Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 23, 1951

True Or False Worship?

E. N. Golphenee, Norwalk, California

Since the "Guardian" is devoting its space with an endeavor to keep the church as pure as possible insisting that the New Testament Church is a divine institution and that denominationalism hinders and keeps people from finding the true church, I would like to make mention of something to the writer's mind has a color that is apt to place a cloud on the divine order. Afternoon singing among churches of Christ in Southern California is becoming very popular.

Singing is an item of worship, and should be kept in the limitations of Holy Writ, there is no doubt. Now what is our purpose in the widely advertised two o'clock singings? It is the purpose to worship God, with a desire to advance the kingdom of Christ I personally have attended a few of these singings, and was edified and my faith built up, but may I suggest a phase or a trend that appears to be bordering at least on dangerous ground. To keep this sacred service in the place where Christ and the apostles would have it, it deserves considerable thought. Singing is an item of worship, just as teaching, giving, the Lord's Supper, and prayer. Why take singing and treat it so lightly?

We know the strong relationship it has in teaching. (Col. 3:16-17) And prayer. (1 Cor. 14:15) In other items of worship, we insist on sound speech—that cannot be condemned. (Tit. 1:8) In compliance with this and 1 Cor. 14:15, our singing should be learned and studied. A True preacher would not want to use another man's wording in his sermon if it did not harmonize with the scriptures. It is agreed that we cannot fellowship non-Christians, or invite them to take part in the other items of worship. Why be so liberal in compromising in singing?

We know that the denominational world uses these items of worship, but in a vain way. The following scriptures Isa. 65:14, 1 Cor. 14:15, Col. 3:16-17, Tit. 1:8, Heb. 2, 12, show us who was to participate in this sacred service, also where and the manner in which to perform. We know that it has happened for lack of talent, entertainment or good judgment. Some have employed non-Christians to help in their afternoon singing. Now I know that we cannot prohibit from contributing or partaking of the Lord's Supper, but it's plain that we should not invite. If we will consider this matter, it may keep the Cause of the Master from being hurt, and we can keep this item of worship (singing) on a plane pleasing to the Lord, and then we can hope and trust and be assured that people will be edified, their faith strengthened and the kingdom advanced. Brethren—let us be consistent—can we say that the scriptures prohibit instruments of music, but uphold employing non-Christians.

I was just talking with a brother yesterday who has been for a number of years fixing his mind in defending instruments of music. He said he could not use instruments as a part of worship, but could use it as an aid. Well—where is the limitation on aids? And for what reason could we bring the sectarian element in our song worship? In conclusion, will report that some who have practiced the wrong mentioned, have quit, and I have confidence to think that this practice will be eliminated. The foregoing written in love, trusting that not only in song, but in all things the Lord may have the preeminence.