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The “Clanging Cymbal” Is Instrumental Music Acceptable To God in Worship Today?

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Presentation on theme: "The “Clanging Cymbal” Is Instrumental Music Acceptable To God in Worship Today?"— Presentation transcript:

1 The “Clanging Cymbal” Is Instrumental Music Acceptable To God in Worship Today?

2 Division of Material 1.Advocating a Positive Argument 2.Offering Historical Icebreakers 3.Answering Negative Arguments

3 “You don’t use instruments!?” Answer: God has specified vocal praise - the instrument, the heart. Who are we to add to God's command? Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16) … be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, (Ephesians 5:18b-19)

4 “Everybody uses instruments!” Fact #1: Instrumental music has been added to most Protestant churches within the past 200 – 150 years! Fact #2: Historically, the instrumentalist would be associated with a rebellious minority! Fact #3: Biblically, even O.T. instrumental worship was associated almost entirely with the temple.

5 Ante-Nicaean Fathers “The one instrument of peace, the word alone by which we honor God is what we employ. We no longer employ the ancient psaltery, the cymbal, the flute...” (Clement of Alexandria, 2 nd century) “The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly, in all the churches of God, we send up a unison melody.” (Eusebius of Caeserea, Comments on Psalm 91, 3 rd century) “It was only permitted to the Jews as sacrifice was for the heaviness and grossness of their souls. God condescended to their weakness because they were lately drawn from idols. But now instead of organs, we may use our own bodies to praise Him with all.” (John Chrysostom, 3 rd century)

6 Dark Ages & Catholic Church "Our church does not use musical instruments as harps and psalteries to praise God withal that she may not seem to Judaeize." (Summa Theologica, Thomas Aquinas, 1250 A.D.) “Although Josephus tells of the wonderful effects produced in the Temple by the use of instruments, the first Christians were of too spiritual fibre to substitute lifeless instruments for or to use them to accompany the human voice. Clement of Alexandria severely condemns the use of instruments even at Christian banquets (P.G., VIII, 4440). St. Chrysostom sharply contrasts the customs of the Christians at the time when they had full freedom with those of the Jews of the Old Testament (ibid., LV, 494-7). Similarly write a series of early ecclesiastical writers down to St. Thomas (Summa, II-II, Q.xci,a.2)” (“Music”, The Catholic Encyclopedia, X:651)

7 The Reformation Era – 1 “The churches of the city were purged of pictures, relics, crucifixes, altars, candles, and all ornaments. The pictures were broken and burned. The bones of saints were buried. Even the organ was removed, and the Latin singing of the choir abolished, but fortunately afterward, replaced with congregational singing of psalms and hymns in the vernacular.” (Schaff, Church History, vol.8) “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 the other shadows of the law. The papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews. Men who are fond of outward pomp may delight in that noise; but the simplicity which God recommends to us by the apostle is far more pleasing to Him.” (John Calvin on Psalm 33)

8 The Reformation Era – 2 “I have no objection to instruments of music in our chapels provided they are neither heard nor seen” (John Wesley, quoted in Adam Clarke's Commentary at Amos 6:5) “The Christian worship consisted in hymns, prayers, the reading of Scriptures, a discourse addressed to the people, and concluded with the celebration of the Lord's Supper” (Mosheim, Ecclesiastical History, I:303, published AD 1755) “Church psalmody, also passed over from the synagogue in the Christian Church. The Apostle Paul exhorts the primitive churches to sing spiritual songs. For this purpose were used the psalms of the Old Testament, and partly hymns composed expressly for this object, especially hymns of praise and of thanks to God and to Christ, such having been known to Pliny, as in customary use among the Christians of his time” (Neander, 1789-1850; General Church History, I:414)

9 The Reformation Era – 3 “It is heresy in the sphere of worship” (Giradeau, Instrumental Music in the Public Worship of the Church, p.179, 1888) “psallo never occurs in the New Testament, in its radical signification, to strike or play upon an instrument.” (Giradeau, Music in the Church, pp.116-118, 1888) “’Praise the Lord with the harp.’ Israel was at school, and used childish things to help her learn. But in these days, when Jesus gives us spiritual food, one can make melody without strings and pipes. We do not need them. They would hinder rather than help our praise. Sing unto Him! This is the sweetest and best music. No instrument is like the human voice.... We might as well pray by machinery as praise by it" (Spurgeon, The Treasury of David, comment on Psalm 42:4)

10 “The Bible does not say not to” God was not silent. He commanded vocal music. How well did presumption work for others in the past? Nadab and Abihu (Leviticus 10:1-3; Exodus 30:9, 34-38) “by those who come near Me I must be regarded as holy” King Saul (I Samuel 15:22-23) – “to obey is better than sacrifice, And to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, And stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.” Uzzah (II Samuel 6:3-9; I Chronicles 15:2, 13, 15) – “because we did not consult Him about the proper order.” King Uzziah (II Chronicles 26:16-21) – “But when he was strong his heart was lifted up, to his destruction”

11 “They used instruments in the Bible” True. However, it was limited to the OT temple worship. They also offered sacrificed, danced, burned incense, etc. – “What proves too much, proves too little.” Patriarchical Age – Exodus 15:1-21, Miriam and timbrels Pre-Davidic Mosaic Age – Numbers 10:1-10; 31:6, signal trumpets; Deuteronomy 31:19-22, singing Post-Davidic Mosaic Age – I Chronicles 13:1-13; 6:31- 32; 16:1-42; II Chronicles 29:25-28, authorized and commanded by God’s prophets Period of Exile – Only singing, Psalm 137:2-4 Temple Restoration – Instruments again, Ezra 3:10; Nehemiah 12:27

12 Modern Role of the Old Testament The O.T. stories and examples “were written for our learning” (Romans 15:4; I Corinthians 10:6, 11-12) They teach general principles regarding the nature of God, and they instill hope -> Attitude Adjustment Not Authoritative: –Romans 7:1-7 –Galatians 3:19-25 –Colossians 2:11-23 –Hebrews 8:13 –Deuteronomy 18:15-19; Matthew 17:1-5; 28:18-20 Keep one part, “debtor to the whole law” – James 2:10- 11; Galatians 5:1-4 Must rebuild the temple!? (II Chronicles 29:20-30)

13 “Instruments in Revelation…” References to instrumental music in heaven: Revelation 5:8-9; 14:2-3; 15:2-3 Offering incense – Revelation 5:8; 8:3-4 Dragon with cosmic dimensions – Revelation 12:1-4 Saved = 144,000 Hebrew virgin males – Revelation 7:4- 8; 14:1-4 John eating a book – Revelation 10:8-11 Beasts of fantasy – Revelation 16:4-7 Revelation contains figurative language – Revelation 1:1-3; 2:20; 9:17; 10:7, 11; 11:3, 6, 10, 18; 16:6, 13… Revelation’s application was immediate – Revelation 22:6-21

14 “The Greek, psallo, demands it” psallo (from psao, to rub, wipe; to handle, touch); a. “to pluck off, pull out”; etheiran, the hair. b. “to cause to vibrate by touching, to twang”; specifically xordev, “to touch” or “strike the chord, to twang the strings” of a musical instrument so that they gently vibrate; and absolute “to play on a stringed instrument, to play the harp”, etc.; Septuagint for niggen and much oftener for zimmer “to sing to the music of the harp”; in the New Testament "to sing a hymn, to celebrate the praises of God in song.“ (Thayer’s Greek Lexicon) Original meaning, “to pluck hair or beard”. Any generality of psalmos is limited by psallo. If inherent, then commanded – What about 1 st century?

15 “Instruments are an aid” Expediencies and aids only assist in obeying a command. They do not change or add to the original command. They are authorized by general commands. Instrumental music is another type of music; therefore, it is an addition. Pitch-pipes and tuning forks would be aids, because they do not rival as sources of music. God specified the kind of music desired. Who are we to add to His command? If the Israelites were already commanded to sing music, why did David need a command, if instruments are just an “aid” (II Chronicles 29:25-27)?

16 “Wrong to praise with my gift?” Assumption #1: Instrumental ability proceeds from God. Assumption #2: All gifts from God are suitable for public worship. Any talent, gift, or ability from God that is obviously not suitable for public worship would eliminate the assumptions and disprove the argument… Reductio ad Absurdum (Reduction To The Absurd) – proof by contradiction Athletics Acting ability Brain Surgery Woman’s Speaking Ability Entrepreneurial Talent Beauty Pageant Scholar’s Bowl Magic Show

17 “I have seen and felt the good...” Assumption #1: We can sense good and truth. “We walk by faith, not by sight” – II Corinthians 5:7 What about Mormons, Muslims, others who feel truth? Assumption #2: Good never comes from bad. God can bring good out of bad (Romans 11:28-33). For example, if an atheist doctor heals your child, will you become an atheist? We know God’s will through reading His Word (II Timothy 3:16-17; Ephesians 3:3-5)

18 “Not commanded, only optional” Assumption: Commands are always clearly identified as commands (John 15:12; Acts 17:30; I Thessalonians 4:11) Corroborative: Who greets with a “holy kiss”? Romans 16:16 #1: Bible commands us to follow examples (Philippians 3:17; 4:9; II Thessalonians 3:7) #2: Command are identified by grammar (imperative), not necessarily the presence of the word, “command”. “These twelve Jesus sent out and commanded them, saying: ‘Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans.’” (Matthew 10:5) See also: Matthew 22:35-40; 15:3-9; 17:9; 21:1-6; 28:18-20 #3: Apostolic writings are commands by default (I Corinthians 14:37-38) #4: Exceptions are clearly noted – I Corinthians 7:1-8:1

19 “What about ‘Christian’ Rock?” Such music is either worship, or it is not. If worship, then it is unscriptural (James 5:13) If it is not worship, then it is blasphemous for the words uttered vainly.

20 Conclusion – Our Attitude? What attitude is revealed by a determination to praise God through instrumental music in light of NT revelation?

21 Additional References Jenkins, Ferrell. The Early Church. Florida College Bookstore, Temple Terrace, FL. 1999. pp.61-66. Kurfees, M. C. Instrumental Music in the Worship or the Greek Verb Psallo. Gospel Advocate Company, Nashville, TN. 1975. 1911, orig. Earnhart, Paul. Instrumental Music. Spoken at Church of Christ in Douglass Hills, KY. November 20, 1994. %20Instrumental%20Music.mp3

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