Vol.VIII No.I Pg.6
March 1971

Protest And Plea, 1875

Robert F. Turner

San Francisco, Calif.

August, 1875

To Elder J. W. Tener, and the

Church of Christ in San Francisco:

The undersigned, Members of said Church, in view of the action of a portion thereof, in introducing Instrumental Music into the congregational worship, offer this, their protest, and earnestly ask, for the sake of peace in the body of Christ, that it be regarded.

It is a notorious fact, that where-ever the subject of Instrumental Music in the Churches of Christ has been agitated it has led to discord and strife, and that its introduction has been the means of dividing bodies otherwise harmoniously working for the good cause. Without discussing the question upon its merits, it is enough that we look at the facts in this case.

A few of your brethren have asked you to abstain from gratifying your tastes, in what is to you, confessedly, a mere matter of expediency, at the expense of their convictions, upon what is to them a matter of vital import. You cannot lightly decide for them, and for the great body of Christian people with whom they stand in perfect accord, that they must not entertain conscientious convictions upon a matter for which the most favorable argument is, that the Scriptures do not in express words forbid.

They have not asked any great sacrifice on your part. They have not asked you to abstain from anything enjoined upon you in the scriptures. They have asked you to do what the Christian Church, during all the earlier and purer ages of its history, did, and continued to do for 1,200 years after Christ — what the authors and movers in our great Reformation, for many happy, peaceful and prosperous years were content to do, to the glory of God and the upbuilding of His kingdom. They have asked you the simple boon of worshipping God with you according to the dictate of their conscience, in a way which all agree is sanctioned by the Word of God.

The Scriptures demand of us that we avoid foolish and untaught questions and such as do gender strife. In all sincerity and candor we believe that you have violated that Scripture — with other precepts and principles contained in the law of the Lord — the observance of which, while it might not commend us to the lovers of show and worldly pomp, would certainly promote our growth in that religion whose chief beauty is its simplicity. We believe your action in this matter to be totally unjustifiable, and until the error is amended, unpardonable. We beg of you that you seriously consider the responsibility you assume in depriving some, however few and however humble, of the privilege of worshipping God, in His congregation, according to their conscience, in conformity with divine commands and apostolic precedent. Believing, as we do, that the action taken in this matter is a grievous wrong, we can do no less than utter in this way our lasting protest against it. (Sgn., 11 saints.)

(From Oct. 29,70 Gospel Guardian.)