Musical Instruments in Worship

Discussion in 'A capella Exclusive Psalmody' started by CalvinandHodges, Sep 5, 2007.

  1. Yes

  2. No

  3. Not Sure - Convince me.

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  1. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    Musical Instruments in the Worship of God are forbidden.

    Yes or No. Why or Why not?
  2. jbergsing

    jbergsing Puritan Board Sophomore

    OK. I'll bite. It's hard to ignore Psalm 150.
  3. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    I believe that they are forbidden. My reason can be found briefly here:)
  4. jolivetti

    jolivetti Puritan Board Freshman

    Unfair question

    Not forbidden, but fulfilled. We don't use instruments anymore for the same reason we don't slice open goats and cows. Because Jesus fulfilled it all. Every part of the sacrificial system was wrapped up in the cross; we continue only those parts specifically commanded in the new covenant.

    So, forbidden? Yes, but by way of fulifillment.
  5. NaphtaliPress

    NaphtaliPress Administrator Staff Member

    :ditto: What he said.
  6. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

  7. Blueridge Believer

    Blueridge Believer Puritan Board Professor

    I allow for musical instruments now but am unsure about this doctrine. I am looking forward to seeing this thread continue.
  8. ReformedWretch

    ReformedWretch Puritan Board Doctor

    Pretty much what I meant when I said..."huh?"

  9. blhowes

    blhowes Puritan Board Professor

    I'm unclear about how the use of instruments are fulfilled by Jesus, and therefore no longer to be a part of the worship service. Can somebody expand upon that? Its pretty clear how the sacrificing of animals was a type of and fulfilled by Jesus, but the playing of timbrel and stringed instruments? What did they represent and how were they fulfilled by Jesus?
  10. Romans922

    Romans922 Puritan Board Professor

    Gen. 4 - Musical Instruments are a cultural expression...
  11. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

  12. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    Within worship the only instruments allowed were psaltries, harps and cymbols. The timbrels were used during civil celebrations for national deliverance and were accompanied by women dancing.

    Turn to 2 Chronicles 29:25-30 which reads “And he [Hezekiah] set the Levites in the house of the LORD with cymbals, with psalteries, and with harps, according to the commandment of David, and of Gad the king's seer, and Nathan the prophet: for so was the commandment of the LORD by his prophets. And the Levites stood with the instruments of David, and the priests with the trumpets. And Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the LORD began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished. And when they had made an end of offering, the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped. Moreover Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer. And they sang praises with gladness, and they bowed their heads and worshipped.”

    Notice that the instruments were used “until the burnt offering was finished” and when the offering was over the music stopped “the king and all that were present with him bowed themselves, and worshipped” without instruments and at this time “Hezekiah the king and the princes commanded the Levites to sing praise unto the LORD with the words of David, and of Asaph the seer” i.e. acapella or without instruments. This demonstrates that the instruments in temple worship was specifically to do with the sacrifice, musical instruments were a part of the sacrificial system of Israel. Therefore with the ending of the old sacrificial system by the death of Christ the use of instruments in worship ceased and so the church did not use musical instruments for hundreds upon hundreds of years.

    This is a good article as is this

    These are good sermons.
  13. SRoper

    SRoper Puritan Board Graduate

    Doesn't Augustine argue that the diversity of musical instruments was fulfilled in the diversity of languages that now sing God's praises? Do any modern non-instrumental folks still use that argument?
  14. AV1611

    AV1611 Puritan Board Senior

    St Clement of Alexandria writing in 190 AD states

    "Leave the pipe to the shepherd, the flute to the men who are in fear of gods and intent on their idol worshipping. Such musical instruments must be excluded from our wingless feasts, for they are more suited for beasts and for the class of men that is least capable of reason than for men. The Spirit, to purify the divine liturgy from any such unrestrained revelry chants: 'Praise Him with sound of trumpet," for, in fact, at the sound of the trumpet the dead will rise again; praise Him with harp,' for the tongue is a harp of the Lord; 'and with the lute praise Him.' understanding the mouth as a lute moved by the Spirit as the lute is by the plectrum; 'praise Him with timbal and choir,' that is, the Church awaiting the resurrection of the body in the flesh which is its echo; 'praise Him with strings and organ,' calling our bodies an organ and its sinews strings, for front them the body derives its Coordinated movement, and when touched by the Spirit, gives forth human sounds; 'praise Him on high-sounding cymbals,' which mean the tongue of the mouth which with the movement of the lips, produces words. Then to all mankind He calls out, 'Let every spirit praise the Lord,' because He rules over every spirit He has made. In reality, man is an instrument arc for peace, but these other things, if anyone concerns himself overmuch with them, become instruments of conflict, for inflame the passions. The Etruscans, for example, use the trumpet for war; the Arcadians, the horn; the Sicels, the flute; the Cretans, the lyre; the Lacedemonians, the pipe; the Thracians, the bugle; the Egyptians, the drum; and the Arabs, the cymbal. But as for us, we make use of one instrument alone: only the Word of peace by whom we a homage to God, no longer with ancient harp or trumpet or drum or flute which those trained for war employ."

    Eusebius the “Father of Church History” who lived between 260 AD and 341 AD wrote

    "Of old at the time those of the circumcision were worshipping with symbols and types it was not inappropriate to send up hymns to God with the psalterion and cithara and to do this on Sabbath days... We render our hymn with a living psalterion and a living cithara with spiritual songs. The unison voices of Christians would be more acceptable to God than any musical instrument. Accordingly in all the churches of God, united in soul and attitude, with one mind and in agreement of faith and piety we send up a unison melody in the words of the Psalms."
  15. Mathetes

    Mathetes Puritan Board Freshman

    If I can't do a bass solo, then no one gets to play.
  16. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    Honestly, this is almost silly. If the instruments are mere shadows of something else, then why aren't the voices in the Old Testament mere shadows of something else? Where in the New Testament does it tell us that we are to sing out loud in corporate worship?

    SEAGOON Puritan Board Freshman

    The function of music in our worship, is to assist the congregation in their singing of praise. It is the singing of hymns, psalms and spiritual songs that is an element in our worship. Music, on the other hand, is a circumstance of our worship. Just as the sound system helps us to hear the word preached in a large church, music helps us to sing together by keeping us harmonized and in tune. Whether we use a piano an organ or a guitar to assist us in our singing is incidental, the important thing is that our music be reverent, decent, and orderly and that it support our singing rather than overpowering or undermining it. In the modern world, in a non-singing age, it is almost impossible to keep a large congregation made up of experienced Christians, new converts and visitors, singing in harmony without the use of an instrument.

    That said, worship is not a form of entertainment, neither is worship something that a few do on behalf of the congregation. Congregational singing should be something we all joyfully do together. Therefore, if our worship is to be founded entirely on the precepts of scripture, then it will not include choirs or soloists.
  18. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    Mark Dever refuses to have a choir or soloists because they tend to become a performance. He does use a praise team of 4 people (one a guitarist) that stand off to the side and a piano player. He does it for the purpose of emphasizing congregational singing. Having been to his church a few times, I dare say it is achieved.

    We haven't had a soloist in 4 years, ever since our music minister left and I ended up taking over the music.
  19. ADKing

    ADKing Puritan Board Junior

    It can be difficult in a small congregation too! But it is certainly not impossible. I have often experienced it done with great effect. Those who are persauded out of conviction that there should not be instruments simply find ways to make it work, including training and practice. If you train your whole congregation to sing well a capella then it will not be such a huge problem if a few visitors are present. Visitors and newer converts will usually follow along with what the congregation is doing and learn as they go. We certainly won't be able to solve this question by appeals to experience.:2cents:
  20. Davidius

    Davidius Puritan Board Post-Graduate

  21. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    So, again I ask, if musical instruments are but a shadow in the Old Testament, why are voices not but a shadow as well?

    Where in the New Testament are we commanded to sing out loud in public worship?
  22. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    I think the best argument from Scripture is that the Musical Instruments in the Old Testament were a matter of the Levitical Priests and Temple worship. Only the Levites were allowed to play inistruments in the Temple worship. When the Priesthood of Christ came (of the order of Melchisidec SP?) the Levitical priesthood was done away. When the Temple was destroyed in 70 AD so were the Temple instruments.

    The New Testament Church was founded not on the Temple worship, but upon the synagogue style: Preaching the Word, Prayer, and singing a cappella. (Schaff, Philip History of the Christian Church, vol. 1 pg. 455). Synagogue worship did not include instruments because they were considered part of the ceremonial worship in the Temple.

    What is surprising is the unanimous testimony of the Church from Justyn Martyr to C.H. Spurgeon that musical instruments should not be used in worship today. Godly men, who would differ on other subjects, spoke with one voice through all of history concerning no musical instruments in worship. These included men like: Athanasius, Chrysostom, Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Zwingli, Calvin, the Puritans, the Dutch, the Hugenots, the Scottish Covenanters (yea!), the American Pilgrim Fathers, William Romaine, Thomast Boston, Isaac Watts, C.H. Spurgeon (already mentioned), and D.M. Lloyd-Jones.

    The exceptions to this rule are: Roman Catholics, most Lutherans, and most Anglicans (Richard Baxter, for example, did not believe in musical instruments).

    In Jesus,

  23. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

    Thank you. I will certainly check out the articles when I have more time. I had never heard this particular argument before, so I will have to do some reading on it.

    Though, for the record, I must state that I have yet to come across any argument that has convienced me of (i.e. bound my conscience) either EP or non-instrumental singing. But as always, I will seriously and prayerfully consider views that oppose my own, as long as they are accompanied by Scripture and well reasoned. How esle would you explain a "card carrying independent fundamental premil dispensational Baptist" coming to realize that the Reformed Faith, or if you prefer, CT is the faith of the Bible? :)

    SEAGOON Puritan Board Freshman

    Hello David,

  25. VictorBravo

    VictorBravo Administrator Staff Member

    Well, we have commands to teach and admonish one another (which implies corporate and public worship) and we are told to do it by singing. Don't the two together tell us to do it out loud?

    “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord” (Colossians 3:16).
  26. Southern Presbyterian

    Southern Presbyterian Moderator Staff Member

  27. fredtgreco

    fredtgreco Vanilla Westminsterian Staff Member

    I completely agree. Thanks, Andy! Maybe this post should make it to the blog? :D
  28. Calvibaptist

    Calvibaptist Dallas Cowboys' #1 Fan

    My point was that these two passages (Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16) tell us that we are to speak, teach and admonish one another. The singing is said to take place in your hearts, not out loud.
  29. JBaldwin

    JBaldwin Puritan Board Post-Graduate

    Musical instruments should be used in worship. I am fully aware of the argument that in Ephesians 5:19, the breakdown psalms, hymns and spiritual songs could refer to three different types of psalms in the book of Psalms. This of course is a plausible argument; however, there is another possible interpretation of the passage, that I think has been overlooked many times.

    When I looked up the word "psalmos" which is the Greek word used for psalms, I came across two possible meanings when it is used in the plural form. It can be mean the Book of Psalms (as in Luke 20:42, 24:44) or it can mean to strike with the fingers (as in playing an instrument) as in Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16. The word can be translated either way, but the books I consulted agreed that the word in Ephesians and Colossians refers to the second meaning, since hymns are songs sung without an accompaniment, psalms are those sung to musical accompaniment. This interpretation is based on the fact that the word "psalmos" comes from the root Greek word "psallos" which means to play a stringed instrument. Also, the word "melody" in Ephesians is the word "psallos". The word "singing" means just that singing. I think it is interesting that the apostle Paul to chose the Greek word "psallos" (playing a stringed instrument) in this verse rather than just saying "singing in your heart to the Lord". To a Greek reading Ephesians or Colossians in that day, they would have immediately thought of singing with musical accompaniment, particularly stringed instruments.

    There are numerous ways that the Spirit of God could have led the apostle Paul to write this verse. He could have said worship only from the book of Psalms or He could have said sing to yourselves the word of God. Instead He carefully chose words that would include all aspects of music, singing unaccompanied, singing the Word of God, singing with instruments, and spiritual songs. He also bothered to tell us how we should approach music in worship.

    It is true that musicians and their instruments in worship can be a terrible distraction. When they are, they along with their instruments should be asked to step down. Instrumentation used in worship is there to support the singing, that is, make it easier to sing. As a musician myself (yes, I am biased), I have seen musical accompaniment enrich the singing. We tend to forget that the scripture does not say worship God with songs, it says, "teaching and admonishing one another with psalms, hymns and spiritual songs" The purpose of music in worship is not only to adore our Lord, but also to help us learn the Scriptures better.

    A word to musicians here: We, those of us who believe that musical instruments should be used in worship, must take Colossians 3:12-17 very seriously:

    12 Put on then, as God's chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, 13 bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

    When we are playing our instruments (or singing) in worship whether alone or in a group, we must put on compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, patience and love. and be thankful. The Word of Christ should dwell in us richly before we ever try to lead others in worship.
  30. CalvinandHodges

    CalvinandHodges Puritan Board Junior


    In Post #23 Wyeth County Calvinist demands Biblical evidence for the forbidding of musical instruments in Public worship. But, then he "amens" an argument that does not have a shred of Biblical evidence to it, and is simply "practical" in nature?

    Is that what Reformed worship is about? That if it is "practical" it is correct? Seagoon, Fred Greco, what happened to the Bible in your views? Are we to adhere to your tradition minus the Scriptures?

    You claim that forbidding musical instruments and singing a cappella is an "unnecessary hurdle"? Unnecessary to whom? God? Man? Yourself? There is a matter concerning worship that is forgotten here.

    Preaching the Word is not "worship." Praying is not "worship." Singing the Psalms a cappella is not "worship." Singing a hymn to an electric guitar is not "worship." Taking the Sacraments is not "worship." Rev. Dr. Judson Cornwall writes:

    Worship is in Spirit and in Truth, as Jesus says. It is the uniting of the Spirit of God with the heart of man. It is not spirit only - for that would be enthusiasm. It is not in Truth only - for that would be dead orthodoxy. It is Spirit and Truth. The Spirit does not work "outside" of the Truth.

    Now, musical instruments are either a matter of the true worship of God, or, they are not. Does anyone have a Biblical argument for musical instruments and not simply a practical one?

    J. Baldwin:

    I would like to see your reference. Because Strong's disagrees with your assessment of psalmos. The Psalms were sung without musical instruments in the synagogue worship services. According to Strong: psallo means to "play a musical instrument." The psalms could be accompanied "with a voice, harp. or other instrument" but this is referring back to the Temple worship, and not to the synagogue.

    Good point.


    Last edited: Sep 5, 2007
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