Why We Do Not Use Instrumental Music in Worship
Worship is an expression of our love for God–homage paid to deity.
From the time of Cain and his worship to this very day, Satan has attempted to get men to worship God in vain. Do you know what vain means? It means useless. All worship is not acceptable worship. All worship is not beneficial to the worshipper.
Pagans worshiped in ignorance. Acts 17:23 “For as I passed along and observed the objects of your worship, I found also an altar with this inscription, ‘To the unknown god.’ These people were worshipping in ignorance.
Ancient Israel mixed wickedness and worship. Isaiah 1:13 “Bring no more vain offerings; incense is an abomination to me, New moon and Sabbath and the calling of convocations–I cannot endure iniquity and solemn assembly.” These people added the practices of others to their worship to God.
The answer to the problem in Israel is given in Isaiah 1:16, 17 “Wash yourselves; make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from before my eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.”
Those who worship according to man’s teaching do so in vain. Matthew 15:9 “in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.”
The only worship accepted by God is worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24).
Today, we are looking at worship, and “Why we do not use instrumental music in Christian worship.”
I. Biblical Worship Must Be Authorized
Authority from God comes through Christ and the apostles. This is how we got the New Testament.
1. John 16:7-13–The Holy Spirit guided the apostles into “all truth.”
2. John 17:8 “The words that you gave me, I given unto them…”
3. John 12:48 “all will be judged by the words of Christ.
4. The apostles wrote the commandment of Christ. I Corinthians 14:37
5. They wrote the words of the Holy Spirit. I Corinthians 2:12
The Bible is God’s inspired word (God breathed ESV) and has authority over our lives.
New Testament Passages relating to music in Christian Worship.
Matthew 26:30 “And when they had sung a hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives.”
Acts 16:25 “About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them,”
Romans 15:9 “Therefore I will praise you among the Gentiles, and sing to your name.”
I Corinthians 14:15 “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.”
Ephesians 5:19 “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart.” (Notice that we are to sing to one another. An instrument cannot do that.)
Colossians 3:16 “Let the word of Christ dwell in your richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God.” (Notice that our singing teaches and encourages each other. An instrument cannot do that.)
Hebrews 2:12 “I will tell of your name to my brothers; in the midst of the congregation I will sing your praise.”
James 5:13 “Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? let him sing praise.”
Each of these passages specifies vocal-only singing as the kind of music authorized for Christian worship. The law of exclusion and inclusion must be understood.
A specific command excludes-while a generic command includes. Example: “God says you must sleep on white sheets.” Then the command is specific and we know exactly what God wants. But if he says, “Sleep on sheets.” Then this is more general and they color, type and fabric would be us to us.
a. There are two types of music, vocal & instrumental
b. The New Testament specifies vocal-only, therefore…
c. Instrumental music is excluded.
There are several Old Testament illustrations of this principle. Often, we note that Noah built the ark with a specific type of wood. The command to do so excluded the substitution or the addition of other types of wood. We also often mention the worship offered by two sons of Aaron. They knew the law of God, but ignored what they were told to do and added “strange fire” to their worship. God was not pleased and killed them on the spot.
A modern illustration would go like this. You go to your favorite Burger place and order the #1 combo, and supersize it. Then when the food comes, you receive something else. Well, did you authorize a substitution? No, you said what you wanted, and expected to receive what you ordered. When you ordered you did not have to says, I don’t want combo #2, I don’t want combo #3, I don’t want onion rings instead of fries, I don’t want a shake instead of a drink…etc.
We can take this principle and apply it to vocal-only worship. To argue that “if singing was so important to God He would have made it clearer” is to totally misunderstand how to read Scripture. God has said what He wants, and He expects to receive what He has asked for.
II. What can be said of Instrumental Music in Christian Worship?
Instrumental music is not authorized by Jesus Christ.
Colossians 3:17 “And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
Who has the authority over our worship? Jesus. Jesus did not teach or authorize the addition of instruments to our vocal-only praise. Therefore, instrumental praise is not a part of the doctrine of Christ.
2 John 9 “Everyone who goes on ahead and does not abide in the teaching of Christ, does not have God. Whoever abides in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”
instrumental music was not taught by the apostles.
Matthew 28: 19-20 The apostles were commanded to teach new converts “to observe all things that I (Jesus) had commanded them…”
The apostles did not add to Jesus’ teaching by authorizing the use of instruments. Therefore, instrumental music is not part of the “apostles’ doctrine” Acts 2:42
Instrumental Music is not taught by the Holy Spirit
The Holy Spirit was to guide the apostles into “all truth” (John 16:13). The Holy Spirit did not guide the apostles to use instrumental music. Therefore, this addition is not according to truth.
There is a lot more that needs to be said, but We believe that the Bible is clear in its instruction regarding Christian worship.
We desire to be pleasing to the Lord and therefore, we worship as Jesus directs us through His Holy Spirit inspired Word.
The question of instrumental music in Christian worship involves a deeper principle…the authority of Scripture.
So, does the Bible have authority over what you say and do?
Does it have any sway over how you worship your Creator?
Do you regard the Word of God as authoritative?
What we be governed by a “thus says the Lord” or shall “every man do that which is right in his own eyes?”
Our plea is for a return to the New Testament for our worship and practice. Will you join us in standing up for what the New Testament says about vocal-only praise?