Tuesday, June 01, 2004

"Church Music" - Part I

I want to talk about a topic that brings fear and cringing to most Christians that attend Churches of Christ. Music.

Specifically ACappella vs. Instrumental. ACappella, is simply translated as "Church music", but has come to mean music without instrumental accompaniment. But, even that definition is not enough for some. For some, even a human voice (or hand or other body part) that mimics an instrument is no longer ACappella music. For such people, mimicking a bass or creating a beat (for example) defies the spirit of the idea of "Church Music".

On the other side we have something as simple as a Church that might use an organ or a piano along with congregational singing, then there are Choruses, all the way to full bands with electric guitars and drums. There is an organization here in our town that proclaims that they are "The Church That Rocks".

Speaking as someone that has spent his whole life singing ACappella music in worship to God, and in choruses in High School and College, at devotionals and even in a somewhat short-lived group, I feel uncomfortable with the idea of using an instrument (other than that which God gave me) to worship him in an assembly. For me, it's distracting and unnecessary, the human voice is beautiful and simple enough for our corporate praise to God.

The Church of Christ's stance (at least traditionally and generally) on this issue is that instrumental music is not commanded in the Bible, nor is there a New Testament example of any Church using instruments in their corporate worship. It's really that simple, the Bible doesn't mention it, so we don't do it. Actually, the idea of instrumental accompaniment is rather new, only for the last few centuries have Churches used instruments in corporate worship to God, so those that would try to use the Bible to explicitly show that we should use an instrument in corporate worship would be foolish, it's not there. It is truly a man-contrived addition to what God established....

However, so are song books...and, Nurseries....and, Bible Classes...and, V.B.S...and, "pew Bibles".

(I originally called this "Let's Get This Over With...", but I decided to change the name to reflect what it was actually talking about)

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"...Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:7-18