The Wreckage Of Innovations
In Moses E. Lard Quarterly, the October issue published in 1867, a Dr. Christopher wrote an article which set forth the sin of the use of instruments of music in worship. Bro. Lard wrote this note following his article:
"It is with real pleasure that I give this tranquil and excellent article to the readers of the Quarterly. I do not remember to have seen anything better on the topic of which it treats. I deem it simply conclusive against the use of instrumental music in the churches of Christ. In the fear of God I hope all disciples will read it.
"The question of instrumental music in the church of Christ involves a great and sacred principle. But for this, the subject is not worthy of one thought at the hands of the child of God. That principle is the right of men to introduce innovations into the prescribed worship of God. This right we utterly deny. The advocates of instrumental music affirm it. This makes the issue. As sure as the Bible is a divine book, we are right and they are wrong. Time and facts will prove the truth of this. The churches of Christ will be wrecked the day the adverse side triumphs; and I live in fear that it will do it. Our brethren are now freely introducing melodeons into their Sunday schools. This is but the first step to the act, I fear. As soon as the children of these schools go into the church, in goes the instrument with them. Mark this."
Bro. Lard's warning was not heeded. Time did prove that his fear came true. The instruments of music came and the following of the principle of the right of man to introduce innovations wrecked and destroyed all semblance of the church in the New Testament. The modern Christian church is the proof. We should always remember that when the fence of faith is broken down in one place the cattle will get out.
We should also learn from this fragment of history that a practice introduced by one generation, in all probability, will grow to greater proportions in the next. The parents of the children of Bro. Lard's day introduced the melodeon into the Sunday school, and the children; brought it into the church. Because of this I fear for the church of the future. This generation has introduced recreation of all sorts which is so closely connected with the church that the young people of this day look upon these activities as the activities of the church. Bulletins are given over to advertising of parties, showers, ball games, etc.; and the facilities of the church are used to promote secular matters and human institutions. If these things are not now in the church, when the children of this generation go into the church, in will come these things with them. This is inevitable, unless the young people of this generation are wiser and better taught than their parents.
In order to better teach this next generation, an issue should always be made when men decide that they have the right to introduce anything that God has not prescribed in the organization, work and worship of the church. People who respect the God of heaven will not hesitate to call a halt on those who presume such privileges with the divine truths of our Lord. The cry will not be, because we are at peace we will tolerate these departures. Rather it will be, truth and respect for what God says, even if it means an all-out battle. Innovations and departures can mean nothing but a wrecked church of our Lord.