Vol.VI No.X Pg.7
December 1969

Queries And Answers

Robert F. Turner

Bro. Turner:

Do you consider instrumental music a live issue? What do you consider the most valid arguments made against the instrument? md.


If live means widely discussed, the music question is certainly not as alive among brethren as it was in the last century. (Neither is subject baptism as widely discussed as an issue with sectarians.) But the word of God teaches the same on both subjects now as it did when first written. If we would be faithful to God we must teach the truth on both subjects now as always.

We realize that one may harp on a few subjects, to the neglect of other equally important matters; but doctrinal issues are never settled for all time. The truth may be clearly set forth in one generation, and even if all or most of that generation accepted the truth (which is seldom the case) the people of the next, or third generation (see editorial) must reach decisions about the same truth, on an individual basis. Sometimes our reluctancy to discuss the supposedly dead issues, results in an untaught generation, highly vulnerable to that error.

As for most valid arguments made against the instrument we are not obligated, by the very nature of the case, to find prohibitions. Our practice, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord is not under fire. If any question this practice, the most valid arguments for such are Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16; 1 Cor. 14:15, etc. It is the use of mechanical instruments of music in the worship that is questioned, and all who insist upon such use are obligated to produce the Bible authority for their practice.

For example: What is the most valid arguments against the burning of incense in the worship? The anointing with oil, as a religious service? The partaking of the Lords Supper on Thursday? Denominational organic ties that bind congregations to some central headquarters? Sprinkling in the place of immersion for baptism? For all these, and many more, we must say THERE IS NO AUTHORITY FOR SUCH!! If someone wishes to promote these or other like matters, we would insist that they have the obligation to produce the authority for such.

This is not a request for specific authority — statements in the Bible that command or authorize the specific act in so many words. Any valid means of establishing Bible authority (statement, necessary inference, approved example) will be accepted. We would also urge you to consider that if it be argued simply as an expedient or matter of judgement, it must be subject to all revealed truth relative to such things. (See 1 Cor. 6:12; Rom. 14: 19-f. etc.)

We have, with reluctance, come to conclude that some people intend to have their mechanical instruments in the worship — or their incense, or their sprinkling, or their area-wide collective of churches, or whatever else they may want — and use the fallacious question, Where does it say NOT — as a salve for their seared or badly burned conscience. We will not be party to encouraging such sin.