Sunday, April 11, 2010

Dusting off Church Music

Dusty idea today is that we don't need any additions in our singing to praise God. We use our voices and play the strings of our heart.

There are two types of music used within what is recognized by the denominational world today as Christianity. First type is A Cappella, the 2nd type is instrumental. We need to understand what these terms mean.

A - A is a preposition. It is the same in Latin, Italian and Spanish, as the latter two derive from the first. In Spanish the translation comes to English as "of." In Italian, the translation in English is "from." It makes no difference to the point here, because if something is "of" a place, it is what can come forth "from" a place.

Cappella - In Italian "Cappella Sistina" translates Sistine Chapel. Therefore Cappella translates Chapel.

Instrumental - Singing accompanied with mechanical musical instruments.

So from antiquity we find the music in the church as A Cappella, which is known to be sung without mechanical instrument accompaniment. That's right, only vocal music was found in or coming out of church buildings.

Mechanical instruments were not introduced until after 600 A.D. This is too late to be part of the faith which was delivered one time for all: Christianity (Jude 3).

However when the reformation occurred, Luther, Calvin, Wesley, Spurgeon, and Zwingli are all on record in opposition.

"I have no objection to a piano being in the church building, provided it is neither seen nor heard" (by Wesley from Clarke's Commentary, Vol. 4, page 684)

" Musical instruments in celebrating the praise of God would be no more suitable than the burning of incense, the lighting up of lamps, the restoration of the other shadows of the law. The Papists, therefore, have foolishly borrowed this, as well as many other things, from the Jews."
John Calvin's Commentary, Ps. 33.

Charles H. Spurgeon, recognized as one of the greatest Baptist preachers that ever lived, who preached for 20 years to thousands of people weekly in the Metropolitan Baptist Tabernacle, London, England, did not have musical instruments in the worship. (M.C. Kurfeest, Instrumental Music in the worship, page 196).

Instruments were not widely accepted in the denominational world until about the 18th century. The acceptance is about 1700 years too late to be the one church and one faith of Christianity.

Lets take a look at scriptural references to see if what the Father has to say contradicts the wisdom of man in this area.

Colossians 3:16 - Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.

Colossians doesn't leave any room for anything but singing.

Ephesians 5:19 - Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord;

Ephesians is a different matter. We have the command to "psallo" to the Lord. Psallo is a Greek word. It was translated as "making melody". Its definition is to "pluck" or "play". There is definitely room for an instrument here, or so it appears.
This is where the majority of denominations stop. The person that has ears to hear will read on and see the writer also names the instrument to be played, its the heart. Actual Greek translation of that last part of the verse: "singing and stroking to the heart of you to the Master."

For the sake of debate, lets assume for a moment that this does allow a mechanical instrument (even though it doesn't). Because the word here "psallo" is plural, and this is a command (imperative mood), if there is an instrument allowed, then everyone must be playing that same instrument, or those not so doing are disobeying the command. In other words, if the organ is authorized, and only one person plays the organ, that one person is the only person who is not sinning.

David played a harp..... The same authority used to add instruments to worship (the Old Testament) also demands the use of animal sacrifice. If we were to use the animal sacrifices today, we would be denying the need of the blood of Jesus. Yet we are told that if we try to keep that law, and fail in one point, we are guilty of all. To keep old testament musical instruments we would probably need to keep having animal sacrifices as well. Not only does this trod under foot the Son of God, its makes it impossible to receive forgiveness and get to heaven.

In a final thought here, the Apostles gave the things contained in the worship service. That was during the 1st century A.D. For the sake of argument the book of Revelation was written, depending on who you ask, between 68 A.D. and 95 A.D. In either suggested timeline the effect is the same. When Jesus sent his messages to the seven churches of Asia, at that time they were using A Cappella music in their services, we see from the information above that music wasn't introduced historically until after 600 A.D. Christ said in Rev. 2:26 to hold fast to that which they had already, echoing what Jude 3 says about contending for the faith that was once delivered to the saints.