Isaiah (29:13) in Matthew 15:8-9, "These people draw near to Me with their mouth, And honor Me with they lips, But their heart is far from Me. And in vain they worship Me, Teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
Brethren it may be that we have been affirming a negative too long, that is, why churches of Christ do not use instrumental music in our worship services. It should be understood that those brethren who advocate and use the instrument have the burden to prove why they use the instruments. In other words, it is their responsibility to justify by the New Testament the addition of instruments of music in the worship service. While this brother makes light of our arguments against the use of the instrument, he does not make effort to prove that instrumental music is scriptural. Let us remember that our worship must be in "truth” and John 17:17 states, "Thy word is truth.”
Adapted: Bro Raymond Elliott
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