Music in Church?

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by Free Christian, Jan 23, 2014.

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  1. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    The simple answer is yes. The New Testament does not speak to the use of instruments as it has already been established and was understood that their use is tied into the ceremonial aspects of their prescribed form of worship that was abolished by the perfect sacrifice of Christ. It would also be understood by every Jew at the time, as it was so commanded, that the use of instruments was only permissible in temple worship, the local synagogues would all practice what we would call today 'a Capella psalmody'. In being faithful to the RPW we must conclude from the lack of a positive command for using instruments that their use was abolished with the system of temple worship that was fulfilled in the once for all sacrifice of Christ. On top of that we add the positive command of the New Testament that our worship is to no longer to be centered on the temple, with its types and shadows of what was to come, but it is now centered on the perfect fulfillment of the perpetual sacrifice of Christ, and by us worship is to now be done in spirit and truth (John 4:24), by the fruit of our lips (Hebrew 13:15), with melody being made in our hearts (Ephesians 5:19). This therefore precludes the use of instruments in the church.
  2. Grimmson

    Grimmson Puritan Board Sophomore

    If you don't mind me saying, I like to say something about the Fathers. If I remember right, their arguments were not based on instruments being a part of the Jewish ceremonial law (with maybe Eusebius of Caesarea as an exception) but instead stemmed from pagan idolatrous worship like from the Greeks and Romans. And I think I have observed that as pretty consistently. I think it was Basil of Caesarea that connected instrumentation to prostitution, but I need to look it up. Now there are plenty of commentaries of Psalms from the Fathers. I have one on my shelf that I need to read. If I remember Clement of Alexandria right, he actually allegorized the uses of instrumentation in the Psalms towards human body parts in singing.

    There is a work out there called " Church Music: Musical and Hymnological Developments in Western Christianity" by Russel N. Squire that I want to read. And from what I have heard he is not an compete agreement in the Fathers' prohibition against instrumentation. He maybe using Diodore of Tarsus. I would like to see for sure myself what his case is. But from what I have personally read directly from the fathers it does not seem instrumentation is highly favored. However with that said I am not in agreement towards a complete psalmody position of the Fathers as well because of other pieces I have read.

    If you like then I can look for some quotes and email them to you.
    Last edited: Jan 24, 2014
  3. jogri17

    jogri17 Puritan Board Junior

    I don't get how you can logically dissaciate ''temple worship'' from ''temple music'' and ''temple songs'' (Psalms). They seem to go together as a package. If Paul commands the singing of Psalms (which were used with instruments), isn't it a fair and logical deduction to come to the conclusion that instruments are permitted?
  4. MusicMan

    MusicMan Puritan Board Freshman

    My understanding is that the early church simply wanted to disassociate with pagan worship music. Paul does indeed leave the door open for instruments when he suggests Psalms and spiritual songs. We must also remember that music isn't worship, but presenting our bodies as a living sacrifice....

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  5. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    Not at all. Like any other element of worship it demands positive prescription for use in worship in the new covenant. To argue that that which was once elemental may now be considered circumstantial (by merely aiding in the element of song) one must 'logically conclude' that other elements of the former system may also be used as long as it serves our purpose in aiding worship. One might conclude that the burning of incense helps us to have a visual representation of our prayers rising to heaven, or that offering a sacrifice may give a better experiential representation of the broken body and spilled blood of Christ. Before you know it you are further across the Tiber than you had ever cared or planned to be. It should not be surprising then that the reformers condemned the entire system of RC worship. They, as we should, understood it to be a return to the bondage of the imperfect sacrificial system which denies the sufficiency of Christ.

    All that is not to say that those who use instruments in worship are on the fast-track to Rome. But if one allows for the use of elements, that have not been perpetuated, as circumstances of worship then it would be very hard to draw a line that condemns the use of others (similar to the arguments some try to make for only using certain instruments).
  6. Logan

    Logan Puritan Board Junior

    I struggled with this quite a bit when I first heard the position. Giradeau's short book was the most helpful for me.
  7. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    It is strange reasoning when those brethren charge EP's with throwing out instruments from
    worship, whilst we retain the psalms of OT worship, do the opposite, and keep the instruments
    whilst throwing out the psalms. Instruments were God ordained for Temple worship and were part
    of the temporal magnificence of the sanctuary and it's worship. Therefore it was entirely typical,
    and to be done away with,God establishing a better and simpler way and means of approaching Him.
    Christ fulfilling all the ceremonial types and shadows.
    As for the retention of psalms distinct from instruments, that it so by divine warrant. For the NT
    is not silent on this as Paul commands it to the Ephesians and to the Colossians. He instructs to sing
    Psalms,hymns and spiritual songs in our worship. These titles far from being separate modes of content
    actually speak of a unity in their trinity. This is demonstrated in the titles of Psalms 65; 66;67; 68; and
    many others,eg Psalms 120 to 134 are titled Songs of Degrees not psalms of degrees. They are interchangeable
    designations. In fact there are 67 that have psalms as their title: 35 have songs, and 7 have hymns. The Jews
    Considered these titles as also inspired ( and some Protestant commentators). They are synonymous terms.
    As a lovely aside,Romaine wrote that the Hebrew word for hymn that is used is Thehilim which means, a
    Brisk motion of light that puts its splendour upon an object, rendering splendid and beautiful, and thereby
    Glorious and praiseworthy. We principally keep the psalms to sing because they were given by the sweet
    Psalmist of Israel, The Lord Jesus Christ, to whom be praise for ever and ever,Amen.
  8. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    I think it was G. I. Williamson who made the analogy, that the ceremonial worship of the OT was like a movie and the musical instruments were the sound tract. The sound tract passes with the movie.
  9. MusicMan

    MusicMan Puritan Board Freshman

    To clarify... What I am hearing here is that if I (or anyone) is sitting on the porch in the morning with a guitar and singing a song of praise, not from the Psalms, it is not worship?
  10. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

    That is not what I am saying. The context here is corporate, or public, worship. While I believe that most of the same principles apply to private and family worship I'm not certain that one could be dogmatic about it. Let's also be careful to not quantify worship solely in sung praise. From the call to worship to the benediction we are all participating in worship by taking part in the means of grace. I am worshipping no less when I am giving my tithe as when I am singing God's praise.
  11. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I actually found something on this subject from the OPC site (they don't agree with the usage of instruments, btw, although many OPC churches do use them).

    "It is not even certain that musical instruments were used in worship in the period of time extending from Moses to David. It is true that we read of timbrels and dances in Exodus 15. But was this public worship, or was it a patriotic celebration? The fact that men alone, and not women, were appointed to lead in the entire worship of the tabernacle service (Num. 3:5-11) would seem to require the second alternative. For it was Miriam and the women who played the timbrels and danced after the crossing of the Red Sea. When we go on to read (Exod. 25:40, Heb. 8:5) that the whole form of worship that God required of His people in the wilderness was revealed to Moses at Mt. Sinai, we are strengthened in this conclusion. For in this revelation we find but one thing that could be classified as an instrument of music. God commanded the making of two silver trumpets (Num. 10:1-10), and only the sons of Aaron were to use them (v. 8). They were to be used, furthermore, only for certain specified purposes: the calling of assembly (v. 2), sounding an alarm of war (v. 9), and as an accompaniment of the sacrifices in the tabernacle (v. 10). There is no indication that they were ever used to accompany congregational singing, so it may be doubted that these trumpets were intended as musical instruments. The function of trumpets in the Bible (Exod. 19:16-19, Mt. 24: 31, I Cor. 15:52, Rev. 8, etc.) rather appears to be to announce something of great importance, and to warn! If this be the case — and these trumpets were used only to announce and warn — then musical instruments were not yet authorized in worship. But even if one holds that these trumpets were used, in some sense, as instruments of music in worship, it would still be true that this was only by divine command. If this be the beginning of the use of instruments of music in worship, in other words, then it is noteworthy that it was a commanded beginning.

    We find musical instruments in use in what is often called the "school of the prophets" (I Sam. 10:5, II Kings 3:15). But precisely what this use was is not easy to demonstrate. To say (as some critics do) that they were used to induce prophetic ecstasy is without foundation. We know from the inspired Scriptures that holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit, not as they were moved by music (II Pet. 1:21). But it is equally gratuitous to assume that these instruments were used in worship. There is no proof of it. But even if these prophets did use musical instruments in worship, this would not authorize their use in congregational worship. Just as the priests and Levites were authorized to use the trumpets, while the members of the congregation of Israel were not, so it may not be assumed that what the prophets did was normative for those who were not prophets. The conclusion to which we are driven by the evidence, then, is this: 1) true and acceptable worship was long rendered to the Lord without the use of any musical instrument; 2) we have found no proof that they were used even until the time of David as a part of congregational worship; and 3) even where there may be an element of uncertainty (as, for example, in the precise function of the trumpets) it is still true that nothing was introduced into the worship of God except by the express command of God."

    It wasn't until David came along that we can prove they started using instruments in worship. It would seem David changed a few things concerning the Tabernacle and it's rules. Some examples being: he brought instruments into worship, ate the showbread which he wasn't "suppose" to do according to Tabernacle rules, acted as a priest in 2Sam 6 when he wasn't a priest, was connected in various ways with Christ, etc. Just makes one wonder if he was the beginning of the change in how God is to be worshipped. Just a thought not saying at all that I'm on to anything here.

    I thought of something else. If the psalms were not written until David wrote them, then they couldn't have been used in worship before his time. Which would seem to me that either we can't use them either or we use them and also use instruments when David brought both into worship. :think:
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2014
  12. Mushroom

    Mushroom Puritan Board Doctor

    That's be great, David. I'd appreciate it. Just PM me when you have the time, thanks.
  13. Pilgrim

    Pilgrim Puritan Board Doctor

    By "they" are you simply referring to the authors of the article? As a former member of an OPC congregation, my understanding was that the overwhelming majority of OPC congregations use musical instruments in worship.
  14. Cymro

    Cymro Puritan Board Junior

    I thought we were discussing public sanctuary worship as ordained by God. Your porch reflections in private adoration
    is a separate matter. Strum away Jay!
  15. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    It was an article posted on the OPC website. I'm just assuming since they allowed it on their website that the OPC doesn't believe in the usage of instruments. However, my church and other churches of the OPC that I have gone to do use instruments so perhaps it isn't the "rule" of the OPC not to use instruments. When I think about it further I'm quite sure my pastor would abide by their rules if indeed it was a rule of the OPC not to use instruments. So now that you mention it it could be just the position of the author of the article. IDK really. Maybe I'll ask my pastor tonight when we have our second service.
  16. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    The article in question is by G. I. Williamson; but I found it on a non opc website; where is it posted on
    While GI and maybe some others hold to no instruments that is not the position of the OPC.
  17. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    Here is the link but i was wrong in saying it was the OPC website….it's a church's website which is OPC. Their logo looks like the OPC's website but the rest of their website doesn't….anyway i guess their logo is what threw me.
  18. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

  19. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    I'm assuming those who believe that worship should be without instruments believe that singing only the psalms is part of the RPW. If the OT saints before David did not sing them as part of the RPW, then why are we allowed to sing them unless David brought in permissible ways of worshipping God (as I said earlier, David seemed to do non-permissible things when it came to doing things only priest were allowed to do). If he did, then we can use both the psalms and instruments. If he didn't, then to hold true to the RPW we cannot sing the Psalms either since they didn't sing them before David's time.
  20. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    I think David just got sick of Hillsong.
  21. OPC'n

    OPC'n Puritan Board Doctor

    LOL, I had to look up what Hillsong was. It looked like a concert although i'm sure that's a church….or is it a band? If it's a church, then I pretty much would run to "no instruments and Psalms only" if I only had the two choices!
  22. irresistible_grace

    irresistible_grace Puritan Board Junior

    I am EP a cappella!

    That said, I have heard it argued that in Genesis chapter 4 it appears as if INSTRUMENTS (organs/pipes) are created/mentioned BEFORE the first mention of CORPORATE WORSHIP (then began men to call upon the name of the*Lord) for a reason. The implication being that INSTRUMENTS & WORSHIP belong together. This is long before Temple Worship was established & the ceremonial law. Also, the language of Job 21:12 is echoed in Psalm 150:4 (Job being one of the oldest books of the Bible chronologically & Psalm 150 being one of the "go to" chapter from our Brothers-in-Christ that are not EP a cappella) for a reason. The implication being that instruments were used in worship long before Temple Worship was established & the ceremonial law.

    What say you?
  23. Peairtach

    Peairtach Puritan Board Doctor

    You'd have to study the references to musical instruments in the Psalms and elsewhere to see which ones referred to Temple/ ceremonial worship and which didn't.

    In the New Testament it is clear that the Lord does not require the use of instruments, as He did as part of the Temple worship. Any church using instruments today would have to find justification for them as a circumstance.

    In the case of public worship, our Reformed forebears of the Second Reformation period, had additional concerns to those of purity of worship when it came, for instance, to hymns, in that they did not altogether anathematise the composition or use of hymns, but only allowed a cappella singing of Psalms in public worship. Because of concerns about liberty of conscience, church unity and uniformity of worship, only those elements with a high and positive warrant from Scripture were permitted in public worship. That excluded songs other than the Psalms of David and musical instruments.

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  24. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    True enough, but I don't think drawing from the practices of the sons of Cain is going to be very persuasive in a discussion about worship.
  25. MLCOPE2

    MLCOPE2 Puritan Board Junior

  26. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Hello Sarah. That's a confusing way of looking at it from my perspective! Either we sing them like they did or not at all!? If one took that stance then that church would have to use the instruments in the same way and the same instruments as they did too, played by the same people allowed to. Does any church you know of do that? Makes me wonder too, if they don't do it in the same way, then what reason do they have for not doing so? Who decides "they used those instruments then but now we use these". If God shows in His Word the use of certain instruments then who is man to change it? And if they change them with no scriptural warrant then is that not a fault?
  27. yeutter

    yeutter Puritan Board Senior

    I do not see any compelling reason for coming to that conclusion.

    Played by the same people allowed to. You have answered your own question. This is the new covenant. The ceremonial law is abrogated. The same people no longer exist. The question that really needs to be answered is; 'Does the use of musical instruments in the worship service that we see in the Psalter belong to the ceremonial aspect of the Law that was fulfilled in Christ?'
  28. Free Christian

    Free Christian Puritan Board Sophomore

    I know that Thomas, my answer/question there was in regards to the comment made by Sarah. Not so much what I question to start with but questions which Sarah's comment had raised.
    That is not me saying that or my conclusion at all, its me asking whether someone else see's it that way. A question.
  29. Tirian

    Tirian Puritan Board Sophomore

    Australia's great contribution to Christendom - corporate worship meets Beyonce
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