The Priesthood of the Believer and Instrumental Worship

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au5t1n

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I mentioned this briefly on another thread, but not at length because it was not the best forum or directly relevant to the OP.

Now I have been a church musician (guitar and bass) at multiple churches in the past, so I am by no means pointing fingers at anyone. But it seems to me (and my past experience as a church musician would seem to confirm this) that the presence of a band of church musicians in worship (including just piano and organ) sort of smacks in the face of the priesthood of the believer because there is a separate group performing a distinct function of the worship, as opposed to the unity that is manifested when the congregation itself is the band.

In my reading of arguments for and against instrumental worship, this point has not been a common argument, but I feel it is strong and worth keeping around in the a capella arsenal, so to speak. The reason I bring it up is because I would appreciate comments (from both sides of instruments) on whether (and why) this is felt to be a strong argument or not. Now for the official question:

Does having church musicians distinct from the congregation necessarily have negative implications for how the priesthood of the believer is demonstrated in corporate worship?

(N.b. I am aware that giving everybody a tambourine would eliminate this problem, but that would be a strange church.)
 

JBaldwin

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
Does having church musicians distinct from the congregation necessarily have negative implications for how the priesthood of the believer is demonstrated in corporate worship?
What is corporate worship? And how is the priesthood of the believer manifest in corporate worship? To me, that is the first question to ask before asking if instrumental music is a distraction. Also, what do you mean by instrumental music? Do you mean music played all by itself? Music to accompany the singing? Or special music sung in worship? Or all of the above.

In some churches, the instrumentalists are nothing more than a pop band who entertain the crowd. In other churches, the instrumentalists play in such a way that it brings out the meaning to the words of the hymns, they worship right along with the congregation, and the congregation sings out better when those instrumentalists are participating.

In my own experience, instrumentalists (and I am one of them) can easily become performers. However, I have also worshipped with some instrumentalists who are so thoroughly absorbed in the message of the hymns that they instictively know when to stop playing or when to play so that the words speak.
 
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