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  • Refuting Anti-Instrumental Doctrine
    • Stanley Cook (no login)
      Posted May 1, 2008 11:54 AM

      Refuting The Anti-Instrumental Doctrine of The Church of Christ

      Many Churches of Christ have made the issue of instrumental music (IM) paramount, almost on a level equal to the Gospel. Yet the traditional teaching on this subject by most Churches of Christ is false doctrine, pure and simple! Space doesn’t permit a lengthy article that I wrote on the subject a few years ago, so here’s a condensed version.

      Refuting the “No New Testament Authorization” Doctrine

      The best way to know what the scriptures teach is to understand the original Greek language. The main scripture used to refute IM opposition is Ephesians 5:19. Consider this: the part of Ephesians 5:19 where Paul wrote: “…sing and make melody in your hearts…” can be misleading when read from the KJV. The original Greek says: “adontes kai psallontes”. Adontes means “singing”, then “kai” is a conjunction (also used in Acts 2:38 in “repent and [kai] be baptized”) meaning the joining of two separate actions. Obviously repenting and being baptized are not one and the same action, but two separate actions, which is also true in Ephesians 5:19: “singing” plus another action: “psallontes”, meaning to pluck a stringed instrument. By the way, it’s really stretching it to claim that the “plucking” here is plucking the heart strings, or the vocal chords. Therefore, the Christians in the first century, since they understood the original Greek language, would have read that as “Sing and pluck a stringed instrument”. (The MacArthur Study Bible also supports this understanding of this passage). But what do we do about the “in your hearts” part? Again, returning to the original Greek, it means to put your heart into those two actions. Now whether this is even referring to a worship assembly or not, whatever the case, they would have understood it to mean to do both actions as one praises God whether in private, personal worship, or in worship with others.

      Refuting that the “Psalms Were Part of the Old Law" Doctrine

      The Psalms may have been written while the Old Law was in effect, but they were not a part of the Law that was given to Moses (which was done away with). In Deuteronomy 31:24-26a, it says: “After Moses finished writing in a book the words of this law from beginning to end, he gave this command to the Levites who carried the ark of the covenant of the Lord: ‘Take this Book of the Law and place it beside the ark of the covenant of the Lord your God’…”.

      The Old Law never commanded or suggested using instrumental music, yet David stated in the Psalms that it, along with dancing was among the ways people were to praise God. (See Psalm 150). Now think: as harsh as the Old Law was, if it had been something God would oppose, since He had not commanded it in The Law, you can bet your boots they would have been struck dead for doing an “unauthorized act of worship”, but they were not! Therefore, since the Psalms were not a part of The Old Law (Law of Moses) that was “nailed to the cross”, it’s obvious that even the first century disciples would not have considered it an act that would have ended. The use of instrumental music in praise to God would have come naturally to those believers since that’s what they had been familiar with. Since the burnt offerings and incense were a part of the Old Law, they would have known that those laws had been done away with. So the argument that “if someone is going to use instrumental music, then they have to have burnt offerings“, is faulty at best.
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