Instruments in Worship

Wes  —  August 30, 2011
  • Sumo

Instrumental Music in WorshipI realize many people are passionate in their defense of mechanical instruments in worship to God. It is interesting though, how few have stopped to even question whether or not this practice comes from God or from man. If one simply studies the New Testament, I believe you will find that the use of mechanical instruments has no place in making music to God.

Put simply, the reason I don’t use instruments in worship is the same reason I expect a pizza I purchase to be topped with only the toppings I order. When I call up and order my favorite pizza from Papa John’s Pizza (a Canadian bacon and pineapple pizza), I expect to receive a pizza with Canadian bacon and pineapple. I will not be pleased if I receive less than this and I will not be pleased if I receive more than this. I will not accept a pizza with Canadian bacon, pineapple, and pepperoni. Pepperoni might be a fine topping, but if I have not asked for it, I do not want it.

This concept is so simple! When a person asks for something specific, then their silence concerning all other alternatives is prohibitive! Put simply, when I ask for a specific type of pizza I have automatically eliminated all the other possibilities concerning the type of pizza I wish to receive. There are a thousand alternatives to any given set of instructions, and it would be ridiculous for someone to have to exhaust a list of what he doesn’t want. All a person has to do is be specific about what he does want.

If however, I simply wanted a pizza and did not care what kind of pizza I received I could be generic in my order. I could simply say,Pizza “Bring me a pizza.” I could not complain then about the toppings which were on it because I did not specify want kind of pizza I wanted. This is a generic command.

The question then, as it concerns music in worship, is: was God specific or generic about music? Some are quick to say, “Make a joyful noise unto the Lord” (Psalm 100:1)! And they are right. That is a generic command. However, that is a generic command to the Jews under the Old Covenant. If you want to please God under the New Covenant, you better look to the New Testament. It doesn’t matter what kind of pizza I ordered yesterday. If I order a new pizza today, it is that pizza order that I wish to have followed.

When we read in the New Testament about music to God this is what we read:

Ephesians 5:19 (ESV) “addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart”

Colossians 3:16 (ESV) “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.”

Hebrews 13:15 (ESV) “Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.”

The reason it is not right for Christians to use an instrument in worship is because God specifically instructed us on how to make music to Him; those instructions did not include the instrument.

Being radically Christian is about following God’s instructions, not man’s. Therefore give God what he’s asked for and be radically Christian!