Devoted to the Propagation and Defense of New Testament Christianity
January 26, 1956

Aids And Additions

Guthrie Dean

"How is it that you have the song books and tuning forks but refuse the mechanical instruments of music in worship?" it is sometimes asked us. This question brings us into a discussion of Aids and Additions.

1. Music, for example, is a generic term. But: sing is specific. (Eph. 5:19; Gol. 3:16.) If Christ had told his church to "make music," without any details, then the church would be free to sing, play an instrument, or do both at once. But since God did not use the general term "music" but the specific term "sing," then instrumental music is excluded. But the command "sing" involves all that is required in executing the command. A song leader, written words in a book, the notes, getting the pitch, etc. are automatically inferred in the command to sing. If it be asked why the instrument of music isn't allowed as an "aid" on the same grounds as the song books and director, the answer is simply this: The song books, tuning fork, and song leaders do not add to the specific command "sing"; for after all is said and done only vocal music is used in the worship. But when the mechanical instrument is used, the specific kind of music, singing, is added to; thus resulting in two kinds of music: vocal and instrumental. This is plainly seen to be an addition of a kind of music in worship that God did not specify. Thus the mechanical instrument cannot be classed as simply an aid, for it adds another kind of music to worship.

2. Food is also a generic term. If Christ had simply said that "food" is to be served on the Lord's table, then potatoes and apple pie could be used without violating the scriptures. But since Christ used specific terms, fruit of the vine and bread, as to the kind of food involved in the Lord's Supper, it would be an addition and not an aid to place other foods on the table alongside the bread and fruit of the vine. But the command with reference to the Lord's Supper, "Do this in memory of Me," involves the aids necessary to execute that command. Thus communion cups and trays, as well as a platform or table are used in offering the Lord's Supper. These do not add to the elements involved (fruit of the vine and bread) thus they may rightly be classed as aids and not additions. But it would be an addition to add another specific kind of food to the table. See the difference?

3. Prayer may also be called a generic term, since there are prayers to God, prayers to departed saints, prayers to false gods, prayers to Mary, etc. But since the Bible specifically states that the Christian's prayer is to be directed to God through the name of Jesus Christ, then the other specific types of prayer (such as prayers to departed saints) are additions and should not be allowed. Prayer involves posture. But since the Bible does not place a restriction on the posture in prayer, any posture (whether it be kneeling, standing, sitting, bowing, or lying prostrate) is permissible and is not an addition to prayer. If it be argued that the offering up of incense in connection with prayer is only an aid; be it remembered that the Bible specifically tells us to offer up our prayers to God, which eliminates the offering up of anything else in connection with prayers. "Offering prayers" is a specific type of offering (and the specific kind of prayers is stated elsewhere); also "offering incense" is another specific type of offering. But God 6eliminated the incense in definitely specifying the prayers. The prayers to Mary, etc. would be an addition to the type of prayer; and incense would be an addition to the kind of offering.

4. Give is also a generic term. But to give by laying by in store on the first day of the week as God has prospered, is a specific type of giving. This eliminates the begging campaigns, raffles, cake walks, etc. to raise money for the church. But in taking up the collection on the first day of the week certain aids are inferred: Those chosen to be in charge of the collection, and plates, hats, etc. to put the money in. These collection plates, for instance, do not add to the command to contribute on the first day of the week; while the other means of raising money for the church are excluded and are therefore additions to the command of God.

5. Do good works may also be called a generic term in that it does not specify through what means the good works are to be done. But the specific Bible charge that our good works are to be done in the name of Christ and through the local church (since there is no example of Christians doing work through the church universal), this eliminates all other agencies through which the church does its work. "Unto him be glory through the church" is specific and eliminates glory through any other organization. "The manifold wisdom of God is made known through the church" eliminates missionary societies and manmade projects through which to make known the wisdom of God.

6. Preach and teach are also generic terms. Aids necessary to executing the command are inferred. The preaching may be done by means of radio, television, press, ,etc. But what to preach is specific, that is: "Preach the Word." Any literature which contains something more than the word of God, be it the Book of Mormon or our Bible class literature, that literature is an addition. If it is argued that preaching the word infers amalgamation of efforts of all the churches through a central head and out of a central fund, it must be remembered that the Bible speaks of no such ecclesiasticism and that the Bible pattern of each congregation overseeing its own work eliminates such super-machinery.

And back to the point. The gospel of Christ eliminates all other gospels. The word of God eliminates all other "words." Radios and presses are only aids to preaching and teaching the word. But false doctrine is an addition regardless of where or how it is proclaimed. From this and the previous examples it should become apparent to the Bible student that positive commands imply the "aids" necessary to their execution. But at the same time these positive statements leave no room for the addition of unauthorized elements such as instrumental music to the vocal music, or potatoes to the fruit of the vine and the bread of the Lord's table, or prayers to Mary along with prayers to God, or pie suppers to raise money for the church in addition to the free will offerings, or missionary societies and other organizations to the local congregation, or the Book of Mormon or other false doctrines to the Bible. There is a positive and definite difference between Aids and Additions to worship. Study them and strive to be consistently right throughout.