“WHY DO THE CHURCHES OF CHRIST
INSTRUMENTS OF MUSIC IN WORSHIP?”
This is a question that is frequently asked by those who visit our assemblies and is certainly a valid question in light of the fact that instrumental music is commonly used in worship by most religious groups. In answering this question, it is not our intention or desire to judge others, but only to give an explanation of our reasons for not using instrumental music in worship. It is our hope that this explanation will help you to better understand our convictions on this issue.
It is our common and earnest desire in the churches of Christ to worship and serve God according to His will, for Jesus tells us that only those who do the will of the Father can enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 7:21). We have no desire to worship according to our own will, nor the will of men, for Jesus tells us that such worship is vain and useless (Matthew 15:9). It is this earnest desire to do only the will of the Father that leads us to reject the use of instrumental music in worship.
The first thing that one must consider about instrumental music in worship is that it is never mentioned as being used by the church in the New Testament. Though it was used in Old Testament worship and was commanded by God through Moses (Numbers 10:1-10) and through the prophets (II Chronicles 29:25) and through the psalmist, David (Psalms 150). There is no mention in the New Testament of the church using instruments of music in worship to God. Singing was certainly a part of the worship of early disciples as we read in the following passages of Scripture: (Matthew 26:30, Mark 14:26, Acts 16:25, Romans 15:9, I Corinthians 14:25, 26, Ephesians 5:19, Colossians 3:16, Hebrews 2:12, Hebrews 13:15, James 5:13), yet, there is no mention in these passages of the use of instrumental music. The silence of the Scripture on this matter and our desire to do only the will of the Father in heaven has led us to reject the use of instruments in worship.
There is also overwhelming historical evidence that instrumental music was not used in the worship of the early church. According to Webster’s Dictionary, The word “a capella” which means “to sing without instruments” is of Latin origin and literally means “as in chapel” or “in the manner of the church”. To sing without instruments was to sing as the church sang. According to the Catholic Encyclopedia, Pope Vitalian is related to have first introduced the “organ” into some of the churches of Western Europe in about 670 A.D. yet, the use of instrumental music in worship did not become commonly accepted until the middle of the 13th century. Even after the use of instrumental music became common in the Roman Catholic Church, many of the leaders of the Protestant Reformation Movement rejected the use of instruments in worship. Among them were: Martin Luther, founder of the Lutheran Church, John Calvin, founder of the Presbyterian Church, John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, Adam Clark, noted Methodist scholar and commentator, Charles Spurgeon, noted Baptist preacher, and many others. Though many believe that instrumental music has always been a part of Christian worship, the exact opposite is true. Instrumental music was introduced centuries after the church was established and the New Testament was completed.
We want our worship to be pleasing and acceptable to God. We know that God is pleased with those who offer a sacrifice of praise, the fruit of the lips that praise his name, Hebrews 13:15, but we cannot be sure that he is pleased with the worship accompanied by mechanical instruments. Having no authority from the Scriptures for the use of mechanical instruments and having overwhelming evidence from history that instrumental music was not used in the worship of the early church, we cannot in good conscience accept the use of mechanical instrument in worship to God. We call upon all believers to make a thorough and objective examination of this issue with an earnest desire to do the will of the Father in Heaven.