Article - Instrumental Music and the First Century Church (part 1)

Jesus emphasizes that those who worship God must worship Him in spirit and truth (John 4:24). God’s word determines truth (John 17:17). More specifically, Jesus’ word, the New Testament, will judge us in the Last Day (John 12:48). Whatever we do in worship must be authorized by Jesus; otherwise, it is manmade and makes our worship to God useless (Matthew 15:9; Colossians 3:17). God wants to be worshiped with music. But there are two types of music: vocal and instrumental. What type of music does God authorize the New Testament church to use in worship to Him? The answer: Vocal (1 Corinthians 14:15; Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16). Where does the New Testament authorize the use of an instrument in church worship? It does not! Not only does the New Testament make it clear (by implication) that instrumental music was not used in church worship, but even the so-called “Church Fathers” who lived during and shortly after the apostles confirm that early Christian music was vocal only. Church historians agree with Lyman Coleman (Presbyterian scholar and church historian) who said, “It is generally admitted that the primitive Christians employed no instrumental music in their religious worship” (The Apostolic and Primitive Church). All of us understand the principle behind the child’s game “Simon says.” If Simon says to sing, but I sing and play, have I done what Simon says? God warns against adding to His word in Revelation 22:18. If I can add an instrument as I sing praise to God, I can add ice cream to the Lord’s Supper as I partake of it. Neither is acceptable worship to God! Do you wish to be a true worshiper or a vain worshiper?


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