Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
August 25, 1955


Foy W. Vinson, Decatur, Texas

There is a practice among many of the brethren today of assembling themselves at an appointed time and place each month for the purpose of having a "singing". Their right to do so is not called in question, for we know that it is both right and good for Christians to sing praises unto God (Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). I am concerned, however, about the manner in which it is often done. Certainly we all realize that a right thing can become wrong if it is improperly done.

It has been my experience with few exceptions to see such services conducted with a levity for which I can find no authority. It seems that many of those who lead songs feel it necessary to tell a good joke. To some it seems that the louder the laughter is the more pleased they are. I personally enjoy humor very much, but I cannot bring myself to the point of laughter upon such occasions. Choirs, or choruses as some would prefer, are also becoming the "thing" at such events; and if entertainment is not their objective, I am badly confused. Many times they are all but applauded, and by the expressions of many who sing it is obvious that worship is far from their minds. I have even attended "singings" and learned afterwards that alien sinners were chosen to lead! Sometimes a woman even steps to the platform to lead! Remember, brethren, we are those who "speak where the Bible speaks, and are silent where it is silent". I wonder? I am told that on a recent lectureship a speaker whose subject was "Worshipping in Spirit and Truth" made the remark that no time was needed to discuss the matter of worshipping in truth since we are all meeting that requirement. Again, I wonder?

In I Cor. 14:15 the apostle says, "What is it then? I will pray with the spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also." Here Paul puts prayer and singing on the same basis. Both are to be done "with the spirit and understanding," or as Jesus said, "in spirit and in truth." Where did anyone ever get the idea that singing should be less revered than prayer? Paul treated them both with the same respect. Therefore if in "singings" the above mentioned things are proper, then they are proper in "prayer meetings". But most of those who condone any and everything in a singing would be shocked at such conduct when praying. Why? What is the difference? Could it be that over a period of time we have slipped into these practices unconsciously without having given proper consideration to the matter? Would you approve of a joke before each prayer? Or what about an alien sinner leading one? Or a woman in such a public assembly? Or perhaps we should pray to entertain others?

Perhaps someone is now ready to ask, "Shall we therefore eliminate these singings?" My answer is this: If these perversions must be a part of such gatherings, they should be eliminated. If, however, Christians, can meet together to worship God in song, in spirit and in truth (and they can if they will) then it is good and proper to have such meetings. "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. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him." (Col. 3:16, 17.)