Vol.I No.III Pg.6
March 1964

Religious Article 100 Years Old

Robert F. Turner

(Excerpts from an article by Moses Lard, published in March, 1864.)

That we as a people have agreed to accept the N.T. as our standard is a fact too notorious to admit of question. To this we have consented to bring the smallest point of doctrine, and the most trivial feature in practice. And furthermore, we have solemnly covenanted that whatever cannot be clearly shown to have the sanction of this standard shall be held as not doctrine, and shall not be practiced.

We say shown to have the sanction; for it is not enough to warrant a practice that this standard does not sanction it. No practice can be defended on this ground. To warrant the holding of a doctrine or practice it must be shown that it has the affirmative or positive sanction of this standard, and not merely that it is not condemned by it.


Now in light of the foregoing principles what defense can be urged for the introduction into some of our congregations of instrumental music? The answer which thunders into my ear from every page of the New Testament is, none. Did Christ ever appoint it? Did the apostles ever sanction it? Or did any one of the primitive churches ever use it? Never. In what light then must we view him who attempts to introduce it into the churches of Christ of the present day? I answer, as an insulter of the authority of Christ, and as a defiant and impious innovator on the simplicity and purity of the ancient worship.


Soberly and candidly we are pained at these symptoms of degeneracy in a few of our churches. The day on which a church sets up an organ in its house, is the day on which it reaches the first station on the road to apostasy. From this it will soon proceed to other innovations; and the work of innovating once fairly commenced, no stop can be put to it till ruin ensues.


The want of strictness in churches, and the shuffling indifference of overseers, may give (the Christian) little pain; but the day of reckoning hastens on. The churches of Christ in the whole land owe it to themselves, and to the high and just ground they have taken, to guard with sleepless vigilance against even the semblance of an innovation on the practice and usages of the apostolic churches. Apostasies begin with things that "have no harm in them," and end in ruin. At first they creep, but in the end stride continents at a single step. Finally we say watch, beware!

Editor's note:

The above, taken from Lard's Quarterly, Vol. I, shows us:

1. The type of argument made by sound brethren re. authority;

2. Efforts of liberal brethren to justify their practices;

3. The small beginning of something that later dominated. (80% of the churches went into digression.) THEY CALLED MOSES E. LARD AN "ANTI"!