HYPOCRITICAL HYMN-SINGING

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "Last Sunday as we sang the song Come Lord Jesus, Come, it struck me that I really don’t want Him to come -- not now. It makes me feel like a hypocrite to offer praise and worship as if I do. I’m not ready for Jesus to come and my earthly life to end. I want to live out whatever the Lord has planned for me. I know that life hereafter will be so much more than we can … [Read more...]

UZZAH’S ERROR

A correspondent asks, "Can you give me some thoughts on the fate of Uzzah, whom God struck dead when he touched the Ark of the Covenant? Could I not receive the same fate as Uzzah if I make a mistake while serving God?" * * * Uzzah did not die as a humble man who made a well-meaning mistake, but as a man with a serious attitude problem. Second Samuel 6:7 makes that very plain: "God struck him … [Read more...]

NADAB AND ABIHU

A correspondent asks, "Can you give me some thoughts on the fate of Nadab and Abihu, whom God destroyed by fire when they erred in their worship? Could I not receive the same fate as these men if I make a mistake while serving God?" * * * This story is frequently used by those who argue for a detailed pattern of Christian worship based on their own logical deductions from various Scripture … [Read more...]

DEATH OF A DISTINCTIVE?

Somewhere, on any given Sunday, guests from another heritage visit a Church of Christ and for the first time experience unaccompanied congregational singing in four-part harmony. Those visitors often compliment their hosts afterward, comparing the singing to that of the heavenly hosts, and remarking that "the whole church sounded like a choir!" Churches of Christ are known for singing a … [Read more...]

INSTRUMENT A NON-ISSUE

A gracEmail subscriber writes: "Was there a Greek word in the first century that meant singing without an instrument? In other words, could Paul have said "sing a cappella" if he had wanted to? Was a Greek word with that limiting idea available to him? Many of the psalms speak of singing and then you find out in another portion of the psalm that they are doing that with instruments." * * * To a … [Read more...]

THE ACAPPELLA TRADITION

A subscriber from the Churches of Christ writes: "I have been hearing much lately in tapes and lectureships about our 'tradition' of acappella music. Do you see singing without accompaniment as a tradition, or as a biblical principle for public worship assemblies?" * * * In the Southern United States, the Churches of Christ historically sing without instrumental accompaniment in public worship. … [Read more...]

INSTRUMENTAL MUSIC

A gracEmail subscriber asks: "Why do some churches not use instrumental music in public worship?" * * * God expressly commands instruments in the Old Testament but the New Testament does not specifically command them for Christian use. Some Christians therefore think it obvious that God still wants accompanied praise today, since he didn't say that he has changed his mind. Others think it … [Read more...]

OBVIOUS INFERENCES

A gracEmail subscriber asks whether we are capable of correctly concluding from the Bible what God intended to convey. "I believe we can," he says, "and that's why I think obvious conclusions from the Bible are so clear that all other people should also see them." * * * Yes, it is possible to draw correct conclusions from the Bible using our God-blessed thinking. However, Thomas Campbell, a … [Read more...]

LAW OF SILENCE

A gracEmail subscriber heard a sermon condemning instrumental music in Christian worship based on John 14:31, in which Jesus says that he does just as his Father commands. The preacher said that if we do just as God commands we cannot have instrumental music since the New Testament does not specifically command it. He called this "the law of silence." What should we make of this? * * * I … [Read more...]

THE PLAGUE OF PATTERNISM

Part 1 -- Background All Christians agree that Jesus is our pattern, and that healthy teaching consistent with trusting and loving him provides a secondary pattern for living as well (2 Tim. 1:13). This short gracEmail series is not about that. It is about an oddity and aberration that has marked the Christian tribe into which I was born and raised, and from which home base I now serve the body … [Read more...]