The controversy over instrumental music in the Lord’s church still plagues our brethren. It is proof that not enough study or sermons are presented on these subjects. Everyone is too afraid that someone maybe “offended” and let controversial subjects go untaught. It is no wonder why there is so much confusion and misunderstanding in our midst.
Let’s look at one of these controversial topics for a moment. Instrumental music has no Biblical authority in the New Testament. How would one determine what is authorized and what is not? I’m going to refer to a book during this post entitled, “Ascertaining Bible Authority.” It was written by Roy Deaver and is a wonderful help on this type of subject.
Brother Deaver gives an excellent list of how God doesn’t authorize. God doesn’t authorize:
1. Upon the basis of my personal dislikes. 2. Upon the basis of what pleases me. 3. Upon the basis of erroneous conclusions which I may reach. 4. Upon the basis of my opinion or the opinions of others. 5. Upon the basis of what is popular. 6. Upon the basis of what may be the consensus in someone’s lectureship. 7. Upon the basis of what some well-known and highly respected brother teaches or may have taught. 8. Upon the basis of human traditions. 9. Upon the basis of one’s inability to “see any harm in it.” 10. Upon the basis of practices of long-standing. 11. Upon the basis of the silence of the Scripture.
Now, I’ve “massaged” some of Roy’s list on how God does authorize.
1. He authorizes by example.
- We are commanded to take the Lord’s Supper, 1Cor. 11:24-25.
- We know when to take it by precept and example, Acts 20:7; 1Corinthians. 16:2
- We follow the pattern or example of the scriptures.
2. We can attain Bible authority by implication.
- I am authorized to teach that in his becoming a Christian, Saul of Tarsus repented of his sins.
- The Bible doesn’t tell us that he repented, explicitly.
- Luke 13:3; Acts 2:38 tells us one must repent. Therefore, Saul of Tarsus repented.
3. Bible authority can be gained by direct statements.
- Some direct statements can’t be used. The Jews in Mark 9 claimed the man that Jesus healed was born in sin.
- That’s a direct statement, but they were wrong!
- A direct statement from Jesus, like Mark 16:16 (believe and be baptized), authorizes belief and baptism because it is a direct statement from one in authority.
4. Bible authority can be gotten by expediency. MATT. 28:19-20, GOD OBLIGATES US TO GO….. We can go by walking or riding. Both are different ways of going but both help us fulfill our going. Going is the command, the how is left optional. Let’s look at what is an expedient and what isn’t.
THINK ABOUT PERCEPTION… Seeing is a way of perceiving. Hearing is a way of perceiving. oSeeing isn’t an expedient to hearing and vice-versa. They are “co-ordinates.” Eyeglasses would expedite my seeing. Hearing aids expedite hearing.
But…. oIn the area of making music, we are commanded to sing. That is a form of music. (Col. 3:16) Other forms or “co-ordinates” are musical instruments, clapping or stomping feet, and humming. None of these can expedite singing because they violate the command because of their being alternate forms of music.
Maybe this will help…. A songbook aids or “expedites” our singing, but we are still only singing. A microphone allows songleader to be heard, but we are still only singing. When we add instruments, clapping, etc. (co-ordinates or alternative music) to the singing, we have broken God’s commands. We have added a music He didn’t authorize.
If God said….. Walk, then you could use a cane or walker, because you would still be walking. You couldn’t ride a motorcycle because God said to walk. Walking is the only permissible mode of travel. His command to walk negates any other mode of travel.
Think about this…. Fact: The Bible says to give as we have prospered. Fact: The Macedonians were commended for giving “beyond their power.” Conclusion: We must give as we have prospered and can give even more. Not less!
More facts… Acts 20:7; 1Cor. 16:2 shows an example of when the church took the Lord’s Supper. It was always on the first day of the week. There is no Bible authority for taking it on Thursday, or Saturday, or any other day for that matter.
Brethren, this is an important study. We must find authority for what we do from the only place that can give it; the Bible! Opinions, good intentions, sincere feelings are going to continue to lead people down the wrong path (Matt. 7:13-14).
Conclusion: One of the most understudied, yet, important subjects is Bible authority. Let us never be guilty of going beyond the scriptures nor ignoring them either. Let the Bible be our pattern for living, worshipping, etc. —Chris