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Rick Atchley, the Elders and Richland Hills Community "Instruments" Show

February 14 2007 at 2:51 AM
Donnie Cruz  (no login)
from IP address

Source: THE CHRISTIAN CHRONICLE (Online or Printed)

From a letter to the editor in November 2006:

    Unity is being promoted vigorously, especially by Rick Atchley and some who agree with his analysis of Bible teaching and current practice and beliefs. Some wonder why so little emphasis is placed upon uniting with brethren in the Disciples of Christ denomination. Some wonder why so little is said about including in unity discussions some leaders in Church of Christ circles. I read an article today about troubles in Presbyterian circles which might help explain our reluctance to discuss unity with leaders in the Disciples denomination. Liberalism and faith do not mix.

Readers respond to coverage of instrumental service

[The Christian Chronicle] Editor’s note: Churches of Christ have long been committed to a cappella worship music, and our recent story on one church’s decision to add a Saturday night instrumental service including the Lord’s Supper has stirred deep concerns among a significant number of readers. The letters section this month is expanded to bring a representative sample of opinions. As a general rule, we only publish letters in the issue immediately following the story.


So, The Christian Chronicle has published the following selected responses, including one from John Waddey:

This message has been edited by Donnie.Cruz from IP address on Feb 17, 2007 3:36 PM

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Donnie Cruz
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“Selfishness and pride that make folks bring instruments into….”

February 14 2007, 3:12 AM 

Nobody seems to understand the real issue. It’s not about the instruments. It’s about our attitude toward the public assembly. Paul soundly criticized the Corinthians for being selfish in their public assembly. They were selfish in regards to communion and regards to speaking in tongues when no one else could understand them.

Public worship is not about us personally. It’s about each other. In my opinion it’s selfishness and pride that make folks bring instruments into the public assembly.


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Donnie Cruz
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“The freedom to use contemporary music [for] the ‘unchurched’….”

February 14 2007, 3:13 AM 

If the apostle Paul could ask Timothy to become circumcised for the sake of the gospel, I wish that our brothers and sisters in Christ would grant one another the freedom to use contemporary music as a way to draw in the “unchurched” to the message of the gospel.

In an age where kids have to travel with their music loaded into their iPods, we are not going to reach some because of our stance on doing church music only in one manner. We have to be willing to become all things to all people in order that some might be saved. The good news is about Jesus, not a cappella music.


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T Young
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Let's Go One Step Further

June 4 2007, 9:49 PM 

Let's not limit ourselves to bringing in those unchurched who appeal to instrumental music. If we accept ity we can reach an even greater group of people and then we could allow women ministers and appeal to the feminists and hey why don't we just allow everything and just think of how many people we could bring in. I get so tired of so many people of little faith, including many of our so called big name ministers, who discount what God tells us in the Bible. If we just preach the word HE will give the increase. That doesn't mean that shouldn't be smart and use all our resources, but it also doesn't mean that we forsake all our principles so people will like us. So many s tell teens to stand up to peer pressure, well it's high time s took their own advice and stand up to peer pressure themselves. God didn't tell us that we have to have the highest attendance to enter the gates of heaven, in fact He said that narrow was the way.

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Donnie Cruz
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“… not because we sing a cappella”

February 14 2007, 3:14 AM 

Thank you for your efforts at objective coverage of issues affecting our fellowship. Why do people think that incorporating instruments is the cure-all for stagnation? Anyone who believes that instrumental worship is a “silver bullet” for evangelism is in for serious disappointment. No alteration in style is a substitute for investing in people’s lives and ministering to the least of these.

Our fellowship is in trouble because we are not fulfilling the Great Commission; not because we sing a cappella.


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Donnie Cruz
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“The silence of God speaks thunderously loud.”

February 14 2007, 3:15 AM 

The silence of God speaks thunderously loud. Hebrews 7:14: “For it is evident that our Lord was descended from Judah, a tribe with reference to which Moses spoke nothing concerning priests.” Moses did not list tribes unauthorized to serve as priests because he specified the approved tribe — a principle the Hebrews author expected his readers to know.

Other inspired writers did not list unauthorized food and beverages to be served at the Lord’s Table because they specified which items were approved — a principle these inspired writers expected their readers to know. To go beyond God’s specified word and add something not specified is to leave the biblical pattern (Hebrews 8:5) and invoke his displeasure (2 John 9).


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Donnie Cruz
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“The strategy currently used … is now evident….”

February 14 2007, 3:17 AM 

The strategy currently used by those who wish to introduce instrumental music into our worship is now evident:

  1. Make those who oppose the innovation appear to be the bad guys who are causing division.
  2. Insist that those who oppose the instrument should not voice their objections to others.
  3. No negative comment should be expressed regarding those who are promoting, justifying or using instruments.
  4. Those who wish to do so must be allowed that liberty.
  5. When contemplating unity only ask, “Do they believe in Jesus? Have they been immersed?”
  6. Depict those who object to the change agenda as unlearned, narrow and legalistic folks who are to be pitied and ignored.


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Donnie Cruz
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For Ken Sublett: What does this music history student really NOT know?

February 17 2007, 3:55 PM 

Thank you for reporting on this story in an unbiased way. As a student of music history, I know of only one other church music debate that caused as much dissention as the instrumental debate, and that was the addition of harmony.

I have been in the Churches of Christ since birth, and I don’t plan on leaving. Even so, I know that we’re probably not right about everything, and that we must seek constant renewal: We must continue to live and grow, or else we will whither and die.


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Ken Sublett
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Not old enough, Joe.

February 17 2007, 7:34 PM 

I think that there is NO connection between MELODY and harmoy. The Britanica and others not that "melody as tunefulness belongs to the 19th century." Firstly, Psallo has nothing to do with MELODY (the word is melos) and therefore Paul put any connection to the word IN THE PLACEof the HUMAN HEART or spirit which is the only place God seeks our worship.

Then, to make sure that we COULD NOT hallucinate MUSIC he used the PARALLEL word GRACE in Colossians 3. Now, you will remember that both HARMONY and GRACE are qualities of the SPOKEN WORD. Since TUNEFULNESS did not exist we can be PRETTY sure that neither spoke of MUSIC but the disposition of the SPIRIT and of the manner of SPEAKING (which excludes poetry and music). Now, most of us can grasp that trying to SPEAK or TEACH one another while some gender-confuseds MAKE Rock and Roll, the rational world would say NOT SO GRACEFUL! As a matter of fact, it would be spitting in the face of Jesus Christ (The ONLY Spirit) as He is our lone Rabbi when we "teach that which has been taught" with no hint of "singing that which Twila or little brother wrote."

Now, IF we translate MELODY back to the first century it would be A SERIES OF SINGLE NOTES. If you use four voices to sing four sets of words to four different tunes at four different times THAT would kinda abrade (psallo) the MELODY, don't you think? The NOTES were accent marks and NOT musical: even SINGING was using the inflections of human speech. Now, if you use some hormone-deprived brother sisters to do what the Jewish Encyclopedia as SCREECHING, SCREAMING AND HOLLERING. That is what my trained ear hears and it is RARELY musical. The persona of theatrical and musical performers is NOT going to attract the spiritual but the GROUPIES.

The Hydralic Organ existed as did the PIPE which Judas "handled without authority." So, they could play single notes. However, even early pipe organs were nto suitable for use with voices. For that and BIBILCAL reasons, the Catholics NEVER engaged in congregational singing with instrumental accompaniment. The organ was the plaything of the idle monks and composers and it played preludes, interludes and recessinals. It has been said that it set the PITCH for the PRECENTOR who did the chanting and McClintock and Strong identifies as "the first heresy largely pervading the church."

When the CASTRADOS which were the A CAPELLA (goat singers) came from France they were USED in the Sistine Chapel because it was UNLAWFUL to use instruments in only OFFICIAL mass conducted by the Pope. As late as 1911 it was unlawful to use instruments when the OFFICIAL ritual was conducted by the Pope. It comes as no surprise that the ONLY rituals under the King (after David died) were for the Civil-Military-Priestly complex riding on the backs of honest people. It was outlawed in the synagogues where REAL people met to LEARN and REST FROM the laded burden

MELODY began when the IDLE discovered that they had ten fingers and began to add the umms and ahhhs and other sounds. This developed into ORGANUM which is the A CAPELLA which is the legalistic end run around NOT using machines but constituting an ORGANIC pipe organ. As I have noted, the ORGAN or musical instrument is a MACHINE for doing hard work or producing SHOCK AND AWE in the theater or TEMPLES. That means that you cannot use a MACHINE without being DEFACTO legalistic and probably terminal by COMING TO THE AID of the apt-to-fail gods which is THE meaning of PRAISE SINGING as the OLDEST profession to sing up a storm or rain or a wife.

So, you see how GRADUALISM is the way Lucifer (the singing and harp playing prostitue) moves you from looking to standing to SITTING in the seats of the MOCKERS which means MUSICIANS. The HARMONY battle which was not severe happened when Calvin and others began to PARAPHRASE the Psalms because they ARE NOT METRICAL so you have to add some ooos, and ahhs to make it fit. You are probably too young to miss that because HOE DOWN, HEE HAW singing came out of the Awakenings such as Devil Worship at Cane Ridge and the rapid development of SANGING SCHOOLS all based, musicologists tell us, on the VOODOO influence which is an expression of LOSTNESS and not spirituality. I think the ourbreak of musical demonism is because preachers have begun to discover that there is not JOB DESCRIPTION for them unless they have a GO BUTTON. If you sell the preacher manufactring plants teaching everything but the Bible and learn how to TEACH the Word AS IT HAS BEEN TAUGHT you will find people EATING the word and jumping and jiving IN THE SPIRIT as opposed to the Musical Idolatry at Mount Sinai which is 100% based on STIRING UP THE FLESH: a sexual-like Climax says the Vineyard Lady who is Mother of the New Wineskinners. If the SCHOOLS would turn in their BIBLE TEACHING CERTIFICATE then we can restore BODY LIFE which does not require a MINISTER OF BODY LIFE AND HIS/HER SUPPORT TEAM. no waht i mean?

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Donnie Cruz
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Psalmist David’s OT “Congregation” [?]: an Example of NT Assembly?

February 17 2007, 4:02 PM 

Why is the music thing even an issue? Have we not read the Old Testament, particularly sections dealing with the temple, and all through the Psalms?

Why is this a hangup? Read what David used music for, even before he was king. Some of the most positively influential people in my life have been involved in worship to God with music. Some of the biggest answers to prayer in my life have been when I was involved with music. Please listen.


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Donnie Cruz
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The “Holy Spirit” [?] directs us to change from the old paths to our new opinions?

February 17 2007, 4:06 PM 

I think you were pretty thorough with the article concerning Richland Hills. I have been a member of the church for many years and used to think of it in the “old” way. We are all not perfect, so I believe the Holy Spirit directs us to change at times on our opinions. I respect all the elders at Richland Hills and love our minister, Rick. I really believe they have heard from God on this matter. Since the early ’90s I have been praying for positive change in the Churches of Christ.

If one thinks we are just going to sing a cappella in heaven, I believe that is not what it is all going to be.


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Ken Sublett
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Hearing voices? or Visions? How/

February 17 2007, 9:00 PM 

First, the name of the Holy Spirit is "Jesus Christ the Righteous." There is no separated-out "spirit" person. Jesus of Nazareth came to Paul as the the one and only Spirit Deity: the only way anone qualifies to speak for God is a direct fact-to-face encounter.

The Spirit OF CHRIST which comes in the NAME Jesus Christ and does not SPEAK on his own, has given us all that pertains to life and Godliness. The Spirit OF CHRIST was the Word, the Rock and all manifestations of the invisible, inaudible Spirit. He began Genesis by using Words (and you need to do some Word mining if you love the Living Word) and defined the serpent as a Musical Enchanter. As the king of Tyre Lucifer is the "singing and harp playing prostitute." As the King of Babylon he /she goes into Topheth with his harps and still-breathing harpists (I have pictures). The fall from Grace at Mount Sinai was the musical idolatry of the always-pagan trinity.

The FALL brought on the Law and when the elders (probably hearing voice) demanded a King God carried out his captivity and death penalty imposed at Mount Sinai. The kings would take them captive and the Monarchy, kingsom and king were GENTILE or NATIONAL just like Tyre and Babylon. God promised that the kings wouuld take the young boys and make them make instruments and run before his chariots as wariors: this was a curse. The temple was for national animal sacrifices much like Washington Cathedral is the temple for the Civil-Military complex of the State.

Even in the wilderness God odained the synagogue to hold a holy convocatioon to REST, read and rehearse the Word: instruments and loud rejoicing were OUTLAWED and there was "never a praise service in the synagogue." All of the words for singing and music seak of ENCHANTMENT and John POINTED OUT the end-time Mother of Harlots in Revelation 17. In Revelation 18 he identifies the singers, instrument players and other creaters of Shock and Awe as in spectacle as SORCERERS. Are you willing to bet your soul that John was not prophesing and identifying Satan's new kingdom? Why do you think the OLD Spirit OF Christ got it all wrong and the NEW spirit says that the Old spirit was a bald faced liar. Some do claim that we can be a GREATER THAN Moses and a Christ with greater power.

Now, I challenge you to make a transcript and read the three sermons without being under the STRESS induced by both the preaching style and "music teams" which are outlawed because they are defined a sorcery. Then read the CLAIMS made by Rick and report back and see if you can find a SINGLE ONE which does not TWIST the Scriptured delivered by THE SPIRIT OF CHRIST. The fact that you believed all of them is proof that you are under a SPELL which is the Navigating the Winds of Change which all of the false preachers are using: it derives from Machiavelli, Hitler and all people who manipulate people.

Now, since the ONLY Spirit as the SPIRIT OF CHIRST has condemned music from Genesis to Revelation and consignes it to Satan as source, Warriors (under the king) sacrificiaL NOiSE not called music, Exorcism during sacrifices because that was THE only meaning, to prostitutes and Sodomites which plagued even the Jerusalem temple, WHY do you think that they HEARD GOD or SAW WRITING ON THE WALL or something to say for all the world to hear EVERYTHING I EVER INSPIRED is a big fat lie so I have sent my FACE TO FACE Prophet to you to tell you that we are under a NEW WORLD ORDER. Some of the friends SAY that it is all bad, erroneous fragments and WE ARE PARTNERING WITH GOD to get a new set of Scriptures.

Since that is the most PRESUMPTIOUS CLAIM IN CHURCH HISTORY are you willing to be an ENABLER and rest your soul that All of the bible and all known history was ALL WRONG and the unlawful pastor and the not-qualified elders are UNIQUE IN HISTORY. Rubel Shelly says he has a NEW SET OF SPECTACLES to get a NEW VISION.

That would have to mean that this small band of discorders CLAIM to be God: musicians are standing in the type of the Holy Place and claiming that they can "lead you into the presence of God." That means that they CLAIM to Be God because Jesus is the ONLY mediator. Until you fall out with the gurus I don't think you can hear because when we lose the love for the TRUTH God sends us strong delusions and the literature is filled with the fact that they used MUSIC to delude people out of the children's food money. Do you believe that they have new spectacles. Here is Joe Smith's. Look around and see if you can find them.

Happy Landing.

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Donnie Cruz
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But the Trumpets and Drums and the Lord’s Supper Mix Well on “Saturday Night Live!”

February 17 2007, 4:14 PM 

I can find nowhere in New Testament Scripture where instruments were used or authorized in the worship, and early church history bears me out. Perhaps a larger concern is the observance of the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night! Our days do not begin at nightfall, as the Jewish day does. And the Lord was not resurrected on Saturday!

When the New Testament tells me that the church met together “on the first day of the week for the breaking of bread, fellowship and prayers, and every church historian of any repute says that the meaning was primarily to observe the Lord’s Supper, I must question the scripturality of the practice of offering the Lord’s Supper on Saturday night.


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Donnie Cruz
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A CORRECT Example of HUMAN Tradition: Worship of the Virgin Mary

February 17 2007, 4:19 PM 

It would seem to me that before anything takes place in regard to instrumental music, we need more study and prayer on the issue of traditions and the issue of remaining united in the church. Romans 14 addresses this second issue quite clearly. And it addresses it to both sides — defenders and challengers. Paul says to not put a stumbling block in your brother’s way. For defenders of tradition, their stumbling block is the introduction of musical instruments. For challengers of tradition, the tradition itself is the stumbling block.


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KEN Sublett
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Romans 14-15

February 17 2007, 6:20 PM 

It is true that Paul always addresses the PROBLEMS before he addresses the solutions. There is a large body of evidence about Romans 14 which defines the three sects in Rome. Paul POINTS them out by the distincive of their DIET. However, they were all pagan systems which depended wholly on instrumental music to get theselves UP or into what Paul called madness in 1 Cor 14.

Paul outlawed the private diversities of all of these groups although he would have approved of none of them. The dionysus worshipers were the meat eaters, wine drinkers.. They had plagued the temple as part of Zeuz-Dionysus Abomination of Desolation and more than a hundred years prior to Paul Rome had to highly restrict their rituals to daylight and limited the numbers. Their "worship" would have been much like the musical rituals in new style worship from old style Babylon although they went beyond 'virtual sexuality' to literal perversion.

People who would respond to the gospel were infirm and poor were CALLED OUT of these "burden laded" ceremonies which "created spiritual anxiety through religioous rituals." The word REST in the church in the wilderness outlaws instruments and loud rejoicing because it was to rest, read and rehearse the word. The Greek word PAUO or REST has the same meaning and is used widely to demand "stop the speaking, stop the singing, stop the music." Teaching is the unique roleof the church as what the Campbells tried and failed to restore as "a school of Christ" as the Synagogue was a "school of the bible and had no praise service" becuase it was outlawed and by common sense.

Therefore, doubtful disputations means "We will not DIALOG your private diversities." No, you will not IMPOSE them on others.

In Romans 15 without letting his pen dry he launced into defining the SYNAGOGUE without using the "singing" concept because in Ephesians and colossians he put the singing AND melody or grace IN THE HEART and directed to God and not to the audience. It took a theologians "explaining" to get people to SING OUT LOUD because, he said, God really just meant to outlaw INSTRUMENTS. No one ever doubted that and the culture FAVORED instruments and YES they could afford them. Yes, they could collect the multitudes but Jesus spoke to the multidudes in PARABLES to prevent them from hearing; songs are poetic and well recognized to be once, twice or thrice removes for the truth.

Paul outlawed SELF-PLEASING and we know exactly what that means from deinitions of words and by parallel statements in the Greek literature. Self pleasing is the same "creation of mental excitement" which Jesus died to remove as the laded burden. Both the Greek Aresko is often related to singing and music as a way to enchant or drive people into a mental state to (1) make false teaching go down and (2) to claim that the Holy Spirit (his name is Jesus Christ the Righteous) was causing their state of mental anxiety which worked only because it hurt first: like the runner's high.

The Latin word is VERY EXPLICIT by defining all of the performing arts: it connects directly by use in text to the DEMAGOGUE who "appeases people by using the popular arts" and the word KLEPTOMA often creeps in.

Further, the words for SPEAK as in the ekklesia or synagogue are DEFINED to exclude poetry and music and the words are used in this exclusive sense.

Paul then commanded (speaking) with ONE MIND and ONE MOUTH in order to edify or educate (teach and admonish), to glorify God who wrote the songs and sermons, to COMFORT (ie as paraklete) through the Scriptures and to KEEP THE UNITY of the body. To that, Jesus instituted, Paul defined and the churches practiced the Lord's Supper which was also a sowing forth or TEACHING visual aid.

I believe that to be true because we know from recorded history that SINGING as part of the assembly was not added until about the year 373 and that by a Syrian who introduced his own "songs." To his credit, these would give us a better time-flow of the Old Testament than any of us get after 18 years of "churching" which is not SYNAGOGUE or CLASS ROOM focused.

In Romans 15 Paul explicitely EXCLUDES any of the private diversities people want to FORCE into the church because they think that Romans means we can do our own thing. We can, but not as directly commanded by Paul so that we cannot misunderstand. The end-game of years of doing 'worship rituals' is that almost no one knows that SPEAK does not translate MAKE MUSIC. The Command throughout was to SPEAK one to another EXTERNALLY and sing AND "strike our heart strings" IN the heart. The heart or spirit is a PLACE as oppossed to Zion or Gerezim: sure, even the sinful woman knew that "when Messias comes He will tell us all things." Tell is not SANG.

Whatever conclusion people reach, can they REALLY just dismiss TWISTING every single passage in the Bible and scholarly comment with vocal force and warning against opposing the elders? No, they do not hear the Holy Spirit who spoke face to face to the Apostles and the apostles left us a "memory" and warned that anyone who did not "teach that which had been taught" was a false teacher. The "another Comforter's" name John said is 'Jesus Christ the Righteous." If anyone thinks that they get visions, hear audible voices or however Jesus spoke to Rick, I would NOT drink their KoolAid. There is nothing but hurt to the church of Christ when people discover that people DIVERT their dedicated monies and lie TO God and ABOUT God. Revelation 17 and 18 defines this apostasy to the letter.

We have reached the terminus of a good idea which has been lifted of its Lamp stand (seven spirits of God) because of sermonizing (outlawed in the synagogue) and violating the direct command to use "that which is written" by using Fanny and Twila whose sentimentality was always known to suck the SPIRIT and manliness out of you.

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You just don't like music

June 20 2007, 2:21 AM 

Mr. Sublett,
It is obvious from reading your rantings that you just don't like music in any form or fashion. It is obvious to me that you are trying to convince people that we shouldn't even sing when we come together to worship.
I've read many of your long winded responses and have come to the conclusion that your just a cranky old man. You've even admitted that you do not attend worship service anywhere, and that leaves me wondering what is your objective with your "music hating" posts?
By the way, I PREFER A Cappella music and that's the main reason I still attend the CofC. That and the fact the we are the only one's that still teach baptizm for the remission of sins, and don't teach the once saved always saved doctrine of the denominational community.
Richard Logan
Paris Texas

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Donnie Cruz
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Singing—the Fruit of Our Lips—Is Specific!

February 17 2007, 4:26 PM 

God did not merely say “music.” He commanded a specific kind of music — singing, vocal, the fruit of our lips giving praise to him (Hebrews 13:15). The church that Christ built did not use instruments in praise.


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Donnie Cruz
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“News: North Richland Hills … to Begin Using Instruments” (from “Sound Teaching”)

April 21 2007, 2:24 PM 

SOURCE: “Sound Teaching”—West Side Church of Christ, Fort Worth, TX

In The News: North Richland Hills church of Christ to Begin Using Instruments in Worship

Published on 16 Dec 2006. Author: Stan Cox.

On Saturday, February 10, 2007, the Richland Hills church of Christ will begin holding a weekly Saturday evening worship service that will include the use of musical instruments in worship, and an observance of the Lord’s Supper. Jon Jones, (the former “pulpit minister” and one of the elders), said that the elders “fully and completely” endorsed the decision. At an adult Bible study, he said, “There is unity in our eldership, and we are so thankful for that.”

However, two of the 17 elders serving resigned when the decision was made. Though there seems to be some “politicking” going on, and the two remain members of the congregation, Roger Dean, one of the remaining 15 elders acknowledged that the decision had prompted the two elders to resign.

Rick Atchley is the current “pulpit minister”, and has long been an advocate of improved relations with the Christian church (a denomination that orginiated out of the Restoration movement, and uses musical instruments in worship).


It is not surprising that the Richland Hills church has reached this point. The liberalism present in that congregation has long been documented, and this further step is only a small increment of a full blown apostasy. It is interesting to note the language and reasoning of the leadership of the church, as well as the reaction of the congregation. Following are some of the statements made by the elders and preacher, recorded in the Christian Chronicle newspaper, with analysis from scripture:

    “Frankly, we did not know what to expect,” [Roger] Dean said. “We felt like it was going to be pretty difficult, but it has not been. … People are truly supporting the leadership and the eldership.”

It should not surprise us that the members of the congregation are accepting of the change. The apostasy has been ongoing for many years. The congregation consists of individuals (including the leadership) that have a very sectarian view of the church, and a liberal attitude toward Bible authority. The Apostle Paul warned of such when he wrote Timothy, “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; 4 and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:3-4).

    “We didn’t make this decision on a Tuesday and announce it on a Sunday,” Atchley said in the adult Bible study, citing much study, prayer and fasting by the elders. “This has been part of about a three-year journey that the leadership has been on.”

While it is commendable that the elders prayed and fasted, the decision to go ahead with this practice was done despite the fact that there is no scriptural authority for it. No amount of prayer or fasting will validate vain worship. Notice our Lord’s statement in Matthew 7:21-23, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’”
No amount of Bible study will reveal any positive authority for either the use of musical instruments in Christian worship, or the observance of the Lord’s Supper in Christian assembly on a Saturday. To do either is to engage in will worship, and to displease God.

    In the Dec. 3 Bible study, Atchley told Richland Hills members that “there has never been a moment’s discussion of changing the name of this church or our affiliation with Churches of Christ.”

But he said Richland Hills must put the kingdom of God and Christ’s mission above concerns that the change might hurt the congregation’s standing or influence among Churches of Christ.

At the same time, he suggested to members that Richland Hills’ decision might “inspire many other Churches of Christ to be courageous in their kingdom efforts, and it could help stem the tide of gifted young leaders who are leaving.”

The sectarian mindset of the Richland Hills leadership is seen in this quote. Notice he refers to “our affiliation with Churches of Christ.” The quote indicates that Atchley considers the church a denomination. In fact, a local congregation remains affiliated with the churches of Christ only so long as it remains faithful to the calling of our Lord. Men do not determine whether they will remain affiliated with “Churches of Christ”, the Lord determines whether a congregation will retain its candlestick. As the Lord warned the church of Christ at Ephesus, “Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works, or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place–unless you repent” (Revelation 2:5).

Further, the reasons stated for the change do not hold up to the standard of scripture. Atchley stated that the change is a “kingdom effort.” In other words, by such a compromise, the church could appeal to more in the world, and thus have a positive influence upon them. However, the gospel message has never been one of accomodation. Rather than conforming to worldly conventions, the gospel calls for the worldly to conform to the conventions of righteousness. Rather than saying, come to our church, we have the music you like, the Scripture says, “God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:24), and, “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish” (Luke 13:3).

The idea that this action might stem the tide of “gifted young leaders who are leaving” is likewise flawed. It is teaching that keeps the young, not compromise. The apostle Paul exhorted Timothy to admonish the young men to be “sober minded” , and in doctrine to show “integrity, reverence, incorruptibility, sound speech that can not be condemned” (cf. Titus 2:6-8). There will always be churches more willing to push the envelope. Trying to stop the exodus by a Saturday night assembly, when the denomination down the street has Rock and Roll on Sunday morning is a useless strategy. Teach the young people to respect the will of God, and those who stay, at the least, will be able to worship God in spirit and in truth.

    “My e-mail is flooded with messages from elders and preachers across the country encouraging this church and praising us for the decisions we’ve made,” Atchley told the church. “I know this: If our fellowship stays on the course we’re on, our future looks bleak. Someone has got to be a leader.”

This is perhaps the most insulting of the statements made by the leadership of this digressive congregation. The idea that the way Christians have worshipped God since the inception of the church will now lead to the demise of the Lord’s church is preposterous. The strength of God’s people is their distinctiveness. “Therefore, ‘Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you. 18 I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters’, Says the LORD Almighty.” We are told not to be conformed to the world, but rather transformed, (cf. Romans 12:1-2).

    Atchley acknowledged that Richland Hills could lose some members to other churches as a result of allowing instrumental worship.

    But he said, “We’ve already lost too many over a question that’s way too unimportant.”

In this quote the true attitude of the Richland Hills leadership is clearly stated. Following the Biblical pattern of worship (a capella music, and the first day of the week observance of the Lord’s Supper) is unimportant. The fight fought by faithful Christians in the late 1800’s was over a matter of no consequence. Of course, the texts mentioned before, (cf. Matthew 7:21-23; John 4:24), show otherwise. Remember this final admonition from the pen of the apostle John, “Whoever transgresses and does not abide in the doctrine of Christ does not have God. He who abides in the doctrine of Christ has both the Father and the Son” (2 John 9). It seems that it is important to God!

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CL states:
(no login)

“I Attend Richland Hills Church of Christ”

April 25 2007, 8:36 AM 

CL’s response to the above article (copied from the ConcernedMembers’ Richland Hills forum dated April 23 2007, 6:48 PM)


    "Although I respect your opinion, I attend RHCC and feel in your carefully selected quotes, you are taking many things out of context here. I also feel you are implying things that just aren't true. You say there is no scripture basis for instrumental worship. There is throughout the scriptures and no where does it imply that they were banned by God. The Lord desires to be praised in many ways and the churches of christ have come along and tried to create divisions over things that are strictly not even in the scriptures. To imply only those churches with the name of 'church of christ' is going to heaven is another issue they have created. These thing are not scriptural. Have you listened to Rick Atchleys' three part message on the use of intruments in worship? If not, I invite you to as they are very eye opening. Do not take things out of context and try to create an issue that is not there. Here what he shared and have an open mind when you listen:

    "I also do not consider RHCC a liberal church as you call it. Quite the contrary. Conservative in thought and very mission oriented. Very community oriented. There is proof of that all around the DFW area and the far ends of the earth. You can't convince me that people are not better for the hard work of the leaders and members of Richland Hills Church of Christ. I am very blessed to be a part of such a loving and concerned body of believers. The church is growing since they began the Saturday evening instrumental service and we are reaching the lost for the Lord. That is the mission of the gospel and we are doing it."

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(Login Captainco)

Banned by God?

June 15 2007, 3:44 AM 

From your April reply the following two statements are of interest..."You say there is no scriptural basis for instrumental music in worship. There is throughout the scriptures and no where does it imply that they were banned by God." Have heard statements similar to this often and have come to see that those taking this position have missed the point regarding proper NT teaching. One of the principal themes of the NT is a proactive response to becoming part of God's spiritual kingdom and remaining faithful, not looking to justify an act of worship based on what is not expressly identified and forbidden. Have been fortunate to come across two publications written within the last two generations that address the use of instrumental music in praise to God. 1) tract written by J.P. Sanders and Russel Squire (G.Pepperdine College, 1950s')titled "Should the Church Recognize Instrumental Music?" Although several comments by these writers could be mentioned, have noted from p. 38..."Music's gorgeousness, splendor, and aesthetic qualities, even when composed about religious subjects are not necessarily an acceptable worship to Jehovah...would it not be wise to place great instrumental music, even that about sacred subjects, into the realm of secular usage to be experienced as a human art-experience but not as professed communion with the Lord?" 2) In the early 1980's, the Fort Worth lectures (sponsored by Brown Trail C/C) included a presentation titled "Instrumental Music: Divinely or Davidically Appointed?" (pp. 282-287) The editor refers to the use of instruments during the Jewish dispensation specifically for the installation of Levites. Several references show David(as an earthly king) taking credit for their use...are leaders in the Christian age allowed the same liberties?

Let me say I've visited RH on several occasions and found the assemblies to be filled with excitement. My concern is for many of the new converts the RH can be credited for...they may be adequately introduced to baptism but not to the concept of the church as holy, set apart, and most of all, singular.

Referring back to your comments, would like to know what can be found scripturally that justifies instrumental music as acceptable praise to God. The practice has clearly developed culturally, however, it doesn't appear to have ever been appointed divinely.

With thanks,


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