It is now openly affirmed. On Sunday, January 27th, 2008, the Quail Springs Church of Christ began the use of instrumental music in their Lord’s Day worship services. Such is the news release in an article by Carla Hinton (The Oklahoman, “Instruments of Change,” January 26, 2008, pp.1 & 2E). My article is not written with any anticipation of altering that intent. This article is too late and surely will not change the thinking of those who, by report, have been considering this move since “March, 2007” (1E). This article is written for any brethren who may just now be aware of that congregation’s decision--and in any way be subtlety enticed to pursue a similar sinful, shameful path! To so brand brethren for this announced act is not stated lightly or with any pompous pleasure. Please be assured that I write with a pained heart that feels impelled to plead that this damaging decision not be made by any other members of the Lord’s church.
Please read the rest of this article to see why there is “sin in the camp” when brethren make a move like the Quail Springs congregation has done.
Not using instrumental music in worship to God is not a matter of personal preference, but a respect for Christ’s precepts. We either “abide in His teaching,” or we lose God as a Father and Jesus as a Savior (II John v.9). Christ’s eternal covenant is complete, furnishing us completely unto every good work (II Tim.3:16f). It does furnish us completely as to how we are to worship relative to church music . We are told what to sing (Psalms, Hymns, and Spiritual Songs-Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). We are told how to sing and why we are to sing (with the spirit and the understanding; teaching and admonishing one another; singing with thankfulness (grace) in our hearts unto God; making melody with our hearts [not our hands] to the Lord--I Cor. 14:15; Eph. 5:19; Col. 3:16). Those passages and practices are complete to guide the Lord’s people as to worship in church music (which Quail Springs brethren have generally been doing in times past).
When brethren add the instrument to worship in church music they begin to play, not sing; make melody with their hands, not their hearts; using things, not Truth; using instruments, not inspired teaching, to guide and govern their worship! Christ’s complete covenant is abandoned for personal preference and people-pleasing patterns prevail over New Testament command to use the instrument, according to Mark Henderson’s comments in The Oklahoman.
The fact instruments were used and even commanded in the Old Testament (Psa. 150; II Chron. 29:25) does not carry over to be used under Christ’s covenant (any more than burning incense, offering animal sacrifices, or keeping the Sabbath) unless instruments are called for by Christ. Christ did not command us to use instruments in worship in the church!
Since Christ gives no law to use instruments, we are not to add them just because “the people love to have it so” (see Jer. 5:31). Instruments must first be lawful before they can be expedient (I Cor. 6:12, etc.).
However, the saddest part of all is that some “300 brethren left” that congregation by this decision to use the instrument (1E). The decision to use the instrument brought division among the
Lord’s people! Solomon wrote that God hates the “one who spreads strife among brothers” (Prov. 6:19). As these 300 leave the Quail Springs congregation, they are following Paul’s inspired directions to turn away from those who now teach and practice a different doctrine (Rom. 16:17f). Only God knows how many broken hearts and disturbed minds have occurred because some brethren insisted on bringing the instrument into worship services to God--something Christ did not authorize, and which Satan has repeatedly used to sow discord among brethren!
Brethren, I plead, I implore, please do not become a party to this divisive departure from Christ’s complete and eternal covenant!