Instrumental Music, from Heaven or Men?

Dr. Lawton preaching

In praise of music the poets of the ages have produced some of their greatest lines, Shakespeare called it “the food of love” and Carlyle described it as “the speech of angels.”  Truly music is a golden language, spoken alike by all peoples.  William Congreve grasped this great truth when he wrote: “Music hath charms to soothe the savage beasts, to soften rocks, or bend a knotted oak.”

Most people when visiting a religious service of the Church of Christ for the first time are quite puzzled and amazed to find that no instrumental music is used.  They naturally are curious as to the reason or reasons for the omissions of this practice; and unless reliable information is secured, they may conclude that merely from the standpoint of personal taste we do not prefer mental music or that we cannot afford it.  Neither of these conclusions is true.  We in refusing the use of instrumental music in worship do not do so just to be peculiar or because of the expense involved.  To us it is not a matter of expediency but an issue of principle.  This is a subject that many zealous religious people have never questioned. The question of its origination and its scriptural ness has never entered their mental faculties.  But now, we shall question the conventional by placing the topic of discussion under the meticulous, x-ray scrutiny eyes of God’s wonderful Book.

There is not a solitary instance of it in the worship of any church of the New Testament period.  Church historians, such as Eusebius, Neander, Mosheirn, Schaff; etc. make no mention of it for hundreds of years after Christ.  Today it is found in most churches.  WHEN AND BY WHOSE AUTHORITY WAS IT INTRODUCED?  Some people feel that it has always been, but that is far from the truth.  Since the Bible is silent on it, I must refer to history.  The American Encyclopedia says, “Pope Vitalian is related to have first introduced organs into some of the churches of Western Europe about 670…” (Vol. 12, p.688).  Chamber’s Encyclopedia gives the same testimony.  Martin Luther rejected the use of the organ.  “The organ in the worship of God is an ensign of BaaL” John Wesley, founder of the Methodist Church, was asked about the organ, he said, “I have no objection to the organ in our chapels provided it is neither heard no seen.”  MY FRIENDS, THE USE OF INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC IN THE CHURCH ORIGINATED WITH MAN AND NOT GOD.

In spite of the plain teaching of the Word of God, men are still endeavoring to substantiate it.  Many unsupportable reasons are given for its use today.  Some say that they use it because THEY HAD IT IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.  Some boast that David used it.  We do not deny that it was used in the Old Testament or that David used it.  But my friends, Col. 2:14 informs us that the Old Testament has been nailed to the cross.  Heb. 10:9 tells us that the old law has been taken out of the way, and we live and worship under the New Testament.  There were many things done in the Old Testament that are not done under the New Testament.  They had animal sacrifices under the Old but we do not have them under the New Testament.  Some say that they use it because the BIBLE DID NOT SAY NOT TO USE IT.  God told Noah to build the ark out of GOPHER WOOD. (Gen. 6:14)  If he had used any other kind of wood except GOPHER WOOD, he would have disobeyed God.  Jesus said to his disciples, “TARRY YE IN JERUSALEM.”  (Luke 24:49) Notice that Jesus did not tell them NOT TO GO TO BETHEL, EPHESUS, AND ANTIOCH.  The Bible tells Christians to SING in Eph. 5:19, Col. 3:16, Heb. 2:12.  This is a specific command and it excludes everything except SINGING, and it is not necessary for the Bible to say NOT TO USE IT. (2 John 9)


Reading through the New Testament passages on the subject of worship in songs we find the following:

Eph. 5:19 says “SINGING AND MAKING MELODY IN THE HEART.”  Heb. 2:12 says ” IN THE MIDST OF THE CHURCH I WILL SING PRAISE UNTO THEE.”  This is what God’s Book says.  Any Church that uses instrumental music in the worship is violating the simple teaching of the New Testament.